Day 1-Welcome to Bhutan
Saturday - 6th of October 2018 @ Metta Resort or Gangtey Palace Resort
If you are arriving on a bright sunny day, your holiday begins with the panoramic view of the Himalayan range from your Drukair seat where you’ll be greeted by Mt. Everest and Mt. Kanchenjunga, and our very own Mt. Jomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drakey. An unparalleled feeling while you are descending over Bhutan is a feeling which is of total abandonment, a feeling which is inexplicably compassionate and full of suspense as visibly seen in the growing communion between the passengers.
Upon arrival you’ll be received by our friendly professional guides who will help you settle into your comfortable car and will take you for a short spin around Paro valley which will include a visit to the medieval Paro Dzong (fortress). Explore the city in the evening; visit handicraft shops, art gallery and dinner at a good restaurant to try Bhutanese food. Call it an easy night to make sure you have ample rest to kick-start your Bhutan trek with much gusto.
Day 2-Hike to Taktshang (Tiger Nest) temple, 3140m,
Sunday - 7th of October 2018 @ Metta Resort or Gangtey Palace Resort
After breakfast drive to the road point access of Taktshang Monastery, the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries. Taktshang means “Tiger’s Nest,” so named because Guru Rimpoche reportedly flew to the site of the monastery on the back of a flying tiger in the late centuries of the first millennium. The monastery is perched on a cliff nearly 1000m above the Paro valley floor. This day hike is not only historically and culturally interesting, but also incredibly scenic! It takes about two hours to reach the cafeteria, which gives a breathtaking view of the Tiger’s Nest. Continue hiking you can take another hour to reach the temple. Your tour leader will explain all the story and significance of the temple. The hike also serves to help you acclimatise to the altitude and prepare you for the trek in the coming days.
On the way back visit the ruins of Drugyal Dzong fortress, which is an important Bhutanese heritage as it served as a strategic watchtower and a fortress that helped repel numerous Tibetan invasions in the 1600s. Peak of Jumolhari ‘Mountain of the Goddess’ can be seen on a clear day from here (7,329 mts/24,029 ft.)
Visit Kyichu Lhakhang – believed to be the oldest Buddhist temple in Bhutan built during the 07th century. Stroll around town in the evening and then proceed to your resort to prepare for the trek.
Day 3-Drukgyel Dzong (Paro) – Shana, 2820m, Duration 5 hours, Distance 15 Km
Monday - 8th of October 2018 @ Camp
Drive from Paro to the trek start point at Drukgyel Dzong (2580m), the fortress that once guarded Paro Valley against Tibetan invaders. The first day is a pleasant walk following the left bank of the Pachu River. A farm road serves as the trek route and passes through a number of very small villages with traditional houses and rice and vegetable fields on either side of the trail.
After about an hour’s walk, the farm road ends at Mitsizampa. Crossing a bridge to the right side of the river, the trail climbs very gradually for another hour through the trees to Zakhapang (2,600m), where a nice lunch spot in an open field is found. After lunch the trek continues through blue pine forests, following close to the river. Gunyitsawa army outpost appears not long before the end of the day. The campsite at Shana, just beyond, is situated at an altitude of 2,820m in a beautiful open space surrounded by blue pine forest. Two traditional houses on the other side of the wide, fast-flowing river make up Shana village.
Day 4-Shana-Soi Thangthangka, 3580m, Duration 8 hours, Distance 22 Km
Tuesday - 9th of October 2018 @ Camp
This is a nice trekking day, taking eight hours to reach the campsite. The trail continues to follow the river; gradually ascending through a mixed forest of blue pine and oak and, later in the afternoon, tall rhododendron trees, birch, fir and maple. Though the trail is a rough and rocky path, it is not too strenuous. In rainy conditions it can be quite muddy. There are several simple wooden bridges to cross and sometimes the river reaches right up to the trail. The lunch break comes after about 4 hours of walking through an ever-narrowing valley.
Shing Karap or Thombuzam are popular stopping places at around 3,305m.
Several trails lead in other directions, such as the trail to Tremo La (LA: Pass), which was the old salt-trading route to Tibet. Not long before reaching the campsite, the trail leads you up a ridge with a chorten (CHORTEN: Buddhist stupa).
Beyond, in the distance at the end of the valley Mt. Jomolhari (7314m) comes into view. Finally, after an 8 hour walk, you reach the campsite located in a spacious clearing and directly facing Jomolhari. The view next morning of the sun’s rays striking the peak is breathtaking.
Day 5-Soi-Thangthangka-Jangothang, 4080m,Duration 5-6 hours, Distance 19 Km
Wednesday - 10th of October 2018 @ Camp
The third day’s trek is shorter so it’s possible to set off a little later and progress at a leisurely pace. When you reach an army outpost you are required to stop and register your entry permits issued by the army headquarters in Thimphu. This matter will be taken care of by your guide.
The Pachu River is again to the right and the trail passes through some tiny villages. It will take less than six hours to reach Jangothang. The altitude at the camp is 4,080m and is a beautiful place to spend the night. The imposing, rounded bulk of Jomolhari fills the view to the Northeast and in the evening the profile of the ruined Jangothang Dzong, populated by huge ravens, creates a mystical atmosphere. The area is rich in bird life including the fire-tailed sunbird, ibisbill, white throated dipper, yellow-billed chough, rosy pipit, snow pigeon, blue-fronted redstart, plumbeous water redstart, blood pheasant, snow partridge and many more.
Day 6-Jangothang– Lingzhi. 18 km, 7-8 hours
Thursday - 11th of October 2018 @ Camp
The trail follows a gentle stream for half an hour and crosses a bridge to the right bank. We now start our climb up the first ridge, enjoying breathtaking views of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tserimgang. The trail then takes us across a fairly level valley floor until the climb up to Nyele-la Pass (4700m). We descend gradually enjoying a panoramic view of the mountainous peaks and Lingshi Dzong from the pass until we reach our campsite at Lingshi (4000m). Overnight at campsite
Day 7-Lingzhi - Shodu. 22 km, 8-9 hours
Friday - 12th of October 2018 @ Camp
Our trail climbs up towards a small white chorten on a ridge above the camp, then turns south up the deep Mo Chu valley. The trail stays on the West side of this largely treeless valley, climbing steadily a short distance above the Mo Chu. It then crosses the river, and climbs steeply for two hours to Yeli-La (4820m). On clear day you can see Chomolhari, Gangchenta, Tserimgang and Masagang from this pass. The trail then descends alongside a stream to a rock shelter in a cliff face. It then continues on downstream until reaching Shodu (4100m), where we will camp in a meadow with a chorten in it. Overnight at campsite.
Day 8-Shodu- Barshong. 16 km, 6-7 hours
Saturday - 13th of October 2018 @ Camp
Our path follows the course of the Thimphu Chu, descending through Rhododendron, Juniper and mixed alpine forests. There are stunning views along the way. We stop at the riverside for a hot lunch. Then the trail takes us gradually upwards to the ruins of Barshong Dzong (3600m), near which we camp for the night. Overnight at campsite.
Day 9-Barshong - Dolam Kencho. 15 km, 5-6 hours
Sunday - 14th of October 2018 @ Camp
The trail descends gently through a dense forest of Rhododendron, Birch and conifers, then drops steeply to meet the Thimphu Chu. The trail runs along the left bank of the river, climbing over ridges and descending into gullies where side streams run down into the river. The final stage of the trail climbs around a cliff face high above the Thimphu Chu, coming out onto Pastureland where we camp for the night at 3600m. Overnight at campsite.
Day 10-Dolam Kencho to Thimphu
Monday - 15th of October 2018 @ Bhutan Suites or Hotel Pedling
The trail winds in and out of a side valley above the Thimphu chu, making a long ascent through a forest of conifers and high altitude broadleaf species to a pass at 3510m. The trail then drops steeply down to the river, following it southward to the road head at Dodena (2600m). Bhutan Travel Club's vehicle meets us here, and we drive to Thimphu. In the evening visit the Memorial Chorten Stupa which is a sacred shrine built in the memory of third king of Bhutan. Countiue visit to Tashichhodzong – the fortress that is now the government’s central administration headquarters, and also the offices of the King and the Prime Minister. You will enjoy welcome dinner at the Babesa village restaurant where you can enjoy authentic Bhutanese cuisines. Overnight in the resort.
Day 11-Thimphu Sightseeing
Tuesday - 16th of October 2018 @ Bhutan Suites or Hotel Pedling
Explore some of the treasures of the capital town- drive up to Buddha point and visit Buddha Dordenma-a gigantic statue Sakyamuni Buddha.The statue is filled with over one hundred smaller statues ,each of which like the Buddha itself, but made of bronze and gilded with gold. At the height of 59.5 metres, it is one of the tallest Buddha statues in the world. Proceed to Zorig- Chusum school 13 traditional arts/crafts, the Royal Textile Museum and Academy. Stroll around town and visit the Bhutan Post Office where you can see the famous Bhutanese stamps. If you would like, you can make stamps with your photos on it and post them to your loved ones.
Proceed to the Stadium to witness the national game Archery played over a 120m long field. On the way back, walk past Kabesa village to get a sense of the countryside before returning to town. Visit the Crafts Bazaar in the afternoon, along the streets of Thimphu which sells and displays various handicrafts and textiles made entirely in Bhutan. Probably you might want to take home a few souvenirs to remember your great trekking experience in Bhutan.
End the evening with a visit to the popular Changangkha monastery.
Day 12-Thimphu to Punakha. Drive time 4 hours.
Wednesday - 17th of October 2018 @ Hotel Lobesa or Meri Phuensum Resort
Thimphu to Punakha Sightseeing.
Drive to Punakha over the Dochula Pass (3140). Situated atop the pass at the backdrop of fluttering prayer flags is the Druk Wangyal Chortens, a collection of 108 chortens (stupas) that was built to exemplify the greatness of the Fourth King. If you would like to hike, we recommend the Lungtsezelkha hike – another lovely like that passes through Rhododendron forests and alpine vegetation. Here you might come across some Yaks as we often spot them. It starts from Dochula pass – and climbs upto the peak where the Lungtsezekha temple stands at 3800m. From here, you can see the great Himalayan peaks of northern Bhutan as well as valleys of southern Bhutan.
Hike back to Dochula, and descend to the low-lying rice valley of Lobesa and pay your respects to one of Bhutan’s most charming and eccentric historic figures nicknamed ‘The Divine Madman’ at the Chhimi Lhakhang – also called the fertility monastery - our guide will explain the entire story about it. The visit involves a short nice hike through a beautiful village surrounded by paddy fields.
Stay in a cozy resort overlooking the valley.
Day 13-Punakha Sightseeing and Paro. Drive time 4 hours.
Thursday - 18th of October 2018 @ Metta Resort or Gangtey Palace Resort
Drive to Punakha valley to visit Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal stupa, which involves a short scenic hike through paddy fields for about 45 minutes till the hilltop where the temple is located. From here you can also enjoy a majestic view of the underlying valley. The temple itself is a splendid example of Bhutan’s fine architectural and artistic traditions and the only one of its kind in the world. From here you can optionally take another great hike from the riverside crossing a suspension bridge to other side of the Mo Chu river for approximately 3 km with hours hiking. A picnic lunch is served on the banks of the Punakha river.
After lunch, continue to Punakha Dzong – the most beautiful fortress in Bhutan situated at the confluence of two rivers. This ancient fortress is the winter residence of the monastic order’s leadership and still serves as the administrative headquarters for the Punakha region. The fortress is a fine example of Bhutan’s rich art and architecture, and our guide who is an expert in iconography will explain all aspects of art, architecture, history and its significance.
Proceed to Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery which is atop a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang. Interact with the nuns and they love to speak English with visitors and learn about the ways of the world.
Drive to Paro in the evening.
Friday - 19th of October 2018 @
After breakfast at your hotel, your driver will take you to the airport. Your guide will help you with the formalities and fare you well on your onward journey.