This trip to Bhutan allows the travelers to enjoy the taste of the great variety of Bhutanese landscape, and the views from some of the major passes that we come across are breath taking, be it of mountains or the valleys underneath. 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 will land and continue by road through the lush valley of Thimphu the Capital city. After touring through this tiny town, we will take an excursion to the famous 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 start our 8 days trek to Thimphu via Base camp of Mount. Jomolhari. A medium duration trekking in Bhutan
that is probably the most trekked route due to its easy access, beautiful terrain and spectacular views of the majestic snowcapped mountains. Locally known as Jomolhari (The Mountain of Goddess), believed to be the abode of Jomo goddess is one of the most beautiful and imposing mountains in the entire Himalayan region. Located at the northwestern border with Tibet, trekking to the base camp of this dome shaped mountain provides an opportunity to experience the panoramic views of some of the world’s highest peaks.
Beginning from Paro valley, your trek starts with gentle ascent through Bhutan’s undisturbed forest of rhododendrons and pines. Passing through the villages with lush fields of rice, wheat, barely and crossing over the tree lines you arrive in the regions sparsely inhabited by the migrant yak herders. The trail continues through enchanting valley flanked with snowcapped peaks to the base of Mount Chomolhari and its spike shaped companion, Jichu Drake. You spend one entire day exploring the vicinity or just relaxing and enjoying the wonders of nature. You resume your trek to the Thimphu valley by crossing two major passes through the remote wilderness with abundant of wildlife, including, blue sheep, Takin and variety of birds, perhaps under the surveillance of the elusive snow leopard. There will be ample of opportunities to interact with the friendly people of Bhutan and learn their philosophy of “GROSS NATIONAL HAPINESS”.
After the trek, you have a day to see Bhutan’s tiny Capital city with no traffic light.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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!