Hidden Secret of Bhutan: Overnight at camp and Monastery - 5 days

Hidden Secret of Bhutan: Overnight at camp and Monastery - 5 days

The 'Hidden Secret of Bhutan-Overnight at Monastery with Monks and Tented Camp' tour offers an amazing combination of hiking adventure with cultural and spiritual immersion. Walk through the pristine Himalayan hills and forests that Bhutan is famous for and spend time at an ancient Buddhist monastery interacting with monks and learning more about Buddhist spiritualism. We will take you to sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites where you can meditate and cleanse your aura. This is a short, five-day tour that will recharge your inner batteries and energize your soul.

Your tour begins with a breathtaking flight over the Himalayan mountains to Paro, the only city in Bhutan with an international airport. During the flight, you can savor views of the majestic Himalayan Peaks, including the four highest mountains in the world Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Lhotse.

After landing at the tiny airport, you will be whisked away to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, where you will begin your sightseeing tour. Our Bhutanese guide will introduce you to the main tourist attractions in Thimphu. Visit the magnificent National Memorial Chorten, an edifice built in memory of a progressive king who introduced modern reforms in Bhutan.

Explore the Tashichho Dzong, a castle fortress where the Bhutanese royal family resides, and ride to the hilltop shrine of Buddha Dordenma, where the largest statue of Lord Buddha sits. Get acquainted with the Takins, the unique national animal of Bhutan, at the Motithang Takin Preserve, and learn the art of making Dehsho or Bhutanese traditional paper made from the bark of trees.

Before leaving Thimphu, you will hike to the sacred Dordeydra Monastery, a three-hundred-year-old Buddhist monastery hidden in the cleft of a mountainside. Here, you will spend a night at the monastery with the monks praying, meditating, and learning more about Buddhist spiritualism. The trail to The monastery is filled with incredible views of the mountains and interesting wildlife.

On the third day of your tour, you will return to Paro and take the enchanting Bumdra Trek, also known as the Trek of a Thousand Dakinis. The trail leads you to Bumdra Monastery, a sacred pilgrimage site the meditation cave of Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava, and the footprints of the one hundred thousand 'dakinis' or celestial beings who served him.

You will spend a night at the gorgeous Bumdra Campsite, located on a grassy knoll right below the monastery. The Bumdra Campsite lies on a secluded mountain, far away from any village or town. The campsite has spacious tents with comfortable and cozy beds. There is also a kitchen tent, a dining tent, and washrooms to make your stay comfortable.

After spending a night at Bumdra, you will continue your hike and proceed towards Taktsang Monastery, or Tiger's Nest, the most famous hiking destination in Bhutan. The Taktsang Monastery is a sacred site where the Second Buddha, or Padmasambhava flew into Bhutan from Tibet on the back of a flying tigress and meditated in a cave. The trail passes through a dense forest of pine, fir, rhododendron, and cedar, and you can enjoy a ‘nature bath’ while walking amidst the lush greenery.

As the trail from Bumdra to Taktsang meanders above the Taktsang Monastery, you can enjoy a different perspective of the Tiger's Nest from the trail. After your tiring hike, enjoy a relaxing dip in a traditional hot stone bath at a local farmhouse. Your tour ends once you reach Paro.

The hikes to Bumdra Monastery and Taktsang Monastery involve some steep ascents and descents. Though there are no technical sections, the walk can be exhausting. You will be trekking to elevations above 3000 meters above sea level, for which you need to be in good health. Barring the rainy season, this trip can be done any time of the year. This Hidden Secret of Bhutan-Overnight at Monastery withMonks and Tented Camp Tour is especially recommended for those who wish to spend their holiday in the midst of nature, restoring their inner balance in a tranquil and sacred space.

How Much Does This Trip Cost?

The trip's price depends on the type of services chosen by our clients and the group size. The cost of each trip we organize is different because we see travelers as individuals having their own particular needs and preferences.

Get ready for an incredible journey tailored to your interests and preferences, whether you're looking for a budget-friendly adventure or a luxurious getaway. Leave the planning to us as we take care of all the details, ensuring your dream trip becomes a reality. You can relax and focus on creating unforgettable memories that will stay with you forever.

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Trip Highlights

  • Visit the tourist attractions in Thimphu: The National Memorial Chorten, Buddha Dordenma, Tashichho Dzong, and Motithang Takin Preserve
  • Learn the art of making Dehshoor Bhutanese traditional paper
  • Hike to Dodeydra Monastery and stay with monks. Meditate, and observe their daily routine
  • Complete the Bumdra Trek or Trek of the Thousand Dakinis
  • Hike to the spot where a hundred thousand dakinis (celestial beings) have left their footprints on rocks
  • Overnight camping a top  mountain over looking the Himalayan Range and Paro Valley
  • An adventurous hike to the Taktsang Monastery or Tiger's Nest. Take a different route from Bumdra Monastery filled with incredible mountain views
  • Relaxing traditional hot stone bath at a local farm

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights
Day 1 Arrive in Paro (2,200 m/7,200 ft), drive to Thimphu, and sight seeing in Thimphu (2,334 m/7,657 m) - 1 hour (54 km) drive
Day 2 Hike to Dodeydra Monastery (3,000 m/9,842 ft) and stay overnight at the monastery - 2 to 3 hours (4 km) hike
Day 3 Drive to Paro and hike to Bumdra Monastery (3,800 m/1,2467 ft) with overnight camping – 1 hour (54 km) drive and 4 to 5 hours (11 km) hike
Day 4 Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery (3,120 m/10,232 ft), evening enjoy a Hot Stone Bath at Tshering Farm House - 3 to 4 hours (9km) hike
Day 5 Final Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive in Paro (2,200 m/7,200 ft), drive to Thimphu, and sight seeing in Thimphu (2,334 m/7,657 m) - 1 hour (54 km) drive

thimphu-sight-seeing Picturesque cityscape of Thimphu surrounded by green mountains

The flight to Paro International Airport in Bhutan is filled with incredible views of the Himalayan Range. You can savor the views of some of the highest mountains in the world during your flight. Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Jomolhari can be seen from the plane.

After landing in Paro, our representative will greet you and escort you to Thimphu. The drive to Thimphulasts for about an hour. After reaching the capital city, you can check in at your hotel and get refreshed. Later, your guide will take you on a sightseeing tour of the city's major tourist attractions.

Your sightseeing tour will start in downtown Thimphu with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten. Built in memory of the third king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is known for introducing modern reforms and policies in the country, the stupa is surrounded by a grassy lawn and a beautiful garden. The stunning white chorten is divided into three floors. On each floor, there are four shrines filled with statues, scroll paintings and pictures dedicated to the wrathful Buddhist deities, the king, and the revered lamas. There are also sacred manuscripts kept inside the chorten. This is a popular pilgrimage site in the center of the city frequented by the public, and one can observe the locals while visiting this place.

The next stop is the Tashichho Dzong, a grand fortress complex that houses the royal palaces of Bhutan's royal family and government offices. The throne room of the present king of Bhutan is located inside the Tashichho Dzong.

Later, head to Kuensel Phodrang Hill, where Bhutan's largest statue of Lord Buddha sits. This bronze statue of the sitting Buddha rises to a height of 54 meters. It is one of the largest statues of Lord Buddha in the world. This imposing statue has 125,000 smaller statues kept inside. Looking out towards the Thimphu Valley, the grand statue of Sakyamuni Buddha was built to usher in world peace and harmony and to dispel negative energies. After enjoying the panoramic views of Thimphu city and the mountains, it's time to head to the next site, the Royal Takin Preserve.

The Motithang Takin Preserve is home to a large population of Takins, the national animal of Bhutan. This unique creature, with the snout of a moose and the body of a buffalo, is found only in some part of the eastern Himalayas. The Takin Preserve protects and preserves the habitat of this wonderful creature.

Afterward, you will drive down to the city and visit a handmade paper factory, where you will get to observe the ancient art of paper making and also try your hand at traditional paper making. Bhutanese handmade paper, known as Dehsho, is made from the bark of Daphne and Dekap trees. These traditional papers were and are still used by monks to write Buddhist scriptures. Flowers, dried chilies, and leaves are added to the paper mixture to add color and texture. You can choose an ingredient of your choice to make your own customized paper.

Later, return to your hotel and take a rest.

Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 2
Hike to Dodeydra Monastery (3,000 m/9,842 ft) and stay overnight at the monastery - 2 to 3 hours (4 km) hike

Modeyra Monastery Dodeyra Monastery

Today you will leave the city and hike to Dodeydra Monastery. The monastery lies on a cliff on a verdant mountain side. The trail to the monastery is well maintained, and locals have built several resting sheds en route for hikers to rest. There are two trails that lead to the monastery, and your guide will choose the one that is right for you. The first half of the hike involves a steep ascent and can be really exhausting. However, the crisp mountain air and the incredible views will encourage you to move along.

Depending on your pace, you can reach the monastery in about two or three hours. It may take longer if you walk slowly and take more breaks in between. Instead of hurrying to your destination, were commend you walk slowly and savor the views because it's the stunning views that make this hike so special.

After reaching the monastery, the monks will lead you to a guest room where you can leave your things. You can spend the rest of the day with the monks, exploring the monastery and its surrounding area, and meditating alone or with the monks. You can also attend the evening prayer with the monks and observe the rituals.

The Dodeydra Monastery was built in the eighteenth century by the thirteenth Chief Abbot of Bhutan, JeKhenpo Yanten Thaye. As per a local legend, a tert on, or Buddhist treasure containing the sacred teachings of Lord Buddha, is hidden on the mountain where the monastery stands. Built on the face of a mountain on a split rock, the monastery is home to about one hundred and eighty monks.

The monastery has two altars containing statues of past and future Buddhas, colorful murals, and the self-created image of Dorje Phagmo (the supreme queen of all dakinis) on the wall. There's a small museum on the site that showcases several Buddhist relics and religious artifacts. A rock nearby has a spring, which is believed to have healing properties. You can also visit a hermitage, which is said to be more than a thousand years old. This hermitage was used by monks for as long as twelve years to meditate.

Overnight in Dodeydra Monastery, Thimphu.

Day 3
Drive to Paro and hike to Bumdra Monastery (3,800 m/1,2467 ft) with overnight camping – 1 hour (54 km) drive and 4 to 5 hours (11 km) hike

Bumdra Monastery Bumdra Monastery

Wake up early in the morning and take part in the morning prayers at the monastery. Later, bid goodbye to the monks and hike down to the main highway. The descent takes around 30 minutes. Our vehicle will be waiting for you on the highway. Get in the vehicle and head towards the main city. You can have some refreshments before continuing your journey towards Paro. This is yet another action-packed day for you.

On reaching Paro, you will undertake an amazing trek to Bumdra. Also known as the Trek of the Thousand Dakinis, the trek takes you through a pristine trail covered with lush vegetation. Your destination is Bumdra Monastery, where it is believed Guru Rimpoche meditated and celestial beings, or dakinis, came to serve him. The trailhead of the Bumdra trek lies in Sangchhoekhar Monastery, about twelve kilometers from the main city. The trail goes through a pristine forest of blue pine, fir, and cedar.

The route is mostly uphill, with some gentle flat sections. A section of the trail passes through a forest where a wildfire ravaged the vegetation a few years ago. You can still see the charred and blackened remains of the trees standing, a grim reminder of how devastating wildfires can be.

After an exhausting uphill climb of about three hours, you will arrive at Choesung Tsi Gompa, a small monastery with a picturesque lookout point from where you can see the Paro Valley and the mountains. This is your lunch stop. The staff from the Bumdra campsite will be waiting for you with a hot, packed lunch. After you reach the lookout point, lunch will be served. Enjoy your meal while soaking in the amazing views. After lunch, you can explore the Choesung Tsi Gompa and interact with the caretaker monk, who lives alone at the gompa with his cats and dogs. After resting for a while, proceed toward the Bumdra campsite.

After a stiff ascent past a grassy trail, you will finally reach Bumdra Campsite. Located below the Bumdra Monastery, a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site, the campsite at Bumdra is located in a grassy pasture with open views of the valleys and mountains.

The campsite is equipped with spacious sleeping tents (that can with stand snow as well as rain), a dining tent, a kitchen tent, and western-style toilets. The sleeping tents have comfortable beds with warm blankets and pillows that will keep you cozy and comfortable throughout the night. The view from the campsite is just fantastic, and you can savor views of rolling verdant hills and mountains. Lying on a remote site in the midst of nature, you can feel yourself at one with nature here. This is also a powerful and sacred site for meditation.

The Bumdra Monastery lies directly above the campsite. Dating back to the seventeenth century, the monastery holds the meditation cave of Padmasambhava or the Second Buddha. It is said that while he was meditating, one hundred thousand dakinis (celestial beings or female angels) descended from the sky, served him food, and sang for him. Close to the cave where he meditated one can see the footprints of the dakinis on the rocks. This is a sacred pilgrimage site for Buddhists, and one can encounter locals making their pilgrimage hike on this route.

If you have the energy, you can visit the monastery and the viewpoint at the top after reaching the campsite, or you can explore it the next day. The hike (to and fro) takes around two hours.

There are comfortable chairs, and you can sit outside your tent and enjoy the mesmerizing sunset views. Dinner will be served in the dining tent. After dinner, enjoy a restful night. There's no electrical outlet at the campsite, so remember to carry your power bank and enough batteries with you to charge your mobile and camera.

Overnight in a Camp in Bumdra.

Day 4
Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery (3,120 m/10,232 ft), evening enjoy a Hot Stone Bath at Tshering Farm House - 3 to 4 hours (9km) hike

Tiger-nest-monastery Tiger Nest Monastery

If you skipped the hike to Bumdra Monastery yesterday, you can complete it today. The trail to the monastery takes you on a steep incline directly above the campsite. Built on the face of a steep cliff, the Bumdra monastery is believed to have powerful energy as it was the meditation cave of Guru Rimpoche or Padmasambhava. The footprints of the dakinis can be seen on the rocks close to the cave. You can enter the monastery if a caretaker monk is present. You can light a butter lamp and meditate for a while in this sacred space.

After spending some quiet time, you can either hike to the top of the hill (4130 m/13,549 ft), where a sky burial site is situated or head down back to the campsite. The views from the top as well as from the trail are stunning. You can see the snowcapped Jomolhari mountain and other Himalayan peaks in the distance.

After a hearty breakfast at the campsite, you can make your descent down the mountain and follow the trail to another famous destination in Paro, the Taktsang Monastery, or Tiger's Nest.

The trail to Tiger's Nest goes downhill all the way. The route goes past a pristine forest, and you can enjoy your walk while listening to the cheerful songs of the birds. On the halfway point, there's a small monastery, which you can visit. After leaving the monastery, you will take the downward path again and walk through a dangerous track built on the side of a rocky cliff. The narrow path has a steep drop-off. However, for the safety of the trekkers, a metal railing has been built on the exposed side. While the path at this point is narrow and risky, the views are breathtaking. You can see the Taktasng Monastery below, jutting through the rocky cliff. It is a sight that you will cherish long after your trip is over.

The narrow path winds down and joins the trail leading to the monastery. Follow the path and walk down and again up the concrete steps leading to the gompa. At the entrance of the monastery, you will have to leave your mobile phone and camera in a locker, as photography is not allowed inside the monastery.

The Taktsang Monastery is built around the cave where Padmasambhava meditated after arriving in Bhutan for the first time. He flew to Bhutan on the back of a flying tigress. That's why this place is known as 'Tiger's Nest'. This is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Bhutan. Bhutanese believe that one should visit this pilgrimage site at least once in one's lifetime.

Inside the monastery are a chapel and the cave where Guru Rimpoche meditated. The monastery also holds the living quarters of the monks who reside there. After spending some quiet time in prayer and meditation, you will exit the monastery and head down to the base of the hill. En route, you can stop at the Taktsang Caféteria and have some refreshments. The monastery looks amazing from the cafeteria, and you can click on some more photos.

Later, walk down a verdant forest and reach the car park, where our driver will be waiting for you. Walking downhill can be really hard on your knees, ankles, and calves, so to alleviate your muscle pain, your guide will take you to Tshering Farm, a local homestead, where you can enjoy a relaxing soak in the traditional hot stone bath.

The hot stone bath is made up of a stone or wooden bathtub where the water is heated using hot river stones roasted on a woodfire. The bath water also contains medicinal herbs that detoxify your body and ease muscle pain. After a relaxing soak, you will get ready again and drive towards Paro. Check-in at your hotel and enjoy a comfortable sleep at your hotel.

Overnight in Paro.

Day 5
Final Departure

After spending an amazing four days, it's time to bid goodbye to Bhutan. Your 'Hidden Secret of Bhutan-Overnight at Monastery with Monks and Tented Camp' tour finally comes to an end. Our representative and driver will drop you off at the international airport on time to catch your flight.

If you want to spend more time in the Himalayas, please let us know. We organize trips and treks to the mountain regions of Nepal and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Our travel consultant will aid you in planning yet another dream trip for you.

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