Bhutan Drukpath Trek & Cultural Expedition

(14 nights/ 15 days)

TOUR CODE: BHN-15

 

 

 

Day 1 : Arrive Paro by DrukAir (Bhutan)

Flying into Paro, Bhutan is a unique experience altogether. The flight offers views of the majestic eastern Himalayas, and the arrival into a solitary runway at the country’s only airport is a mind-boggling event with the landscape and weather conditions dictating a steep descent into a narrow valley.

 

You will be received by our representative & your guide and driven to hotel for refreshment and a brief discussion about your tour program. Sightseeing includes, Paro Rinpung Dzong. A flagstone path rises gradually from a beautiful wooden bridge with shingle roofing and abutted by two guard houses to the Dzong. Today, this massive fortress built in 1645 AD is the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. The central tower( Utse) of the Dzong, with its superb woodwork, is one of the most beautiful in the nation. Visit the National Museum ( Ta-Dzong).Once the watch tower for the Rinpung Dzong ( Fortress), it was converted into the national Museum in 1968 (one of the best museums of Asia). The museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley in all its glory. 

 

Take a joy ride to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong. This point offers bird eye view of the Mt. Chomolhari (7329m). On the way back visit the oldest temple of the kingdom, Kichu Lhakhangt. This temple was built in 6th century by a Tibetan King to pin down a gaint demon. In the evening walk around Paro town, have a look at the archery match and interact with the local people. Overnight Paro. (Alt; 2280m)

 

Day 2 : [Start of trek] Paro – Jele Dzong

Today is a short trek. The trail is gradual till the camp and if the weather is clear, Paro valley can be seen surrounded by snowcapped mountains. Alt 3700m/ Distance 10 km/ Time 3-4 hours

 

Day 3 : Jele Dzong – Jangchulhakhan

The trek begins with a gradual climb and takes you through the thick forest of dwarf rhododendron, maples and junipers. You may see yaks and the yak herders around your campsite. Alt 3700m/ Distance 12 km/ Time 4-5 hours

 

Day 4 : Jangchulhakha – Jimilangtso

This trek offers great scenic beauty to some of the most famous peaks of Bhutan. The trail follows through the ridge of alpine forest and you would see lot of wild onions as you walk. The campsite is nearby Lake Jimilangtso. These lakes are known for their giant sized trout and if you are lucky you may enjoy a well prepared lake trout for dinner. Alt 3800m/ Distance 16km/ Time 6-7 hours

 

Day 5 : Jimilangtso – Simtokha

You walk through the fresh Rhododendron bushes along the shores of glacial lakes till you reach Lake Jenetso. Here you may have the opportunity to get the glimpse of a nomad's life. The campsite is close to Simtokha lake. Alt 3485m/ Distance 11km/ Time 3-4 hours

 

Day 6 : Phajoding - Thimphu

The trek gradually ascends to Phume la(4210m). From this point you can get a spectacular view of Mt. Gangkhar Puensum(7541m),  the highest peak of Bhutan and the highest unclimbed peak of the world. You can also get a view of Thimphu valley. Getting to Thimphu is a leisurely downhill stroll through the dense forest of blue pine. Back to hotel for a hot shower and enjoy the evening at your leisure. Alt 2320m/ Distance 11km/ Time 4-5 hours.

 

Day 7 : A full Day, Thimphu Sightseeing

Morning, drive to the animal sanctuary where the national animal of Bhutan, the Takin, is found in captivity. Walk around the BBS tower which is also known as the “romantic point” and lovers often come here to look at the panoramic view of the Thimphu valley. En route visit Nunnery temple. You can show your devotion here by praying with the Buddhist nuns. 

 

Visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved.  They also have on display the largest Picture Book on Bhutan in the world.  

Visit the Traditional Medicine Centre which includes hospital and herbal medicine manufacturing unit based on the Tibetan system of medicine.  The centre also trains indigenous medicine doctors known as “Dungtso”.

Visit the Zorig Chuksum “School for Thirteen Traditional Arts and Crafts”  followed by a visit to Textile Museum, Handicraft Emporium  and some local shops for antiques. 

Visit the Tashichhoe Dzong, the main secretariat building, the office of the King and Throne room and also the house of the State Monastic Body. 

Visit the Bhutanese Paper Factory, This traditional handmade paper is still being widely used around the country. 

Visit the Farmers Market, which opens only on weekend. Hundreds of farmers come here to trade their fresh vegetables and fruits.

 

Take a walk to the National Stadium, archery ground and witness an archery match played by the locals. Evening, take a drive to Buddha Gang for the last glance of valley and on the way back embark on a walking tour that includes; Memorial Chorten/ Hongkong Market/ Main Traffic Area/ Clock Tower, etc. Overnight Thimphu. (Alt; 2320m)

 

Day 8 : Thimphu – Trongsa (207km/ 8hr)

After an early breakfast, drive to Wangdue via the winding river of Wangchu. Stop for a hot cup of coffee at Dochu La pass ( 3150m) where you can get spectacular views of the Eastern Himalayan Mountains on a clear day and also walk around the 108 stupas which decorates the pass. 

The journey will take you across Pele La pass (3,300m), which is marked by a chorten and an array of prayer flags. On a clear day, you can get spectacular views of the highest peaks of the kingdom and its quite common to sopt some yaks and yak herders on this pass. This point marks the boundary between western and central Bhutan as well as the western border of Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. 

Beyond Pele La is Longte Valley where people raise sheep and yaks. You’ll come to the village of Rukubji Valley, with its big school and Gompa. The houses here are clustered amid extensive fields of mustard, potatoes, barley, and wheat. As you drive down through rhododendron trees and ferns, you’ll reach Chendebji village. This was a night halt for mule caravans traveling from Trongsa during the reign of the 2nd King of Bhutan. Just below Chendebji village is the Chendebji chorten, a large white structure beside a stream. This chorten is modeled after Swayambhunath in Kathmandu. The last village before you reach Trongsa is Tangsibji, which provides full view of Trongsa Dzong and its distinctive red roof. Trongsa Dzong, built in 1645, is a vast, white fortress that appears to grow directly up from the narrow green ridge on which it is constructed. It is one of the most powerful Dzongs and even today the crown prince of Bhutan must first become its Trongsa Penlop (governor) before he can become Bhutan’s King. Evening, walk around the sloppy town of Trongsa. Overnight Trongsa. (Alt; 2180m) 

Day 9 : Trongsa – Bumthang (68km/ 3hr)

After breakfast visit the Trongsa Dzong and the ancient watch tower which has been now turned into a beautiful museum. 

 

The journey will take you over one of the most scenically beautiful routes in Bhutan via the Yotong La pass (3425m), which is also the habitat for the Satyr peasant. Good for photography. As you enter the Chhume Valley (the first of the four valleys that comprise the Bumthang Valley) you can visit a center of Yathra weaving.  Yathra is the name for the locally produced hand-woven woolen cloth.  Distinctive patterns and bright, earthy colors enliven the fabric, which is used for a wide variety of purposes and sought after throughout the country. 

 

Check in lodge and have lunch. Visit the historical Jakar Dzong. It is probably one of the biggest Dzongs in Bhutan with the surrounding walls about 1 km in circumference. Evening, explore Bumthang’s local town and experience their peaceful lifestyle. Overnight Bumthang. (Alt; 2580m) 

 

Day 10 : Bumthang Spiritual Sightseeing

Bumthang is the spiritual heartland of the kingdom. On rise, take a hike through several ancient and important monasteries such as, Jambay lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, Kencho Sum Lhakhang, Tamshing & Pema Samba Lhakhangs. (These temple have many mythical stories linked to its origin and some of them dates back as early as 7th century. Your guide will unfold its mystery as you visit these holy sites.

 

Drive to the extensive palace of Wangdichholing, the early home of the third king of Bhutan, which was built in 1857 on the site of the battle field. It is the first palace of the present Wangchuk dynasty and also the first palace that was not designed as a fortress. 

Visit the Kharchu Draktsang, a monastery on the northern slope of Bumthang valley. This monastery is one of the biggest Buddhist college of the kingdom and a home to the reincarnation himself (Namkhaningpo Rimpoche). This point offers great view of the Bumthang valley and its town. (Bumthang had been named “the little Switzerland of Asia” by many travelers. Wait here to catch the golden hour while the sun sets gently. Evening, stroll down from the monastery to the river bank and drive back to the resort. Overnight Bumthang. (Alt; 2580m)

Day 11 : Tang Rural Excursion

Drive to the Menbar Tsho (Burning lake) about 45 minutes drive from Bumthang town. This holy lake has many mythological stories linked to it and hundreds of villagers from around the kingdom make a pilgrimage tour to this sacred site. Locals tie a Khada (White scarf) around the coin and make a sincere wish, and then throw it into the lake. It is believed your wish will be fulfilled either in this life or the next. Picnic lunch will be arranged near this holy lake.

 

Hike to the Ugyen Chholing village. There is no road to this village. You will have to walk about 4 hours round trip. Your guide will help you enter some of the village homes and see the rural lifestyle. Visit the Ugyen Chholing Palace which now has been turned into a farm museum. Walk around the village and talk to the villagers, and then drive back to Bumthang. Evening, free to shop. Overnight Bumthang. (Alt; 2580m)

 

Day 12 : Bumthang – Phobjikha (140km/ 5.5hr)

After an early breakfast drive to Phobjikha through different vegetation of alpine, subtropical and glacial. Phobjikha is a glacial valley on the periphery of the north western tip of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley is a conservatoin area and lies on the northern boundary of the Jowo Durshing range.

 

People sometimes refer to the entire region as Gangtey after the name of the Gangtey Goenpa  that is situated on a ridge overlooking the Phobjikha valley. According to legend that the Gangtey Goenpa was founded by the grandson ( the mind incarnation) of Pema Lingpa in 1613. As you enter Phobjikha, “the valley of the Drawf bamboo shoots” you will find it as one of the most beautiful valleys in the country. This place is the winter home of the endangered black necked cranes who migrates from Tibetan plateau and China.

 

Visit Information Centre for the cranes. Evening, take a hike through the Blue Pine forest to the village farmhouse. Try traditional Bhutanese snacks made from corn and rice with a homemade wine. Overnight Phobjikha. (Alt;2900m)

 

Day 13 : Phobjikha – Wangdue/ Punakha (65km/ 3hr)

Early rise and visit Gangtey Goemba. You can show your devotion here by participating with the monks for the morning prayer. Take a quick drive to the near by Pelela pass (3300m). On a clear day you can get great views of the highest peaks of the kingdom and its quite common to see yaks and yak herders at this point.  

 

En route visit Wangdue Dzong and its small town perched on a hill between two rivers. This fortress has many sacred temples hidden within its structure.After check in resort in Wangdue. Drive to Punakha. Visit Punakha Dzong, "Palace of Great Happiness". Punakha Dzong is the former winter Capital and at present day hosts the administrative seat of the district. Also the winter residence of the central monastic body and its Chief Abbot. The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, male and female river. 

 

Evening, take a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang  to visit the temple of the Bhutan’s foremost saint, Lama Drukpa Kunley, also known as the “Divine Madman”.  This temple is called the Temple of Fertility as it is believed that childless couples who come here to pray for a child is usually blessed with a child. Overnight Punakha/ Wangdue. (Alt; 1240m)

 

Day 14: Excursion to Taktsang

Early rise and drive to Paro (3.5hrs drive). After you arrive Paro, check in resort, get some rest & refreshment. Then spend the day hiking up a forested path to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan’s most famous and scenic icon. The climb is steep and takes about 4 hours round trip. An important place of pilgrimage and refuge for more than 1200 years, Taktsang Monastery clings to sheer cliffs two-thousand feet above Paro Valley, and from your closest vantage point on a rocky ledge directly across from it, you will still need 200-300 mm lenses and a steady tripod to get tight photographs.  

 

This sacred place got its name when Guru Rinpoche rode there on the back of a flying tiger and meditated in a cave behind the present-day monastery. Sadly, in 1998, the central temple was destroyed by fire, leaving the country in mourning for their holiest of spiritual places.  But religious leaders and the King quickly developed a plan to rebuild Taktsang and donations started pouring in from Buddhist centers all over the world, and today, the magnificently rebuilt exterior is complete.  Tiger’s Nest is once again the subject of cloud-shrouded posters that say, “Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon.”  Picnic lunch on the mountain.

Special permit will be arranged for you to enter the Tiger’s Nest monastery but you will not be allowed to take pictures of the inside shrines.

 

Evening visit a typical village home for a traditional Bhutanese style dinner accompanied by the local liquor called “Ara” (tastes somewhat like the Japanese Sake) & yak meat. Then luxuriate in the Bhutanese equivalent of a Jacuzzi called a “Chu Tsen.”  River rocks are heated and dunked into a large wooden tub with herbs.  This type of bath is considered to have medicinal properties of healing. Overnight Paro. (Alt; 2280m)

 

Day 15 : Departure

Our representative will bid you farewell at the Airport. Tashi Delek!

 

A:Available - This tour is available for booking.
R:On Request - This tour is on request only
All prices are per person.
If you are interested, please contact your local agent to make the booking or alternatively email us at reservations@toursite.com.au