Bumthang Cultural Trek
Duration: Three days, Max. Elevation: 3,360m
Highest Camp: 2,800m
Standard: Easy to medium
Best Seasons: March to May & September to November
Start: Toktu Zampa (Bumthang)
Finish: Mesithang (Bumthang)
The Bumthang Cultural Trek. Bumthang is well known as one of the main cultural centres of Bhutan and there are many opportunities to visit temples and small Bhutanese villages along the trek route. Although the trek is on the easy side, it involves a few major climbs like the one up to Pephe La with an ascent of about 500 m.
Day 1: Toktu Zampa – Ngang Lhakhang (Distance 12km, four to five hours, 170m ascent, camp altitude 2,800m). The route follows the Chamkhar Chu, a river known for trout. Stop for lunch at Thangbi Lhakhang. From here the trek enters the Ngang Yul (Land of the Swan) at the centre of which lies the Ngang Lhakhang (Swan Temple). In by-gone days, the valley was populated by swans, and hence the name Ngang Yul.
Day 2: Ngang Lhakhang – Tahung (Distance 16km, six hours, 750m ascent, 670m descent, camp altitude 2,720m). The day starts out across meadows and with the view of the valley below. Then you climb gradually to Phephe La (3,360m), the highest point of the trek route. The trail passes through beautiful forested areas where many stops can be made to enjoy the natural beauty of the place. The path leads you downhill into a broad valley. Amongst several possible camping places the most likely one is uphill behind the village of Tahung.
Day 3: Tahung – Mesithang (Distance 16km, four to five hours, 230m descent). The trail follows the Tang Chu, another trout-filled river. On the bank of the river is the Tang Rimpoche’s Lhakhang. The trek will pass the Mebar Tsho (Flaming Lake) and lead you to Tang Ugyen Choling. Ugyen Choling Palace houses one of the most interesting museums of Bhutan. From here you will soon reach the road head.