Bhutan Trek & Cultural Discovery

Bangkok, Thailand

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The enchanting Kingdom of Bhutan is an earthly nirvana filled with natural beauty and Buddhist tradition. This MT Sobek-exclusive itinerary highlights the best of Bhutan through three days of ridgeline trekking and camping, with the remaining time allocated for easy touring and scenic day hikes. Visit Bhutan's most famous monasteries, learn about Bhutanese folk art, discover the Paro Valley, explore the remote and magical Haa Valley, and lose yourself amid some of the world's most exciting peaks. This short visit will stay with you for a lifetime!


Duration: 11 Days
Starts in: Bangkok, Thailand
Ends in: Bangkok, Thailand
Group Size: 4-15

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MT Sobek

MT Sobek, the originators, innovators and leaders in adventure travel for more than five decades, crafts journeys to the world's most memorable places.


Arrive in Bangkok

Welcome to Bangkok! Transfer to the hotel via a free 24-hour shuttle bus. Note that most airlines arrive late at night into Bangkok, and your flight from Bangkok to Paro departs very early the next morning.

Enter the Kingdom of Bhutan

Board an early-morning flight to Paro, Bhutan. Vie for a seat on the left side of the plane: Weather permitting, you'll have spectacular views of the eastern Himalaya, including Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Kanchenjunga — five of the highest peaks in the world! — and peaks in Bhutan such as Chomolhari, Jichu Drake, and Tsering Kang. After clearing customs, drive into Paro for lunch, then on to Thimphu (7,725'), the capital of Bhutan, set in the Wang Chu Valley. The remainder of the day is free to rest and relax.

Day Hike to “Buddha Point”

After breakfast, drive to the Kuensel Phodrang trailhead. The path leads through sparsely populated blue pines, with excellent views of the Thimphu Valley, then the forest gets denser with oaks and bamboo shrubs. The trail then heads along gentle slopes as well as steep, rugged mountain paths. After 2.5 hours, catch your first glimpse of the giant Buddha Dordenma — at 169 feet, the biggest sitting Buddha in the world! Time permitting, visit Tashichho Dzong — the seat of the royal government and central monastic body in Bhutan — upon return to Thimphu.

Explore Thimphu & Paro

Begin the day at the School of Arts and Crafts (or "painting school"), where Bhutanese children follow a six-year program in traditional arts, such as drawing, painting, woodcarving, and sculpture. Also visit the Textile Museum, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, and Folk Heritage Museum. In the afternoon, drive back to Paro and visit the National Museum, housed in an old watchtower above the Paro Dzong. The museum's collections include spectacular thangkas (religious scroll paintings), bronze statues, and Bhutan's beautiful stamps. Time permitting, also visit the Paro Dzong itself, built in 1644.

Hike to Taktsang Monastery

Today it's a steep hike to a traditional teahouse for a great view of Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 2,700 feet above the Paro Valley floor. Taktsang, meaning "tiger's nest," is Bhutan's most spiritual place and a major pilgrimage spot. Partly destroyed by fire in 1998, Taktsang has been completely rebuilt. After a tea break, you can sit outside and admire the monastery and its beautiful surroundings or, if you feel energetic, continue another hour to a closer viewpoint. Enjoy free afternoon time to explore Paro on your own.

Go Deep in the Unspoiled Haa Valley

Take a morning drive to the wooded Haa Valley, lying along the western border of Bhutan. Haa was closed to visitors until 2001, so to behold it is still a rare gift. Tonight's lodge is in a beautiful setting at the edge of a blue pine forest overlooking Haa La, and you may even be able to visit a local family today. Enjoy an afternoon visit to Lhakhang Karpo (Temple of the White Dove), a famous monastery believed to have been built in the 8th century by a Tibetan king.

Trek to Camp Below Saga La

Lace up your boots! Begin your trek on a gradual uphill through a blue pine forest and farmland. The terrain steepens as you climb, and you'll walk along streams past rhododendron, juniper, spruce, and birch trees. Lunch in a grassy meadow at about 11,200 feet, then continue to camp at 11,800 feet, about 45 minutes below Saga La (pass). Weather permitting, take an afternoon hike up to Saga La for views of sacred Chomolhari (24,035'), several other peaks, and panoramic views of the Haa Valley.

Over Saga La to Ningula

In the morning, hike up to Saga La (again) and follow the ridge up and down to 13,200 feet, from where you may be able to catch a glimpse of Taktsang Monastery. Continue steeply up through dwarf rhododendron to 13,700 feet and down through narrow grazing paths. Camp is set up for you at Ningula, in a rhododendron forest from where you have a beautiful view of the peaks of Chomolhari and Jichu Drake (21,857').

Surround Yourself with Himalayan Peaks

This morning climb steeply back up to the ridge and cross Kale La (12,900'), with views of Paro and the Haa Valley. Weather permitting, you'll also have a terrific view of the Paro Dzong and surrounding peaks including Kanchenjunga (28,208'), the third-highest peak in the world! Ascend up to Kung Karpo (13,500') for more stellar views, then descend and traverse toward Chele La (13,080'). All day, enjoy clear views of the mountains, and the Paro and Haa Valleys (again, weather permitting). Once at Chele La, meet your bus and drive to Paro where you'll be treated to a festive farewell dinner.

Return to Bangkok

Bid a fond farewell to the "happiest country in the world" as you take an early morning transfer to the Paro airport for departure to Bangkok. Upon arrival, take the shuttle to the hotel. The remainder of the day is free to shop, sightsee, and enjoy lunch and dinner on your own.

Depart from Bangkok

Take the hotel shuttle to the international terminal and depart on your homeward-bound flight.


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