Bhutan Tour Short trek
Private Group Journeys

Bhutan Tour Short trek

Tour of Western Bhutan with Tsaluna Trek

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The “Bhutan Tour – Short Trek,” as its name suggests, seamlessly combines a cultural tour with day hikes and a two-day trek, including one night of comfortable camping (glamping).

This 9-day Bhutan Tour & Trek takes you first on an immersive cultural exploration of the Punakha-Wangdue valleys and the vibrant capital, Thimphu. During this time, you’ll also have the opportunity to partake in rewarding day hikes. Following the cultural experience, embark on a two-day trek along a segment of the celebrated Drukpath trail, which eventually concludes in Paro. As the journey wraps up, you’ll have the chance to discover the scenic beauty of Paro and undertake a hike to the iconic Taktsang Monastery.

The cultural dimension of this journey flourishes in the Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro valleys. These landscapes have been cradles of civilization in Bhutan, offering a blend of modern and traditional attractions. The trek retraces an age-old path that links Thimphu and Paro, encompassing visits to Phajoding monasteries, Tsaluna and Jay Dekha villages, and traversing the revered Jele Dzong—an ancient fortress that once vigilantly guarded against distant invaders. This also constitutes a segment of the historic Trans-Bhutan trail.

During the camping phase, in stark contrast to conventional trekking camps, you’ll enjoy a night of relaxation in a safari-style tent furnished with comfortable bedding. Moreover, your dedicated cook will serve you delectable meals, adding an extra touch of indulgence to your experience.

Just like most trips in Bhutan, this one culminates with an unforgettable hike to the iconic Taktsang Monastery.

The expedition is a meticulous curation of the finest aspects from both domains—the enriching cultural immersion and the exhilarating trekking adventure—all within an optimal timeframe.

Outline Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrival in Paro 
Day 2: Paro – Punakha 
Day 3: In Punakha & Wangdue 
Day 4: Punakha -Thimphu (4 hrs hike along the way)
Day 5: In Capital Thimphu (2+hrs walk and tour)

Day 6: Trek to Phajoding and cross Pumola into Tsaluna – full day 8+hrs (overnight Glamping)
Day 7 : Trek Jay-dikha -Jele Dzong-Paro (full day hike) and arrive in the hotel.
Day 8: Taktsang Hike
Day 9: Departure  

Customize this trip according to your preferred date and duration. Depending on your travel dates and the length of your stay, the itinerary can be tailored in various ways to match your interests. For instance, we can condense the trip by omitting Punakha, or trek in the reverse direction, or even incorporate the traditional Druk Path Trek for a longer trekking experience.

The majority of treks in Bhutan, whether the shorter Tsaluna or the longer Snowman Trek, involve high altitudes and require a reasonable level of physical fitness as well as proper acclimatization. Having a cultural tour prior to the trek serves not only as an introduction to the cultural and social aspects but also aids in acclimatization. Also we have deliberately added a few day hikes during the cultural tour, setting the stage for the upcoming trek.

 

Overview

trekking Trip Type Trekking
Activities Included Activities Included
Activities Included Trekking Activities Included Walking Tours Activities Included Culture Tours Activities Included Village Tours Activities Included Deluxe Camping
Accommodation Accommodation Hotels with one night Glamping
Meal Meal All meals included
Best Seasons Best Seasons December till February can be cold and there may be snow at the Phajoding and Jili La pass (3550 m). However it is accessible and your camp is the valley, which is much lower. We can provide hot water bottles and fire place. July till early Sept can be wet and not an ideal time but generally does not rain all the time.
  Best Months Best Months March, April, May, October, November

Good Months Good Months February, September

Lean Months Lean Months June, July, August, November, December

This tours integrate cultural highlights of verdant valleys of Thimphu, Punakha & Paro  with trekking in western Bhutan. The trek is reverse and concise version of popular Druk Path trek. Arguably, the best platform to see Bhutan in its valley (culture) and vegetation( Trek)

Cost Information

From $1400-2100 per person plus SDF $800

Please reach out to us for specific pricing as it vary dependent on your travel dates and the number of travelers, also incase you wish to change some of the hotels. The cost provided is intended to give you a general idea.

Included

  • Daily Tourist Fees
  • Visa fees, TDF and taxes.
  • Accommodations in listed or similar hotels (pleasant hotels 3-4 star type).
  • One night Glamping (Comfortable camp with proper mattress, large room size tents, fire place, cooking staff/butler service)
  • All meals, including some evening tea/coffee etc through-out the tour in Bhutan.
  • All land transfers  by private vehicle
  • Sightseeing with entrance fees.
  • Experienced English Speaking Bhutanese Tour Guide.
  • Bottled water in the vehicle and other comp. services.

Not included

  • Flights into and out of Bhutan
  • Optional Travel/Medical Insurance
  • Personal expenses such as bars, beverages in the hotel, telephone, laundry, trips, and others.

Detailed Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1 :

Arrival in Paro  

Upon your arrival at Paro Airport, you’ll be warmly welcomed by a Wind Horse Guide and transfer to the hotel.

During the afternoon, should time permit, you’ll have the chance to explore the enriching exhibits at the National Museum and visit the historical Rinphung Dzong. Following this, a leisurely walk across the traditional cantilever bridge will lead you to the vibrant farmer’s market, where you can soak in the local culture. Take a leisurely stroll through the quaint town, absorbing its charming essence.

As the evening settles in, embark on a brief walk to immerse yourself in the rhythms of a local village, offering a glimpse into authentic daily life. Embrace the serenity of the surroundings with a leisurely stroll, a perfect way to conclude the day.

With most flights landing before noon, we can easily cover all the planned sights. Should there be a flight delay, we'll adjust our schedule accordingly to ensure that any missed activities are integrated into the following day's plans.

MEALS:
Lunch
Dinner
Altitude Altitude: Paro 2200 m
Duration Duration: 3-4hrs of tours and walks
Day 2:

Paro - Punakha /Wangdue Valley

After breakfast, drive for approximately 3-4 hours to the Punakha/Wangdue valley. The initial hour of the drive follows the downstream path of the Pachu river before heading north along the bends of the Thimphu river towards Thimphu. The road then ascends for about 45 minutes to reach the Dochu-la pass (3100m). Here, take a moment to relish the panoramic views. The pass offers breathtaking mountain vistas on clear days, and even when veiled by mist, it remains remarkably beautiful with its 108 chortens, a picturesque temple, and fluttering prayer flags.

A short distance below the pass lies the Lamperi Botanical Park, where you can embark on a brief walk. Descend downhill for approximately 2 hours, passing through a continuously shifting landscape, until you arrive in the semi-tropical Punakha-Wangdue valley.

Visit the Chimi Lhakhang temple, dedicated to the 15th-century saint Drukpa Kuenley, affectionately known as ‘the divine madman.’ He is a folk hero and cultural icon around whom countless tales of facts, fiction, stories, and legends have revolved.

Explore the impressive Punakha Dzong, situated at the confluence of two rivers, and take a stroll behind the Dzong, crossing a lengthy suspension bridge.

MEALS:
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Altitude Altitude: Docula pass 3150m. Punakha 1300m
Duration Duration: 135km/3 -4 hrs drive
Day 3:

In Punakha & Wangdue

Compared to Thimphu, Paro, or the valleys of central Bhutan, Punakha-Wangdue is situated at a significantly lower elevation, around 1250m. Consequently, it enjoys a subtropical climate characterized by warm summers and pleasant winters.

Drive northward through the picturesque countryside and embark on an uphill hike lasting approximately 45 minutes. This trail takes you through rice terraces and forests, ultimately leading to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. The temple boasts a breathtaking location, offering sweeping panoramic views of the valley below.

After concluding your hike, proceed to visit Talo and Nobgang villages. Following the village visits, embark on a leisurely 3-hour walk originating from Nobgang village and heading towards Punakha. This walk gracefully descends, taking you through terraced fields, serene forests, and past quaint villages, ultimately ending near Punakha Dzong.

Depending on the circumstances and your preferences, we could consider substituting this hike with the short trek behind Punakha Dzong that leads to Limukha village.

MEALS:
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Altitude Altitude: Punakha & Wangdue 1300m
Duration Duration: 3-4hrs walk
Day 4:

Punakha - Thimphu (Hike along the way)

Return to the Dochula pass with a drive of about 2 hours or less. Once there, relish the awe-inspiring panoramic views of Bhutan’s snow-capped peaks stretching along the Tibetan border, all while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea. Embark on a 2-hour ridge-top walk towards the Lungchuzekha temple and retreat center. The trail leads through lush vegetation adorned with moss-laden birch, hemlock, and rhododendron trees, providing splendid vistas of both peaks and valleys. Worth noting, Wind Horse has adopted and maintained this trail since 2009, with our guides dedicated to its upkeep.

After exploring the Lungchuzekha temple, instead of retracing the path to Dochula, take a leisurely 1-hour downhill walk to reach another retreat and monastic center situated atop a hill—Trashigang. From here, we will regroup with our vehicle for a short drive to Thimphu.

As evening approaches, seize the opportunity to visit the grand Tashicho Dzong, pay respects at the memorial chorten, and meander through the city streets.

MEALS:
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Altitude Altitude: Thimphu 2300 m
Duration Duration: 75km/2-3hrs drive
Day 5:

In Capital Thimphu 

With an entire day to explore the capital of Bhutan, we have the flexibility to tailor the tour to your interests. Our guide can adjust the itinerary to prioritize the sights that intrigue you the most, while ensuring that we visit the others as time allows.

Ideally, we will kick off the day by heading to the Giant Buddha statue within the first hour. Following our visit, we’ll embark on a leisurely 2-hour walk along a cycle/foot path, treating you to panoramic views of Thimphu. This path will lead us to Changangkha Lhakhang, a revered temple that holds a special place in the hearts of Thimphu’s residents, especially when they come to bless their newborns.

Our journey continues with a visit to the Takin Preserve (National Animal), followed by stops at the Zilukha nunnery, Traditional Art School, Hospital for traditional medicine, Textile Academy and Museum, Craft Shop Street, and the vibrant Centennial Farmer’s Market. Additionally, we’ll pause at Changlimithang ground, where you may even catch an archery match in progress—an engaging local tradition. Our guide will curate the day’s exploration to ensure an enriching experience tailored to your preferences.

MEALS:
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Altitude Altitude: 2300 m
Day 6:

Trek to Phajoding and cross Pumola into Tsaluna 

Commence your trek from above the Takin Preserve (2700m) near Motithang. The trail embarks on a steep ascent covering approximately 6km, leading you to the Phajoding group of monasteries (3640m). Phajoding holds historical significance, as it is associated with the 13th Century Lama, Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, who played a vital role in spreading the Drukpa Kagyu teachings of Buddhism throughout Bhutan. While most of the structures were erected in the 18th century, this assembly of temples, monasteries, and meditation houses houses significant Buddhist relics, including revered statues and paintings. Gazing from Phajoding, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas, looking down into the Thimphu valley cocooned by encircling mountains.

The path then meanders with short ascents and descents, spanning around 2.5km (40 minutes), leading to the Pumo-la pass (3750m). Upon crossing Pumo-la, a lengthy descent awaits, guiding you through the serene Pine and Rhododendron forests, ultimately leading to Tsaluna village (6km/2 hours).

Your campsite is short distance above the village in a quiet meadows at 2900m. Overnight in Lungta Comfort Camp (with Safari style tent and beds and personal cook).

Major highlight is Phajoding monasteries and Pumola pass

MEALS:
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Altitude Altitude: Highest point Pumola Pass 3750 m. Campsite 2900m
Duration Duration: 15km trek - 7 hours
Overnight Camping
Day 7 :

Trek Jay-dikha -Jele Dzong-Paro

After approximately an hour of gradual ascent, you will reach the quaint village of Jaydelkha. Continuing your ascent, which remains gradual, for about 2.5 hours, the trail leads you through a captivating landscape of spruce, hemlock, fir, and towering rhododendron forests. This journey culminates at Jili Dzong, majestically perched at 3570m on a promontory. The vantage point offers panoramic vistas of both the Paro valley and Tsaluna valley. On clear days, the sight extends to the distant peaks of Mt. Chomolhari, Mt. Jichu Drake, and other snow-capped summits.

Jele Dzong, a small monastery boasting an impressive tall Buddha statue, graces the location. Originally constructed strategically on a ridge in the early 16th century, Jele Dzong served as a small fortress catering to travelers journeying between Paro and Thimphu. It was actively utilized until the construction of the road in the 1960s.

Descend for approximately 2 hours (covering 4 kilometers) through the enchanting cedar forests and amidst the towering pine trees, eventually arriving amidst apple orchards and farmland near Damchoe Gongma (2900m). At this juncture, your vehicle will meet you, and you’ll drive downhill for another half-hour, bringing you to your destination in Paro.

After rejuvenating at the hotel, there should still be ample time for you to explore the captivating 7th-century Kichu Lhakhang temple complex.

MEALS:
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Altitude Altitude: Jele Dzong 3570 m. Paro 2200m
Duration Duration: 12 km - 6 hrs trek
Day 8:

Taktsang Hike

Your journey culminates with an invigorating hike to the iconic Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery, perched some 600 meters above the valley. This architectural marvel stands as one of Bhutan’s most remarkable and significant structures, bearing immense sacred importance. The hike to the initial viewpoint or cafeteria (at 2940m) typically takes around 1-2 hours, involving an ascent of approximately 300 meters. From this point, a further half-hour hike leads to a higher and truly breathtaking lookout, involving an additional ascent of 250 meters, bringing you almost face-to-face with the monastery. While the vantage point provides the illusion that Taktsang is within arm’s reach, it actually resides on the other side of a deep chasm, requiring another 40-minute trek to reach the monastery itself. Given your trekking experience, you should manage the journey comfortably, leaving you with ample time to explore some of the higher temples crowning the promontory, offering spectacular panoramic views.

Afterward, return to Paro and take the opportunity to explore the charming town. The day’s events conclude with a farewell dinner, marking a fitting conclusion to your memorable adventure.

Following old pilgrimage trail, further 1 hour walk higher up from Takstang monastery leads to secluded Zangdopelri and Ugyen Tsemo. It offers great views and quiet time. Recommended!!!..

MEALS:
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Altitude Altitude: Tiger Monastery 3120m
Duration Duration: 2-3hrs hike each way
Day 9:

Departure  

If you flight departs late, we will cover any remaining sights in Paro. Transfer to the Paro airport in time for departure flight.

MEALS:
Breakfast

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Overview

trekking Trip Type Trekking
Activities Included Activities Included
Activities Included Trekking Activities Included Walking Tours Activities Included Culture Tours Activities Included Village Tours Activities Included Deluxe Camping
Accommodation Accommodation Hotels with one night Glamping
Meals Meals All meals included
Max Group Size Max Group Size Any group Size
Best Seasons Best Seasons December till February can be cold and there may be snow at the Phajoding and Jili La pass (3550 m). However it is accessible and your camp is the valley, which is much lower. We can provide hot water bottles and fire place. July till early Sept can be wet and not an ideal time but generally does not rain all the time.
Best Months Best Months March, April, May, October, November

Good Months Good Months February, September

Lean Months Lean Months June, July, August, November, December

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