This unique journey into an extremely remote part central Bhutan feels like a secret celebration. Inspired by our longtime friend Karma Lotey, we hike through hidden valleys to his ancestral village, nicknamed the Takin Village after Bhutan's national animal. Along the way, we're treated to cultural encounters and deeply personal interactions we could never experience on our own.
First we visit the town of Paro, then the achingly beautiful Bumthang region, where we weave in and out of ancient temples and sacred monuments. Next we embark on our five-day, horse-supported trek and ramble through tiny terraced hamlets hanging high above a river. Passing pine after graceful pine, enchanting chorten, and hidden monasteries, we follow long bridges across whitewater and find ourselves speechless from sensational views. The villagers and schoolchildren who greet us as we hike seal the deal: we’re enchanted.
After our trek, we spend a night in the lovely Phobjikha Valley, where endangered black-necked cranes come to winter. Returning to the western part of the country, we explore Punakha and the lively capital of Thimphu, a vivid contrast to the wilderness through which we just rambled with our guide. We cap off the trip with the requisite pilgrimage to the legendary Taktsang Lhakhang, the astonishing Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
Itinerary at a Glance
- Day 1:
arrive in Paro
- Day 2:
fly to Bumthang region
- Days 3 & 4:
hiking and discovering in Bumthang valleys and Trongsa
- Days 5–8:
trekking with rest day in Takin Village
- Day 9:
end trek, drive to Phobjikha Valley
- Day 10:
to Punakha, Punakha Dzong
- Day 11:
more Punakha exploring, by road to Thimphu
- Day 12:
tour Thimphu, including market; drive to Paro
- Day 13:
hike to Taktsang Lhakhang
- Day 14:
depart for home.