- Trip Difficulty Rating: Moderate
- Maximum Group Size: 8.
Our short and moderate trek gives us a chance to experience the scenery of the high Himalaya from a foreground of mountain lakes and deep rhododendron forests. We also get a taste of local culture, including the Paro Festival, located in the village where our guides and staff were born. We travel through Bhutan as close–knit group. Our small size (limited to eight) gives us an opportunity to experience local culture more intimately. Facilities in Bhutan are good and this will be a comfortable trip. With a positive and flexible attitude, you will enjoy the challenge of this trip creating many fond and unique memories along with wonderful pictures. Bhutan will change you forever!
Pre Trip Days: Fly from your home country to meet together in Bangkok, Thailand. Government guidelines limit our entry and travel in Bhutan so ontime arrival is important.
Day 1: Participants arrive from around the world to join in Bangkok. We will meet you upon arrival at the Bangkok airport. Your guide will await you outside the Customs Hall. Once you have completed customs and immigration formalities, we will transfer you to your hotel near the airport for a restful afternoon and a good night's sleep. Tomorrow, we make our early departure to magical Bhutan.
Day 2: Group flight from Bangkok to Paro. Today we first transfer, with your group leader, to the Bangkok Airport for our morning Druk Air departure to Bhutan. Our Bhutanese guide, Dorje, will meet us at the airport after our short and spectacular flight. An enchanting drive through the beautiful Paro valley awaits us. There is free time to explore along with our guide in his home town! Check in at our lodge, located in the former 19th century residence of the governor of Paro and close to town. This small hotel has comfortable rooms and a traditional stone bath.
Day 3: The main focus of today will be the Paro Festival where you'll see masked dancing and the unfurling of a large Thankha painting. Additional sightseeing in Paro might include a visit north to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong (an impressive monastery fortress). This site was once a strategic post built to repel Tibetan forces invading from the north. It is also the site of the famous Kyichu lhakhang (temple) — one of 108 sacred lhakhangs built by the Buddhist King, Srongtsen Gampo of Tibet.
Day 4: Start Trekking. This exciting day begins simply, with a visit to the small National Museum at Ta Dzong. Soon enough, we begin our amble starting at 8500 feet as we commence our trekking days by hiking to Jili Dzong at 11,400 feet. We'll walk six miles in four to five hours. If the weather is clear, you can see a panorama of Chomolhari and other majestic, snow–covered peaks in the distance. The isolated fortress has a statue of Shakyamuni (the historical Buddha ) and has been recently restored. Our first camp is tonight — friends, tents, stars and peace in the wilderness of Bhutan.
Day 5: Today we trek from Jili Dzong to Jangchulakha. Our hiking distance today is about six miles. We begin with an hour and half of steep climbing until the trail moderates to an easier slope. Our path carries us through an alpine forest of dwarf rhododendron tress. You may spy yaks and yak herders scattered around our camp site. Total hiking time today is about four hours. We camp at 9443 feet.
Day 6: Todays trek takes us from Jangchulakha to Jimilangtso. We cover seven miles in about four hours of hiking, leaving us plenty of time to relax or explore later in the day. The trail follows the ridge and on a clear day the view of the mountains and valley are beautiful. The campsite is close to the Lake Jimilangtso. These lakes are known for their giant sized trout.
Day 7: Jimilangtso to Simkota. Todays seven mile hike will take about four hours. Our trail takes us to the lake of Janetso. You again may see yak herder camps — icons of a nomads life in Bhutan. Our campsite is close to Simkota Lake at an altitude of 11,500 feet.
Day 8: Today's four mile trek to Phajoding begins with a gradual climb. If weather permits, you'll have a spectacular view of Mount "Gangkhar Punsum", the highest mountain in Bhutan. You'll also see other Himalayan mountain ranges from Dochula Pass. From here, the trekking descends to Phajoding for the nights rest. Camp at 9,500 feet.
Day 9: Today we'll make a five mile hike to Thimphu in about three hours. The route is down hill through a forested area of mostly Blue Pine. We'll have lunch and dinner in the village, where the wonderful sights and smells will delight us after trekking. Thimphu sightseeing includes the local market, a painting school, a handicraft emporium, or the Folk Heritage Museum. We overnight at our Thimphu hotel — our creature comforts return! End Trekking.
Day 10: Today we will travel from Thimphu to Punakha. Our early morning scenic drive (three hours) follows the mountain route towards the former capital of Bhutan. We cross Dochu La Pass (10,000 feet) to enjoy stunning Himalayan scenery before descending to Punakha. We spend the night at a comfortable resort in Panakha.
Day 11: Today we visit beautiful Punakha Dzong the winter home of the Je Khenpo, the head Abbot. We walk across a 250 meter suspension bridge reach the Dzong, located at the confluence of the Pho-chu and Mo-chu ("Male" and "Female") Rivers. In the afternoon we visit Chhmi Lhakhang, the temple of the "Divine Mad Man," Lama Drukpa Kuenley. The temple was founded by his brother Ngawang Chogyel in the 15th century. It is a 1 to 2 hours hike to the Khamsum Monastery on the hill north of the valley. Our night is spent in comfort at our Punakha lodge.
Day 12: Punakha to Paro. Today we depart from the Wangdi Valley and continue onward to Wangdiphodrang Dzong, the most picturesque in Bhutan. We make a return drive over Dochu La Pass and stop for lunch in Thimpu. Our group continues our return to Paro (and our awaiting hotel) in about five hours.
Day 13: Paro, Sightseeing. We hike up to the Tiger's Nest, known locally as Taktsang, one of the most spectacular and sacred pilgrimage sites of Tibetan Buddhism. A fine vista is laid before us. Guru Padmasambhava, one of the great founders of Tantric Buddhism, is said to have flown on a tigress to meditate on the cliffs. The tigress being his consort, the divine Yeshe Tsogyel. We return to our hotel in Paro, just in time for a traditional stone bath.
Day 14: Paro to Bangkok. In the morning we will drive to the International Airport at Paro for the group return flight to Bangkok and the completion of this wonderful adventure.
Note: You must arrive in Bangkok on time. If you arrive early, we can arrange a transfer and extra hotel nights for you on request. Our group must travel together, early the next morning, on our flight to Paro.
Land Cost (itinerary): $4840USD
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Bhutan Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Cultural Journey