Nabji Korphu trek offers a short, easy and enjoyable journey around scenic Trongsa Dzongkhag. The climate is warm and on average trek stays between 3000ft/1000-4500ft/1500m in altitude and there is a ample of possibilities to have encountered wild live tour including the rare Golden Langur, Red Pandas, Himalayan Black Bears, Rhesus Monkeys, Rufous-necked Hornbills and Clouded Leopards.
Hikers on this trek will have plenty of opportunity to experience traditional rural life as they will spend nights in the villages of Nabji, Korphu and Nyimshong. Nabji is an idyllic village surrounded by verdant paddy fields and the villagers of Korphu are famed for their hospitality. Visitors will often be greeted by a Chipdrel procession and Marchang ceremony, practices typically reserved for royalty. Nyimshong is a good place to observe some of the local culture as the women often put together cultural shows full of singing and dancing for visitors.
The best time to go on board on this trek is in winter, between October-April.
Day 1: Drive from Paro-Punakha, Bhutan.
Distance 135 km, 4 hours, altitude 1,351m/4430ft
The roads in this part of the Himalaya can be narrow but one can expect a lot more when it comes to the change in culture and traditions, elevation and vegetations after just a few hours’ drive from Paro(2280m) to Punakha(1350m). En route stop over at the most scenic Dochula Pass (3150m), you may take a break at the Druk Wangyel Cafeteria for a cup of tea (or) even lunch if you’re on time.
Overnight at Meri Puensum Resort, Punatsangchhu cottages (or) similar
Day 2: -Punakha-Trongsa
Distance 135km, 4-5 hours, altitude 2350 m
Crossing the Punatsangchhu (river), as you climb up to the spur on which the recently burned down wangdi phodrang dzong is pearched, on the opposite site is the quant and ancient village of Rinchengang renowned for producing the best stone masons in the country.
The Black Mountains are considered as the mountains that separates the west from the east during ancient period. The difference in style in cultivating crops like mustard, wheat, barley and potatoes may also remind us how different we can be with just few hours of drive. The region is well known for bamboo products unlike the west where they mainly depend on rice and paddy fields. En route stop over at lunch at Chendebji village.
Overnight at Yangkhil Resort, Raven Crown Resort (or) similar
Day 3: Tongtongphey – Jangbi Village
Distance 7-9.5 km, 3-4 hours, altitude range 1,000 m – 1,350 m.
After an early breakfast at your hotel, you can take some time to wander around Trongsa town, taking a visit to the Dzong or the museum at the Watchtower of Trongsa. The museum will definitely captivate visitors with its myriad collections of antiques and artifacts. A 2 hour drive from the town along the Zhemgang highway brings you to the start of the Trek, Tongtongphey.
You can also augment your itinerary with a visit to Kuenga Rabten palace, an important heritage in Bhutanese history. After arming yourself with information about the trek from the information booth, the village guide steers you down to the Mangdi river where you cross a suspension bridge. On this stretch of the journey the otherwise rare Golden Langurs, an endangered species of primate are abundant and almost impossible to miss. You will come in contact with the Monpas who are believed to be the first inhabitants of Bhutan.
A glimpse into their lifestyle coupled with mythical legends about their origins further validates this claim. The campsite in Jangbi stands on the valley sill, which offers a resplendent view of the Mangdi valley. If you still have some energy you can watch a local cultural program or even better, take part in it.
Day 4: Jangbi Village – Kudra Village
Distance 13-14.5 km, 6 hours, altitude range 1,350 m – 1,500 m.
The morning allows you to further interact with the Monpas. Before you proceed, you can also pay a visit to the orchid garden that houses around 75 different varieties of orchids. The trail to Kudra is especially interesting as it passes stone imprints of Guru Rinpoche’s footprints, dagger and phallus. Lunch is served just before you arrive at Phrumzur, one of the Monpa villages. After a quick visit to the village Lhakhang in Phrumzur and you then proceed to the campsite in Kudra. En route, you’ll encounter another small Monpa village called Lekpogang, after which, the campsite in Kudra is just an hour’s walk. The campsite offers a bird’s-eye-view of Nyimshong village and also of Zhemgang town.
Day 5: Kudra Village – Nabji Village
Distance 11-14 km, circa 5-7 hours, altitude range 1,500 m – 1,300 m.
This part of the trek is a collage of streams, waterfalls and thick forests that will give you an invigorating feeling of being out in the wild. Animals such as Himalayan Squirrels, Rhesus Mecaques, and small snakes are often spotted along the trail. Himalayan black bears, Red pandas, tigers and Clouded leopards are also present this region. Upon arrival at the holy tree in Nabji, the villagers will give you a warm reception. Nabji is a beautiful village with paddy fields circling the clustered houses. You can also hike to the community school and enjoy a game of football or volleyball with the local school children.
Day 6: Nabji Village – Korphu Village
Distance 9.5-13 km, 2-3 hours, altitude range 1300 m – 1500 m.
En route to Korphu, Nabji temple is located amidst verdant paddy fields. Inside, there is a stone pillar on which Guru Rinpoche imprinted the thumbs of two warring kings as a symbol of resolution after bringing about peace. Korphu is situated on a mountaintop at an altitude of 1,500m. The most striking thing about Korphu is that the people exemplify hospitality almost treating you like royalty.
You have the option of being welcomed with a traditional ‘Chipdrel’ procession and a ‘Marchang’ ceremony. These ceremonies are typically reserved for royalty but here the villagers will greet you by singing these traditional songs of praise and wellbeing. They also perform the traditional ‘Tashi Labey’ dance to bid you farewell. The villagers can explain and demonstrate and even allow you to participate in the quintessential Bhutanese games of ‘Khuru’, ‘Dego’, ‘Sok-sum’, and ‘Gee-dum’.
You can also visit the village temple that houses sacred relics of Pema Lingpa, the most famous Terton or ‘Treasure revealer’ in Bhutan. Lunch can be provided in the village campsite which also provides a spectacular bird’s-eye view of Nabji and other surrounding areas.
Day 7: Korphu Village – Nimshong Village
Distance 11-12 km, 4-6 hours, altitude range 1,500 m – 1,300 m.
The hike from Korphu to Nyimshong is pleasant and arguably the best location for bird watching as it is home to over 395 avian species. The elusive Rufous Necked Hornbill has its nesting holes adjacent to the trail. The walk is interspaced with waterfalls and, streams and cantilever bridges. The evening brings you to Nyimshong village. The campsite is equipped with an amphitheatre. The women of Nyimshong have a penchant for singing and dancing and often put on cultural shows for visitors.
Day 8: Nimshong Village
Distance 5-6km, 2 hours, altitude range 1,300 m – 1,000 m.
You begin by descending towards the Mangdi River. You are likely to see Herons, River-lapwings and even Golden Langurs in this region. A steep hour-long climb will bring you to the road from where your driver will drive you back to Trongsa.
Day 9: Trongsa-Phobjikha
Distance 135 km, 4-5hours, altitude 1,351m/4430ft
Visit Trongsa museum and Trongsa dzong before retracing your way back to Phobjikha, the valley of Black Necked Cranes.
Overnight at Meri Puensum Resort, Punatsangchhu cottages (or) similar
Day 10: Phobjikha-Thimphu
Overnight at Thimphu, Khang Residency, Peaceful Resort
Day 11: Thimphu Sighseeing
Overnight at Paro, Tashi Namgay Resort, Tenziling Resort
Day 12: Paro, Tigers Nest Temple.
Distance 5-6 km, 3-4 hours, altitude 2950m/9700ft
Tigers Nest Temple is located approximately 10 km north of Paro town at an altitude of 3.120 meters. In order to arrive at the temple visitors must trek for around 3-4 hours through beautiful, shady pine forests. No trip to Bhutan would be complete without a visit to this remarkable heritage site.
The ruins of Drugyal dzong, “the Fortress of the Victories Bhutanese”, is amazing site to visit.