A beautiful Bumthang Owl Trek is so named because Choekhor valley in Bumthang is renowned with a great number of owls lurking in the densely covered forests. It is an easy to moderate 3-day trek that begins from Menchugang and ends at Tharpaling Monastery, offering an excellent opportunity to explore and experience the culture and pristine environments in the central region of Bhutan. The trail passes through virgin temperate forests of blue pine, birch, maple, spruce, juniper, bamboo and countless varieties of rhododendrons in full bloom in late spring, between April and early June. En route you will be treated to a great view of Mt. Gangkar Puensum (at 7,564m), Bhutan’s tallest mountain and the highest unclimbed peak in the world.
Day 1: Arrive Paro
Day 2: Fly to Bumthang
Day 3: Menchugang – Dhur Village [Start of Trek]
Day 4: Dhur Village – Drangela Pass
Day 5: Drangela Pass – Tharpaling Monastery [End of Trek]
Day 6: Bumthang – Trongsa
Day 7: Trongsa – Punakha
Day 8: Punakha
Day 9: Punakha – Thimphu
Day 10: Hike to Cheri Monastery
Day 11: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Day 12: End of Tour
Duration of Trek: 3 Days/2 Nights
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation: 2,250m – 4,000m
Best Seasons: March, April, May, June, November & December
Flying into Bhutan offers the most spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges, including Mt. Everest (8,848m/29,028ft), Mt. Kanchenjunga (8,586m/28,169ft) and Mt. Gangkar Puensum (7,564m/24,836ft). On arrival we meet you at Paro International Airport after clearing your immigration and customs formalities and transfer to your hotel in Paro for check-in. Paro is home to the famous Taktshang Monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest), National Museum, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. Afterwards, we visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower), located about 6-km from Paro town, which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan. Walk down to the Paro Dzong (also known as Rinpung Dzong), which is located across the Pachhu River (about 2-km from Paro International Airport). The dzong was built in 1644 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (founder of Bhutan) to safeguard Paro Valley agaianst Tibetan invasions. The evening is at leisure to relax and enjoy, we have allowed some time for this and also to explore a small Paro town and its surroundings. Tonight enjoy a welcome drink and dinner with BGT. Overnight in Paro.
This morning, we transfer you to Paro International Airport for a short 35-minutes flight to Bathpalathang Domestic Airport in Bumthang by Drukair (ATR 42-600). The ATR flight is equipped with the ClearVision system, which serves small airports in the country. This short-haul flight offers you the unique experience flying over the skies of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan! On arrival in Bumthang (2,650m), transfer to your hotel for check-in. Later, travel out to view some of the enchanting sights of Bumthang Valley. Visit the Jakar Dzong, constructed in 1549, in a picturesque location on the hilltop overlooking Bumthang (Jakar) town and Chokhor Valley. Later, discover the “Little Switzerland in Bhutan.” Mr Fritz Maurer, one of the first Swiss expatriate to work in Bhutan and now married to the local lady, introduced brewing, farming machinery, diary (Swiss gouda cheese), bee-keeping and fuel-efficient, smokeless wood stoves as well as its first tourist guesthouse. Who would have thought someone makes Swiss gouda cheese in Bhutan? The country’s only native beer, Red Panda, is brewed here. If lucky, join for a beer and stories of Bhutan’s development with the owner (Swiss expat). Enjoy a tranquil evening strolling the streets of a small Bumthang town. Overnight in Bumthang.
Walking time 4-5 hours. Transfer by vehicle till the road point where your day one trek starts from Manchugang. En route visit the biggest village in Bumthang Valley called Dhur (2,900m), home to about 75 households with roughly 800 people. The inhabitants of the village are the nomadic Kheps and Brokpas. This village has two different dialects, the usual Bumthang Kha and the Brokke (language spoken by the nomads). Continue uphill through blue pine forests towards the campsite at Schonath (3450m) surrounded by hemlock and juniper forest. The hauling of owls through the night is quite common here, hence the name “The Owl Trek.” Overnight in camp.
Walking time 3-4 hours. On day two, we explore through lush forests of hemlock, fir, spruce and many species of rhododendron, which are in full bloom during April and May. Bamboo is the main undergrowth in this area. After about 2 hours walking you will arrive at the Drangela Pass (3,600m). Crossing Kitiphu ridge at the height of 3,870m lies the campsite. If weather permits, you can have wonderful views of the valleys below and snow-capped mountains from here. This is also the viewpoint when you’re rewarded with a stunning view of Bhutan’s highest mountain (Mt. Gangkar Puensum at 7,564m). Overnight in camp.
Walking time 4-5 hours. On the final leg of day three trek, you descend towards the monasteries of Zambhalha, Chuedak and Tharpaling. Chuedak Monastery has over 100 stoned carvings of Avoloketeshvaras in the form of Chukchizhey (eleven heads), one of the most honoured Bodhisattvas that’s seen nowhere else in the country. After visiting the monasteries, continue onto Kikila ridge following the traditional trek route between Trongsa and Bumthang (the Royal Heritage Trail). From here you will have the best view of Jakar Dzong, where your trek ends. From here, your transport takes you to Bumthang for overnight.
After breakfast, our journey (68-km) about 2 hours takes us to Trongsa (2,200m) via Yotongla Pass (3,425m). En route stop off at the Yathra Weaving Centre in Chumig village, where the Bumthap women weave yak and sheep wools into the beautifully patterned fabric called “Yathra” including woollen mattresses (Drumzeedhen). Historically, Trongsa is one of the important districts of Bhutan. Trongsa was once the headquarters for the central and eastern regions and has been the seat of Trongsa Penlop (Governor). All the Kings of Bhutan first invest as the Trongsa Penlop before ascending to the throne. Discover the massive and majestic architectural masterpiece of the Trongsa Dzong with a distinctive yellow roof. It is the largest fortress in Bhutan, built in 1648, overlooking the gorge of the Mangdichhu River. You’ll also have time to explore the Tower of Trongsa (known as Ta Dzong), an ancient watchtower rising five storeys above Trongsa town. It was built in 1652 and has four observation points resembling Tiger, Lion, Garuda and Dragon. Today the tower houses a state-of-the-art National Museum with insights into the significance of Trongsa Dzong and the Wangchuck dynasty (kings) of Bhutan. The evening is at leisure to relax or explore the idyllic Trongsa town and its surroundings. Overnight in Trongsa.
Depart Trongsa this morning for Punakha (142-km) about 5 hours via Chelela Pass (3,390m) and Nobding, a small town. From the viewpoint (Thumangdra) opposite to the Trongsa Dzong, you can take photos of the beautiful landscapes and dzong. On the way take a stroll along the Chendebji Chorten below the road. A nice stop to stretch your legs and walk around the stupa! This 18th century monument resembles the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu (Nepal) with eyes painted at the four cardinal points. It is not uncommon to encounter grazing yaks by the roadside along the East–West highway. Our journey takes us past the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong overlooking the convergence of the Dangchhu and Punatsangchhu Rivers. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (founder of Bhutan) constructed the dzong in 1638, resembling that of a sleeping elephant. The fortress was gutted by fire in 2012 and is under reconstruction. Punakha (1,350m) was once the winter capital of Bhutan until 1955. It is situated in western Bhutan with a warm and temperate climate, bordered by Gasa to the north, Thimphu to the west and Wangdue Phodrang to the east and south, and also a popular tourist destination. Arriving in Punakha, visit the fertility Chimi Lhakhang en route, nestled on a round hillock near a village called Sopsokha, built in 1499 by Saint Drukpa Kunley (known as the Divine Madman). The temple is about 10-km from Punakha Dzong and takes 20-minutes walk through agriculture fields. Legend has it that the childless couples wishing to have a baby from across Bhutan and occasionally from overseas are blessed with a child after visiting this mysterious temple. Overnight in Punakha.
Discover the delights of Punakha–Wangdue Phodrang Valley. Punakha is situated in western Bhutan with a warm and temperate climate, bordered by Gasa to the north, Thimphu to the west and Wangdue Phodrang to the east and south, and also a popular tourist destination. You’ll at first drive (7-km) about 30-minutes to the parking by the Mochhu River before climbing up the majestic Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. The Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk built this 100ft tall temple in 1994, located on a strategic ridge overlooking terraced fields and countryside of Punakha Valley. From the parking, cross a suspension bridge over the Mochhu River and walk up through paddy fields to the base of the hill before climbing a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees. It takes about 45-minutes to hike up to the top. In the afternoon, sightseeing includes the Punakha Dzong, strategically located at the confluence of the Phochhu (male) and Mochhu (female) Rivers. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (founder of Bhutan) built the dzong in 1637. Jacaranda trees beautifully cover the dzong with the purple bloom of flowers in the spring. Your tour continues to the charming Rinchengang village opposite to the Wangduephodrang Dzong, which is about 20-minutes walk uphill from the highway, and the village is known for its skill in traditional method of stone masonry. Our final stop is at the Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery Buddhist College in Wolakha, spectacularly located on a hilltop (25-minutes drive from Punakha Dzong). The Queen Mothers’ parents built it in 2008 for nuns to pursue higher Buddhist studies. Overnight in Punakha. Overnight in Punakha.
Today we travel (71-km) about 3 hours to Thimphu (2,300m), the capital of Bhutan. En route stop off at Dochula Pass (3,050m), where the picturesque Druk Wangyal Chortens (108 stupas) stand. Soak up the panoramic views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks, including Bhutan’s highest mountain (Mt. Gangkar Puensum at 7,564m). There are 11 man-made hidden “Igloos – Caves” with 11 different paintings of gods and goddesses? People seeking inner peace from modern day stress come to Dochula Pass for meditation. Buddhists pursue meditation as a path towards enlightenment and nirvana. Continue to Thimphu city (2,300m), home to approximately 138,736 inhabitants. Bhutan’s capital is not a concrete jungle that you see in other parts of the world. It is set in a lovely rural valley with beautiful natural scenery on all sides and buildings built in the traditional Bhutanese style. No traffic lights in Bhutan yet! Marvel at the police directing traffic with an intricate ballet of hand signals at the main intersections. Arriving in Thimphu, visit the National Memorial Chorten (stupa), built in 1974 in honour of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (1928-1972). This stupa is a prominent monument for Bhutanese daily worship in the city with its golden spires and bells. Another must see place to tick off on your list is Kuenselphodrang (the largest 169ft Buddha Dordenma statue in the world), built in 2006 and sits atop a hill, overlooking the southern entrance to Thimphu city. Use your free time to relax or explore the streets of Thimphu city. Overnight in Thimphu.
Leaving the hustle and bustle of Thimpu city behind, we set out for a beautiful hike to Cheri Monastery (2,850m) through woods of blue pine, oak trees and rhododendron species. The oldest monastery is home to many sacred relics and also a meditation center, located around 14-km (35-minutes) north of Thimphu Valley. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (founder of Bhutan) built this monastery in 1620 and established the first monk body here. You’ll at first cross a cantilever bridge, vibrant with prayer flags and the sound of gushing Thimphuchhu River before hiking uphill about 1 hour along a steep trail. A visit to the monastery is spiritually purifying. Why not pray inside the monastery and play dices to reveal what is in store for your life, like fortune-teller stuff? You can also easily spot deer and jaru (mountain goats) as you approach the monastery. Enjoy a picnic lunch by the riverside. Then we drive back to Changlingmithang (Sports Complex), if lucky you will see the locals playing outrageous archery matches (national game of Bhutan) and also football. In the evening, visit the Tashichhodzong, first constructed in 1216 AD and re-built in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (founder of Bhutan), which now houses some ministries, the office and throne room of His Majesty the King and the Central Monk Body. Overnight in Thimphu.
Depart early morning for Paro (54-km) about an hour drive via Chhuzom (30–km) where the Pachhu and Wangchhu Rivers join. Chhuzom (confluence) is a major road junction connecting Haa (82-km) to the southwest, Phuentsholing (141-km) to the south and Paro (24-km) to the southeast. Bhutan’s famous Paro Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) is an unforgettable sight. No visit to Bhutan would be complete without a trip to Paro Taktshang (3,120m). It is stunning in its beauty and location. Today is a real highlight as you take a short hike to the Taktshang Monastery, clinging on a rock cliff at 900m above the Paro Valley floor. The monastery is one of the most revered pilgrimage places in Bhutan because Guru Rinpoche (one the founding fathers of Tibetan Buddhism) is believed to have flown to the site on the back of a flying tigress in the 8th century. An 11-km (round-trip) hike starts from the base of the mountain from the road point (Ramthangkha), which is 2-km drive from Paro town. Enjoy your rewarding hike about 4 hours (round-trip) with extra one hour to tour the monastery at a leisurely pace. There is a small teahouse halfway through from where a view of the spectacular monastery to enjoy! Gentle horse/pony rides are permitted till the viewpoint. Afterwards, there will be time to visit the Kyichu Lhakhang en route, one of the oldest and 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century (so full of history and mythology). Overnight in Paro.
Your tour ends this morning after breakfast. We transfer you to Paro International Airport for your onward journey. Our guide and driver from Bhutan Green Travel will see you off. Tashi Delek (Goodbye and Good Luck!)
Peak Season – Land Only (Prices in USD Per Person)
|Start Date Thursdays||1 person||2 people||3-10 people||11-15 people||16-20 people|
|05 Nov 2020||$3840||$3490||$3020||$2790||$2710|
|12 Nov 2020||$3840||$3490||$3020||$2790||$2710|
|11 Mar 2021||$3840||$3490||$3020||$2790||$2710|
|18 Mar 2021||$3840||$3490||$3020||$2790||$2710|
|08 Apr 2021||$3840||$3490||$3020||$2790||$2710|
|15 Apr 2021||$3840||$3490||$3020||$2790||$2710|
|06 May 2021||$3840||$3490||$3020||$2790||$2710|
|13 May 2021||$3840||$3490||$3020||$2790||$2710|
Regular Season – Land Only (Prices in USD Per Person)
|Start Date Thursdays||1 person||2 people||3-10 people||11-15 people||16-20 people|
|03 Dec 2020||$3300||$2950||$2480||$2260||$2195|
|10 Dec 2020||$3300||$2950||$2480||$2260||$2195|
|03 Jun 2021||$3300||$2950||$2480||$2260||$2195|
|10 Jun 2021||$3300||$2950||$2480||$2260||$2195|
Our Pricing Policy
Prices are quoted and payable only in (US dollars). All prices published on our websites, brochures and marketing materials are set as low as possible. The guide prices may vary at any time subject to government actions, changes in exchange rates, increase in transportation costs or fuel prices before we have accepted your booking. However, we guarantee our prices who have already signed up for your tour.
- Pickups and drops from airports and hotels
- Comfortable transport (private vehicle) throughout your trip
- Licensed English-speaking guide & driver
- Best accommodation in 3 star hotels with private bathrooms based on 2 adults sharing a twin/double bed (single supplements apply)
- Comfortable farmhouse/home stay/heritage house can also be arranged
- Camping facilities and haulage for trekking tours
- All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and bottled water daily
- All sightseeing & hiking (entrance fees to museums and other attractions)
- Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
- All applicable internal taxes and service fees
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- Other personal expenses such as alcoholic drinks & beverages, laundry, telephone calls, etc.
- Discretionary tips for guides and drivers (see FAQs)
- Upgrade to luxury properties (4 star and 5 star hotels)
- Single room/tent supplement from $50 per night
- Optional activities & additional services