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The actual trekking is for 4 days only. The first 2 days are spent on an excursion trip in Paro to acclimatize and the last 3 days offers cultural tours in Punakha valley and the capital city Thimphu.
The Druk Path Trek is one of the most popular treks in the country as it passes through a gorgeous natural landscapes of blue pine forests, high ridges and pristine lakes while at the same time offering opportunity to visit some ancient lhakhangs, dzongs and villages. Although graded Moderate – Difficult, the Druk Path Trek is a fairly easy hike to undertake as the distances between rest camps are shorter. The trail takes you through forests of fir, blue pine and dwarf rhododendrons at altitudes ranging between 2400m – 4200m above sea level. On the third day of the trek, we will arrive at Jigmelang Lake whose crystal-clear waters are home to gigantic trouts.
This trek also offers stunning views of Mt. Gangkar Puensum, the highest unscaled peak in the world. The best times to embark on this trek are from March to June and September to November.
You will spend the first two days in Paro on cultural excursion including hike to the famous Tiger’s Nest and get acclimatized before you venture out on an exciting 4-day trekking adventure through the lofty mountains, crystal-clear lakes and pristine forests. The last 2 full days will be spent in Thimphu and Punakha valley immersing yourself in much of the natural beauty and cultural wealth.
Paro International Airport, Bhutan
Best time is during the months of March, April, May, September, October and November. Weather conditions are unfavourable during December, January and February with heavy snows along the trails and temperature well below zero degree Celsius, July and August are monsoon season.
Moderate to Difficult – Good level of fitness is required for this trekking adventure. The trail crosses altitudes over 4,000 meters above sea level.
During the months of January, February, June, July, August & December
US$2400 – for single person traveller
US$2310 per person – for a couple or group of 2 people
US$2040 per person – for a group of 3 people or more
During the months of March, April, May, September, October & November
US$2650 – for single person traveller
US$2560 per person – for a couple or group of 2 people
US$2290 per person – for a group of 3 people or more
Arrive Paro International Airport by Drukair or Bhutan Airlines. On arrival, go through the immigration and customs formalities and get visa stamped on your passport. Your guide and driver will receive you at the exit gate of the arrival hall.
As you will need to acclimatize to the altitude, today we will take it easy and drive you to one or two places of interest within Paro town. If your arrival time is way earlier than the hotel check-in time, we will visit one or two places of interest within Paro town. Otherwise, you’ll be heading straight to the hotel. Your guide and driver will assist you to check into the hotel so that you can relax for a while and then have lunch, your first taste of Bhutanese cuisine.
The National Museum of Bhutan is located in Paro just above the Rinpung Dzong (administrative headquarter of Paro district). It is housed in an ancient watch tower called Paro Ta Dzong (Ta Dzong means “watch tower fortress”) built in 1649. It displays hundreds of ancient Bhutanese artifacts and artworks including traditional costumes, armour, weaponry and handcrafted implements for daily life. The collection at the National Museum preserves a snap-shot of the rich cultural traditions of the country. This unique ancient watch tower was converted into the National Museum in 1968.
Paro Rinpung Dzong (Rinpung Dzong means “fortress of the heap of jewels”) was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1646 and established as the administrative and monastic centre of the western region. Today, the Dzong serves as the office of the governor of Paro district and head of the district monk body in Paro.
A great annual festival known as Paro Tsechu is held in Rinpung Dzong from the eleventh to the fifteenth day of the second month of the traditional Bhutanese lunar calendar (usually in March or April of the Gregorian calendar). On this occasion, holy images are taken in a procession followed by a series of traditional mask dances conveying religious stories which are performed by monks for five days.
After visiting the Dzong, take a short walk to the traditional wooden cantilever bridge called Nemeyzampa, where your driver will be waiting for you. The roofed wooden cantilever bridge is built in a traditional style and this type bridges are called Bazam.
Leisure time to explore Paro town.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
|Total Hike Time||4 hours|
Today, you will hike to Paro Taksang at 3,120m/10,235ft. It is going to be a wonderful adventure presenting you with picturesque view from above and a perfect way to get acclimatized before we start our exciting 6-day trek tomorrow. Later in the afternoon visit a very auspicious 7th century temple later in the afternoon.
After early breakfast, drive to the base of the Taksang monastery from where the hike begins. It takes normally about 2 hours to reach the monastery from the nearest road point. The hike is a steep climb but takes you through the cool shades of pine trees giving you a lot of opportunities to take beautiful pictures of the valley below or the ridge above. There is a nice cafeteria on the way where you can rest and can see the breathtaking view of the Taktsang Monastery. It takes about another hour to reach the monastery from the cafeteria.
Taktsang or the Tiger’s Lair (people prefer to call Tiger’s Nest) is located on a sheer 800-meter rocky cliff in Paro. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Bhutan. It is regarded as one of the most important monasteries in Bhutan. Its history is associated with the visit of Guru Padmasambhava (known as Guru Rinpoche), the Indian saint who came to Bhutan and introduced Tantric Buddhism in the 8th century A.D. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava flew into the cave from Kurtoe Singye Dzong in eastern Bhutan, riding on a tigress.
Taktsang is not only a sacred site visited by Guru Rinpoche but was also visited and blessed by many other renowned Buddhist masters; Langchen Pelgi Singye – one of the 25 disciples of Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century, Jitsun Milarepa – famous 11th century yogi, Phajo Drugom Zhigpo – 13th century saint who brought Drukpa school of Tibetan Buddism to Bhutan, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel – the founder of nation-state of Bhutan in the 17th century, Desi Tenzin Rabgay – the fourth administrative ruler of unified Bhutan in the 17th century.
It was fourth Desi Tenzin Rabgay who built the Taktsang monastery in 1694. However, the present monastery you see today is not the original structure. It was destroyed by fire in 1998. His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth King initiated and personally supervised the reconstruction of Taktsang monastery to its former glory. It was completed and consecrated in 2005.
Inside on of the temple is a Choeten, a Buddhist stupa built in memory of Langchen Pelgi Singye and holds his sacred body relic. It is believed that the Choeten fulfill wishes if you pray with pure devotion.
Lunch at Taksang Cafeteria.
Kyichu Lhakhang (Lhakhang means “temple”), which is located just a few minutes drive from the main town of Paro, is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan. It is believed to have been built in 659 A.D. by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo.
According to the legend, spirit of a giant demoness lay spread across Tibet and Bhutan causing obstruction to the propagation of Buddhism. In order to subdue this demoness, King Songtsen Gampo was required to built 108 temples across the affected region. Kyichu Lhakhang, built to pin down the left foot of the giant demoness, is one of the two temples that were built in Bhutan. The other is called Jambay Lhakhang located in the district of Bumthang in central Bhutan and was built to pin down the left knee. Both the temples were believed to have been built overnight.
The old temple is known as Jowo Lhakhang and holds the original 7th century Jowo Jampa Statue in its inner chapel. Jowo Jampa is a Tibetan term for Buddha Maitreya, the Future Buddha. The outer hall of the Jowo Lhakhang houses the statue of Chenrizig, the God of Compassion Avalokiteshara.
Next to the Jowo Lhakhang is Guru Lhakhang which was built by Her Royal Grandmother Ashi Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck in 1971 and houses the statue of Guru Padmasambhava. Inside this temple is also a statue of her spiritual root teacher His Holiness Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche, a highly accomplished Buddhist master who passed away in 1992. Many important religious annual rites are conducted here at Kyichu Lhakhang under the patronage of Her Royal Grandmother.
Leisure time in the town.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Paro.
After breakfast, drive to the National Musuem of Bhutan. You may visit the Museum if you haven’t visit yesterday. The first day can be quite arduous as you have to climb more than 1,000m elevation. You can either drive little farther up to the roadhead or begin the trek right from the Ta Dzong (National Museum) in Paro. The trek follows a gravel road past a few farms for about 30 minutes and then climbs up a steep ridge before leading through blue pine and fir forests to Damche Gom. You hike past Jili Dzong, a peaceful temple on the hill overlooking Paro valley below. Lunch will be served near temple. Continue the hike light vegetation of Rhododendron trees until you reach the campsite.
Overnight at campsite.
You begin with a steep climb for about an hour and a half, then the slope evens a bit and the ascent is more gradual. The trail takes you through thick alpine forests and dwarf rhododendron trees. You may see herder and their yaks around your campsite offering you an opportunity to interact and experience a glimpse of their semi-nomadic lifestyle.
Overnight at a campsite.
The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees and past Janetso Lake. If the weather permits, you will have a spectacular view of Mount Gangkar Puensum, the highest mountain in Bhutan and several other Himalayan peaks. You may come across some yak herder camps where you will have the opportunity to get a glimpse of a nomad’s life. The campsite is close to Simkotra Tsho Lake.
Overnight at campsite.
The last day of the trek begins with a gradual climb. From this pass, the trek takes you downhill towards Phajodhing Monastery. After passing Phajoding monastery, the trek to Thimphu is downhill through a forested area of mostly blue pine. The walk, at a leisurely pace, takes about three hours. On the way, you will pass through Chokhortse Temple on the outskirts of Thimphu and couple of hundred meters steep downhill brings you to a radio transmission tower where your driver will be waiting. This is the point where our trekking staff will bid you farewell. You will have time for excursion/leisure time in Thimphu town if you are not tired.
Dinner & overnight in Thimphu either at Kuenphen Rabten Resort or Bhutan Damisa Hotel or Hotel Amodhara.
Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan and it is home to approximately 115,000 residents and increasing every year. This bustling little city is the main centre of commerce, religion and government in the country. It is the only capital city in the world without traffic lights and even commercial billboards.
After breakfast, visit the 169ft Buddha Dordhenma Statue located at Kuensel Phodrang overlooking the Thimphu valley. From there drive to visit the 13th century Changangkha Lhakhang considered as the national treasure.
Visit National Library of Bhutan considered as national treasure of Bhutan and fundamental source of Bhutanese history, religion, medicine, arts and culture. Opens during working weekdays & on Saturdays 10am – noon. Just nearby is the National Institute of Zorig Chusum (Institute of Traditional Arts & Crafts) where 13 traditional arts & crafts of Bhutan are taught. If the class is in session, you can hop in and observe while the students gets hands-on training. Opens during working weekdays & on Saturdays 10am – noon.
After lunch at the Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant, visit the Centenary Farmers’ Market to learn about the food preference and culture in Bhutanese society. Farmers from all over the country bring their farm produce to sell. The market opens from Friday – Sunday.
From there pass by the Changlimithang Archery Range and witness the game of archery if the match is in progress. You will see archers dancing and singing each time they hit the target from a distance of 145 meters. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan.
If interested visit the Weaving Center to learn about weaving culture and tradition of the Kingdom of Bhutan. You will see women at work weaving simple plain textiles to one of the most intricate designs and patterns of traditional Bhutanese costumes.
Leisure time around Thimphu town.
Dinner & overnight in Thimphu either at Kuenphen Rabten Resort or Bhutan Damisa Hotel or Hotel Amodhara.
After breakfast, drive to Punakha valley. En route stop briefly at Dochula – a sacred mountain pass at an elevation of 3150m and enjoy a grand view of some of the highest mountains of Bhutan on a clear day. Good opportunity for photos! From there continue driving towards Punakha and gradually descend to a subtropical valley within an hour.
Just about 11km before reaching Punakha town, visit the famous 15th century Chimi Lhakhang popularly known among tourists as “Temple of Fertility”. A gentle walk through the terraced rice fields and traditional farmhouses painted with phalluses will give you a unique experience. Walk and explore the village.
After lunch at a nearby hotel, drive to Punakha town and visit the most beautiful 17th century Punakha Dzong which displays fine Bhutanese arts and craftsmanship which continues to influence the Bhutanese architecture to this day. You will spend sometime appreciating the intricate wood works and sacred wall paintings. From there walk to Bhutan’s longest suspension bridge if interested.
Dinner and overnight in Punakha at Meri Puensum Resort or Hotel Lobesa or Hotel Pema Karpo
After an early breakfast, drive to the nearest roadhead and then hike to the picturesque Khamsum Yuellay Namgyel Chorten located on a serene hilltop overlooking fertile Punakha valley. It usually takes 2-2.5 hours of walking through the terraced rice fields and a short climb through the pine trees.
Return to the roadhead and drive back to Punakha town for lunch and after the lunch, visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhendrup Buddhist College for Nuns and spend some peaceful quality time meeting nuns. After that drive back to Paro via Dochula pass.
In the evening, visit a beautiful farmhouse for authentic home-cooked local cuisine. If interested, you may soak in a therapeutic and revitalizing traditional hot stone bath for an additional fee of about $15 per person as charged by the owner.
Overnight at Khangkhu Resort or Tenzinling Resort or Yewong Eco Lodge.
Today is your final morning in this magical Kingdom of Bhutan. After breakfast, we will drive to Paro and transfer you to Paro International Airport for your onward journey. Your guide will assist you to complete all exit formalities before you check-in. As we bid farewell and wish you a good luck in your onward journey, we sincerely hope that you enjoyed the trip and look forward to serving you again in the future.
All tour services we provide are independent with flexible itineraries which can be customized to suit your interest and requirement. You can form a group to get discounts. Apart from the predesigned packages which have proven successful, Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel can also arrange the following add-on activities to enrich your experiences in Bhutan. These activities can be fitted into any tour itineraries.
Please note that some of the activities may involve extra fees.
All your deposits and any payment less administrative fees of US$100 per person will be refunded if you notify us at least 30 days prior to your arrival date. Refer the cancellation fee schedule below to determine the applicable charges:
|DAYS TO ARRIVAL||CANCELLATION CHARGES PER PERSON|
|30+||US$100 administrative fee per person|
|16-29||20% of the total cost|
|8-15||50% of the total cost|
|0-7 days||No refund is available|
In case the trip is cut short or duration lost due to unforeseen reasons after arrival in Bhutan, no refund is available as the payment would have been already made to hotels and other logistics.
There shall be no charges for the number of days of delay either during arrivals or departures or both, due to weather conditions, communication problems, cancellation or delay in Bhutanese airline flights, sickness or any other legitimate reason as Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) may deem reasonable. However, the Tourist will be charged on the actual expenses on accommodation, food, transport and any other services provided.