This moderate journey is an ideal opportunity to experience the landscapes, people, and cultural history of the mysterious kingdom of Bhutan. We traverse the lush Paro valley and ascend along wind-swept ridges, through forests of rhododendron and pristine mountain lakes. We will visit the Tiger’s Nest monastery, stop at the National Museum in Ta-Dzong, encounter remote rural settlements, and wonder at the majesty of Gankhar Punsum, Bhutan’s highest peak at 7541 meters. Following trails meandering through conifer forest and inspiring scenery, we’ll camp each night in the midst of an enchanting world of untouched beauty. Ancient forts and a countryside marked by a character found nowhere else await on this once-in-a-lifetime journey.
Day 1: Arrive in Paro
The flight in Paro traverses the Himalayas in clear view of the spectacular Bhutanese peaks of Jumolhari and Jichu Drake. Visit the Paro Dzong fortress today, built in 1646, which now serves as an center for government and spiritual activities. In the evening, visit Kichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most revered shrines. We spend the night at a hotel in Paro.
Day 2: Trek to Tiger’s Nest Monastery 3180m/10430ft: 6 hours
Today we’ll trek to Bhutan’s most famous and iconic monasteries, the amazing Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) perched on the edge of a cliff 900 meters above the lush Paro Valley. We spend the afternoon exploring the monastery and basking in the surrounding tranquility. Descend back to Paro this evening and overnight at your hotel.
Day 3: Trek from Paro to Jele Dzong 3480m/11415ft: 5 hours walk
After breakfast at your hotel, we transport you to the trailhead near the National Museum. We make a gradual ascent along a beautiful hilltop with views of snow-covered peaks on the horizon. We camp below the ruins of Jele Dzong, where an ancient statue of Shakyamuni Bhudda stands.
Day 4: Trek from Jele Dzong to Jangchulakha 3770m/12365ft: 4 hours walk
A steep ascent through rhododendron forest takes us across the Jele La 3490m/11450ft. From here we get exceptional views of Jumolhari. We continue along a scenic ridgeline to a camp site near Jangchulakha were yak herders are often seen.
Day 5: Trek from Jangchulakha to Jimilangtsho 3870m/12635: 4 hours walk
The views today are amazing on our gradual descent to the Jimilangtsho, near a body of mountain lakes. From our camp we can see Bhutan’s highest mountain Gangkar Puensum 7497m/24596ft and Jichhu Drake.
Day 6: Trek from Jimilangtsho to Simkota 4110m/13480ft: 4 hours walk
We traverse a ridge beginning at the base of the lake to a stunning viewpoint overlooking Janetsho Lake. Often there are yak herders populating the pastures on the nearby hillsides as we continue to our campsite at Simkota.
Day 7: Trek from Simkota to Thimpu 2350m/7710ft: 5 hours walk
Today is our last day of trekking, culminating with an excellent view of Gangkar Puensum. Most of the day is spent descending through pine forests to Thimpu, where we spend the night in a hotel, a welcome luxury after our nights spent in tents.
Day 8: Drive from Thimpu to Punakha 2350m/7710ft: 3 hours walk
One can fill their afternoon with activities in Thimpu. We may visit a chorten built in honor of Bhutan’s third king, the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, a nunnery, painting school, or traditional paper factory. After lunch we’ll be transported to Punakha.
Day 9: Drive from Punakha to Paro: 4 hours drive
On our drive to Paro, we’ll stop at Metshina, from where a short walk through rice paddies will take us to Chimi Lakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley. We return to our vehicle and drive over the Dochu La pass to the Druk Wangyal Monastery. The monastery is adorned with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the Bhutanese monarchy. We’ll continue our drive to Paro, our final stop on this amazing journey.
Day 12: Drive from Thimpu to Paro: 1 hour drive
We’ll transport you to the airport shortly after breakfast at your hotel. Thanks for traveling with Outdoor Expeditions. Farewell and Namaste.
- Airport pickup and drop off in private vehicle
- Hotel with included breakfast in Kathmandu
- Private transportation and government licensed guide while sightseeing in Kathmandu valley
- Government licensed, experienced trekking guide and porters during trekking
- Insurance for trekking crew (guides and porters)
- All required equipment for trekking crew, kitchen tent, dining tent, and toilet tent
- Accommodations in hotels, tea-houses, or camps during trekking
- Three daily meals while trekking
- All required conservation fees and trekking permits (TIMS)
- Lunch and dinner while in Kathmandu
- Entrance fees for attractions (UNESCO world heritage sites, museums, etc.) during sightseeing in Kathmandu
- Personal insurance or cost of air rescue in the event of emergency
- Air ticket to and from Nepal from your point of origin
- Visa fee for entry into Nepal
- Personal expenses (souvenirs, alcoholic beverages, hygiene items, staff tips, etc.)
This is a moderate trek that can be accomplished by anyone who is reasonably fit. Expect 6 – 8 hours a day walking on various terrain, with a few steep climbs and descents. Acclimatization for our highest altitudes will be accomplished through a gradual ascent. The best weather is ideal for this journey between the months of March and November, as the cold weather during the Winter months may provide for less enjoyment, especially considering camping-style accommodations.