Highlights: It is an excellent choice for those with a tight schedule. A short 5-day trek crossing the chain of mountains which separates two districts, Paro & Thimphu or vice versa. This is a classic walk along high, windy ridges, past ruined forts which long ago guarded against Tibetan invasion. Although the route is sparsely inhabited there are wonderful lakes teeming with fish and the area is famous for its spectacular rhododendrons forest which bloom in spring. The view of the Himalayas can be seen late autumn and winter. After the initial climb the route is not too hard and, if needed, there is access down to a road from several spots. Part of the route follows the original mule track that linked Bhutan to the Indian boarder.
Day 1 Arrive Paro
Day 2 Excusrion to Tiger's Nest
Day 3 Paro - Jele Dzong (11,270ft/3436m)
Day 4 Jele Dzong – Tshokam
Day 5 Tshokam – Jimilang Tsho
Day 6 Jimilangtso – Simkotra. (4-5 hours) Campsite 10,496ft/3200m)
Day 7 Simkotra - Phajoding (4-5 hours)
Day 8 Phajoding -Thimphu
Day 9 Thimphu - Paro
Day 10 Paro - Flight departure
Day 01. Arrive Paro
Depart Bangkok international airport by our druk-Air (Royal Bhutan Airline). On arrival at Paro international airport, you will be received by our representative and escorted you to hotel. After an early lunch, you'll visit the national museum (Ta-dzong). Once it was the watch tower of Paro valley from 1616 A.D to 1907 and it was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley.
Also visit the Paro dzong which is the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. The central tower (utse) of the dzong, with its superb woodwork, is one of the most beautiful in the country. The dzong was built in 1645 A.D. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 02. Excusrion to Tiger's Nest
Right after the breakfast drive towards the road point to Taktshang. Taktshang Monastery, the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries is perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. Taktshang means “Tiger’s Nest,” so named because Guru Rimpoche reportedly flew to the site of the monastery on the back of a flying tiger in the late centuries of the first millennium. The monastery is perched on a cliff nearly 3,000 ft above the Paro valley floor. This day hike is not only historically and culturally interesting, but also incredibly scenic! It takes about two hours to reach the cafeteria, which gives a breathtaking view of the Tiger’s Nest. If you still feel like hiking then you can take another hour to reach the temple. Then return back and drive to Thimphu (about 2 hours drive). Check in Hotel.
Day 03. Paro - Jele Dzong (11,270ft/3436m)
Time 4-5 hours Distance, 5 miles -8 Km, Altitude gain 3503 ft/106m Altitude Loss
At museum you will meet your trekking staff, the horsemen and pack animals. At the start of a trek the staff always takes some time to get organized, so don’t be in rush to arrive early at camp- the luggage will undoubtedly behind you! Today’s trek climbs non-stop for over 1065m, before dropping down over 80m to camp. This is the major effort at this altitude, so take your time and drink as much as possible. The trail winds its way steeply through blue pine forest and around several farm houses and fenced apple used during the apple harvest-several times. The trail continues steeply up through the forest Just before reaching a small pass(11,540 ft/3518m) below the dzong ,the route opens up a bit, and tonight’s small campsite (11,270ft/3436m) is a little way down from the pass. You may be able to hear the monks playing instruments in the Lhakhang during one of their prayer sessions.
Day 04. Jele Dzong – Tshokam
Time 4-5 hours, Distance 5.5 miles/9 km, Altitude gain 1726ft/526m
The trek starts with a short climb and then passes through a thick alpine forest of rhododendron and gradually climbs till we reach camp. You may see yak herders around your campsite. After 3hr pass a possible campsite (Dorjo Lakha or Jangchu Lakha (12,365 ft/3770m).After another 1 hour climb, the better campsite, Tshokam (12995 ft/3962m), is reached ,just after a small saddle.
Day 05. Tshokam – Jimilang Tsho
Time 6-7 hours, Distance 6 miles/10 Km, Altitude gain 700ft/213m (or 1475m/450 if opting for the higher trail at the end), Altitude loss.
The trail follows the ridge and on a clear day the views of the mountains and valley are beautiful. Our camp is close to Lake Jimilangtso. These lakes are known for their giant sized trout, and if lucky, you may enjoy well-prepared trout for dinner.
Day 06. Jimilangtso – Simkotra. (4-5 hours) Campsite 10,496ft/3200m)
Time 3-4 hr, Distance 4.5 miles/7 km, Altitude gain/loss several small ups and downs.
Walk around the lake to its far (western) end. There is a split in the trail. One branch is that used by the packed animal. The other soon starts to clime up above the lake. There is some steep climbing through bushes, but later good view will open up. An exposed cliff trail leads to trail leads to a small saddle (13450fts/4100m) from here, you can see the next lake below (Jayne tsho or Jane tsho; 12975fts/3956m; 1.5-2hrs), a nice campsite, which may be occupied by yak headers.
From the lake a wide stone path between rhododendron bushes traverses a valley with a small lake below. There are lake just above, dung tsho and dung tsho Sama, regarded as male and female. The local people believe that the second (female) lake has a powerful spirit, who gets easily provoked if anything dirty gets near the lake. If this happens, bad weather will ensue, which only can be stopped by endless prayer.
Climb up the ridge and look for a cairn. After 1hrs a viewing point at 13610fts/4150m reached, with a lake below, simkotra tsho (13415fts/4090 m) which some stone ruins nearby. This is tonight camp site.
Day 07. Simkotra - Phajoding (4-5 hours)
Time-5hrs; distance-6miles/10kms; altitude gain-755fts/230m to the viewing point; altitude loss-1330fts/405m to phajoding (or 4190fts/1277 m to radio tower)
The trail is good but there are seven minor climb to small passes before you finally look down to Phajoding monastery and Thimphu. Monks frequently passes here on their way to meditate at the scared lake Jimilang tsho.
When climbing up pass number five-Thujedraj-Gangkar Punsum become visible. If you are lucky with the weather, the rest of the Bhutan Himalayas can been seen .From the pass climb 250m up to a small rocky outlook (14170fts/4320m) on the left side. It is covered with prayer flags, and there are also traces of fires on the top. This place was formerly used for sky burial, and has an incredible view over the whole of the Bhutan Himalayas.
After this excursion descend a little, then climb to pass number six (13515fts/4120m).the final pass is Dochula (13,430 ft/4120m), and is very windy. There is good view over the last part of the trek: a steep decent to Phajoding monastery and finally Thimphu. Camping at Phajoding (12100fts/3690m) is definitely worthwhile.
Day 08. Phajoding – Thimphu
Time 2 – 3 hours, Distance 2.5 miles /4Km Altitude gain oft/0m Altitude loss 2860ft/872m or 3705ft/1130m
Today the trails start with the steep descending slowly through thick forest until Chhokhortse Gompa (9870ft/3010m) in a clearing. Just before the gompa there is a model of a hot stone bath in the ground. A steep, 200mm descent leads to radio tower, past hundreds of prayer flags put up by people from Thimphu. This is the transmission tower for Bhutan’s only radio station, BBS. From here, drive down to Thimphu, passing the Thimphu Zoo, where some Takins (National Animal of Bhutan) can be seen. Then say good bye to trekking team and then drive to hotel Pedling. In the aftnoon, first thing you will visit is the Memorial Chorten which was built in memory of the third king in 1974.You can further go inside the Chorten and enjoy the most exotic statues of the gods. You can then visit the Indigenous hospital, the Painting school where the art of ancient painting is used by the students. Then you can visit the Tashichhodzong from outside which is the seat of the Royal Government and central monastic body. In the evening you can walk in the town and buy small souvenirs back to home.
Day 09. Thimphu - Paro
Then drive to Paro, In Paro visits the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 Kms. up the valley. Built in 1647 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal, the Dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts, village and on a clear day view the spectacular Mt. Chomolhari (7,314 meters). Drive back south and visit Kyichu Temple, which, according to Bhutanese tradition, was initially built by a Tibetan King, Songtsen Gonpo, in the seventh century. Return back to hotel for lunch. After Lunch Dungtshi Lhakhang founded by Drubthop Thongthong Gyelpo (Iron chain bridge builder) in the 12th century. Then walk in the market.
Day 10. Paro - flight Departure
Our guide and driver will drop you to the airport.
Good bye and Tashi Delek!