Bumthang Festival Trek and the Black-Necked Cranes
Bhutan, Discovery, 12 days - from £2,195 (land only) - from €2,965 (land only) - from $3,650 (land only)
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Complimentary airport transfers are provided. KE Land Only package services begin with the evening meal.
Day 2: After the short and spectacular flight to Bhutan's only airport at Paro, we meet our Bhutanese guide. We hike to the classic viewpoint for the Taktsang Monastery clinging improbably to a cliff face, before driving to the capital, Thimpu where we check into our hotel.
Day 3: We drive across the Dochu La to the photogenic Punakha Dzong. After visiting the dzong we continue eastwards to Wangdi where we check into our hotel.
Day 4: We continue our journey east, first to Tongsa Dzong, then on to the town of Jakar at the heart of the district of Bumthang. Overnight in a lodge.
Day 5: An early start to drive to the village of Thanbi from where we walk (15 minutes) to the remote village of Nalakhar. We spend the day at the Nalakhar Tsechu which is held in the open courtyard of the Nga Lhakhang. We can watch the dances and mingle with the local crowd who will be dressed in their finest. Overnight in Jakar.
Day 6: Today we begin the 3-day 'Owl Trek'. On this first day we hike from the village of Dhur through forests of blue pine to our camp at Shonath (3450m).
Day 7: We continue our trek through virgin forest of spruce, hemlock, fir, birch bamboo, and rhododendron. Reaching the Drangela La (3600m), we ascend a ridge with a breathtaking panorama to our next camp at Keth (3830m).
Day 8: A final day of trekking passing monasteries of Zambhalha, Chuedak and Tharpaling and finishing on the Royal Heritage Trail back to Jakar. Overnight at the lodge. 4 - 5 hours walking.
Day 9: We retrace our route driving west across the passes. Before Wangdi we turn off the main road and drive into the delightful Phobjikha Valley. After checking in to our lodge there is the option to walk the nature trail. Overnight in a lodge at Gangtey.
Day 10: An early wake up call as we go out to see the black-necked cranes. After viewing the birds we dive back across the Dolchu La to Thimpu and on to Paro where we check into our hotel.
Day 11: We take the morning flight to Kathmandu and transfer to the group hotel. We have a guided sightseeing tour of the city in the afternoon.
Day 12: KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. Complimentary airport transfers are provided.
This holiday involves going to moderately high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 2500 metres. Most people will have no difficulty with this level of altitude but before coming on the holiday, we recommend you read the advice on trekking at altitude.