DRUK PATH TREK

This trip allows the travelers to enjoy the daily lives of friendly Bhutanese people by visiting villages, temples, monasteries, and gigantic fortresses. It gives you a chance to meet people, enjoy the pristine forest with rare glimpse of wildlife and observe the ancient old traditions of arts and crafts. We would be traveling through the less frequented areas of Bhutan. Our journey starts from Paro Valley where our flight from Bangkok will land. We spent one and half day sightseeing around the Paro valley and a full day excursion to the Tiger’s Nest locally known as Taktshang Gompa, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below.  We then start our short, five-day trek, which leads from Paro to Thimphu, or vice versa, crossing the chain of mountains that separates the two valleys. Although there is little settlement on this route, there are wonderful lakes teeming with fish and the area is famous for its spectacular rhododendron forests, which bloom in May. In the clear weather of late autumn and winter there are views across to the Himalayas. We finally arrive into the lush valley of Thimphu the Capital city.  After touring through this tiny no traffic light Capital city we will return to Paro and take our flight back home with beautiful memories of this Living Museum.

DETAILED ITINERARY:

Day 1: Kathmandu Arrival
Kathmandu arrival and transfer to hotel. Check-in and refresh. In the evening, enjoy Nepali dinner with cultural program.
Overnight at hotel in Kathmandu.

Day 2: Fly to Paro
After breakfast, fly to Paro(1 hour). From the left seat, you can see mountain range including Mt. Everest (8848 m, highest peak in earth) and the spectacular view of Bhutan’s snow capped peaks as you approach Paro. On arrival you will be received by our representative and then drive to your hotel.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.

Day 3: Paro Sightseeing
Drive the winding road north-west up the Pa Chhu River to Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fort, which once defended this valley from the Tibetan invaders. Mount Chomolhari 7314 m / 23,990 ft., the sacred summit, reaches skyward beyond the Dzong. This can be viewed on a clear day. Visit Satsam Chorten, Kyichu Temple built in 7th century by a Tibetan King Songtsen Gompo. Return to your hotel for lunch. After lunch visit the National Museum (Ta Dzong). This museum is considered to be a temple by the natives because of the number of ancient religious objects it contains. The museum holds works of art, handcrafted objects of daily life stuffed animals, costumes, armor and even stamps. You can thus get an idea of the cultural and ecological richness of Bhutan in a very short time. Hike downhill from the museum to Paro Rimpung Dzong. Drive back to hotel for preparation of your trek.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.

Day 4: Excursion to Taktsang Monastery
After breakfast, your car will take you to the starting point of the hike to view the spectacular Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s lair). The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. You stop at the cafeteria for a rest and refreshments and continue the hike (if not tired) for short while until you see, clearly and seemingly within reach, the remains of Taktsang monastery. Built in 1600s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. The history states 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 doesn’t seem so impossible after all. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.

Day 5: Trek from Dopshari to Jilidzong (10 Kms/ 5 hours)
Start with a short walk to Jili Dzong, which you can see atop a ridge above Paro. From Dobshari the trail crosses a brook and makes a long gradual climb to a wooded crest. It’s then a gentle walk along the ridge to campsite in a Yak pasture at 3,450m/11,488ft. Above the camp are Jili La and Jili Dzong at 3,490m/11,622ft. The Dzong is mostly in ruins, the temple in the Dzong is dedicated to Shakyamuni, most of the time the caretaker does not reside there, hence we might not be able to see inside. But during the clear weather, one can see the breathtaking view of Paro valley with Mount Jomolhari and other snow-capped peaks in the distance.
Overnight at Camp.

Day 6: Trek from Jilidzong to Jangchuplakha(10kms/ 4 hours)
After crossing the pass the route stays below the ridge, climbing through thick alpine forest and rhododendron to a saddle at 3,590m/11,954ft. It then follows the ridge, making many ups and downs, staying just above the tree line. The trail goes from one side of the ridge to the other, following it north to a Yak herder’s camp at Jangchu Lakha, 3,780m/12,587ft. There are views of Jomolhari and other snow peaks, and you are likely to see or hear some monal pheasants during the day.
Overnight at Camp.

Day 7: Trek from Jangchuplakha to Jimilang Tsho(11 kms/ 4 hours)
The trail follows the ridge for about one and half-hours to a saddle at 4040m/13,453ft, then drops a bit and follows the ridge back to Jangchu La at 4,180m/13,919ft. Descend to a camp at 3,880m/12,920ft, close to the large Jimilangtsho Lake (Sand Ox Lake), named for a bull that emerged from the lake and joined the cattle of a family that uses the area as a summer grazing ground. The lake is also known for its giant trout (which some people believe were taken to Bhutan by early British visitors). There are good views of Jichu Drake at 6,989m/23,273ft, the peak representing the protective deity of Paro, to the west.
Overnight at Camp.

Day 8: Trek from JimilangTsho to SimkotaTsho(11kms/ 4 hours)
The trail climbs through dwarf rhododendron to the lake of Janye Tsho, another yak herder’s camp. It’s a short climb along the side of the ridge and then a short, steep descent to camp at 4040/13,453ft. Close to Simkota Tsho, where there is another chance to fish for trout.
Overnight at Camp.

Day 9: Trek from Simkota to Phajoding and to Thimphu ( 15 kms/6 hours)
The day begins with a gradual climb to a saddle at 4,180m/13,919ft. A short descent leads past another small lake, then the trail climbs to Phume La 4,210m/14,019ft, where you are greeted by array of prayer flags. During clear weather if you look straight ahead you will see the views of Gangkar Puensum and other Himalayan peaks here. Below you will see the view of entire Thimphu valley the capital city. The route then descends pass Thujidrag temple, a retreat center that hangs on the side of a precipitous rock face. The descent continues through juniper trees to a campsite beside a community hall near Phajoding Temple, an important pilgrimage site at 3,870m/12,887ft.  The trek continues downhill through blue pine forest. Follow a steep trail to the road near the old Motithang Hotel or stay on the ridge and meet your vehicle at the radio tower above Thimphu (2500m/8200ft).
Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.

Day 10: Thimphu Sightseeing
The day begins with visits to the National Memorial Chorten built in honor of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang (Monastery for the nuns). We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the painting school where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkhas ( sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). Continue your drive up to the traditional Medicine institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices. Drive back to hotel for lunch. Afternoon visit Lungtenzampa to observe the Royal traditional silver smiths and Bhutanese traditional paper factory at work. Continue your drive south to Simtokha Dzong, built in the 1600s by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal. Continue your drive to Paro.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.

Day 11: Departure to Kathmandu from Paro
After breakfast, transfer to Paro International Airport for flight back to Kathmandu.
Kathmandu arrival and transfer to hotel. Optional sightseeing or full day rest.
Eve: Enjoy farewell dinner at one of the nice restaurant.
Overnight at hotel in Kathmandu.

Day 12: Departure from Kathmandu or Extend Nepal tour
Breakfast and timely transfer to airport for departure from Kathmandu.