Grade: Challenging treks
Brief Description: This trek across eastern Bhutan used to be an important trade route before the launch of National highway. The route is relatively tough and involves a tremendously long, steep descent. Also it provides opportunity to visit remote Dzong of Lhuntse.
Season: The best month for this trek is October or early November.
Day 01: Arrive Paro
Druk Airways flight to Bhutan is one of the most spectacular in entire Himalayas. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkatta, each flight is a mesmerizing aeronautical feat and offers an exciting descent into the Kingdom.
On arrival at Paro airport, immigration and custom formalities then received by our representative and transfer to the hotel.
Evening take a stroll around town’s main street. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 02: Paro
Morning take an excursion to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). Legends says that Guru Padmasambhava came here flying on the back of a tigress and landed at the spot where monastery was later built. The monastery was severely damaged by fire in year 1998 and now has been fully restored in its original grandeur.
Afternoon visit to Ta Dzong, built in 17th century, as watch tower to defend Paro Dzong and valey. This fortress was later converted into the National Museum in 1967 and is filled with antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and Bhutan’s renowned postage stamps. Below the Ta Dzong, is fascinating Rinpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”, which has a long and interesting history.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 03: Paro – Thimphu (55 km,2 hours)
Morning drive to Drukgyel Dzong, the ruined fortress from where Bhutanese repelled several invasion by Tibetan armies. Also visit en route Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom.
Then drive to Thimphu visiting en route Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom built in 1627 which now houses the School for Buddhist Studies.
Evening visit to Memorial Chorten, the stupa built in the memory of Bhutan’s Third King followed by visit to Trasichhodzong, beautiful medieval fortress/monastery.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 04: Thimphu – Trongsa (200 km, 6 hours)
Morning visit in Thimphu, National Library, Arts & Carfts School, Textile and Folk Heritage Museum.
Then drive to Trongsa, across Dochula pass (3,050m) and Pele la pass (3,300m). Overnight at the lodge in Trongsa.
Day 05: Trongsa – Bumthang
Morning visit to striking Trongsa Dzong, ancestral abode of Bhutan’s Royal family. Then visit Ta Dzong, built as watch tower to guard Trongsa Dzong. After that proceed to Bumthang and in the afternoon, visit here ; the Jakar Dzong built in 17th century during the time of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first religious and temporal ruler of Bhutan. Then visit the Kurjey monastery where Guru Padsambhava left his body imprint in the 8th century. The temple was later built in 17th century. Later visit Jambay Lhakhang. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 06: Bumthang – Ngang Lhakhang
The trek begins today. Trek route follows the Chamkhar Chhu river, coming across many villages and temples, meadows, forests of blue pine and scrub bamboo. Today is very relaxing and easy day. Arrive at the village camp at the altitude of 2,900m. Walking time about 6 hours.
Day 07: Ngang Lhakhang – Ugyenchholing (7-8 hours)
The trail ascends gradually towards the Phephe la pass, walking through the forests of junipers, until you arrive at the pass at an altitude of 3,340m. After the path descend to Tang valley, finally arriving at Ugyenchholing village. Camp by the side of the river at the altitude of 2,850m. Walking time 7 / 8 hours.
Day 08: Ugyenchholing – Phokpey (17 km, 6 hours)
The beginning of trek is muddy and slippery. At about 3,000m it become a small footpath through muddy fields and dwarf bamboo. At about 3,400m the route crosses a meadow with more dwarf bamboo. Climb through the meadow and traverse through forest to another steep, high meadow. The trail leads to a summer pasture surrounded by forests and the ground is dotted with tiny blue alpine flowers.
Day 09: Phokpey – Ungaar (20 km, 8 hours)
Continue ascending for half an hour until you reach Rodungla (4,100m). Then it is a steep descent to the valley floor. There are few small meadows en route. After a short wander through dwarf bamboo you meet pine trees near campsite.
Day 10: Ungaar – Taskila (21 km, 8 hours)
This trail like a wave, wins up and down till Drula village and Khaine Lhakhang en route. It is one of the oldest temple in existence today, built in mid 7th century by the King Songtsen of Tibet to subdue demons.
Day 11: Taskila – Lhuntse
Proceed to Lhuntse guest house for lunch, followed by leisure time.
Day 12: Lhuntse – Menji (16 km, 5 hours)
Arrive to Kuri Zam and the trek from here is gradually up through the paddy fields and villages. Camp is at 1,850m near Menji village, besides the Darchu Pang Lhakhang situated amidst garden full of flowers of marigold, geraniums, dahlias and nasturtiums.
Day 13: Menji – Pemi (20 km, 7 hours)
Continue uphill through the thick, humid forest packed with dense foliage of ferns and creepers and a constant whistle of cicadas. The trail is narrow and steep. Climb steadily for two ours to a ridge top meadow, then plunge back into the forest to reach the camp at Pemi (2,400m) on a narrow ridge top clearing with a view out to a forested gorge and mountains.
Day 14: Pemi – Taupang (21 km, 7/8 hours)
Continue upwards till Dong la (3,900m) which present enchanting mountain views. On the opposite side of the pass the trail traverses nine passes, called as nine sisters of Dong la. Finally descend steeply through thick evergreen forests on a trail strewn with rocks, logs to a ridge top meadow. The camp is at Taupang (2,460m), a clearing in the forest with a cowherds wooden shelter.
Day 15: Taupang – Trashi Yangtse (24 km, 8/9 hours)
Today en route you will encounter huge ferns, red-berried palms and occasional leeches. Two hours of trek brings you to the village of Shukshing, a cluster of bamboo huts on the hillside, surrounded by corn fields, banana trees and grazing cows. The trek ends at Trashi Yangtse Dzong.
Day 16: Trashi Yangtse – Trashigang
Morning drive to Trashigang. Vist Trashigang Dzong and local market. Overnight at the lodge.
Day 17: Trashigang – Bumthang (289 km, 10 hours)
After breakfast drive back to Bumthang en route visit Mongar Dzong and town. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 18: Bumthang – Punakha (205 km, 6 hours)
Morning after visiting Bumthang market, drive to Punakha . Lunch would be served enroute at one of the famous restaurant in Trongsa town.
Enroute at Wangduephodrang take a short break for tea / coffee and then proceed to Punakha hotel for overnight stay.
Day 19: Punakha – Paro (125 km, 4.1/2 hours)
Morning free time in Punakha. After lunch drive to Paro for overnight stay.
Day 20: Depart Paro
After breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to onward destination