Start: Shana, Paro
Finish: Shana, Paro
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.
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 up to Sharna from Paro (~ 1 hr). The camp site is just beyond an army outpost, alt. 2800m. Overnight Camp.
Day 03 Day Start the Jumolhari Trek II
Shana to Soi Thangthangka. Total Altitude Gain: 760m; Altitude Loss: 0; Distance: 16km / 10 miles, Time 7 – 8 hrs;
Shana to Thangthangkha is a about 7 – 8-hour trek. Continuing on a gradual climb alongside the Paro Chhu (Chhu Means River) through conifers and rhododendron, you’ll soon enter Jigme Dorji National Park. Lunch served at Sheng Karap. Tremo-la is nearby, a stone paved trail utilized as a trade route from Tibet. We are very near the Tibet and Bhutan border. We will cross over a wooden bridge and continue our climb over a set of switchbacks and cross the river again. Ups and downs, with more ups, will bring us over our last bridge of the day. The terrain can be challenging. Camp at 3580m Overnight Camp
Day 04 Soi Thangthangka – Jangothang. Total altitude gain: 420m; Altitude Loss: 0; Distance: 11 km / 7 miles, Time 4hrs.
Thangthangkha to Jangothang is 4-hours trek starting at Pa Chu. Your climb today gains elevation and you will be comfortably worn out by the end of the day. You are now entering “yak” country. Yaks are utilized for pack animals as well as supply for cheese, milk, meat and Yak hair for weaving blankets, clothes, backpacks and hats. Burley and huge, the yak plays an important role in Bhutan’s history. Remote villages are dotted throughout this area. A stone and log bridge provide access to Jangothang. Winters here are harsh and long. Unparalleled views of snow Peaked Mountains form the eastern side of the valley. Camp at 13,500 ft. (4090 m) Overnight Camp
Day 05 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 along with some other un-scaled peak/s. Overnight camp
Day 06 Jangothang – Dhumzo. Distance 11 km, 4-5 hours, Ascent 810m, Descent 1,090m
The trail leads to a last settlement in the valley and drops to the Paro Chhu. Passing the lake of Tshophu (4,380m) you will climb up steeply to Bhonte La pass at 4,890 m, the highest point of this trek route. Reaching the Dhumzo Chhu river, you trek downstream passing the few houses of Dhumzo to arrive at your camp. Overnight camp
Day 07 Dhumzo – Thombu Shong Distance 11km, 4-5 hours, Ascent 720m, Descent 340m
The trail climbs 100m over a ridge to drop to another stream then. After crossing the Takhung La pass (4,520m) you descent to Thombu Shong, three yak herder huts with your campsite next to them. Overnight Camp
Day 08 Thombu Shong to Sharna Zampa Distance 13 km, 5-6 hours, Ascent 200m, Descent 1,650m Crossing Thombu La pass (4,380m) you will finally reach Gunitsawa and the campsite of your first night of this trek. The car will come to pick you up and drive to Thimphu (Drive 3 hours)
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. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 09 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 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 Takin sanctuary dedicated to the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan.
Visit Cordyceps Tasting House. Unique to the world, the Cordyceps Tasting Room offer a cosy tea room 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 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.
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 – Punakha (Drive 3 hours)
After breakfast drive to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. Enroute stop at the Dochula Pass. Dochu La is a beautiful mountain pass (alt 3,140 m) fluttering prayer flags and a spectacular set of 108 miniature chortens (stupas). On a clear day, you will get awe-inspiring glimpses of the towering Himalayan peaks around.
Punakha Dzongkhag has been inextricably linked with momentous occasions in Bhutanese history. It served as the ancient capital of the country. Punakha Dzong is not only the second oldest and second largest dzong but it also has one of the most majestic structures in the country.
Visit Chhimi Lhakhang: Enroute visit Chhimi Lhakhang. This fertility temple is dedicated to the famous teacher, Drukpa Kinley (also known as the ‘Divine Madman’) with whom the phallic symbol is associated. The Divine Madman sits there though a statue this time. Do not miss the master’s deeds painted on the walls. Couples usually visit this temple to be blessed with children. Parents also take their babies here to get them named. Babies named here usually have ‘Kinley’ as their first name.
Visit Punakha Dzong: Placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, the dzong was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative seat of the region. It was here that the dual system of government was introduced in the 17th century and in 1907, the first King Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck was enthroned. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in the recent years by the 4th King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. At the Dzong, enrich your trip with the opportunity to see the highest standards in woodwork. Overnight Hotel in Punakha.
Day 11 Punakha–Paro (Drive 4 hrs)
After breakfast drive to Tserigang hike to Khamsum Yule Namgyel Chorten. (45 mins one-way hike) This fascinating temple was built by the Queen Mother of the 5th King to bring universal peace in this world. The best of the spiritual art works are painted on the inner walls. There are also paintings of Buddhist teachers and tutelary deities of the country. This is a great temple to study the symbolic meanings from frescoes and sculptures.
Drive to Paro. Visit local home stay for dinner. Overnight Hotel in Paro.
Day 12 Departure:
After breakfast drive to the Paro International Airport where our representatives will bid you goodbye!
Thank you (Kardrienchhey) for visiting Bhutan with Away Smile Travels “Smiles for Miles “