Bhutan – Haa Valley and Tiger Nest Bumdra Trek With Talo Festival
Bhutan – the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ - perched among the peaks of Eastern Himalayas has been described as the last Shangri-La. The tiny kingdom (second least populous nation in South Asia) shrouded in centuries of mystery is only beginning to open up in recent years to welcome more visitors. Landlocked, it is bordered by the Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and the Indian states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh to the west and south. Being a Buddhist kingdom, it is well known for its monasteries and fortresses (or dzongs) and offers a fascinating insight into Buddhist culture. Coupled with its dramatic Himalayan landscapes range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys, Bhutan feels like a tranquil place, where time has stood still amidst landscapes of astounding and untouched beauty.
One of the best ways to experience Bhutan is to trek through one of its ancient routes or picturesque mountain ranges. The first road in Bhutan was built only in the early 70s. Until then people travelled along trails for over hundreds of years. Till today, some parts of Bhutan are still days away from the nearest road. Many treks in Bhutan are along these ancient routes in the Himalayas mountain ranges.
Combining Two Short and Scenic Trek - Haa Valley and Tiger Nest Bumdra Trek Talo Festival
We have combined two short and scenic Trek - Haa Valley and Tiger Nest Bumdra Trek with Talo Festival. The trek and festival itinerary is an unique way of experiencing the beautiful nature and rich culture of Bhutan.
About Talo Festival
Talo Tshechu is a yearly 3 days festival that takes place at the Talo Monastery in the beautiful valley of Punakha.
Tshechu are annual religious Bhutanese festivals held in each district or dzongkhag of Bhutan on the 10th day of a month of the lunar Tibetan calendar. It celebrates the Birth Anniversary of Guru Rimpoche, the second Buddha. Tshechu are the grandest celebration and an important occasion for family reunion in each district. Villagers take time off from work and relatives living far away return home to be a part of the celebration. It is also a time for the local families, to visit the monastery together, to offer prayers and receive blessings from the gods and local deities, for a successful year.
During the festival, there are both mask dances by the Buddhist Monks and melodies and dance from the local villagers. All the villagers wear their best dresses to visit the monastery to witness the festival and enjoy delightful dinner at home.
About The Trek
Haa Valley Trek
Haa Valley, with its close proximity to Paro, is fast gaining popularity with tourists. Most tourists visit Haa Valley on a day trip and missed out on the scenic mountain trek.
Our Haa Valley Trek is part of the ‘Haa Planters’ Trail’. In ancient times, this trail was used by the rice planters of Haa Valley to travel to Paro, on foot, to help the people of Paro plant and harvest rice.
The 2 days beautiful short trek follows part of the mountain trail used by the rice planters in ancient time that connects Haa Valley and Paro Valley. It goes to Sagala Pass (3550m) and ends at Drukgyel (2510m). The trail traverses through beautiful meadows, across virgin forests rich in flora and fauna, with picturesque view of the Haa Valley and quaint villages. One of the main highlights of the trek is the absolutely stunning panoramic view of Mt Jhomolhari (7314m) and Jitchu Drake (6989m) on Sagala Pass (3550m).
Day 1 is a short day of around 3-4 hours of trekking. The trek starts slightly above Haa Valley (2670m), at Talung village (2740m), following a gradual uphill ascend to the campsite at Khadey Gom (3400m). Day 2 is a slightly longer trekking days of around 5-6 hours. The trail climbs up (30-40mins) to Sagala Pass (3550m), before a downhill descend to Dongney Tsho and Drukgyel. Take a short drive to visit Drukgyel Dzong and drive to Paro.
Also called the ‘The Trek of the Thousand Dakinis’ (celestial female beings), the 2 days Bumdra Trek has much to look forward to. It covers 2 spectacular high altitude monasteries and several temples. One of the monasteries is the famous Tiger Nest Monastery (Taktshang Goemba/3120m). The trek not only include a visit to Tiger Nest Monastery (Taktshang Goemba/3120m), but offer views of the iconic monastery from the top, away from the usual tourist route. The next monastery is the more remote and less visited Bumdra Monastery (Cave of a Thousand Prayers/3900m). Surrounded by a wide meadow, the beautiful surrounding of Bumdra Monastery serves as an ideal camping ground for the 2 days trek.
Day 1 of the trek starts at Sang Choekor Buddhist College (2800m). The trail climbs gradually uphill, through blue pine and juniper forests onto a ridge, for about 2-2.5 hours to reach Chhoe Chhoe Tse Lhakhang temple (3640m). The wooden seats near the temple, with charming views of Paro Valley down below, serves as a good lunch point. From the temple, it is another 1 hour climb up, through another forested trail, that eventually opens up to a vast meadow filled with find many chortens and prayer flags, Bumdrak Lhakhang (3900m) is located nearby.
Day 2 trek is a mostly downhill descend of around 3 hours, with fantastic views down to Tiger Nest Monastery (Taktshang Goemba) and passing numerous temples, like Ugyen Tshemo Lhakhang (3300m) and Zangto Pelri Lhakhang (3280m). From the iconic Tiger Nest Monastery, continue to descend to the park at Ramthangkha and drive to Thimphu.
There are four seasons in Bhutan. The best seasons to visit Bhutan for trekking are spring (mid March to June) and autumn (mid September to early December). In winter, the temperature in higher altitudes becomes very low and snowfall starts. July to early September is the monsoon season when gloomy sky and heavy rain is the typical daily weather pattern.
Autumn (mid September to early December): This is the most popular time for trekking in Bhutan. The sky is often clear blue with barely a wisp of cloud. Though the temperatures can be cold in the higher areas of the mountains, there is little or no snow in most places yet.
Spring (mid March to June): While the spring season may not yet be ideal for trekking in the higher mountains (above 5000m), it is the perfect time for the lower altitude treks, such as the Druk Path Trek. The spring conditions are pleasant for trekking, with cool temperatures and rhododendrons blooming across the hillsides.
No trekking experience is required. Anyone with a good level of fitness can complete this trek. The trek cover 2 of the most scenic short treks in Bhutan in 4 days. The Haa Valley trek will bring you to Sagala Pass (3550m), while the Bumdra Trek covers 2 spectacular high altitude monasteries and several temples, all at above 3000m. The highest is Bumdrak Lhakhang (3900m). You will be trekking for 4 days with a 5-6kg backpack load in undulating mountain terrain and sleeping for 2 nights at above 3000m. Shortest day is around 3-4 hours and longest day is around 5-6 hours.
Equipment and Gear
You will need thermal base layers, a fleece jacket and an outer shell jacket. When at the campsite and after sundown, a down jacket will help keep you warm. A down sleeping bag is also needed and provided.
A packing list will be provided to all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page to learn about the layering system and choose the right gear/equipment for your trek.
- The Haa Valley and Tiger Nest Bumdra Trek With Talo Festival is part of our Start Trekking initiative. Through Start Trekking, we hope to encourage more people to take up trekking as a way to keep fit and embrace the great outdoors.
- Group size: 10-16 people
- Group size 7-9 people: $5500 per person
- You can also form a private group. For enquiry, send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Day||Description||Meals||Altitude at Rest Point|
|Day 1||Arrive Paro||-/-/D||2200m|
|Day 2||Acclimatization Day with visit to Chele La pass (3800m. Transfer to Haa Valley||B/L/D||2320m|
|Day 3-4||Haa Valley Trek. Day 4 drive to Paro for overnight.||B/L/D||Khadey Gom-3400m
|Day 5-6||Bumdra Trek. Day 6 drive to Thimphu for overnight.||B/L/D||Bumdra -3800m
|Day 7||Drive to Punakha||B/L/D||1250m|
|Day 8||Talo Festival||B/L/D||1250m|
|Day 9||Drive to Paro||B/L/D||2200m|
|Day 10||Depart Paro||B/-/-|
- Return SIN/PRO/SIN air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
- Bhutan tourist visa fee
- Return airport transfer and all land transfer as in itinerary
- All sightseeing and entrance fees
- Meals as indicated in itinerary
- Twin/Trip sharing accommodation in standard local hotels outside of trek and in tents during trek
- Trek gear: Sleeping mats and bags, sleeping tents, dining tents, toilet tents and dinning tables and chairs
- Trek support: Trekking guide, assistant trekking guide and horses for portage support
- Trek leader from Singapore (experience in trek leading and first aid trained)
- Boiled drinking water, tea and coffee during meals on trek
- Permits & fees: Trekking permit fee
- Comprehensive first aid kit carried by guide
- International air tickets for other routes, except SIN/PRO/SIN
- Single Supplement
- Meals not indicated in itinerary
- All tipping
- Personal porters
- Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover travel agent insolvency and trekking up to 5000m)
- Personal expenses like shopping, laundry etc
- Personal travel & trekking gear – warm clothing, shoes, backpacks etc
- Compensation for damaged or lost of personal items (eg: climbing/trekking gear and equipment, cameras and any valuable items etc)
- Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
- Any expenses including accommodation, meals & transfer outside the stipulated trek/climb itinerary – i.e. any person leaving the group for personal travel, illness/injury or any form of extension of stay
1. Trip briefing and information kit
2. Gear list and gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Training guideline kit
4. Rope skill workshop (For climbs that require rope up and/or fixed rope skill)
Our Local Trek Operator
We carefully select and establish strong working relationship with our local trek operator to ensure safe participation by everyone.
Our local climbing guides have extensive experience in guiding treks in all regions in Bhutan, possess intimate knowledge of the local surroundings, conditions and culture. They carry a comprehensive first aid kit for emergency purpose.
Training: Regardless of your level of fitness and physical conditions, it is advisable to train prior to embarking on a trekking or mountain climbing trip.
Pure cardiovascular fitness is NOT enough.
Focus your training effort in the following areas, assuming that you are in good health and injury-free:
- Climbing conditioning – stairs and load training.
- Cardio training - Jogging/running and interval training like CrossFit or HIIT.
- Strength training for the lower body, shoulder, back and core
- Flexibility training - eg: Yoga and stretching exercises
A good two-three months of training would be a good preparation for this trek.
A recommended training guide specific to the trek or climb will be given to you upon signing up.
Refer to our Grading chart for an overview on the technical difficulty and fitness required for this trek.
Refer to our Training Guide for tips on trekking and mountain climbing training.