START OF TREK : Drukgyal Dzong (Paro)
END OF TREK : Dodina (Thimphu)
DURATION : 12 nights/ 13 days
SEASON : April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November
GRADE : SS
Arrive Paro (Druk Air)
Paro - Shana
Shana - Thangthanka
Thangthanka - Jangothang
Jangothang - Lingshi
Lingshi - Shodu
Shodu - Barshong
Barshong - Thimphu
Thimphu - Paro
Paro - Airport
DETAILED DAY TO DAY ITINERARY
DAY 01 ARRIVE PARO (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 worlds highest peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. A tour guide from Sambara Tours & Travels, who will be your personal host throughout your stay in Bhutan, will be waiting to assist you with customs and immigration formalities, and then drive you the short distance to the Hotel.
DAY 02 PARO EXCURSION TO TAKTSANG (Tiger's Nest) MONASTERY
A very special day, with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang monastery a labour of devotion and faith! After breakfast a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten from where we walk up to the Taktsang viewpoint. 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 refreshment at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktsang monastery. 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 tiger. Looking at the monastery flying tigers donšt seem so impossible after all. Lunch at Taktsang Jakhang and then back to Satsam Chorten. In the afternoon we drive to the Ta Dzong, an ancient watch-tower, which now houses the National Museum.
DAY 03 PARO - SHANA
A half an hour drive brings us to the end of the road at Drukgyal Dzong. While the horsemen and staff are sorting loads and loading ponies, we walk up to the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong. Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jumolhari. Our trek to Shana follows the Paro river and we pass cultivated fields and tiny picturesque villages. The forests are alive with numerous birds and brightly colored butterflies. Overnight at camp Shana. Altitude 2,790 m; Distance 14 Km; Time 5-6 hours.
DAY 04 SHANA - THANGTHANGKA
This morning the trial follows the river through a heavily forested area with a few isolated farm houses. We pass a junction enroute, where another path leads to north over the Tremo La to Tibet. Camp is in a meadow with a stone shelter. Altitude 3,520 m; Distance 21 Km; Time 7-8 hours.
DAY 05 THANGTHANGKA - JANGOTHANG
In the morning after passing a small army post, the trial 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 Jumolhari base camp (4,040 m). High mountains overlook the camp and visible nearby are the ruins of an old fortress used to guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasion. Altitude 4,040m; Distance 15 Km; Time 5-6 hours.
DAY 06 JANGOTHANG (HALT)
A rest day. A chance to acclimatize and walk up the Jumolhari glacier or to the lakes in the opposite direction.
DAY 07 JANGOTHANG - LINGSHI
A good day's walk today with spectacular views of the Jumolhari, 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 4000 m; Distance 17 Kms; Time 6-7 hours.
DAY 08 LINGSHI - SHODU
Today a fairly long day. The trial ascends up to the Yalila pass (4,820 m) where Mount Jumolhari, Jichu Drake, Tserim Gang and Khangbum can be seen on a clear day. After the pass we descend to Shodu. Altitude 3,963 m; Distance 20 kms; Time 6-7 hours.
DAY 09 SHODU - BARSHONG
We follow the Thim chu river through a forest of rhododendron, and pass waterfalls along the way. The trail ascends up to the ruins of the Barshong Dzong where we set camp. Altitude 3,610 m; Distance 15 Kms; Time 5-6 hours.
DAY 10 BARSHONG - DODINA - THIMPHU
A long day. We descend down to the Thim chu crossing forest of rhododendron and
green meadows. Our trial follows the river until we emerge at Dodina where our transport
will be waiting to take us to the hotel for a hot bath and beer. Distance 25 Kms; Time 8 - 9 hours.
DAY 11 THIMPHU - PUNAKHA/WANGDUE - THIMPHU
A day's excursion with pack lunch to Punakha and Wangdue valley. Leaving Thimphu the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and clear, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m). This pass often offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. From Dochula the road descends along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha. We take a stroll through the small town and view the Punakha Dzong, winter seat of the Je Khenpo and ancient capital of Bhutan, remarkably located between the rivers of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu. The dzong is open to visitors only in summer when the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body are in Thimphu. Packed lunch will be served at Khuruthang near the river side. We then drive down the valley to view the Wangdue dzong dramatically located on the spur of a hill at the confluence of the Tsang and Dang Chu. Return to Thimphu and overnight at the hotel.
DAY 12 THIMPHU - PARO
In the morning we visit the National Memorial Chorten built in honor of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. In the afternoon we visit the Dupthop Lakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan and then the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). The Tashichho Dzong is open to visitors only in winter when the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body move to Punakha the ancient winter capital of Bhutan. In the evening we leave for Paro.
DAY 12 PARO - AIRPORT
In the morning STT representative will bid farewell at Paro airport. Good-bye and happy journey back home.