This trek offers adventurous trekking routes used by these highlanders through serene environment, distant villages of Laya and Lingshi; undisturbed nature of at its best form along the high Himalayan passes.
Outstanding campsites, beneath some of Bhutan’s most impressive sacred mountains, of which the most notable are Mt. Jhomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake, are also the features of this trekking route. Numerous isolated Dzongs and scattered settlements, including the outlandish village of Laya, provide a great deal of cultural interest enroute.
Wildlife such as the blue sheep, marmots, musk deer and the national animal, the Takin, can be seen. One should also not rule out the possibility of the rare sighting of a snow leopard, great Himalayan black bear or even the yeti!
Day 01: Flight to Paro, Bhutan
Flight into Bhutan in itself is an amazing experience. You 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, you will get your 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. 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 at Paro, Khangkhu resort, Drukchen hotel (or) similar.
Day 02: 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 visit 15century old Dungtse and a typical farm house to get an insight into the lives of Bhutanese people.
Overnight at Paro, Khangkhu resort, Drukchen hotel (or) similar.
Day 03: Trek Begins. Shana – After breakfast, we leave hotel to and drive about 20mins to the ruins Drugyal Dzong. This is the point from where you will start trekking to the trail head of Paro Shana following the uphill through rice paddy terraces, apple orchards, and forest, passing the village houses. This trek passes through Gunitsawa Village where you pass the army post. At the army check post your trek permit (provided by your tour operator) will be checked and endorsed. Enjoy the surprise! The campsite is on the opposite side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa.
Overnight at campsite.
Day 04: Trek Begins. Shingkharab – (distance 10km, Alt 3470m/11,104ft) (B/L/D)
The trek begins along the side of the Paro River. The valley narrows and closes, and the path then winds along the stream. Today’s trek is feels very repeated because of many short but frequent climbs and descends. 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 campsite.
Day 05: To Thangthaka (distance 12km, 4-5hrs, Alt 3630m/11,906ft) (B/L/D)
This trek lead you through forests of oaks, rhododendrons and ferns amidst breathtaking vistas. The campsite (3,630m/11616ft) is surrounded with beautiful views and lulled by the sound of the Paro River. After climbing uphill through the river valley, you will enter the Jigme Dorji National Park. The valley narrows down to a single path that descends to a meadow. The camp will be set up here. This is a right spot for the camp as you will be able to see Mount Jomolhari on a clear day. Overnight at Thathangka campsite.
Day 06: Soi Thangthangkha – Jangothang (distance 19km, 5-6hrs, Alt. 4,090m/13,415ft) (B/L/D)
It’s a not so long day but you will have altitude gain of 450m. The trail passes via a small army post, where the valley begins to widen again and you are also rewarded with the view of high ridges and snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas. You may see some yaks grazing and also the winter homes of the yak herders. You will take chance to visit the Yak herders and share a cup of yak salty butter tea with them and possibly, you will buy dried yak cheese-“chugo” from them. Your crew 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.
Overnight at Jangothang campsite
Day-07 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, you can relax at the camp, read novels or write journals as you wish.
Day 08: 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/15648ft. It tends to be windy at the pass. You can see yak pastures on the way. Depending on the time of year, we may encounter some nomads. You will have a great view of Lingshi Dzong (in ruins) further along the trail. There is also chance that you can see blue sheep and musk deer. Tserim Gang Mountain and glaciers are at the north end of the Lingshi valley.
Overnight at Lingzhi camp area.
Day 09: Lingshi – Chebisa (distance 10km, time 5 hours, Alt 4.110m/13, 480m) (B/L/D)
Proceed ahead passing Lingshi Dzong built in the 17th century, perched on the hilltop with a commanding view of the green hills, the winding river and magnificent peaks. After an hour from Lingshi, the trail reaches a cairn and prayer flags on a ridge at 4,140m/13248ft and then makes a long descent to the pleasant settlement of Gayul (3,870m/12384ft). Leaving this village, after making a short ascent and descent, the route leads to the spectacular Chebisa valley. Campsite on a meadow at an altitude of 3,880m/12416ft.
Day 10: Halt at Chebisa
There are beautiful villages of Chebisa around a range of within 30mins that you can plan to visit. After breakfast, visiting the villages and local interactions are some of the things you can do today. Lunch at the campsite and afternoon, your trekking team will prepare for hot showers. Enjoy the rest of the day relaxing and planning for the trek next day. Campsite at Chebisa.
Day 11: Shomothang (distance 17km, time 6-7 hours, 3680m/12070ft) (B/L/D)
On today’s early part of the trek, there is the possibility of spotting blue sheep, branded vultures and Himalayan griffons. The route later crosses Gombu la pass (4,500m/14400ft) and then descends through rhododendrons bushes to a stream at about 4,170m. The trail further climbs over a small ridge through a cedar forest then into the main Jholethang Chhu valley in a deep forest of fir and birch and then to the village of Shakshepasa (3,980m/12736ft). There are several yak herders huts en route. The camp is at Shomuthang (4,200m/13440ft) in a cluster of brush beside a stream.
Day 12: Robluthang (distance 18km, time 6-7 hours, Alt 4700m/15,040ft) (B/L/D)
The trek starts with a climb to Jari la pass (4,700m/15040ft) then descending to Tasharijathang valley, the summer place of the rare Himalayan takin (National animal). Camp is at Tsheri Jathang valley which has been declared a special takin sanctuary.
Day 13: -Limithang (distance 19km, time 6 hours) (B/L/D)
Today cross Shinje la pass (4,900m/15680ft) the last and the highest pass on the trek which is about 5 hours walk from camp. Later the descent is on a rough, rocky trail into a glacial valley, eventually reaching to Kango Chhu(river), a stream. After that it is a short climb through rhododendron trail and cedar forest interspersed small meadows to Limithang (4,140m/13248ft), a lovely campsite in a big meadow.
Overnight at Campsite
Day 13: To Laya (distance 10km, time 6-7 hours) (B/L/D)
Trek to the highlander villages of Laya is extremely pleasant with wonderful mountain scenery and passing through forests filled with moss and singing birds. The village of Laya is the second highest settlement in the country at an altitude of 3,800m/12160ft. Layaps here also depend on the Cordyceps as one of the important source of income. However, The Royal Highlander Festival and Laya’s own Auley saw the entire population of the mountain village troop up some 200m to their celebration grounds at 4000m from sea. Some of the festival events also included, The 53km Snowman run, World Food Day.
Day 15: Laya Halt (B/L/D)
Spend the day relaxing visiting Laya Dzong and interaction with the Layaps paying visit to their homes or going on short hikes above the camp. Overnight at Campsite
Day 16: To Chamsa (distance 19km, time 6-7 hours) (B/L/D)
Following Mo Chhu river downstream all the way to Punakha (western Bhutan) crossing few streams and making several ascents and descents. Also the route offers interesting view of Masang Gang peak (7,165m/22928ft). Camp at Chamsa at an altitude of 3,050m/9760ft. Overnight at Campsite
Day 17: To Gasa (distance 14km, time 5-6 hours) (B/L/D)
The day starts with a major ascent to Bari la pass (3,900m/12480ft) traversing through deep forests of fir. The route starts down again, sometimes steeply through a bamboo forest to a stream at 3,080m, the view point of Gasa Dzong. The trail further traverses above Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park onwards to Gasa. Overnight at Campsite
Day 18: Gasa Hot Spring (B/L/D)
Morning visit Gasa Dzong, one of the oldest in the country. Afternoon, walk to Gasa tsachu (hotspring) for (30mins) and spend the day relaxing in the medicinal waters of the hot springs. Overnight at Campsite
Day 19: Drive to Punakha (B/L/D) (Drive 2 hours)
Your driver will pick you up from Gasa. The road begins a long descent following the Mo Chhu River, winding down gently in the jungle past a few streams. The main valley at 1880m is full of sub-tropical vegetation. From Tashithang it is about 18 km drive to Punakha Dzong, the palace of great happiness. Overnight at Drubchhu resort, Punatshangchhu cottages (or) similar
Day 20: Sightseeing in Punakha and Afternoon Drive to Thimphu (B/L/D)
Following breakfast, 30mins hike to Chimi Lhakhang, Rinchengang Stone Masons village, the Incense factory at Bajothang. Afternoon, drive to Thimphu, the capital city. En-route stop at Dochula Pass (3140m/10048ft) located here is the amazing sculptures of 108’ Bhutanese Stupas. Overnight at Khang residency, Namgay Heritage hotel (or) similar
Day 21: Morning Sightseeing and Evening Drive To Paro (B/L/D)
Visit the National memorial Stupa built in the memory of the Father of Modern Bhutan, the late third King; Kuensel Phodrang to witness the 160ft tall gaint statue of Buddha Dodenma, Takin preserve, Nunnery, Craft Bazaar, Weekends market (open on Friday, Saturday, Sunday 09-05P). Evening drive to Paro via Chuenzom, the hub of road network where local vendors sell seasonal vegetables, fruits and home-made cookies. 5mins picture stop at the 15th century old bridge below Ta-chog Lhakhang. Overnight at Khangkhu resort, Drukchen (or) similar.
Day 22: Depart (B)
Paro – Bangkok
Single person @ USD $6090.00
Two person @ USD $5880.00 per person
Three person and above @ USD $5250.00 per person
Trekking cost includes.
- English speaking local Trekking guide.
- Hyundai/Toyota Transportation
- 03star and above accommodation
- Trekking tents, Sleeping bags etc.
- Mineral waters while on drive.
- Hot water bags
- Royalty of USD $65.00 per day per person
- Visa Fee of USD $40.00 per person
Trekking cost does not include.
- Air tickets
- Beverages /Personal expense.
- Personal Tipping, as a token of appreciation based on your tour satisfaction
(Necessary personal protection equipments and gears for trekking)
- Backpack (internal or external frame backpack. Find a pack that fits you well and that can hold all your gear. 2500-3000 cubic inches is a good minimum size)
- Sleeping Bag (Down or synthetic fill rated to at least 15-degrees Fahrenheit)
- Sleeping Pads/mattress
- Duffel Bags (a large one for your trekking gear)
- Hat for warmth (synthetic or wool)
- Sun cap.
- Sunglasses (dark, glacier glasses with side shields. Choose glasses with full UV and IR blockage)
CLOTHING: UPPER BODY
- Long sleeve underwear top
- Light or medium weight synthetic
- Lightweight shirt (Fleece or wool)
- Waterproof/windproof/breathable jacket
- Shirt/T-shirt (for camps)
- Sports Bra. (Women only)
CLOTHING: LOWER BODY
- Long underwear bottoms.
- Trekking pants/shorts (lightweight, loose-fitting pants. Stay away from jeans)
- Fleece/wool/synthetic pants.
- Camp pants
- Socks (synthetic or wool, at least 4 pair)
- Hiking Boots. High-top (heavy duty hiking boot with a good traction sole. These should be well worn-in by trip departure, no new shoes)
- Lightweight shoes/sandals or other shoes for camp
- Headlamp/flashlights (with extra batteries and extra light bulbs)
- Water bottles
- Match box
- Insect repellents
- Sunscreen (Minimum of SPF 15)
- Lip protection (Minimum of SPF 15)
- First Aid (A complete personal first-aid kit containing any and all drugs prescribed to you by your doctor)