The tour starts from Paro, a picturesque valley dotted with farmhouses and turquoise colored Pachu River meandering through the valley. After an active acclimatization hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery, you will venture into a beautiful Laya-Gasa Trek. This trek offers a great variety of trekking conditions, from picturesque farmland and forests to alpine pastureland and high passes. Shingchenla Pass at 5010m is the highest pass that you will cross on this trek. There is an ample chance to spot yaks, blue sheep, vultures, wild flowers in full blossom and rare birds. One of the highlights of this trek is that you will be bestowed with the opportunity to camp beneath some of Bhutan’s most impressive peaks – Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake. The trek will also acquaint you to the unique culture of the Layap people and provide a stop at natural hot spring in Gasa. We then explore well-preserved Bhutanese cultures, old fortresses and temples in western Bhutan.
The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by the guide and transferred to the hotel. After lunch, visit Rinpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. It has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the courtyard of the Rinpung Dzong are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore. You will walk downhill till the road point crossing the wooden bridge. Your vehicle will be waiting here to take you to Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. In the evening, you can stroll through Paro town. Walking through the market and meeting with the people will be an enjoyable experience. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Acclimatization hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Elev 3180m
5KM | 5-6 HOURS | 900 ASCENT
After breakfast hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, Bhutan’s most famous monastery, which stands at 3180m gives you acclimatization for the next day’s trek. The 8th century Spiritual Master, Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. It is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. Explore the Monastery hike back to Paro. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Paro to Shana
17KM | 5-6 HOURS | 500M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 2850M
Your trek starts from the historic Drugyel Dzong (2,580m). The Dzong is a 12km drive to the north of Paro valley from the hotel. You will meet your trekking crew here. After a short while you will start walking on a wide trail that tracks along the Pa Chhu (Paro river). The trail will slowly ascend where you will be walking through the countryside with views of rice paddies and fields of millet. As the valley widens you will find apple orchards, traditional Bhutanese farmhouses and a few small settlements of Mitshi Zampa and Sangatan. Following the route through blue pine forest you will be brought to the army post of Gunitsawa at 2,810m where your trekking permits will be checked and stamped. You will then climb towards Sharna Zampa (2,870m) after crossing Pa Chhu on a wooden bridge. You will be camping at Sharna Zampa in the meadows among the trees for the night.
Shana to Soi Thangthangkha
21KM | 6-7 HOURS | 900M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 3750M
Just like the previous day, we will be following the trail following the Pachhu (Paro river). We will be ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. You will reach at Shingkharap after 2 hours of hiking and crossing several streams. This is a stone house at 3110m. You will then cross the bridge towards the left side of the river where you will be served a hot lunch. A little walk ahead is the trail junction. The left road is an old trade route to Tibet and the right route leads to the wooden bridge. We will be taking the latter route. After climbing through rhododendron forests and finally crossing the bridge again, we reach our camp at 3750m, which is amidst beautiful meadows.
Soi Thangthangkha to Jangothang
19KM | 4-5 HOURS | 300M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 4050M
Today is not a long trekking day but it will involve a significant gain in altitude as your trail goes above tree line. As you take the path that ascends from our camp you will be brought to an army camp. Then you will follow the river above the tree line as well as enjoying the spectacular view of the surrounding mountain peaks. After walking through a very muddy section and passing a mani wall you will enter yak country. Inside a yak herder’ camp you will be served a hot filling lunch. After lunch, we walk past yak herder settlements of Soe and Takethang. Some common crops that people grow here are barley, potatoes and turnips. After your lunch, you will walk across a plateau and up a stream bed. You will pass Dangochang village to the beautiful campsite of Jangothang at an altitude of 4,040m. From here, the views of Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake will take your breath away.
Halt at Jangothang base camp
Today is a day of acclimatization. You may choose from four day hikes: a 3-4 hours hike up to a ridge that gives a good view of Jichu Drake; a hike up to the end of the valley, toward Jumolhari; a trek up the main valley toward Jichu Drake’ or a hike to Tsophu, a pair of lakes with a good supply of brown trout. Altitude 4050m.
Jangothang to Lingshi
19KM | 6-7 HOURS | 780M ASCENT | 820M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4010M
The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right side. Start the climb up to the first ridge with a breathtaking view of Jumolhari, Jichu Drake and Tshering Gang. Then walk towards the valley, almost flat for a while, until the climb to the Nyele La pass at an altitude of 4830m. After the pass, it’s a gradual descent to the camp at Chashi Thang (4010m) enjoying the panoramic view of the peaks and Lingshi Dzong.
Lingshi to Chebisa
12KM | 5-6 HOURS | 160M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3850M
Visit the Lingshi Dzong, perched on the hilltop with a commanding view of green hills, the winding river and magnificent peaks. For centuries, Lingzhi Dzong was a way station for weary Buddhist pilgrims and defense fort against Tibetan and Mongol invaders. It is an easy day and pleasant walk through villages and yak herders camp. After lunch, a short walk will take you to Chebisa, a charming little village adorned with a beautiful crystal clear waterfall. Camp by the side of stream at an altitude of 3,850m.
Chebisa to Shomuthang
17KM | 6-7 HOURS | 570M ASCENT | 290M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4130M
Today begin with a stiff climb up a ridge to Gubu La pass at an altitude of 4420m, taking nearly four hours. After the pass, descend to a lunch stop through rhododendron bushes. Afternoon continue along the up and down path, after crossing the stream, through rhododendron forests and yak herders camp. You may see herds of Blue Sheep now and then. Camp at an altitude 4130m.
Shomuthang to Robluthang
15KM | 5-6 HOURS | 620M ASCENT | 590M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4160M
The trek starts with a climb to Jerela pass at altitude 4,750m. Then descend to Tasharijathang valley, the summer residence of rare Himalayan Takins (national animal of Bhutan). From here we may have to cross the stream as most of the time the footbridge is washed away. After crossing the stream towards the left, the trail ascends till you reach Robluthang camp at an altitude of 4160m.
Robluthang to Lingmithang
19KM | 7-8 HOURS | 850M ASCENT | 870M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4140M
It is a long climb unto Shingela pass (5010m). The view of the mountains from the path is stunning. After the pass, descend to Lingmithang. The path is quite narrow and you may have to cross a stream again and get wet. The last part of the trek is very interesting with the view of Mt. Gangchey Ta. Arrive at campsite at altitude of 4140m.
Lingmithang to Laya
10KM | 3-4 HOURS | CAMP ALT 3850M
In the morning you wake up with a superb view of Gangchen Ta peak in front of you. The walk to Laya is very pleasant with wonderful views. You will pass through a damp forest, filled with moss and singing birds. Arrive at Laya village, the second highest settlement in the country, at altitude of 3850m.
Laya to Koena
19KM | 6-7 HOURS | 50M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3800M
Descend to army camp and join the Mo Chhu (Mother River of Punakha). Follow the river till you cross the bridge. After the bridge it is up and down several times, through juniper and fir forests until you reach the camp at Koena at an altitude of 3,800m.
Koena to Gasa
19KM | 6-7 HOURS | 300M ASCENT | 1200M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 2900M
Walk for about half an hour over flat land till the Barila La pass (4100m). After this it is downhill all the way to Gasa Tshachu. Lunch will be served at Gasa village. After lunch visit the village. Then descend to Gasa Tshachu (hot spring) for camp at an altitude of 2900m. Enjoy the hot bath at the Hot Spring.
Gasa to Punakha
Today you will drive to Punakha on unpaved roads. The drive is through the high agricultural benches above the Mochu (Chu means River) into a lush semi-tropical gorge filled with banana trees and creepers. Check into your hotel on arrival. In the afternoon, you can visit the Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Punakha via Dochula pass to Thimphu
After breakfast, you will drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. On the way, you will stop at Lobesa to hike — through rice paddies and up to the Chimi Lhakhang Temple. This temple is dedicated to the great Yogi in the 14th century known as Drukpa Kuenley, or the “Divine Madman,” who is believed to bless women who seek fertility. Continue drive to Thimphu via Dochula pass (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. After lunch in Thimphu, you can stroll through Thimphu city. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Thimphu to Paro
In the morning, you will drive to airport for departure (54 Km, 1 hour). Our representative will bid farewell.