Visions of Mt Gangkar Puensum (8 Days 7 Nights)

Trip Overview

Traverse the ancient footpath between Paro and Thimphu (Druk Path) and be treated to the stunning views of Mt. Gangkar Puensum (7,570m), the highest unscaled peak in the world. Hike to the iconic Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang) Monastery in Paro then embark on a footpath that takes you through forests of fir, blue pine dwarf rhododendrons and mountain-top lakes filled with gigantic Himalayan trouts, ancient fortresses and yak herder settlements towards Thimphu, the capital city with no traffic lights.

Trip Summary

Day 1-2 – Paro; Day 3-6 – Druk Path Trek; Day 7 – Thimphu; Day 8 – Paro.

Visions of Mt Gangkar Puensum
Visions of Mt Gangkar Puensum

Price

USD 1,701 (approx. AUD 2,892)

BOOK NOW PAY FOR TRIP

All prices based on twin share. Single supplement USD 283.

* AUD estimate 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.

 

Itinerary

Day 1 – Paro

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. Explore the National Museum (Ta-Dzong) – originally the watchtower for the Paro Dzong on the hillock overlooking the Paro valley. The museum is a treasure trove of Bhutanese art, relics, religious thangka paintings, natural history artefacts, and Bhutan’s exquisite stamps, coins, and handicrafts collection. A short visit here will give you an idea of the cultural and ecological richness of Bhutan. Then head to the 16th century Rinpung Dzong, ‘fortress of the heap of jewels’, and see where some of scenes from the film ‘Little Buddha’ by Bernardo Bertolucci in 1995 was filmed. Relax after the hike with a soak in the traditional Bhutanese Hot Stone Bath. Overnight in Paro.

Day 2 – 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 sights you’ve seen on this trip and the genuine warmth of the Bhutanese people.

Day 3 – Druk Path

Hike 7km from Paro to Jele Dzong. The trek trail is rather gradual till the camp and if the weather is clear, the Paro Valley can be seen with the snow-capped mountains behind the valley. Overnight at Camp.

Day 4 – Jele Dzong to Jangchulakha

Today’s trail is 10km and begins with an hour and half climb and then a gradual ascend through thick alpine forest and dwarf rhododendron tress. You may seek yaks and yak herders around your camp site. Overnight at camp.

Day 5 – Jangchulakha – Jimilangtso

Today’s 11km trail follows the ridge with a glorious view of the mountains and valleys and ends in Lake Jimilangtso, filled with giant sized trouts. Overnight at camp.

Day 6 – Jimilangtso – Phajoding (3,485m) 

The 15km trail goes past dwarf rhododendron trees and lake of Janetso. There are yak herders and nomadic camps in this area on your way to Simkota lake. Overnight at camp.

Day 7 – Phajoding – Thimphu (2,439m) 

Descend the 8km trek back to Thimphu through forests of blue pine. Your trek will end at your hotel at lunch. Spend the afternoon relaxing or exploring Thimphu city. If you are in need for a good cup of coffee, head to Ambient Café which has an espresso machine with locally roasted beans. 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, weavings 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. As the sun sets, you will gain entrance into the magnificent Tashichoe Dzong ( ‘The Fortress of the Glorious Religion’) – the 500 years old fortress in the grandeur of traditional Bhutanese architecture that houses the office of the King, ministers and various government organizations, as well as headquarters for the central monastic body of Bhutan. Bhutan’s spiritual leader Je-Khenpo and the monks of both Thimphu and Punakha reside here during summer. Then drive or walk to Sangayang and enjoy watching the sky and Thimphu city turn into a evening of glittering stars. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 8 – Paro

After breakfast, you will be transported to Paro International Airport for your onward journey.

Cover photo courtesy of photographer Steve Razaetti