Start: Shana, Paro
Finish: Dolomal Kencho, Thimphu
Maximum Elevation: 4,890m
Difficulty: Moderate -Medium
Day 01 Arrive Paro
Kuzuzangpola – Welcome to Bhutan!
The flight into Bhutan takes you the great Himalayas, offering you the most scintillating scenery of the world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will see the silvery Pa-chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley with lush green paddy fields, pristine forest, incredulous fortress-like monasteries known as Dzongs and majestically flowing rivers. On arrival at the Paro International Airport, Away Smile Travels representative will welcome you.
Paro valley extends from the confluence of the Paro Chhu and the Wang Chhu rivers at Chuzom up to Mt. Jomolhari at the Tibetan border to the North. This picturesque region is one of the widest valleys in the kingdom and is covered in fertile rice fields and has a beautiful, crystalline river meandering down the valley.Accentuating the natural beauty are the elegant, traditional-style houses that dot the valley and surrounding hills. One of the distinctive features of Paro town is that it is situated in a flat valley bottom and follows a grid-like pattern.
Visit Ta-Dzong, the National Museum which was originally the watch tower of the Paro Dzong and stands imposingly on a hillock overlooking the Paro valley. A short visit here will give you an idea of the cultural and ecological richness of Bhutan.
Visit Rinpung Dzong. The dzong’s correct name is Rinchen Phug Dzong but has been shortened to Rinpung Dzong. The name means ‘fortress of the heap of jewels.’ The dzong was built in 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel on the foundation of a monastery built by Guru Rinpoche. Some of the scenes from the film ‘Little Buddha’ by Bernardo Bertolucci in 1995 was filmed at the Paro Rinpung Dzong. From the Paro Dzong, walk downhill to the wooden bridge, which is known nayamai zampa.
Explore Paro Town. Evening: Briefing on our Trek program Overnight Hotel in Paro.
Day 02 Paro Sightseeing-Shana.
After breakfast hike to Taktshang Goemba. Taktshang meaning the ‘Tiger’s Nest’ is one of Bhutan’s most venerated pilgrimage sites and a very popular site for all tourists visiting Bhutan. According to legend, Guru Rinpoche miraculously flew here on the back of a tigress, meditated in a cave here for three months and converted the whole of Paro valley to Buddhism. Resting at an altitude of 900 meters above the valley, Taktshang is an architectural wonder and the spectacular four-hour walk will be your most overwhelming experience ever. (Round trip hike 5 hrs). This trip is to warm up / acclimatize before the trek.
Visit Kyichu Lhakhang. Built in the 7th century by the famous Buddhist Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo, Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. As the name suggests, the temple is a reservoir of peace, where you will really feel at peace.
Drive upto Sharna from Paro (~ 1 hr). The camp site is just beyond an army outpost, alt. 2800m. Overnight Camp.
Day 03 Shana (alt. 2,749m)-Soi Thangthangkha
Distance 22 km. About 8 hours journey. Alt. of Soi Thangthangkha 2,950 m. The trail continues through the river valley. The valley gradually narrows so much that the path takes to the slopes. There is quite a lot of descending along this stretch. Campsite is in a meadow. Overnight camp.
Day Soi Thangthangkha – Jangothang
Distance 14 km. About 4 – 5 hours journey. Alt.of Jangothang 4,040 m. The trek starts up the Pa chu (Paro river). An army outpost is crossed along the way. The valley begins to widen again. You will begin to see snowcapped peaks on the high mountains all around you. Yaks and Yak herder’s winter homes become a regular feature of the landscape. The night’s camp is beneath a ruined fortress at the base of the Mt. Jomolhari at an attitude of 4015m. Overnight camp.
Day 04 Jangothang – Halt
You can either trek up to Tsophu lake which takes about 1-2 hours journey and do some trout fishing in the lake or hike up to Mt. Jomolhari to take a closer look of the mountain as well as other famous mountains such as Mt. Jichu Drake to the North and Mt. Tserim Gang and other un-scaled peaks. Overnight camp.
Day 05 Jangothang – Lingshi
Distance 18 km. About 6-7 hours journey. Alt. of Lingshi 4,010 m. (About 840 m ascent and 870 m descent). Trek through wide yak pastures and up and down the passes. As you come down into the Lingshi basin, you get a wonderful view of the Lingshi Dzong on a clear day. Mt. Tserim Gang and its glaciers rise up at the north end of the valley. Overnight camp.
Day 06 Lingshi -Shodu
Distance 22 km. About 8 – 9 hours journey. Alt. of Shodu 4,080 m. (About 940 m ascent and 920 m of descent). The trail climbs up to the Yalila pass at an altitude of 4,820m. From the pass, you can get an excellent view of the Mt. Jomolhari, Mt. Tserim Gang and Mt. Massa Gang on a clear day. The trek from the pass to the campsite at Shodu is steep downhill. Camp in a readymade stone shelter or the tent. Overnight camp.
Day 07 Shodu -Barshong
Distance 16 km. About 5 – 6 hours journey. Alt. of Barshong 3,710 m. (About 250 m ascent and 670 m of descent). The trail follows the Wang Chhu (Thimphu river) through the forests of Rhododendron. Beautiful waterfalls can be seen along the way. The valley narrows gradually till the path takes to the slopes and you ascend gradually to reach the ruins of Barshong Dzong. Overnight camp.
Day 08 Barshong-Dolam Kencho
Distance 15 km. About 4 – 5 hours journey. Alt. of Dolam Kencho 3,430 m. (About 240 m ascent and 640 m of descent). The trail descends through the thick forest of Rhododendron to meet the Wang Chhu (Thimphu River) and then ascends to the pasture lands. Campsite is in a meadow. Overnight camp.
Day 09 Dolam Kencho-Thimphu (Drive 3 hours)
After breakfast dive to Thimphu through the farm road.
Thimphu-The Kingdom’s capital city is home to approximately 130,000 inhabitants including the Royal family. This bustling little city is the main centre of commerce, religion and government in the country. The juxtaposition of ancient tradition and modernity make Thimphu the ideal location for visitors to break away from their tour itinerary to immerse themselves in the contemporary Bhutanese lifestyle
Visit Authentic Bhutanese Craft Bazzar/shop. A one stop shop place to witness Bhutanese rich Culture and buy Bhutan made art and craft products. The shop in its 80 small stall covers all aspect of traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. The shops linked with the rural artisans aims to promote Bhutan’s craft industry by creating a viable market, which turn’s acts to preserve and promote Bhutan’s unique culture and bring about equitable socio-economic development in the country.
Visit Cordyceps Tasting House. Unique to the world, the Cordyceps Tasting Room offer a cosy tearoom to taste a range of Cordyceps-infused soups and drinks. Our hostess will also perform a Cordyceps Tea Ceremoney. Enjoy a seclection of delicious and healthy soups packed full of vitamins and minerals to reboot, or boos endurance.
Visit Tashichhodzong. Tashichhodzong means ‘the fortress of the glorious religion.’ It is a majestic fortress in all its grandeur and serves as the seat of Bhutan’s government. The Dzong houses the secretariat, the throne room, the offices of His Majesty the King and the ministries of home affairs and finance. The fortress was initially erected in 1641 and later rebuilt in the 1960s by the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 10 Thimphu Sightseeing.
After breakfast drive up to Buddha Point. Buddha Point has the largest statue of Buddha in the whole kingdom. You can get a very good view of Thimphu valley from here.
Visit National Memorial Chorten. The National Memorial Chorten was built in 1974 in memory of the late Third Druk Gyalpo (King) of Bhutan. At the chorten, you will find an extraordinary depiction of Buddhist teachings in the form of paintings and sculptures.
Visit Weaving Center. You can watch weavers at work at the private weaving centre at Changzamtog. The centre produces hand woven textiles and has a selection of cloth and readymade Bhutanese garments for sale.
Visit Takin sanctuary dedicated to the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan.
Visit Traditional Paper Factory. At the paper factory, you can watch the workers make traditional paper from the daphne plant. Traditional Bhutanese paper (called ‘Desho’) is said to last longer than regular paper. The handmade paper making begins to find its place as the most important part of Bhutanese culture and tradition. The paper making first began as a domestic occupation and still preserved to till these days.
Drive to Paro. The drive to Paro is about 1 hour from Thimphu. Overnight Hotel in Paro.
Day 11: Departure:
After breakfast drive to the Paro International Airport where our representatives will bid you goodbye!