Trip OverviewThis is one of the most beautiful, scenic and signature treks in the Western Himalayan valleys of Bhutan. The journey takes you on a trail along the pristine and fast flowing glacial rivers flanked by lush meadows and rice fields, through virgin pine forests, remote yak herders villages, to the snow-capped peaks of the sacred Mount Jomolhari. Cross the highest pass at Yalila (4,820m), and follow the yak trail to abandoned fortresses, gorges, and hidden waterfalls to the valley of Thimphu. Your journey will also take you to the cultural highlights of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, ending your journey with a visit to the iconic Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang) Monastery.
Day 1 – Paro, Thimphu; Day 2 – Thimphu; Day 3 – Punakha; Day 4 – Paro; Day 5-13 – Jomolhari trek; Day 14-15 – Paro.
USD 3,297(approx. AUD 5,605)*BOOK NOW PAY FOR TRIP
Prices based on twin share. Single supplement USD567
*AUD prices based on AUD/USD 1=0.7.
Inclusions: accommodation, meals, dedicated transport, entry fees to museums and attractions, licensed guide and driver, visa processing fees, all administrative costs.
Exclusions: international airfares (contact us to arrange), comprehensive travel insurance, personal expenses and tips.
Day 1 – Paro, Thimphu
Arrive into Paro International Airport. During the flight to Paro, look out for the breathtaking views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Mount Jomolhari and Mount Jitchu Drake in Bhutan. You’ll be picked up at the airport and transferred to the capital city of Thimphu. Bhutan’s capital city of Thimphu is the seat of government, religion and commerce in Bhutan. It’s a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Thimphu was a wooded farming valley until 1961 when it became Bhutan’s official national capital. With an estimated population of 100,000 people, explore this unique city filled with an unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Visit the National Memorial Chorten, a great place to soak up the atmosphere and orientate yourself in this unique city. As the sun sets, make your way to the magnificent Tashichoe Dzong – the 500 years old fortress in the grandeur of traditional Bhutanese architecture that houses the office of the King, ministers and various government organisations, as well as headquarters for the central monastic body of Bhutan – as it opens its doors to visitors. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 2 – Thimphu
A full day of exploration in Thimphu valley awaits. If you are in need for a good cup of coffee in the morning, head to Ambient Café which has an espresso machine with locally roasted beans. Get ready, there are several cultural sights to see and a number of hikes for the outdoor lovers. From the base point at Dodena, you can hike up to the 13th century Tango Monastery, an enjoyable one-hour uphill walk. Tango is presently the residence of the 7th reincarnate of the 4th Desi (Temporal ruler) of Bhutan, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye. You may have the opportunity to attend a special prayer ceremony, or meditate in one of the caves in Tango for a little while. Or visit one of the oldest temples in Thimphu – Changangkha Lhakhang. Around town, the Folk Heritage Museum for a glimpse into how life is in Bhutanese villages. See the vibrant designs of Bhutanese weaving at the National Textile Museum. Head to the arts and crafts bazaar nearby for a wide selection of Bhutanese antiques, wood carving, weaving and paintings. Or learn about how Daphne tree barks are turned into handmade paper at the Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory. Along the Thimphu riverside, you’ll find VAST Gallery which features modern Bhutanese art and sculpture. If you happen to be here on a weekend, the Centenary Weekend Market offers a range of local and regional organic fruits, vegetables and snacks. Further along is Children’s Park – a popular botanical garden playground for children, and young Bhutanese alike. From here, follow the sound of cheering and singing to the National Stadium archery field across the road to watch Bhutanese men best each other at their national sport. Then ride or walk to Sangayang and enjoy watching the sky and Thimphu city turn into a evening of glittering stars. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 3 – Punakha
Depart early in the morning for Punakha to see the stretch of towering, awe-inspiring Himalayan peaks at Dochula pass (3,100 meters) – a beautiful mountain pass (alt 3,140 m) fluttering prayer flags and a spectacular set of 108 miniature chortens (stupas). In Spring, tree size Rhododendron forests will be in full bloom covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colours. Punakha is the ancient capital of Bhutan and is home toone of the most famous festivals in the country, the springtime Punakha Domchoe*, dedicated to the protector deity Yeshe Goenpo (Mahakala). Punakha Dzong is arguably one of the most impressive and beautiful in Bhutan. The fortress is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the monk body. If you thought Buddhism is all serious, a trip to the fertility temple Chimmi Lhakhang might just change your mind! The temple is dedicated to the famous and unorthodox Buddhist master, Drukpa Kinley (endearing referred to by the Bhutanese as the ‘Divine Madman’), who is associated with the phallic symbols you would have seen on your travels in Bhutan so far. Learn about the master’s deeds painted on the walls and ask the locals you meet about his stories. You may be surprised by what you find out! The temple is also frequented by couples who are praying for children and families who come to be blessed. Babies whose parents have brought them here to be named will bear the first name of ‘Kinley’ or ‘Chimmie’. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 4 – Paro
Take a walk in Lamperi Botanical Park which features a rhododendron garden, around 300 different plant species, several walking trails and a small lake. Continue the drive to Paro, take the time in the afternoon to relax and prepare for the start of tomorrow’s trek to Mount Jomolhari. Overnight in Paro.
Day 05 – Start of Jomolhari Trek, Drugyel Dzong to Shana
Your trek starts from Drugyel Dzong and ends at the first camp in Shana (alt. 2,820m). Drugyel Dzong to Shana is a 5-hours journey. The trail follows the river throught the beautiful meadows and paddy fields of the Paro Chhu valley. The ascent is a gradual climb along the Paro River through the cultivated fields and villages. Look back to view the strategically built Drukgyel Dzong, watchtower over Paro Valley. Pass through the small villages of Chamg and Metshi Zampa. The night’s camp is just beyond an army outpost at Shana. This is the last stop before Tibet. Along the way you will pass through a few shops and a school. Cross over the wooden cantilever bridge over Paro Chhu and climb to the rustic village of Shana Zampa for overnight camp.
Day 06 – Shana to Soi Thangthangkha
Today is a 22 km trek from Shana to Soi Thangthangkha (2,950 m), about a 7-8 hour journey. The trail continues through the river valley. The valley gradually narrows so much that the path takes to the slopes. There is quite a lot of descending along this stretch. Overnight camp in Soi Thangthangkha.
Day 07 – Soi Thangthangkha to Jangothang
Today is a 14 km trek from Soi Thanthangkha to Jangothang (4,040m), about a 4 – 5 hours journey. The trek will continue from Pa Chu (Paro river ), passing an army outpost along the way. The valley will begin to widen again and the snow-capped peaks on the high mountains will be all around you. Yaks and Yak herder’s winter homes become a regular feature of the landscape. The night’s camp is beneath a ruined fortress at the base of the Mt. Jomolhari at an attitude of 4015m. You will spend the next two nights at Jangothang camp.
Day 08 – Jangothang to Halt (acclimatisation)
Take the day to acclimatise to the altitude. Trek up to Tsophu lake which takes about 1-2 hours, or hike up to Mt. Jomolhari to take a closer look of the mountain as well as other famous mountains such as Mt. Jichu Drake to the North and Mt. Tserim Gang and other un-scaled peaks. Overnight at camp in Jangothang.
Day 09 – Jangothang to Lingshi
Today is a 18km trek from Jangothang to Lingshi (4,010m), about 6-7 hours journey. You’ll make about 840 m ascent and 870 m descent. The trek passes wide yak pastures along the passes. As you come down into the Lingshi basin, you will get a wonderful view of the Lingshi Dzong on a clear day. Mount Tserim Gang and its glaciers rise up at the north end of the valley. Night Camp is a choice between a ready made stone shelter or the tent. Overnight at camp.
Day 10 – Lingshi to Shodu
Today is a 22km trek from Lingshi to Shodu (4.080m), about an 8 – 9 hours journey. You’ll make about 940m ascent and 920m of descent. The rocky trail climbs up to the Yalila pass at an altitude of 4,820m, the highest pass on this trek. From the pass, you can get an excellent view of the three sisters – Mount Jomolhari, Mount Tserim Gang and Mount Massa Gang on a clear day. It is a steep downhill trek from the pass to the campsite at Shodu. Camp in a ready-made stone shelter or the tent. Overnight at camp.
Day 11 – Shodu to Barshong
Today is a 16km trek from Shodu to Barshong (3.710m), about a 5 – 6 hours journey. You’ll make about 250m ascent and 670m of descent. The trail continues downwards and follows the Wang Chhu (Thimphu river) through the forests of Rhododendron. Beautiful waterfalls can be seen along the way. The valley narrows gradually till the path takes to the slopes and you ascend gradually to reach the ruins of Barshong Dzong. Camp in a ready-made stone shelter or the tent. Overnight at camp.
Day 12 – Barshong to Dolam Kencho
Today is a 15km trek from Barshong to Dolam Kencho (3,430m), about 4 – 5 hours journey. You’ll make about 240m ascent and 640m of descent. The trail descends through the thick forest of Rhododendron to meet the Wang Chhu (Thimphu river ) and then ascends to the pasture lands. Campsite is in a meadow. Overnight at camp.
Day 13 – Last day of hike. Dolam Kencho to Thimphu
Today is a short 8km hike from Dolam Kencho to Thimphu, about 3 – 4 hours. You’ll make about 500m ascent and 930m descent. The trail takes you through the forest winding up and down and through a small pass. You can see Golden Langur along the way sometimes. You will reach Tango/Cheri after 3 – 4 hours of hiking and from there, you will be picked up and driven to Paro. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 14 – Paro
Today you’ll hike up Bhutan’s most iconic and awe-inspiring Tiger’s Nest (Taktshang) Monastery. Perched seemingly perilously on the edge of a sheer cliff face, Taktshang is one of Bhutan’s most venerated pilgrimage sites. According to legend, Guru Rinpoche miraculously flew here on the back of a tigress, meditated in a cave here for three months and converted the whole of Paro valley to Buddhism. Resting at an altitude of 900 meters above the valley, Taktshang is an architectural wonder and the spectacular four-hour walk will be sure to be one of your most overwhelming and unforgettable experiences. If there’s time in the afternoon, visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang built by the famous Buddhist Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo, the house next to the museum contains photographs and artifacts belonging to the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche – the Vajrayana master, scholar, poet, teacher, and head of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. Relax into your last evening with a traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, and enjoy your last evening revelling in this magical and unforgettable sites you’ve seen on this trip and the genuine warmth of the Bhutanese people.
Day 15 – Paro (Departure)
After breakfast, you will be transported to Paro International Airport for your onward journey.