Trekking

Bhutan is a haven for trekkers. The Himalayan peaks, valleys, landscape, flora and fauna make Bhutan a treat for lovers of adventure. Medieval Bhutan had several routes through which people moved. Unfortunately, most have either not been used making them a part of the thick jungles. However, the Himalayan Kingdom offers several trekking routes, which promises to enthral you.

The beauty of trekking in Bhutan is that you need not be a professional trekker to enjoy the delights of this adventure. There are trekking routes that average people can trek through. Another facet is that we can customise some of the treks with the cultural or other packages, based on your interest. Additionally, you will not just be trekking throughout your stay in the country. You will also be visiting places of historic significances, observe the country’s culture and get to interact with the people.

In a nutshell we bring forth some of Bhutan’s trekking routes.

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Maximum Elevation: 5,005m
Highest Camp: 4,220m
Standard: Medium to hard
Best Seasons: April to June & Mid September to Mid Nov
Start: Drukgyel Dzong (Paro)
Finish: Tashitang (Punakha)

Summary:

Considered to be one of the most beautiful trekking routes, this trek offers one a taste of all the treasures that the Himalayan Kingdom is especially known for. Through this trek, one can feast on the wonders of Nature, embodied in some of the most enthralling peaks of Bhutan; see some of the animals that have almost become extinct and engage with the people of the Highlands whose culture is unparalleled. It also offers one the opportunity to soak in a hot spring revered for its medicinal values.

The first part of the Laya – Gasa Trek goes along the same route as the Jomolhari Trek I right till Lingshi. Highlights of the trek include the unforgettable views of Mount Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Gangchhenta (Great Tiger Mountain). One has good opportunities to spot blue sheep or even takin.

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive at Paro

Described as one of the most captivating experiences, the flight to Paro offers you views of the Himalayan treasures, such as Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and other peaks in Bhutan such as the Jomolhari, Jitchu Drake and Tsrim Gang. As the flight descends to land at Paro airport, you will have a bird’s eye view of Paro and the adjoining valleys, an experience beyond expression. The landing at the airport is also thrilling.

Our guide will meet you there and take you to the hotel.

Day 02: ParoSightseeing

After breakfast drive to Chele-la pass (3,998 m) to enjoy the beautiful scenery of mountain. This is Bhutan’s highest road point.

On a clear day there are superb views of Bhutan’s highest peaks –mount Jomolhari and Jichu Drake.

From a turnout on the main road the trail climbs steeply for 45 minutes to Kila nunnery- is the oldest nunnery in Bhutan which was established as a meditation site in the 9th century.

We drive back to Paro and after lunch visit Ta Dzong, a former Watch Tower which now houses the National Museum and Rinpung Dzong which houses the monastic school and the district administration. After a short stroll in town drive back to hotel for the night halt.

Day 03: Paro – Taktsang Excursion

After early breakfast, drive to Ramthangka (base camp) of Taktsang and begin the hike. We follow an ancient path marked by river powered prayer wheels to the holiest Buddhist Shrine in Bhutan and the ultimate point of pilgrimage.

A blend of the spiritual and architectural wonder, the monastery is perched on a 1000m cliff overlooking the valley. Legend has it that the great Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet to Taktsang on the back of a tigress to tame five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan in 746 A.D. After lunch at a nearby spot, we walk back down.

Drive to the hotel for overnight stay.

Day 04: Paro – Shana (Distance 17km, four to five hours, 360m ascent, 80m descent, camp altitude 2,850m)

Your trek begins with a drive up to Drukgyel Dzong where the motor-able road ends and the trek to Shana begin. It is a 5 to 6 hours walk with gradual ascends following the Paro river through the agricultural valley and villages. The campsite is opposite the army check post in the meadows, near the river at an altitude of 2,580m.

Day 05. ShanaSoiThangthangkha

Distance 22km, seven to eight hours, 770m ascent, 10m descent, camp altitude 3,610m).

The trail is a gradual ascend following the Paro river through conifers and rhododendron. The path narrows and closes in and the trail winds up and down along the drainage. Camp is in the meadow with stone shelter built for trekkers surrounded by conifer and birch forest and on clear days one can have a magnificent view of Mt. Jomolhari.

Day 06. Thangthangka – Jangothang

(Distance 19km, five to six hours, 480m ascent, camp altitude 4,080m). The trail leads bypassing the army post and the valley begins to widen and leading to winter houses of yak herders where hot lunch will be served. Halt camp beneath a ruined fortress at the base of Mt. Jomolhari.

Day 07. Jangothang – Lingshi

(Distance 18km, six to seven hours, 840m ascent, 870m descent, camp altitude 4,010m)

After your breakfast you start ascending up the mountainside towards Nyelila. During the ascend you will be seeing Mt. Jomolhari, Mt. Jichu Drake and Tsherim Gang till Nyelila at which point you will be seen off by the former two mountains. There after you will be seeing only Tsherim Gang. From Nyelila pass the trail leads you all the way down to the camp.

Day 8: Lingshi – Chebisa

(Distance 10km, five to six hours, 280m ascent, 410m descent, camp altitude 3,880m).

In what is the shortest walking day, the trek today will initially take you to a chorten below Lingshi Dzong. At this place, one can make the choice of staying on the main trail or taking a diversion up to Lingshi Dzong (4,220m), which sits right atop a ridge.

Unlike other dzongs, Lingshi Dzong offers one a very special atmosphere of mystic silence and a great overview of the valley. Once you cross the Dzong, the trail will take you through the villages of Lingshi and Goyul.

A unique architectural facet you will see in Goyul are the stone houses clustered together to a small compact village that is unusual in Bhutan where village houses are normally scattered. Your camp for the night will be at Chebisa, with a beautiful waterfall behind the village. You have the opportunity to visit local houses and interact with the people.

Day 9: Chebisa – Shomuthang

(Distance 17km, six to seven hours, 890m ascent, 540m descent, camp altitude 4,220m)

Your trail today goes through a wide pastureland towards Gobu La (pass) and you could be greeted by yak herders on the way. You could also spot large herds of blue sheep above the trail. Once you cross Gobu La (Pass) (4,410m), you descend to the valley followed by a brief climb and again a trek downhill to Shakshepasa (3,980) where a helipad has been established. From there you will have to ascend until you reach the campsite at Shomuthang, located above a river, which is a tributary of the Nochu river.

Day 10: Shomuthang – Robluthang

(Distance 18km, six to seven hours, 700m ascent, 760m descent, camp altitude 4,160m).

The walk today would be a little strenuous and so it is advisable to start early. After two hours of uphill trek, you will reach Jhari La (4,750m), from where you catch the first sight of Sinche La, the pass you will have to cross the day after. At the north is the massive snow peak Gangchhenta (6,840 m,) popularly called the Great Tiger Mountain. If the weather is clear, Tserim Kang and the top of Jomolhari will be visible. The camp by the river is called Tsheri Jathang. Herds of takin, the Bhutanese National Animal, migrate to this valley in summer and remain for about four months. The valley has been declared a takin sanctuary.

After a little uphill trek, you will reach the campsite at Robluthang in a rocky meadow.

Day 11: Robluthang – Limithang

(Distance 19km, six to seven hours, 850m ascent, 870m descent, camp altitude 4,140m).

After crossing Sinche La (5,005m) – the last and highest pass on the trek in case you don’t intend to continue the Snowman trek from Laya onwards – you descend to a little stone house where a few Laya women – dressed in typical Laya costume with long pointed bamboo hats on their head – live and offer their weaving products. Right behind the stone house you will see an impressive terminal moraine and a glacial lake at the foot of the valley. You can see classic examples of the lateral moraines where the glacier has pushed rocks up both sides of the valley. Below the moraine, you cross the Kango Chhu and soon reach the Limithang campsite. The peak of Gangchhenta towers over the campsite even though it’s quite a distance away.

Day 12: Limithang – Laya

(Distance 10km, four to five hours, 60m ascent, 340m descent, camp altitude 3,840m).

It will be an easier day today, as you walk all the way downhill along a narrow winding river valley. The trek will take you through partly deep forest and lead you to the west side of Laya village. You will view Gangchhenta again and also catch a glimpse of Masagang. In the village centre is a community school and a basic health unit with telephone connection. The campsite is below the school.

Day 13: Laya – Koina

(Distance 19km, six to seven hours, 260m ascent, 1,070m descent, camp altitude 3,050m).

It is a trail winding up and down along the river valley of Mo Chhu avoiding natural obstacles and affording breath-taking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and water falls. After a series of ascend and descend, the trail will lead you to Kohi Lapcha at 3.300 m. It then drops down to the large stream of Koina Chhu, where you will find the campsite of Koina.

Day 14: Koina – Gasa

(Distance 14km, six to seven hours, 740m ascent, 1,500m descent, camp altitude at Gasa Tsachu 2,240m).

You will be experiencing the last major climb of the Laya Gasa Trek today. Once you cross Bari La (3,740m), it is a down-hill trail all the way till Gasa village (2,770m). Restaurants, which you did not see since starting from Drukgyel Dzong will greet you. There also is a campsite close to Gasa Dzong. (You will have to decide if you want to stay in Gasa village or descend for another hour to the Gasa Tsachu (hot springs) and relax in the thermal water. The Gasa Tsachu is one of the most popular hot springs in Bhutan.

Day 15: Gasa – Damji (Distance 18km, five to six hours, 480m ascent, 470m descent, camp altitude 2,250m).

Beginning with a short climb, the trail again winds through lots of ups and downs, along rolling hills, passes,  pine and oak forests, villages and wheat fields. You will also see a beautiful view of the Gasa Dzong glued to the valley wall as if floating in space. You finally reach Damji with its well maintained campsite.

Day16: Damji – Tashithang (Distance 16km, five hours, 250m ascent, 870m descent).

Descending from the high agricultural benches above the Mo Chhu into a lush semi-tropical gorge filled with banana trees, creepers and various tropical vegetation, the trail will take you through areas where monkeys and a few other animals might be seen occasionally. The road actually leads further than Tashithang and will soon reach Damji. You can save about two hours of walking when you arrange transport from the current road head. You will be picked by your car and driven to Punakha.

Day 17. Punakha – Thimphu

After breakfast, we visit Punakha Dzong, which was the ancient capital until 1966. The remains of the Zhabdrung, the saint who unified Bhutan in the 17th century are interred here. The Je Khenpo, head abbot of the monk body of Bhutan, resides here with the monk body from Thimphu during winter. En-route to we will visit ChhimiLhakhang, which was built in the 15th Century (dedicated to Lama Dukpa Kinley also known as divine mad man). It is a pilgrim site especially for childless couple and is a half an hour walk across a local village and rice field. Everyone in this kingdom believes that the Lam’s blessings will help a woman conceive. Continue driving to Thimphu,

Overnight halt in Thimphu.

Day 18: Sightseeing in Thimphu

You will visit the weaving centre, Memorial Chorten (a huge stupa) built in memory of the third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck,  Changangkha monastery, built in the 12th century, Takin zoo, Buddha Point, where the statue of the world’s largest Buddha is being constructed; a Nunnery and the Arts and Craft school. You will also be taken to Sangaygang, a place from where you can have a bird’s eye view of Thimphu town and the surroundings.

In the evening we will visit Trashichhodzong, the seat of Bhutanese polity, which houses the King’s office, Throne room and is the summer resident of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the central monastic body. Drive back to hotel at hold at hotel.

Day 20: Departure from Bhutan

After breakfast, drive to Paro international airport for your onward flight. Our representative will see you off.

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Dared and challenged – Snowman Trek

Duration: 29 days (Total)

Max. Elevation: 5,320m
Highest Camp: 5,050m
Standard: Hard
Best Seasons: Mid June to Mid October
Start: Drukgyel Dzong (Paro)
Finish: Sephu (Trongsa)

Summary

Described by The Lonely Planet as one of the most difficult treks of the world, the Snowman Trek is an extension of the beautiful Laya Gasa Trek, and leads from Laya into high altitudes of the Bhutanese Himalayas. Demanding stamina, endurance and energy, it is designed for experienced trekkers. However, the trek’s worth is embodied in the treasures one can feast on and experience during the trek. Traversing through the most remote areas up to very high altitudes above 5,000m the camps are sometimes on blankets of snow. Trekkers are taken into the Lunana region and further on to Gangkhar Puensum and Bumthang or down to Sephu in Trongsa district, depending on the route chosen.

Groups often fail to make this trek due to problems associated with the high altitude, such as passes blocked by snow. Therefore, the best time for the Snowman Trek – unlike the other high altitude treks of Bhutan – is in summer. People who make this trek remember it as an outstanding achievement.

Day 01: Arrive at Paro

You will land at Paro international Airport, after having experienced one of the most thrilling journeys of your lifetime – the flight to Paro, during which you experience a breath taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake. The landing at Paro, considered one of the most challenging is an enthralling experience.

At the airport, you will be received by our company’s representatives. You will visit some of the standing treasures of Bhutan that Paro houses, such as the National Museum of Bhutan and the grand Paro Rimpong Dzong (Fortress on a Heap of Jewels). After lunch at a local hotel, you will visit Kyichu temple, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built by King Songtsen Gyempo of Tibet in 659AD. Legend has it that the Buddhist King built 108 temples within a day, Kyichu being one.

Day 02:  Paro – Excursion Taktsang

After an early breakfast, we drive up to Ramthangka, (base camp) of Taktsang and then hike to one of Bhutan’s most sacred and religious heritage, Taktshang Monastery or the “Tiger’s Lair.” Perched some 1000 meters on a hill overlooking a valley, it is believed that the great Indian Saint and Buddhist Master, Guru Padma Sambhava flew on a tigress in a wrathful form to this place in 746 AD, to subdue evil forces who were obstructing the spread of Buddhism. The trek, which will take about five hours (up and down) is an unforgettable one and promises every visitor an enthralling experience.

In the evening, you will visit ruins of the Drugyel Dzong, ”Castle of the Victorious Drukpa” located 16 Km. from Paro town. The Dzong was built to celebrate the victory of the Bhutanese forces over the invading Tibetan troops.  On a clear day, one can view Mount Jomolhari (“Mountain of the Goddess”) standing at an altitude of 7,329m/24,029ft.

Overnight at hotel.

Day 03. Paro – Shana: (Distance 17km, four to five hours, 360m ascent, 80m descent, camp altitude 2,850m)

The actual trek now begins.

We will drive up to Drukgyel Dzong till the motor-able road ends. The trek to Shana begins which is about 5 to 6 hours, gradually ascending following the Paro River through agricultural fields and villages. The campsite is opposite the army check post in the meadows, near the river at an altitude of 2,580m.

Day 04 : Shana – Soi Thangthangkha: (Distance 22km, seven to eight hours, 770m ascent, 10m descent, camp altitude 3,610m).

The trail is a gradual ascend following Paro River through conifers and Rhododendron trees. The Camp is in the meadow with stone shelter built for trekkers surrounded by conifer and birch forests and on clear days one can have a magnificent view of Mt. Jomolhari.

Day 05: Thangthangka – Jangothang: (Distance 19km, five to six hours, 480m ascent, camp altitude 4,080m).

The trail crosses the army post and the valley begins to widen and you will reach the winter houses of yak herders where hot lunch will be served in one of the houses. We will camp beneath a ruined house (fortress) at the base of Mt. Jhomolhari, Jangothang.

Day 06:  Jangothang Halt. 

The day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views of lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jhomolhari and Jichu Drake. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep.

Day 07: Jangothang- Lingzhi: (Distance 18km, six to seven hours, 840m ascent, 870m descent, camp altitude 4,010m) 

After breakfast we start ascending towards Nyelila. You will see Mt. Jhomolhari, Mt. Jichu Drake and Tsherim Gang till Nyelila (Pass) at which point you will be seen off by the former two mountains. There after you will be seeing only Tsherim Gang. From Nyelila pass the trail leads you all the way down to the camp.

Day 08: Lingzhi – Chebisa: (Distance 10km, five to six hours, 280m ascent, 410m descent, camp altitude 3,880m).

The walk is through Gongyuel village and if you are lucky you might see the Raven bird and herds of blue sheep. You then reach a small village called Chebisa, winter house of yak herders.

Day 09: Chabisa – Shomuthang: (Distance 17km, six to seven hours, 890m ascent, 540m descent, camp altitude 4,410m).

You will ascend the steep hill side till Gobula pass, (14,268 ft.) From there the walk is a very gradual descend till you get to the tree line, which is the campsite by a river.

Day 10: Shomuthang – Robluta: (Distance 18km, six to seven hours, 700m ascent, 760m descent, camp altitude 4,160m).

The walk starts a little early and we head towards Jhari La pass (4760 m.) From here you drop to Tsharijathang, the valleys where herds of Takin are usually seen grazing in the meadows.

Halt night in camp.

Day 11: Robluta – Lemithang: (Distance 19km, six to seven hours, 850m ascent, 870m descent, camp altitude 4,140m).

You will be passing over the highest point on this trek, Shingela Pass at 16,072ft/4,870 m. The walk is tough till the top, and from there you start descending towards Lemithang. You trek through the valley till Lemithang, which is under Laya District. Here you will encounter the people of Laya.

The camp at Lemithang is beneath Gang Chen Ta, “Great Tiger Mountain.” If time permits it is worthwhile to spend a day exploring the area. Night will halt in camp.

Day 12: Lemithang – Laya: (Distance 10km, four to five hours, 60m ascent, 340m descent, camp altitude 3,840m)

The walk for the day is all the way downhill along a winding river. As you walk down, the path splits in two, one going down in the direction of the river to the campsite which is also used by the army, and the other maintains almost the same height and leads you to the west side of Laya village. You can camp on this flat bench sort profile above the East end of Laya village.

Day 13: Laya – Halt: Rest and explore the Laya village.

Day 14: Laya–Rhoduphu: (Distance 19km, six to eight hours, 1,030m ascent, 750m descent, camp altitude 4,160m).

The trek leads gradually downhill to the Lunana trail junction, and then makes a gradual climb to the camp through a forest of conifers, maple and rhododendron. The Trail improves and becomes wider as we climb out of the river valley. Halt camp at Roduphu near a small stream.

Day 15. Rhoduphu – Narethang: (Distance 17km, five to six hours, 740m ascent, camp altitude 4,900m).

It is a long hike crossing the Tsimo La pass at 4950m(16,200) and descending to NarethangThe campsite at Narethang is towered by the peak of GanglaKarchung (6,395m).

Day 16: Narethang-Tarina: (Distance 18km, five to six hours, 270m ascent, 1,200m descent, camp altitude 3,970m).

From the camp you will climb for about an hour to Ganglakarchung La (5,120m) and then to Karchung La pass at 5240m(17,187 ft) and down glacial lakes, which are sources of the Tang Chhu in Bumthang. Above the lakes are the mighty peaks of Jejekangphu Gang (7300m) and Tsenda Kang (7100m). Halt camp in Tarina.

Day 17: Tarina-Woche: (Distance 17km, six to seven hours, 270m ascent, 330m descent, camp altitude 3,910m).

The walk leads down through conifer forests following the upper ridges of the Pho Chhu, passing some impressive waterfalls. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to Woche, a settlement of a few houses, the first village in the Lunana region

Day 18: Woche-Lhedi: (Distance 17km, six to seven hours, 980m ascent, 1,190m descent, camp altitude 3,700m).

It’s a steady climb from Woche to Keche La (pass at 4580m (15,100 ft), and then downhill to Thega village. The hike continues to Lhadi village where we camp.

Day 19: Lhedi-Thanza: (Distance 17km, seven to eight hours, 450m ascent, camp altitude 4,150m).

The trail climbs gradually following the main source of Pho Chhu to Chozo village. Above Chozo the valley opens as we approach Thanza village near the foot of 7100m ZogophuGamp, which is known as the Table Mountain.

Camp site is at Thanza.

Day 20: Thanza-Halt

You have a fantastic opportunity to interact with the hospitable local villagers and explore the beautiful surrounding till the farthest point in Lunana valley. As Thanza is a transfer point for horses and yaks, it is important to spend a day here for our staff to ensure all the necessary yaks are rounded up by the local herders.

Day 21: Thanza- Danji: (Distance 8km, three to four hours, 80m ascent, camp altitude 4,230m).

Today is a relatively short trek but the track is steep. We have to climb a campsite called Danji, and ascend to Jaze la pass.  The camp offers spectacular views of snow-capped peaks.

Day 22: Danji-Tsochena: (Distance 12km, five to six hours, 980m ascent, 240m descent, camp altitude 4,970m).

It begins with an initial uphill ascend over three summits to Jaze La pass at 5050 m (16,570 ft). From the pass it is a short downhill trek to the campsite at Tsochena lake.

Day 23: Tsochena – Jichu Dramo: (Distance 14km, four to five hours, 230m ascent, 150m descent, camp altitude 5,050m).

The trail has a series of gradual up and down between the snow-capped peaks and across Loju la pass at 4940 m (16,300 ft) before descending to the camp at Jichu Dramo.

Day 24: Jichu Dramo-Chukarpo: (Distance 18km, five to six hours, 320m ascent, 730m descent, camp altitude 4,600m)

We start with an arduous climb to Rinchen Zoe La pass at 5290m (17,350 ft), the highest on the trek. It is then all downhill to Chukarpo, which is just above the tree line.

Day 25: Chukarpo-Thampe Tso: (Distance 18km, five to six hours, 400m ascent, 700m descent, camp altitude 4,300m)

This is a long downhill walk along the river, followed by a climb up to the ThampeTso, a beautiful clear turquoise lake, with the campsite next to it.

Day 26: Thampe Tsho-Maurothang: (Distance 14km, five hours, 330m ascent, 1020m descent, camp altitude 3,610m)

This is also a short walk to the base of Thampe La and a steep climb to the pass at 4580m (15,100 ft). The trek is then all downhill through rhododendron bushes to the yak pasture of Maurothang where we will camp.

Day 27: Maurothang-Sephu: (Distance 18km, five to six hours, 990m descent).

On the last day of this extraordinary trek your porters will have to change from yaks to horses as the yaks will not be willing to go further down. The path follows the Nikka Chhu to reach a large grassy area overlooking the road and the village of Sephu. You finally reach the road at the Nikka Chhubridge, from where we will drive to Punakha.

Night halt in Punakha.

Day 28: Punakha-Paro

We will visit Punakha Dzong, which was Bhutan’s capital until 1955 and still is home of the Chief Abbot during the winter months. Punakha Dzong (Fortress), built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, stands like a giant ship on an ocean from afar. Build at the confluence of two rivers, Pho Chhu(male river) and Mo Chhu (female river), the Dzong was destroyed four times by fire and an earthquake in 1897. However, it has now been restored to its original splendour.

En-route to Thimphu we will visit Chhimi Lhakhang, which was built in the 15th Century, dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kinley also known as the “divine mad man”. It is a pilgrim site especially for childless couples, where the Phallus is worshipped. It is believed that blessings from the phallus help a woman to conceive. We continue driving to Paro and halt at a hotel.

Day 29: Departure from Paro

After breakfast, you will be driven to Paro international airport for your onward flight. Our representative will see you off.

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Towards the Eastern Twins – Merak – Sakteng Trek

Duration: 11days
Start:  Chaling
End: Phogmey
Difficulty rating:  Moderate
Maximum elevation:  3480m

Season:  Mid March – May, September – October

For this trek, you can either enter from Paro and travel all the way to eastern Bhutan or enter from the Indian city of Gawahati, Assam’s capital and exit from there. You can also decide to enter from Guwahati and exit from Paro.

Summary

This is a new trekking route recently opened for tourists. It takes you to nomadic villages of Merak and Sakteng, bordering Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh, India, in Eastern Bhutan.

Apart from the beautiful landscapes, lakes and peaks of north eastern Bhutan, you can interact with nomads and learn their way of life. Moreover, this trek offers you the opportunity to visit Eastern Bhutan, where tourism is not as brisk as the Western part of Bhutan. You further avail the opportunity to visit almost all districts of Bhutan, except some in Southern Bhutan, if you decide to exit from Paro.

Itinerary

Day 01: Gawahati (India)-Samdrup Jongkhar

On arrival at Gawahati, you will be greeted by our representative. You will then be driven to the border town of Samdrup Jongkhar, eastern Bhutan’s commercial hub, which is about 100kms from the airport.

Night halt at hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar.

Day 02: Samdrup Jongkhar-Trashigang  

After breakfast, our journey into the wilderness of eastern Bhutan begins. Trashigang is 180 kms from Samdrup Jongkhar and the road traverses through tropical and subtropical trees. En-route, we will visit the hand loom (weaving centre) in Khaling and the Institute of the disabled. The road also passes through the Kharungla National Park, thus offering a diversity of flora and fauna.

Upon arrival at Trashigang we will visit the Trashigang Dzong (Fortress), built in the mid-17th century. Like most Dzongs, it serves as the Administrative seat for the district and houses the monastic body.

Overnight at hotel in Trashigang.

Day 03: Rangjung-Chaling/Damnongchu

19KM / 6-7 HOURS / 2000M ASCENT 230M DESCENT

This is the first day of the trek and you will take a scenic drive through Rangjung town and Radhi village from Trashigang for about ninety minutes to Chaling. Your trekking crew and pack animals will join you at Chaling.

The trek begins with a gradual climb towards Shaktimi meadow. Along the trail, you will see huts of yak herders dotted along the hill side and yaks and sheep grazing. As you ascent further, you will reach Mendula Pass, at an elevation of 3354m. After you cross this pass, the trek for the rest of the day is a gradual descend through forest filled with rhododendron trees till Donmong Chu (river), your camp for the night at 3124m.

Day 04: Damnongchu-Merak

14KM / 4-5 HOURS / 396M ASCENT

Your destination is Merak, and the trail follows the river. Apart from the final leg of the trek, it is a fairly easy hike along flat landmass. Right after you ascend, you will reach Gangu village. In another 45 minutes you reach Merak, located at an altitude of 3520m. From your campsite located before the village, you can have a spectacular view of the nearby mountains and village. You have sufficient time to visit the village and interact with the people.

 Day 05: Merak-Halt

Explore Merak and Bongmang village, apart from others.  Night halt will be in the camp.

The people from Merak and Sakteng, who are known for their exceptional features and for their costume made of Sheep skin and Yak wool. The hat they wear is unusual but has a significance of its own. You can interact with the people.

Day 06: Merak-MiksaTeng

16KM / 5-6 HOURS / 633M ASCENT 1074M DESCENT

In what is the toughest day of the trek, you will need to ascend until you cross the Nachungla pass, the highest of the trek at 4153m. The trek begins with a gradual uphill climb as you move from Merak, until the first pass at 3900m. A spectacular view of the entire Merak valley can be seen from here. It is also the pass from where you see Merak for the last time. Having crossed the pass, you will be trekking through outgrowths of juniper and rhododendron forests, finally reaching Nachungla pass. You will then descend to Miksateng at 3079m, your camp for the night.

Day 07: MiksaTeng- Sakteng

14KM / 4-5 HOURS / 80M ASCENT 310M DESCENT
The trek starts with a gradual descend till a river. You cross the river and follow its banks for a few hours, before gradually climbing to a hill adorned by a small Chorten (Stupa) overlooking Sakteng valley. From this ridge, you will be descending and camp on the outskirts of Sakteng village, at an elevation of 2950m. You may spot red pandas along the trek, if you are lucky.

Day 08. Sakteng – Teng Jyonkhar

17KM / 6-7 HOURS / 75M ASCENT 130M DESCENT

It is a slightly longer journey today and thus, you will be leaving the camp early. You climb up to a small hill at the western end of the village and then descend to the river, after which you will be walking alongside the river through forests filled with broad leaf trees. We will arrive at our camp for the night at Joenkhar Teng village (1733m), situated on a hillside. The village comprises of people belonging to the Brokpa tribe as well as people of eastern Bhutan (Sharchopas).  It also has a community school and an outreach clinic.
Day 09: Jyonkhar-Rangjung

12KM / 5-6 HOURS / 350M ASCENT 950M DESCENT
The last day of the trek begins with a short climb through Joenkhar Teng. You will need to cross few suspension bridges and take short up-hill walks, until you reach Phongmay. On the way, you will visit the Rangjung Monastery, founded by His Eminence Garab Rinpoche.

Halt at Rangjung

Day 10: Rangjung-Samdrup Jongkhar

After breakfast we drive toSamdrup Jongkhar, and halt the night at a hotel.

Day 11: Samdrup Jongkhar – Gawahati:

After breakfast, you will be driven from Samdrup Jongkhar to Guwahati airport for your onward flight. Our representative will see you off.

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Mission Goddesses’ Abode – Jomolhari Trek

Summary

This is one of Bhutan’s most popular treks and takes you to the base of Mt Jomolhari (“Mountain Goddess”) at Jangothang. Apart from the scenic beauty of the trek, it will offer you an opportunity to interact with the people of Lingshi and get to know their life styles.

Jomolhari  (7,300mts) is the source of the Paro Chu (Paro river) which flows from the south side and the Amo Chu which flows from the north side. The mountain is sacred to and believed to be the abode of one of the Five Tsheringma Sisters; female protector goddesses (Jomo) of Tibet and Bhutan, who were bound under oath by Guru Padmasambhava to protect the land, the Buddhist faith and the local people.

Day 01. Arrival at Paro:

During this flight one will enjoy the view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan Mountains including the sacred Mt. Jomolhari & Mt. Jichu Drake(7,000mts) in Bhutan.

On arrival at Paro Airport you will be received by the representative of Atlas Tour and Travel and transfer to the hotel. Afternoon, visit Ta Dzong former Watch Tower which now houses the National Museum and then visit Rinpung Dzong which houses the monastic school and the office of the civil administration and walk down passing close by crossing the Bhutanese typical wooden roofed bridge to Paro town. After a short stroll in town drive back to hotel for the night halt.  .

Day 02. Paro – Excursion Taktsang:

After an early breakfast drive up to the Ramthangka (base camp) of Taktsang and then hike up to the most famous monastery Taktsang, the Tiger’s nest. This magical monastery clings to the vertical granite cliff 3,000 mts above the valley floor. It is believed that Guru meditated here in the 8th century by coming riding on a Tigress in a wrathful form, to subdue evil spirits obstructing the spread of Buddhism.

The disciples of Guru Padmasambhava built the temple, which was later enlarged by Zhabdrung in the 17th century.

After lunch we walk back and then drive towards the north to visit ruins of Drukgyel Dzong built in 1646   by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. From there one can see Mt. Jomolhari (mountain of goddesses) overnight at hotel.

Day 03. Paro – Shana: 

(Distance 17km, five to six hours, 360m ascent, 80m descent, camp altitude 2,850m)

Your trek now begins. We drive up to Drukgyel Dzong where the motor-able road ends and then trek to Shana begins a start which is about 5 to 6 hours walk with gradual climb following the Paro river through  agricultural valley and villages. The campsite is opposite the army check post in the meadows, near the river at an altitude of 2,580m.

Day 04. Shana – SoiThangthangkha: 

(Distance 22km, seven to eight hours, 770m ascent, 10m descent, camp altitude 3,610m).

The trail gradually ascends following the Paro river through conifers and Rhododendron. The path narrows and closes in and the trail winds up and down along the drainage.

Your camp is in the meadow with stone shelter built for trekkers surrounded by conifer and birch forest. On clear days one can have a magnificent view of Mt. Jomolhari, which looks as if the Mountain is peeping at you through the clouds.

Day 05. Thangthangka – Jangothang:

(Distance 19km, five to six hours, 480m ascent, camp altitude 4,080m).

The trail leads by passing the army post and the valley begins to widen and enters the winter houses of yak herder where hot lunch will be served.

We will camp beneath ruined tress at the base of Mt. Jomolhari.

Day 06.  Jangothang-Halt: 

The day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views of lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jitchu Drake. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley. Jangothang is a perfect environment for your acclimatization. Trek up to Tosoh or hike around the area. There are good short hiking trails in three directions. Jomolhari and its subsidiary mountain chains lay directly west, Jitchu Drake to the north and a number of unclimbed peaks to the east.

Day 07. Jangothang – Lingshi:

(Distance 18km, six to seven hours, 840m ascent, 870m descent, camp altitude 4,010m) 

After your breakfast you start ascending up the mountainside towards Nyelila (pass 4,700m).

During the ascend you will be seeing Mt. Jomolhari, Mt. Jitchu Drake and Tsherim Gang till Nyelila at which point you will be seen off by the former two mountains, with only Tsherim Gang visible. From Nyelila pass the trail leads you all the way down to the camp at Lingshi.

Day 08. Lingshi – Shodu:

(Distance 22km, eight to nine hours, 940m ascent, 920m descent, camp altitude 4,080m)

The trail is through a deep valley and ascends to Yeli-la pass( 4,820 m). From here Mt. Jomolhari, Mt Tsherim Gang and Mt. Masagang (6,994m) can be seen on clear days.

Camp at Shodu.

Day 09. Shodu – Barshong:

(Distance 16km, five to six hours, 250m ascent, 670m descent, camp altitude 3,710m)

The trail winds up and down gently following the Thimphu Chhu and gradually climbs to Barshong, our camp for the night.

Day 10. Barshong – Dolamkencho:

(Distance 15km, four to six hours, 290m ascent, 640m descent, camp altitude 3,320m).

The trail descends down to the Thimphu Chhu river valley, through dense forests of rhododendron, birch, conifer, maples and bamboos and then ascends to pasture lands. The camp at Dolom Kencho is in a meadow.

Day 11. Dolam Kencho-Dodena:

(Distance 8km, three to four hours, 500m ascent, 930m descent).

The trail continues through forested areas winding up and down and through a small pass. Langur’s (monkeys) can be seen along the way. You will exit the Jigme Dorji National Park and reach the road head next to an impressive cantilever bridge.

It is the end of the trek. Our staff will meet you there who will drive you back to Thimphu. In the evening stroll around the town and drive back to hotel.

Halt in hotel.

Day 12.  Thimphu- sightseeing.

Bhutan’s capital Thimphu could be called mini Bhutan, for people from all parts of the country live here. It also houses some important national treasures. We will be visiting them.

– Buddha Point/ Kuensel Phodang: The construction of the largest Buddha statue in the country is almost completed. From there you can get a 360 degree view of Thimphu valley.

– Changangkha Lhakhang – A 12th century structure built on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo.

– Motithang Takin Preserve – It houses the rare national animal of Bhutan, Takin which is listed by international   conservation agencies as a vulnerable species. It is a rare animal found only in Bhutan, Nepal and Burma.

– National Institute of Traditional Medicine (NITM) – In Bhutan, equal emphasis is given to both allopathic and traditional medicines. The rich herbal medicines made up from medicinal plants are prepared and dispensed here.

– National Institute for Zorig Chusum – or the school of Arts and crafts is an institute where student undertake a six year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.

– Folk Heritage Museum – the house replicates a traditional farmhouse and is furnished as it would have been about a century ago.

– Weaving center, Changzamtog

– Bhutanese Paper factory.

We will also be visiting Trashichhodzong, the seat of Bhutanese polity, which houses the King’s Office, Throne Room and is the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the central monk body.

Overnight at hotel

Day 13. Departure:

After breakfast, you will be driven to Paro international airport for your onward flight. Our representatives will see you off.

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The Adrenaline Rush – Chelela Natural Trek

Duration of Trek                   : 4 Nights/5 Days
Duration in Bhutan              : 9 Nights/10 Days

Starts and ends at Paro

Standard                            : Medium

Maximum elevation:          : About 4,000m
Summary:

This trek will take you to Bhutan’s highest road point, Chelela pass at about 4,000 meters above sea level.
You can view spectacular peaks such as Mt Jomolhari (7,300 m), Jitchu Drake (7,000m), Tshering Gang, etc.
You will also visit places and institutions that are found only in Bhutan, such as Paro Taktshang (Tiger’s Lair), Tashichhodzong (seat of governance), Drukgyel Dzong (Castle of the Victorious Drukpa), Kyichu Lhakhang (one of Bhutan’s oldest monastery) etc.

You can feast on Bhutan’s flora and fauna.

Itinerary 

Day 01: Katmandu/Delhi/Bangkok – Paro

Arrive at Paro. (The flight will be an unforgettable experience. You can see the enthralling peaks such as, Mt Everest, Jomolhari and others. The landing will also be a thrill.) You will be received by a representative of our company who will escort you to your hotel.

Visit Paro’s National Museum, which was once a watchtower (Ta Dzong) and Paro Rimpong Fortress (Castle on a heap of precious Jewels) in the evening. Visit Paro town.

Welcome dinner and overnight stay at hotel. 

Day 02: Discovering Paro Valley

We will hike to Taktshang – “the Tiger’s Lair” – monastery. (A five hour round trek along an old trail, Taktshang is one of the most revered religious sites in the Kingdom. Perched on a hill about 1000meter and overlooking the valley, it is an architectural wonder. It is believed that the 8th century Indian Saint and Buddhist Master Guru Padma Sambhava came flying on a tigress, in a fiery form to subdue demons who were obstructing the spread of Buddhism.)

In the afternoon, we will visit the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong (Fortress of the Victorious Drukpa) and the 7th century Kyichu temple.

Day 03: Paro – Chonana

Altitude: 3500 m Distance: 14 Km, Time: 5-6 hours

The trek will begin today after a visit to nearby villages.
The overnight camp is at Chonana (3,500m), about 14 kilometres from Paro.

Day 04: Chonana – Jebkarpo

Altitude: 3500 m Distance: 16 Km, Time: 6-7 Hrs

We will scale Chelela Pass, which at about 4,000 meters is the highest road point in Bhutan. On a clear day, you can see a stunning view of the Himalayan mountain ranges.

The trek will be through forests filled with Primula, Blue Poppy and Rhododendrons during the flowering season.
Overnight camp at Jebkarpo.

Day 05: Jebkarpo – Milunga

Altitude : 3500 m Distance :16 Km Time: 5-6 Hrs

The trek traverses along trails that offer spectacular views of Mt Jomolhari (revered as the abode of Bhutan’s mountain Goddess, Aum Jomo), Tsering Gang (The Glacier of Long Life) and Jitchu Drakey.

Overnight camp at Milunga.

Day 06: Milungla – Tong

Altitude:3,500m, Distance: 16 Km  Time: 6-7Hrs.

Another day with excellent views of mountains and valley, you may spot yaks, an animal that is exclusive to the Himalayan region.

Overnight camp at Tong.

Day 07: Tong – Thimphu

It is the last day of the trek and ends at Drukgyel. It is a descend all the way to Drukgyel.
After lunch at a hotel, you will move to Thimphu. A cultural entertainment will be hosted in the evening.
Dinner and overnight stay in hotel, Thimphu.

Day 08: Thimphu – Wangduephodrang

You will visit the National Memorial Stupa, one of the most beautiful stupas of the Nyingmapa Sect of Buddhism, built in memory of the Father of Modern Bhutan, Third King Jigmi Dorji Wangchuck, in the morning followed by the National Handicrafts Emporium.

In the evening you will visit Tashichhodzong (Fortress), the power centre of Bhutanese government, which houses the King’s office, Throne Room, government ministries and is also the summer residence of the Chief Abbot.

Towards evening, you will be driven to Wangduephodrang over Dochula pass (3,100m)

Dinner and overnight stay at hotel in Wangduephodrang.

Day 09: Wangduephodrang – Punakha – Paro.

We will visit ruins of the 18th century Wangduephodrang Dzong (Fortress), which was razed by a tragic fire in 2012 and then Chhimi lhakhang, the temple of fertility, and associated with Lam Drukpa Kuenley (Divine Madmonk).

The next stop will be Punakha Dzong, the ancient capital of Bhutan, an architectural masterpiece built at the confluence of two rivers, the Pho (Male) and Mo(Female) chus(rivers). The Fortress is very significant to Bhutan and has some of the most sacred ancient relics.

Proceed to Paro and stop for lunch at Dochula Pass cafeteria. From the Pass one can see the Eastern Himalayan Ranges, comprising snow-capped mountains with altitudes ranging from 6000m-7554m. Dochula is also beautified by the 108 stupas built around a mound.

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel in Paro.

Day 10: Departure from Paro

You will be escorted to the Paro International Airport for your onward flight to your next destination.

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Gangkar Puensum Exploration

(Snowman Trek Gangkhar Puensum Extension)

Duration: 18 days (actual trek)

Max. elevation: 5,230m
Highest camp: 5125m
Standard: Hard

Start: Damji (Gasa)
Finish: Dur (Bumthang)

Summary:

This will take you to the base of the yet unscaled virgin peak, Gangkar Puensum. You have the opportunity to soak in two of Bhutan’s most revered hotsprings, believed to have curative powers – the Gasa Hot Spring and Dur Hot Spring.

You can visit and see the grandeur of Gasa Dzong, a 17th century Fortress and interact with the people of Laya and learn about their way of life.

Beautiful landscapes, flora, fauna, culture are other attractions.

Day 5: Damji – Gasa

(Altitude 2,900m, Duration 6-7 hours)

The first day of the trek will take you along a path made up of subtropical forests and through villages all the way till Gasa Tsachu (hot spring). Revered for its curative powers, hundreds of people from around the country throng this hot spring. You could take a soak, if you wish.

After lunch at the hotspring, we ascend and climb up for about two hours to the camp for the night, located just below Gasa Dzong (Fortress).

Day 6: Gasa – Chamsa. (Altitude 3650m, Duration 6-7 hours.)

After breakfast, we will visit the Dzong, built in the 17th century to protect the valley from Tibetan invaders.

We will then begin the day’s trek, which is an up-hill trail till Bele la pass (3,700m) traversing through outgrowths of bamboo, rhododendron, juniper and fir trees. Theascend till the pass will take around 5 hours. After that, we gradually descend for about half an hour to the camp at Chamsa.

Day 7: Chamsa – Laya.

(Altitude: 3,800 m, Duration 8-9 hours.)

As we begin the trek to Laya, the path initially descends to the banks of Mo Chu River. After that, the trail ascends and then descends detouring back to the hillside, thus avoiding the steep climb. Lunch will be served at the side of a bridge across the river. After lunch, the gradual climb to Laya begins. We cross the army camp and arrive at Laya village, the camp for the night.

Day 8: Rest day at Laya for acclimatization.

This is a wonderful opportunity for you to get an insight into the lives of the Layaps (people of Laya). You can go around the village visiting houses and interacting with the people. The people are a friendly lot and will happily pose for photographs. In the evening, a cultural program will be organized.

Day 9: Laya – Rhodophu.

(Altitude: 4350 m.  Duration: 8-9 hours.)

From Laya we descend to the army camp and continue our trek following the river till the turn-off point to Rhodophu, where we have our lunch. After lunch, we continue the up-hill trail traversing through rhododendron bushes until the camp at Rhodophu. Overnight at the camp.

Day 10: Rhodophu – Tarina.

(Altitude: 3980 m, Duration: 10-11 hours.)

As it is the longest day of the trek, we start very early at around 5 am. We climb up till Tsimola (4,700 m), the first pass. Once we cross this pass and arrive at a little summit, we can have a breathtaking view of Lunana, Mt Jomolhari and Mt Jitchu Drakey. For the next four hours, we walk along a flat trail, until we reach the summit of Gangla Karchungla, another pass (5,080 m).

At the pass, we will be greeted with yet another spectacle of a range of mountains, including Masagang, Tsende Gang, and Teri Gang. It is an enthralling experience. After the pass, the path consists of a long descent all the way to Tarina valley, our camp for the night.

Day 11: Tarina -Wache.

(Altitude: 3800 m, Duration: 6-7 hrs.)

It is a much easier trek as the path follows the river down the valley.  Lunch will be served at the lowest point for today (3500 m). After lunch, we climb up about 300 meters to the village of Wache and camp for the night.

Day 12: Wache – Lhedi. (Altitude: 3650 m.)

The trail traverses through thick forests made of juniper and fir trees, before changing to rhododendron bushes. We then climb up to Kechela (pass) (4,480 m), from where we can have a great view of the mountains. Once we cross the pass, we descend to the riverside and trek through a village. We will be greeted with stunning views of Table Mountain and others. We continue following the river, one of the main sources of Pho Chu, till Lhedi village.

Day 13: Lhedi – Thanza. (Duration: 7-8 hours.)

The trek continues following the river and rising gradually to Choejong village. After lunch, we will visit the Choejong Dzong and then continue the trek, which takes us towards the wide valley. After crossing a bridge, we reach Thanza and camp there.

Day 14: Rest day at Thanza.

This is yet another day to relax and immerse yourself in the sights of the beautiful and stunning views offered as you walk around or climb up the ridge. The surrounding lakes and mountains paint a picture, which only a trek of this kind can offer.

Day 15: Thanza – Tsorim. (Duration: 8-9 hours.)

The trek starts with climb up to the ridge with great view of the Table Mountain and Thanza valley below. The ridge altitude is 4,500 m and rises gradually up to 4,650 m near by the Foot Bridge. After lunch walk up towards the left side of the bridge enjoying the views of the snow peaked mountains. Climb up ridge after ridge until you reach the camp at Tsorim at the altitude of 5,150 m. Then down to the camp at 5125 m.

Day 16: Tsorim – Gangkar Phuensum base camp. (Duration: 6-7 hours)

This is the highlight of the trip and we start the day with a short climb to the Tsorim lakes. Walking by the side of the lake is an enthralling experience as you can also see the panoramic views of the Gophula ranges. The last climb to Gophola pass (5,230 m) is very short. After the pass you descend to the base camp, taking a short walk along the ridge, where the majestic and mighty Gangkar Phuensum awaits you.

Day 17: Rest day at the base camp.

It is a day where you can relish enjoying the great view of Gangkar Phuensum and the glaciers. If you have the energy, you could divert towards the left side and climb up the Pyramid Peak for a better view. You could also go down to the base camp, which is nearby Sha Chu at an altitude of 4,970 m.

Day 18: Base camp – Geshe Woma. (Duration: 6-8 hours.)

It is time to bid farewell to the beautiful mountains, but the trek is far from over. The trail follows Sha Chu and descends gradually to Geshe Woma, which is at an altitude of 4,200 m.

Day 19: Geshe Woma – Warathang. (Duration: 8-9 hours.)

The first part of the trail continues along the Sha Chu for about two and half-hours, after which the stiff climb to Sakala (pass) begins. As visibility along the Sakala trail is poor, one must watch the top of the ridge for guidance.

We will have lunch by the side of a yak herder’s camp. After lunch, we continue the ascend to Sakala pass, which is at an altitude 4,800m. Once we cross the pass, we descend and reach a spot with lakes. The trail again ascends till Wartangle pass (4,590 m), which offers a breathtaking scenery of small lakes and the mountain peaks.  We camp at Warthang, which is at an altitude of 4000m.

Day 20: Warthang – Dur Tsachu. (Duration: 5 hours.)

The trek begins with a short climb to Juelela pass (4400m). Once we cross the pass, we descend to a riverside and the trail traverses through dense forest composed of rhododendron, juniper and conifer trees. We will then reach a bridge. Once we cross it, the trek is again up-hill till Dur Tsachu (hot spring,) one of Bhutan’s revered hotsprings believed to have curative powers and associated with the 8th century tantric saint   Guru Padmasambava. We camp for the night here.

Day 21: Dur Tsachu – Tshochenchen. (Duration: 8-9 hours.)

As our trek ends, we cross the last pass of the trip (Juelela pass). From the hot spring it is a long and steady up-hill trek, across ridges offering stunning views of the mountains in Lunana. Blue crystal lakes and yak herders’ camps will greet us until we arrive at  Tshochenchen, our camp at an altitude of 3,850 m.

Day 22: Tshochenchen – Dur, Jakar.

It is the last day of the trek, and a boundary beyond which yaks will not move. So our gears will be carried by ponies. The path follows the Chamkhar Chu, descending gradually with occasional climbs. The trek ends as we arrive at Dur village, after which we drive to Bumthang and halt at a hotel.

Day 23: Bumthang – Paro

It is a long drive and we reach Paro after about 7 hours. You will have a hot stone bath and rest at the hotel

Day 24: Departure from Bhutan

You will be escorted to the airport for your journey out of Bhutan.

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Along the ancestral trail – Punakha Winter Trek  

Duration: Four days

Max. Elevation: 3,400m
Highest Camp: 3,360m
Standard: Easy
Best Seasons: September to May
Start: Dechencholing (Thimphu)
Finish: Zomlingthang (Punakha)

Summary
We will be trekking along the ancient walking route from Thimphu to Punakha. You will be taken through scenic landscape, forest and several villages. It is an opportunity to see rural Bhutan

Day 1: Dechencholing – Chamina (Four to five hours, ascent 860m, camp altitude 3,360m).

After a short drive from Thimphu to Pangrizampa, along the banks of the Wangchu river, you will start the trek. It is a leisurely hike traversing through some traditional and beautiful villages. You will reach Shong Pang and then Chamina village, your camp for the night.

Day 2: Chamina – Dopshing Pang (Seven to eight hours).

A fairly harder trek, today you will need to make a gradual ascend until Sinchula (Pass, 3,400m). On a clear day, you can see Phajoding monastery, located just above Thimphu from here. After about another two kilometers walk, you reach another pass, from where Thinleygang village, Talo Monastery and the motor highway towards the ancient capital of Bhutan, Punakha, is visible. Once you cross the pass, the trek is a gradual descend, until the campsite at Dopshing Pang.

Day 3: Dopshing Pang – Chorten Ningpo (eight hours, camp altitude 2,700m).

It is an easy trek that will take you through thick forests, villages and rice fields. Chorten Ningpo is linked to Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as the “divine madman”. You will be camping right infront of the temple.

Day 4: Chorten Ningpo – Zomlingthang (two to three hours).

Today too, you will be trekking through several villages until you reach a motor road. It takes about two to three hours. From the road, you walk till Punakha following it.

Halt at hotel in Punakha

Day 5:  Punakha – Thimphu

You will visit places of historical importance in Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital and in the evening travel to Paro.

Day 6: Paro halt

This day will be completely dedicated to visiting Paro’s gems along with a trek to Taktshang (Tiger’s Lair).

Day 7: Departure from Paro

Our representative will escort you to the airport for your exit out of Bhutan.

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Royal Heritage Trek

Location: Jakar and Chumey Geogs, Bumthang, Drakten Geog, Trongsa
Season: April-May and October-November
Duration: 4 days; start at Wangdicholing Palace and end at Kuenga Rabten Palace (or vice versa)
Tourist Profile: healthy / fit; young or old; enjoys moderate hiking/walking combined with sites and stories on history and culture

Summary

Apart from Jakar Dzong (Fortress of the White Bird), you will be seeing Wangdichholing palace in Bumthang, Kuenga Rabten palace in Trongsa, once homes to Bhutan’s monarchs. The trek will take you through path used by Bhutan’s Royal Family in the past.

Day 01Wangdichholing Palace – Domkar Tashichholing Palace.

The trek begins from Wangdichholing Palace (2600m), in Bumthang, with a gradual ascend towards Jakar Dzong, and further to Kikila pass (3948m). You could make a visit to the historical Wangdichholing Palace and Jakar Dzong, depending on time at your disposal.

After about four and a half hours trek from Wangdichholing, you will reach the lunch spot (Seou Zheysa), which was the actual lunch spot used by the Royal family in the past.

The campsite (Makhagthang) on the banks of Duegang Chhu is a three hour downhill walk from Kikila and stands at an elevation of 2908 m. It is just about half a kilometer from Domkhar Tashichholing Palace.

Day 02: Domkar – Jamsapang 

The hike begins with the crossing of the Duegang chhu after which the trail is mostly uphill. A climb for about three and a half hours will take you to Dungmai Jab, located at an altitude of 3678m. This will be your lunch spot.

After walking for about two hours uphill from the lunch spot, you will reach Jamsapang, which stands at an elevation of 4019m. Tungli La (pass) is just a few minutes away from the campsite.

Day 03: Jamsapang – Bjobshisa

The day begins with about an hour’s walk, involving a slight ascend towards Tungli La (4039 m). From here, one can feast on the beauty of the snow peaked Black Mountains sandwiched between Bhutan’s southern foothills at the left and the greater Himalayan range at the right.

The trail from Tungli La is a gradual descend and after about two hours, one will reach the lunch point. Another 2 hours brings you to the third campsite, Bjobshisa, a place used by local cattle herders during the summer/monsoon season.

Day 04Bjobshisa – Kuenga Rabten Palace 

Descending all the way, the trail from Bjobshisa to Kuenga Rabten Palace takes about four hours. The palace was the royal winter residence of the Second King and his junior consort and stands at an elevation of 1,774m. At the back of the palace is an ideal camping ground overlooking the valley and Mangdue River.

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Along the western frontiers- The Sagala Trek

Duration: Four days

Max. Elevation: 4,350m
Highest Camp: 3,850m
Standard: Medium
Start: Haa valley
Finish: Chelila Pass

Summary:

This trek offers you stunning view of the entire Haa valley, spectacular glimpses of Mt Jomolhari (Mountain Goddess), Jitchu Drake and others

You will reach the summit of Kung Karpo (Sky Burial) at 4,350 meters.

The trek offers you parallel views of Paro and Haa valleys  and it will take you to Chelila Pass, Bhutan’s highest road point (3980m)

Day 1: Haa Valley – Sagala (Time 3 ½ hours)

The trek initially takes you through an unpaved motor road for less than an hour after which you will be taking the footpath trail on the right side of the village, which will lead you to a gradual ascend through a yak herder’s camp. At the end of the yak herder’s camp, there are two different trails. You will need to take the right side trail to make your final climb towards the camp just below Saga La pass, which is at 3,550 meters.

Day 2: Sagala – Ningula (Time 5 ½ hours)

After 30 minutes, you will reach the Sagala pass (3,550 meters). On a day with clear weather, one can have a stunning view of Mt. Jumolhari and Jitchu Drake. Once this pass is crossed, begin walking on the right side of the trail. After several ascents and descents on a trail through rhododendron tress and meadows, you will finally reach the top of a ridge at 4100 meters, from where you see the entire Haa valley. The rest of the trek again involves occasional ascents and descents through forests of Hemlock and Juniper until the camp at an elevation of 3850 meters.

Day 3: Ningula – Kung Karpo – Thimphu (Time 6 hours)  

As you trek after breakfast, you will start descending for a few minutes, before following the ridge which traverses through meadows of yak herder’s camp. At the end of the meadow, the ascend towards Kung Karpo begins through tall rhododendron trees and meadows with stone cairns. It would take about 2 hours.

A spectacular view of Haa valley is sighted as you climb up through these stone cairns and reach a pass before Kung Karpo. The next highlight is Kung Karpo (Sky Burial at 4350 meters). At Kung Karpo, one can scale and reach the top of the mountain to see the Sky Burial.

From Kung Karpo begins a trail that ascends and descends. All along the route, you will see Paro valley on the left and Haa valley on the right. You can also feast on a view of Kila Goenpa Nunnery.

Once you reach the final ridge, your trek is downhill until you reach Chelela pass (3980 meters). It takes about 90 minutes to reach Chelela pass from Kung Karpo.

From Chelela pass, you will be driven to Thimphu, where you will halt the night at a hotel.

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Sinchula Expedition

Duration: Four days

Max. Elevation: 3,380m
Highest Camp: 3,380m
Standard: Easy/Medium
Start: Kabjesa (Thimphu)
Finish: Punakha

Summary

You will see the Sinchula pass, have spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges, including those of Phajoding monastery, Thinleygang and other villages. The trek will  take you through beautiful paddy fields.     

Day 1: Thimphu – Sinchula (4-5 hrs)
Beginning from Kabjesha in Thimphu, the first day of the trek involves a 4-5 hours climb to Sinchula pass, along a trail carpeted by blue pine, oak and rhododendron trees. The night halt will be in a camp at Sinchula, at an altitude of 3380m.

Day 2: Sinchula – Dupsingpang (5-6 hrs)

With a poor trail, the initial part of the trek is rather slow. On a clear day, one can have a stunning view of Phajoding Monastery and some of the Himalayan peaks. Once you walk for an hour, you will see Thinleygang, Talo Monastery and the highway to Thimphu.  The camp at Dupsingpang is at an elevation of 2440m.

Day 3: Dupshipang – Chorten Nebu (7-8 hrs)

This part of the trek will have you descending through dense forests for about four hours. A small stream has to be crossed twice after which you will be walking through villages and rice fields for another 3-4 hours, before you reach Chorten Nebu village where there is an old temple. The halt will be there at an altitude of 1810m.

Day 4: Chorten Ningpo – Punakha

The trek involves traversing through several villages until the road point. You will then be driven to Punakha, which is the ancient capital of Bhutan. A visit will be made to Sangchen Dorji Lhendrupchling Nunnery, which is located above Khuruthang town. Night halt will be at Punakha.

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Trails of our Ancestors – Wild East Rodungla Trek  

Duration: 10 days

Max. Elevation: 4,160m
Highest Camp: 3,680m
Standard: Medium to hard
Best Seasons: October to early November and April to early May
Start: Toktu Zampa (Bumthang)

Finish: Trashiyangtse

Summary

This is the most important trade route to eastern Bhutan before roads were constructed.

This can be seen as an extension of the Snowman Trek ending in Bumthang. (The combination of this two – Snowman and Rodung La – treks, connects the country from the west (Paro) to the far east (Trashiyangtse).)

You will see spectacular landscapes, peaks, flora and fauna.

Day 1: Jakar – Ngang Lhakhang (Distance 20km, six to seven hours, camp altitude 2,800m)

The route takes you around Chamkhar Chhu, a river rich in trout and to Thangbi Lhakhang, a temple built by the first Karma Shamar in the 13th century. You then enter Ngang Yul, or the ‘Swan Land”, at the center of which is Ngang Lhakhang, the “Swan Temple”.

It is believed that this part of the valley was first inhabitated by swans who gave their name (Ngang) to the place. A lama called Namkha Samdrup, in his dream had a vision of how to build a temple. Not certain about the location, he shot an arrow in the wild and constructed the Ngang Lhakhang at the place where the arrow landed.

Day 2: Ngang Lhakhang – Ugyenchholing (Camp altitude 2,850m)

Start with a gradual climb to Phephe La Pass (3,353m), an exotically stunning trail and one of the most beautiful forested areas of Bhutan. You will want to stopover at several places and take photographs or loose yourselves in the untainted, pollution free air. Your campsite for the night is Ugyen Choling Palace, which houses one of the most interesting museums of Bhutan.

Day 3: Ugyen Choling – Phokphey (Distance 17km, five to six hours, 920m ascent, camp altitude 3,680m)

It is another walk where you can relish at Nature’s beauty embodied in the flora and fauna that will surround you. The walk takes you through bamboos, hemlock and finally up to an alpine forest. The camp is in a meadow at the head of the valley.

Day 4: Phokphey – Pemi (Distance 20km, six to seven hours, 480m ascent, 1,160m descent, camp altitude 2,950m)

After three hours trekking, you reach Rodung La (4,160m), a pass, after which your journey goes down-hill   through a gorge, overlooking some of the mountain valleys. Legend has it that ghosts and yetis are sighted in the region. As you approach your camp for the night, you will see a building made of stone in ruins. The structure was a grain storehouse during the times of the first and second kings.

Day 5: Pemi – Khaine Lakhang (Distance 21km, seven to eight hours, 350m ascent, 1,340m descent, camp altitude 2,010m)

The trail will lead you through the villages of Ungaar, Bulay, Kulaypang and Gomda till you reach Drula village and Khaine Lhakhang (temple). The Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in the country, built in the mid 7th century by the Tibetan Buddhist King Songtshen Gampo, to subdue demons.

Day 6: Khaine Lakhang – Tangmachu (Distance 18km, six to seven hours, 520m ascent, 810m descent, camp altitude 1,720m)

Your trek starts with a short descend to a stream and a climb back to a basic health unit and community school in Gorsam. Further on, you will pass a Tibetan-style Umling Mani, built by a lama from Tibet, and a chorten (stupa) on Zerim La (Pass, 1,940m). Before you reach the next pass, Tage La (1,760m) you will see Menjabi, a beautiful Bhutanese village with large white houses. South-east of Tage La is Tangmachu Higher Secondary School. There are about 400 students in this school. You could either camp near the school or drive to Lhuentse, the capital of Lhuentse district, with its impressive dzong.

Day 7: Tangmachu – Menji (Distance 16km, four to five hours, 690m ascent, 620m descent, camp altitude 1,830m)

If you have camped at Tangmachu, you will be driven to Kuri Zampa, after which the trek will begin. It is a gradual ascend through paddy fields and villages to Chusa.

Day 8: Menji – Pemi (Distance 20km, five to six hours, 620m ascent, camp altitude 2,450m)

The trek is again uphill through thick forests overlooking mountain views. The camp is under forest shelter at an altitude of 2,400m.

Day 9: Pemi – Taupang (Distance 21km, seven to eight hours, 1,450m ascent, 1,450m descent, camp altitude 2,450m)

Today you will be climbing to Dongla, from where you will have a fascinating view of the mountains. From there, you descend through thick evergreen forests till you reach your campsite.

Day 10: Taupang – Trashi Yangtse (Distance 24km, eight to nine hours, 720m descent)

Though the longest trek of the trip, yet it is not difficult as the walk is a gradual downhill trek. You will be walking along forest covered by chir pine and other hardwood trees and the gigantic oaks of the sub tropical forest zone, until you reach Yangtse.

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The Himalayan Horizons – Dagala Thousand lake Trek

Duration: 13 days, including 8 days of trekking

Maximum elevation: 4,520m
Highest Camp: 4,300m
Standard: Medium
Best Seasons: April to June and September to November

Start: Semtokha, Thimphu
Finish: Genekha, Thimpu

Summary

This trek will offer you stunning glimpses of high altitude mountain lakes and the entire Himalayan range in Bhutan.

You can also experience fishing in the glacial lakes, see yaks and meet yak herders (nomads)

It also offers you an opportunity to visit places of historic and cultural significances, such as Paro Taktshang (Tiger’s Lair), National Museum, Tashichhodzong (which houses the King’s office), the world’s largest Buddha Statue, apart from the mesmerizing flora, fauna and landscape.

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive at Paro Airport

During the journey to Paro, one will experience a breath taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan and particularly exciting is the section through the Bhutanese foothills and the thrilling landing. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by representatives of our company, who will escort you for sightseeing, visiting the National museum of Bhutan, visit Paro Rimpong dzong and lunch at Paro Town. After lunch visit Kyichu temple, which was built by King Songtsen Gyempo of Tibet in 659 AD.

In the evening, take a stroll of the town and drive back to hotel for the night halt.

Day 02:  Excursion of the Tiger’s Lair (Taktsang)

After breakfast, we will drive to Ramthangka, which is the base camp of the five hour (round trip) to the Tiger’s Lair, Taktsang. The trail is an old path marked by river powered prayer wheels. Taktsang monastery is the country’s epitome of architecture as well as a place of great religious significance. The monastery stands perched on a hillock, a granite cliff at 3,000 above the valley floor.

Taktshang is renowned in the Himalayan Buddhist world as one of the most popular sites of pilgrimage. Associated with the eight century tantric Saint Padmasambhava, it was within a cave in the temple that he subdued evil forces obstructing the teachings of the Buddha. It is said that he came riding on a tigress in a wrathful form.

After Taktshang, you will visit the ruins of Drugyel Dzong, the fortress known as the “Castle of the Victorious Drukpa”, built in 1646, as a symbol of Bhutan’s victory over the Tibetan invasions in the 17th and 18th centuries. On a clear day you can get a view of Mt Jomolhari.

Enroute to the hotel, we will visit the 7th century Kyichu Temple which is believed to have been built on a place that resembled the left knee of a giant ogress.

Day 03:  Paro – Thimphu

After breakfast we will drive to Thimphu and en-route visit Tachogang Lhakhang, founded by the Bridge Maker, Tibetan Saint, Thangton Gyalpo (1385-1464). Upon arrival at Thimphu, we will check into a hotel and in the evening visit the Buddha Point/ Kuensel Phodrang , where Buddha’s largest Buddha statue is nearing completion.

From there, you can have a 360 degree view of the Thimphu valley. We will also visit the Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the Third King and Father of Modern Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and the 12th century Changangkha Lhakhang. We then drive back to the hotel for the overnight stay.

Day 04: Insights of Modern Bhutan – Thimphu sightseeing:

In the morning we will visit places of historical significances and beauty such as the Folk Heritage Museum, National Institute for Zorig Chusum, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, a Nunnery, and then drive back to the hotel for lunch. After lunch, we will take a break and begin preparing for the next day’s trek to Dagala. Overnight at hotel.

Day 05 : Thimphu – Talekha

The trek begins with a short drive to Semtokha Rigney School, the institute of culture and language studies. Our ponies will be there and the trek will begin through a trail of blue pine forest and scrubs of evergreen oak forestation till Talekha Monastery, which lies at an altitude of 2,925m enveloped by tall, fresh blue pine trees and offering a view of Thimphu valley. After four hours, we reach Talekha, our camp for the night.

Day 06: Talekha – Japhuna

The trek from Talekha is a gradual climb through thick forests of blue pine and ever green oak trees initially, and then into forest carpeted by soft pine and spruce for about 2 ½ hours, until you arrive at a yak herder’s camp. This is our lunch spot.

The tree line ends here and for another half an hour, you will be climbing through high altitude plants like Khems and other scrubs. You will then reach Jelezela (Pass) at 4,000 m, from where you can have a breathtaking view of Thimphu town and surrounding places like Phajoding, Yuesepang and others. On the north you will see the spectacular peaks of the Himalayas, such as, Jichu Drake Gang, Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake, Jom Gang, Gangchen Ta, Masagang, Tseda Gang, Table Mountain and Gangkhar Punsum. The entire Dagala range can also be seen.

Once you cross the pass, the trek descends for about an hour. You will then cross two ridges and arrive at a Yak camp called Japhuna(3,800m), your camp for the night.

Day 07: Japhuna – Jadula:

From Japhuna, the trail ascends and descends over ridges and down to a small valley. This takes about four hours after which you will reach a small stream. There, you see two trails, one crossing the stream and the other going up the stream. Both the trails will lead you to the same destination.

The hike till the stream is an enchanting one, where you will encounter several small lakes, all of which are not named. The lunch spot will be near one of the lakes.

After another hour and a half trek, you will be ascending through trails enveloped by Rhododendron bushes till you reach another yak herder’s camp, called Jadula. This is at a height of 4,100 m and your camp for the night. From the camp you can see the rocky Aum Jomo peak, the highest in the whole Dagala range.

Day 08: Jadula – Labatama

From Jadula there are two trails, one going on the left of Aum Jomo over Hetsogue Pass to Hetso-Hentso lakes and the other on to the right of Aum Jomo over Jomigue pass to Setso Yumtso lakes. From Jadula you follow the trail that goes on the right of Aum Jomo. After an hour and a half’s climb, you reach Jomigue pass (4,460 m.), after crossing DungkaTso (lake). From the pass the mountains of northern Bhutan can be seen. You will then descend for about 2 hours and reach Yumtso Gewa. Tou will halt for the night at Labatama yak herder’s camp, which is by the side of Yumtso.

Day 09: Cherishing Labatama

You can make a day’s excursion with pack lunch to Hentso Lake and try fishing. You can either return to the camp after lunch or make a day’s excursion to either Jamatso or Relitso.

Day 10: Second day at Labatama

In the second day, you can make excursions to Setso and nearby lakes. The hike to Setso is an easy one and takes 15 minutes. Later, you can go over a small ridge and then down to Jagetso, Pemitso etc. You can dedicate the entire day to fishing and exploring the landscapes. There is also another expedition you can undertake. Start quite early with pack lunch and follow the same trail passing to Jagetso, and Dagetso up to Jomigue pass. From the pass you start the real climb to Jomo. After 2 hours you reach the summit of Aum Jomo, (5,050 m.) from where one can have a spectacular view, far and wide. Lunch will be at the summit if it is not too cold for you.

Day 11: Labatama – Genekha

You bid farewell to the lovely Labatama and move to the Gautama winter yak pasture in the tree line right below Dagala range. After three hours of gradual climb over a fascinating landscape, you reach the highest point for the day, Pagalaptsa, (4,170 m), from where you can view the village of Genekha and the starting point of Paro valley. From the pass you descend through rhododendrons and other shrubs and enter a trail of thick forest made of conifers and ever green oak-forest. You will then reach another yak pasture range called Goe Tama, your camp for the night. This trek is approximately 8 km, and would take about 6 hours.

Day 12: Goe Tama – Pchechu Gompa – Paro Goe Tama to Pchechu Gompa 

A four hour trek, the trail leads through oak and conifer forest downhill till Genezampa (bridge) and then gradually up hill, until  Genekha village. You will pass a school, an old monastery ‘Pchechu Gompa’ of Genekha and Wang Baba village (2,800 m) approximately. You can choose to camp at Pchechu Monastery or continue the journey to Paro by vehicle and spend the night at a hotel.

Day 13: Departure

After breakfast, you will be driven to the Paro international airport for your flight out of Bhutan. Our company’s representative will see you off.

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Waters that Heal : Dhur Hotspring Trek
Duration: 16 days (7 days trek)

Maximum Elevation: 4,700m
Highest camp: 3,400m
Standard: Medium to hard

Best Seasons: March to April & September to November
Start: Bumthang
Finish: Bumthang

Summary
A nine-day trek which is also the finishing end of the world’s most challenging Snowman Trek, the trek to this blessed hot spring  will bring forth glimpses of  nature in its pristine forms. You have opportunities to catch a sight of the Musk Deer, Blue Sheep and Himalayan Black Bear.

Other attractions include glimpses of culture, art, architecture, people interaction

Day 01: Arrive at Paro Airport:

The flight will be one you will remember forever, because of the adrenaline rush you will experience at the views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jomolhari and Mount Jitchu Drake. The landing at Paro, considered one of the most challenging is an enthralling experience.

Our company’s representatives will receive you at the airport. Following a brief stopover in a hotel, your Bhutanese expedition will begin with visits to places of historical importance in Paro.  It will be the National Museum of Bhutan, the Majestic Paro Rimpong Dzong and Kyichu temple, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built by King Songtsen Gyempo of Tibet in 659AD.

Day 02: The Tiger’s Lair Expedition

After an early breakfast, we drive up to the Ramthangka (base camp) of Taktsang and then hike up to the most famous monastery Taktsang, the Tiger’s Lair. We follow an ancient path marked by river powered prayer wheels to the holiest Buddhist Shrine in Bhutan and the ultimate point of pilgrimage. A blend of the spiritual and architectural wonder, the monastery is perched on a 1000m cliff overlooking the valley. Legend has it that the great Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet to Taktsang on the back of a tigress to tame five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan in 746 A.D.

On the way back, we visit Drugyel Dzong,”Castle of the Victorious Drukpa,” located 16 kilometers from Paro town. In ruins now, this Dzong was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over the invading Tibetan forces in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Day 03: Paro – Thimphu:

After an early breakfast, we drive to Thimphu and on the way visit Tachogang Lhakhang, associated with the great Bridge Builder Thangton Gyelpo (1385-1464). We then continue driving to Thimphu and check in at a hotel.

We then begin visiting some of Thimphu’s landmarks, such as the Folk Heritage Museum, National Institute for Zorig Chusum, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Buddha Point/ Kuensel Phodang – where construction of the largest Buddha statue in the country is nearing completion. We can also visit the Memorial Chorten, build in memory of the Third King and Father of Modern Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and Changangkha lhakhang, a 12th century temple, associated with Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo.

Overnight at hotel.

Day 04: Thimphu – Trongsa:

After an early breakfast, we  drive to Trongsa.  After about 45 minutes, we reach Dochula pass (3,100m), from where we get the first spectacular view of the eastern Himalayan ranges, consisting of snow-capped mountains, with heights ranging from 6000m to 7554m. The beauty of the pass is augmented by the spectacular 108 stupas (chortens), build around a mound.

From the pass, it is a gradual descend along outgrowths of rhododendron, short bamboo and other tress to the subtropical valley of Punakha and Wangduephodrang. We continue driving to Trongsa via Pele la pass( 3,150 meters). Upon reaching Trongsa, we check in to a hotel and then visit Trongsa Dzong , built in 1648 and Ta Dzong, formerly a watch tower, which is now a museum.

Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 05: Trongsa – Bumthang

After breakfast, we drive to Jakar (Bumthang) and en-route stop to visit the Yathra factory in Chummy valley. We continue driving to Bumthang and after lunch visit the Jakar Dzong, Jampal Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang and stroll around the town.  Overnight at hotel.

Day 06: Bumthang – Lung sum:

We begin the trek, which is a distance of 18 km (about 6 to 7 hours) alt. 3,160 m. After breakfast the vehicle will reach you up to the trek point just below Kurjey Lhakhang, the holy temple that Bumthang is famous for. The trek route takes you along the Chamkhar-Chhu for a short while and follows the stream flowing from Dur village. The trek trail for Bumthang to Gorsum is rather gradual through dense forest of spruce, hemlock, cypress, juniper and maples. The trail is more or less muddy and ascends gradual till you reach to your campsite. Night will be halt in camp.

Day 07 Gorsum – Lungsum

Distance – 12 km, five hours; 40m ascent; camp altitude – 3,160m

From the river the trail enters the jungles and you walk through dense forests of Spruce, Hemlock, Cypress, Juniper and Maple. Towards the latter part of the trail, you will need to ascend gradually till the campsite at Lungsum.

Day 08: Lungsum – Tsochenchen

Distance – 15 km, six to seven hours; 620 m ascent; camp altitude 3,780m

Your trail follows that of the other day until the final lap, wherein the vegetation thins out considerably. The campsite is located above the tree line.

Day 09: Tsochenchen – Dur Tsachu

Distance 18 km, eight to nine hours; 1,340m ascent, 1,530m descent; camp altitude 3,590m

The hardest part of the trek, where you could be pushed to the limits, the trail from Tsochenchen till Juli La which is located 4,700m above the sea level is all up-hill. However, consolation comes in the form of the stunningly beautiful surrounding mountains you can see on a clear day. Once you reach a pass, the trail descends to a lake at 4,220m. This is followed by an ascent to Gokthong La (4,640m). Before reaching the campsite, you will have to navigate through a steep descent. You may come across musk deer, herds of blue sheep and Himalayan Black Bear along the final stretch of the route.

Day 10: Halt at Dur Tsachu.

After a late breakfast, relax in the hot spring or hike to the surrounding areas.

Day 11: Dur Tsachu – Tsochenchen

Distance 18km, eight to nine hours; 1,530m ascent, 1,340m descent; camp altitude 3,780m

We follow the route taken on day 4.

Day 12: Tsochenchen – Lungsum

Distance 15 km, five hours; 620 m descent; camp altitude 3,160m).

We follow the same route taken on day 3.

Day 13: Lungsum – Gorsum

Distance 12 km, four hours; 40m descent; camp altitude 3,120m

From here, the trail will descend gradually and take you through a dense forest of Spruce, Hemlock, Cypress, Juniper and Maple.

Day 14: Gorsum – Dur Village

Distance 18km, six hours; 380m descent

The trail continues to descend gradually till the bridge near Dur village, where you reach the road head. After lunch you can rest at your hotel in Bumthang.

Day 15: Bumthang – Wangduephodrang

After breakfast, we drive to Wangduephodrang, which will take about 7 hours. Lunch will be served at Chendebji, where a beautiful stupa resembling the Boudhanath in Nepal lies. In Wangduephodrang we will visit the ruins of the dzong (Fortress), which was razed to the ground by a tragic fire in 2012. The 17th century structure played a very important role in Bhutan’s history.   Night halt will be in a hotel.

Day 16: Wangduephodrang – Thimphu:

After breakfast, we will drive to Punakha, Bhutan’s old capital and still the winter residence of the Chief Abbot (Je Khenpo.) Punakha Dzong (Fortress) epitomises the grandeur of Bhutanese architecture and from far looks like a giant ship perched on a mass of still water. The Dzong is very historic and important as it houses some of the most sacred treasures of Bhutan in the form of religious relics.

En-route to Thimphu, we will visit the 15th century Chhimi Lhakhang, dedicated to the Divine Madmonk, Lam Drukpa Kuenley.  The monastery is a place where the Phallus is worshipped and barren couples from around the world visit the temple to receive blessings from the Phallus. We will lunch near the monastery and then head to Thimphu for our night halt.

Day 17: Thimphu – Paro

After breakfast, we will drive around and visit places such as the Folk Heritage Museum, National Institute for Zorig Chusum, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Nunnery and Bhutanese paper factory. After lunch, we will visit the Trashichhodzong, Bhutan’s seat of polity, which houses the Throne room, King’s office, some government ministries and the summer residence of the Chief Abbot. Later in the evening we drive to Paro and halt the night in a hotel.

Day 18: Departure from Paro

After breakfast, our representative will escort you to the Paro international airport for your journey out of the country.

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Along the Dragon’s Trail – Druk Path Trek
Duration: Nine days in total

Max.Elevation: 4,200m
Highest Camp: 4,110m
Standard: Easy to medium
Best Seasons: March to June & September to November
Start: National Museum in Paro
Finish: Mothitang (Thimphu)

Summary

The Himalayan Kingdom’s beauty is epitomized in its culture, flora, fauna and architecture, amongst others. Druk Path Trek, one of the most popular and easier treks, has a blend of all these ingredients as you trek from Paro to Thimphu. You will be trekking along a path that offers you great views of the highlands and landscape.  The highlights of the trek are the beautiful lakes and Phajoding monastery.

This package will also take you to the Himalayan Kingdom’s most revered sites, such as Paro Taktshang (Tiger’s Lair), the current and the ancient capitals of Bhutan, Thimphu and Punakha respectively, the World’s largest Buddha statue amongst others. On the other side, you can interact with the people and get to know Bhutanese life style.

Itinerary:

Day 01: Bangkok/ Delhi /Katmandu – Paro

Arrive at Paro International Airport after having experienced an enthralling flight with peaks of the mighty Himalayas, including Mt Everest greeting you and the plane taking you through the awesome Bhutanese foothills, not to mention the thrilling landing at what is considered one of the most challenging landings.

Our company’s representative will welcome you at the airport and escort you to the hotel.

After lunch at the hotel, begin Paro sightseeing by driving to the National Museum (once a watch tower – Ta Dzong), which has some of the Kingdom’s fascinating collection of art, artifacts, thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. Then, drive to the massive Rinpung Dzong (Castle on a Heap of Precious Jewels), another historic Bhutanese structure. Later, take a stroll of Paro town.

Overnight at Hotel

Day 02: The Taktsang Experience:

After breakfast and a 30 minute drive, you begin one of the most exciting sections of your trip, the hike to Taktsang Monastery, The Tiger’s Lair. One of the most revered religious sites in Bhutan and a centre for pilgrimages, the monastery is perched some 1000meters on a cliff, overlooking a valley. Associated with the great Tantric Saint from the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava, it is believed that Padmasambhava came riding on a tigress in a fiery and wrathful form and in a cave within the temple subdued the evils who were obstructing the spread of Buddhism. Since then, several Buddhist masters have meditated in and around the monastery. Some have even discovered hidden religious relics.

The hike takes about five hours (round trip) and follows an ancient path marked by river powered prayer wheels.

En-route to the hotel, visit Drugyel Dzong (Castle of the Victorious Drukpa), constructed to mark the victory of Bhutanese forces over the Tibetans in the 17th and 18th centuries. One can see Mt Jomolhari, (7,329 meters) “Mountain of the Goddess” on a clear day from here.  You will also visit Kyichu Monastery, a 7th century temple believed to be built on a structure that resembled the left leg of a giant Ogress, by King Songsten Goembo of Tibet. It is one of the oldest monasteries in Paro and the country.  Overnight at Hotel

Day 03: Paro – Jili Dzong(Distance 5 km,  1,090m ascent, camp altitude 3,480m).  Jangchulakha (Distance 10 km, 3hours, 310m ascent, 50m descent, camp altitude 3,770m).
Your trek begins after a 45 minutes drive. The first day is long and arduous as you have to scale elevations more than 1,000m. It starts with an up-hill climb to a steep ridge, after which the trail leads you through blue pine and fir forests to Damche Gom. Upon arrival at the ridge near Jili Dzong, you will have your lunch.

After lunch begins the trek to Jangchulakha(Distance-10 km, four hours, 310m ascent, 50m descent, camp altitude 3,770m). It involves an up-hill climb for about an hour and a half, that continues to ascend. You will be taken through thick alpine forest and dwarf rhododendron tress. You may see yaks and yak herders around your campsite.

Day 04: Jangchulakha – Jimilang Tsho (Distance 11 km, four hours, 230m descent, 330m ascent, camp altitude – 3,870m).

It is a trek that follows the ridge and which, on a clear day offers you an enchanting view of the mountains and valley. You will camp close to Jimilang Tsho (Lake), known for its giant sized trout. 

Day 05: Jimilang Tsho  – Simkotra Tsho (Distance 11 km, four hours, 820m ascent, 400 m descent, camp altitude 4,110m).

Involving brief ascents and descents, the trail for the day will take you through dwarf rhododendron trees and Janetso (Lake). You could get a glimpse of a nomad’s life if you come across some yak herder’s camp. The campsite for the night will also be near a lake (Simkotra Tsho )

Day 06: Simkotra Tsho – Phajoding (Distance 10 km, three to four hours, 130m ascent, 680m descent, camp altitude 3,750m).

Beginning with a gradual climb, the trek for the day is an easy one and from a pass offers you an opportunity to view Mount Gangkar Puensum, the highest mountain in Bhutan and other Himalayan peaks. Once you cross the pass, it is a downhill trek all the way to Phajoding. The camp is above Phajoding.

Day 07: Phajoding – Mothitang (Distance four to five km, three hours, 1,130 m descent).

It is a gradual descent through forest carpeted by blue pine all the way to Motithang (Thimphu). Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.

Day 08: Discovering Thimphu
You will discover the beauty of Thimphu and its treasures epitomized in the historic and massive structures such as the largest Buddha Statue at Buddha point, the 12th century Changangkha monastery, Takin zoo, Sangaygang (view point of Thimphu valley,) Handicrafts Emporium, Nunnery and the Memorial Chorten (Stupa).

After lunch, you will visit the Tashichho Dzong (Fortress), the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses the King’s office, Throne Room, some government Ministries, the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and senior monks. We will visit the archery ground and witness a match, if there is one ongoing.  In the evening, you can stroll around the Capital’s market.

You can also visit the Folk Heritage Museum, National Institute for Zorig Chusum, National Institute for Traditional Medicine (NITM), Local Paper Factory and a weaving centre.

Overnight at hotel

Day 09. Departure from Paro:

After breakfast, you will be driven to Paro international airport for your onward flight. Our representative will see you off.

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Gangtey – Gogona – Khotokha Trek
Summary

This is a blend of a cultural tour and a trek that will take you to some of Bhutan’s most historical and important places. Apart from the beautiful landscape, flora and fauna, you will reach Gangtey Goempa (temple), the seat of the Peling school of Buddhism. Simultaneously, you can visit Phobjikha valley, where the rare and endangered Black Necked Cranes fly in winter from Tibet and Mongolia. The highlight of this package would be your observation of how development and preservation can co-exist.

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive at Paro:

You will land at Paro international Airport, after having experienced one of the most thrilling journeys of your lifetime – the flight to Paro, during which you experience a breath taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake. The landing at Paro, considered one of the most challenging is an enthralling experience.

At the airport, you will be received by our company’s representatives. After checking in and a brief stopover in one of the local hotels, you will be taken to see some of the standing treasures of Bhutan Paro houses. Visits to the National Museum of Bhutan and the grand Paro Rimpong Fortress will be the highlight of the morning. After lunch at a local hotel, you will visit Kyichu temple, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built by King Songtsen Gyempo of Tibet in 659AD. Legend has it that the Buddhist King built 108 temples within a day, Kyichu being one.

Day 02: Paro – Excursion Taktsang

After an early breakfast drive up to Ramthangka (base camp) of Taktsang and begin the hike to Taktsang, the Tiger’s Lair. We follow an ancient path marked by river powered prayer wheels to the holiest Buddhist Shrine in Bhutan and the ultimate point of pilgrimage. A blend of the spiritual and architectural wonder, the monastery is perched on a 1000m cliff overlooking the valley. Legend has it that the great Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet to Taktsang on the back of a tigress to tame five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan in 746 A.D. Disciples of Guru built the temple, which was later enlarged by Zhabdrung in the 17th century.

After lunch we walk back down and en-route visit ruins of Drukgyel Dzong ”Castle of the Victorious Drukpa,”  located 16 kilometers from Paro town. This Dzong was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over the invading Tibetan forces in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Day 03: Paro – Thimphu

Thimphu has lots to offer and the pick for you will firstly be the Memorial Chorten, one of Bhutan’s most beautiful stupas, built in memory of the Third King, Late His Majesty Jigmi Dorji Wangchuck, known as the Father of Modern Bhutan. A short drive from there will take you to Buddha Point, where the statue of the World’s largest Future Buddha (Maitreya) will be seen.

From there we will move to the Handicraft’s Emporium, Weaving Centre and Changangkha monastery, one built in the 12th century. There will also be visits to the Takin zoo, Sangaygang, which offers a view point of Thimphu valley and a Nunnery.

Lunch will be served at a local restaurant, after which we visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved and the Wood Craft and Painting school.

In the evening, we will visit Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the government Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and the senior monks.

Overnight at hotel.

Day 04. Thimphu – Punakha

We begin our journey to Punakha. After about 45 minutes, we reach Dochula pass (3,100m), from where we get the first spectacular view of the eastern Himalayan ranges, consisting of snow-capped mountains, with heights ranging from 6000m to 7554m. The beauty of the pass is augmented by the spectacular 108 stupas (chortens), build around a mound.

From the pass, it is a gradual descend along outgrowths of rhododendron, short bamboo and other tress to the subtropical valley of Punakha and Wangduephodrang. At Wangdue, we will visit the ruins of Wangduephodrang Dzong (Fortress), which was gutted by a tragic fire in 2012. It was originally build by the Shabdrung in 1638.    We then move to Chimey Lhakhang, built in the 15th century and associated with Lam Drukpa Kuenley, the “Divine Madmonk.” It is just an hour walk (back and forth) from the road point. After lunch at the Lhakhang, we move to Punakha.

As we reach Punakha, we can see the Dzong (Fortress), resembling a giant ship bed rocked on a mass of still water from far. Built by the Shabdrung in 1637, it is an architectural icon, located at the confluence of two rivers – the Pho (male) and the Mo (female) chus (rivers). The winter residence of the Chief Abbot and the clergy, it houses most of Bhutan’s sacred relics and treasures.

A visit will also be made to Khamsumyulley Namgyal chorten.

Overnight at a hotel.

Day 05: Punakha – Phobjikha

After breakfast, we begin the 105 km drive to Gangtey via Wangduephodrang. It will take us about 4 hours with the road gradually ascending till Lawala pass (1100 feet). Passing through Nobding village, the vegetation consists of high altitude dwarf bamboo, rhododendrons flowers, Magnolia, fir and pine trees. We will reach Phobjikha valley at 3,000m, in the Black Mountain Ranges. Phobjikha is one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan and home to the very rare black necked crane.  The birds migrate from Tibet to Bhutan in winter (from October -March). We will be visiting Gangtey Gompa, one of the oldest Nyingmapa monasteries that look like a small Dzong.

Overnight at Farm house or hotel.

Day 06: Gangtey Gompa – Gogona

A moderate trail winds through meadows and fields, then ascends to the Tselela pass through mixed forest of Juniper, bamboo, magnolia and rhododendron. The people of Gogona speak a language called Bjopkha – the language of the nomads. Their life in this isolated valley has kept the tradition, culture and the language still alive. Night halt in camp.

Day 07: Gogona – Khotokha

A gentle climb leads to the Shobjula pass, alt. 11,155ft. From here the descend leads to a wide valley, reminiscent of the big sky and views of mountains all around, Overnight in camp.

Day 08:. Khatokha – Chunzom – Thimphu:

A short ascend leads to the Tashila pass, alt. 9,200ft. Be sure to fill your water shortly after crossing the pass, as the descend is totally dry. Walk down through evergreen vegetation into the drainage of the Dangchu where one will reach the motor able road at Chunzom. Here a vehicle will be waiting to pick you up and head towards Paro.

Overnight stay in hotel.

Day  09. Departure:

After breakfast, you will be driven to Paro international airport for your onward flight. A representative from our company will see you off.

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