Summary: This scenic trek across the mountains separating Paro and Thimphu passes through blue-pine forests, alpine lake, and dwarf rhododendrons forests.
Season: April to June, September to December
Duration: 5 days
Start: Ta DzongParo
End: Broadcast tower Thimphu
Difficulty rating: Medium
Maximum elevation: 4235m
Day 1: Arrive Paro
The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by the guide and transfer to the hotel. After lunch, visit the Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower that is now the National Museum. Then walk down the trail to visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels". Next visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. From there you will be taken to the Drugyal Dzong (Bhutan Victory Fort), which was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. On a clear day you can see Mount Jumolhari, Bhutan's second-highest mountain at 7,314meters. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 2: Acclimatization hike to Tiger’s Nest
After breakfast hike to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan's most famous monastery situated at 3180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. After having explored the monastery, you will hike down to Paro. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 3: Paro-Jele Dzong Trek begins
10KM / 4-5 HOURS / 1115M ASCENT 40M DESCENT
After breakfast in your hotel, you will drive to the road head at the National Museum from where you will start the trek. The trek trail is rather gradual up till the camp and if the weather is clear the Paro valley can be seen with snow-capped mountains behind including Jumolhari in the distance. Above the camp is Jele La Dzong (3,400m) and Jele Dzong is mostly in ruins and there is a Lhakhang with the statute of Buddha Sakyamuni. Overnight camp. Altitude 3480m.
Day 4: Jele Dzong-Jangchulakha
11KM / 3-4 HOURS / 425M ASCENT 50M DESCENT
Before your trek, you can explore the Jele Dzong which sits at 3570m. Today’s trek begins with an hour and half climb and then ascend gradually up. The trail takes you through thick alpine forests and rhododendrons crossing the Jele La (3490m). You may see yak herders around your campsite. There are fascinating views of Jumolhari and other snow capped mountains and you can also hear some Monal peasants during the day. Overnight camp. Altitude 3770m.
Day 5: Jangchulakha-Jimilangtsho
12KM / 4-5 HOURS / 375M ASCENT 370M DESCENT
The trail climbs steeply to the Jangchulakha (4180m). On a clear day the views of the mountains and valleys are sensational. Descending from the pass you arrive at your camp beside the Jimilangtsho lakes. These lakes are famous for their giant sized trouts. Also there are great views of 6,989m Jichu Drake, the peak representing the protective deity of Paro and Gangkar Puensum (7497m), Bhutan’s highest mountain. Overnight camp. Altitude 3870m.
Day 6: Jimilangtsho-Simkota
11KM / 4-5 HOURS / 820M ASCENT 400M DESCENT
The trails climbs up from lower end of the lake and makes a traverse along the side of the ridge, then descends to a single stone shelter. Again ascend to a summit at 4050m overlooking Janetsho Lake. Today you may come across some yak herder’s camp and get an idea how these people live. Camp is close to Simkota Lake. Overnight camp. Altitude 4110m.
Day 7: Simkota–Phajodhing
10KM / 3-4 HOURS / 130M ASCENT 680M DESCENT
Today you begin with gradual climb and if the weather permits, you will enjoy majestic view of Mount Gangkar Puensum, and also the other peaks. The trail slowly descends through junipers trees to a community hall near Phajodhing. From Phajodhing the trek to Thimphu is downhill all the way, passing through a forested area of mostly blue pine. On arrival, check into hotel in Thimphu. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Day 8: Phajodhing –Thimphu Trek ends
5KM / 3 HOURS / 1130M DESCENT
The trek to Thimphu is all the way down hill through a forested area of mostly blue pine. Taking a leisurely pace you reach Thimphu in about 3 hours. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 9: Thimphu-Punakha
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, the National Library (which houses ancient manuscripts), and the School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school). You will also visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, the traditional paper factory and the majestic Tashichhodzong. After lunch, enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea 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. You will arrive at Punakha after traversing through rice field and along the bank of Punakha River. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
Day 10: Punakha-Paro
After breakfast, you will visit the Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. Then drive to Paro. On the way, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. If you wish, receive the blessing from the Lama’s wooden phallus! Continue drive to Paro via Dochu La Pass. Here, you will 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. Stop in Thimphu for lunch. Later in the evening, you can drive to Paro. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 11: Depart ParoDrive to airport for departure. Our representative will bid you farewell.