Druk Path Trek – 9 Days
- Airport Transfers
This trip allows the travelers to enjoy the daily lives of friendly Bhutanese people by visiting villages, temples, monasteries, and gigantic fortresses. It gives you a chance to meet people, enjoy the pristine forest with rare glimpse of wildlife and observe the ancient old traditions of arts and crafts. We would be traveling through the less frequented areas of Bhutan. Our journey starts from Paro Valley where our flight from Bangkok will land. We spent one and half day sightseeing around the Paro valley and a full day excursion to the Tiger’s Nest locally known as Taktsang Gompa, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. We then start our short, five-day trek, which leads from Paro to Thimphu, or vice versa, crossing the chain of mountains that separates the two valleys. Although there is little settlement on this route, there are wonderful lakes teeming with fish and the area is famous for its spectacular rhododendron forests, which bloom in May. In the clear weather of late autumn and winter there are views across to the Himalayas. We finally arrive into the lush valley of Thimphu the Capital city. After touring through this tiny no traffic light Capital city we will return to Paro and take our flight back home with beautiful memories of this Living Museum.
ARRIVAL IN PARO
Flying in to the country’s only airport, in the beautiful Paro valley, the clear mountain air, forested ridges, imposing monasteries and welcoming Bhutanese people in their striking national dress, provides a breath-taking first impression.
Your guide who is going to be with you throughout your trip from Bhutan Excursion will meet you at the airport. A fifteen minute drive follows the narrow winding road to our hotel which is a traditional Bhutanese building with attractive gardens and an exceptionally peaceful atmosphere.
In the afternoon, we will visit the Ta-Dzong which was built in 1651 as a watch tower for the Rinpung Dzong. Since 1967, the watch tower has served as the home of the National Museum and holds a fascinating collection of art, ancient relics and religious artifacts. Next in line is Rinpung Dzong built in 1646 by Shabdrung, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro and its district administration. If there is time, we will walk along the small main street of Paro in the evening with its typically Bhutanese shops and small lodges. Altitude at Paro – 2250 meters.
- Accommodation: hotel in Paro
EXCURSION TO TIGER'S NEST
After breakfast your car will take you to the starting point of the hike to view the spectacular Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s lair). The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. You stop at the cafeteria for a rest and refreshments and continue the hike (if not tired) for short while until you see, clearly and seemingly within reach, the remains of Taktsang monastery. Built in 1600s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. The history states that Guru Padmasambhava, the Tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tiger. Looking at the monastery flying tigers doesn’t seem so impossible after all.
- Accommodation: hotel in Paro
PARO - JILI DZONG (04-05 HOURS)
To start our trek, we will have to take a short drive of about 15 minutes to the trail head. Today, we will have to make our way up gradually along the ancient trade route till Jili La Pass (3490m). It’s then just a short gentle walk down to our camp in a yak pasture (3450m). If we have time and if you are not tired with day’s walk, we can walk along the ridge that is just above our camp for the stunning view of mountains and the valleys.
- Accommodation: Camp at Jili Dzong (3450m)
JILI DZONG / JANGCHUP LAKHA (04-05 HOURS)
After making a short climb the trail gets level in the meadow along the ridge for sometime before you walk downhill for a while to climb through thick alpine forest to a saddle at 3,590m. The trail then follows the ridge, making many ups and downs, along the one side of the ridge to the other, heading towards north east to our camp at Jangchup Lakha (3,780m) yet another yak pasture. En route you are likely to see or hear some monal pheasants, and if the weather is clear, you will be rewarded with the breathtaking views of the mount Jhomolhari and its associates.
- Accommodation: Camp at Jangchuplakha (3780m)
JANGCHUP LAKHA / JIMILANGTSHO (05-06 HOURS)
This morning, we have a short steep climb through the forest of junipers that starts right from the camp. Once the steep climb is done, the trail gets level for a while and then it goes gradually up and down through the thicket of dwarf rhododendrons leading ultimately to Jangchu La (4180m) before you make a big drop to the camp at Jimilangtsho Lake (3,880m). The name of this lake means Sand Ox Lake, named for a bull that emerged from the lake and joined the cattle of a family that uses the area as a summer grazing ground. The lake is also known for its giant sized trout.
- Accommodation: Camp at Jimilangtsho (3880m)
JIMILANGTSHO / SIMKOTA (04-05 HOURS)
Today to start our climb, we will have to walk down to the southern end of the lake and then climb through dwarf rhododendrons till the trail becomes a little flat to get to another lake known as Jahnye Tsho. From here, the path gets much wider as it meanders uphill through the dwarf rhododendrons till the summit near by the camp. As we climb up, if we take a look back to the lake when the rhododendrons are in blossom, this place with the lake gets so beautiful and special that it takes a long time to forget. Also on a clear day from here, we can see the most part of the trail that we trekked on along the ridge on the other side on day two and three of our trek.
- Accommodation: Camp at Simkota (4040m)
SIMKOTA / THIMPHU (05-06 HOURS)
The day begins with a short gradual climb along the rocky trail till it gets level for a while and then there is a short descent before you climb up to Phume La (4210m) the highest point on this trek. From here, it’s just under an hour’s walk to the edge of the ridge which is marked by the Chorten and a grove of fluttering prayer flags. On a clear day, one can have the views of long chain of snow covered mountains, and Thimphu valley underneath. From here, we have a long downhill walk to himphu passing Thujidrag temple, a retreat center that hangs on the side of a precipitous rock face and some temples at Phajoding (3870m).
- Accommodation: hotel in Thimphu
THIMPHU / PARO
Today’s sightseeing of Thimphu valley includes visit to ; National Library, a treasure trove of priceless Buddhist manuscripts ; the Traditional Medicine Institute, where centuries old healing arts such as acupuncture and herbal remedies are still practiced; the Painting School, where young monks learn the art of Buddhist thangkhas, and the mask maker workshop. There are also workshop for fine metal craft, weaving, ceramics and paper making. Then, visit Handicrafts Emporium and local shops if you like to browse through examples of Bhutan’s fine traditional arts. Here you can buy textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, wood carvings, jewelries, and any other interesting items made from local materials.
- Accommodation: Overnight hotel in Paro