Dear , Tandi and Team of mountain Hiking & Trekking
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Paro – Jili Dzong (Distance seven km, four to five hours, 1,090m ascent, camp altitude 3,480m). The first day is a long day as you have to climb more than 1,000m elevation. You start from the Ta Dzong (National Museum) in Paro. The trek follows a gravel road past a few farms for about 30 minutes and then climbs up a steep ridge before leading through blue pine and fir forests to Damche Gom. Once you reach the ridge below Jili Dzong you descend about 100m to the campsite below Jili Dzong. Overnight in Tents
Day 01: ARRIVE AT PARO AIRPORT (B,L,D)
Arrive at Paro Airport and then drive to the hotel where you will be staying. Altitude: 2280m/7524ft above sea level.
Later visit, Ta Dzong: This means - watch tower, which it served as during the 17th century to guard the region from the Tibetan invasion. It was converted to the National Museum in 1968.
Kichu Lhakhang(Monastery): It is one of the two most sacred and the oldest temples in Bhutan. It was built in 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo.
Rimpung Dzong: Means fortress of the heap of jewels. It was built during the time of Zhabdrung (deeply revered to this day as dynamic political and spiritual leader) in 1644. It houses both administrative and monastic bodies. Overnight in ParoDay 02: IN PARO (B, L, D)
Acclimatization hike to Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s nest): This is Bhutan’s most recognizable cultural icon perched 800m/2640ft up a seemingly sheer cliff. Although it was tragically and mysteriously consumed by fire in April 1998 it has now been restored to its former glory. It is believed that in the 8th century, the great tantric master Guru Rimopche/ Padmasambhava (2nd Buddha) flew on the back of a tigress to the site where the monastery now stands. Four hours hike to and fro, some gentle and some steep hike, some stony foot path and some good ones) If you ride a horse upward it will cost extra US$25 per person.
Visit Farmhouse: Picturesque farm houses dot the valley amongst fields and hillsides. We welcome you to enjoy the hospitality of the Paro farmers. Thrill yourself as the farmers welcome you to their homes with genuine smiles. The two to three-storied Bhutanese farm houses are handsome in appearance, with colorfully decorated outer walls and lintels, and are traditionally built. A visit to a farm house gives an interesting glimpse into the lifestyle of a farming family. (If you take hot stone bath in the farm house it will cost extra US$25 per person.)
Later stroll around the town and see how locals live. Overnight in Paro.Day 03-: DRUK PATH TREK COMMENCES (B, L, D)
Standard: moderate - demanding
Duration: 4 days
Distance: 30 miles/ 48 km
Altitude Gain: 7400ft/2256m
Altitude Loss: 6271ft/1912m
Overnight: In Tents
Druk Path Trek is one of the most popular treks in Bhutan. It is a short and scenic trek with some great views and beautiful lakes en route. Although it leads up to altitudes above 4,000m it is not too strenuous as walking distances between the camps are not too long. Besides the lakes, it is the Phadjoding monastery that is one of the highlights of this trek.
Paro – Jili Dzong (Distance seven km, four to five hours, 1,090m ascent, camp altitude 3,480m). The first day is a long day as you have to climb more than 1,000m elevation. You start from the Ta Dzong (National Museum) in Paro. The trek follows a gravel road past a few farms for about 30 minutes and then climbs up a steep ridge before leading through blue pine and fir forests to Damche Gom. Once you reach the ridge below Jili Dzong you descend about 100m to the campsite below Jili Dzong. Overnight in TentsDay 04: DRUK PATH TREK (B, L, D)
Jili Dzong – Jangchulakha (Distance 10 km, four to five hours, 310m ascent, 50m descent, camp altitude 3,770m).
You begin with a climb for about an hour and a half and then ascend gradually up. The trail takes you through thick alpine forest and dwarf rhododendron tress. You may see yaks and yak herders around your campsite.
Overnight in Tents.
Jangchulakha – Simkotra Tsho (Distance 20 km, 7 hours, 820m ascent, 400 m descent, camp altitude 4,110m).
The trail follows the ridge and on a clear day the view of the mountains and valley are beautiful. The campsite is close to the Jimilang Tsho Lake. The lake is known for its giant sized trout.
Overnight in Tents.
Jimilang Tsho – Phajoding (Distance 20 km, Seven hours, 950m ascent, 1080 m descent, camp altitude 3,750 m).
The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees and Janetso Lake. You may come across some yak herder’s camps where you will have the opportunity to get a glimpse of a nomad’s life. It also has a gradual climb. If the weather permits, you will have a spectacular view of Mount Gangkar Puensum, the highest mountain in Bhutan and other Himalayan peaks. From this pass, the trek takes you downhill to Phajodhing. After passing Phadjoding monastery, the trek to Thimphu (Mothitang) is all the way downhill through a forested area of mostly blue pine. The walk, at a leisurely pace, takes about three hours.
On the way visit, Mini zoo: Here you can see just one animal - Bhutan’s national animal- the Takin. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family. Found in herds in the very high altitudes (13,125ft and over). They live on a diet of grass and bamboo.
In the evening stroll around the city. Overnight in Thimphu.Day 07: THIMPHU TO DOCHULA PASS (B, L, D)
Morning visit the weekend market: Held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the people crowd the stalls every day, dressed in full colour and gathered to meet and to barter, much like the street markets in London!
Morningtake a hike to Cheri Monastery(Includes Dodina and Jigme Dorji Wild life Sanctuary): Hike about 1hrs(to and fro) leds to Cheri Goemba (Cheri Dorji Dhen). Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built this monastery in 1620 and established the first monk body here. A chance to spot birds such as Mrs Gould's Sunbird, Yellow-browed Tit, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Long-billed Thrush, Ultramarine Flycatcher.
Later visit, Textile museum: The foundation was laid in 2000 under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck. It was established with the aim of preserving and promoting Bhutanese textile arts. It’s a good place to see the art of traditional weaving being kept alive and preserved through exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles which are rich in colors and designs.You will also see people weaving with intricate designs.
General Post office of Bhutan: Get an insight into Bhutan through its stamps. Visit their Philatelic Bureau for their beautiful, unique and wide range of stamps and philatelic products. You can also order them from Bhutan Post and its agents around the world. All types of attractive postage stamps, picture post cards, stamp albums, envelopes, etc., are available at the philatelic counters which are best for presentation and gift purposes. The bureau also maintains prepaid customer accounts such as Ordinary account and Standing order account.
Bhutan Craft bazaar: The private stalls had a variety of high-end quality products from places across the country such as wood carved national symbols, bags and western wears with touch of traditional designs, wooden and clay utensils, Bangchung, Dhapa, key hanger of jewelry boxes, bookmarks and handmade packing papers (Deysho) in different patterns, antique items and etc. The stalls have a distinctly rich outlook with fine tones of elegance, and a warm and inviting atmosphere. The craft bazaar is also an exemplary of how bamboo can be used to construct houses in the country.
Now later riding bicycle towards Dochula Pass, (3140m, 10362ft) from where a beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range can be seen, especially in clear winter days. The beauty of this place is further enhanced by the Druk Wangyal Chortens- a 108 stupas built by the eldest Queen, Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. Overnight in Dochula Pass.
Altitude: 1350m/4455ft above sea level.(2 hours drive).
Morning we will hike to the 18th century Lungchotse Lhakhang. For those who do not fancy walking for hours seeking solitude and peace of mind yet would like to have that, this is the place to go. It is a perfect place to enjoy the bounties of nature. On a clear sunny day one can see the entire Bhutan Himalaya with its snow covered peaks. The sunset from Lungchotse with different colors playing against the sky is a splendid spectacle. The view from the ridge as the sun sets over the rolling hills remains etched in mind for a long time.( 4 hours hike to and fro, gentle steep, nice foot path but some places could be moist and damp)
Later you can also visit the Botanical garden just below Dochula Pass where there are lot of collection of rhododendrons.
Later hike to Chimi Lhakhang(Temple of fertility): This Temple was built by lam Drukpa Kuenley (The Divine Madman) in 1499. It is about thirty minutes hike across fields from the road –Wooden phalluses are often found hanging in the four corners of the houses and also phalluses are painted on the walls of houses. It is the common belief that this helps in driving away evil spirits.(30 minutes hike to and fro, gentle steep, good foot path across the valleys and villages) Overnight in Punakha/Wangdue.
Morning visit, Punakha Dzong (fortress): Built in 1637 by Zhabdrung which is remarkably located between the rivers of Mo (Female) Chu (river) and Pho (Male) Chu. Until the time of second king it served as a seat of the king.
Later we will go for a rafting.
Lower Pho Chhu:
Location: Punakha Valley, Western/Central Bhutan
From/To: Samdingkha – Punakha (directly below the Mo Chhu confluence)
Length: 7km, 1.5 hours
Difficulty: Class III with one IV at the bottom
Flow: 2000 -3000 cfs Mar/Apr, Oct/Nov. Should be runnable at high water.
Craft: Kayaks and Rafts
Description: The lower Pho Chhu (Pho Chhu means “Male River”) is much easier than the upper section, with plenty of class III and a good class IV finale. This is currently the most popular rafting tour, since it is not too difficult and a beautiful half-day raft trip. From Samdingkha, the river meanders through a wide-open valley, full of rice fields and farmhouses. About 4 kilometers down is Strainers Paradise, a class III boulder choke. From here, there are some nice wave trains until the grand finale. Right below Bhutan’s longest foot bridge is Wrathful Buddha, a class IV. Take out is right after the confluence with Mo Chhu, next to the impressive Punakha Dzong.
Later drive back to Paro valley. Overnight in Paro.Day 10-: DEPART FROM PARO (B, L, D)
Early breakfast at the hotel and then drive to the airport. Your escort will assist you with exit formalities and bid you farewell.
Treks vary from short three-day walks across low altitudes to the three-week Snowman Trek that covers 356 kilometers and climbs three of the Kingdom’s highest passes. Not only the overall duration but also the daily walking distances vary substantially according to the different trek routes.Guiding, Food and Camping
In Bhutan, all trekking supplies - camping equipment, kitchen implements, food - are all carried by pack animals. Porters are rather unusual in Bhutan with loads usually carted by horses or, in higher regions, yaks. All trekkers are accompanied by a guide, a cook and usually at least one horseman or yak herder. With the surest footing; they lead trekking groups across the passes. The horseman and cook will usually run ahead during a trekking day. They will have prepared a packed lunch for hikers and will go on to the night’s resting place to set up camp.
They set up tents, cook dinner and ready the area for arriving trekkers. When trekkers reach the campsite they are greeted with a hot cup of tea and biscuits in the dining tent. After six hours on the mountains, no drink will ever taste sweeter. For dinner the cook will usually prepare a buffet of dishes that are as welcome as they are delicious.
Although trekking gear is available in Bhutan you are advised to bring your own gear.
Shirt(either half or full sleeve)
Full pants/long skirts
Any type of shoes with socks
No Hats, No Umbrella, No Slippers, No t-shirts, No short skirt and No half-pants
Photographs allowed in the courtyard only.