7 Days / 6 Nights
Day 1: Paro Arrival
You will arrive at Bhutan’s international airport in Paro. Paro, Bhutan is situated in a beautiful valley at 2280 meters and the valley provides an incredible introduction to this magical kingdom. Your guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel where you can take a short break before heading out to see the sights. Your sightseeing tour around the Paro Valley will commence with a visit to the unique fifteenth century temple of Dungtse lhakhang. Continue your day with a stop at the National Museum to see a treasure trove of Bhutanese artifacts including religious Thangka paintings, weapons, costumes and a fascinating collection of stamps. The museum is housed in the Ta Dzong (watch tower), built in sixteen forty-nine C.E. and used to defend the Paro Valley during times of war. Finally, a visit to Ringpung Dzong which is one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture is a good way to round out your first day in Bhutan. Stay the night in Paro.
Day 2: Hike to Taktshang
Hike to the sacred Takshang Goenpa (Tiger’s Nest Monastery) built of a rock face nine hundred meters above the valley floor. During his second visit to Bhutan in the eighth century the Guru Rinphoche flew on the back of a tigress to the place where the monastery now stands in order to subdue the demon Singye Samdrup. After defeating the demon the Guru meditated at this location for three months. In the sixteenth century Gyalshe Tenzin Rabgay, then the ruler of Bhutan built the monastery in commemoration of the Guru’s feats. Takshang is considered one of the most holy sites. It is a highlight for any tourist visiting Bhutan and a place where all Bhutanese believe they must visit once in their lifetime. Upon returning from your hike to Taksang you can visit the seventh century temple Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. In the evening you can sort out your luggage for the trek. Items not needed for the trekking portion of your vacation will be held at our office for safe keeping. Stay the night in Paro.
Day 3: Drive to Chelela and continue to Shana
Start the day with a forty-five minute drive to the Chelela Pass (3,890 meters). If the weather cooperates the pass offers a charming view of the second highest Himalayan peak in Bhutan, Mount Jomolhari. A staggering seven thousand four hundred fifty-six meters above sea level the mountain is known by locals as the Mountain of God. In order to help acclimate to the kinds of altitude experienced on your trek you will take a one and a half hour hike from the roadway to a vantage point situated at four thousand five hundred meters. From here you will have even better views of Mount Jomolhari and other peaks including Kanchengula. Continue your hike down through a Rhododendron and Hemlock forest to Kila Geonpa, a nunnery monastery. From here you will return to your car and drive back to Paro for lunch. After lunch you will drive two hours to your campsite at Shana. On the way to Shana you will have time to visit Drukgyal Dzong, the Victory Fortress. Built in sixteen forty-four to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders the dzong was destroyed by fire in nineteen fifty-one. After arriving in Shana you will be introduced to your trekking crew, which will have evening tea waiting for you. Spend the night in Shana camp (2890 meters).
Start of Trek
Day 4: Shana to Soi Thangthangka
Begin your trek with an ascent through the Paachu River Valley and beautiful Blue Pine and Rhododendron forests. Stop for lunch after crossing Thangthang zam (bridge) and then continue to follow the river bank for a few hours until reaching a stupa marking the junction with another trail. Following the trail to the left will take you to Sio Thangthangka. From the junction you should reach your campsite within the half hour. Looking to the north you will see Mount Jomolhari from the top of the valley. (19km, 7 to 8 hours).
Day 5: Soi Thangthanka to Soi Jangothang
The trail passes through a small Army checkpoint and the valley begins to widen as you leave the forest behind. You will have enjoyable views of several snow capped peaks, high mountain ridges, yaks and their herders throughout your hike as you make your way to Jangothang campsite. Stop for lunch in an open meadow and then continue on to your campsite for the evening. Settle in for the night in a beautiful grassy meadow beneath the ruins of a fortress that lies at the base of Mount Jomolhari. (19km, 6 hours)
Day 6: Rest at Jangothang
Spend the day exploring the area as you take a day of rest from your trek. Walk to Tshophu as a way to get acclimated to the altitude. You will be rewarded with spectacular views of Mount Jomolhari , Jichu Drake and will see two picturesque lakes along the way. You might choose, instead, to plot out your own path to the east where no proper trail exists. Hiking east will afford you views of many unclimbed Himalayan summits and ridges. Stay the night at the Jolmohari base camp (4040 meters).
Day 7: Soi Jangothang to Lingzhi
Following the trail you will climb gradually and cross the bridge over the Paa Chu tributary along the way. The trail rises steeply to the Nyeli Pass (4850m) where you will see many cairns wrapped in prayer flags. From the pass you will have great views of Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsherim Gang. Continue on with a steep decent to an area with small streams where you will enjoy your lunch. After lunch your trekking crew will make a decision as to which of the two possible campsites you will continue to for the night. Continuing to the site at Cherjipang, just outside of Linzhi village, will take you past Lingzhi Dzong. Unfortunately, the Dzong was destroyed by the earthquake of two thousand eleven and is currently undergoing restoration so visiting it is not possible. If your guide and crew opt to camp below the Army checkpoint you will make an ascent through a small stream, shortening your hike to the site. After settling in, you may have time to visit Lingzhi village and the local school; both are a short walk from the campsite. (19km, 7 to 8 hours). Stay the night in Lingzhi camp (4010 m)
Day 8: Lingzhi to Shodu
This morning you follow the trail past a stupa before making a two hour ascent along the bank of a small stream called Mo Chu. At this point you will cross the stream and begin a climb to the Yali Pass (4920m). Many people traveling between Lingzhi and Thimphu use this pass so the trail is well marked. You will be able to enjoy lunch near the pass before descending to the Shodu campsite. Your descent will follow the Wangchu River. (22km, 8 to 9 hours). Stay the night at Shodu camp (4080m).
Day 9: Shodu to Barshong/Domshisa
Continue to follow the Wangchu River as it takes you through Rhododendron and Hemlock forests. Pass a waterfall and cross several bridges before climbing to the ruins of Barshong Dzong. You can camp just below the ruins of the fortress or continue to hike for another hour and a half to Domshisa camp to shorten your walk the next day. (14km, 4 to 5 hours). Stay the night at Barshong (3720m) or Domshisa (3560m).
Day 10: Barshong/Domshisa to Dodena and back to Thimphu
You will once again follow the Wangchu River through dense forests via Dolam Kencho before emerging into pastureland. Climb to a mountain meadow at three thousand four hundred twenty-eight meters and then over a small pass to the road at Dodena, north of Thimphu. Your vehicle will be waiting with some refreshments and you will be driven thirty minutes to the capital of Bhutan. You can check into your hotel and have some time to relax or take a leisurely walk through the capital and take in the sense of tradition and that of a newfound modernization that the town has to offer. Stay the night in Thimphu.
End of Trek
Day 11: Thimphu sightseeing
Start your day of sightseeing with a visit to the beautiful Memorial Chorten built in nineteen seventy-four by Her Majesty Azhi Phuntsho Choden Wangchuk. Continue onto Buddha Point to see one of the largest statues of the Buddha in the world. Sitting tall at fifty-one and a half meters the Buddha is situated on a point with a birds-eye view overlooking Thimphu city. You will have the opportunity to stop at the twelfth century Changangkha Temple with its original wall paintings and a unique statue of the God of Compassion in a seated posture with eleven faces. You may also wish to visit the Takin Reserve to see Bhutan’s one of a kind national animal. Tour a traditional painting school to see the artwork of Zorigchusum, the thirteen traditional arts and crafts. See the world’s largest published book at the National Library or stop at the Folk Heritage Museum to see an example of a traditional farmhouse. You will have the option to visit a textile-weaving center at Changzamtok and Tashichoe Dzong as well as Simtokha Dzong, built in sixteen twenty-nine and the oldest surviving fortress in Bhutan. Discuss your interests with your guide and plan a memorable day sight-seeing around a amazing city. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 12: Drive to Paro Airport and departure
Your guide will accompany you to the airport to see you off and wish you a good journey and Tashidelek, Good Bye and Good Luck.