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 trail head. 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: Day halt at the base camp.
A rest day, chance to acclimatize and walk up to the Jhomolhari glacier.
Day 07: Jangothang – Yaksa
Start with quite a stiff climb through high pastures and Tsho Phu lakes. Leaving behind the lakes you gently climb gently towards Bonte La pass (4,890 m) where we are rewarded with stunning views of Mt. Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake and other Himalayan mountains. Drop steeply down to the valley of Yaksa, where your camp is near the river.
Altitude 3,800; Distance 15; Time 6-7 hours
Day 08: Yaksa – Thombu.
In the morning gradually climb through the forest of rhododendron up to Tagun La pass (4,520 m) where we once again get stunning views of the Himalayan Mountains. Then shortly reach your camp at Thombu, one of the most beautiful campsites in Bhutan.
Altitude 4,180; Distance 10 km; Time 5-6 hours
Day 09: Thombu – Shana
Today is one of the hardest days of the trek. Climb slowly up to a peak (4,360-m) and follow the ridge where on clear weather you get beautiful views of the mountains including some peaks located in Tibet. Then drop steeply down for almost 3 hours until you emerge at Guni Tsawa Army Camp.
Altitude 2,820 m; Distance 15 Km; Time 6-7 hours.
Day 10: Shana – Paro (End of Trek)
Your transport will be waiting (at Drukgyal Dzong) to take us to the hotel at Paro.
Day 11: 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.