Bhutan is the hidden gem in the travel industry. The country was isolated from the world until 1960; however, now the country is one of the best tourist destinations in South Asia. Bhutan is one of the gorgeous countries on earth with the unspoiled wilderness of jagged mountain peaks to the north and lush, green jungles to the south. With a wide variety of cultures, this country is also famous as the living museum of the world. Lying between India and Tibet, this country offers an enthralling blend of snow-covered peaks, friendly, humble people, dramatic landscapes, and ancient Buddhist culture to its visitors. Bhutan is the best destination for those wanting to experience a unique lifetime adventure. Here, you can see tiny mountain villages, sacred monasteries, and isolated temple fortresses (Dzongs) perched high above the mountain passes.
Hike along the rhododendron forest as you explore the Paro Valley at the foothill of the majestic Chomolhari. Go for handicrafts shopping in the markets of Thimphu, Bhutan’s scenic and welcoming capital. You can experience a trek that suits any level of experience and budget. You can go for easy Gogona Trek, passing through the beautiful lowland parts of the country, to the highly challenging Bhutan Snowman Trek, which traverses a remote part of the country and one of the most excellent treks in the Himalayan region.
Bhutan can still offer plenty of activities other than trekking. You can go river rafting and mountain biking to guided wildlife tours in national parks. The country’s area is mostly covered in forest, and around half of this country is protected areas that provide a home for wild creatures that include snow leopards, red pandas, elephants, golden langur monkeys, one-horned rhinos and more. Many endangered species reside in this country mostly due to the untouched forests, and the country widens from the subtropics in the south to the perennially frozen regions of the Himalayas in the north. It houses 770 species of birds (15 globally threatened), 165 mammals (among them 24 internationally protected wild animal species), and 5500 species of vascular plants (among them 152 medical plants).
The Punakha trek is among the best trekking route of the country. With an altitude of only 11,150 feet, this is one of the easiest trekking routes in Bhutan. The Punakha Trek traverse various landscapes and dense forests while offering delight of picturesque beauties of forests, rice fields, and blooming rhododendrons almost everywhere.
Planning the trip to Bhutan is unlike planning holidays to other countries. You need to understand all about costs, logistics, and the way of the tourism system. Tourism in Bhutan is highly structured and controlled to protect the gorgeous environment of the country. However, some visitors used to independence, and wanting to do their own thing might feel the system difficult to accustom to.
You need a visa to enter Bhutan, and you can get it only through a tour company. You can send us a photocopy of your passport photo page; then we will apply for a visa. After we receive your visa, we will email you a visa clearance letter that you have to show at the point of entry. You can visit individual cities in Bhutan all you want. You can also trek nearby trails on your own with no problems. However, the country restricts travelers to travel independently between cities; you should have a tour guide with you for this. Every regional checkpoint will surely check tourism company documents and verify tourist visas, so there’s no way around this. However, this is not as inconvenient as it sounds, booking with us frees you from all the small details of travel, and you can fully enjoy your trip to this gorgeous country.
Getting to Bhutan
Bhutan has only one international airport to travel by air, or you can enter the country overland. Bhutan Airlines, Druk Air, and Buddha Air (Buddha is charter only) fly into Bhutan via India, Bangladesh, Thailand or Nepal. Indonesia and Malaysia also offer flights in certain seasons. It might be cheaper to book a separate trip to Bangkok and then to Bhutan rather than purchasing a whole trip-fare. Besides, you can enter Bhutan overland from India.
Transacting in Bhutan
We will take care of most of your major expenses, so you won’t need to carry around extra cash in Bhutan; many travelers have found around 100 USD per week to be plenty. There aren’t many ATMs here, so it will be better to take cash from the machine at the airport upon arrival.
The local currency of Bhutan is the Ngultrum. They also accept Indian rupees throughout the country and are in par with the Ngultrum.
Prepping for the Trek
Before visiting Bhutan, be sure to visit a doctor to get any required vaccinations, or obtain necessary medications and up-to-date advice on basic health matters for your itinerary. Also, learn about altitude sickness, get medications for it, and learn preventive measures and symptoms. It will be best if you carry accelerated digestion medications; Bhutanese love their food spicy, even at breakfast.
You can get a local Sim card easily; however, the quality of the internet will not be very reliable except in big cities.
Best Time to Visit
Spring and autumns are the most popular seasons for Bhutan trekking; many visitors arrive during March-April and September-November. Summer in Bhutan is the rainy season, but the country does not experience heavy rainfall that is common in South-east Asia. The monsoon is very light and does not affect the trip much. You will get clear distant views in winters. However, heavy snowfall might block some roads.
Be sure to pack appropriate clothing for the activities in your itinerary. Monasteries or Dzong restricts entrance for those not properly dressed (long trousers, long-sleeved shirts, and closed shoes). It can be very cold in the mountains in Bhutan. So, carry thermal underwear, good layering warm clothes, warm socks, shoes, and a hooded raincoat. We provide you basic items for sleeping, eating, cooking, showering, and toilet needs, as well as tables, chairs, inflatable mats, duffle bags, rubber hot water bags, sleeping bag liners, and some other items. However, you might carry personal gears like:
- Warm fleece jacket
- Rain gear
- Down parka
- Cold-weather gloves
- Hiking boots and a pair of lighter weight shoes
- Trekking pants and shirts (2 of each) – preferably not cotton
- Trekking socks (4 pairs)
- Long-sleeve merino shirts and long pants (2 of each)
- Sun hat and two pairs of sunglasses
- A warm hat that covers your ears
- Comfortable camp shoes or flip-flops
- Headlamp and torch
- Waterproof duffel bag
- Small daypack
- Trekking poles
- Water bottle or CamelBak
- Insulated drinking cup
- Plastic bags for gear storage
- Camera, accessories and extra batteries
- A sleeping bag that will keep you warm down to minus 8-10°C
- Microfiber towel
Don’t forget to carry your required medications as you might not get them immediately in the places you will visit in this itinerary. Carry as much medicine as you need; the pharmacies in Bhutan might not have those medications in stock.
You need to be physically fit to undertake the Punakha Trek. If you are not at a fine fitness level, get some training before the trip. Whip your body with some strength and endurance training. Also, do cardio to cope up with thin oxygen in higher altitudes.
Visit some of the ancient sites of Bhutan
Revel in the natural beauty of the country
Sightsee the gorgeous Paro city
- Entry Visa fee
- Three meals per day
- Airport transfer
- International airfare
- Travel insurance
When you have landed at Paro airport, our representative will welcome you and transfer you to the hotel. On the way, he/she will give you a brief explanation on your further trip. After arriving at the hotel, check-in, and you can simply rest or go for exploring the town.
We begin the day with a hike to Taktsang monastery, also famous as the Tiger’s Nest. It takes around 3hours to reach the viewpoint on foot. Upon arrival, you will see a gorgeous monastery where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century and meditated for three months. The fourth temporal ruler of Bhutan built the current monastery in this holy place in 1684. You will also get a beautiful view of the Paro valley from the monastery.
Drive to Thimphu
We leave Paro early, to drive towards Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Along the way, we will visit an old fortress, Simtokha Dzong. Thimphu city is best in Bhutan that offers its visitors independence to travel. It is relaxed, people are friendly, and the city can give you the most rewarding experience. From Paro, it takes a couple of hours to reach Thimphu.
Trek to Shong Pang
We begin the trek to Shong Pang from Pangrizam. To reach Pangrizam, we have to drive north up the valley towards the residence of the "Queen mother," Dechencholing Palace. The ride from here takes us to the last motor point, Pangrizam. Then, we begin the trek to Shong Pang. The trek takes around five hours.
Trek to Dopshing Pang
The trail from Shong Pang climbs upwards gradually towards the SInchula Pass. If the weather is clear, you will get a spectacular view of the Phajodhing Monastery that lies just above Thimphu, from the pass. Then, walking for around 2km, we will see a Gang village, Talo Monastery, and the motor highway towards the ancient capital of Bhutan. From the pass, we will mostly be descending until we reach the campsite.
Trek to Chorten Ningpo
Today, we will make a gradual walk towards the Chorten Ningpo, passing through dense forests, villages, and rice fields.
Trek to Zomlingthang
Today, we will be walking for around 2-3 hours to reach Zomlingthang. We trek through several villages until we reach a motor road. From the motor road, we take the trail towards Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. There, we will see the Punakha Dzong “Palace of Great Happiness,” also the former winter Capital. At present, the palace hosts the administrative seat of the district. It is also the winter palace of the central monastic body and its Chief Abbot. The Dzong stands proudly between two rivers; Pochu and Mochu. This is the place where Bhutan’s first coronation took place. From here, we continue the trek towards Zomlingthang, our destination for the day.
Day Eight :
Trek to Limukha
After breakfast, we depart from Zomlingthang towards Limukha. From here, we follow a motor road towards Punakha Dzong and then cross the Pochu River, which drains the remote Lunana region. We will climb gradually through a forest of scattered long needle chirpiness. Along the route, we will get gorgeous views of Punakha valley and the majestic Dzong. If the weather permits, you will also get the view of snowcapped peaks in distance north.
Trek to Chungsaka, drive to Wangdiphodrang
We depart from Limukha after breakfast. The trail from Limukha ascends through the dense forest of oaks and rhododendrons until we reach Dochula pass. The pass is full of prayer flags and keeps fluttering. From here, you can get a beautiful sight of the Eastern Himalayan Mountains of Bhutan. Along the route, you will witness over 50 species of rhododendrons alone, not to mention beautiful wild orchids, tropical and high altitude plants, and the national flower, the Blue Poppy. Then, we drop down through the dense forest that leads to a monastery of Drukpa Kuenly, also known as the Divine Madman. From here, you will see the Samtengang from Chungsakha on the ridge to the south. Then, walking downhill, we will meet the motor road, and drive towards Wangdiphodrang.
Drive to Thimphu
Today, we return to Thimphu on a private vehicle. On our way, we will stop at Punakha Dzong and tour the Dzong to enjoy its marvelous architecture, ancient wall frescoes, and its ornate structure. Then, we drive towards Thimphu, passing over the Dochula pass.
Drive to Paro
Today, we drive back to Paro from Thimphu through the twisting trail, following the Wangchuk River that meets the confluence where two rivers Wangchuk and Pa-chu meet. On the junction of these two rivers, we will witness the three different kinds of Chorten: Tibetan, Bhutanese, and Nepalese style. We will cross this bridge and turn to the right towards Paro.
Today, we bid goodbye to each other. This is the end of your Punakha trek. However, it does not have to be the end of your trip to Bhutan. You can explore more if you want. You can inform us to expand the trip, and we can manage that.