Trek Bhutan's Druk Path, with stunning views of the surrounding Himalaya
Walk along Bhutan’s most popular (and unbelievably beautiful) trekking path on this 11 day adventure. The route is a high-level, ancient trade route that takes you through rhododendron forests, across several passes, and through yak herder settlements.
You and your group will camp next to crystal clear mountain lakes and watch the sunset over the peaks that border with Tibet.
Bhutan is a country visited by a lucky few. This is your chance to experience a brand new culture, complete with colourful festivals, masked dances, and the infectious happiness of the people.
The route itself is a former trade route between Paro and Thimphu. Your guides will help you cross those sections that are rocky and trekking poles are recommended. The highest altitude for the group will be 4235 metres and you’ll sleep as high as 4100 metres. Because of the altitude and the remoteness of some sections, a moderate level of fitness will help you get the most enjoyment from the trip.
This trip has been designed for the curious adventurer. It’s a great combination of cultural experience and Himalayan walking. The route you’ll be walking is popular and therefore you can expect good service throughout.
Enquire today to learn more about this Land of the Thunder Dragon trekking adventure.
Why We Love This Adventure
- A short classic trek through the beautiful Bhutanese countryside
- An opportunity to gain an insight into the culture of the people
- Famous cultural highlights; Paro Dzong and Thimpu's Memorial Chorten
Please make an enquiry and we'll send you the full itinerary for each day including meals, activities, travel and accommodation.
Land in Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel. The evening is free to relax. *Royal Singi Hotel or similar*.
We fly to Paro today. If the weather is clear, we should get a fantastic view (from the left hand side of the plane) of much of the eastern half of the Himalaya, including Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and Chomolhari (Jhomolhari). After completing visa formalities in Paro, we transfer to our hotel. The Paro valley is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Bhutan. Its blue pine-covered hills and attractive, solidly built farmhouses among the paddy fields are dominated by the massive dzong, or fort.This afternoon we aim to visit the Paro Dzong and the National Museum above it. Paro Dzong is one of Bhutan's most impressive, and the finest example of Bhutanese architecture you will see. The inward sloping walls form a massive structure that towers over the town. Built in the 17th century it was one of Bhutan's strongest and most important fortresses and it was used on several occasions to defend the Paro Valley from invasions by Tibet. Formally the meeting hall for the National Assembly, the dzong now houses a monastic school and district government offices. Scenes from the 1995 film 'Little Buddha' were filmed in the dzong. West of the dzong a traditional wooden covered bridge called Nyamal Zam, a reconstruction of the original bridge, which was washed away in a flood in 1969. The most famous pictures of Paro Dzong are taken from the west bank of the river, just downstream from the bridge. At the top of the hill above the dzong is the old watchtower known locally as Ta Dzong. Originally built in 1656, it was renovated in 1968 by King Jigme Dorje Wangchuk to house the National Museum. Damaged by the earthquake in 2011, the museum is housed at the present time in a new building above the Ta Dzong. Inside the museum there are collections of masks and thangkas. Please note that the itinerary above could change subject to flight timings, which are generally unpredictable. *Rema Resort / Dewachen Hotel or similar*.
Today we will have a warm up hike to Taktsang Monastery. 'Tigers Nest' Monastery, is perched on the ledge of a cliff high above the Paro Valley. Partly destroyed by fire in 1998, it has now been completely restored to its former magnificence. We drive a short distance from the hotel and then hike up for about 1.5 hours to a viewpoint, for the classic views of the monastic buildings which cling impossibly to the cliff wall opposite. For the energetic there is the chance to walk another 2 hours to the actual monastery. The walk is good for acclimatization and we recommend you wear trekking boots and take trekking poles and plenty of water. Please note there about 100 steps up and down. Returning to the hotel we have time in the afternoon to explore Paro town. *Rema Resort or similar*.
Today we start our trek. After breakfast we have a short drive to the ancient Ta Dzong watchtower (2400m). The first day's trekking is not long in terms of hours but it’s all the way uphill and we do gain quite a lot of height. From Ta Dzong it is a gentle climb for about 3 hours on a jeep track to a prayer wall. The trail then narrows and we continue climbing up a little steeper now through the forest. We have lunch about an hour further on in a clearing and then it’s about an hours walk in the afternoon to the Jele La (3550m) and our camp just below Jele Dzong. If the weather is clear we can see the Paro Valley below. The energetic can walk up and visit the Dzong. *Full-service Camping (sleeping altitude 3,530m)*.
After breakfast we have time to explore the ancient 14th century Jele Dzong and if lucky we may be allowed inside. Our days walk begins with a short climb up the ridge before a descent into through thick rhododendron forest. Climbing back up again we emerge on the ridge and at times we can see the Paro Valley way below us and if the weather is clear we may even spot Chomolhari in the distance. Look out for the colourful Blood Pheasants which inhabit the forests. The trail climbs the ridge most of the day, through forests of rhododendrons. Today is a short day and we camp tonight at the yak herder’s settlement called Tsokam, just beyond Jangchu Lakha. *Full-service Camping (sleeping altitude 3,800m)*.
A long day today and probably the hardest walk of the trek. We climb steeply up from camp on a narrow trail for about an hour to rejoin the main trail. We continue climbing through a rocky landscape littered with small rhododendron bushes. We reach a col at 4073m marked with prayer flags and then drop down a short way to a cave. The trail then climbs again quite steeply to a ridge at 4080m, from where on a clear day we get spectacular mountain views including Chomolhari and Jichudrake. We have lunch on the ridge to enjoy the views and then continue a little further up the ridge to 4120m. From here we contour round a little and then drop steeply on a rocky trail to the shores of Jimi Lang Tscho, well known for its trout. *Full-service Camping (sleeping altitude 3,885m)*.
Another long but great day's walk with good mountain views. The trail climbs from camp along a rocky trail up to Janye Tscho Lake at 3956m. Climbing even higher and steeply there are two more lakes above us Dungtscho Tscho and Dungtscho Sama before we finally reach a cairn at 4150m. Below is Simthoka Lake (4090m) the highest lake on our trek. From the lake the trail undulates all the way to our camp at Labana. *Full-service Camping (sleeping altitude 4,100m)*.
The trail today climbs gradually up to the Labana Pass at 4235m (the highest point of this trek). The views get better and better and on a clear day we can see Gangar Punsum, Table Mountain and much of the Bhutan Himalaya. Way below is the Thimphu Valley. From the top we traverse the hillside with great mountain views and descend towards Thimphu. There are a couple of small climbs to cols but the general direction is downhill. From the Phajoding Labsa chorten we descend quite steeply to Phajoding Monastery for lunch. There are several temples here and a monastic school and the place is a visited by many Bhutanese. We descend even further through forests of blue pine to the end of our trek at Motithang, just above Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. We should reach our hotel by mid afternoon. The evening is free to explore Thimphu. *Hotel Gakyil or similar*.
Today we take an excursion to the nearby town of Punakha. The road climbs steadily out of Thimpu Valley and winds its way through forests to the Dochula Pass. At 3050m (10,000ft) the views over the eastern Himalaya are magnificent although this is most definitely weather dependent! We descend to the valley floor and continue to sub-tropical Punakha. At an altitude of 1350m the difference in temperature and flora is apparent. Punakha is the winter capital of Bhutan and the dzong was the second one to be built in Bhutan. This remarkable fortress is situated between two rivers and it has survived many fires, an earthquake and a glacial flood. Over the years it has been repaired and added to and has several interesting features to protect it against invasion. In the afternoon we'll drive back to Thimphu to spend the night./Please note that for festival departures this day's itinerary does not apply, see the 'is this trip for you' section for more details./*Hotel Gakyil or similar*.
We spend most of today visiting the main sights of the town including the Memorial Chorten, which was built in 1974 to honour the memory of the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Buddha Point, which is a large Buddha statue built on the hillside overlooking Thimpu and a painting school. In the late afternoon we have a short (1hour) drive back to Paro.*Rema Resort / Dewachen Hotel or similar*.
Today we fly back to Kathmandu. The rest of the day is free to explore the temples and markets of Kathmandu or go shopping. There are several sightseeing tours on offer (ask the the operator representative in Kathmandu), or you may want to explore Kathmandu on your own. You may want to visit the monkey temple at Swayambhunath or the largest Hindu temple in Nepal at Pashupatinath or the one of the largest Buddhist stupas in Asia at Boudhanath. Once you have had your fill of culture the colourful markets of Thamel are great for souvenir hunting.*Royal Singi Hotel or similar*.
Our trip ends in Kathmandu after breakfast./Please note that sometimes due to opening times, holidays or festivals we have to change the timings of the sightseeing around. We will endeavour to show you all the sights in the time available. In case it is not possible to visit any of the sights described in the notes above an alternative will be provided.
- All breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 dinners
- All accommodation
- All transport and listed activities
- Tour leader throughout
- Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
- Bhutanese visa
Trip Duration12 days
Average Group Sizemin 4, max 16
Breakfast is included throughout the trip plus 9 lunches and 9 dinners whilst in Bhutan.
This adventure can also be booked with UK return flights by the operator – to get prices, dates and availability for the flight option please complete an enquiry form today and mention your flight interest in the message section. Thanks!
Dates & Availability
- 18 Mar 2019 – 29 Mar 2019
- 07 Apr 2019 – 18 Apr 2019
- 01 Oct 2019 – 12 Oct 2019
- 17 Oct 2019 – 28 Oct 2019
If you’re looking for a company with experience you can’t beat these guys. This operator started life in February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments.
For the company, and people who work for them “it’s all about adventure” which is what they were founded on and what they are still about today. Their trips take place all around the world where they help travelers to delve into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to a country’ unique identity.
We love that their groups and guides travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise the impact, to ensure that every holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved.
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