13 Days Bhutan Adventure Trekking Tours
This is a 13 days Bhutan adventure trekking tours, an extension of the Jumolhari Trek and offers various flora and fauna, including a good prospect to spot Blue Sheep, Takins and the Blue Poppy (Bhutan’s national flower). It introduces you to the unique culture of the Layap people (The Nomadic people of Upper Himalayas bordering Tibet) and offers a stop at a natural hot spring in Gasa. Highest point for this trek is 4115m.
This trekking tour includes some visit to cultural heritages, fortress, dzongs and ancient monuments preserved till today.
Actual trek duration 13 days, Total tour duration 19 days.
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Facts about the Tour / Trek:
Trek duration: 13 days.
Duration: 18 nights / 19 days.
Accommodation: Hotels, Resorts and Tents.
Activity Type: Walking, Trekking & Tour.
Difficulty Level: Strenuous.
Group size: Minimum 2 pax
Seasons: April to June, Sept. to Nov.
Trek distance: 199 Km.
Highest altitude: 5005m.
Start Point: Shana.
Finish Point: Tashithang.
Best Months to do this Trek: March – May, September – 2nd Week of December.
Day 01: Arrive Paro – sightseeing.
Day 02: Paro 2280 meters: Excursion to Taktsang Monastery.
Day 03: Paro sightseeing – Drive to Shana. Camp
Day 04: Shana – Thangthangka (Start of Trek). (8 hrs).
Day 05: Thangthangka – Jangothang (6hrs).
Day 06: Jangothang (Rest Day).
Day 07: Jangothang – Lingshi (7 hrs).
Day 08: Lingshi – Chebisa (6 hrs).
Day 09: Chebisa – Shomuthang (7hrs).
Day10: Shomuthang – Robluthang (7hrs).
Day 11: Robluthang – Lemithang (7hrs).
Day 12: Lemithang – Laya (5hrs).
Day 13: Laya (Halt).
Day 14: Laya – Koena (7hrs).
Day 15: Koena – Gasa Tsachu (7hrs) (End of Trek).
Day 16: Gasa Tsachu – Punakha
Day 17: Punakha –Thimphu.
Day 18: Thimphu sightseeing.
Day 19: Departure.
Detail Itinerary for 13 Days Bhutan Adventure Trekking Tours
Day 01. Arrive Paro 2280 meters (By Druk Air/ Bhutan Airlines): The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. Your Bhutanese escort from Yak Holidays will greet you on arrival, and then drive you the short distance to the Hotel.
After lunch, visit the Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong, the center of civil and religious authority in this valley. A short walk takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge. A short distance further is one of the innumerable archery grounds (Archery is the national sport of Bhutan). If we are lucky, we may catch a match in action. Dinner and over night in Hotel Tashi Namgay Resort or Similar.
Day 02. Paro 2280 meters: Excursion to Taktsang Monastery: A very special day, with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery – After breakfast a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten, from there a 2 hour horse ride till the viewpoint point of the monastery. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktsang monastery. Built in the 1600s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900m into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tiger. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria, followed by a short walk to Satsam Chorten.
On the way back, visit Dungtse Lhakhang followed by a visit to a typical Bhutanese farmhouse. Dinner and over night in Tashi Namgay Resort or similar
Day 03. Paro sightseeing– Shana: After breakfast, visit Kichu Lhakhang that was built in 659 by the Tibetan King Srongsen Gampo. Witness the archery match in the town.
After lunch, drive to Drukgyal Dzong, 16 km away from the town. This dzong is under construction/ renovation, built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders in1644; the dzong name’s means indeed “victorious Druk “. The Dzong was used as an administrative center until 1951 when a fire caused by butter lamp destroyed it.
We then drive to Shana. Halt in camp.
Day 04. Shana – Thangthangka (Start of Trek): The trail follows the river through a heavily forested area with a few isolated farmhouses. It narrows and closes in and the trail winds up and down along the drainage. We pass a junction enroute, where another path leads north over the Tremo La to Tibet. Camp is in a meadow with a stone shelter.
Altitude: 3610 m; Distance 22 Km; Time 7 – 8 hours, Ascent: 770 meters, Descent: 10 meters.
Day 05. Thangthangka – Jangothang: In the morning, after passing a small army post, the trail slowly leaves the forest line and gradually climbs into a beautiful valley, passing Tegethang, a winter home of yak herdsmen. Lunch will be served in one of these huts. Lots of yaks will be seen today before we arrive at the Jhomolhari base camp (4,115 m). High mountains overlook the camp and visible nearby are the ruins of an old fortress used to guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasions. Dinner and overnight in camp.
Altitude: 4080 m; Distance 19 Km; Time 5 – 6 hours, 480 meters Ascent
Day 06. Jangothang: Rest day at Jangothang, enjoy the superb view all around.
For Day hikes, you have 3 options on this day at Jangothang.
- Hike to Jumolhari Glacier which is around 4 ½ hours (Back and forth)
- Hike to Jichu Drake Glacier which is around 3 hours (Back and Forth).
- Walk up the mountain between Jumolhari and Jichu Drake, the summit is at 5200 meters with a great view of both the mountains. This is 8 hours (Back and forth).
Day 07. Jangothang – Lingshi: A good day’s walk today with spectacular views of the Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake and the Tserim Gang. We start climbing straight away and after some 3 to 4 hours reach the Nyelela pass (4,700 m). After the pass we descend to a circular hut just below Lingshi, where we camp. Coming down from Lingshi we obtain our first views of the truly mystical Dzong atop a high hill. Dinner and overnight in camp.
Altitude 4000 m; Distance 17 km; Time 6 – 7 hours.
Day 08. Lingshi – Chebisa: This is a magical day. After we leave Lingshi, we gently climb gently to reach another delightful village, Gom Yu, which is set right below a 300 m cliff. Another hour walk brings us to a lovely little valley with a huge waterfall at one end of the Shangri La village of Chebisa, where we camp by the side of the river. The walk is an easy one. Dinner and overnight in camp.
Camp site at an altitude of 3880 m; Distance 10 km; Time 5 – 6 hours, Ascent: 280 meters, Descent: 410 meters.
Day 09. Chebisa – Shomuthang: We start with quite a stiff climb through high pastures up the Gokula pass (4,320 m) before we drop through forests of dwarf rhododendron. We climb gradually and head down to the camp near a riverbed.
Camp at Altitude 4220 m; Distance17 km; Time 6-7 hours, Ascent 890 meters, Descent 540 meters.
Day10. Shomuthang – Robluthang: A long haul over the Jarela pass at 4,640 m where we once again get stunning views of the Himalayan Mountains above us. We drop steeply down a forest trail to the Tsarigathang valley, where herds of Takin roam, then cross a knee deep river before climbing up Robluthang where we camp.
Camp at Altitude: 4,160 m; Distance 18 km; Time 6 – 7 hours, Ascent 700 meters, Descent 760 meters.
Day 11. Robluthang – Lemithang: This is one of the hardest days of the trek. We climb slowly up to Shinchela pass at 4,870 m. and are rewarded with stunning views of mountains, including the spectacular Gang Chen Ta at the head of the valley. On a clear day practically all the mountains on the northern border are visible. Eagles, griffin vultures, blue sheep and yaks abound in this area. We descend down to camp on a lovely spot by the riverbank.
Camp at Altitude 4,140 meters; Distance: 19 km; Time 6-7 hours. Ascent 850 meters, Descent 870 meters.
Day 12. Lemithang – Laya: We walk along the river, one of the tributaries of the Mochu and through a forest of rhododendron and silver fir and then enter the village of Laya. The people of Laya are famous for their vertical stripe yak hair clothing and their strange conical bamboo hats. The women wear their hair long and with great deal of turquoise and jade jewelry. The features of the people are even more Tibetan/ Mongolian than the Bhutanese who live in the central valleys The rest of the day is spent at leisure or visiting village houses and mixing with the villagers. Good views of the Masagang and the other peaks.
Camp at Altitude3840m; Distance10 kms; Time 4-5hours, Ascent 60 meters, Descent 340 meters.
Day 13. Laya (Halt): We have a rest day at Laya and an opportunity to meet the local people.
Day 14. Laya – Koena: The rail winds along the river valley offers breathtaking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and waterfalls. Over night in camp.
Camp at Altitude 3050 meters; Distance19 km; Time 6-7 hours, 260 meters Ascent, Descent 1070 meters
Day 15. Koena – Gasa Tsachu (End of Trek): We gradually climb up to Balela pass at 3,740 m and then descend to Gasa village. The first sight of the Gasa Dzong perched on the hillside over the village is one of the sights of the trip. We then drop steeply down to the river for an hour and camp near the Hot Spring a chance for a good, hot bath!
Camp at Altitude: 2,638 m; Distance 14 km; Time: 6-7 hours, Ascent 900 meters, Descent 1710 meters.
Day 16: Gasa Tsachu – Punakha After the breakfast, drive to Punakha. Dinner and over night in Hotel Meri Puensum or similar.
Day 17. Punakha -Thimphu:(72 Km) After breakfast, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male river) and Mo Chu (Female river). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping, the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952.
After lunch, drive to Thimphu. Enroute visit Chimi Lhakhang also called Temple of Fertility built by Lama Drukpa kuenley in 17th century. Dinner and overnight in Hotel Migmar or similar.
Day 18. Thimphu sightseeing: The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls).
After lunch, visit to the Tallest Statue of Buddha in the world, witness Archery Match. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). The Tashichho Dzong is open to visitors only in winter when the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body move to Punakha the ancient winter capital of Bhutan and finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Dinner and overnight in Hotel Migmar or similar.
Day 19. Thimphu-Paro: Departure – Early Morning, drive to the airport and farewell.
- Hot stone bath.
- Cycling around Paro valley.
- Practice Archery.
- Bhutanese cooking class.
- Bhutanese cultural show featuring various mask dances and folk dances.
- Talk on Gross National Happiness / Buddhism.
- Consulting an Astrologer.
- Practice Dart.
- Performing religious ceremony.
- Marriage ceremonies.
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- Village walk
- Hike to Dzongdrakha Monastery.
- Hike to Kila Gompa.
- Excursion to Chelila Pass.