Day 1 – Arrival in Paro, Bhutan
Welcome to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Touching down at Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by your guide upon exiting the arrival hall. Today, we will take it easy to acclimatise to the altitude. Drive to Thimphu, check in to the hotel and let’s have your first taste of Bhutanese cuisine and some light sightseeing in Thimphu if possible.
Day 2 – Paro
Drukgyal Dzong – A morning drive, north of Paro valley brings us 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 an accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate.Explore the ramparts and relive the memories of a glorious past.
Taktsang Monastery – A one hour hike to the cafeteria is also a vantage view whereby you can enjoy the stunning view of the monastery. Prayer flags adorn the cliff and this is also where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century.
Kyichu Lhakhang – After a sumptuous local lunch, we will retrace our steps to visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan.
Day 3 – Paro to Shana
Morning drive the winding road to the Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fort, which was once defended this valley from Tibetan invasions. Mount Jomolhari, the sacred summit, reaches skyward beyond the dzong. Our trek to Shana starts at Drukgyal Dzong. At first you have to walk down to the level of the Paro river, the path runs on the left (western) side of the river.
We then follow the Paro river up the valley through cultivated fields and tiny picturesque villages. The forests are alive with numerous birds and brightly colored butterflies. Finally at “Gunichawa”, a military camp, which also junctions as a checkpoint for the army. Here the permits for the trek have to be produced and is checked by the army. Our camp site is located about 1 km above the military camp. Overnight at camp Shana.
Day 4 – Shana to Thangthangkha
The trail follows the river through a heavily forested area with a few isolated farmhouses. As we go up the valley becomes narrow, wilder and steeper. The trail winds up and down along the drainage. We pass a junction en route, where another path leads over the Tremo La to Tibet. This route was formerly used by Bhutanese people as a trading route to Tibet. We cross several traditional wooden bridges finally arriving Thanthangka. Camp is in a meadow with a stone shelter. From this campsite for the first time-in case of good weather the Mount Jomolhari may be seen.
Distance: 13.6 miles / 22 km
Duration: 6-8 hours
Day 5 – Thangthangkha to Jangothang
The path ascends for a while until we reach the army camp. We then follow the river above the tree line, enjoying stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch is served at a yak herder’s camp. A short walk from here into the valley takes us to our campsite at Jangothang (4,040m). From here, the views of Jhomolhari and Jichu Drake are superb.
Distance: 10.5 miles / 17 km
Duration: 4-6 hour
Day 6 – Jangothang to Lingshi
The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right bank. We now start our climb up to the first ridge, enjoying breathtaking views of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tserimgang. The trail then takes us across a fairly level valley floor, until the climb up to Nyele-la pass (4,700m). We descend gradually from the pass to our campsite at Lingshi (4,000m), enjoying a panoramic view of the mountain peaks and Lingshi Dzong as we walk.
Day 7 – Lingshi to Shodu
First half of the trek is mostly through treeless valley until we start ascending to Yale-la pass at 4950 m. On clear day, we can see Mt. Jumolhari, Mt. Tsherimgang and Mt. Masagang. Nomads traveling between Lingshi and Thimphu use the Yale la so the trail is well marked. The descent from the pass joins the Jaradinthang Chhu which later becomes the Thimphu Chhu. At the altitude of 4150 m is a chorten (stupa) from where the trail takes an easterly direction following the river. The camp is at Shodu just after crossing the sandy slope.
Day 8 – Shodu to Barshong
250m ascent, 670m descent, camp altitude 3,710m Today’s trail winds up & down following the Thimphu Chhu through the limestone valley. Monks use the caves for meditation. Shabdrung is said to have mediated in these rocks when he fleed from Tibet in the 17th century. We will have the good opportunity to view the giant rock faces and waterfalls. The trail gradually ascends 130m to Barshong Dzongs which lays ruins. Barshong is a small village with an inhabitant of half a dozen houses.
Distance: 8.7 miles / 14 km
Duration: 4-5 hours
Day 9 – Barshong to Dolam Kencho
There are several ups and downs and crossings of small streams. Reach a split in the trail, the one to the right descends to your campsite for tonight.
Day 10 – Dolam Kencho to Thimphu
Today is an easy walk and with small ups and downs followed by a couple of short steep switchbacks to descend a vertical cliff before finally reaching the last stretch to Dodina. The trails descends through bamboo forests, following the mule trail high above the river and reach Dodina where your vehicle will meet you and drive you half an hour to Thimphu.,the modern capital of Bhutan. Thimphu has a population of about 98,500. The town is made up of just three lines of shops and is the only capital in the world without traffic lights.
Distance: 4.3 miles / 7 km
Duration: 3 hours
Day 11 – Depart Paro
Today we will bid fond farewell to this beautiful Himalayan country and take an early flight back to Singapore. We hope by now you would have made some friends and also kept many photos and beautiful memories of Bhutan! And we look forward to seeing you again in this beautiful land of endless Enchantments! Tashi Delek!