This trek route offers great variety of trekking conditions, from picturesque farmland and forests to alpine pastureland and high passes.
Spectacular campsites, beneath some of Bhutan’s most impressive peaks, of which the most notable are Mount Jomulhari and Mount Jichu Drake, are also the features of this trekking route. Numerous isolated Dzongs and scattered settlements, including the outlandish village of Laya, provide a great deal of cultural interest.
Wildlife such as the blue sheep, marmots, musk deer and the national animal, Takin, can be seen. One should also not rule out the possibility of the rare sighting of a snow leopard, great Himalayan bear or even a yeti!
The best season for this trek is April-May and mid- September to mid- November.
Day 1: Arrival Paro
Considered as one of the most spectacular flights, the flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording grand views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan.
On arrival you will be greeted by our Tour Representative and transferred to your hotel. Afternoon sightseeing entails a visit of the Paro Dzong, a fortress that was built in 1646 and now houses government offices and religious institutions. You can wrap up the day’s sightseeing with a tour of Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and the most sacred temples in the country.
Overnight in Paro.
Day 2: Paro
Today we will be doing a preparatory acclimatization hike to Taktsang, the Tiger's Nest Monastery, Bhutan's most famous monastery at 3100m. Perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above the valley, legend has it that the 8th century Spiritual Master, Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress and meditated in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands.
You can spend the evening doing a leisurely stroll in the streets of Paro.
Overnight at Paro
THE START OF TREK
Day 3: Paro-Shana
Distance: 17 km
Time: 5-6 hours
The trek starts from Drugyal Dzong at 2,580 m with a downhill walk on a wide trail which gently traverses through well-maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. The route later enters through apple orchards and pine forests. Soon the valley widens and you reach the Army Post of Gunitsawa at 2,810m. Crossing beyond Shana Zampa bridge, there are several good camping places in meadows surrounded by trees.
Overnight in camp at Shana
Day 4: Shana- Soe Thangkha
Distance: 20 km
Time: 7-8 hours
Today, the trail follows the Pa Chhu River, ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. Hot lunch will be served after crossing the bridge towards the left side of the river. After lunch, follow the river climbing up through rhododendron forests and after crossing the bridge again, you will reach the campsite at Soe Thangthangkha, at the altitude of 3,750m.
Day 5: Soe Thangthangkha- Jangothang
Distance: 19 km
Time: 7-8 hours
The trail today is an ascent till you reach the army camp. From this point, the trail is mostly above the tree line, and affords stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch will be served inside a yak herder’s camp.
After lunch, a short walk into the valley will take you to the camp at Jangothang at an altitude of 4,040m. From here, the view of Mt. Jhomolhari and Jichu Drake are superb.
Overnight at Jangothang
Day 6: Rest day at Jangothang base camp
Today is an ideal day for rest and acclimatization for tomorrow’s highest climb on this trek. However, you have options to hike to explore nearby mountains and lakes.
Overnight at Jangothang
Day 7: Jangothang -Lingshi
Distance: 18 km
Time: 7-8 hours
The trail follows the stream for about half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right side. The climb to the first ridge provides breathtaking views of Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tshering Gang peaks. The walk is then towards the valley before ascending the Ngye La pass at 4,700m.
After the pass, it is a gradual descent to the Lingshi camp an altitude of 4000m.
Overnight in Lingshi
Day 8: Lingshi – Chebisa
Distance 12 km
Time 3-4 hours
Today is the shortest walking day and you may request for a late headstart . The average walking time is just about 3 to 4 hours, and upon reaching the campsite at Chebisa, you can visit the locality of Chebisa and ask to visit one of the village houses.
Day 9: Chebisa – Shomuthang
Distance: 17 km
Time: 5-6 hours.
Today’s walk is through a wide pastureland towards Gobula Pass at 4350 m. After crossing this pass, it is a gradual descent down to the valley. . On the way, there is a probability of seeing people herding their yaks.
The campsite at 4260 m is on a bench above a river, which is a tributary of the Mochu river
Day 9: Shomuthang – Robluthang
Distance: 15 km
Time: 6-7 hours.
As the trek is a little strenuous today, it is advisable to start little early. After crossing the Jerela Pass at 4600m, the trail leads down to Tsharijathang valley where you can normally see herds of Takins.
Camp at Tsharijathang. Alt.4390m.
Day 10: Robluthang - Lingmithang
After crossing the Shingela pass, alt. 4900m, you come down and follow the valley. Lingmithang is under the Laya District and you will see people dressed in typical Laya costume with long pointed bamboo hats on their head. Camp at Lingmithang. Alt. 4140m. Distance 19 km. Time 6-7 hours. If you have time, it would be advisable to spend a day here exploring the valley and meeting the people who have a different and unique culture.
Day 11: Lingmithang - Laya
Today, you walk all the way downhill along a narrow winding river valley. The trail leads you to the west side of Laya village. Campsite is on a high flat bench above the Laya village. Alt. 3850m. Distance 10 km. Time 3-4 hours.
Day 12: Laya Halt
Rest and explore the Laya village.
Day 13: Laya - Koena
The trail winds up and down along the river valley avoiding natural obstacles and affording breath-taking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and water falls. Camp. Alt. 3800m. Distance 19 km. Time 6-7 hours.
Day 14: Koena - Gasa
You cross the Babela pass, Alt.3740m, after which the trail is all the way down till you reach the campsite which is close to Gasa Dzong. Alt. 2900m. Distance 17 km. Time 6-7 hours.
Day 15: Gasa - Gasa Tsachu (Hot Spring)
After a late breakfast, trek to Gasa Tsachu. After lunch relax in the hot spring. The Gasa Tsachu is one of the most popular hot springs in Bhutan. Camp at Gasa Tsachu.
Day 16: Gasa Tsachu - Tashithang - Punakha (Trek ends)
After a short climb, the trail winds through the rolling hills and passes through the pine and oak forests, villages and wheat fields. You will also see a beautiful view of the Gasa Dzong glued to the valley wall seeming to float in space. Arrive Damji. Distance 18 km, 5-6 hours. Your car will be waiting here to transfer to Thimphu. You will drive through the high agricultural benches above the Mochu (Chu means River) into a lush semi-tropical gorge filled with banana trees, creepers and various tropical vegetation till Tashithang. Continue driving to Punakha. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 17: Punakha with excursion to Wangdue
After breakfast drive for half-hour to Wangdue. Wangdue town which is a typical small Bhutanese town, with bustling market and well stocked shops. Visit Wangdue Dzong, the 17th century monument. It sits atop a high ridge between the Puna Tsang Chu and the Dang Chu. The place is also known for its fine bamboo work, slate and stone carvings. Also visit the Rinchengang village on the opposite side of the river, which is a unique cluster of houses made up of red mud. The people of this village are of Indian origins, who originally were brought into Bhutan as construction workers of the Dzong (fortress). In the evening drive back to Punakha. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 18: Punakha - Thimphu
Set out for Thimphu with a stop in Dochu La for tea. Visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is the only of its kind in the country with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. Continue drive to Thimphu and check into your hotel on arrival. Overnight at the hotel In Thimphu.
Day 19: Sightseeing in Thimphu
Visit the Memorial Chorten (a huge stupa) built in memory of the third king who reigned the Kingdom from 1952-1972. Visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. Visit the Wood Craft and Painting school where traditional arts and crafts are still kept alive. Visit the Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts and crafts are displayed and can be purchased. Visit Simtokha Dzong. This is one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan. It was built in 1629 AD. Visit Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the government Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body, living quarters of the Chief Abbot and the senior monks. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 20: Thimphu - Paro
In the morning you can hike to Tango Monastery, which was built by the "Divine Madman" in the 15th century. It's a center of study for monks, and it affords a great view of the Thimphu Valley. Drive back to Thimphu and after lunch you will proceed to Paro. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 21: Excursion to Chelela
Pass After breakfast, you will drive to Haa Valley across Chela Pass 3810m. On the clear days you will have views of Mount Jumolhari and other mountains and valleys below the pass. Explore nearby mountains dotted with colorful prayer flags and blanketed with dwarf rhododendrons. If you want to be more adventurous you can hike further down the ridges to Kila Goempa Nunnery, which is nestled in a craggy patch on the mountain site below the pass and perched precariously along the rock face. After a picnic lunch, you will drive to Paro. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 22: Paro depart
Drive to Paro Airport. You will be seen off by our representative.