Wilderness Bhutan offers you the experience of a lifetime, leaving you with an in-depth understanding of Bhutanese culture and a sense of the grandeur of its mountains. After visiting the impressive Dzongs and sacred pilgrimage sites in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Wangdi, you will drive to Bumthang, considered the cultural heartland of Bhutan. Before you begin the trek you will have a day sightseeing in the Bumthang valley to acclimatize yourself before you immerse yourself into the thick forests and start trekking between isolated villages for the next seven days.
This trekking tour provides an opportunity to see the whole of Bhutan partly on foot and partly driving. As you drive towards the east there is a change both in terms of scenery and in terms of culture. The farmhouses are dotted everywhere and still today, the majority of the villages are not connected with the road.
The trek takes you along the Chamkhar Chu, a river known for it’s richness in trout. Bumthang is known as the Switzerland of the east because the hills and the valleys resemble the Alps in Europe. The route brings you into the valley known as the Ngalakhang, literally “Duck Valley”. A legend has it that the first inhabitants of this valley were ducks and thus the name “Ngang”. The lama Namkha Samdrup, having dreamt a vision of a Gompa, shot an arrow and at the spot where the arrow landed the Ngang Lhakhang was erected. Climb gradually to Phephela pass at an altitude of 3353m/11000ft. Follow the trail until the pass takes you through one of the most beautiful forested areas of this region. Allowing for many stops to enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding, we can also view Ugyenchholing Palace on the way. Built by the great saint Longchen Rabjampa in the 14th century, this was also the palace of the Tongsa Penlop Tshokye Dorji in the 19th century. This palace now shelters the descendants of the saint Dorji Lingpa (1346-1405)
Leaving behind the alpine valleys you will trek downhill into the wild forest for 2 days bringing you though the villages of Lhuntse District. Two more days of uphill climb follow, until you cross the Dongla at 4000mts. From here you will get wonderful views of the eastern mountains. Walking in among the silver fir, bamboos, 12 varieties of oaks and other evergreen forest, the trail brings you to a village called Shashing, the first village in Trashiyangtse.
Following the Dongdi river you finally reach Dongdi Dzong which was once considered one of the important Dzongs in Bhutan because of its close proximity to Tibet’s border. Legends boast of three impressive Dzongs at this site. Now one can still see the ruins overgrown with giant trees. Today, the remaining dzong houses the monks. Equally important is the old wooden Bridge that itself is surrounded by legend. It has a fascinating architectural design and it has stood the test of time, still in use today. But no one can remember who built it.
The trek ends here, camp in Chorten Cora and visit the biggest stupa in Bhutan. You will have a day’s rest to explore the villages in and around Chorten Cora. You will drive back to Thimphu in three days, crossing the Thrumsingla pass. At 4000mts high, this is one of highest motor road journeys in the world. Weather permitting, the scene is splendid. And there are more than 30 species of rhododendron growing here.
This trekking-tour is perhaps the most beautiful and complete tour of Bhutan – a journey that takes you into the heart of the country’s rugged terrain and close to the hearth of its charming people.