The Bumthang Owl Trek takes plade in the broad Bumthang Valley, the area of Choekhor Valley, one of the four impressive valleys in Bumthang district. Choekhor Valley, formed by the prehistoric glaciers in the last ice age. It is now one of the renowned valleys sought-out by travelers around the world. The fertile land of Bumthang is not only famous for buckwheat, rice, and potatoes, but it also a hub of temples and shrines of Guru Rinpoche. Guru Rinpoche, “The Precious Master,” was the founder of Tibetan Buddhism who visited this region in the 8th century.
Bumthang Owl Trek’s name comes from the area of the Choeokhar Valley that is famous for the high number of owls residing in the area. Bumthang Owl Trek allows you to encounter adorable animals along your trek. Unlike the silent night you get in most of the treks in Bhutan, Bumthang Owl Trek’s night is full of hooting owls.in the clear night, you can see them flitting and flying around the woods. If the weather allows, owls will visit your campsite too.
The Bumthang Owl Treks of three days begins from the Menchugang Village and ends at Tharpaling Gomba. This trek offers you some of the most beautiful views of the untouched natural beauty. On average, you will walk for about 3 to 5hours per day, accompanied by majestic mountain peaks and beautiful natural scenery.
The first day will take us to Dhur village, a culturally rich settlement where two unique culture exists in harmony. On the second day, we will move out to the astonishing Drangela Pass, then to Kitiphu Ridge, our camping site for the day. The third day will be descending from the mountain to have a spiritual tour and experience the tradition and culture of the region, by visiting a few unique monasteries of the area.
This trek is an excellent alternative for the Bumthang Cultural Trek that has gotten worse significantly by the development of more local farm roads.
The geographical location of Bumthang Owl Trek
The trek begins from Manchugang, in the north of the valley, which lies in the Wangdue Phodrang District of Bhutan. The western central area of the country. Most of the Choekhor Valley lies in the Bumthang District, to the east of Wangdue Phodrang, then the trek soon moves into Bumthang for the central part of the route.
The difficulty of Bumthang Owl Trek
This three-day trek around the gorgeous Choekhor Valley is an easy trek, suitable for all levels of hikers. The max altitude you will reach is just 4000 meters. On average, you will be within 2300 meters to 3200 meters. However, you should be knowledgeable about the symptoms and preventive measures of altitude sickness as we will mostly be camping in altitudes over 3400 meters.
Bumthang Owl Trek Highlights
Dhur Village, standing at 2900 meters, is a village of the wandering Khep and Brokpa people. Yaks and sheep are the primary sources of livelihood for the locals of the region. The village’s inhabitants have two dialects, Bumthang Kha, and Brokke, both of them exclusive to the area.
We will cross Drangela Pass on the second day. We can reach the pass through the trail of the bamboo forest. This pass lies at an elevation of 3600 meters. From here, we can get beautiful views across the valley. We also get some stunning views of Mount Gangkarpunsum (7541 meters), the highest unclimbed mountain in the world.
Zampala, Chuedek, and Tharpaling Monasteries
All of these are unique monasteries of the valley. However, Chuedek monastery is the most unusual. It contains around a hundred Avoloketeshivaras’ statues in the form of Chukchizhey, the god of eleven heads.
Best time for Bumthang Owl Trek
Bumthang District lies in the northern central area of Bhutan. So, the region has proximity to the Himalayas due to which it gets severe cold during winters. The ideal time to trek in this area is from March to May or from September to November. During these months, it is optimum for trekking in the region. While trekking during the autumn season, you might get to see the Himalayan Black Bear. You can also trek from December to February if you can handle cold nights.
In the winter season, you might also encounter snowfall even in lower areas, which might make trekking more strenuous. Trekking is most risky in these areas during monsoons. The trekking becomes riskiest in monsoon season as there is always a chance of rainfall, which results in slippery trails. And there is also a chance of natural disasters like a landslide. If you schedule the trek during the local festival, you might get to enjoy the additional insight into the traditions and culture of this region.
Accommodation and meals during the trek
Our tour package includes all of your meals and accommodation during the trek. During the trek, you will be staying in camp.
Experience native remote life in villages like Dhur
Enjoy wilderness in the forest of blue pine, hemlock, fir, spruce, juniper with undergrowth of bamboo spices, rhododendrons, birch, maple, and chestnut among many more
Get the spectacular view of the highest unclimbed mountain, Mount Gangkarpunsum
- Entry visa for Bhutan
- Three-star category hotel twin sharing room
- Three meals per day
- A sustainable development fee
- Bottled water on the trip
- All entry fees
- Private transportation throughout the trip
- Laundry/beverages/telephone calls and any personal expenses
- Travel insurance
- Airport taxes, if any
- Tips to guides and drivers
Menchugan to Schonath
The trek starts from Menchugan. Moving from Mlhere, we reach the biggest village in Bumthang, Dhur. Dhur lies at an altitude of 2900 meters above sea level. Even the biggest community in this region consists of only 75 households with a population of around 800 people. Three types of people inhabit this village; the Kheps (taxpayers) having cattle and farmland, Brokpas (nomads) having Yaks, and a third group a combination of the two. The people of the village speak two different dialects, the typical, Bumthang Kha and the Brokke (nomadic dialect). The view from the top of this village is quite fascinating. From here, we drop down towards the river where we can visit the ancient flour mill. In the past, this flour mill was the primary source of livelihood for the inhabitants of Dhur. However, they abandoned it after the flood washed away the intake channel. Continuing the trek uphill through the blue pine forest, we reach the camp at Schonath. We will camp in the middle of the hemlock and juniper forest, with owls hooting all night round. The trek lives up to its name, with the hooting of owls throughout the night.
Schonath to Kitiphu
Experiencing the real wilderness of Bhutan, we trek through the pristine forest of temperate trees like spruce, hemlock, fir, birch, and many varieties of rhododendron. During springs, rhododendrons are in full blossoms, and its fragrance spreads through the whole trail. After trekking for around two hours, we will reach the Drange La Pass (3600m). From here, we climb up towards the Kitiphu ridge at an altitude of 3870 meters. Here, we will set the camp for overnight stay. In the bright days, this spot offers panoramic views of the snowcapped Eastern Himalayas. When you reach the peak of Kitiphu ridge, you can get a close-up view of the highest mountain in Bhutan, Mt. Gangkarpunsum.
Kitiphu to Tharpaling Monastery, then departure
The trek begins from early morning. Today, we descend to the monasteries of Zambhalha, Chuedak, and Tharpaling. These monasteries show us the religious life of monkhood at these historical Buddhist learning centers. Chuedak monastery contains 100 Avoloketeshvaras in the form of Chukchizhey (eleven heads). This monastery is one of a kind in Bhutan. In the afternoon, we trek beside the ridge of Kiki La. Then, following the classic trail between Trongsa and Bumthang (the Royal Heritage Trail). Adoring the majestic Jakar Dzong, your three-day trek comes to an end.