Itinerary in detail
Day 1: Arrive at Paro International Airport
Paro is situated in a beautiful valley at 2280 meters and is a fitting introduction to this charming kingdom. Your guide will meet you and take you to your hotel. There should be time for a quick stroll around Paro town before lunch. In the afternoon you can visit the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. You can also visit the National Museum. This was previously housed in the Ta Dzong (watch tower) built on top of the hill above Rinpung Dzong to defend Rinpung Dzong and the Paro valley during times of war, in an unusual circular construction resembling a conch shell. Unfortunately, an earthquake in September 2011 damaged the Ta Dzong and the contents of the museum were moved to a neighboring building. You can still see a magnificent collection of Bhutanese artefacts — costumes, religious paintings, arms, textiles and a fascinating collection of Bhutan stamps. The National Museum is due to reopen in the Ta Dzong in 2015. Overnight at a 3* hotel in Paro.
Day 2: Take a day hike to the ‘Tiger's Nest’
The sacred Taktshang monastery which clings to the rock face 900 meters above the valley floor. Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He subsequently meditated here for three months. It is one of Bhutan’s most holy sites and draws pilgrims not only from Bhutan but also from neighboring Buddhist countries. You can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery. On the way back you can visit Dumtse Lhakhang, a temple built by Thangtong Gyalpo, the iron bridge builder. This evening you can sort out your luggage for the trek. Overnight at a 3* hotel in Paro.
Day 3: Paro to Shana 2870m/15km/5-6 hours (Soi Yaksa Trek - Day 1)
Drive to the end of the motor road at Drukgyel Dzong to begin the trek. While you wait for the horses to load up you will have time to take a look at the ruined Dzong. Known as the fortress of victory, it was constructed to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644 and destroyed by a butter lamp fire in 1951. Today’s trail follows the river uphill through a narrow agricultural valley as far as the border army camp at about 2800m. There is now a feeder road as far as the army check post at Gunitsawa about half an hour before camp. Overnight at a tented camp.
Day 4: Shana to Soi Thangkha 3750m/20km/8-9 hours (Soi Yaksa Trek - Day 2)
The path from Shana ascends through the river valley with pine and rhododendron forests. On the way, there is a fantastic view of Mount Jomolhari. We will camp in a meadow with a stone shelter at an altitude of about 3750m. Overnight at a tented camp.
Day 5: Soi Thangkha to Jangothang 4040m/17km/5-6 hours (Soi Yaksa Trek - Day 3)
The trail continues to follow the river and passes a small army post where the valley begins to widen again. Views of high ridges and snow-capped peaks can be seen on all sides. At this altitude (about 4040m) it is possible to see yaks and yak herders. Camp is beneath a ruined fortress at the base of Mount Jomolhari. Overnight at a tented camp.
Day 6: Acclimatization Day and exploration of Jangothang (Soi Yaksa Trek - Day 4)
Today, you will spend a day by doing four-hour acclimatization hike to the north of your camp. There is practically no trail but you will climb on a open and endless slope till you see the view of Mt Jichu Drakye (6989m). You can scramble further up till 4895m (higher than Mount Blanc) to see amazing view of Mount Jumolhari. You are likely to spot rare blue sheep, Himalayan rhubarb, griffon vultures, golden eagles and the remarkable blue poppy. Jangothang base is a flat grassy land with an old ruined fortress on a hillock in the foreground, beneath the colossal Mount Jumolhari and its neighbour Jitchu Drake. Most people show signs of mountain sickness at this altitude and it is recommended that all trekkers halt here. If you do not wish to hike but simply wish to just relax in camp, whichever option you choose, its certainly going to be a memorable day. Overnight at a tented camp.
Day 7: Jangothang to Soi Yaksa 3800m/16km/6-7 hours (Soi Yaksa Trek - Day 5)
The trail leads north to the last settlement in the valley and descends once again to the Paro Chhu (River), crossing it on a wooden bridge. Walk up to the turquoise Tshophu lake (4380 meters), which is inhabited by ruddy shelducks. You will come across a second lake after you climb across a slope to a crest. Then descend into a hidden valley and climb steeply to Bonte La at 4890m, the highest point of the trek with great mountain views of Basingthang (5500m) and Chatarake (5570m). After the pass, the trail descends crisscrossing yak trails down to the Dhumzo Chhu and after walking downstream past few houses you arrive at a camp at 3800 meters. Overnight at a tented camp.
Day 8: Soi Yaksa to Thombu Shong 4180m/11km/4-5 hours (Soi Yaksa Trek - Day 6)
The trail climbs over 100m over a ridge, and then drops to another stream. Crossing that stream, the trail heads up the hillside, dropping into a small side valley before emerging onto a ridge. Here the route turns south, ascending past few huts to Takhung La (4520 m). A short descend leads to wide and grassy Thombu Shong (4180m) with few yak herder’s huts. Overnight at a tented camp.
Day 9: Thombhu Shong to Gunitsawa 2730m/13km/4-5 hours (Soi Yaksa Trek - Day 7) and drive to Thimphu
Climb out of the valley through rhododendron forests to Thombu La at 4380m. On clear weather, great views of Mount Jumolhari, Jichu Drake, Teri Kang and even Kanchenjunga from the pass is rewarding and a treat for the hectic minds. Trail then drops gradually to about 4000m, switching back down the ridge, you finally reach the helipad at Gunitsawa (2730m). Your vehicle will be waiting here to pick you up. Drive to Thimphu where you can celebrate your return to civilization with a refreshing shower in the hotel. Overnight at a 3* hotel in Thimphu.
Day 10: Thimphu sightseeing tour
We will visit the weekly market, the revered Memorial Chorten, the National Library and the School of Traditional Arts. You could visit Changangkha temple, perched on the hilltop overlooking the town. Devotees flock throughout the day to circumambulate and turn the prayer wheels. The temple also contains beautiful wall paintings and hundreds of religious scriptures written in gold. In the afternoon you can take in more of the sights and culture of the capital, with the option of a trip to Simtokha Dzong (one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan, dating from 1629 AD). If you prefer to stay closer to town you could drive up to the Radio Tower (offering splendid views of the city from a hilltop festooned with prayer flags), visit the Takin Reserve showcasing the unique national animal, the Takin, browse the striking collection of intricate textiles at the National Textile Museum or visit the Folk Heritage Museum. If you would like to view or buy Bhutanese handicrafts you may like to visit the new market opposite Taj Tashi hotel which has an array of stalls run by local handicraft shops selling purely home made articles with no imports. Tell your guide what takes your interest. In the evening take the short drive to Paro. Overnight at a 3-star hotel in Paro.
Day 11: Fly from Paro to your further destination
Early in the morning your guide will accompany you to the airport to see you off onto your flight and wish you Tashi Delek (goodbye and good luck).
Bhutan Trip Cost based on group size basis:
01Pax - USD 3840
02Pax - USD 3190 Per Person
03-08Pax - USD 3040 Per Person
09-16Pax - USD 2990 Per Person
Single Supplement - USD 45 Per Night
Additional Cost for Bhutan Visa Fee - USD 50.
Customize Your Tour and Trekking: This is a general itinerary, which can always individually be “tailormade”. The trek package can be redesigned or redeveloped as per your taste, For more information please e-mail us at email@example.com
Note: In case of emergency during the trip, Helicopter will be arranged by Swiss Family Treks & Expedition GmbH. The charges must be paid by the clients themselves.