Bhutan

12-Day Nabji Korphu Trek

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Tour type

Tour Level: High level

Tour Comfort: Standard

Tour Period: 12 Days

Tour Highlight

  • Experience traditional rural life camping overnight in Nabji, Korphu and Nyimshong
  • Receive a Chipdrel procession and Marchang ceremony, royal greeting reserved for royalty
  • Stand before the Chimi Lhakhang, which is also known as the ‘Fertility Temple’
  • Visit Punakha Dzongide, which safeguards the sacred Rangjung Kharsapani relic
  • Marvel at the Ugyen Pelri Palace, an exquisite example of Bhutanese architecture

tour details

This 12-day excursion will take you across the countryside where you can experience traditional rural life and the natural beauty and biodiversity of Bhutan. Visit many of the historically significant chortens and dzongs, some of which are architectural masterpieces or  home to priceless relics. Explore museums home to collections of incredible art and religious artefacts. During several days of hiking, meet Monpas villagers, a minority ethnic group of people who will welcome you into their home. The best time to embark on this trek is in winter from October to April when the skies are sunny and the air is clean and crisp.

After arriving at the Paro International Airport, your guide will be waiting outside the arrival terminal and will welcome you in a traditional manner by offering a khadar (greeting scarf). The tour begins with a drive to Thimphu Valley, a city that retains its ethnic architectural style and is the only capital in the world with no traffic lights. After checking into your hotel and enjoying lunch, go on a local sightseeing tour. Begin with a visit to the Memorial Chorten, one of the most visible religious structures in Thimphu and a place of daily worship for many people. Then, drive to the Takin Preserve, which is home to the national animal, the takin. Take in the gorgeous views of the Thimphu Valley at the BBS Tower and then visit the Changangkha Temple, which contains ancient scriptures and thankas. In the evening, visit the 13th-century Tashichho Dzong, which houses His Majesty’s Throne Room and is the summer home to the Monastic Body.

Dinner and accommodation at a hotel in Thimphu.
Begin the day with a drive through the Dochula Pass toward Punakha Valley. On a clear day, Dochula offers stunning views of the snowcapped Himalayan range. Continue to Druk Wangyel Chorten, a symbol of peace and stability of the country. After a 20-minute walk through the village of Sopsokha, visit Chimi Lhakhang or the ‘Fertility Temple’, a temple that is believed to bless couples unable to have children. Continue with a drive to the impressive Punakha Dzong, which was built in 1637 and is said to be one of the most beautiful dzongs of Bhutan. Inside, there is a set of the 108 volumes of Kanjur, a holy book of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage, written in gold. The dzong also safeguards Bhutan’s most treasured possession, the sacred Rangjung Kharsapani relic.

Dinner and accommodation at a hotel in Punakha.
After an early breakfast, drive to Trongsa via the Pelela mountain pass, crossing the Black Mountains, which divide western and central Bhutan. It is a wonderful opportunity to take photographs of the surrounding scenic views. Continue driving through yak settlements and rhododendron and magnolia forests. After crossing the Nikarchu Bridge, enter Trongsa. First, visit the 19th-century Chendebji Chorten, which was built by a Tibetan lama to cover the remains of an evil spirit. Then, continue to the beautiful Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of the Royal Family. Built in 1648, Trongsa Penlop was able to control the whole of the eastern region effectively due to its highly strategic position. Lastly, visit the Ta Dzong. What once served as the watchtower above the Trongsa Dzong is now a state-of-the-art museum about the Bhutan monarchy. There are eleven galleries with one gallery fully dedicated to the history of the kings of the Wangchuck Dynasty.

Dinner and accommodation at a hotel in Trongsa.
After an early breakfast at your hotel, enjoy wandering around Trongsa Town, visiting dzong or the museum at the Watchtower of Trongsa, which has myriad collections of antiques and artefacts. Then, take a 2-hour drive along the Zhemgang Highway. If you choose, you can visit the Kuenga Rabten Palace along the way, which is an important heritage in Bhutanese history.

The day’s main event is a 7-kilometre trek roughly four hours long. Commencing in Tongtongphey, your village guide will steer you down to the Mangdi River and across a suspension bridge. Along this stretch of the journey, you’ll observe the otherwise rare Gee’s golden langurs, an endangered species of primate. You’ll also be treated to a glimpse of the Monpas, a major ethnic group of Arunachal Pradesh, who are believed to be the first inhabitants of Bhutan. End the trek at a campsite in Jangbi, which offers splendid views of the Mangdi Valley. At the end of the evening, watch a local cultural programme or, even better, take part in it.

Dinner and overnight at a camp in Jangbi.
Start the day with a visit to an orchid garden that houses roughly 75 different varieties of orchids. Then, begin your trek on a trail to Kudra, hiking past intriguing stone imprints of Guru Rinpoche’s footprints, daggers and phalluses. Enjoy lunch just before you arrive in Phrumzur, a Monpa village, and then visit the village’s Buddhist monastery. While trekking to the campsite in Kudra, stop at another small Monpa village called Lekpogang before arriving and enjoying a birds-eye-view of Nyimshong Village and the town of Zhemgang. You'll cover a distance of 14 kilometres during roughly six hours of hiking.

Dinner and overnight at a camp in Kudra.
This 14-kilometre stretch of the trek is invigorating and features an assortment of streams, waterfalls and dense leafy forests. Himalayan squirrels, rhesus macaques and small snakes are often spotted along the trail in these parts. Himalayan black bears, red pandas, tigers and clouded leopards can also be found in this region. After six hours of trekking, arrive at the holy tree in Nabji and receive a warm reception from the villagers. Nabji is a beautiful village with paddy fields circling the clustered houses. You can also hike to the community school and enjoy a game of football or volleyball with the local school children.

Dinner and overnight at a camp in Nabji.
The day begins with a visit to the Nabji Temple before arriving in Korphu. This temple contains a stone pillar on which Guru Rinpoche imprinted the thumbs of two warring kings as a symbol of resolution after bringing about peace. The people of Korphu are known for their exemplary hospitality because they treat their visitors like royalty. Choose from one of two welcoming processions, the ‘Chipdrel’ or the ‘Marchang’, during which the villagers will greet you by singing traditional songs of praise and wellbeing. During your visit, you’ll also learn the quintessential Bhutanese games of ‘Khuru’, ‘Dego’, ‘Sok-sum’ and ‘Gee-dum’. Visit the village temple that houses sacred relics of Pema Lingpa, the most famous Terton or ‘treasure revealer’ in Bhutan. Lunch will be provided in the village campsite, which also provides a spectacular birds-eye-view of Nabji and the surrounding areas. The villages will also perform the traditional ‘Tashi Labey’ dance to bid you farewell.

Dinner and overnight at camp in Korphu.
The 9-kilometre hike from Korphu to Nyimshong is an incredible place to bird watch, as it is home to over 395 avian species. The 3-hour walk is interspaced with waterfalls, streams and cantilever bridges. Along the way, keep a lookout for the elusive Rufous Necked Hornbill, which has its nesting holes adjacent to the trail. The evening brings you to Nyimshong village. The campsite is equipped with an amphitheatre. The women of Nyimshong have a penchant for singing and dancing and often put on cultural shows for visitors.

Dinner and overnight at camp in Nimshong.
Begin the day with an hour-long descent towards the Mangdi River. You are likely to see herons, river lapwings and even golden langurs in this region. A steep hour-long climb will bring you to the road for a total trek of five kilometres. From there, your driver will take you back to Trongsa.

Overnight at a hotel in Trongsa.
After eating breakfast, drive back to Paro and check into your hotel before your sightseeing tour begins. First, visit the Rinpung Dzong, which was built in 1645 and once used to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. Next, get a glimpse of the Ugyen Pelri Palace, a secluded wooden compound south of the river that is one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. This is followed by a visit to the National Museum, which is rated as one of the finest natural history museums in South Asia. Not only is it a repository of precious works of art, but you’ll also find costumes, thangkas, armour and other handcrafted objects of daily life that provide a snapshot of the country’s culturally rich history. Next, visit Dungtse Lhakhang, which is possibly the only ancient temple built in the shape of a chorten. Its chimi lhakhang is chained down since local belief holds that it will otherwise fly off to heaven.

Lastly, explore the Kyichu Temple, which is one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King, Songsten Gampo, in his attempt to banish a giant demoness that was believed to be preventing the spread of Buddhism across Tibet.

Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Paro.
After an early breakfast, take a short drive to the trailhead of the famous Taktsang Monastery, which clings precariously to a cliff 900 metres (2,600 feet) above the Paro Valley. Also known as Tiger's Nest, Taktsang is one of the holiest sites in the country and one of the most venerated Buddhist monuments in the Himalayas. The climb to the viewpoint will take approximately three hours. Afterwards, lunch will be served during the return hike back to the road point.

In the evening, visit a local farmhouse and see firsthand how rural Bhutanese live. The farmhouses are very decorative, built and painted in a classical 3-storey style. The ground floor is used for cattle and the top floor is used for drying hay whilst the family lives on the middle floor.
After breakfast, your guide will escort you to the Paro International Airport for your flight onward. Tashi delek!!

Includes

  • All private transfers, Hotel accomodation and transportation inclusive of taxes during the entire tour
  • Meals as stated in the programme B= Breakfast, L= Lunch & D= Dinner
  • Transfers and tours with English-speaking guides in private air conditioned vehicles
  • All entrance fees as mentioned in the programme
  • Visa fees at US$40 per person

Excludes

  • Domestic airfare (quoted separately, if requested)
  • International airfare (quoted separately, if requested)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditures, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities, etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme

Notes

Upon request, a licensed French, German, Spanish or other language-speaking guide can accompany participants for the whole duration of the trip at an additional cost.

Tour code: NKT12

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