Eastern Bhutan Highlands, 6 days

Shooting in Merak
From Guwahati and back

Tour highlights

  • Starting and ending in Guwahati
  • Visiting all sights of Trashigang and Trashi Yangse
  • Remote highland Merak village known for Yeti
  • Sleeping in local village farmhouses
  • Authentic Brokpa nomads hospitality
  • Optional tour start or finish in Paro
# Itinerary Program
1 Guwahati – Samdrup Jongkhar – Tashigang Early morning in 5 o’clock you will be picked-up in Guwahati, driving to Samdrup Jongkhar. Here you will meet your Bhutanese guide and driver, who will manage all immigration formalities. Then you will start all day drive ascending to the Himalayas. After few hours drive we will stop to get blessing from Hindu hermit for safety of our journey. Soon after you will have opportunity to visit first of many charming Bhutanese Buddhist temples, called Zangto Pelri Lhakhang, with detailed mural painting. During afternoon you will stop in Khaling village to visit National Handloom Development Project, which maintains rich tradition of local weaving. Also you will pay a visit to the National Institute for the Visually Impaired. One of the accomplishment of this progressive institution is the development of Bhutanese version of Braille's script. Along the way, you'll also pass by Karma Thegsum Dechenling Goemba, huge monastery school and Sherubtse College, first Bhutanese university campus established in 1978. Also we visit temple in nearby Kanglung village. Reach to Tashigang.
2 Trashigang, excursion to Trashi Yangtse Morning visit of Trashigang dzong which was built in 17th century and has commanding view of the valley. Inside are few interesting temples and local government offices. After that you'll take about 2 hours drive time to Trashi Yangtse. On the way, pay a visit to the Gom Kora temple, place where 8th century magician-saint Guru Padmasambhava left his body imprints. Further drive will offer occasional views of snowy mountain in clear weather. Finally you will see impressive building of the old Trashi Yangtse dzong which is home to 300 monks. The dzong used to protect former trade route with Tibet and was established by the saint Pema Lingpa of 15th century. Near the Trashi Yangtse is the famous Chorten Kora, the largest stupa in Bhutan built in Nepali style. This is the site of two colourful local festivals at the beginning of the year. Trashi Yangtse is also home to National Institute for Zorig Chusum, the school where the young people learns the art crafts of their forefathers to keep Bhutan's traditional arts alive. In winter, if time permits, it's also good idea to make detour to Bumdeling birds reserve further to the north as the rare Black Neck Cranes might be spotted here if you're lucky. Evening return to Trashigang.
3 Trashigang – Merak Today you will change the car for hardy Bolero jeep and start early in the morning ascending to high mountains of Merak – Sakteng, so called Migoi national park. Migoi is local name for elusive yeti and most local inhabitants will be able to remember numerous cases when they or they relatives encountered yeti in the wild. After about 5 hours rough road ride you we will reach Mon-la pass where the welcome party of Borkpa nomads in local dress will be waiting. Experience of local hospitality and yummy nomad lunch, the tasty local spirit and milk-like chang beer. Continue drive to Merak village (3500 m) and accommodation in local farmhouse as a guest of Brokpa family. Explore village and get more understanding of local culture. You will see how local people spin wool and make their colorful traditional clothes and textiles. Learn how they make yak cheese, butter tea and ara (local rice, wheat or corn spirit).
4 Merak – Tashigang In the morning undertake hike above the village to get beautiful views of the village and Aum Yomo peak. Later after telling goodbye to your hosts in Merak village, take a Bolero again and drive back to Tashigang. If you're early, you can also visit Rangjung monastery, beautiful Nyingma school of Buddhism monastery which hosts number of interesting statues and relics. Enjoy the evening in leisure.
5 Trashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar Morning drive 45 minutes to visit Rangjung monastery. This beautiful Nyingma institution hosts number of interesting statues and relics. Then you will drive back to Smadrup Johngkhar where you will spend last night in Bhutan.
6 Back to Guwahati at noon After morning immigration formalities, you will tell good bye to your Bhutanese guide and driver and Indian counterpart will drive you to Guwahati, reaching there before noon to catch ongoing flight to your final destination.
Tour variants, extensions and combinations: 
  • Extend hike from Merak to Sakteng village (+1 or 2 days): If you're found of hiking, this variant crossing through Merak-Sakteng national park is highly recommended.
  • Visit Mongar and Lhuentse (+2 days): Cover all the Eastern Bhutan sights including gigantic statue of Guru Pamdmasambhava, the famouse 8th century saint, traditional weaving village of Khoma and Drametse monastery. See Best of Eastern Bhutan, 8 day itinerary for details.
  • Extend with Omba Nye "The Tiger's Nest of the East" hike (+2 days): Omba Nye is new popular 3 days trekking trail in Bhutan, which can be also done as 2 days / 1 night hiking excursion with overnight in Omba village homestay. The Omba Nye Monastery has stunning setting on the rocky cliff, which is similar to Paro's Taktsang.
  • Start or finish in Paro (0 or more days): Thanks to domestic flight which is connection Yongphula airport in Eastern Bhutan with Paro in the West, you can also conveniently start/conclude the trip in Paro in Western Bhutan, see famous Tiger's Nest monastery and other sights.
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