DAY 01 ARRIVE PARO BHUTAN.
The flight into Paro is a befitting introduction to Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. From a window seat on clear days you can experience a spectacular view of Bhutan’s snow capped peaks as you approach Paro. On arrival you will be received by our representative, and then drive to your hotel.
DAY 02 PARO SIGHTSEEING.
Drive the winding road northwest up the Pa Chhu River to Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fort, which once defended this valley from the Tibetan invaders. Mount Chomolhari 7314 m / 23,990 ft., the sacred summit, reaches skyward beyond the Dzong. This can be viewed on a clear day. Visit Satsam Chorten, Kyichu Temple built in 7th century by a Tibetan King Songtsen Gompo. Return to your hotel for lunch. After lunch visit the National Museum (Ta Dzong). This museum is considered to be a temple by the natives because of the number of ancient religious objects it contains. The museum holds works of art, handcrafted objects of daily life stuffed animals, costumes, armor and even stamps. You can thus get an idea of the cultural and ecological richness of Bhutan in a very short time. Hike downhill from the museum to Paro Rimpung Dzong. Drive back to hotel for preparation of your trek.
DAY 03 DOPSHARI -JILI DZONG 10 Kms, 5 hours
Start with a short walk to Jili Dzong, which you can see atop a ridge above Paro. From Dobshari the trail crosses a brook and makes a long gradual climb to a wooded crest. It’s then a gentle walk along the ridge to campsite in a Yak pasture at 3,450m/11,488ft. Above the camp are Jili La and Jili Dzong at 3,490m/11,622ft. The Dzong is mostly in ruins, the temple in the Dzong is dedicated to Shakyamuni, most of the time the caretaker does not reside here, hence we might not be able to see inside. But during the clear weather, one can see the breathtaking view of Paro valley with Mount Chomolhari and other snow-capped peaks in the distance. Overnight at Camp.
DAY 04 JILI DZONG – JANGCHUP LAKHA, 10 Kms, 3-4 hours
After crossing the pass the route stays below the ridge, climbing through thick alpine forest and rhododendron to a saddle at 3,590m/11,954ft. It then follows the ridge, making many ups and downs, staying just above the tree line. The trail goes from one side of the ridge to the other, following it north to a Yak herders camp at Jangchu Lakha, 3,780m/12,587ft. There are views of Chomolhari and other snow peaks, and you are likely to see or hear some monal pheasants during the day. Overnight at Camp.
DAY 05 JANGCHUP LAKHA – JIMILANG TSHO 11 Kms, 4 hours
The trail follows the ridge for about one and half-hours to a saddle at 4040m/13,453ft, then drops a bit and follows the ridge back to Jangchu La at 4,180m/13,919ft. Descend to a camp at 3,880m/12,920ft, close to the large Jimilangtsho Lake (Sand Ox Lake), named for a bull that emerged from the lake and joined the cattle of a family that uses the area as a summer grazing ground. The lake is also known for its giant trout (which some people believe were taken to Bhutan by early British visitors). There are good views of Jichu Drake at 6,989m/23,273ft, the peak representing the protective deity of Paro, to the west. Overnight at Camp.
DAY 06 JIMILANGTSHO – SIMKOTA TSHO 11 Kms, 4 hours
The trail climbs through dwarf rhododendron to the lake of Janye Tsho, another yak herder’s camp. It’s a short climb along the side of the ridge and then a short, steep descent to camp at 4040/13,453ft. Close to Simkota Tsho, where there is another chance to fish for trout. Overnight at Camp.
DAY 07 SIMKOTA – PHAJODING- THIMPHU. 15 Kms, 5/6 hrs
The day begins with a gradual climb to a saddle at 4,180m/13,919ft. A short descent leads past another small lake, then the trail climbs to Phume La 4,210m/14,019ft, where you are greeted by array of prayer flags. During clear weather if you look straight ahead you will see the views of Gangkar Puensum and other Himalayan peaks here. Below you will see the view of entire Thimphu valley the capital city. The route then descends pass Thujidrag temple, a retreat center that hangs on the side of a precipitous rock face. The descent continues through juniper trees to a campsite beside a community hall near Phajoding Temple, an important pilgrimage site at 3,870m/12,887ft. The trek continues downhill through blue pine forest. Follow a steep trail to the road near the old Motithang Hotel or stay on the ridge and meet your vehicle at the radio tower above Thimphu (2500m/8200ft). Drive straight to the Paro, and overnight at hotel.
DAY 08 THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING
After a late breakfast you will start your sightseeing of Thimphu this will be followed by a visit to the Medicine Institute traditional medicines are prepared according to ancient practices. Then we head to The Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkhas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). The Bhutan heritage Museum, a nineteenth century house, preserved to present the visitors, how middle class Bhutanese lived in the past. Next we will visit the National Library and return to the hotel for lunch. After lunch, we visit Textile Museum, the traditional gold and silver smith workshop, weaving center and other places of interest. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 09 EXCURSION TO TAKTSANG MONASTERY
After breakfast our car will drop us at the starting point of the excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s lair). The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. You stop at the cafeteria for a rest and refreshments and continue the hike (if not tired) for short while until you see, clearly and seemingly within reach, the remains of Taktsang monastery. Built in 1600s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. The history states that Guru Padmasambhava, the Tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tiger. Looking at the monastery flying tigers doesn’t seem so impossible after all. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria. After lunch we start our hike back to Paro valley, if time permits we will have some more sightseeing or a free day for more shopping in the small Bazaar.
DAY 10 DEPART BHUTAN
Morning drive to Paro International Airport for departure to your onward destination.
Note: This is a sample intended to give you a general idea of the likely trip schedule. Numerous factors such as weather, tour conditions, the physical ability of the participants’ etc., may dictate itinerary changes either before departure or while on the tour. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of the trip participants’ safety, comfort and general well being. RATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.