Day 1: Arrive Paro
On arrival in Paro you will be picked up at the Paro International Airport after clearing the immigration and customs formalities and transferred to your hotel in Paro for check-in. Flying into Paro is not just to connect Bhutan but also gets to enjoy the most spectacular of all mountain flights. From inside the plane the world's highest mountains, including Mt. Everest, Mt. Makalu and Mt. Kanchenjunga are visible on clear days. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure – so why not explore the great atmospheric Paro valley at your own? The altitude of Paro valley is at 2,250m. Tonight enjoy a welcome drink and dinner with BGT. Overnight in Paro.
Day 2: Hike to Tiger’s Nest
We begin our day with a short hike to Paro Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest), located 10 miles north of Paro town (20 minutes drive). No visit to Bhutan would be complete without a trip to Taktshang. It is stunning in its beauty and location. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche (Padma Sambhava) flew to Paro Taktshang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on the back of a flaming tigress from Tibet to tame five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan in the 8th century. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, 900m above the Paro floor valley, and it takes between 4 to 5 hours to do the round trip hike plus an hour to tour the monastery. The trail is a wide, uphill the entire way but not overly steep, on the well-maintained trail through beautiful pine forest, trees festooned with Spanish Moss and fluttering prayer flags. The hike starts at the base of the mountain by the car park. Here the locals sell souvenirs, hiking poles and also a horse/pony hiring is available from this start point. Gentle horse/pony rides are available for transport half-way up the trail, where you will be treated to a stunning viewpoint of the monastery clinging to the cliff wall. There is a small cafeteria located along the trail and stop for a rest, drink or lunch. Besides a cultural experience, this short hike up to 3,180m will help acclimatise for our trek ahead on the following morning. Afterwards, why not relax rest of the afternoon in hot stone bath in a farmhouse in Paro? Then we’ll have delicious Bhutanese feast at Aum Choden Farmhouse, a 108-year old humble traditional house. The house serves, Bhutanese cuisines, can play archery and relax in stone bath. Overnight in Paro.
Day 3: Paro – Jili Dzong [Start of Trek]
Distance 7-km with 4-5 hours walking. After breakfast drive a little higher up to the historic Ta Dzong (National Museum of Bhutan), the starting point of our trek to Jele Dzong (3,480m). Meet our trek crew and the horses at the museum, where we begin a short trekking through apple orchards and cultivated terracing to the dzong. If the caretaker is around we can visit the dzong (mostly in ruins), perched on a whaleback ridge. The trail ascends gently through forest before reaching our campsite. If weather is clear the Paro valley can be seen with Mount Jhomolhari (7,314m) and other snow-capped mountains. We camp in a splendid spot just below the pass in a small meadow at an altitude of 3,480m. Overnight in camp at 3,480m.
Day 4: Jili Dzong – Jangchulakha
Distance 10-km with 4-5 hours walking. Today the route climbs through thick alpine forests, bamboo, birch and dwarf rhododendron trees. The trail used to be the mule track that once linked Thimphu– Paro valley. Here we can admire wonderful views of the Paro valley, monastery, and fortress including the second highest mountain, Mt. Jhomolhari at 7,314m and the surrounding snow-capped mountains. You’ll come across abundance of fascinating flora and fauna throughout the day and some birds. The beautiful Monal pheasant can also be seen or may hear some pheasants calling during the day. We can also occasionally see yaks and herdsmen around the campsite. Our campsite is near yak herders’ camp at 3,770m. Overnight in camp at 3,770m.
Day 5: Jangchulakha – Jimelang Tsho Lake
Distance 11-km with 4 hours walking. The trail follows the ridge, then descends a bit and follows the ridge back to Jangchula Pass (4,190m). From here we have a sensational view of the valleys below and the distant Himalayan peaks on a clear day. If weather permits, enjoy a great view of Mt. Jichu Drake (6,989m), the peak representing the protective deity of Paro. Today our trail descends to Jimelang Tsho Lake (Sand Ox Lake). The lake is famous for its giant sized trouts. Legend has it that this lake is home to a mystical ox and local farmers still bring their cows to the lake in the hope that they can produce a strong and valuable offspring of such a creature. The campsite is on the shores of the lake at 3,870m. Overnight in camp.
Day 6: Jimelang Tsho – Labana via Simkotra Tsho Lake
Distance 12-km with 5 hours walking. The trail traverses through dwarf rhododendron trees and Janetso Lake and passes by yak herder camps. We continue up to the larger Simkotra Lake (known for its trout) before we reach a saddle at 4,180m, below some rocky peaks. Yak herders camps with yaks encounter are common. Descending from a small pass we eventually arrive to our campsite at Labana (4,130m). Overnight in Camp.
Day 7: Labana – Thimphu via Phajoding Monastery [End of Trek]
Distance 10-km with 4 hours walking. Today your final leg of the trek begins with a gradual climb to the Phumela at 4,210m (the highest pass on this trek overlooking a beautiful view of Thimphu valley), adorned with beautiful fluttering prayer flags. On a clear day we will be rewarded with a spectacular Himalayan panorama, including Mt. Gangar Puensum at 7,540m, the highest mountain in Bhutan and the world's highest unclimbed mountain. From here it's all downhill walk at a leisurely pace to Phajoding monastery (3,960m). We continue on through a forest of blue pine until the road head at Sangaygang (Bhutan Broadcasting Service Tower) on the outskirts of Thimphu city. Our transport will meet us at the road point and check-in to your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure to relax and enjoy, we have allowed some time for this and also to explore the surroundings of Thimphu city. Tonight enjoy drink and dinner with authentic traditional Bhutanese recipes at the Folk Heritage Restaurant. Foods served are fresh and organic that is cooked over open fire in the Bhutanese traditional style of cooking. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 8: Thimphu
Today we explore the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,300m. Thimphu is a small city but has many attractive places to visit around. A must see place to tick off on your list, Kuenselphodrang (the largest Buddha Dordenma statue in the world at 51.5m) on a hill offering a panoramic view of the Thimphu valley. We travel back tothe National Memorial Chorten (Stupa), built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and also dedicated to the World Peace. Join the elderly Bhutanese people or likeminded devotees circumambulating the stupa.Continue to the Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre, a private-run micro-industry that produces hand-woven textiles. Our next stop is at the Institute of Zorig Chusum (Painting School) to discover a glimpse of novices learning the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Visit the Folk Heritage Museum, housed in the 19thcentury traditional house showcasing a glimpse of the traditional Bhutanese lifestyle. This afternoon is all yours to relax or explore thegreat atmospheric Thimphu town. We’ll have a tasty traditional Bhutanese dinner at Babesa Village Restaurant, housed in an old Bhutanese house. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 9: Moving to Punakha
After breakfast, travel to Punakha for the distance of 77-km for about 3 hours journey. Punakha, at an altitude of 1,300m, was once the old capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955. En route we will drive up to Tashigang Gonpa in Hongtsho, just outside of Thimphu. From here enjoy one of the most picturesque hikes to the temple Lungchutse Gonpa, where one can enjoy 360° view of the breathtaking Himalayan mountain ranges from the top of Lungchutse including Jomolhari (7314m), Kang Bum (6494m), Gangchhenta (6784m), Masang Gang (7194m), Tsenda Kang (6,994m), Teri Kang (7304m), Jejekangphu Gang (7190m), Kangphu Gang (7212m), Zongpgu Gang (7,094m) and Gangkar Puensum (7,564m). Behind these major mountains lie the Tibetan plateaus. The trial will take you through a forest of moss-covered rhododendrons, gigantic hemlocks, junipers, and bamboo undergrowth. As you climb up the last 50 meters past a row of fluttering prayer flags, you reach the Lungchutse temple on heavily logged slopes greeted by friendly monks. Then we follow the trail downhill leading tothe Druk Wangyal Chortens (108 stupas), constructed on the crest of Dochula Pass at 3,100m. Continue your journey into the sub-tropical valleys of Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang.An evening to remember for a true farm-to-table delicious dinner experience at Aum Leki Wangmo Farmhouse, overlooking the neighbouring farms and terraced paddy fields. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 10: Punakha
Today’s tour includes a hike to the fascinating temple (Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten) built by the Queen Mother of the 5thKing to bring the universal peace in this world. It is majestically located on a ridge with stunning views of the countryside. There is no temple in Bhutan built as elaborately as this, which took 9 years to build it. A 30-minute drive from the Punakha Dzong takes us to the base of the hill and then cross a suspension bridge and walk through rice fields before climbing a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees for about 1-hour from the car park. Visit the Punakha Dzong, (also known as the Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong), which is strategically located at the confluence of the Phochhu (male) and Mochhu (female) Rivers. Now the dzong serves as the administrative centre of Punakha district and the central monastic body. Next, take the opportunity to make our way to the Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery Buddhist College in Wolakha, Punakha, built by the Queen Mothers' parents. No visit to Punakha would be complete without discovering the Chimi Lhakhang (temple), built by the legendary Lama Drukpa Kinley (known as the Divine Madman). The temple is known to the English-speaking world as ‘The Fertility Temple’, in the Punakha district of Bhutan, idyllically located on a round hill. Hike to the temple for about one hour (round trip), which is also revered as a sanctum of fertility. Legend has it that the childless couples wishing to have a baby from across Bhutan and occasionally from overseas are blessed with a child after visiting the temple – several Japanese and American couples visited this temple were believed to have blessed miraculously with children. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 11: Back to Paro
This morning we return to Paro, home to the famous Paro Taktshang (also known as Tiger’s Nest), National Museum, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. The journey passes through the awe-inspiring mountains and lush vegetation along the highway and will photo stops during the journey. If time permits, visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower), which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan, and continue to the Paro Dzong (also known as the Rinpung Dzong), built in 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The evening is at leisure to explore the Paro town and may wish to hunt for souvenirs in Handicraft Shops or visit a local farmhouse to drink tea with the farmer and his family, allowing you to experience the traditional Bhutanese village life. Overnight in Paro.
Day 12: End of Tour
Your tour ends today. Transfer to Paro International Airport for your onward journey accompanied by your guide from Bhutan Green Travel. Goodbye and Good luck! Tashi Delek!
We arrange only Drukair or Bhutan Airlines tickets in and out of Paro International Airport and domestic flight at no extra fee. No other airlines fly into Bhutan except the Drukair (National Airlines) and Bhutan Airlines (Tashi Air Pvt. Ltd) operate to and out of Paro International Airport in Bhutan from the following gateway cities:
Note: Airfares may change due to currency fluctuation, fuel surcharge or changes in statutory taxes or charges. The final airfares can only be confirmed upon issue of tickets.