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 acclimatize 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 clifts and this is also where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century.
Kyipchu Lhakhang – After a sumptuous local lunch, we will retrace our steps to visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan.
Day 3 – Ta Dzong to Jele Dzong
Drive to the Museum (Ta-Dzong), and at the museum you will meet your trekking staff, the horsemen and the pack animals. At the start of the trek the staff always takes some time to get organized. Our trek starts from the museum and our trek climbs non-stop for over 1065m before dropping down few meters to camp. The trail winds its way steeply through blue pine forest and around several farmhouses and fenced apple orchards (some owned by the royal family). The area is called Tsachhugang.
Along the way we pass a monastery (Kuenga Lhakhang). After 1 hour or so of steady climbing, there will be nice views over the Paro valley and visible above is the Jele Dzong (jili Dzong). The trail continues steeply up through through the forest. Just before reaching a small pass below the Dzong, the route opens up a bit. Tonight’s small campsite is a little way down from the pass. Overnight at our campsite.
Day 4 – Jele Dzong to Tsokam
Leaving the dzong we walk north for about 10 mins on the ridge with a beautiful before disappearing into the forests which looks rather bleak as a result of damage by bark beetles. We then go up and around a small peak and looking back we see part of Paro valley and to the south, the Dagala range is possible. After a 4 hr trek we reach our campsite for the day at Tsokam.
Day 5 – Tsokam to Jimilang Tsho
The ridge walk followed by trekkers is about 2 hrs longer than then the pack animals’ route and its more spectacular and on a fine day there are several views of snowy peaks on the north and a grand view down into the valleys. Once again we proceed north most of the day and looking east is our tonight’s campsite and tomorrow’s route is visible. We then pass through a small campsite at Labana and further along out trek several monasteries are visible at the far end of the valley. We keep climbing slowly on the ridge and on the opposite side there is a view of Jimilang Tsho and we camp for the night near the lake.
Day 6 – Jimilang Tsho to Simkotra
We walk around the lake to its far (western end) and we start to climb up above the lake through the bushes and later good views opens up. On our way, many beautiful lakes are visible and we pass through a wide stone path between rhododendron bushes. We then climb up a ridge and soon we can see Simkotra Tsho which will be our campsite tonight.
Day 7 – Simkotra to Phajoding
The trail is good with several minor climbs before we finally look down to Phajoding monastery and Thimphu valley. We descend down to Phajoding monastery and the trek from Phajoding to Thimphu is a easy trek down the mountain through dense forests till we reach the road above the Takin Sanctuary from where our driver will take us to our hotel in 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.
Day 8 – Phajoding to Thimphu
Today is a easy trek down the mountain through dense forests till we reach the road above the Takin Sanctuary from where our driver will take us to our hotel in 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.
Day 9 – Depart Paro
Today is your last morning in this mystical and memorable country of Bhutan. We will have breakfast and proceed to check in for your flight. We bid a fond farewell to Bhutan for the flight back to Bangkok. We hope you have enjoyed your trip immensely and will bring your friends to Bhutan in the future. Tashi Delek!