The West to East Traverse
The West to East Traverse
Duration 13 nights 14 days
Best Time Mar – May & Sep - Dec

An exciting traverse passing from picture perfect west via the hidden valley of Phobjikha into the central heartland of Bumthang before descending to the little discovered and rural eastern side and finally emerging in India, near Guwahati.

    ARRIVE IN PARO (2200 M)

    Day 1: ARRIVE IN PARO (2200 M)

    Reach Paro by a morning flight. On arrival at the airport our guide will meet you and you are transferred to Thimphu. Post lunch visit the National Museum, the first of its kind with an eclectic collection ranging from intriguing specimens of natural history to the finest works of Bhutanese Art. From here walk to the 17 century Paro Dzong (Fortress) and continue walking through the oldest wooden bridge still in use. Evening stroll in old Paro town and peep into some local handicrafts stores.

    Explore PARO

    Day 2: Explore PARO

    Morning hike up to Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang, the most revered temple in the country that literally hangs on a granite cliff overlooking Paro Valley. Afternoon on your way back, you could spend some time doing archery in the village. Alternatively you could visit Kichu Lhakhang - one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the country, and the historic Drukgyal Dzong. Evening at leisure in Paro.

    PARO – THIMPHU (2350 M) 51 km / 1 ½ hrs

    Day 3: PARO – THIMPHU (2350 M) 51 km / 1 ½ hrs

    Leave after a leisurely breakfast and drive to Thimphu. Post lunch visit the Handmade Paper Mill, School of Arts and Crafts where students learn 13 different arts used predominantly in Bhutan. Also visit the Bhutan Postal Museum stroll and stroll around Thimphu.



    Morning visit the Weekend Market (Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday). Later drive to the Memorial Chorten (temple) built in memory of the late 3rd King, see Tashicho Dzong, Changangkha Lhakhang - the oldest temple in the valley, the Motithang Takin Preserve where the national animal Takin are kept, the Zilukha Nunnery and Buddha Point – an immense golden statue of the Sakhyamuni Buddha located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park. 

    THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (1250 M) 85 kms / 3 hrs

    Day 5: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (1250 M) 85 kms / 3 hrs

    Drive over Dochu La pass (3010 M). In clear weather one can enjoy a spectacular view of the highest mountains of Bhutan stretching over a 180 degrees arc. Take a break, have some tea and walk around the newly built 108 stupas. From here we start descending to the sub tropical valley of Punakha with completely different vegetation. Afternoon visit the Souvenir Making Center and the Punakha Dzong (fortress) which houses the most elaborate temple in the country. A short walk from the Dzong will bring you to a suspension bridge spanning the river, a walk across is not to be missed.

    PUNAKHA - PHOBJIKHA (2900 M) 82 km / 3 hrs

    Day 6: PUNAKHA - PHOBJIKHA (2900 M) 82 km / 3 hrs

    Check out of the hotel and do a short walk through fields to Chimi Lhakhang - the temple of fertility associated with religious art of the phallus. Then drive via Wangdi and over the Lawa La pass to reach the valley of black necked cranes and rhododendron, Phobjikha, often called as Gangtey too. If visiting mid March – early May you will be greeted with beautiful rhododendron blooms and in winter you will see the rare Black Necked Cranes. Later visit Gangtey Gompa and walk on the exquisite Gangtey Nature Trail.

    PHOBJIKHA – TRONGSA (2200 M) 166 km / 6 - 7 hrs

    Day 7: PHOBJIKHA – TRONGSA (2200 M) 166 km / 6 - 7 hrs

    Leave after breakfast drive back over Lawa La and then cross the Black Mountain Range over Pele La pass – 3300 M, and enter Central Bhutan, the cultural heartland of this Himalayan kingdom. Reach Trongsa by early evening. Rest of the day at leisure.

    TRONGSA – JAKAR (2650 M) 66 km / 2 ½ hrs

    Day 8: TRONGSA – JAKAR (2650 M) 66 km / 2 ½ hrs

    Morning walk through the single lane town of Trongsa and visit the majestic Trongsa Dzong (Fortress), the home of the royals and the largest as well. Later visit the Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which houses a unique museum. Continue your drive, crossing over Yotong La pass – 3425 M and Kiki La pass – 2860 M to finally descend to Bumthang Valley. En route just before arriving in Jakar, stop in Chumi Valley at the weaving center by the roadside and see “Yatha” (wool weaving) which Bumthang is famous for. Evening at leisure in Jakar.



    Post breakfast visit Jampay Lakhang, one of the first Buddhist temples built in the country, admire the architecture that dates back to the 7th Century. This is the home of the naked dance that is still performed annually. Visit Kurjey Lakhang, one of the country’s holiest temples and the site where Bhutan’s royals are cremated. Then cross the suspension bridge and visit the village of Parar and Tamshing; you can drive there as well. Later visit the Swiss Farm, also stroll around in Jakar town and try some local pancake and noodles.

    JAKAR – MONGAR (1600 M) 198 km / 7 - 8 hrs

    Day 10: JAKAR – MONGAR (1600 M) 198 km / 7 - 8 hrs

    This long but beautiful drive east from Jakar to Mongar passes through Ura village before crossing Thrumshing La pass (3800 M) and spectacular mountain vistas to emerge at Sengor village. Then the road descends through ever changing vegetation, until it hits the lowest point in Kuri Zampa at 570 M above the sea level. From here we ascend to the town of Mongar located on the hillside. It is a long drive, but nonetheless a scenic one, with opportunity to see wide varieties of flora and fauna.

    MONGAR – TRASHIGANG (1550 M) 90 km / 4 hrs

    Day 11: MONGAR – TRASHIGANG (1550 M) 90 km / 4 hrs

    Leave after a leisurely breakfast and drive to Trashigang. After lunch visit the local Dzong and stroll around the town.

    TRASHIGANG – excursion to Tashiyangtse

    Day 12: TRASHIGANG – excursion to Tashiyangtse

    Drive to Tashiyangtse, visiting Gomkora temple, Doksum village along the way. In Tashiyangtse, visit the Traditional Art School, Chorten Kora and stroll around this wonderfully quaint & untouched small town. Drive back to Trashigang for overnight stay.

    TRASHIGANG – SAMDRUP JONGKHAR (450 M) 180 km / 6 hrs

    Day 13: TRASHIGANG – SAMDRUP JONGKHAR (450 M) 180 km / 6 hrs

    Another long but also beautiful drive that goes past many villages & towns as you descend through the foothills and arrive at the small frontier town of Samdrup Jongkhar where you stay the night.

    SAMDRUP JONGKHAR – Exit Bhutan to GUWAHATI AIRPORT 110 km / 3 hrs – FLY OUT

    Day 14: SAMDRUP JONGKHAR – Exit Bhutan to GUWAHATI AIRPORT 110 km / 3 hrs – FLY OUT

    Leave after breakfast and get driven across the international border to be dropped at Guwahati Airport in time to board a late afternoon return flight.
    Please note: you could spend the day in Guwahati, do some sightseeing, enjoy a sunset/sundown cruise on the Brahmaputra, stay overnight and take a flight out the next day.

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