Day 01: Flight to Paro, Bhutan (L/D).
Flight into Bhutan in itself is an amazing experience. We will have the great views of the Himalayas on a clear weather day. As we enter Bhutanese sky, our Captain of Druk Airline will introduce us with the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake mountains of Bhutan. At Paro airport immigration, we get our passport stamped with Bhutan visa; collect our baggage and walk through customs and meet our Guide and Driver outside the airport. Then, we are transferred to our hotel in Paro town.
After lunch, we embark on the tour of Paro. We begin from Paro Dzong which was built in 1646 and now houses government offices and religious institutions, as do all the dzongs (forts) currently. This is also the venue of the famous Paro Tsechu that falls during spring. We, then visit National Museum housed in the Ta Dzong-formerly a watchtower. The museum has collection of fine arts, paintings, thankas, statues, and antiques. Time permitting; we will also visit the Kyichu Lakhang- the oldest temple in the country. In the evening, we just hang loose in the small township of Paro. Overnight Ugyen Phendyeling Resort or similar A class. or similar.
Day 2: Paro – Warm up hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery (B/L/D)
The legendary Taktsang Monastery, which is also called Tiger’s nest, perched some 2,000ft/600m up on a sheer cliff overlooking the valley, is a popular hiking destination. This is a holy site where the legendary Guru Padmasambhava is believed to have flown from Tibet on the back of a tigress to defeat five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan!! The hike is about 2 hrs to the Takstang Cafeteria where we stop for tea and snacks and take some beautiful shots of the monastery. From here, we may either opt to hike further uphill for about 45minutes to one hour for a closer look at monastery or we retrace down.
The return trek to the road head is all downhill and takes about half the time. On the way back, visit a typical Bhutanese village home to have an insight on living style of Bhutanese villagers. The trip also can be done pony back. If you are keen on photography, you are recommended take the monastery hike in the afternoon as the sunlight is blocked by the hill in the morning.
Before we return to our hotel, we will Dungtse and a typical farm house to get an insight into the lives of Bhutanese people. Overnight Ugyen Phendyeling Resort or similar A class or similar.
Day 3: Trek Begins. Shana – Thangthaka (distance 17km, time 6 – 7 hours, (distance 22km, Alt 3630m/11,906m) (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we leave hotel with our trekking crews and drive about an hour and half to the trail head at Paro Shana via the ruins Drugyal Dzong following the Paro River gently uphill through rice paddy terraces, apple orchards, and forest, passing the village houses. The trek begins along the side of the Paro River. The valley narrows and closes, and the path then winds along the stream. This day’s trek is not so hard, but it is long, and there are many short but frequent ups and downs. From our lunch stop point, we can see the route to Tremo La- paved in stone and served as the main trade route to the Phari Dzong in Tibet. It was also the main invasion route of the Tibetans ages ago. We camp in a meadow with a stone shelter. On a clear day, we will see Jumolhari Mountain.
Overnight at camp.
Day 04: Soi Thangthangkha – Jangothang (distance 19km, 5-6hrs, Alt. 4,090m/13,415ft) (B/L/D)
It’s a not so long day but we will have altitude gain of 450m. The trail continues to follow the Paro River up, past a small army post, where the valley begins to widen again and we are also rewarded with the view of high ridges and snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas. We may see some yaks grazing and also the winter homes of the yak herders. We take chance to visit the Yak herders and share a cup of yak butter tea with them and possibly, we will buy dried yak cheese-“chugo” from them. We will set up our camp below the ruined fortress at the base of Jumolhari, and it is one of the most beautiful camps in Bhutan.
Day-05 :Jangothang Halt
We take an additional day in Jangothang which is necessary for acclimatization. We have options of hiking 3- to 4-hour up to a ridge that gives a good view of Jichu Drake or to the head of the valley, toward Jumolhari or trekking up the main valley toward Jichu Drake; or to Tsophu for fishing. Or, we can relax at the camp, read novels or write journals as you wish.
Day 06: Jangothang – Lingshi (distance 18km, time 5-6 hours, Alt 4010m/13152 ft) (B/L/D)
This day’s trek will take us over Nyile La (pass), which is at 4,890m. It tends to be windy at the pass. We can see yak pastures on the way. Depending on the time of year, we may encounter some nomads. We will have a great view of Lingshi Dzong further along the trail. There is also chance that we can see blue sheep and musk deer. Tserim Gang Mountain and glaciers are at the north end of the Lingshi valley. Overnight at camp.
Day 07: An additional day in Lingshi (B/L/D)
Explore Lingshi valley and relax after the previous day’s vigorous trek.
Day 08: Lingshi – Shodu/Shingtsana (distance 22km, time 8-9 hours, Alt 4.110m/13, 480m) (B/L/D)
The trail climbs up to Yeli La (pass) at 4,820m, where, on a clear day, we will see Jumolhari, Tserim Gang, and Masagang mountains. The trail descends, following a stream. Overnight at camp.
Day 9: Shodu/Shingtsana – Barshong/Dhomshetsa (distance 16km, time 5-6 hours, 3680m/12070ft) (B/L/D)
The trail crosses the Thimphu River several times and winds gently up and down alongside the river. At one section of the trail, we will notice a massive steep canyon on one side and a cypress forest on the other. We will then ascend up to the ruins of the Barshong Dzong. We set up our camp today just below the ruins. Overnight at camp.
Day 10: Barshong/Dhomshetsa – Dolam Kencho (distance 15km, time 5-6 hours, Alt 3,430m/11,250ft) (B/L/D)
We gradually descend through conifers and rhododendron forests and then begin a steep descent to the Thimphu River. We will ascend again into a meadow, where the camp of the day is located.
Day 11: Trek Ends. Dolam Kencho – Thimphu (distance 8km, time 3 hours) (B/L/D)
The trail winds in and out of valleys above the Thimphu River and then makes a long climb through a forest of conifers and high-altitude broadleaf species up to a 3,510m pass. The trail then begins a steep descent to the river, following it southward to the road in the town of Dodina. At Dodina, we will be met by our transport for the ride to our hotel in Thimphu. Time permitting; we will stroll in the principal street of Thimphu. Overnight Jhumolhari Hotel or similar.
Day 12: Thimphu Sightseeing (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we embark on the tour of Thimphu. We begin from the National Library (which houses ancient manuscripts), the School of Arts and Crafts, the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Simtokha Dzong (the oldest fortress in the kingdom), Changgangkha Monastery, a traditional paper factory, and the Takin zoo.
In the afternoon, we will visit the King’s Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972) and the majestic Tashichodzong, tour the Textile Museum and the Folk Heritage Museum, and explore the interesting handicraft shops. If we are in Thimphu, during week-end, we will not miss the colorful week-end market. Late afternoon, we drive to Paro.
Day 13: Depart Paro (B)
We are transferred to the airport for our fligtht back home or to next destination. Bid farewell to this beautiful country and people.