Day 1: Arrive at Paro International Airport and transfer to hotel
Paro is situated in a beautiful valley at 2280 metres 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 artifacts — 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 walk to the ‘Tiger's Nest’
The sacred Taktshang monastery which clings to the rock face 900 metres 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 Jele Dzong 3480m/10km/4-5 hours (Druk Path Trek - Day 1)
Although today’s trekking day is short, we keep slow and steady pace as altitude gain is significant. After breakfast, you will drive to the road head at the National Museum (2487m) above Paro from where you will start your trek. We will walk from the Museum heading up hill through apple orchards, smallholdings of Damchena village and pine forests. Visit Jele Dzong (3480m), perched on a whaleback ridge. Jele Dzong is mostly in ruins and there is a Lhakhang with the statute of Buddha Sakyamuni. On a clear day, the views of Paro town far below and of Mount Jumolhari (7315m) are breathtaking. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 4: Jele Dzong to Jangchulakha 3780m/10km/4-5 hours (Druk Path Trek - Day 2)
Begin with gradually ascent and then descend below the ridgeline to walk through the trail of thick alpine forests and rhododendrons. You may see yak herders in the area. There are fascinating views of Jumolhari and other snow capped mountains and you can also hear some monal peasants during the day. We continue our up hill walk to reach a yak herders’ pasture at Jangchulakha (3780m) with outstanding views of the Himalayan range. We camp in a yak pasture near the hillside. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 5: Jangchulakha to Jimilang Tsho 3880m/11km/4-5 hours (Druk Path Trek - Day 3)
Today you climb gradually upwards through juniper forest for around an hour and then you will follow the ridge, making many ascents and descents, from where you can also catch a magnificent view of Mount Jomolhari. Eventually you will make a last steep ascent through large rocks and dwarf rhododendrons to Jimilang Tsho, an isolated lake at 3880m. There is a pleasant camping place here at the far end of the lake. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 6: Jimilang Tsho to Semkota Tsho 4110m/11km/4-5 hours (Druk Path Trek - Day 4)
Today is a tough day of ascents and descents, but you will be rewarded with several mountain views if the day is clear. Climbing from the lower end of the lake to a ridge at 4010m, you descend again and then climb to crest at 4050m overlooking Janye Tsho. You drop down to the lake, then climb to a ridge at 4150m and descend to some stone ruins overlooking Semkota Tsho. Camp by the Semkota Lake at an altitude of around 4110m. Overnight at tented camp.
Day 7: Semkota Tsho to Thimphu via Phajoding 3870m/14km/7 hours (Druk Path Trek - Day 5)
The day begins with a gradual climb. If weather permits there will be a beautiful view of Mount Gangkhar Puensum, Bhutan’s highest mountain, as well as of further peaks from the Doupchu La Pass. The path gradually descends to Phajoding Gompa, where a monastery and retreat centres for meditation are located. From there you continue your final descent for a couple more hours through blue pine forest, emerging just above Thimphu town where you will be met by your driver and taken to hotel. Overnight at a 3* hotel in Thimphu.
Day 8: Thimphu sightseeing
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. Overnight at a 3* hotel in Thimphu.
Day 9: Thimphu to Punakha and sightseeing
In the morning drive approximately 3 hours to the old capital, Punakha, via Dochu La pass at 3050 metres, where we will stop for a hot drink and enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Eastern Himalaya ranges. You will notice the change of climate and vegetation as we approach low-lying Punakha at 1250 metres. Take a pleasant walk for an hour or so across terraced fields to Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility) built in the 15th century by the ‘Divine Madman’ (Lama Drukpa Kuenley). In the afternoon visit the imposing Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”. Built in 1637, it is strategically placed at the confluence of two rivers, the Po Chu and the Mo Chu. Overnight at a 3* hotel in Punakha.
Day 10: Today we return to Paro, a drive of approximately 4 hours
In the afternoon there will be time to visit some handicraft shops to purchase some souvenirs of your trip and if it is a Sunday you can also visit the weekly market. At the weekends you may be able to stop to see an archery match in Paro archery ground. If you would be interested to you can visit a local farmhouse and take tea with the farmer and his family allowing you to experience traditional Bhutanese village life. Overnight at a 3* 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 3700
02Pax - USD 3050 Per Person
03-08Pax - USD 2900 Per Person
09-16Pax - USD 2850 Per Person
Single Supplement - USD 45 Per Night
Additional Cost for Bhutan Visa Fee - USD 50.
Customize Your Bhutan 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.