Remote Eastern Bhutan - 11 days/10 nights
Remote Eastern Bhutan Private Tour – Tour Introduction:
We have created this bespoke private tour, of remote eastern Bhutan, especially to cater for those past visitors who have only experienced the western side of Bhutan. Eastern Bhutan is a real treat with far less tourist visitors, amazing scenery and delightful people. It is also a haven for bird-watchers & weavers.
The Bhutanese government has introduced a discounted nightly tariff for tourist visitors travelling further east than the Bumthang central region. This unique incentive is currently valid for travel up to mid-November 2020.
With more regular and reliable air services, from Paro to central Bumthang, we can now offer a dedicated eastern Bhutan itinerary with flexibility to suit most requests.
In 2019 and 2020 on-going road widening will affect parts of eastern Bhutan and we have especially taken this into account with our itinerary design to minimize drive-times where possible.
- Instead of ending your tour in Samdrup Jongkhar, and flying home from India, consider flying back Trashigang to Paro subject to flight availability.
- For those with more available time & budget consider a full 16 night traverse tour of Bhutan. You can choose West to East or East to West. Call us for details.
Take the road less travelled. You won’t regret it!
Remote Eastern Bhutan Private Tour Costs 2019/2020:
SEASONS – Peak: MAR-MAY & SEP-NOV. Regular: JAN-FEB, JUN-AUG & DEC.
|Number of Travellers||Peak Season||Regular Season|
|3+ travelling together||US$2768 pp||US$2323 pp|
|2 travelling together||US$3170 pp||US$2750 pp|
|1 travelling alone||US$3525 pp||US$3098 pp|
Your Bhutan Land Tour Inclusions:
- Professional guide & driver with private SUV/minibus.
- All touring & transfers throughout your journey.
- Domestic flight Paro-Bumthang.
- Additional Bhutan-Guwahati Airport departure transfer.
- Bhutanese style 3* hotel accom with private bathrooms.
- Farm-stay accom option has shared western toilets and no shower facilities.
- All meals & bottled water daily.
- Entrance fees, hiking and sightseeing.
- Visa fees, Government Tourism Fees and Taxes.
- Samdrup Jongkhar to Thimphu vehicle & crew repositioning fee.
- Comprehensive pre-departure planning guide.
- Zero Flight Risk – free protection for supplier default.
- Access to our exclusive travel app COMPANION.
- Bank transfer & communications fees.
- Professionally operated by Bhutan Tourism Corp Ltd.
Your Bhutan Land Tour Exclusions:
- Airfares to Bhutan & from Guwahati (India).
- Indian Visa – Please arrange this independently.
- Personal items – laundry, drinks, tel calls, tips etc.
- Any luxury hotel upgrades are additional costs.
- Travel Insurance – mandatory to enter Bhutan.
Tour Itinerary - Day 1: Arrive Paro
Paro Airport to Paro Town (20-30 mins)
Fly to Paro from your chosen point. After clearing immigration and customs you will be greeted by your BTCL guide and driver and transferred to your nearby Paro hotel. As you may have already visited western Bhutan choose to spend your afternoon hiking, sightseeing, relaxing or shopping in Paro. Alternatively take an afternoon excursion to the capital Thimphu or to Chele La pass to visit the remote Kila Nunnery.
The major features in Paro town include the Rinpung Dzong with its cantilever bridge, the National Museum and Kyichu Lhakang, a revered temple boasting an orange tree that perpetually bears fruit.
Overnight Paro Valley – Bhutanese 3* Hotel TBA.
Day 2: Paro To Bumthang Region
Early this morning fly Drukair from Paro to Jakar in the central Bumthang region.
- Final check-in at Paro Airport is 90 mins prior flight departure
- Aircraft type ATR 42 Turboprop
- Free checked baggage allowance is 20 kgs per person.
- Flight time is 35 mins.
- Your guide flies with you.
Sightseeing in Choekhor & Chhume valleys.
The central Bumthang region comprises the 4 valleys of Choekhor, Tang, Ura and Chhume. On arrival you will notice the large fields of buckwheat that cover the valleys…..buckwheat noodles and pancakes are a Bumthang specialty. This morning visit the Tamshing Monastery, home to young monks under 15 who’s families cannot afford to send them to school, followed by a wander through nearby Chamkhar town. The bars here are also worth a visit in the evening for a mix of karaoke, soccer, pool and music.
This afternoon head west to the Chhume Valley. This region is renowned for its exceptionally high quality weavings. You can take the opportunity to shop for excellent local handicrafts and textiles plus chat with the weavers.
Overnight Choekhor Valley – Bhutanese 3* Hotel TBA.
Day 3 - Bumthang Region
Sightseeing in the Bumthang region.
This morning we suggest visits to one or both of the Jambay & Kurjey Lhakhangs. These are the oldest two monasteries in the kingdom and all the former Kings of Bhutan are cremated at Kurjey Lhakhang. You can take the option to hike back from the Lhakhangs to your hotel or local restaurant for lunch.
This afternoon other options include a drive by of the Wangdicholing Palace; a stop at the Swiss Farm for a range of local produce including wheat beer, arra and cheese. The Jakar Dzong is close by and also worth a visit.
Overnight Choekhor Valley – Bhutanese 3* Hotel.
Day 4: Yongko La
Choekhor Valley to Yongko La (pass) area. (up to 6+ hours drive time)
This morning drive eastwards to the Ura valley to wander the ancient stony paths of the village that give the area an almost medieval feel. The older women of this region still wear sheepskin shawls on their backs which double as a blanket and cushion. Ura is recognized as the cradle of Buddhism in Bhutan and believed by some to have been the home of Bhutan’s earliest inhabitants. It is also the highest valley at 3100 m on the eastern side.
Continue to drive south-eastwards on what is one of the most scenic stretches of road in the Kingdom. When crossing the Thrumshing La (eastern Bhutan’s highest pass at 3780 m) you are now officially departing western Bhutan & entering eastern Bhutan, albeit in the central region of the country. The region from the pass to the next major town of Mongar is celebrated as being one of the best bird-watching areas in all the Asia-Pacific region.
Tonight you will overnight at the only hotel in this scenic, bird-watching area.
Overnight Yongko La area – Trogon Villa. Bhutanese 3* Hotel
Day 5: Autsho
Yongko La to Autsho (3+ hours drive)
This morning take a short scenic bird-watching hike to the ruins of the Shongar Dzong a few kms from your hotel. Then drive eastwards and visit the Jarung Khashor chorten, modelled on the Nepali chorten of the same name in Kathmandu, followed by the Lemongrass Oil Unit at Kuri Zampa. Take lunch at a local restaurant and, just before before the town of Mongar, leave the main east-west road that traverses Bhutan and head north to Autsho. Here will be your base for the next 2 nights and facilitate your excursion further north to the remote Lhuentse region.
Travelling through the valley of the Kuri Chhu you pass extensive cornfields and, at the valley floor, rice terraces and tropical fruits such as mango and pineapples flourish.Take a wander through Autsho village and relax in your Autsho hotel on the banks of the Kuri Chhu (river) where macaques, languars & bird-life can be found.
Overnight Autsho – Phayul Resort – Bhutanese 3* Hotel
Note: This is a more basic hotel and you will need to take your own shampoo/flannel.
Day 6: Lhuentse
Lhuentse Day Excursion (4+ hours driving)
Lhuentse is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family and also home of Bhutan’s kushutara weaving tradition. The road north to Lhuentse is undergoing widening for the next year or so. It could be slow going on some stretches albeit spectacular. Reach the peaceful valley of Khoma to immerse yourself in village life and allow time to explore the heartland of Bhutan’s most treasured textiles. Take a gentle stroll between the traditional farmhouses and discover cobbled courtyards and weavers working on veranda’s. Wander over to the Lhakhang (temple) perched in the bend of the river. Take a picnic lunch or take lunch at a local farm house. There is an option to hike to the Khoma village for approx 1 hour.
Later return to Autsho which is the nearest tourist class hotel.
Overnight Autsho – Phayul Resort
Day 7: Mongar
Autsho to Mongar. (up to 3+ hours)
This morning drive back south & then eastwards to Mongar on the main West-East highway. En-route visit the Yakgang Lhakhang (temple). This is rarely visited and the lay monk caretaker can sometimes open up the private lhakang in his house next door which features valuable relics, used in the annual festival, and handmade texts from Tibet.
Take lunch at a local restaurant and this afternoon visit the Mongar Dzong and take a wander through the old part of town to the park with it’s clocktower and prayer wheel.
When travelling though eastern Bhutan the dominant language is Sharchop which is different enough from Dzongkha (the national language of Bhutan) that eastern and western Bhutanese usually have to use English or Nepali to communicate. The towns between west and east Bhutan also differ as in western Bhutan most towns are situated in valleys whereas in eastern Bhutan most towns, including Mongar, are situated at the tops of hills or ridges.
Overnight Mongar – Bhutanese 3* Hotel TBA.
Day 8: Trashigang
Mongar to Trashigang. (3-4 hrs)
Enjoy a leisurely departure from Mongar en-route further east to Trashigang. On arrival take lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon spend time exploring Trashigang town an/or to take a hike. The Dzong is worth visiting and offers excellent views from a high promontory overlooking the confluence of the Drangme Chhu (river) and Gamri Chhu. Up until the beginning of the 20th century all of eastern Bhutan was governed from this Dzong.
A good hiking option today is from Trashigang to the village of Sangkhar ( 3+ hrs). Take a rocky trail which leads up above the town and then continues through forest with lots of birds and wildlife. After an hour you reach the top of the ascent from the courthouse at a big pile of rocks (some 800ft of height gain). From here you can see Sangkhar village opposite with a prominent stupa. To the left on top of a hill, is the village Mukthang Khar looking a little like a fort on a hilltop. The path now contours around eventually passing some scattered houses and terraced fields to reach Sangkhar Chorten, 1,430m. Your vehicle meets you at the Sanghar Chorten and take the new feeder road to the village.
Trashigang is a lively and interesting town and the bars are worth a visit this evening although they do close early at 8.00 pm.
Overnight Trashigang – Bhutanese 3* Hotel TBA
Day 9: Trashigang Excursions
Sightseeing in the Trashigang region.
Eastern Bhutan is the heartland of weaving in the Kingdom and Bhutanese weavings and textiles are generally acknowledged as amongst the finest in the world. You will have an excellent opportunity to both shop and interact with the weavers themselves on today’s excursion to the weaving village of Radi, approx 2.5 hours (each way) eastwards from Trashigang. The Druk Deothjung Eastern Rural Handicraft Centre in Trashigang is the last opportunity for quality weavings & handicrafts if you don’t take the Radi option today.
Alternatively take a scenic excursion north up to the small town of Trashiyangtse and visit the Chorten Kora. Constructed in 1740 this chorten is modelled on the Bodnath stupa in Kathmandu although is not as large. This drive is approx 3 hours round trip.
Overnight Trashigang – Bhutanese 3* Hotel.
Day 10: Samdrup Jongkhar
Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar (6+ hrs)
An early morning departure from Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar in south-eastern Bhutan. En-route visit the university town of Kanglung with its clock tower and the large Sherubtse College campus. Next stop is Khaling, the site of an historic battlefield and location of the National Hand Loom Centre, where young girls from all over Bhutan are trained in traditional hand weaving and vegetable dyeing. If time permits visit the small and relatively undeveloped village of Womrong.
The town of Samdrup Jongkhar is a typical India border town, quite chaotic and with less charm than the rest of the Kingdom so do prepare yourselves! Take a wander about the central bazaar area if time permits after arrival.
OPTION! Instead of travelling to Samdrup Jongkhar, and on to India, consider flying back from Yonphula, near Trashigang, to Paro. This is subject to flight availability (flights are only 1-2 times per week) and only between the months of October to May.
Overnight Samdrup Jongkhar – Bhutanese 3* Hotel.
Please note hotels in Samdrup Jongkhar are fairly basic!
Day 11: Samdrup Jongkhar to Guwahati Airport (India)
Samdrup Jongkhar to Guwahati Airport (3-4 hrs)
This morning farewell Bhutan and your BTCL guide & driver at the border crossing where you are collected by an India transfer operator (usually a designated & reputable taxi company used by BTCL) and transferred to Guwahati airport in Assam for your onward flight to Kolkata or Delhi.
- Consider a mid-afternoon flight ex-Guwahati, if possible, to allow for any unforeseen hold ups.
Tashi Delek – May All Good Things Come To You.
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