DRUK PATH TREK (10 NITHGS 11 DAYS)
This is a very popular trek and goes to high altitude and is moderately strenuous. The trek route passes through some beautiful high-altitude lakes. You will come across the diverseflora as you pass through the ridge of the mountain and you can see the beautiful view of the Himalayas around. It starts from Paro near the museum and ends in Motithang, Thimphu. The highest point is 4110 meters.
The trek trail is rather gradual until we reach the camp and if the weather is clear, the Paro Valley can be seen with the snow-capped mountains behind the valley. You will begin with about an hour and a half-climb and then you will ascend gradually. The trail will take you through thick alpine forest and dwarf rhododendron trees. You may seek yaks and yak herders around your camp site. The trail follows the ridge and on a clear day the view of the mountains and valley is beautiful. The campsite is close to the Lake Jimilangtso. This lake is known for its giant-sized trout and if lucky, you may enjoy a well-prepared lake trout for dinner. The trail will take you through dwarf rhododendron trees and Lake of Janetso.
The Six Day Trek is the most popular trek in the country as it passes through a gorgeous natural landscape of blue pine forests, high ridges and pristine lakes while at the same time offering the opportunity to visit some ancient lhakhangs, dzongs and villages.
The Druk Path Trek is also easy to hike as the distances between rest camps are fairly short. The trail will take you through forests of fir, blue pine and dwarf rhododendrons at altitudes ranging between 2400-4200 m. On the third day, hikers will arrive at Jimiling Lake, whose crystal clear waters are home to gigantic trout.
This trek also offers hikers stunning views of Mt. GangkarPuensum, the highest peak in the world. The best times to embark on the Druk Path Trek are between March-June and September-November.
Day 01: Arrive at Paro 2280 meters
The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. A Bhutanese escort from Splendid Holidays will greet you on arrival, and then will drive you a short distance to the hotel.
After lunch, we will drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong, 16 km up the valley. Built in 1647 by the great ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the Dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day,experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7,314 m). On the way back, we will visit KichuLhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king SrongsenGampo. We will have dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 02: Paro Excursion to Taktsang Monastery
A very special day, with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) monastery - After early breakfast, a short drive will take us to Satsam Chorten, The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then we will walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, the Taktsang monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in the 1684by the Penlop of Paro Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo (said to be his favorite consort). Lunch will be served at the Paro town.
After lunch, we will visit Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally means “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. We will have dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 03: Paro - JeleDzong (Start of Trek)
Today is a short trek. The trek will begin above the National Museum; we will climb to reach the camp. If the weather is clear, the Paro valley and the snow-capped mountains can be seen. The campsite is near the old JeleDzong. If the caretaker is there, you can visit the Dzong.
Camp Altitude: 3560m; Distance 10 Km; Walking Time 4 - 5 hours. (1090 meters ascent).
Day 04: JeleDzong -Jangchulakha
The trek will start with a short climb that passes through a thick alpine forest of rhododendron until we reach the camp. You may see yak herders around your campsite.
Camp Altitude: 3770m; Distance 10 Km; walking time: 3 - 4 hours. (Ascent 310 meters, descent 50 meters)
Day 05: Jangchulakha - Jimilangtso
The trail follows the ridge and on a clear day, the views of the mountains and valleys are beautiful. Our camp is close to Lake Jimilangtso. This lake is known for its giant-sized trout, and if lucky, you may enjoy well-prepared trout for dinner.
Camp Altitude: 3870m; Distance 11 Kms; Walking time 4 hours, (330 meters ascent, 230 meters descent).
Day 06: Jimilangtso - Simkota. (4-5hours)
The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees past the lake of Janetso. We will have an overnight camp.
Camp Altitude: 4110 meters, 11 kms, walking time: 4 hours, (820 meters ascent, 400 meters descent).
Day 07: Simkota - Phajoding – Thimphu (4-5hours)
From here, we will slowly descend to Phajoding Monastery from where the Thimphu town is visible at the valley floor. After lunch, we will drive to the Traditional Medicine Institute (where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices), Takin Preserve Center, Sangay Gang View Point and to the largest statue of Buddha. We will stay overnight at the hotel.
Altitude (End of Trek: 2520 meters), Distance: 15 kms, walking time: 6 – 7 hours, (130 meters ascent, 1820 descent).
Day 08: Thimphu Sightseeing
The day will begin with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King JigmeDorjiWangchuk and the DupthopLhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We will then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). After Lunch, we will visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. In the evening, we will visit the TashichhoDzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). We will stay overnight at the hotel.
Day 09: Thimphu – Punakha (72 Kms, 3-hour drive)
After breakfast, we will drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view the Higher Himalayas. We will take our lunch at Punakha. After lunch, we will visit PunakhaDzong, built in 1637 by ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male river) and Mo Chu (Female river). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, ZowePalep, to sleep in front of the statue. While Palep was sleeping, the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named DrukPungthangDechenPhodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King JigmeDorjiWangchuk convened the new national assembly here in 1952. In the evening, we will visit Chime Lhakhang, which was built by Lama DrukpaKuenley. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder bolt”. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”. We will spend overnight at the hotel.
Day 10: Punakha – Thimphu – Paro
After breakfast, we will drive to Paro via Thimphu. We will eat lunch at Thimphu. In the afternoon, you can shop. In the evening, we will drive to Paro. We will sleep at the hotel.
Day 11: Departure
Early morning, drive to the airport and farewell.