Ever wondered how the people lived before modernization in Bhutan? Even today, there are groups of ethnic indigenous tribes still living medieval life in the remote parts of Kheng in Central Bhutan. Some of these tribes live in semi-permanent and rickety huts with their culture and tradition deeply seeped in superstitious animistic rituals and black magic. This 17-day natural and cultural experience will take you on an adventurous and mythical journey into the wild and untamed rural villages deep in the heart of ancient Bhutan where you will soak in the remote mineral and medicinal hot springs of Dunmang, Gomphu, and Pangtang; see the rich flora and fauna of Royal Manas National Park and try to catch glimpses of the highly endangered Royal Bengal tiger, cloud leopard and Himalayan black bear; and end your trip with an unforgettable hike to the most famous spiritual and cultural icon of Bhutan – the Tiger’s Nest
| Tour Highlights
Day 1 PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – Your first glimpse of Bhutan
On arrival at the Paro International Airport you will be met by your guide and driver. Check into your hotel and after a brief rest, start your magical experience of Bhutan by first visiting the impressive Rinpung Dzong/fortress of Heaped Jewels a fine example of the ostentatious Bhutanese art and architecture. Located above the Dzong is the National Museum showcasing various artifacts and relics of ancient Bhutan.
Drive for an hour to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Thimphu is one of the few capital cities in the world not having traffic lights and the traffic is still manned by traffic policemen. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2 THIMPHU TO WANGDUE TO TRONGSA VALLEYS – Enjoy the ride through the mountain ranges
After breakfast check out of your hotel and drive for about three hours to Wangdue and Punkaha valleys. Enroute stop over at the Dochulaa Pass (3150 meters) and enjoy the spectacular views of the snow capped Himalayan Mountains. The 108 small stupas built over a small hill is also a beautiful sight.
The road from the Pass winds down to the warm and fertile valleys and after a brief rest visit the Fertility Temple / Chime Lhakhang. Continue and enjoy your drive through sleepy villages and settlements till you reach Trongsa. Overnight at your hotel in Trongsa.
Day 3 TRONGSA TO ZHEMGANG
Today you will drive to Zhemgang locally known as Kheng and is one of the most remote and least developed districts of Bhutan. You will hardly meet any vehicles and will surely enjoy the peaceful drive. The main town of Zhemgang consists of few houses and you can enjoy a stroll through the small market and visit the traditional style house and shops. Overnight at your Eco Lodge at Dangkhar village in Zhemgang.
Day 4 KHENG VALLEY EXCURSION
You will spend the day visiting the three main villages of Dangkhar, Trong and Dakpai located in and around the main town. The Trong village consisting of traditional centuries old houses is being preserved as a heritage village and the small village still has intact old structures and pathways.
You can visit some of the houses, interact with the villagers and visit their farmlands and vegetable gardens. Overnight at your eco lodge in Dangkhar in Zhemgang
Day 5 TINGTIBI & GOMPHU – Mineral Hot Springs
After breakfast drive towards the satellite town of Tingtibi where the weather is much warmer. After a stroll through the small settlement continue drive till you reach Gomphu village. From there walk downhill for about 2 hours till you cross the Mangdue Chhu / River and reach Dunmang Hot Springs. There are many ponds of varying degrees of water temperature and you can spend the rest of the evening at the hot spring. Overnight at the Dunmang guesthouse.
Day 6 DUNMANG HOT SRPINGS
Today you will spend the whole day enjoying the various hot spring pools with different medicinal and healing properties. Overnight at the Dunmang Guesthouse.
Day 7 HOT SRPINGS – PANGTANG VILLAGE
Hike back to the road point at Gomphu from where your vehicle will take you through Rendaybee village till you reach Pangtang. The road is newly constructed and you will enjoy this safari like drive through the serene and beautiful nature. Overnight at your eco lodge in Pantang.
Day 8 EXCURSION OF PANGTANG, BHUDHASHI & GOSHING VILLAGES
Enjoy the full day excursion of the rural villages of Pangtang, Bhudashi and Goshing. Walk to the three villages and visit their community schools and Basic Health Units. Visit some traditional houses and their farmlands, interact with the villagers and with your guide as your translator you can listen to their stories and legends of the places.
Day 9 PANGTANG – PANGBANG SATELLITE TOWN
Drive through the same newly constructed road through the villages and enroute visit the rural villages of Shilintoe and Repati villages. Overnight at your guesthouse in Pangbang.
Day 10 ROYAL MANAS NATIONAL PARK
Apart from being one of the world’s biologically outstanding parks the Royal Manas Park is the most diverse protected area in Bhutan with thousands of animal and plant species and many of them globally endangered. The park is connected with India’s Manas Tiger Reserve
Manas is also extremely rich in wildlife species, including the highly endangered Royal Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, greater one-horned rhinoceros, clouded leopard, Himalayan black bear, gangetic dolphin and pangolin. Found virtually nowhere else in the world is the especially rare golden langur, a primate of extraordinary grace and beauty with its long, silky blond fur.
Day 11 PANGBANG TO BJOKA VILLAGE
After an early breakfast you can either hike for about 6 hours to reach Bjoka village, enjoying the landscape and walk OR you can drive through the farm road to Bjoka and spend the day exploring Bjoka village. Bjoka is one of the most remote and lease developed of all the places in Zhemgang. The unique feature of Bjoka is the production of handmade cane and bamboo products which is the main source of livelihood of the people. Items like the bangchungs (round tiffin-like plates) andsmall storage containers are made and sold off to the other parts of Bhutan.
In the past when there were no roads (till 2014) people had to walk for 4 – 5 days to reach Bjoka from the main town of Zhemgang.
Overnight at your farmhouse in Bjoka.
Day 12 BJOKA TO PANGTANG TO GOMPHU
From here on you will drive back to Gomphu and stay the night at the Eco lodge in Gomphu.
Day 13 GOMPHUTO TINGTIBI TO ZHEMGANG
Continue drive to Zhemgang and overnight at the Eco Lodge in Dangkhar village.
Day 14 ZHEMGANG TO TRONGSA TO PUNAKHA
After an early breakfast drive from Zhemgang to Trongsa to Punakha and overnight at your hotel in Punakha. In Trongsa you can visit the Trongsa Dzong / Fortress of the Vanguard of Warriors, and the National Museum.
Day 15 PUNAKHA TO THIMPHU TO PARO
After an early breakfast drive for a few minutes up north and walk for about an hour to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten stupa. The walk is beautiful through the pine tree and lush paddy fields and enjoy the beautiful and rural landscape of Punakha valley from the Stupa. Enroute you will also be walking through a suspension bridge over the Puna Tsang Chhu – Punakha River.
After visiting the Punakha Dzong/Fortress of Great Bliss, drive back to Paro via the Dochula Pass and Thimphu. Check into your hotel in Paro and rest well for your hike to the Tiger’s Nest tomorrow.
Day 16 TAKTSANG MONASTERY / TIGER’S NEST – The Most Important Cultural Icon of Bhutan
Have a good breakfast for your hike to Taktsang Monastery / Tiger’s Nest which is about 3 hours uphill and 2 down. Located around 900 meters above the Paro valley on a precarious almost vertical mountain cliff, Taktsang Monastery is truly a wonderful and spectacular sight in terms of its location, setting and history.
Visit the Kyichu Lhakhang/temple, one of the oldest temple built in the 7th Century. In the evening visit a traditional farmhouse in Paro and enjoy a traditional hot stone bath and a traditional dinner with the local family. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Day 17 PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
After breakfast drive to Paro International Airport where your guide and driver will bid you farewell and hope you had a pleasant holiday and hope to see you in Bhutan again.