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Call us: +44 (0) 1453 844400Email us: info@mountainkingdoms.com

Worldwide Small Group and Tailor Made Adventure Travel

What’s included

  • The services of Sue Lawty as trip leader
  • Local Bhutanese English-speaking guide and driver to accompany group throughout.
  • Bhutan visa and Bhutan departure tax
  • Good standard accommodation in Delhi and Bhutan, with meals as indicated in itinerary, on twin share...

Weavers' Trail, Bhutan

Walking & Trekking

Bhutan | Walking & Trekking

Weavers' Trail, Bhutan New
  • Grade:
    • ?
      Gentle

      Suitable for people who enjoy easy-paced walks or exploring the countryside on foot.

      Find out more...

    Gentle

  • Duration: 21 days from the UK
  • Walks on: 7 days

Flight inclusive from £6525, Land only from £5950

Visit the weavers of Bhutan in the company of renowned textile artist Sue Lawty on a fascinating journey across the kingdom.

Highlights

  • Experience first-hand the unique textile traditions of Bhutan in the company of Sue Lawty, one of Britainâs foremost textile artists
  • Meet local weavers and learn about the rich Bhutanese culture of spinning and weaving
  • Visit small villages and stay in homestay accommodation to experience life with a Bhutanese family
  • See Bhutanâs cultural highlights and enjoy walks in the beautiful Bhutanese countryside
  • Join the revelries at a colourful local festival

Reviews

I was surprised by the high standard of most of the hotels. The office staff were very helpful especially with my phone calls and All the pre-trip info was excellent and very helpful.

Mrs P P, West Yorks

Next

At the eastern end of the mighty Himalaya lies the tiny Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan. This traditional nation, without doubt, produces the finest woven fabrics to be found in the Himalayan region. Weaving is an ancient art in Bhutan and its textiles are an integral part of its culture and heritage and are unique for their diversity and sophistication. With skills handed down from generation to generation and from family to family, weaving in Bhutan is today an art form that is representative of the very heart of the country.

Sue Lawty led our first 'Weavers Trail' in 1995 crossing the country from west to east. Our latest itinerary traces a similar route, travelling through the cultural heartlands to the lesser-known east of the country. On the way, there are visits t, among others, the raw silk 'bura' weavers in the remote village of Radi, the kishuthara weavers of Lhuntse district and Khoma village and the ‘yathra ‘ weavers of Bumthang. In addition you will be introduced to other regional traditions of silk, cotton, wool, yak wool and nettle weaving and further crafts such as pottery and paper making, woodcarving and painting and the making of wonderful baskets.

This unique trip has been designed to combine first hand experiences of weaving, visits to weavers in their own homes and to the important textiles centres of the kingdom. You will have opportunity to see all the processes involved in producing textiles, dyeing, spinning and weaving as well as the different uses for these textiles, such as in day to day wear of Bhutanese men and women and the rich textiles used for festival attire and religious costumes. This in-depth, specialist tour weaves together a colourful tapestry of textiles, history, rich cultural heritage and stunning landscapes. In addition you will visit some of the most iconic temples, monasteries and dzongs of the kingdom including beautiful Punakha Dzong and iconic Taktsang Monastery and you will have the opportunity to take some lovely walks through picturesque countryside and to more isolated villages. An additional attraction is the opportunity to stay with local families in Khoma Village and Ura where you will learn about day-to-day life in rural Bhutan. You will also enjoy visits to two colourful festivals - a real highlight of any trip to the Thunder Dragon Kingdom.


At a glance

Grade:

Gentle

Duration: 21 days from the UK

Walks on: 7 days

Max. Altitude: 3,750m/12,303ft, Thrumshing La, Day 13

Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 4 clients

Maximum group size: 12

Accommodation types: Hotels, Homestays

Festival:

Attends the Punakha Tsechu & Tangsibi Mani Tsechu

Meal arrangements: 19 x breakfasts, 17 x lunches, 17 x dinners.

Itinerary overview
Day Activity
1-3 Fly to Delhi. Sightseeing. Fly to Paro in Bhutan. Visit National Museum.
4 Sightseeing in the Paro Valley. Walk to visit Taktsang Monastery.
5 Drive to Thimphu. Visit the giant Buddha statue and paper factory.  
7 Walk from Punakha Dzong with lunch in a homestay. Attend the Punakha Tsechu in the afternoon. 
8-9 Drive to Gangtey. Walk and visit Black-necked Crane Museum. Drive to Trongsa.
10 Drive to Zugney to visit weavers. Drive to Tharpaling Monastery. Walk and see other temples. Drive to Jakar.
11 Walk and further sightseeing and in Jakar area. Drive to near Ura and walk to homestay in the village.
12 Attend the Tangsibi Mani Festival.
13-14 Drive to Autsho and continue to Khoma weaving village. Observe pottery and weaving demonstrations. Walk and stay in a homestay in Khoma.
15 Visit Dungkhar and return to homestay.
16-18 Drive to Mongar via Lhuenstse Dzong and Khaine Lakhang. Sightseeing in Mongar. Drive to Trashigang. Sightseeing, walks and visits to village weavers.
19 Drive to Samdrup Jongkhar with stop at the weaving centre of Khaling en route.
20-21 Drive to Guwahati. Fly to Delhi. Overnight Delhi. Fly to UK.
Leader: Sue Lawty - Artist

Sue is one of Britain’s finest artists. Alongside other mediums, Sue has worked with textiles all her life and has exhibited extensively across the world. She is a tutor and visiting lecturer and has travelled on ‘weaving journeys’ to Bhutan, Morocco, America, Australia, India, Nepal and Poland

Sue held a year long Residency at the V&A in London and has been awarded prestigious Artist Research Fellowships at both the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC and the Faculty of the Environment, University of Leeds. She was recently invited to take up a significant three month international artist residency in Stockholm.

Sue is an accomplished fell runner and mountain trekker and has led many successful trips for Mountain Kingdoms since she led our first Weavers’ Trail in Bhutan in 1995, later also leading treks to Dolpo and Zanskar. More recently, in 2019, she returned to Bhutan to lead our specialist Weavers’ Trail walking holiday and in 2022 and 2023 led the first departures of Colours of India.

Sue Lawty - Artist

Holiday Itinerary

Download a detailed itinerary
Day 1 - Fly London to Delhi

Fly overnight from London to Delhi.

Overnight icon Overnight: In flight

Day 2 - Arrive Delhi. Group transfer to hotel. Visit Delhi Crafts Museum.

On arrival in Delhi you will be transferred to your hotel located close to Delhi airport.

In the afternoon, if your flight schedule allows, you will have a trip to the Delhi Crafts Museum where artisans demonstrate traditional embroidery, weaving, carving and pottery making - a fantastic place to get an introduction to the textiles of India.

Overnight icon Overnight: Lemon Tree Premier Hotel, Delhi Airport

Day 3 - Fly to Paro. Sightseeing in the Paro Valley including the National Museum.

After breakfast you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Paro in Bhutan. You will meet your guide on arrival and head off for some sightseeing in Paro and its surrounding valley. The beautiful Paro Valley has always had a great strategic importance for Bhutan and was historically an important staging post on the trade routes with Tibet. The spectacular Paro Dzong, situated on a rocky outcrop above the Paro Chu and with views down both sides of the valley was historically one of Bhutan's strongest and most strategic fortresses. Before the rebuilding of the Tashichhodzong in Thimphu, it was also the seat of Bhutan's National Assembly.

You may begin your time in Paro with a visit the ancient and beautiful temple of Kyichu Lakhang which was one of 108 temples built by Songtsen Gampo, an important early Tibetan king, to pin down the Bon demon who was thought to hover over the whole of Tibet.

You will also visit the impressive Paro Dzong, one of the most important in the kingdom. Above the dzong is the ancient watchtower or Ta Dzong which houses the Bhutan National Museum and has a fantastic collection of Bhutanese treasures with displays including depictions of some of the wide range of Bhutan's history and culture and an impressive collection of ancient thangkas featuring Bhutan's important saints and teachers. You will also find some fearsome festival masks, a collection of religious statues, some early stone carvings and the original 14th century iron links from the nearby Tamchhog Bridge.

Overnight icon Overnight: Olathang Cottages Or Similar, Paro

Day 4 - Walk to Taktsang Monastery – the Tiger’s Nest. Sightseeing or time at leisure.

A short drive beyond Paro town takes you to the trail head for the walk up to the famous Tiger's Nest, Taktsang Monastery. The monastery is perched some 600m/2,000ft up on a cliff overlooking the valley and was said to be where the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tiger to defeat five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. It's a steep, uphill walk through woods of about 1½-2 hours, to reach a tea house (an ascent of 340m/1,115ft). Apart from offering welcome refreshment this tea house is one of the principle viewpoints of Taktsang, and those who prefer not to climb any further can relax here whilst others continue on. If there is a particular religious gathering or VIP visit in progress, you will not be able to enter the monastery but the further half an hour's ascent is well worth it in any case, as it brings you to another viewpoint directly across from Taktsang. If you are able to make a visit, the final section of the walk takes you from here steeply down 100m/330ft into the gorge that separates you from the monastery and then climbs back up again to reach the monastery gate.

Once you have walked back down you will have lunch and then the rest of the day can either be used to do any further sightseeing your guide suggests, or to rest at your hotel.

Overnight icon Overnight: Olathang Cottages Or Similar, Paro

Day 5 - Drive to Thimphu – 1-1½ hours. Visit the giant Buddha statue above the town and the paper factory.

This morning you will drive to Thimphu. The town of Thimphu enjoys an attractive valley location and is relatively small for a capital city although it has grown greatly in recent years. When you arrive in Thimphu you will drive up to see the large Buddha statue, perched above the town, this will give you excellent views and is a good way to orientate yourself to Thimphu and its surrounds.

Then you will see a traditional Bhutanese craft with a visit to the handmade paper workshop to observe the processes involved in making paper. The paper made here is based on materials unique to the Himalaya, the bark of the Daphne Papyri, which is found at altitudes of 3,000 feet and above, the bark of the Edgeworthia Papyri and various additional ingredients like flowers and leaves which add textures and patterns. There are some nice items made from handmade paper for sale here.

Overnight icon Overnight: Phuntso Pelri Hotel or Similar, Thimphu

Day 6 - Visit the Textile Museum in Thimphu. Drive to Punakha – 3 hours via the Dochu La Pass. Sightseeing.

First stop today will be Thimphu’s Textile Museum, which gives a good overview of Bhutan's textiles and weaving methods which differ quite substantially from region to region. Exhibits introduce the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and textiles made by both women and men.

Driving out of Thimphu you climb to cross the Dochu La Pass, 3,048m/10,000ft, a spot marked by 108 chortens. Here, weather permitting, you may take in a magnificent mountain vista. On clear days there are fabulous views of the eastern Himalaya from here, but this is a beautiful spot even on misty days. You then drive down through varied forest into the lush Punakha Valley.

There should be time to explore the town and do a little sightseeing after you’ve checked in to your hotel.

Overnight icon Overnight: Khuru Resort Or Similar, Punakha

Day 7 - Visit Punakha Dzong then walk along the river. Lunch at ‘Lotay’s homestay’. Attend the Punakha Tsechu in the afternoon.

Your day begins at fabulous Punakha Dzong, one of the most spectacular and important in the Kingdom. It is also one of the most beautiful, situated at the confluence of two rivers. In 1994 there was a major flood in the town which caused a lot of damage to the dzong, but it has now been beautifully renovated and is a real showcase for Bhutanese craftsmanship and painting. As the annual tsechu is in full swing (which you will attend later today), it will be very busy and full of life and colour.

Leaving the dzong for now you will enjoy a leisurely walk along the riverside before taking lunch at a delightful homestay owned by Lotay – an old friend of Mountain Kingdoms.

In the afternoon you return to the dzong to attend the tsechu. This is an annual festival introduced by the Zhabdrung to commemorate Bhutanese victories over the Tibetans. During the festival there will be masked dances and other enactments recalling the days when, in the absence of an army, men from the eight Tshogchens, or great village blocks of Thimphu came forward and managed to expel the Tibetan forces out of the country, ushering in a new-found internal peace and stability. Such festivals are great fun for visitors and locals alike giving the chance to attain religious merit, celebrate together and socialise.

Overnight icon Overnight: Khuru Resort Or Similar, Punakha

Day 8 - Drive to Gangtey – 3-3½ hours. Walk in the valley and visit the Black-necked Crane Information Centre.

After breakfast you make the journey to Gangtey. Leaving Punakha you drive down the valley to the town of Wangdiphodrang whose massive and important dzong unfortunately burnt down in 2012 and is now under reconstruction. You drive through the few houses which mark the former township of Wangdi and then drive up the beautiful, wooded valley of the Dang Chu into Gangtey.

Gangtey, also known as Phobjikha, is a beautiful glacial valley, wide, wooded and unspoilt. It is particularly famous as a major wintering ground for Black-necked Cranes, which arrive here late October and stay until early spring before heading back to their breeding grounds in Siberia. These birds are particularly respected in local culture and feature in local tradition as 'heavenly birds'. You will discover more about them at the Black-necked crane Information Centre which has some interesting displays on the ecology and wildlife of the valley as well as telescopes for observing birdlife.

In addition to its natural wonders, the valley boasts some intriguing myths and legends surrounding local events and places, including tales about two different types of yeti, a large one and a small variety, as well as many other interesting tales. A number of different walks are possible here and your guide will suggest a suitable one for your group.

Overnight icon Overnight: Yo Lo Koe Lodge, Gakiling Guest House or Similar

Day 9 - Drive to Trongsa – 4½-5 hours across the Pele La. Visit the town’s museum.

Today you make the drive from Gangtey to Trongsa which takes you over the Pele La Pass, 3,300m/10,825ft, where you will hopefully have fine mountain views.

As you near Trongsa you will see its splendid Dzong long before you reach it because the road takes you up a long side valley before eventually turning back to Trongsa town. Trongsa has an exceptionally dramatic dzong, the ancestral home of the royal family. Because of its important strategic location this was one of the most important dzongs in the country. Set above the dzong is the Ta Dzong, the watchtower, a lovely old building which has been recently really beautifully renovated and houses an excellent museum with several floors of royal memorabilia and sacred artefacts. The views from the roof are worth the climb.

Overnight icon Overnight: Yangkhil Resort Or Similar, Trongsa

Day 10 - Drive to Zugney for weaving workshop then continue to Tharpaling Monastery in Chumey. Walk from the monastery. Drive on to Jakar.

From Trongsa you drive across the Yotong La and towards Bumthang. The Bumthang region encompasses four major valleys and Jakar town where you will stay for two nights is in the main valley called Chokhor. The other valleys are the Ura Valley which is to the east, Tang valley which is slightly more off-the-beaten-track and the Chumey Valley. Your first stop is the village of Zugney, a famous centre for weaving where you will attend a workshop to see the industry that is an integral part of Bhutanese society. It is said that every home is equipped with a loom for weaving and young girls are proficient in the craft before they reach the age of twenty.

After the workshop, you drive up to the cluster of temples at Tharpaling - a sacred spot and place of meditation, founded by Geluwa Lonchen Rabchampa (1308-1363) during his self-exile from Tibet for ten years. Several picturesque monasteries dot the hillside above the Chumey Valley with views over Domkhar (Chumey) and Domkhar Summer Palace. After a picnic lunch, you start the 4 hour walk along an old trail back towards Chumey. The path starts out beneath craggy cliffs, from where it climbs fairly gently up to the ridge top and reaches the Shutre Sae Pass at 3,700m/12,139ft. Sited on the pass in a glass case is a statue of the founder of Tharpaling. From here the views are phenomenal - looking south you can see over the Chumey/Domkhar Valley with the Black Mountains in the distance. The other way you get fabulous and unexpected views over Jakar town with the airport runway and the dzong clearly seen far below. Beyond and further north, you can see towards the high mountains - perhaps even Mount Gangkar Punsum on a clear day. You descend from the pass in beautiful forest, nearly all downhill. On the higher reaches, you pass through pine, fir and rhododendron forest. Eventually you reach the road again at a huge area of prayer flags where you will meet your transport and head to your hotel in Jakar.

Overnight icon Overnight: Ugyenling Hotel Or Similar, Jakar

Day 11 - Morning ‘temple walk’ in the valley. Drive to the Ura La Pass, 3,573m/11,722ft, and walk down to the village.

There are several temples in the Jakar valley which you will explore on a gentle walk. Nearest to your hotel is the Jambay Lakhang, one of the country's oldest temples, built in the mid-7th century. Look out for the set of three steps in the main temple. The first step, now hidden below floor level, is said to represent the time of the past or 'historical' Buddha, the second, very well worn, step represents the present Buddha, whilst the third step above, is said to represent the age of the future Buddha. The point at which the second step is worn down to ground level is held to be the time when the world as we currently know it will end. From Jambay Lakhang you may walk along a farm track for 30 minutes to reach Kurjey Lakhang, a series of three large temples. The oldest of the temples here houses a rock indented with the body shape of Guru Rinpoche, whilst the most recent dates back just 30 years and was built by the Queen Mother, Ashi Kesang Wangchuck.

In the afternoon you leave Jakar township, driving out of the valley for 2-3 hours until you eventually reach a high pass above the village of Ura. This is the Ura La (also called the Shertung La) at 3,573m/11,722ft. From here, on a clear day, there are fantastic views of Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 7,550m/24,770ft. You leave your vehicle at the pass and walk down to Ura Village, a pleasant walk through a lovely forest. When you arrive in the extremely picturesque village, you will visit the small village gompa, dedicated to Guru Rimpoche, and will then stroll through the medieval looking streets to reach the Bangpa Heritage Farmstay, a large traditional farmhouse offering comfortable if simple accommodation.

Overnight icon Overnight: Bangpa Heritage Homestay, Ura

Day 12 - Attend the Tangsibi Mani Festival.

There is another opportunity to spend time at a Bhutanese festival today. The Tangsibi Mani Tsechu is held annually at the Dechenling Lhakang by the villagers of Tangsibi. As with other Bhutanese Buddhist festivals you will see sacred masked dances several of which are unique to this particular tsechu and are known as ‘treasure dances’. There will also be many locals, dressed in their best finest outfits, enjoying both the religious and social occasion. It is an excellent chance to see many beautiful, handwoven fabrics being worn.

Overnight icon Overnight: Bangpa Heritage Homestay, Ura

Day 13 - Drive to Autsho via Mongar across the Thrumshing La Pass, 3,750m/12,303ft – 7-8 hours.

Today you drive to Autsho, via Mongar. This is a long but stunning drive of many startling contrasts, crossing one of the highest road passes in Bhutan and passing through alpine scenery and sub-tropical forest and travelling one of the most dramatic and spectacular roads in the kingdom. Leaving Ura to rejoin the main highway, you enter the alpine landscapes of the Thrumshing La National Park, passing beneath overhanging cliffs to reach the Thrumshing La Pass, 3,750m/12,303ft, in about one hour. This is the highest point of your trip and, on a clear day, you may be able to see Bhutan's highest peak, Gangkar Punsum. From the pass the road starts its descent, in places hacked into the cliffs, with numerous streams and waterfalls crashing down. Leaving the national park the road emerges into the upper part of the Yong Khola into dense forest, where the scenery becomes lush and sub-tropical with huge trees, bamboos and ferns. This wilderness is one of the prime birdwatching areas in Bhutan. From the forest the road continues to descend through cultivated terraces to arrive at Kuri Zampa bridge, the lowest point of the drive at 570m/1,970ft, an astonishing descent of 3,200m/10,500ft from the pass. From the bridge, the road climbs up for a further hour through pine forests and cultivated fields to reach Mongar and it is then another hour or so north to reach Autsho.

Overnight icon Overnight: The Phayul Resort Or Similar, Autsho

Day 14 - Drive to the weaving village of Khoma - 1½ hours. Walk to Gonpa Karpo. Observe pottery and nettle weaving demonstrations. Drive to Homestay.

You will spend this morning at Khoma village which is famous for its intricate woven cloth called kishuthara and is said to be the birthplace of Bhutan's traditional weaving culture. The weavers here produce some of Bhutan's most sought after and expensive kishuthara textiles. Women throughout the kingdom wear kishuthara on special occasions such as wedding and at festivals. You will see the local woman working at their looms and also learn how they make vegetable dyes.

Later you will walk up to Gonpa Kharpo Lakhang, located on a ridge overlooking Lhuntse, and the centre of another area famous for its weaving. Today you will also see pottery being made and cloth woven from nettles. After your visit here you make the short drive to your homestay accommodation.

Overnight icon Overnight: Khoma Village Homestay

Day 15 - Excursion to Dungkhar Village (5-6 hours round trip). Visit palace and lunch with local noble family. Return to Khoma.

Today you will drive towards the border with Tibet, to spend time at the historic village of Dungkhar. In Dungkhar you will visit the impressive 16th century palace, the Jigme Namgyel Naktshang, the ancestral home of the Wangchuk Dynasty, the current royal family of Bhutan. Pema Lingpa's son Kuenga Wangpo settled in Dungkhar and it is through him that the royal family trace their ancestry to this village. Pema Lingpa was a frequent visitor to Dungkhar and built the Goeshog Pang Lhakhang, a temple found a two-hour walk up the valley. Jigme Namgyal, father of the first king, was born here in 1825.

The palace has a scenic backdrop of mountains and is of immense historical significance in the history of Bhutan. A visit here is a glimpse into Bhutan's magical historic past. In time it is hoped to renovate the palace and to turn it into a museum, and that tourism to the area will help to boost the incomes of local people.

You will have lunch in the home of a family of the local nobility. After your visit to Dungkhar you return to Khoma.

Overnight icon Overnight: Khoma Village Homestay

Day 16 - Drive to visit Lhuentse Dzong. Drive on to Tangmachu village to see giant Guru Rinpoche statue. Continue to Khaine Lhakhang temple. Walk through village to visit the temple. Continue to Mongar.

There is a lot to do today, so it is a good idea to try to have an early breakfast and leave in plenty of time. From Autsho you drive back to Mongar, then descend by zigzags all the way down into the valley and then up the valley north towards Lhuentse. You drive through some pretty impressive gorges with vertical cliffs, but before reaching Lhuenste, you turn off to the left and climb up into the zigzag road into the hills to visit Khaine Lhakhang. This is an incredibly important small temple, one of 108 built by King Songtsen Gampo in AD 659. It is said that three statues flew from here of their own accord to a temple in one of the main valleys of Bumthang. You can park at one end of the village and walk along the road to the temple.

From here is a relatively short drive to Tangchmachu. This is a small village off-the-beaten track and really quite remote, but is nevertheless, the site of the largest statue of Guru Rinpoche (height: 173ft). The statue was constructed by men instead of machines at the instigation of the venerable Khenpo Karpo Rinpoche. Its purpose is to bring peace and prosperity to the world and for the benefit of all sentient beings.

From here you drive to Lhuentse Dzong 1,409m/4,622ft, back down in the main valley. It sits fair and square on top of a steep hill commanding an impregnable position. It is the ancestral home of the kings of Bhutan and was originally established by Pema Lingpa's son, Kuenga Wanpo in 1543. The present Royal family trace their lineage directly to the important saint of Pema Lingpa. A small township straggles the mountainside below the dzong. There are a few shops and a bank, and some very rough lodging houses but no decent hotel so you drive back to Mongar. Mongar is not located in a valley as the towns of the west are, but is situated on the top of a hill. There are fine views over the Kuru Chu River and surrounding countryside.

Overnight icon Overnight: Wangchuk Hotel, Mongar or Similar

Day 17 - Walk through Mongar town. Drive to Dramatse Monastery – 2 hours, and then on to Trashigang -1 hour.

Mongar's dzong is relatively new and while the town has busy shops and bars and a bustling fruit and vegetable market there is otherwise not a lot else to see here. After a stroll through the town you leave to drive to Trashigang with a diversion first to Dramatse Monastery.

Dramatse sits on a ridge top - 1,350m/4,429ft and 18kms above the river below. It was founded in 1511 by a granddaughter of Pema Lingpa and is one of the largest and most important monasteries of eastern Bhutan. It is famous as being the place where the Nga Cham Drum Dance, which is featured in festivals all over the country, originates. From Dramatse you will return to the main road and continue to Trashigang.

Overnight icon Overnight: Druk Deothjung Resort Or Lingkhar Lodge, Tashigang

Day 18 - Visit Trashigang town and dzong. Short village walks and visit weavers in their homes at Radi.

Although east Bhutan was historically connected to the rest of the country by overland trade routes, these were long and difficult and the people from here often felt more closely connected with their nearer neighbours in Tibet and India and traditionally had closer trade and cultural links with them. This means that the east has a totally different feel to the central and western parts of the country with the eastern region being controlled from dramatic dzongs such as the one in Trashigang and those in Mongar, Tashitangtse and Lhuntse.

Today, you will have time in the morning to explore Trashigang, visiting the centre of town and the impressive dzong. The town is clustered round a small central plaza with a large prayer wheel, a bank, a few shops and bars but not much else! There is a small souvenir shop here which is not very inspiring. Below the plaza is the spectacular Trashigang Dzong, set on a ridge high above the valley. This dzong was built in the 17th century to guard against Tibetan invaders and was one of the most strategically important in the country.

Later you will take a pleasant walk from Trashigang to the village of Khapti. First you will drive to the high court, a handsome building set a little above the town and from near here take a rocky trail which leads up above the town and then continues through lovely forest with lots of birds and wildlife and on through a couple of pretty small villages before coming out on to a new feeder road where you will meet your transport. This will be a pleasant and undemanding walk.

You will then visit Radi Village and will also have time to visit the large Nyingmapa Gompa at Ranjung, which has a school for monks attached to it. This region and its villages are famous for their weaving and you will visit local weavers and village homes to see the raw silk textile weaving, known as 'Bura'.

From Ranjung the road leads up the valley to Phongme, a village where a trek begins into the remote region known as Merak Sakten, an area where the Yeti (known locally as Migoi) is said to be found. Along this valley you may see the Brokpa people who come from this region - they are easily recognised by their distinctive black felt hats with octopus like tentacles which are created to help to keep the rain out of the wearer's eyes!

Day 19 - Drive to Samdrup Jongkhar – 7-8 hours. Stop at the famous weaving centre at Khaling en route and visit weavers in their homes.

Remember to keep your passport on you today as you may need to show it as you enter the town of Sandrup Jongkhar.

Leaving Trashigang, you pass through Sherubtse and the campus of the country's premier University College before you climb to the Yongphu La Pass, 2,190m/7,185ft. Continuing, down from the pass you next reach Khaling, where one of the most famous weaving centres in Bhutan is located, providing cloth for the royal family. The National Handloom Development Project here is operated by the Women's Association of Bhutan and young women from all over eastern Bhutan come to learn how to weave. Here, Sue will introduce you to some of the age-old complexities of Bhutanese weaving as you visit some of the local weavers in their homes. It is a further 4-5 hours drive from here to Samdrup Jongkhar and, as you get closer to the border, you will enjoy wonderful views of forested hills and valleys rolling away to the foothills and the Indian plains of Assam State. You can often see Langur monkeys, kingfishers, eagles and other brightly coloured birds along the roadside. The Indian-like border town of Samdrup Jongkhar is literally at the very foot of the Bhutanese foothills and is quite subtropical.

Overnight icon Overnight: Hotel Tashi Gasel Or Hotel Monjong Lodge Or Similar, Samdrup Jongkhar

Day 20 - Drive to Guwahati – 3 hours. Fly to Delhi and transfer to hotel.

You cross the Indian border this morning and then drive to reach the airport at Guwahati to catch your flight to Delhi. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight icon Overnight: Lemon Tree Premier Hotel, Delhi Airport

Day 21 - Group transfer to airport. Fly to London.

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.


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  • Deposit
    From £400.00

For the majority of our holidays, a deposit payment of £400.00 per person is required to secure your place(s), however a small number of holidays require a higher deposit - please refer to the holiday itinerary for more details. If the holiday departs within 60 days, a deposit of £1,000.00 per person is required.

Book now!
  1. Book your small group holiday securely online – click the ‘Book’ button next to your chosen departure or visit our How to Book page
  2. Complete and return a Booking Form available to download here.
  3. Call us on +44 (0)1453 844400 and one of our travel specialists will talk you through the booking process.

What’s included

  • The services of Sue Lawty as trip leader
  • Local Bhutanese English-speaking guide and driver to accompany group throughout.
  • Bhutan visa and Bhutan departure tax
  • Good standard accommodation in Delhi and Bhutan, with meals as indicated in itinerary, on twin share basis
  • Meals as indicated in itinerary
  • All road transport by private vehicle
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK and UK departure tax (flight inclusive only)
  • Single, timed, group airport transfers for international flights on arrival and departure
  • A free Mountain Kingdoms Water-to-Go bottle
  • Carbon offsetting with the Ecoan Tree Planting Project (for clients taking our flight inclusive option)

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance
  • India visa fees
  • Lunch and dinner in Delhi
  • Tips



Extend your holiday

Agra, Taj Mahal & Jaipur - extension (India)

Agra india j blackburn
  • 1-day and 6-day extension options available
  • Add at the beginning or end of your holiday in India
  • Sights include the Red Fort, Taj Mahal, City Palace and Amber Fort
More Details

After your adventures in India why not add an exciting day trip to Agra to see the sights of the one time capital of the great Mughal empire? Or, if you have more time available, perhaps a longer trip visiting both Agra and another gem of the ‘Golden Triangle’, Jaipur. Whichever option you take, once in Agra you will be looked after by one of our fully trained, English-speaking guides who will show you around the Red Fort, the Taj Mahal and the ancient city and mosque of Fatehpur Sikri. For those travelling on to Jaipur, you will take guided visits to the Amber Fort, Palace of the Winds and City Palace, along with time to explore the colourful bazaars of the ‘Pink City’.

Corbett National Park extension, India

Corbett national park india
  • Corbett National Park is home to one of the largest Royal Bengal Tiger populations in India.
  • Over 50 species of mammals, many reptiles and hundreds of bird species to look out for.
  • Ideal extension from Delhi to explore some of India's most fascinating wildlife.
More Details

Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India. Located between the Himalayan foothills to the north and the ancient Shivalik Hills to the south, the reserve covers a wide range of habitat with dense woodlands, open grasslands, riverine vegetation, dry riverbeds and more hilly terrain and so offers much diversity. This varied habitat hosts a spectacular diversity of mammal, bird and reptilian life, unmatched anywhere in India.

The park is home to one of the largest Royal Bengal Tiger populations in India as well as other large cats such as leopard. There are also around 50 species of mammals including large herds of elephant and four species of deer. In the park you also find many reptiles, including the rare and highly endangered Gharial crocodile. Corbett has a spectacular bird diversity – there are several hundred resident species of bird with as many more crossing on their migratory routes with bird diversity being at its peak during the winter months.

Ranthambore National Park extension

Ranthambore national park india m butterworth
  • Known for its population of tigers.
  • Home to fascinating wildlife including jungle cats, hyenas, jackals, bears, crocodiles and large populations of langur monkeys.
  • Enjoy safari drives as you look out for wildlife amongst the picturesque grassland, hills and lakes.
More Details

Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan is one of the finest national parks in northern India. Formerly a hunting reserve for the Maharajas of Jaipur, you can see a huge variety of fantastic wildlife and birds in Ranthambore, but the park is particularly famous for its population of tigers - although of course sightings of tiger can never be guaranteed many visitors to this park are lucky enough to get good views. The scenery of the park is very varied with grassland, hills and lakes and there are also some very picturesque and atmospheric ruins located in the park. Even if you don’t see tigers there is abundant wildlife on view in Ranthambore with leopard and other cats such as jungle cats, caracal, hyena, jackal, wild boar, bear, several species of deer, and large populations of langur monkeys. Marsh crocodiles and other reptiles are also found in the lakes within the park. Owing to the wide range of habitats within the park there is also a large variety of fantastic and colourful birds, both resident and migrant, to be seen - in total, 272 bird species have been documented within the park.

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