[22 days / 15 days easy trekking]
This is one of the best and most popular cultural treks. It goes past many temples and monasteries and covers some of the same ground as the more difficult and more famous Snowman Trek.
Day 1: Arrive at Paro, clear immigration and customs, I will meet as you exit the airport and take you to the hotel. Visit the National Museum of Bhutan and Paro Dzong. Overnight at hotel
Day 2: Sightseeing in Paro valley. Over night at hotel.
Day 3: Paro to Shana, The treks begins with a low altitude, 17 km walk.
Day 4: Shana to Thangtahankha, gradually gaining altitude to 3750m during a 9-10 hours hike of 22km, the trail follows the Paro river and then goes through evergreens and rhododendron and at last entering into Jigme Dorji National Park.
Day 5: Thangtahankha to Jangothang. This 19km trail crosses up to 4000m. Our night will be spnd at the Chomolhari Mountain base camp.
Day 6: Recovery day with possible short hikes to enjoy the views.
Day 7: Jangothang to Lingshi 19km trail, altitude 4150m. Going through wide yak pastures on the way up and down the pass, we will have great views of Lingshi Dzong as we come down into the Lingshi basin. If the weather is clear Mt Tserim Kang and its descending glaciers at the north end of the valley can be vividly seen. Today the highest point we cross is the Nyile La Pass at almost 5000 but our camp is somewhat lower at 4010m/13,153 ft.
Day 8: Lingshi to Chebisa, 19km walk altitude 3850m.
Day 9: Chebisa to Shomutang, 17 km walk , altitude 4250m. The walk is through wild pastures where we will probably see few nomads and yaks. Our highest point will be when we cross Gobula Pass (4440m/14564ft).
Day 10: Shomutang to Robluthang, 18 km trail altitude 4400m. The trail climbs out of the valley through pretty desolate country up to Jhari La (4747m/15807ft), about two hours from camp. During clear weather you can see the Mt Gangchentag, Mt Tserim Kang and Chomolhari. Herds of Takin are typically grazing on the slopes of the nearby hills
Day 11: Robluthang yo Lemithang, 19 km walk, altitude 4100m. This will be a long, hard day crossing Sinchu La, the highest pass on the trek. It’s a tough climb from there to the Sinchu La Pass (5005m / 16417ft), about fibe hours from camp. The snow covered peak of Gangchentag fills the horizon to the north. It’s then a short walk on a good trail through a cedar forest interspersed with small meadows to Limithang, a lovely camp site in a big meadow by the river. The peak of Gangchentag dominates the campsite; even through it’s quite a distance away.
Day 12: Lemithang to Laya, 10km trail, altitude 3800. It’s mostly downhill along Winding River.
Day 13: A day rest at Laya and a chance to wander around this remote and culturally unique village.
Day 14: Laya to Chamsa, 8-9hrs walk, altitude 3800m
Day 15: Chamsa to Gasa Tsahchu, 5-6hrs walk, altitude 4160m brings us to the hot springs.
Day 16: This recovery day brings an opportunity to actually enjoy the medicinal values of the hot springs by the bank of the stream, below the hotel complex. The Jigme Dorji Natuional Park administers the hot springs complex. There are five cement pools and a shower room, with more under construction. The water temperature is 40 degree centigrade, which is invitingly warm.
Day 17: Gasa Tshachu to Goen Damji, after the climb away from Gasa tsachu the trail winds through rolling hillsides passing through fields, villages, forests. Gasa Dzong should be visible behind us, glued to the valley wall, seemingly floating in space. After a 5hrs walk of 18kms at the lowest altitudes of this trip, our trek ends in Goen Damji.
Day 18: Gon Damji to Punakha, after a long descent, the trail will make a few small ups and downs close to the river. The main valley is still very closed in sub-tropical vegetation such as wild banana trees, creepers and orchids; sometimes rhesus monkeys are playing by the water. Overnight at hotel.
Day 19: Morning Sightseeing of the Punakha and Wangdi valley. Afternoon drive to Thimphu. Overnight
Day 20: Morning sightseeing of the Thimphu Valley. Overnight at hotel.
Day 21: Tours of handicraft center and shopping in the morning; in the afternoon, visit Bhutan’s oldest
Dzong, Simtokha, and drive to Paro. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 22: Drive to airport to check in for your early morning departure.