Bumthang Owl Trek 11 Days

This package starts with a cultural tour of Bhutan that takes you across part of the country from Paro to Bumthang and concludes with a three day trek before a flight back to Paro on the last day. It's an excellent package to see the most impressive forts and temples and get some excellent trekking in at the same time. The scenery on the trek is magnificent with view of Gangkar Puensum(the highest unclimbed peak in the world). In autumn trekkers will have the chance to see the Himalayan Black bears. The schedule leaves sometime before and after the trek to visit the most important historic and cultural sites around Thimphu, Paro & Punakha. As well as a day hike to the Tiger's Nest one of Bhutan's most picturesque monasteries.

    What's Included?

  • Airport Transfers
  • Bhutan Visa
  • Transportation by private vehicle in Bhutan
  • One Way Return Flight Bumthang to Paro
  • English speaking guide
  • All meals
  • Accommodation
  • Entrance fees, Trekking permits, All local taxes
  • Services of Guide, Cook & Helper on the Trek
  • Mess Tent, Kitchen and Toilet Tent
  • Ponies to carry supplies
  • Sleeping Pads (Bring your own Sleeping Bag)

Day 1: Paro to Thimphu

Altitude: 2320 m, Drive Time: 1 hour (58 km)
Welcome to Bhutan! Our driver will be waiting for you when you arrive with a Yak Holidays signboard and will drive you to Thimphu (1 hour drive), Bhutan's Capital. After lunch we will take in the local sites which include the Memorial Chorten, Changangkha Monastery, Takin Preserve Centre, Tashichho Dzong and the Sangay Gang view point. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 2: Thimphu - Punakha

Altitude: 1310 m, 72 kms, 3 hours drive
After breakfast, drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we will be treated to a spectacular view of the Himalayas. Enroute, we stop to view Chimi Lhakhang, alternatively called the Temple of Fertility which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, known popularly as The Divine Mad Man, in the 15th century. After lunch, visit the impressive Punakha Dzong, a traditional fort built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Dinner and overnight in Hotel in Punakha.

Day 3: Punakha - Gangtey

Altitude: 1310 m, 90 kms, 5 hours drive
We start early today and will head to Gangtey which is famous for the Black Necked Cranes which migrate to the valley every winter and the historic Wangdiphodrang Dzong built in 1638. We will spend the afternoon exploring the Phobjikha valley, a beautiful glacial valley, and visiting the crane information centre. Dinner and overnight in Hotel in Gangtey.

Day 4: Gangtey to Trongsa to Bumthang

Altitude: 3000m (Gangtey). Drive 200km (8 Hours)
We will start this morning with a drive to Trongsa which is a little over half way to Bumthang. After lunch we will visit the Trongsa Dzong perhaps the most impressive example of the type of architecture in Bhutan. Dinner and overnight in Hotel in Bumthang.

Day 5: Bumthang Sightseeing

Altitude: 2800 m
Today we will enjoy sightseeing around Bumthang and will visit a number of impressive sites including: Kurjey Lhakhang, Tamshing Lhakhang (Temple of the good message) and after we head to Membartsho (Literally means "The Burning Lake"), a short distance up the road leading to Tang valley. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 6: Jakar - Menchugang - Dhur - Schonath (Start Trek)

Altitude 3400 m (Schonath). Trekking Time: 4 to 5 hours
After breakfast we will drive to Manchugang where we will start the trek. The trek will take us to the village of Dhur at an elevation of 2900m. The village has an interesting social hierarchy and consists of three types of inhabitant called the Kheps (tax payers, with cattle and farmland), the Brokpas, (nomadic yak herders) and the third group having either. After lunch we will continue the trek uphill through the blue pine forest and reach the camp at Schonath (3450m) in hemlock and juniper forest. The hauling of owls through the night is quite common, hence the name the Owl Trek. Overnight in the tent camp.

Day 7: Schonath to Drangela Pass

Altitude 3870 m (Drangela Pass). Trekking Time: 4 to 5 hours
Today's trekking takes you through the virgin forest of Bhutan that features huge spruce, hemlock, fir, birch and many species of rhododendron. During the months of April and May the rhododendrons are in full bloom. In about two hours, you will arrive at the Drangela Pass (3600m). Ascending the Kitiphu ridge brings you to an altitude of 3870m for the night camp. If weather favors you, have a wonderful view of the valley and the panoramic snow capped Himalayan Mountains. The highest mountain of Bhutan Gangkar Punsum (7541m) stands right in front of you when you are on the peak of Kitiphu. Overnight in tent camp.

Day 8: Drangela Pass to Jakar

Altitude 2580 m (Jakar). Trekking Time: 4 to 5 hours
We will hike down from the pass to the monasteries of Zambhalha, Chuedak and Tharpaling. Chuedak monastery features over 100 Avoloketeshvaras statues in the form of Chukchizhey (eleven heads) that you will see nowhere else in the country. We continue the trek along the ridge of Kikila and finally follow the traditional trek route between Trongsa and Bumthang before meeting our vehicle. Transfer to your hotel in Jakar (1hr).

Day 9: Bumthang - Paro (By Druk Air)

Flight Time: 35 mins
After breakfast, drive to the Airport and fly to Paro. You will be received at the Paro Airport and you can check into the hotel for lunch. After lunch, visit the Ta dzong, an ancient watchtower, which also functions as the museum of Bhutan. Next we will visit Rimpung Dzong (Paro Dzong) one of the largest in all of Bhutan. Dzong architecture is a distinctive type of fortress architecture found mainly in Bhutan. In the evening, visit to the Handicraft emporium and free for exploring the city. Dinner and overnight in Hotel in Paro.

Day 10: Paro - Tigers Nest

Altitude: 2320 m. Hiking Time: 4 to 6 hours - 4 miles/6.5 km
Today is a special day with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger's Nest). After an early breakfast we drive north of Paro a short distance to begin our hike to the Tigers Nest, probably Bhutan's most famous landmark. The hike up to the monastery goes through a beautiful pine forest and you can catch several glimpses of the Tigers Nest (almost 900m above you). It's a good hike but well worth the effort and we will stop for lunch half way.

The trail takes you directly to this incredible monastery which clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. The Tiger's Nest was built in 1692 and still functions today despite the daily visits by numerous tourists. Dinner and overnight in Hotel in Paro.

Day 11: Depart Paro

Early morning, drive to the airport and farewell.

    Exclusions

  • Insurance Premiums
  • Druk Air fares (International)
  • Payments for service provided on a personal basis
  • Cost for any services not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Cost incurred due to mishaps, strikes, political unrest etc.
  • Personal expense in items such as laundry, soft drinks, Camera Charges, Incidentals, Portage, Bellboy charges tips or any other services
Start your adventure here with us!

FAQ

The basics

What is trekking?

Trekking is an adventure! For the uninitiated, this active pursuit involves lengthy, multi-day walks and climbs on village and park trails. The terrain is usually fairly steep, and we will likely encounter snow at higher altitudes (those above 5,500m/18,000ft).

Is trekking for me?

We like to think trekking is for everyone who is physically fit, patient, and loves the outdoors.

Why is a guide necessarily? I've trekked/hiked/camped before - can't I guide myself?

While it is not a legal requirement, we cannot overstate the importance of trekking with a licensed, experienced guide. You'll be traveling through wilderness, remote countryside, and high elevations - from an aspect of pure safety, it is highly dangerous to go it alone. Additionally, very few locals in Himalayan villages speak English. Should you get lost (and, with many paths crossing through many, many villages, this is more a likelihood than a possibility), it would be difficult to communicate directions or obtain food and shelter. Additionally, our guides are experts in Himalayan treks with an average of over 15 years trekking experience. No matter how confident you feel in your skills or knowledge, it is almost certain that we can help enhance your experience.

Who can go?

Are there any age limits for Himalayan trekking?

Nepal law requires that children under age 18 are accompanied by a parent or guardian while trekking. There's no upper limit on our adventures, as long as participants are healthy and willing!

How difficult is trekking?

It depends on the specific trek, and, to some extent, on the preferences of those trekking. We offer all sorts of treks, ranging from easy to difficult.

Is previous trekking experience really necessary?

In theory, no. Anyone with robust cardiovascular capability and good stamina should be able to cope with higher elevations and lower oxygen density. Trekking or hiking experience anywhere in the world is strongly recommended for maximum enjoyment of your Himalayan adventure, however.

Preparation

What's the best time of year to book a trek in Nepal?

The best times for trekking the Himalayas are February to May, and then September to December. Unless you are trekking in rain shadow areas such as the Upper Mustang, trekking during monsoon season is going to be a very wet event. Winter isn't the optimal trekking season either, as very cold temperatures and heavy snowfall may impede crossings of high passes (treks that maintain lower elevations are accessible year-round).

Are any permits required for trekking?

Again, it depends on your specific trek. Some trekking areas require a special permit for trekking, while as others require only permits to enter conservation or national parks. Most require a Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) card. We handle all permits for you, so you have one less thing to worry about!

What type of insurance should I have? Where can I obtain a policy?

Travel insurance should be considered mandatory and obtaining it is your responsibility. If you are arranging your own insurance your policy should cover rescue insurance, as well as medevac by helicopter. Many of the same agencies that sell airfare now offer travel insurance as well. We recommend ihi.com if still need a policy. If you get to Nepal and don't have insurance already we can arrange an affordable policy for you.

About the trek

How long do treks last?

Most of our Himalayan treks range from two to four weeks.

How long do we spend walking each day?

Trekkers generally walk four to six hours a day. That's between five and fifteen kilometers depending on trail conditions and the state of the weather.

Room and board

What kinds of accommodations will we utilize?

Unless you signed up for a camping trip specifically, most treks include lodge or guest house accommodation. A small minority of trekking areas may not have lodges available, and accommodation in these places will involve sleeping in tents.

What is teahouse trekking?

Teahouse trekking is a type of accommodation unique to mountain treks, in which lodging and meals are set up at local teahouses or lodges on a full-board basis.

What is camping trekking?

Camping trekking involves sleeping in tents. We provide you with full board on these treks, with meals being prepared by professional trekking cooks in a mobile camp equipped with a kitchen and adequate support staff.

Where will our drinking water come from?

Bottled water is available everywhere on established trekking routes, and most villages on the way will have locally-purified water as well. The teahouses or camping crew will supply boiled water for drinking.

Where do we eat our meals?

The most frequently-traveled Himalayan circuits feature lodges and guesthouses. Continental menus are generally available, along with soups and dishes of noodles or rice. Other routes will include more limited choices. On the most remote routes, only traditional dal bhat, curry, or instant noodle soups will be available.

Health and safety

What physical criteria will ensure I'm fit enough to trek?

Good overall fitness, flexibility, and healthy will ensure you trek safely and comfortably. Those with acute or chronic health conditions impacting their stamina, range of motion, coordination, or balance may have difficulty completing the trek. If you are in doubt about your own physical readiness, consult a physician well in advance of booking your trip! General hiking experience and comfort with the idea of multi-day hiking will also ensure you are 100% ready to trek!

How will we deal with altitude acclimation?

At higher altitudes - the kind we experience frequently on our treks- your cardiac and pulmonary systems are affected by lower oxygen density. Our bodies must adjust to the mountain elevation gradually, or we can become ill. Physical symptoms can range from general breathing difficulties all the way to acute mountain sickness (altitude sickness, soroche, or "the bends"). To avoid altitude-related maladies, we pace our treks appropriately and incorporate acclimatization days throughout the itinerary. There are points throughout many treks during which trekkers may choose to either tackle additional hikes/day trips or rest and relax as their bodies demand.

What do I need to know about sun protection?

It may seem counter-intuitive, but your skin is in more danger of sun damage on the mountains than while at the beach! The sun's intensity increases dramatically as we rise in altitude, and fresh snow reflects exponentially more UV rays than does the sand. You will need to protect your skin with clothing and sunblock. A sunblock specifically for mountain conditions is recommended. If you wear prescription eyeglasses its recommend that you get your prescription fitted to sunglasses.

What happens if I get sick or injured while trekking?

We take all possible precautions to proactively ensure the safety and wellness of our trekkers, but rest assured that our guides are trained and experienced in dealing with emergencies. Each guide is trained in first aid. In the case of altitude sickness, you will immediately be taken to a lower altitude. If necessary, your guide will utilize your travel insurance information to call a rescue helicopter, and you will be flown to Kathmandu or Pokhara for medical attention.

Are solo female travelers safe on Himalayan treks?

We ensure the travel safety of all our trekking guests, both male and female. Nepal, on the whole, is both very safe and welcoming of foreign visitors. We have longstanding, strong relationships with the lodges we frequent, and know them to be safe and reliable. In addition our guides are consistently mindful of all guests' whereabouts while trekking. We travel in small groups, all the better to easily maintain continual contact.

Practical matters

What should I pack?

Your specific trek and the time of year during which you depart will greatly impact your packing list. A recommended outline of clothing and equipment is listed with each trek. In general, a down jacket, a warm fleece jacket, thermal underwear, trekking pants and shorts, and sturdy boots are recommended to wear, and a thermal sleeping bag, backpack, and camera are recommended for your kit. If you take any medication, this should obviously be a packing priority. Utilize common sense - you don't want to end up short-handed on the mountain, but overpacking is undesirable. It's worth noting that just about anything you need in the way of trekking clothing and/or equipment can be purchased or rented in Kathmandu when you first arrive.

What sort of footwear is recommended?

Comfortable, sturdy trekking shoes or boots are a must. Ideally your footwear will have Gore-Tex or similar lining, along with thick soles. This will ensure that your feet stay warm and dry, and that you are comfortable walking on rocky paths. Wool socks are recommended instead of cotton, and these too should be thick and warm.

How much can a porter carry?

Porters' ability to carry baggage depends to some extent on the trekking route and altitude in question, but the average trekking porter carries between 15 and 25kg. A camping porter carries up to 40kg. One porter is typically assigned per every two travelers.

Should I tip my guide? How about my porter?

While not mandatory, tipping is customary and always appreciated in Nepal and on our treks. Your guides and porters will tremendously appreciate a small gratuity at the end of your trek, as these little extras go a long way towards helping their families. Tipping is a great way to show your appreciation for the team's hard work and devoted attention to your happiness.

How much money should I bring along?

Our treks are all-inclusive. We cover accommodation, food, park fees, permits, and many other costs, as a means of making your adventure as stress-free and convenient as possible.. Travelers generally bring a small amount of pocket money to cover bottled water, snacks, or tea beyond your included meals, souvenirs, tips, or donations to monasteries along the route (if you are inclined to give one). Trekkers find that around $20 a day is reasonable for these extras.

What communication options exist while trekking?

It varies. Mobile coverage is expanding around the world rapidly, and the Himalayas are no different… did you know that 3G coverage is available all over Mount Everest? There is no guarantee of uninterrupted coverage, however. Most trekking routes feature local VHF phones, but on the more remote trails, a satellite phone is the only option.

What is your cancellation policy? How about other terms and conditions?

Check out this link, or contact us for more information. We love hearing from you!