The bucolic Talo & Nobgang valleys in western Bhutan, surrounded by green rice paddies during sowing season, and overlooking the ancient capital of Punakha, is the ancestral home of Bhutanese Queens. Each year, a Buddhist mask dance festival celebrates the foundations of the monastery established by the illustrious Shabdrung, the "Great Unifier," who codified the religious and administrative laws of Bhutan. This journey takes us to the Grand Talo Festival, named for the famous monastery pictured on this page, combined with a hiking adventure across the main cultural centers of Bhutan.
Active country hikes and walks
Buddhist mask dances
High-end, traditionally authentic lodges & accommodations
Highlights of central & western Bhutan
Markets, monuments, museums and more
FROM OUR PHOTOGALLERY
Talo is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s queens. Our hiking journey to visit this colorful splash on the kingdom’s springtime festival calendar sidesteps some of the other, more crowded, venues, and brings us to the fertile agricultural valley of Punakha. But first, we begin the journey with a mountain flight to the lovely central highlands where we explore a series of scenic valleys before making the overland road trip back west to attend the festival. A final climb up to fabulous “Tiger’s Nest,” closes this early April 2020 adventure.
DAY BY DAY
DAY 1: FLIGHT FROM BANGKOK, THAILAND TO PARO, BHUTAN
DAY 8: DRIVE TO JAKAR, BUMTHANG
DAY 12: BANGKOK, THAILAND/DEPART
DAY 7: GANGTEY/TRONGSA
DAY 5: FESTIVAL DAY IN PUNAKHA
DAY 4: DRIVE TO PUNAKHA AND TEMPLES TOUR
DAY 9: PILGRIMS WALK, JAKAR VALLEY LOOP
DAY 2: EXPLORE THIMPHU, BHUTAN'S BUSY CAPITAL
Thimphu has some of the most interesting markets in the country as well as many colorful temples and monasteries scattered around the valley. Later, dive into Bhutanese culture with a trip to the magnificent Royal Textile Academy and learn about Bhutan's 13 sacred arts and crafts.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: The Thimphu Ariya Hotel or comparable
DAY 3: MORE CAPITAL SIGHTS & LEARNING TO COOK BHUTANESE
DAY 6: FESTIVAL DAY / EXPLORE PUNAKHA VALLEY
DAY 11: HIKE TO TIGER'S NEST
DAY 10: MOUNTAIN FLIGHT TO PARO, MARKET, ARCHERY
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
The activities on this trip are rated as moderate and suits a wide range of interests and physical fitness levels. Trip members should be in good health and comfortable standing or walking for extended periods of time and confident navigating mixed and steep terrain that may include rocky trails, slippery conditions and, or, steps and stairs. Daily activities include city walking tours, hiking to and entering monasteries, temples and fortresses, driving over winding mountain roads and easy to moderate hiking with some strenuous options where possible. The general elevations in the valleys will mostly range from 6,800 ft to 9,000 ft, with drives that will take us over higher passes before descending to the average elevations mentioned above. The final hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery is 10,000 ft.
The high-end accommodations on this journey feature traditional Bhutanese style with modern elements. The lodges are handpicked for regional character, comfort, and hospitality, including our beautiful family lodge in the central highlands of Bhutan, the Mountain Resort (see more on the Mountain Resort below). In peak season, depending on availability, we may use lodges comparable to the ones we have listed or advertised.
Every expedition is curated by expert native-born guides and trip leaders who also facilitate meetings and learning experiences with other locally knowledgeable people along the way. Our experienced team shares valuable insights and local expertise to ensure a culturally rich adventure of discovery through the Himalayan landscape and traditions of Bhutan.
Mountain Resort - Bumthang, Bhutan
Set against a sacred cloud forest a short distance below Bumthang's Jakar Dzong (fortress), our family-run lodge in Central Bhutan features the best elements of traditional architecture, including flagstones of river rock, the beautiful wood-and-stone masonry construction of Central Bhutan, and spacious rooms with wood paneling and post and beams of fragrant pine. Guests can enjoy a healing soak in traditional "hot stone" baths enhanced, in accordance with indigenous practices, by mugwort and other medicinal herbs. It's our perfect base for exploring the ample beauties and blessings of the central highlands of Bhutan.
DATES & PRICES
March 28 - April 08, 2020
March 26 - April 06, 2021
Per Person doubles; Single traveler Supplement ($550/-pp)
Per Person doubles; Single traveler Supplement ($550/-pp)
Prices are per person based on double occupancy and do not include international airfare to/from your destination or internal flights during the expedition. Single traveler prices are available upon request. Internal flights are $980 per person & $175 per person where a short-duration flight is included on the itinerary. Surcharges may apply to certain travel dates based upon international or local holidays, as well as local events and festivals. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars and subject to change.
All ground transportation, visas for Bhutan and airport transfers
All meals, including excursions to try well-known local restaurants
The expertise and services of your Bhutanese Trip Leaders, Guides & dedicated trip field staff
Courtesy booking services & arrangements for round-trip regional flights from gateway cities (such as Bangkok) to Bhutan & any internal domestic flights (airfare is additional).
Sightseeing, special events & receptions, visits and entry fees
All environmental national parks & conservation fees and permits
All Trek Arrangements (if you signed up for a trek), including community camping and commissary equipment (comfortable and roomy two-person tents, kitchen and dining tents, and other community equipment), camp, cook and support staff
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
“The country is beautiful, and its story is compelling but the special sense of a privileged view into the life of the country that you provided is beyond describing. We are very grateful; thank you!”
~ Laurie H. Z, Denver, Co.
Fly from your home city to Bangkok, Singapore, New Delhi Kolkata or Kathmandu (Main Gateway Cities)*
Fly from Gateway City to Paro, Bhutan.
Important: Bhutan Himalaya Expeditions makes round-trip flight arrangements from the Gateway City of your choice to Bhutan as a courtesy to our travelers. Airfare is not included in trip price.
For further details please email us using the contact form on our Request Full Details page.
*Bangkok is the primary Gateway City & offers the most frequent and most reliable flights to Bhutan.
CUSTOM JOURNEYS TAILORED JUST FOR YOU
Did you know we also arrange custom journeys throughout the year? Just tell us what you need from your trip and we will put it together for you.
TRAVEL EXTENSIONS TO
CAMBODIA & LAOS
(with optional Bangkok Transit arrangements)
If you'd like to spend a little more time exploring the magnificent World Heritage sites of Cambodia and Laos before or after Bhutan with arrangements in and out of Bangkok, we can take care of those details as well. Tie in a visit to the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor Wat or explore the quaint streets of Luang Prabang where French Colonial meets a distinctly unique Asian sensibility.