Druk Path Trek7 Nights 8 Days
Druk Path Trek
If you are looking for a light but equally exciting trek, this is tailor made for you. One of the most popular and easier treks, offering great views of the highlands, landscape, the beautiful lakes and Phajoding monastery, it brings you from Paro to Thimphu.You can blend the trek with glimpses of the Himalayan Kingdom’s most revered sites, such as Paro Taktshang (Tiger’s Lair), Punakha Dzong (Fortress) and others.
In Paro valley, we see the castle-fortress at Rinpung, the ruins of the “Victory Fortress at Drugyel”, the National Museum, and the 7th century temple complex at Kurje. The highlight is the hike to Taktshang monastery (Tiger’s Lair), an edifice on a sheer cliff wall 800 meters above the valley floor, worshipped in the entire Himalayan Buddhist world.
In Thimphu, we visit the magnificent castle-fortress at Tashi Chho Dzong, the seat of power which also houses the palace of the King. Then we go to other places of interest like the Memorial Stupa, traditional paper factory, Folk Heritage Museum, Textile Academy, Handicraft Emporium, the site of the world’s biggest Buddha statue.
Stroll around town and see Bhutanese culture by observing people, dress, language, customs, art and craft, etc.
Arrival in Bhutan -Thimphu
As the plane banks over the mountain slopes, the Paro Valley greet you with luminous paddies rippling in the breeze and tiny houses sprinkled on the bank of the meandering river. The air is crystal clear, light translucent and on horizon, snowcapped mountains frame the idyllic like painting. It does not matter how many time you land in Paro, the bucolic valley unfolds like a dream. If you are lucky, you will have a glorious view of the Snowcapped Himalayas. After visa formalities and collection of baggage, you will meet by our representative from “Journey to Discover Bhutan”. Afternoon Visit Paro Dzong built in 1646, which houses the administrative center of the Paro district and religious institute for monks. The Paro Dzong may be familiar to people who watched Bertolucci’s film “The Little Buddha” walk down to the coach crossing over the traditional wooden covered bridge called “Nymezampa” which spans over the Paro river. Overnight at Hotel Tashi Namgay / Similar.
Paro Halt “Taktsang Excursion”
Today a very special day begin with a hike to Tiger Nest Monastery. We drive to the north of Paro Valley to Ramthankha, from where we start our hike to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest). Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche, founder of Buddhism flew from Eastern Bhutan on a tigress, bringing Buddhist teachings and meditated here in this cliff. This is one of the most venerated and sacred of all Buddhist sights around the world. After visiting the monastery, we will walk down to Taktsang cafeteria for Lunch. Walk downhill to the road and enroute drive to visit Drukyel Dzong, (now in ruins), which reveals the reminiscence of ancient architecture and you see a spectacular view of Jhomolhari Mountain (7314m), looming over the Dzong on a clearday. This is the starting point for the famous Jhomolhari trek. Overnight Leisure at Hotel
Trek Start: Paro by car to the National museum (2450m) to campsite below Jele Dzong (11, 270ft)
Time: 4-5 hours Distance: 5 miles / 8 km Altitude gain: 3503ft /1068 Altitude: 269ft /82 At the museum you will meet your trekking staff, the horsemen and pack animals. At the start of the Trek, the trek crew takes some times to get organized, so you can continue your hike and the luggage will be undoubtedly behind with you. The trail winds its way through blue pine forest and around several farmhouses and fenced apple orchards and crosses a dusty road used during the apple harvest. The Damchena (9510ft/2900m) marks the end of dusty road, near the big the big stone. After walking for 1hr or so of steady climbing there will be nice views over the Paro valley. The Jele Dzong is visible above, located on the top the ridge. At 9825ft / 2995m, after 1 -2 hrs of hiking, the route passes a long main wall in an open flat meadow. Near here, the route joins one coming from Damji on the east side the Do Chu at 7544ft, 2300m. Climb steeply up now through blue pine, fir and bamboo, around 3235m hemlock trees, over 600 years old, over shadows the trail. The trail continues steeply up through the forest just before (11, 540ft/ 3518m) just below before reaching the Dzong, the route opens a bit, there many be some yaks with the herders and dogs. Tonight small camp site (11,270ft /3436m) is little way down from the pass. You can hear the monks playing instruments in the Lhagkhang during one of their prayers sessions. Jele Dzong, It is an impressive fort located impressively on a hill, surrounded by many prayers flags. The views are great looking towards the Paro far below, while in the far distance stand snowy peaks mountains on the border with Tibet, including Jomolhari (23,995ft /7314m) in the center. It houses a religious institute for monks and you can pay a visit to the Dzong.
Campsite just below Jele Dzong (3436m) to Jimgelangtsho (3880m)
Time: 6 - 7 hrs, Distance: 14 Kms, Altitude Gain: 17526ft /580m) Altitude loss: 965ft / 295m) Today it is a hard day with lot of walking distance and also with the altitude again. You need to start it early from the camp. After crossing the Dzong, you will walk north for about 10 m on the ridge, with beautiful view before disappearing into forest, which looks rather bleak as a result of damage by bark beetles. Cross over the easterly side of the ridge and go up around the small peak, a steep 110m ascent to an altitude of 12,300ft /3750m). Looking back you see part of Paro valley and the large Do Chu side of valley. To the south, the Dagala range is visible. After about three hours you will reach to a possible camp site Janchu Lakha, 12 365ft /3370m). After another 1hr climb, you will reach to Tshokam (12,995ft /3962m) just after the small saddle, another better campsite; you will have your packed lunch. Thereafter your walk will follow along the ridge, offers more stunning views of the mountains or you can take route going down the base to through the alpine forest to Janey Tsho. If you are following the trail along the ridge, you will climb gently for several hours to reach a small pass at about 13,350/4070m). The trail has loose stones, so watch your step. Continue further along the ridge, to the next small pass with the view of Jomolhari peak and down below several monasteries are visible at the far end of the valley, Gensakha Gompa, Sharadango Gompa towards the north and Ragyo Chiwokha Gompa. Opposite side, there is a view of Jimilangtsho. Two possible trails lead to the large sacred lake Jigmilangtsho (Bemilangtsho). The higher trail is a more challenging loop and can be over grown. At the side lake there is good camp site;
Jimilangtsho 12, 726ft /3380m) to Simikota Tsho (13,415ft / 490m)
Time: 4-5 hrs Distance: 10 km Altitude gain: 689 ft / Altitude loss: This morning the trail climbs through bushes but later you will have a good views will open up. The exposed cliff trail leads to a small saddle and from here you will see the nest lake Janey Tsho 12,975ft /3956m). From the lake a wide open stone path between rhododendrons bushes traverses a valley with a small lake below. Climb up a ridge and after 1hr of walking you will reach at a viewing point (13,610 /4150m) you will see Simikota Lake (13, 410ft /4090), which has some stones ruins nearby. This is tonight’s campsite
Simikota Tsho (13, 415ft /4090m) - Phajoding 12, 103ft/ 3690m)
Time: 4 -5 hrs, Distance: 5 miles/ 10kms, Altitude Gain: 755ft/ 230m) to the view point Altitude Loss: 1330ft / 405m) to Phajoding for 4190ft/277m radio tower) The trail begins with gradual climb passing over around seven minor passes before you finally look down to Phajoding and Thimphu valley. When climbing up pass number five _ Thujedra, Gangkhar Puensum becomes visible. If you are lucky with the weather, the other Himalayan peaks can be seen. From the pass, climb 250m up to the small rocky outlook on the left side. It is covered with flags and there are traces of fires on the top. This place was used for sky burials and has an incredible view over the whole of Bhutan Himalayas. After this excursion descend a little, then climb to pass number six (13,515ft/ 4120). The final pass is Dochula (13,430ft /4095m) and it is very windy. There is a good view over the last part of the trek, as steep descent to Phajoding monastery. Camping at Phajoding (12100ft/3690m is definitely worthwhile. Togden Pajo, Tibetan yogi is looking for a place for mediation, found the site in the 13th century. Most of the buildings were constructed by 9th Jey Khenpo Shakya Rinchen, in the first half on the 18th century. The 16th Jey Khenpo was also involved in some of the buildings; King’s secretary has donated money for one of the more recent temples, built in honour of Guru Padma Sambava. Phajoding is not just one complex, the many buildings spread out over the mountainside includes Lhakhangs/ gompas, monks quarters and numerous mediation centers. You can also visit the several monasteries.
End Of Trek: Phajoding ( 12,103ft/3690m) to Thimphu
Time: 3- 4 hrs, Distance: 4 miles / 8 kms Altitude loss: (2860ft /872m) This morning the trail to Thimphu is all the way down hill through a forested area of mostly Blue pine. By taking leisurely pace you can reach Thimphu in about 2-3 hours for a nice hot shower and lunch at the hotel. Evening Leisure at Hotel
Thimphu - Paro - Departure
Early morning drive to Paro international airport for your onward flight.
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