13 days & 12 nights in Bhutan

Yellow line in the map indicates you’re Departing & Orange line in the map indicates you’re Arriving.
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This is a short trek near Thimphu, passing by picturesque high altitude lakes. It is a moderate trek with mostly short trekking days, but includes a few steep climbs.

Season: The best months for this trek are April, September and October.

Day 01: Arrive Paro

On arrival at Paro airport, you will be met by your BHUTAN TRAVEL ZONE representative and transferred to your hotel after completion of arrival formalities. In the evening you will be visiting the Paro town and then the market. Your sleepover will be at the hotel in Paro.

Day 02: Paro

In the morning we will drive up the valley to the Drukgyel Dzong (built in 1646), which once defended this valley from Tibetan invasions. Though it was largely destroyed by fire in 1951, its towering outer walls are still an imposing sight. On a fine day, there is a grand view of Mt. Chomolhari from the approach road to Drukgyel Dzong. After that we will drive back along the valley to visit a traditional farm house and then we will visit the 7th Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most sacred shrines.

In the afternoon, we will visit the Ta Dzong; this Dzong was built in 1651 as a watchtower but in 1968 it was inaugurated as Bhutan’s National Museum. Inside the Dzong you can see art, relics, religious thangkha paintings, postage stamps, coins and handicrafts, as well as a small natural history collection. Then we’ll walk down a short hillside trail to visit the Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong), which was built in 1646, and now it houses the offices of the district administration and Paro’s monk body. Your overnight is at the hotel in Paro.

Day 03: Paro – Thimphu

This morning we’ll drive down the valley following the Pa Chu (Paro River) to its confluence with the Wang Chu (Thimphu River). Then we’ll turn left up the valley leading to the nation’s capital. (Thimphu). En route to Thimphu we’ll visit Simtokha Dzong (built in 1627), the kingdom’s oldest fortress which now houses the Institute for language and culture Studies.

After having our lunch, we’ll visit the National Memorial Chorten, which was built in memorial to our Bhutan’s third king (‘the father of modern Bhutan’) and also as a monument to world peace. After that we’ll visit Tashichhodzong, Thimphu’s most impressive building situated by the Wang Chu. It houses His Majesty’s (4 Druk Gyelpo’s) secretariat, some ministries, and also the central monk body during the summer months. In the evening, you can take a stroll through Thimphu’s market and town. Your sleepover will be at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 04: Thimphu

After having our breakfast, we’ll go to visit the following as time permits: Institute for Zorig Chusum, where students learn the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan; the National Library, which houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature, including some manuscripts dating back several hundred years; the National Institute of Traditional Medicine (look outside only), where medicinal herbs are compounded and dispensed, and traditional medicine practitioners are trained; and the Folk Heritage and National Bhutanese material culture and way of life.

After having our lunch, we’ll visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium, which carries a wide range of hand-woven textiles and craft products, and get into the bookshops and many smaller handicrafts shops around the town. We have to take an early evening drive up to a lookout festooned with prayer flags, for a fine view of Thimphu and the valley. Your overnight will be at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 05: Thimphu- Gangtey

14 km, 4 hours
Today we’ll drive for 45 minutes to reach the starting point for the trek. The first day’s walk is along a mute path, passing by terrace fields and coniferous forest, and ending at the signboard of Genekha School. Today’s overnight camp will be at Genekha (2,800m) alongside a stream.

Day 06: Genekha – Gur

15km, 4 hours
On today’s trek the true communion with nature begins, and you will see many varieties of alpine flora and also some animals and many birds. After two hours of walking gradually uphill, rest at a huge rock platform, from which there is a picturesque view of the valley below. After another two hours the trek ends for the day. We’ll camp today at Gur, where flowers are abundant in spring.

Day 07: Gur – Labatama

12km, 5 hours
While trekking across the ridges, one enjoys the beauty of the rugged mountain vegetation. Today’s trek takes us across meadows where wild asparagus and other small plants grow, and if taking this trek in the spring, you feel you are walking over carpets of flowers. The first pass, marked by a large cairn gives a spectacular view of the whole Dagala range, alpine meadows and yak herders’ camps. We will lunch at a nearby yak herder’s camp. After lunch we will walk across hills and over meadows, ending the third day of our trek at Yutsho Lake, where golden trout abound. Today’s overnight camp is near the near the lake.

Days 08: Labatama halt

This day is for an excursion to any one of three lakes: Relitsho, Hentsho and Jamatsho. Your trekking leader will tell you mystical stories about these lakes. This would also be an ideal time and place for some trout fishing. We’ll camp in the night.

Day 09: labatama halt

We’ll extend to Setsho and nearby lakes. The hike to Setsho lake is easy and interesting. You could spend the whole day trout fishing here, with packed lunch. Alternatively, after reaching Setsho you could then cross over a small ridge and go down to Jagetsho lake. Or you could try climbing Jomo, a 5,050m peak. Lunch at the summit, with spectacular views all around, can be memorable experience. Return to camp by dusk and prepare for the next day.

Day 10: Labatama-Panka

Walk for 20 minutes upwards before beginning the descent at around 4,460m.There will be splendid views of the Himalayas on the descent. Your escort will help in identifying individual peaks such as Everest, Kanchenjunga, Chomolhari, Jichu, Drake, Tserimgang , Khangbum, Masagang, Tsendegang and Gangchenta. Himalayan monal pheasants are a common sight, due to the vegetation in this area. We’ll overnight in the camp on grassy meadows at Panka.

Day 11: Panka – Talekha

8km, 4hours
This day entails the crossing of several increasingly impressive passes. You will see several varieties of the blue poppy (if trekking June –July) and many mountain birds along the way. We’ll have lunch at the point where the trail divides into two paths leading to Talekha and to Wangduephodrang respectively. After lunch, an hour’s gradual climb will bring us to the top of the last ridge on the Dagala range from where there is a spectacular view of Thimphu valley below. Another hour’s walk and you are at the last camp, a little above Talekha monastery.

Day 12: Talekha –Thimphu-Paro

6km, 2hours
Passing through alpine and mixed vegetation (bamboo thickets and wild flowers) one reaches Talekha monastery and village and once again the view of Thimphu is superb. We walk through mixed vegetation and apple orchards. Finally reaching the main motor able road to Thimphu where our transport is waiting for us. So then we’ll drive to Thimphu in time for lunch, and in the evening we’ll drive back to Paro. Your last overnight will be at the hotel in Paro.

Day 13: Depart Paro

After early breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.