The Himalayas hides within her folds the mighty Kingdom of Bhutan. Revered for the purity of nature and glory of the monuments, Bhutan brings to your hands the gift of tranquility and companionship. With one of the most welcoming local communities, ZHE has formed close ties with village. This has made possible India’s first unique 13-day trekking route through the Himalayas. Galloping through the thick of wild rhododendron forest, we follow the footsteps of the nomadic yak herders- rolling into the mild meadows covered with the beauty of wildflowers; we dip ourselves into the trout-filled streams and join hands with the nature- observing the life of nomads whose simplicity and magnificence is reflected in their daily life- through the series of minute tasks like making of butter, cooking over open fire. Travelers come to the base of the holy mountain Chomolhari revitalized to experience life with a transformed worldview. The travelers get time to acclimatize themselves to the environment through gradual climb sprinkled with visits to cultural centers of Thimphu and Paro.
Bhutan Trekking Detailed Itinerary:
Arrival in Paro (Bhutan), Visit to Paro Dzong and Kyichy Lhakhang
As we fly into airport at Paro Valley from Bangkok (Thailand), travelers get to witness a God’s eye-view of Bhutan’s landscape. The valley stands like a delicate flower fortressed by petals of Himalayan Mountains and forest-filled hills. In the lap of this flower lays streams of magnificent rivers and grains of antique monuments. The first experience of Bhutan is filled with the uplifting peace and quiet, rarely found in the Asian cities. The crown of beauty belongs to Paro Valley, owing to its rustic and mystifying nature. Did you know that Buddhism is said to have first arrived in Bhutan through the Paro Valley? An authentic Bhutanese welcome awaits our travelers who are then escorted to the hotel to revel in the pleasure of a light lunch and afternoon tea. Evening brings with it the visit to town, specifically Kyichu Lakhang (literally meaning ‘twin temples’). Kyichu Lakhang is said to have been constructed in 659AD by King Songsten of Tibet. The legend goes that it was set up in a day to tame a forceful ogress whose left foot is believed to be held in place in the temple. A short walk through the town takes us to the countryside spotted with fields of rice, eggplant, mustard, chilies and buckwheat. We approach the glorious Ringpung Dzong after crossing the Paro River. Depending on the status of Administrative Body, our visit into the mighty monument is determined.
This is followed by visit to National Museum, located shortly away from Ringpung Dzong. Under the name of Ta Dzong, the National Museum was built in 1775 in circular form with multiple storeys. Originally a watch-tower for the enormous Paro Dzong, it was constructed under the reign of Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal in 17th century. The museum houses textiles, ancient artifacts, stamps, weapons and a range of antique thangkha (painted and embellished religious pictures). Returning to our hotels, first day at Bhutan will bring to your taste buds the Bhutanese cuisine during dinner.
The rays of early morning sun mark our trek onto the Cheli La, placed approximately 5,000 feet from the base of Paro Valley. Having covered half the journey distance, we approach the wind-filled highlands from the forest of blue pines and rhododendron. Travelers witness the diverse flora and fauna here, primarily yaks. The fields of azaleas, blue poppy (seasonal) and edelweiss brush over the city-imposed black-and-white. A clear sky will also bring to us the view of some of the highest peaks of Bhutan. The Che Li Pass puts you in touch with western Bhutan which is covered with pristine Ha Valley and the mountains of Sikkim to the west, the north constitutes Tibet and Mountain Chomolhar and the east is home to the Paro Valley with her collaged fields. Dropping our vehicle here, we leave the colony of prayer flags to enter the ridge and meadows which make way into the forest of hemlock, larch, rhododendron and spruce. An almost-two hour walk brings us to the Kila Gompa. Kila refers to ‘spiritual dagger’ and it is said that a deep-hearted visit to the Gompa can bring an end to unresolved negative emotions like anger, ignorance and greed. Majestically suspended in rock cliffs, Kila Gompa is residence to about 30 nuns. Since the 9th century, the place has been a spiritual retreat. The visit to Kila Gompa is followed by picnic lunch and the walk downhill via the rhododendrons and conifers on the dirt road to Paro. Depending on the time permits, a short walk into Dzongdrakha Gompa might become possible. The stupa (a Buddhist monument in shape of a dome) located in the Gompa is the locus of annual, local Parodrommoche (custom of masked dances) which marks the beginning of the grandiose festival of Paro Tsechu. A glimpse at Grey Langur Monkey could also be possible at this sight. We would return to the hotel in late afternoon. Prior to dinner, we could take the opportunity to visit the local Paro market.
Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery to Shana
A scenic hike with Bhutan on the third morning will take us to Taktsang (“Tiger’s Nest”), a mystic hermitage nuzzling between the cliffs which face towards the Paro Valley. According to folklore, Padmasambhava, the Tibetan Buddhist Seer traveled across the Himalayas on the back of his tiger and landed at Takstang, marking it as the birth-ground of Buddhism in Bhutan. Depending on the entry conditions, we could get the opportunity to explore the holy site. Before we begin to descend, we will have a lunch-date with the beauty of Bhutan valleys. Our vehicle drops us at the starting point of the trek, Shana. Navigating across the Drukgyel Dzong (8,514 feet), we ride through the countryside freckled with fields of rice, orchards and millets. As the valley opens her arms and widens, we reach Gunitsawa, the last army point before entrance into Tibet. Continuing into Sharma Zampa (9,471 feet), we prepare our first camp in a meadow enveloped by trees.
Shana to Soi Thangthangkha
The trekking trail of the fourth day is blessed with company of Pa Chu (Paro) River on one side and of forests filled with pine, spruce and oak trees on the other. Reaching the left bank of the river through a bridge, we take an interval for hot lunch. Continuing along the water, we hike upwards in the thick of the rhododendron forests. We reach our spot of camping again after crossing the river.
Soi ThankgThankgka to Jangothang
The third day of trekking is marked with our ascent to army camp, from where we track the river over the lines of gracious trees. The peaks of Bhutan surround the travelers like the artistically painted glass domes of monuments. The travelers share a hot lunch at yak herder’s camp. Following the lunch, we move towards our campsite at Jangothang (13,332 feet). The site of camping is selected such that the travelers can lay on their backs to witness the grandeur and silent splendor of Jichu Drake and Chomolhari ranges.
Acclimatization Period at Jangothang
The day is spent acclimatizing our bodies to the conditions of the region. Exploring the Jangothang area, travelers get the chance at breathing in and relaxing through the morning at the camp followed by a short expedition to points of mountain-view and a visit to the high-altitude lake, Tshophu. Most of the year, it is possible to witness the majestic yaks and blue sheep in the region. Our bodies, specifically the lungs are readied for the next-day ascent to Nyele-La pass.
Jangothang to Lingshi
Elevation: Gain of 2,100 feet and loss of 2,300 feet A walk of about half an hour brings us to the bridge located at the right bank of the river. This marks the starting of hike to a high crest. On our way, we meet Chomolhari, Tserimgang and Jichu Drake from astounding viewpoints. Before the hike up to the Nyele-La pass (15,510 feet), we reach a valley floor which is considerably leveled. After staying at the pass, we slowly descend to our camp-site at Lingshi (13,200 feet) taking leisure in the sight of mountain peaks and LingshiDzong through our way.
Lingshi to Shodu
Starting our day with a small bright Lamaist shrine, we move in the south direction into the Mo Chu Valley. Gradually exploring deeper and deeper, we stay to the west of the composed treeless valley. We climb for a short distance above the Mo Chu and cross the river. A two hours walk on the steep terrain from here leads us to Yeli-la (15,906 feet). With the hope of a clear sky fulfilled, we could get to witness the grandeur of Gnagchenta, Masagang, Chomolhari and Tserimgang from this point. From the pass, we slowly descend along the stream to meet a rock-shelter facing the cliff. As we continue down the Shodu (13,530 feet), we reach our camping destination lapped in a spacious meadow.
Shodu to Barshong
Joining with tree-filled lines of the valley again, we are accompanied by Thimphu Chu on our way as we swivel through forests of juniper, alpine and rhododendron. As we walk the trail, there are indescribable views of the waterfalls and rocky cliffs. The riverside becomes our partner during meal- time before we begin to gradually climb to the remains of Barshong Dzong (11,880 feet). We pitch our camping site near to this region for the night.
Barshong to Dolam Kench
Walking towards the Thimphu Chu, we come across the forest thickened with birch, rhododendrons and conifers. After meeting with Thimphu Chu, we move towards along the left side of the river lifting ourselves into ridges and down ravines to the point where many water channels intersect with the river. The trail comes to an end with us standing witness to the superlative cliffs above Thimphu Chu. Making our way through the pasture-land, we reach Dolam Kench where we are picked up by our vehicle which brings us back to Thimpu.
Sight-Seeing at Thimphy
Cheri Goemba and The Choki School of Arts
Wheeling on our vehicle through the green-filled countryside of Thimphu brings us face-to-face with the king of fauna and avian world: Jigme Dorji Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest protected region in the nation. Residence to diverse endangered species like snow leopard, red panda, takin, the Himalayan black bear and blue sheep, over 300 species of birds take abode in the park. Beginning with our walk from the cozy village of Dodena, we cross over the sheltered bridge over Wand Chu and hike towards Cheri Goemba, a monastery balanced on the hill with a panoramic view of Thimphu Valley. This monastery was constructed in 1620 under the reign of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and became the first home to community of monks in Bhutan. Containing the ashes of Tempi Nima, the monastery is revered for its sacredness. Tempi Nima was the father of first Shabdrung of Bhutan. The monastery also dons phenomenal paintings and murals of Buddhist saints. Following the visit to monastery, we move down on the same trail, while watching out for goral (wild goat) which often wanders the cliffs. After reaching Dodena, we move along the river-side route through Begana to Cabesa. Cabesa is home to the Choki School of Arts. A pioneer in their field, Choki School is a private organization that provides free and skill-related education in the genre of traditional Bhutanese crafts and arts to native children who have been unable to finish their formal education. After our visit to the school, we continue on our river-side route through petite rural village before we return to Thimphu. An connoisseur from Thimphu will join us preceding dinner to accustom us with the culture of the region.
Departure from Paro
Our departure from Paro to airport is marked with vivid recollections of the adventurous and mind-calming hikes and trekking. Fused with the spirit of nature, we bid farewell to our travelers returning to Bangkok. Note: Please note that this is the prototype of our trip and the actual activities will be determined on the basis of weather conditions, local events and our kismet. The trips are generally planned at time periods which hold best weather conditions. In the face of poor weather conditions like snow on the high-altitude passes during our departure, ZHE reserves the right to change the itinerary and form an alternative trekking plan to ensure your security and comfort. Such a change might occur once you have reached Bhutan or after starting out on the trek. The itinerary clearly states the places of accommodation. However, the sites might be changed if and when need arises.
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|Standard Accomodation||May – Sep.||Oct. – April|
|Luxury Accomodation||May – Sep.||Oct. – April|