Bhutan Trekking
 
Druk Path Trek - 12 Days

Season: April to June and September to October
Max Elevation: 3,485m
Number of Days: 12 Days
Grade: Moderate

Day 1: Arrival at Paro International Airport:
Fly on Druk Air to Paro. Druk Air is a Bhutan national flag bearer, which has an exclusive right to fly to Bhutan from 6 other sectors. Limited flights allow only restricted number of flyers into this beautiful Himalayan Kingdom, thereby preserving and conserving valuable culture and environment that has remained intact for centuries. On clear days, during this flight, you will experience breathtaking views of the Himalayan Mountains including Mt. Everest, Jichu Drak and Jumolhari in Bhutan. You will land in the beautiful valley of Paro, located at an elevation of 7,400 ft. At Paro International Airport you will be received by representative of Druk Yul Expeditions. White Khaddar or scarf with Buddhist blessings will be presented to you to be carried along your journey. Take a short drive to your hotel and check-in for lunch. After lunch visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong), earlier a watchtower for the Rinpung Paro Dzong. It was converted into the National Museum in 1968 and stands on a strategic site on the top of hill overlooking the Paro valley. On the way back visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. A Dzong in Bhutan is a fortress. Today there are about 20 Dzongs around the country, most built during early part of 17th century. Dzongs are the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. This huge fortresses are equally shared, keeping in tradition from past. It was from these fortresses that the Bhutanese repelled many Tibetan and Mongol invasions. Walk down further through walled flat stone pavements, and in about 10 minutes, you will pass through beautiful ancient wooden bridge with shingle roofing, with two guardhouses on each entrance. In the evening, we will walk through the small and picturesque Paro town. Enjoy evening meal at a cozy restaurant. Our representative will conduct detailed briefing about the upcoming tour program.

Day 2: Paro (Excursion):
After breakfast visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong), earlier a watchtower for the Rinpung Paro Dzong. It was converted into the National Museum in 1968 and stands on a strategic site on the top of hill overlooking the Paro valley. On the way back visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. A Dzong in Bhutan is a fortress. Today there are about 20 Dzongs around the country, most built during early part of 17th century. Dzongs are the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. This huge fortresses are equally shared, keeping in tradition from past. It was from these fortresses that the Bhutanese repelled many Tibetan and Mongol invasions. Walk down further through walled flat stone pavements, and in about 10 minutes, you will pass through beautiful ancient wooden bridge with shingle roofing, with two guardhouses on each entrance. In the evening, we will walk through the small and picturesque Paro town. Enjoy lunch at a cozy restaurant. In the evening take a stroll around the town. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3: Taktsang Hike:
Drive to Ramthongkha and then hike to viewpoint of Taktsang, the Tiger's Nest (one and a half hours). This magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 3,000 ft above the valley floor. The trail is broad and the walk uphill takes you a little more than a 1000ft above the Paro valley. The view of Taktsang monastery built on the cliff is a spectacular sight. It is a great pilgrim site for the Buddhists and also it is one of the most sacred sites in the Himalayan world. Beyond the viewpoint, the path is narrow and steep as it climbs to a point above the temple, from where walkers descend to the building itself. The main deity of Taktsang is Dorje Drolo, the wrathful form of Guru Rinpoche, the precious Teacher, also known as Padmasambhava. The great tantric mystic is said to have flown here on the back of a tiger, a manifestation of his consort, Yeshi Tsogyal, when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th century. The image of Dorje Drolo inside the temple is shown standing on a tiger. There are 13 sacred sites at Taktsang, and several meditation caves in the cliffs above. Here you can meditate awhile before beginning the descent. Nearby there is a teahouse, where you can stop for lunch or a snack. In the evening, visit a farmhouse in Paro. Overnight at hotel in Paro.

Day 4: Paro - Jele Dzong (Altitude – 2,576m | Distance - 7 km):
This is a short trekking day. The trail is rather gradual till the camp and if the weather is clear, the Paro Valley can be seen with the snowcapped mountains beyond.

Day 5: Jele Dzong - Jangchulakha (Altitude – 2,879m | Distance - 10 km):
You begin with about an hour and half climb and then ascend gradually up. The trail takes you through thick alpine forest and dwarf rhododendron trees. You may see yaks and yak herders around your campsite.

Day 6: Jangchulakha – Jimilangtso Lake (Distance - 11 km):
The trail follows the ridge and on a clear day the views of the mountains and valley are beautiful. The campsite is close to the Lake Jimilangtso.

Day 7: Jimilangtso – Simkota Lake (Altitude - 3,485m | Distance - 11 km):
The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees and Lake Janetso. You may come across some yak herder's camps where you will have the opportunity to get a glimpse into the nomadic way of life. The campsite is close to Simkota Lake.

Day 8: Simkota Lake - Phajoding (Altitude - 2,879m | Distance - 10 km):
The trek begins with a gradual climb. If the weather permits, you will have a spectacular view of Mount Gangkar Puensum, the highest mountain in Bhutan as well other Himalayan mountain ranges from Dochu La. From this pass, the trek takes you downhill to Phajoding, our campsite for tonight.

Day 9: Phajoding – Thimpu (Altitude - 2,439m | Distance – 8km):
The trek to Thimpu is all the way downhill through a forested area of mostly blue pine. The walk, at a leisurely pace, takes about three hours. Back to hotel for a hot shower and delicious lunch.

Day 10: Thimpu (Excursion):
Today’s sightseeing in Thimpu valley includes visits to: National Memorial Chorten: The building of this landmark was envisaged by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, as a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is a both a memorial to the late king (‘the father of modern Bhutan’), and a monument to world peace. The painting and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy; National Library: This holds a vast collection of Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion. Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School): where student undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. National Institute of Traditional Medicine: where the medicinal herbs, mineral, and animals organs available in abundant in the kingdom are compounded and dispensed by traditional pharmacist and medical practitioners. This indigenous healing method is popular in entire Bhutan. Here you will have exclusive privilege of talking to a renowned traditional healer. Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums: These museums, both of which opened in 2001, provide fascinating insight into Bhutanese material culture and way of life. Handicrafts Emporium: This government-run enterprise displays a wide range of beautifully hand-woven textiles and craft products. It also carries a small collection of books on Bhutan, Buddhism and Himalayan culture.

Day 11: Thimpu – Punakha / Wangdue – Thimpu:
Today we make a day’s trip to Punakha and Wangdue Valley. Punakha is the former capital of Bhutan (77 km) from Thimpu and Wangdue is 16 km away from Punakha. The Punakha Dzong houses the winter residence of the monastic body and it’s Chief Abbot. The massive fortress is situated between two rivers known as Phochu Mochu (Male Female River) the drive takes about three hours one way. Drive back to Thimpu for the night.

Day 12: Thimpu - Paro Departure:
All departure formalities will be completed in advance, and assisted by your guide. After an early breakfast at the hotel drive to the Paro Airport to board the flight back home.
Trip ends

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