Bumthang Owl Trekking

bumthang-owl-trekkingBumthang Owl Trekking is three day trek around Bumthang offers both fantastic views of an unspoiled natural environment endowed with a diverse array of flora and fauna, as well as an opportunity to visit ancient Buddhist temples and monasteries.

Bumthang Owl Trekking trail takes you though forests of blue pine, birch, maple, spruce, juniper, bamboo and a beautiful, rugged landscape draped in countless varieties of rhododendrons. As you walk along the tranquil ridges and mountains of Bumthang you will be treated to unparalleled views of Gangkar Puensum, the highest unclimbed peak in the world. There is an abundance of avian wildlife in this area and pheasants such as the beautiful Himalayan Tragopan are a common sight around April-May.

Bumthang Owl Trekking is One of the best times to undertake this trek is in late spring, between April and early June when the rhododendrons are in full bloom. When trekking through this area in autumn there is a possibility of encountering Himalayan Black bears so caution should be exercised. If it is possible to schedule your trek during one of the local festivals you will be able to enjoy additional insight into the traditions and culture of this region.

This trek also takes in a visit to the awe inspiring Taktsang Monastery (Tigers Nest) and to visit two other Dzongs in Paro on arrival. We can customise this trek to suit your needs.

Trek Facts

Trek: Bumthang Owl
Trek starts: Manchugang
Trek duration: 4 days/11 days including transportation
Grade: Easy
Maximum altitude: 3600m
Minimum altitude: 2250m
Trek ends: Tharpaling Monastery

Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and a representative of Unique Nepal Adventure Trek will welcome and transfer you to your selected hotel by private vehicle.

Day 2: Fly from Kathmandu to Paro (2250m). This flight into Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights to take, as it flies past Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and many more peaks. The flight takes around an hour and a half. We will then go to our hotel and take refreshment and visit Ta Dzong (National Museum) and Paro Rinpung Dzong.

Day 3: After breakfast, we drive to Kyichu Lhakhang. King Songtsän Gampo built the Lhakhang in the 7th century AD. The associated legend is that – this is one of 108 Lhakhang’s built in a single night by the king to tame his kingdom’s borders. The next stop is the ancient ruins of Drukgyal Dzong (30 minutes). The Dzong is a monument to the Shabdrung’s victory against an invasion of allied Tibetan-Mongolian forces in 1649. The name “Drukgyal Dzong” thus translates to “Fortress of Victory”. The Dzong was destroyed in a fire in the 1950s. On clear days, Drukgyal is an excellent place to view the glorious mountain Jomolhari. Return to stay for lunch, rest and prepare for the trek up to Taktsang Monastery (the “Tiger’s Nest”).

Drive to the start of the trek. Trek (or horse ride) to Taktsang Monastery (trek time is 2-3 hours depending on weather and fitness level).Taktsang is perched on a precipitous 900 meter cliff. The monastery has been restored at painstaking efforts to former glory after a fire in 1998. The legend is that Guru Padmasambhava flew to this holy place on the back of tigress to meditate. More recently, one of the most enlightened abbots in modern Bhutan history, Geshe Gendun Rinchen (1926 – 1997) also known as Draphugpa (Of the Caves), was born in a small cave by the path to the monastery. Tea and refreshments will be taken at Taktsang Café for about an hour’s rest to take photos and view the scenery. We will then descend to the road point (horses cannot be ridden) and drive back to Paro to prepare for the trek.

Day 4: Fly from Paro to Jakar. There may be time to do some sightseeing. Stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 5: Jakar – Manchugang – Dhur Village
Drive from Jakar to Manchugang and the trek starts from here and takes you to Dhur village (2900m). The inhabitants of the village are the nomadic Kheps and Brokpas. This village has two distinct dialects, the Bumthang Kha and the Brokke a language spoken by the nomads. Near the river is a traditional water-driven flour mill, which used to be a source of livelihood for the people of Dhur village. The trek resumes with an uphill climb through blue pine forests towards the campsite at Schonath (3450m), which is covered in hemlock and juniper trees. The otherwise silent nights are punctuated with the hooting of owls, hence the name ‘The Owl Trek’.

Day 6: Dhur Village – Drangela Pass
The second day of this trek is mainly through lush forests of hemlock, fir, spruce and many species of rhododendrons which are in full bloom during the months of April and May. The trail also takes you through the forests of bamboo which is the main undergrowth in this area.

After few hours of walking you will arrive at the Drangela Pass (3600m). Climbing up the Kitiphu ridge brings you to the campsite for the night at an altitude of about 3870m. From this point you can have a fresh view of snow capped mountains and valleys underneath. This is also when you can view the mount Gangkar Puensum (7541m), the highest unclimbed peak in the world.

Day 7: Drangela Pass – Tharpaling Monastery
On day three you descend towards the monasteries of Zambhalha, Chuedak and Tharpaling. Chuedak monastery has 100 Avalokiteshvaras in the form of Chukchizhey (eleven heads) where you may pray for yourself and all living beings.

In the afternoon the trek will take you along the ridge of Kiki La, following the traditional trek route between Trongsa and Bumthang (the Royal Heritage Trail) through scenic hills and forests. Finally you will have the best view of Jakar Dzong and come to end of the trek at Bumthang. Drive back to Jakar and stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 8: Fly from Jakar to Paro and do some sightseeing and shopping for some souvenirs. Stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 9: Fly back to Kathmandu. Stay overnight at your selected hotel in Kathmandu.

Day 10: Souvenir and sightseeing in Kathmandu.

Day 11: A representative ofUnique Nepal Adventure Trek will drop you off at Tribhuvan International Airport by private vehicle.

Price Includes:

  • Airport pick-up and drop off by private vehicle.
  • Two nights in your selected Kathmandu hotel with breakfast.
  • All meals during the trek (lunch, dinner, breakfast and tea or coffee).
  • Accommodation in a hotel in Paro and Jakar.
  • Accommodation in twin shared tents with mattress.
  • All necessary equipment for camping.
  • One English speaking government trained license holder and well informed trekking guide.
  • Dependent on group size, cook, kitchen boy and extra horses)
  • All expenses for guide and porters – meals, accommodation, salary, equipment, insurance, transportation (bus/flights) etc.
  • First Aid kit bag.
  • Government and local area taxes where applicable. These include Royalty fees and road permit fees.
  • Return transportation from Kathmandu to Paro by flight.
  • Return transportation from Paro to Jakar by flight.
  • Return transportation from Jakar to the start and end of trek by private vehicle.
  • A Bhutanese visa fee, where the cost is dependent on the time of year you visit. See the link for Bhutan Information for prices.

Price Excludes:

  • Nepalese entry visa fee and departure tax. (See the ‘Visa Information’ link under ‘Trekking Info’ for current fees)
  • Travel insurance.
  • Soft and alcoholic drinks (mineral water, hot water, coke, fanta, beer, spirits, etc).
  • Snacks (Chocolate, biscuits etc).
  • Hot water, hot shower, heater charge, battery charge, phone calls and laundry service.
  • Donation, tips and personal expenses.
  • Emergency evacuation and medical equipment.
  • In case of natural calamities i.e. political unrest, cancellation of flight due to weather, landslides, etc, the extra charge will be borne by themselves.
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu.
  • Please note that you cannot hire equipment and other personal items in Bhutan such as (sleeping bag, down jacket, hiking boots, etc). You must either bring these items into the country by yourself, or they can be hired from Kathmandu