The tour offers experience on both wilderness and cultural aspects of Bhutan. The tour begins from Paro, a picturesque valley dotted with farmhouses and turquoise colored Pachu River meandering through the valley. After an active day hike to the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery, you will travel to Thimphu and venture into 5 days Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek. This is a short trek passing through picturesque high altitude lakes. The trek is off the beaten track and offers ample opportunity to witness birds and flowers in spring. Besides you can have spectacular views of high mountains in Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal. The trek is medium-hard with mostly short trekking days but few steep climbs. After the trek, we will also explore some cultural highlights of Thimphu and Punakha valleys.
The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by Bhutan Travelers guide. After lunch, visit the Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower that is now the National Museum. The museum has wide assortment of ancient paintings, armors, philatelic display and “field of Buddhas”, which helps one to visualize while meditating. Afterwards you will visit Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and the most sacred shrine in the country. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Acclimatization hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery
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. Explore the Monastery and hike back to Paro. This evening, you will drive to Thimphu. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Genekha to Gur
7KM | 5 HOURS | 550M ASCENT | 60M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3290M
From Thimphu you will drive for 45km to the starting point of the trek. Today’s trail is all through terraced fields and conifers vegetation. The trek starts from beautiful Genekha village (2800m) with a short descent down to the river. From here – after crossing the river – you start climbing till you reach a huge rock platform at 3350m from where you have a picturesque view of the valley below. After another two hours you reach Gur amidst yak pastures at 3290m.
Gur to Labatama
12KM | 6 HOURS | 1010M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 4300M
While trekking across the ridges, one enjoys the beauty of the rugged mountain vegetation. Today’s trek is amidst flowers, wild asparagus (in spring) and large meadows, which freshens your mind. Weaving through tiny streams, you will climb gently through scattered birches and rhododendrons to arrive at Pagalabtsa pass (4,250m) marked by huge cairns. From the pass, you will have spectacular views of Kanchenjunga (Sikkim) and most of the Bhutanese Himalayan peaks. Descending from the pass one will view whole Dagala range meadows and yak herders camp. Lunch at nearby yak herder’s camp. You will descend into the Labatama valley and then ascend gradually through the valley passing some yak herder huts till you reach Utsho Lake (4,300m) where golden trouts are in abundance. Our campsite is right next to the lake.
Halt at Labatama
Extension to Sertsho and Jagetsho Lakes. Hike uphill to Sertsho Lake is easy and interesting. Afterwards walk over a small ridge and then down to Jagetsho Lake. You can also attempt to climb the Jomo, a 5500m peak (if you wish, will have to schedule extra day for this). Lunch at summit with spectacular view around can be memorable experience. Return to your camp and prepare for the next day.
Labatama to Pankha
8KM | 5-6 HOURS | 220M ASCENT | 520M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4000M
The trail climbs along the western side of Dala Tsho up to a saddle at 4520m from where you can have majestic view of Himalayan peaks during descent. The mountain peaks include Everest (Nepal), Kanchenjunga (Sikkim), Jumolhari, Jitchu Drake, Tshering Gang, Khangbum, Masang Gang, Tshenda Gang and Gangche Ta. If you want even better view, you can climb a peak close to the saddle with an altitude of 4720m. From the saddle the path descends, passing some yak herder huts to Docha Chu. You follow the river for a while, but stay higher up on the slope to reach Pankha with some ups and downs on the way. Camp at Pankha at 4000m.
Pankha via Talakha and Chamgang to Thimphu
14KM | 8 HOURS | 180M ASCENT | 1540M DESCENT
You will start early today. This day entails the crossing of several passes, each one more impressive than the other. Search for different varieties of Blue Poppy (June-July) and mountain birds. After crossing the last pass, Tala La (4180m) you start a long descent to Talakha Monastery. Continue walking through mixed vegetation and apple orchards. You will finally arrive at the main motorable road of Chamgang (2640m) where your transport will be awaiting to transfer you to Thimphu. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast you will visit the King’s Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), nunnery temple, traditional paper factory, the majestic Tashichhodzong and the giant Buddha statue on a hill overlooking Thimphu, which is reputed to be the largest Buddha Shakymuni in the world. In the afternoon, you can stroll through Thimphu city and absorb the lifestyle of the people. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Thimphu to Punakha across picturesque Dochula Pass
After breakfast, enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop at Dochu La (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, drive downhill through the forests of rhododendron, fir and hemlock. On the way, you will stop at Metshina Village and hike through rice paddies up to 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. You will arrive at Punakha after traversing through rice field and along the bank of Punakha River. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
Return to Paro
After breakfast, visit the Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. You will then drive back to Paro via Dochula Pass. At Dochula, you can visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is the only of its kind in the country with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. You will stop in Thimphu for lunch. After lunch, you will continue drive to Paro. Overnight hotel in Paro.
In the morning, you will drive to airport for departure. Our representative will bid farewell.