Bhutan Cultural Tour with Sagala Trek for 7 Days 6 Nights
Trekking in Sagala
Tiger Nest Monastery
Paro (alt. 2400m/7218ft) – The beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates within itself a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries, National Museum and country’s only airport. Mount. Chomolhari (7,314m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial water plunge through deep gorges to form Pa Chhu (Paro River). Paro is also one of the most fertile valleys in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields.
The flight to Paro is considered one of the most spectacular flight experiences in the world. While flying in and out of Bhutan, one can see Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makula, and other high peaks such as Jumolhari, Jichu Drakey, and Tsrim Gang. You will be received by representative of Rainbow Tour & Trek and transferred to your hotel.
Day 1: Arrival: Paro - Thimphu
Drive to Thimphu after landing and visit the following places:
- Thimphu Altitude: 2320m. Thimphu is a small, charming capital city nestled in the heart of the Himalayas with a population of about 100,000 people. Thimphu is capital town of Bhutan and the centre of government, religion and commerce. It is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Although not what one expects from a capital city, Thimphu is still a fitting and lively place. Home to civil servants, expatriates and monk body, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style.
- Memorial Chorten: This stupa was built in 1974 to honor the 3rd King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. This religious structure is circumambulated only in a clockwise direction (reciting prayers and whirling the large red prayer wheels).
- Bhudha Point: In the afternoon visit the world’s largest sitting Buddha, an immense statue housing a monastery and visitors center. Enjoy a stunning view of Thimphu city from this point.
- National Textile Museum: This museum is worth a visit to learn about Bhutan’s living national art of weaving. The ground floor focuses on cham costumes, while the upper floor introduces the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and type of textiles made by women and men. There is usually a small group of weavers working their looms inside the shop, which features work from the renowned weaving centre of Lhuentse in northeastern Bhutan
- School of Thirteen Arts & Crafts: It is the primary center of learning for Bhutanese artists. Depending upon the student’s interest, one can specialize in any of the thirteen arts and crafts, including painting, weaving, sculptures, blacksmithing, embroidery, etc. It is the best place for visitors to learn about traditional Bhutanese arts and crafts.
- Tashichho Dzong – Tashichho Dzong has been the seat of the government since 1952 and presently houses the throne room and offices of the king, the secretariat and the ministries of home affairs and finance. Other government departments are housed in buildings nearby.
Evening: Explore Thimphu town / handicrafts bazaar
Overnight in Thimphu: Namgay Heritage Hotel
Day 2: Thimphu – Punakha
Punakha Altitude: 1300m/4265ft. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan during the time of Zhabdrun Ngawang Namkgyal, the founder of Bhutan. Today it is the administrative and religious center of the district and the winter home of Bhutan’s Central Monk Body. It is blessed with temperate climate and owing to its natural drainage from Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers, the Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fruits.
Start your morning by enjoying and taking pictures of the Dochula Pass (3150m/10,000ft) with its panoramic views of the Himalayas. The pass is decorated with 108 Druk Wangyel Chorten, which were built to celebrate the stability and progress, brought to Bhutan by His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King.
Visit the following places in Punakha:
- Chimmi Lhakhang Hike – take a 45 min hike round trip through the rice field to Chimmi Lhakhang, the 15th-century monastery built by Lam Ngawang Chogyal on the spot where his cousin Lam Drukpa Kuenley (popularly known as “the Divine Madman”) subdued a powerful demon. This monastery is also referred to as the “Abode of Fertility” and believed that any couple who gets blessing from this temple is blessed with a child in the next year or so.
- Punakha’s Dzong – The name means Palace of Great Bliss. This dzong stands magnificently on the spit of land where two rivers (Pho chu and Mo chu) meet. Punakha Dzong has special significance in Bhutanese history as the place where Bhutan’s first King, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned in 1907. It is also the winter residence for the Je Khenpo (spiritual leader) and the entire central monk body.
- Punakha suspension bridge – this is an exciting bridge for photography enthusiasts.
Evening: visit a traditional farm house for an experience of an authentic Bhutanese lifestyle and local hospitality.
Overnight in Punakha: Hotel drubchu/ Vara
Day 3: Punakha – Haa
After breakfast drive to Haa. Haa Altitude: 1,140m. Haa valley is one of the most picturesque places in the Kingdom, spread over an area of 1706 sq. km. During pre-Buddhist era, Haa valley was known for its animist tradition. Inhabitants then were enthused in offering animal blood to their local deities. Such animist belief however was transformed into peaceful Buddhist tradition in 8th century by Guru Padmasambhava. The tantric master, Guru Padmasambhava, subdued the local deities like Ap Chundu and made the guardians of the Buddhist tradition. However, the traces of this belief system are still noticed in the form of festivals and rituals.
En-route visit the Lamperi Botanical Gardens – The garden is located in the center of a 47 sq. mile botanical park (35km from Thimphu) and has over 46 species of rhododendrons flowers.
Visit following place in Haa:
- Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple): It was established in the 7th century by Tibetan king Songtsen Gempo in his mission to build 108 monasteries in one day.A legend says that a white and a black bird flew from Tibet and sat on the place where the Lhakang now stands.
- Lhakhang Nakpo (Black temple): Located in Dumchoe village, the monastery was established in the 7th century by King Songtsen Gampo in his mission to build 108 monasteries in one day. It is situated towards the north of Lhakhang Karpo.The temple was named Nagpo (black) as it was built on the site where the black pigeon landed.
Evening: Explore Haa Town
Overnight in Haa: Soednamzingkha Lodge
Day 4: SagalaTrek Starts: Haa- Tahung - Sagala
Trek to Dongney Tsho (3200m) via Saga La. A gradual hike for approximately one hour through meadows and coniferous forest is followed by a two hour climb to the Saga pass. On a clear day there is a fantastic view on both sides of the pass.
The view towards Paro includes sacred Mount jhomolhari & below in the valley the Drukgyel Dzong & the sacred Taktsang Monastery. Looking to the west the peaks of Haa and the border with Tibet can be seen. From the pass it is all downhill for two hours through mixed conifer forests and rhododendrons. We camp in an open meadow at Dongney Tsho surrounded with tall firs. To the left is the black.
Day 5: Sagala - Paro via Drugyal Dzong
The first part of today’s hike is steeply downhill for about 1.5hr until we reach the Genchu Zam. The hike is through thick vegetation, laughing thrushes, magpies, nutcrackers and pheasants are often seen. There is a beautiful small village comprised of about eight households and a temple on the left side of the trail. Chodeypu is set at the base of the mountain Laump Bjara (Foggy Mountain, inhabitated by mountain goats). Another hour from this village will take us to Balakha Chhu where the ancient Haa Planters’ Trail ends.
Afternoon visit following places in Paro:
- National Museum: Ta- Dzong (the watchtower) was built in the 17th century to guard the Paro Rimpong dzong (fortress) below. It was said that the future first king was kept in this tower as a prisoner for a week. It was the third king who restored the Ta-dzong and converted it into the National Museum. The visit to the museum will familiarize you with the Bhutanese way of life and will also acquaint you with the natural and cultural history.
- Paro Rimpong Dzong: Regal and imposing, dzongs are arguably among the most distinctive and important structures in Bhutan. This Dzong is the headquarters of the Paro district, housing the head administrator and staff, as well as a monastic body with about 200 monks.
- Kyichu Lhakhang: Kyichu Lhakhang: It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is Jambey Lhakahng in Bumthang). The lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern.
Evening: explore Paro Town
Overnight in Paro: Naksel Boutique Hotel and Spa
Day 6: Paro: Hike to Taktshang, Tiger’s Nest
Bhutan’s most scenic icon or the most important landmark, Taktshang the Tiger’s nest clings to the side of a steep cliff 300 meters above the Paro valley. The place was first visited by Guru Rimpoche, founder of the tantric form of Buddhism in Himalayan countries, in the 8th century. It was said that he meditated there for about three months.
The original temple was built in the 17th century, but tragically, it was consumed by fire in 1998. Like a phoenix, the temple was rebuilt to its fullest glory in 2003. Takshang is considered to be the 10th-holiest site in the Buddhist world. You can visit three different temples inside the main Takshang complex. Riding Ponies provided upon request.
Afternoon – relax and enjoy the Manchu spa at Naksel Resort or explore neighboring village.
Overnight in Paro: Naksel Boutique Hotel and Spa
Day 7: Departure: Paro
After breakfast, transfer to Paro airport for departure.
- Airport transfers
- 3* – 5* accommodation.
- Visas for Bhutan
- Daily 3 meals (B, L, D)
- Mineral bottled water
- Private car
- Entrance tickets to all attractions
- Road permits
- Professional English-speaking guide
- Private driver
- Government fee, royalty, taxes & surcharges
- Wearing traditional Bhutan Gho and Kira on the second last day of the trip
Next departure date
Departure every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday
For March, April, May, Sep, Oct, Nov:
- Solo traveler: USD1.830/traveler
- Group of 2: USD1.770/traveler
- Group of 3 or more: USD1.590/traveler
For Dec, Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug:
- Solo traveler: USD1.530/traveler
- Group of 2: USD1.470/traveler
- Group of 3 or more: USD1.290/traveler
Round air ticket Singapore – Bhutan might vary from USD1.000 to USD1.040
Two-way air tickets between Singapore and Bhutan
Tips for the guide (USD7/traveler/day)
Tips for driver (USD5/traveler/day)