Bhutan’s National Flower is the poppy, the extremely rare blue poppy to be exact, but red, white and pink poppies also bloom on the high mountain passes of this protected Buddhist Kingdom in summertime. June and July are the best time of year to witness this colourful and photogenic floral display, when, despite the possibility of monsoon showers at night, the days are usually mellow with beautiful light contrasting vivid green rice paddies with dark hills and stark white dzongs.
During this time, Amanresorts offers six- or seven-night Poppy Treks. These include two or three nights of trekking with overnights in tented camps, as well as two nights in Amankora Thimphu and two nights in Amankora Paro.
Trekking days incorporate 3 – 5 hours of walking with elevations ranging from 3,000 – 4,500 metres. Paths wind over pastural lands, through forests of pine, cypress, fir and rhododendrons, and over scenic mountain passes where poppies nod their delicate, yet hardy, heads. All trekkers need to carry is their camera as they take in the spectacular scenery.
As dusk falls, overnight camps offer rustic yet comfortable stand-up tents fully furnished with cots, tables, chairs and carpets; and three meals a day served as picnics or in the spacious dining tent. Menus include dishes ranging from Bhutanese curries to hearty Western favourites. Separate shower and toilet tents ensure privacy. On either side of the trek, guests can relax in Amankora’s lodges and explore the valleys of Thimphu and Paro.
Red Poppy Haa Valley Trek and Thimphu / Paro Valley Visits - Six Nights
1 - 31 July, 2012
2 nights Thimphu - 2 nights trekking - 2 nights Paro
Combining an initial two-night stay at Amankora Thimphu to discover the Kingdom’s capital and acclimatise to the altitude, this two-night trek starts and finishes in the remote Haa region of Bhutan. The trek offers the opportunity to take in a great variety of Himalayan wildflowers, quaint village hamlets, pristine forests, yak herder camps and mountain vistas, all culminating at Celela Pass, the only location in the Kingdom where the stunning red poppy (Meconopsis Napaulensis) can be found. The trek is followed with a relaxing two days in Paro to take in this valley’s highlights, including one last leg-stretching hike up to the revered 7th-century Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
Pink and White Poppy Haa Valley Trek and Thimphu / Paro Valley Visits - Seven Nights
1 June - 15 July 2012
2 nights Thimphu - 3 nights trekking - 2 nights Paro
This journey combines a four-day/three-night trek in the remote Haa Valley with an initial pre-trek stay at Amankora Thimphu to explore the Kingdom’s capital. It also includes a post-trek stay at Amankora Paro to take in the valley’s unique sites and a merit-gaining hike to the auspicious 7th- century Tiger’s Nest Monastery. The Pink and White Poppy Trek ascends through dense forests and across high alpine meadows, following mountain ridges to the endemic home of the world’s only white poppies (Meconopsis Superb Prain) and the even rarer pink poppy, a variation of the white poppy. The trek also takes in carpets of miniature alpine flowers, unique varieties of purple and yellow poppies, yak herder camps and a chance to spot the elusive and endangered blue sheep.