Bhutan Trip Advisor is Now 1-derful Bhutan Tours
Best time: Mid-March to November
Duration: 10N/ 11D
Entry: Paro Exit: Paro
DAY 1: Arrive At Paro-
On arrival, guests will be received at the airport by 1-derful Bhutan Tours’s guide who will be your companion for the duration of your tour Bhutan.
Drive to your hotel, check-in and to freshen up. After lunch, visit the
Ta Dzong (National Museum): The name Ta Dzong translates to ‘watch tower’ and it served the function of watch tower for the Paro Rinpung Dzong. Back in the day, similar look-out points were built for other dzongs (fortresses) to counter any approaching hostilities, for those were the days of frequent strife. These towers were specifically built high atop hills and other vantage points during the old days.
Presently serving as the national museum (since late 60’s), it houses an array of antiquities such as ancient thangka (exquisite scroll painting), mural paintings and other forms of art done by great personalities of those days, original textiles of the kingdom which represent the culture that still flourishes, weapons & armour used back in the day, household objects typical to the Bhutanese people’s way of life back then and even now, and other natural and historical artifacts.
Paro Rinpung Dzong: (‘fortress of a heap of jewels’). It was built in the mid 17th century to protect and to gain control over the region, many invasions were averted from this dzong. It now serves as seat of the Paro district administration and residence for the monastic school. Rinpung dzong like all other dzongs in Bhutan is adorned with wall murals that symbolize the lives of the Bodhisattvas and other prominent saints, drawings from Buddhist parables within which the country’s culture and traditional life is intricately represented and holy symbols that signify their own individual religious meanings.
Day 2: Paro: Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) hike
Have early breakfast and drive up to the base of Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). The most famous and sacred site among all the places in Bhutan. Guru Padmasambhava is said to have come riding on a flying tigress to this place and meditated in a cave for 3 months, it wasn’t until Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal came to this place and meditated that it gained the popularity that it has now. The present structure is said to be built in the 15th century but was destroyed by fire in 1998 and has been restored.
The walk is about 2 hours till the top through wide pathways which was built during the restoration works. One hour into the climb there is a tea point from where you get a very good view of the monastery, they also serve lunch here. From there it’s about another 45 minutes climb to the 2nd view point and the highest point in the hike.
Drugyal Dzong: Literally means 'Bhutan's victory fortress', it was built to in 1654 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders and it would also control and guard the trade between Bhutan and Tibet as it stood right on the trade trail. It stands atop a small hill with a commanding view of the valley up and below and on a clear one can get to see the beautiful Mount Jomolhari from here. It caught fire in 1951 and has been in ruins since, some renovation works have been carried out but has not been able to go full swing. Although in ruins, the dzong is still beautiful to look at and one can just walk about inside the ruins trying to imagine how things were before.
Kyichu Lhakhang: Considered the oldest temple along with Jampa and Kenchosum Lhakhang in Bumthang, it dates back to the 7th century when a Tibetan King ordered 108 temples to be built in a single night to subdue a huge ogress. It was later renovated in the mid 19th century and in the late 1960's by the Grand Queen Mother. It is also considered by many to be one of the holiest places in the country. Inside the compound is an orange tree which always has oranges no matter what the season.
Overnight at a hotel in Paro
Day 3: Drugyal Dzong (2580m) – Gunyitsawa (2900m) – Thangthangka (3580m)
Altitude gain – 1000m Distance – 16km Duration – 8hrs
Post breakfast, check-out of your hotel and drive beyond Drugyal Dzong ruins on farm roads up-to Gunyitsawa, an Army base outpost.
Start trekking from here, this is the longest of all the trekking days taking about 8 hours to reach the campsite. The trail continues to follow the river gradually ascending through a mixed forest of blue pine and oak and, later in the afternoon, tall rhododendron trees, birch, fir and maple. Though the trail is rocky and bumpy, it is not strenuous but in rainy conditions it can be quite muddy and add to the difficulty. There are several simple wooden bridges to cross and sometimes the river reaches right up to the trail. The lunch break comes after about 4 hours of walking through an ever-narrowing valley: Shing Karp or Thombuzam are popular stopping places at around 3305m.
Several tails lead in other directions, such as the trail to Tremo-la, which was the old salt-trading route to Tibet. Not long before reaching the campsite the trail leads you up a ridge with a chorten. Beyond, in the distance, at the end of the valley the Jumolhari mountain comes into view. Finally, after 8 hours you reach the campsite.
The campsite is located in a spacious clearing and directly faces Mount. Jomolhari. The view of the early morning sun striking the tip of Jumolhari is breathtaking. Mount. Jomolhari, at 7314m is among the highest mountains in the world.
Day 4: Thangthangka (3580m) – Jangothang (4000m)
Altitude gain – 420m Distance – 8km Duration – 5hrs
The 2nd day is relatively easy, about half-an-hour away from the campsite is another army outpost where your guide will register your entry permits issued by the army headquarters at Lungtenphu, Thimphu. Another half-an-hour to 45minutes walk away from the outpost you will come across an open space with a chorten (stupa) standing in the middle of the clearing, on the slopes of the hill are a couple of yak herder camps.
You will reach a clearing with the chorten in the middle. The Pachu river is again to the right and the trail passes through some very small villages made up of two or three houses each: these are called Jomphu, Tegithang and, a little further on, Dotabithang. By now, at an altitude of 3860m, the path has reached above the tree line.
It is possible to reach Jangothang, the Jumolhari base camp, just in time for lunch. A small community hall has been built out of stone and wood to provide protection from the elements. The cooking can be done inside and all the trekking gear can be stored here.
The altitude at the base camp is 4000m and is a beautiful place to spend the night. The imposing, rounded bulk of the Jumolhari mountain fills the view to the Northeast and in the evening profile of the ruined Jangothang Dzong ruins, populated by huge ravens creates a mystical atmosphere
Day 5: Jangothang – Halt
Today is a day to rest and acclimatize to the altitude. The body also needs time to adjust to the falling temperatures, especially during the night.
There is an opportunity to explore the valley and enjoy wonderful views of the mountains. A one-hour trek a little further up the valley to the right of the campsite takes you to a point from where you can view the majestic, cone shaped Mt. Jichu Drakey piercing the clear blue sky. Jichu Drakey cannot fail to remind you of the Matterhorn from this perspective. It is a sight to behold!! Many rank this as the most beautiful mountain in Bhutan. An hour’s leisurely trek will take you to the twin lakes of Tshophu.
Day 6: Jangothang – Yaktsa (3730m)
Altitude gain/loss – 270m Distance – 16km Duration – 7hrs
The day’s hike is the most difficult on this shorter version of the trek. It starts by having to make a continuous one-hour climb to the twin lakes of Tshophu located at an altitude of 4310m. these two beautiful lakes are surrounded on both sides by rocky cliffs and they reflect the two peaks of Jumolhari to the left and the beautiful Juchu Drakey to the right. The sight is breath-taking. From this point on you can expect to see the black yak hair tents belonging to the nomadic yak herders that live in this area.
Following the left side of the lakes, the steep climb continues, taking the trekker up to the top of the ridge. Ruddy Shelducks and Common Mergansers are sure to be sighted swimming and wading along the shores of the lakes in which huge trouts are said to be abundant. This is also the territory of Blue Sheep with massive horns who graze in large groups of 70 or more. Many sightings of the elusive Snow Leopard have been reported from this area.
Almost four hours of steady climbing brings you to the top of Bontey-La at an altitude of 4760m. This is the highest point on this trek route and the view is breath-taking. One more hour of downhill trek brings you to Laptsa, a good point to stop for lunch. From here the trek is downhill all the way with beautiful mountain scenery to enjoy.
Seven hours after the trek began you will arrive at the campsite which is located just beyond the delightful village of Soi Yaktsa at an altitude of 3730m. the ladies from the village come in the evening to sell local handicraft items, milk, dried yak’s meat and a variety of vegetables.
Day 7: Yaktsa – Thombu-pang (4070m)
Altitude gain – 340m Distance – 11km Duration – 6hrs
The route today is through nice wooded area. For a while, only a gentle ascent is made through alpine meadows. Once the climb to the Thombu-La begins, the climb begins to be more strenuous. The pass is reached about 5 hours later. The altitude here is 4410m. lunch is often taken just before reaching the top of the pass, at an altitude of 4240m, where there is a cosy yak-herder’s camp to provide shelter from the cold outside.
One hour downhill from the Thombu-La is the campsite at Thombu-pang (4070m). the campsite is situated in a beautiful valley where you will se two yak-herder’s dwellings built out of stone, with a wooden shingle roof. You can still see the Thombu-La peak to the rear of your camp.
Yaks graze in this valley that stretches endlessly into the mountains beyond the campsite. The Jho Drakey mountain is located to the left and can be seen if you trek up the mountain ridge to the left and right side of the campsite.
Day 8: Thombu-pang – Shana (2900m)
Altitude gain/loss – 1470m Distance – 12km Duration – 7hrs
Other than a short 45 minute climb at the beginning, the day’s trek is downhill all the way. The trail follows a ridge affording great views of the valleys on either side and a wonderful view of Jho Drakey. A steep descent of 2-3 hours then follows.
The trek route reaches full circle at the army outpost of Gunyitsawa. It is reached after about 7 hours of walking. At 2800m, the day’s walk sees a dramatic drop of 1270m.
Trekkers can camp at the same campsite as the first night in Shana or continue a little further downstream. A short two-hour walk brings you to another possible campsite called Zhakapang, at an altitude of 2600m. Trekking as far as here would make the final day’s walk a short one.
Day 9: Exit trek – Drive to Thimphu
Post breakfast, say bye to your trekking team and drive to Paro town and continue to Thimphu where you will straight away check-in at your hotel.
Visit the following later
Folk Heritage Museum: The folk heritage museum was open to the general public in 2001 upon completion. It treasures troves of culture and rich Bhutanese heritage provide rich insights into the Bhutanese ethos. Try to schedule your visit during the morning hours since the museum is less crowded at that time and there is plenty of sunlight to go around. The folk heritage museum is housed in a replica traditional Bhutanese house learn first-hand about Bhutan‟s rich cultural traditions, its deeply rooted heritage which spans thousands of years and the Bhutanese way of life. The tour of this almost living museum will also give you a glimpse onto how many rural folk of the country live today following the ancient Bhutanese ways.
National Institute of Zorig Chusum: The art and crafts currently taught in Bhutan, were introduced to the country in the 15th century by Trenton Pema Lingpa. Trenton Pema Lingpa also known as the Great Treasure National Institute for Zorig Chusum - Discoverer is credited to have introduced these art forms to the people of Bhutan. These traditional crafts are a representation of the centuries of knowledge and ability that was been handed down to master craftsmen and artisan through each generation. Bhutan‟s unique artistic tradition has played a vital role in shaping the countries distinct culture and heritage. It was realized that this unique and priceless heritage of the nation need to be protected and promoted with the strong patronage of the royal government. With this vision in mind the royal institute for Zoring Chusum was established in the year 1971 to train the youth in the 13 traditional Arts and Crafts of Bhutan. The institute now falls under the aegis of the National Technical Training Authority which was established in 1990 to ensure high quality vocational training for the people of the country. The institute has now been operational for almost 40 years and has taught students the arts of painting, embroidery, calligraphy, sculpting and wood carving.
Have lunch in town, rest for a while and then visit the following places.
Motithang Takin preserve: The Motithang Takin Preserve also known as the Thimphu Zoo by many is a small natural preserve for the Takin Bhutan‟s national animal. It was originally a mini zoo, but it was converted in a preserve later on as the Takin. The mini zoo contained a small number of Takin but the King of Bhutan later decreed that it was improper for a Buddhist nation to keep an animal in captivity. The animals were set free and the zoo was shut down, but for some reason the Takin refused to leave the area for the forests nearby. Instead the animals were frequesntly found roaming around the streets of the capital city in search for food. As a result the government decided to demarcate an 8 acre fenced location as the Motithang Takin Preserve. The preserve is a forested preserve that mimics the Takin‟s natural habitat, in addition to the Takin there are a few musk deer and barking deer that live inside the preserve. There are plans to expand the preserves collection to include other rarely seen animals that live in Bhutan, currently the preserve plans to add the Red Panda and the Himalayan Serow to the preserve.
Tashichho Dzong: The Tashichho Dzong is a Buddhist monastery cum fortress at the northern edge of Thimpu the capital city of Bhutan. The Dzong was built on the western bank of the river Wang Chu, and has historically served at the seat of the Druk Desi or the Dharma Raja of Bhutan‟s government. After the kings assumed power in 1907 this post was combined with that of the king and Thimphu severed as the summer caital of the kingdom before becoming the full time capital of Bhutan. The original Thimphu Dzong (the Dho-Ngyen Dzong) is said to have been constructed in 1216 by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa. And was later taken over by Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo before the Dzong was conquered by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who found the Dzong to be too small and expanded it to what is now known as theTashichho dzong is also called the "fortress of glorious religion." It was erected in 1641 and was subsequently rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. The Dzong has been seat of the Royal government since 1952 and presently houses the Throne room and the Kings secretariat. The Tashichho dzong is also home to several ministries of the Bhutanese government, and the Central Monk Body which is the apex organization of the country's main spiritual order. The monument welcomes visitors during the Thimphu Tsechu festival which is held in autumn each year. The Dzongs main structure is a two striped quadrangle with 3 storied towers on each of its four corners
vernight at a hotel in Thimphu.
Day 10: Thimphu sightseeing
Post a leisurely breakfast, take a walk around town and do your souvenir shopping
Have lunch in town and then visit the following
Memorial Chorten: Referred to as the Memorial Chorten, it’s actual name is Gongzo Chorten or Gyaldren Chorten. The Chorten (Stupa) is a chief landmark in the Capital city and is also a very sacred place of worship for the local eople. The idea of the chorten was conceptualized by the 3rd King His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck to ward off negative energies. After His Majesty’s demise, the Chorten was built in his memory by the 4th King and the Queen Mother in 1972. Many old people come here early in the morning to circumambulate and say their prayers in the hopes of garnering enough good karma for their afterlife; they are joined by the middle and the younger generation in the evenings who also come to do either the same thing or to just relax their mind. The doors of this stupa remain mostly closed except on holy days. Inside, there are three stories and on each floor are statues of protective deities.
Kuensel phodrang The Kuensel Phodrang or the Buddha point is the world‟s largest sitting Buddha statue, the statue is 167 feet high. The statue is situated on top of a hill overlooking the city of Timphu, it can be accessed by road and is about 15 minutes away from the city‟s center. The word Kuensel means everything is clear and from this place you will sure enjoy a great view of the Thimphu Valley on both sides. The statute will house a temple inside it, the statue and its adjoining car park and recreational center are currently under construction and is expected to be ready by December 2012. The statue is constructed out of bronze and is studded with many semi-precious stones. Since they are no factories in country that can make such a large bronze cast structure, statute is being manufactured in China and the pieces are brought to Bhutan and are assembled here. On the drive to the statue the steep winding hill road offers an unparalleled view of the city of Thimphu and is an excellent place to capture a view of the city especially after dark. A journalist once described the view as “seeing an osasis of light in the desert of darkness “as the city light of Thimphu shine very bright in an otherwise dark Thimphu valley.
Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.
DAY 11: DEPARTURE
Drukpath TREK (9D / 10D)
JOMOLHARI TREK (14N / 15D)
NUB TSHONAPATA TREK (14N / 15D)
LAYA GASA TREK ( 17N / 18D )
SNOWMAN TREK (34N / 35D)
DAGALA TREK (11N / 12D)