Day 01: Arrive in Paro, Bhutan on Druk Air, the national airline of Bhutan.
Druk Air flights into Bhutan are spectacular. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu, over the foothills from Kolkatta or following the coastline of the Indian Ocean en-route from Bangkok, every Druk Air flight is memorable and offers incredible scenery. (Get your camera ready!)
After arrival at the Paro airport and sailing through immigration and custom formalities, you will be greeted by your All Access Bhutan guide and driver and warmly welcomed to the enchanting Land of the Thunder Dragon. We will take a short drive to our hotel. In the evening, you may take a walk through the colorful streets of “downtown” Paro. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 02: Excursion to Taktsang (for acclimatization)
Taktsang Monastery is one of the most picturesque, and certainly most widely-recognized sights in all of Bhutan. It is said that Guru Padmasambhava flew on the back of a tiger from Tibet to a cave in the side of a cliff at Taktsang (meaning tiger’s nest.) A monastery, mind-bogglingly perched 2,000ft/600m on the sheer cliff face, was built on this site to commemorate his fantastic flight.
We’ll begin the day with a short drive to the trailhead. We’ll then hike for an hour as we climb the hillside trail to a teahouse with a wonderful view of the monastery on one side, and the wide Paro valley on the other side. From there, it’s only another half hour or so to the monastery itself. A visit to Taktsang monastery provides a truly memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. We will be served lunch at the tea house. Since the return route is all downhill, it will take roughly half the time as our ascent. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 03: Paro – Shana (Start of Trek)
Our trek to Shana starts at Drukgyal Dzong following the Paro river and we pass cultivated fields and tiny picturesque villages. The forests are alive with numerous birds and brightly colored butterflies. Overnight at camp Shana. Altitude 2,820 m; Distance 14 Km; Time 5 – 6 hours.
Day 04: Shana – Thangthangka
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 en route, where another path leads north over the Tremo La to Tibet. Camp is in a meadow with a stone shelter.
Altitude 3610 m; Distance 21 Km; Time 8 – 9 hours.
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 Tekethang, 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.
Altitude 4,115 m; Distance 15 Km; Time 5 – 6 hours. Overnight at camp.
Day 06: Exploring Tshophu lakes and areas.
In the morning, hike for 2 hours to get to Tshophu lakes from there one can have a spectacular view of both Mt. Jumolhari & Mt. Jichu Drakye. We can also see some animals like mountain goat, blue sheep and marmot. Overnight at camp.
Day 07: Jangothang – Lingshi
A good day’s walk today with spectacular views of the Jhomolhari, Jichu Drakay and the Tserim Gang. We start climbing straight away and after some 3 to 4 hours reach the Nyile La 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.
Altitude 4000m; Distance 17 kms; Time 6 – 7 hours.
Day 08: Lingshi – Shodu.
Today is a fairly long day. The trail ascends up to the Yalila pass (4,820-m) where Mount Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake, Tserim Gang and Khangbum can be seen on a clear day. After the pass we descend to Shodu.
Altitude 4,080 m; Distance 20kms;Time 7 – 8 hours.
Day 09: Shodu – Barshong.
We follow the Thimphu river through a forest of rhododendron, and pass waterfalls along the way. The trail ascends up to the ruins of the Barshong Dzong where we set camp.
Altitude 3,710 m; Distance 15 kms; Time 5 – 6 hours.
Day 10: Barshong – Dolam Kencho.
We descend down to the Thimphu Chu crossing forests of rhododendron and green meadows. And after a while we climb for one hour and get to a pasture land and again descend down until we reach the Dolam Kencho. We are going to camp in the woods.
Altitude 3150m, 14 kms; 5 – 6 hours.
Day 11: Dolam Kencho – Thimphu (End of Trek).
Our trail follows the river until we emerge at Doena where our transport will be waiting to take us to the hotel for a hot bath. Distance 10 kms; Time 3 hours. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 12: Thimphu Sightseeing and drive to Paro.
In the morning we visit the School for arts and craft, Traditional hospital, National memorial Chorten, Textile Museum, folk Heritage Museum. After lunch, drive to Paro for two hours. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 13: Depart Paro.
After breakfast at the hotel we’ll drive to the nearby Paro airport. On your flight, it’s likely that you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of Mt. Chomolhari, Bhutan’s second highest peak, and Mt. Everest, the world’s highest mountain.