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Bhutan Bumthang Owl Trek

Tranquil Mountain Paths, Rich Culture & the Tiger's Nest

 

Few places on earth are as beautiful as the kingdom of Bhutan. Experience this magnificent place, including three days on Bhutan's Bumthang Owl Trek trail through mist-covered mountains, over scenic passes, across suspension bridges, and through fertile valleys blossoming with traditional culture. Bookend the hike with explorations of fascinating towns and remote villages where you learn about traditional arts, attend a vibrant festival, visit age-old dzongs (citadels), and even go white-water rafting. All this in the shadow of the mighty Himalaya - and with the Bhutan trekking pioneers!

  • Follow our top Bhutan guides Namgay and Tandin as you relish three days of remote trekking with stunning views of the Himalaya

  • Find out how The Owl Trek got its name as you camp under stars to the soothing sound of hooting owls

  • Blend active hiking with exploration of Bhutan's cultural heartland, including a visit to a traditional arts school and a colorful local festival

Arrive:

Bangkok, Thailand

Depart:

Bangkok, Thailand

Price: from $5,795

Duration:

13 Days

Departures:

See Dates

Group Size:

2-15

Min Age:

16 yrs

Activity:

Level 4

On this trip, you will be hiking 2.5 to 9 miles on many days, up and down mountain trails that are sometime steep, and mostly at elevations above 7,000 feet. You ascend to over 10,000 feet on several hikes. Drives on several days range from a couple hours to about 8 hours on one day. You should be in good physical condition and have experience hiking at higher elevations.
Learn more here.

  • Arrive in Bangkok

    Day 1

    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 MT Sobek flight from Bangkok to Paro departs very early the next morning. If your flight into Bangkok is delayed by even just a few hours, you may miss the group departure flight to Paro. Therefore we encourage you to arrive a day or two early in Bangkok to explore this fascinating city, or to help overcome jet lag before the tour actually starts.

    Accommodation: Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel

    The Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport is a four-star hotel located a short walk from Bangkok's international airport. Boasting 612 comfortable and contemporary rooms, the hotel also offers two bars and four restaurants, a beautiful pool, a fitness room, and a spa! With a 24-hour airport shuttle running every 10 minutes, accommodations here couldn't be more convenient.

  • Fly to Paro, Transfer to Thimphu

    Day 2

    Welcome to the Kingdom of Bhutan! Upon arrival in Paro Airport, situated in one of the country's most historic valleys, meet your MT Sobek guide and transfer to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Paro Valley is known as the kingdom's "rice bowl" because it produces everything from red rice to wheat, millet, potatoes, apples, and seasonal vegetables. Meanwhile Thimphu is both the political and economic center of Bhutan. Visit the Royal Textile Academy, where you get a brief introduction to Bhutan and the evolution of its textile industry.

    Accommodation: Druk Hotel

    Experience the legendary hospitality of the Bhutanese people at this fine Himalayan hotel. Located in the heart of the capital city, the Druk Hotel is close to shopping, culture, and the bubbling Thimphu River. Pleasant rooms are outfitted with comfortable beds, tiled bathrooms, soaking tubs and modern amenities, while the spa rounds out the offering.

    Transportation: 1.5-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Explore Thimphu

    Day 3

    Enjoy Thimphu and adjust to jet lag with an easy exploration of the town's main sights. Visit the National Institute for Zorig Chusum - commonly know as "the painting school" - which provides instruction in Bhutan's 13 traditional arts, including painting, woodcarving, and sculpture. Also stop at the National Memorial Chorten, the most iconic structure in Thimphu. In the afternoon, enjoy a gentle hike through the woods above Thimphu. Before dinner, learn about Bhutan's unique concept of Gross National Happiness by an expert in the field of, well, happiness!

    Accommodation: Druk Hotel

    Experience the legendary hospitality of the Bhutanese people at this fine Himalayan hotel. Located in the heart of the capital city, the Druk Hotel is close to shopping, culture, and the bubbling Thimphu River. Pleasant rooms are outfitted with comfortable beds, tiled bathrooms, soaking tubs and modern amenities, while the spa rounds out the offering.

    Activity: 4-hour/3-3.5 miles hiking with 500' elevation gain

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Explore Dzongs & Go Rafting in Punakha

    Day 4

    Drive to Punakha in the morning, stopping to visit Simtokha Dzong - a dzong is a citadel - and Dochula Pass along the way. Before descending from Dochula Pass (11,500') into the fertile Punakha Valley, if weather is agreeable you'll be treated to your first views of the majestic mountain ranges, including Gangchen Ta (Tiger Mountain, 22,440'), Masagang (23,500'), Thsengdagang (23,300') and Gangkarpheunsum (24,836'). After lunch, enjoy white-water rafting on the MoChu River, passing the incredible Punakha Dzong (also known as the "Palace of Happiness"). This afternoon, tour the dzong - the most beautiful and well-known fortress in all of Bhutan.

    Accommodation: Khuru Resort

    Located on a gently sloping hill overlooking Punakha, the Khuru Resort offers pleasant stay amidst nature's bounty. Guests can enjoy warm Bhutanese hospitality and the comfort of simple rooms, equipped with modern amenities and en-suite bathrooms. The hotel's restaurant serves Bhutanese, Indian, Chinese and continental cuisine, plus there is a bar, spa, fitness center, and access to Wi-Fi.

    Accommodation: Densa Resort

    Dhensa Boutique Resort sits in the heart of the verdant Punakha Valley. Flanked by thick pine forests, it overlooks the Punakha River and hundreds of paddy fields that stair-step down to the valley floor. The resort's 24 stylish suites are set in six cottages, all with private balconies and en-suite bathrooms. Enjoy nourishing, nurturing food at the restaurant and treat yourself to a wellness experience at the spa.

    Activity: 1-hour whitewater rafting

    Transportation: 2.5-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Cross Pela La & Yutong La Passes (9180')

    Day 5

    After breakfast, continue your journey toward the Pela La, crossing the Black Mountains, which divide western and central Bhutan. On the five-hour drive to Trongsa, enjoy lovely views of yaks grazing among magnolias and rhododendrons. Trongsa used to be the gateway between the east and the west, and its dzong, built in 1647, is a true masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. Tour the dzong and then, after lunch, drive another three hours to Bumthang, crossing over Yutong La Pass - described as one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan.

    Accommodation: Yugharling Resort-Bumthang

    Established in 2010, the elegant Yugharling Resort takes pride in its commitment to environmental responsibility, from the bricks (made locally from the soil excavated for the hotel) to the exterior paint (vegetable dye). Most rooms enjoy panoramic views of the valley - others, of the forest - and for ultimate relaxation there's a spa plus a yoga and meditation hall.

    Transportation: 8-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Attend a Festival in Bumthang

    Day 6

    Enjoy the day attending one of Bumthang's many local festivals. Known throughout the kingdom for their spectacular colors and costumes, the festivals here are a true pleasure and fortune to experience. Witness the religious mask dances and find ease in interacting with the local people, who will be dressed up in their finest attire.

    Accommodation: Yugharling Resort-Bumthang

    Established in 2010, the elegant Yugharling Resort takes pride in its commitment to environmental responsibility, from the bricks (made locally from the soil excavated for the hotel) to the exterior paint (vegetable dye). Most rooms enjoy panoramic views of the valley - others, of the forest - and for ultimate relaxation there's a spa plus a yoga and meditation hall.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Begin Owl Trek: Bumthang to Schonath

    Day 7

    Lace up your boots! Trek begins with a drive to Menchugang and the village of Dhur (9,514'), which consists of about 75 households with a population of around 800 people. Start with a walk above the village for an interesting an overall view of the area. Then descend down to the river, cross it on a suspension bridge, and head up to the road. Here the trail takes a left turn following a stream, then meanders gradually uphill through pine forest, bamboo, and finally fir trees just below camp (11,319').

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Bhutan Owl Trek

    Experience the natural wonders of the Bumthang Owl Trek from our comfortable trail camp. Two-person dome tents, foam sleeping pads, and pillows are provided (sleeping bags can be rented). There are separate kitchen and dining tents with tables and chairs, plus portable toilet sets, and warm water in the morning and afternoon. Tea, coffee and refreshments are also available and food will be prepared by the camp team. All equipment is carried by horses and ponies.

    Activity: 5-6 hours/6-7miles miles hiking with 1,805' elevation gain

    Transportation: 1-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Schonath to Kitiphu/Tharpaling

    Day 8

    Take in the real wilderness of Bhutan as you trek through virgin forest of spruce, hemlock, fir, birch, and rhododendron (in full bloom in April and May). After about two hours, arrive at Drangela Pass (11,811'). Ascend the Kitiphu Ridge (12,697') for tonight's camp. Weather permitting, enjoy a wonderful view of the valley and the panoramic snowcapped Himalayas, including Gangkar Puensum (24,836'), Bhutan's highest mountain. Climb down to the monasteries of Zambhalha, Chuedak, and Tharpaling where you will witness life in a monastery firsthand.

    Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Bhutan Owl Trek

    Experience the natural wonders of the Bumthang Owl Trek from our comfortable trail camp. Two-person dome tents, foam sleeping pads, and pillows are provided (sleeping bags can be rented). There are separate kitchen and dining tents with tables and chairs, plus portable toilet sets, and warm water in the morning and afternoon. Tea, coffee and refreshments are also available and food will be prepared by the camp team. All equipment is carried by horses and ponies.

    Activity: 6-7 hours/8-9 miles hiking with 500' elevation gain

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Tharpaling to Bumthang

    Day 9

    After breakfast, descend towards the local monasteries, and have the opportunity to visit Chuedak Monastery, distinguished by the 100 Avoloketeshwara (the god of compassion). Here, you may pray for yourself and all living beings. Towards the afternoon, the hike will take you along the Kikila Ridge following the traditional trekking route used by the Royals to migrate between Trongsa and Bumthang. At the trail end, you will be picked up and transferred to the hotel.

    Accommodation: Yugharling Resort-Bumthang

    Established in 2010, the elegant Yugharling Resort takes pride in its commitment to environmental responsibility, from the bricks (made locally from the soil excavated for the hotel) to the exterior paint (vegetable dye). Most rooms enjoy panoramic views of the valley - others, of the forest - and for ultimate relaxation there's a spa plus a yoga and meditation hall.

    Activity: 4-5 hours/6-7 miles hiking with 2,627' elevation loss

    Transportation: 1-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Return to Paro

    Day 10

    Easy day today! This morning, transfer to the Bumthang Airport for your flight to Paro, where the rest of the day is free to explore.

    Accommodation: The Zhiwa Ling-Paro, Bhutan

    The Zhiwa Ling is a luxurious retreat that combines the sensibilities of a fine Bhutanese guesthouse with the best of modern comforts. The exquisite architecture and manicured gardens create an authentic, inviting atmosphere. Guest rooms, spread out on 10 acres of pristine land, feature modern amenities and comfortable furnishings. Enjoy a traditional outdoor hot-stone bath, a teahouse, a meditation house, and two restaurants.

    Transportation: 30-minute flight

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Hike to Taktsang Monastery

    Day 11

    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, continue up to visit the temple built on the cliff. Enjoy lunch on the way down, some free time back in Paro, and then a festive farewell dinner with the group.

    Accommodation: The Zhiwa Ling-Paro, Bhutan

    The Zhiwa Ling is a luxurious retreat that combines the sensibilities of a fine Bhutanese guesthouse with the best of modern comforts. The exquisite architecture and manicured gardens create an authentic, inviting atmosphere. Guest rooms, spread out on 10 acres of pristine land, feature modern amenities and comfortable furnishings. Enjoy a traditional outdoor hot-stone bath, a teahouse, a meditation house, and two restaurants.

    Activity: 5 hours/2.5 miles hiking with 1,707' elevation gain/loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Depart for Bangkok

    Day 12

    After breakfast, bid farewell to the kingdom of Bhutan as you transfer to the Paro Airport for your 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.

    Accommodation: Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel

    The Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport is a four-star hotel located a short walk from Bangkok's international airport. Boasting 612 comfortable and contemporary rooms, the hotel also offers two bars and four restaurants, a beautiful pool, a fitness room, and a spa! With a 24-hour airport shuttle running every 10 minutes, accommodations here couldn't be more convenient.

    Transportation: 4-hour flight

    Meals: Breakfast

  • Depart for Home

    Day 13

    Take the hotel shuttle to the international terminal and depart on your homeward-bound flight. Or if you'd prefer to spend a bit more time in Asia, join one of our exciting extensions in India, Vietnam, or Cambodia. Ask our Regional Specialist for details!

Bhutan Bumthang Owl Trek

Detailed Itinerary

Thank you! Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

What to Expect

 

Why take this trip with us?

Reason #01

MT Sobek pioneered trekking in Bhutan in the 1980s and continues to offer innovative routes for active travelers.

Reason #02

Our local guides are experts with over 20 years' experience leading travelers through the kingdom.

Reason #03

This trip combines touring and a short trek in the cultural heartland of Bumthang.

Meet your guides

Namgay Dorji

Namgay Dorji

Namgay Dorji is the senior manager of MT Sobek's Bhutan office and has been leading treks and tours for over 10 years. He is very knowledgeable about Bhutan's history, culture, and religion and speaks seven languages: English, Japanese, German, Spanish, Hindi, Nepalese, and Urdu. Namgay is a graduate of Bissau College, Meghalaya, India and received his diploma in tourism from the Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management in Salzburg, Austria. His many personal interests include bird watching, rock climbing, trekking, and archery. He looks forward to sharing his experience and the wonders of Bhutan with you.

Tandin Nidup

Tandin Nidup

Tandin is a graduate of Bangkok University, Thailand, majoring in Tourism and Hospitality Management. He has been leading treks and cultural tours in Bhutan since 2000, including MT Sobek's Chomolhari Trek and new Bumthang Owl Trek. He is extremely knowledgeable about the cultures, religions, and traditions of his home country and enjoys sharing his experiences with guests-immersing them in the wonders of Bhutan every step of the way. Tandin speaks English, Nepali, Hindi and passable Thai in addition to his native Bhutanese.

Activities

Moderate hiking on mountain and forest paths, covering up to 9 miles per day, and insightful cultural touring.

Lodging

Scenic and comfortable accommodation in Bhutanese inns and lodges, plus two nights camping on the Owl Trek.

Climate

Daytime temperatures: 50°F - 70°F; night time temperatures 30°F - 45°F. Rain or snow possible.

FAQ

Who will meet me on arrival?

On Day-1, you will arrive in Bangkok, and transfer to the hotel via a free 24-hour shuttle bus on your own. The following day, you will fly to Paro. Upon arrival at the Paro Airport, meet your MT Sobek guide and transfer to Thimphu.

Do I need a Bhutan visa?

Yes, and we will manage the group visa process for you.

Do I need to bring a sleeping bag for this trip?

Yes. We recommend a rating of 10°F to 20°F for the springtime and -10°F to -5°F for the mid-October and November trips.

Do I book my own flights between Bangkok and Paro?

No, we provide that service and book those flights for you, as they are not easy to book on your own.

Where do I fly to?

You should plan to fly to and from Bangkok, Thailand from your home airport.

  • 2021
  • Go Private
  • Go Custom

2021

Scheduled Dates

Additional costs

  • $1,270 Internal Airfare
  • $1,000 Single Supplement

Price Includes

  • Expert leadership from experienced adventure guides
  • Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • Meals as noted in the daily itinerary
  • Potable water and snacks throughout
  • 1 glass of wine or beer at dinner
  • All tips and gratuities for support staff with the exception of your lead adventure guide(s)
  • All necessary rafting and camping gear
  • All group entrance fees, activities, and ground transportation
  • Arrival and departure hotel shuttle airport transfers

Price does not include

  • International airfare, any airport taxes, or excess baggage charges
  • 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner
  • Optional tips to your lead adventure guides
  • Personal expenses such as medical immunizations, phone calls, laundry, or souvenirs
  • Airport hotel transfers if arriving outside of Day 1
  • Optional travel protection

Contact An Expert

888.831.7526

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

Thank you, one of our specialists will be contacting you shortly.

Go Private

Go Private

Gather your favorite travel companions to share an MT Sobek adventure on an easy-to-book Private Trip.

Choose from the selection of dates below for your group or if your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you.

Call or email us to get the ball rolling.

Private Trip Pricing:

4 to 5 guests from $7,095 per person double occupancy

6 to 7 guests from $6,695 per person double occupancy

8 to 15 guests from $6,295 per person double occupancy

	

Take Over One These Dates

Make Your Own Dates In These Months

Additional costs

  • $1,270 Internal Airfare
  • $1,000 Single Supplement

Price Includes

  • Expert leadership from experienced adventure guides
  • Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • Meals as noted in the daily itinerary
  • Potable water and snacks throughout
  • 1 glass of wine or beer at dinner
  • All tips and gratuities for support staff with the exception of your lead adventure guide(s)
  • All necessary rafting and camping gear
  • All group entrance fees, activities, and ground transportation
  • Arrival and departure hotel shuttle airport transfers

Price does not include

  • International airfare, any airport taxes, or excess baggage charges
  • 1 breakfast, 1 lunch and 1 dinner
  • Optional tips to your lead adventure guides
  • Personal expenses such as medical immunizations, phone calls, laundry, or souvenirs
  • Airport hotel transfers if arriving outside of Day 1
  • Optional travel protection

Contact An Expert

888.831.7526

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

Thank you, one of our specialists will be contacting you shortly.

Go Custom

Create Your Very Own Adventure

Dreaming of an adventure designed exclusively for you? With insider access and decades of experience, our travel experts create custom tailored adventures that are perfect for families, couples, and large groups. MT Sobek's custom adventures are designed to our exacting standards and led by our award-winning adventure guides.