Day 1: Arrive Paro (by Druk Air). The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. Your Bhutanese escort from Authentic Bhutan Tours will greet you on arrival, then drive you the short distance to the hotel.
Day 2: Paro Halt. Today also we will be doing the sightseeing in Paro. In the morning we will drive to Chelela 3800m above the sea level. Before lunch we will be Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower, which now houses the National museum of Bhutan. It houses a fine collection of art, relics, religious thangkas, paintings, animals, armory and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. After our lunch we will drive to Drukgyel Dzong, 16km from our hotel, up the valley.
Built in 1649 by Lama Zhabdrung Ngwang Namgyel, who unified this Himalayan country. The dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. In the evening stroll around the Paro town and if you wish to visit the farmer’s house we may do so for dinner, Suja (Butter Tea) and Ara (Local Alchol). Over night stay in Paro.
Day 3: Paro, Excursion to Taktsang Monastery. Today we will hike up to Taktshang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery. We have to walk about 2hours & 30minutes to 3hrs from the road end. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags.
We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then we continue our journey to the temple. Built in the 1600s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 m into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria.
On our way back we will visit Kyichu Lhakhang, It is one of the two most sacred and the oldest temples in Bhutan, built in 7th century by Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo (the 33rd Tibetan king, who is also the manifestation of avoloketeshivara, commonly known to Bhutanese as Chenrize). Dinner & over night stay in Paro.
Day 4: Paro – Shana (Start of Trek). Our trek to Shana starts at Drukgyal Dzong following the Paro river gently and we pass through the cultivated fields and tiny picturesque villages. The forests are alive with numerous birds and brightly coloured butterflies. Overnight at camp Shana. Altitude 2,820 m; Distance 14 Km; Time 5 - 6 hours.
Day 5: Shana - Thangthangka. The trail follows the river through a heavily forested area with a few isolated farmhouses. It narrows and closes in and the trail winds up and down along the drainage. We pass a junction enroute, where another path leads north over the Tremo La to Tibet. Camp is in a meadow with a stone shelter. Altitude 3610 m; Distance 21 km; Time 7 - 8 hours.
Day 6: Thangthangka - Jangothang. We will continue the Pa Chhu River and after passing a small army post, the trail slowly leaves the forest line and gradually climbs into a beautiful valley, passing Tegethang, a winter home of yak herdsmen. Lunch will be served in one of these huts. Lots of yaks will be seen today before we arrive at the Jhomolhari base camp (4,115 m). High mountains overlook the camp and visible nearby are the ruins of an old fortress used to guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasions. Altitude 4,115 m; Distance 15 km; Time 5 - 6 hours.
Day 7: Jangothang (Halt). A rest day. A chance to acclimatize and walk up to the Jhomolhari glacier or to the lakes in the opposite direction.
Day 8: Jangothang - Lingshi. A good day’s walk today with great views of the Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake and the Tserim Gang. We start climbing straight away and after some 3 to 4 hours reach the Nyelela pass (4,700 m). After the pass we descend to a circular hut just below Lingshi, where we camp. Coming down from Lingshi we obtain our first views of the truly mystical Dzong atop a high hill. Altitude 4150 m; Distance 19 km; Time 6 - 7 hours.
Day 9: Lingshi - Shodu. The trail ascends up to the Yalila pass (4,820-m). From the past Mount Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake, Tserim Gang and Khangbum can be seen on a clear day. After the pass we descend to Shodu. Today is a fairly long day. Altitude 3,963 m; Distance 20km; Time 6 - 7 hours.
Day 10: Shodu - Barshong. We will follow the Thimphu chhu through a forest of rhododendron, and waterfalls, the river then narrows and closes in and the trail winds along the drainage, ascending up to the ruins of the Barshong Dzong where we set camp. Altitude 3,610 m; Distance 20 km; Time 6 - 7 hours.
Day 11: Barshong - Dodina – Thimphu (End of Trek). A long day. We descend down along the Thimphu Chu crossing forests of rhododendron and green meadows. Our trail follows the river until we emerge at Dodina where our transport will be waiting to take us to the hotel for a hot bath. Distance 25 km; Time 8 - 9 hours.
Day 12: Thimphu. The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then drive to the view point of Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). for your photograph and Folk Heritage museum.
Lunch will be served in the town. After lunch we will be visiting the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls) and finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium and shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. In the early evening drive to Paro.
Dinner and overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 13: Paro - Airport. Today we will drive to Paro international Airport to catch the flight to your next destination. Our guide and driver will bid you farewell and we wish you a safe and pleasant journey back home and hoe to see you again in Bhutan.
Tashi Delek and Thank You.
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