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 Taktsang 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.
On a typical trek day, we will be woken at 6.00 am, by a member of the camp crew bringing tent tea, followed shortly by a bowl of hot washing water. By 7.30 am, when breakfast is ready, we will have packed ready for the day’s activity (day pack, and main luggage if appropriate). We leave with our guide just before 8.30 am and spend the rest of the day walking at an unhurried but steady pace. We stop for about an hour for a hot lunch and at our next campsite, at about 4.30 pm. The crew will pack up the tents, load the horses, overtake us and have the new camp ready for our arrival. A hot drink will be ready when we arrive, followed by washing water and our evening meal. After eating, we discuss the route for the following day with our guide before retiring to bed. This will sound very familiar to anyone who has trekked in Nepal, the main differences being that the camp crew is much smaller in Bhutan and there are no tea houses or shops along the way.
It is essential that participants undertake regular walking in the months leading up to the start of the Tour so that you can enjoy to the full what this trip offers. The itinerary gives an indication of the distances involved. Previous experience of multi-day trekking as well as of extended periods camping over 3000 m is preferable. It is accepted practice in Bhutan for the Guide to assess trek participants as to their physical fitness, and their ability to undertake what is ahead. In the event of serious concern he will stop and possibly turn back those who, in his opinion, cannot complete the undertaking.
Every effort has been made to allow gradual acclimatization to the altitude, but this is a factor which is unpredictable for anyone. Many folk have their own ideas about how to combat the effects of altitude and we always carry Diamox with us and use it if we feel the need. If you plan to use such a drug for the first time, visit your doctor well in advance of the trip and ensure that you have a trial at home so that you understand what the effect is on you before administering it at height.
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.
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.
Kyichu Lhakhang – After a sumptuous local lunch, we will retrace our steps to visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.