Druk Path Nature offers an invigorating experience of the culture and environment of the country. It is a moderate 3-day hiking route which starts from Menchugang and ends in Jakar Dzong. The trail has an abundance of flora and fauna, and the panoramic views of the valleys beneath the hill tops and the Himalayas spread over a broad horizon would be an experience that one shall cherish for a lifetime. This trek could be a substitute for the Bumthang Cultural Trek that has been deteriorated to a great degree by the farm road constructions. This trek also combines with Bhutan cultural tour to western – center covering Paro, Thimphu, Punkaha, Wangduephodrang, Trongsa and Bumthang.
Day 01: Arrive Paro
On arrival at Paro airport, you will be met by your Bhutan Virtual Travel representative, and transferred to your Paro hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 02: Paro
Drive northwest up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Though largely destroyed by fire in 1951, its towering walls are still an imposing sight. On a clear day there is a splendid view of Mt. Jomolhari from the approach road to Drukgyel Dzong. Visit one of the typical village houses clustered near the dzong. Then visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of Bhutan. In the afternoon visit Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower and now the National Museum. Then walk down the hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong), “the fortress of the heap of jewels”. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 03: Paro – Jele Dzong (8km, 3 hours)
Today is a short trekking day. The journey starts with a short climb up to Jele Dzong. The trek trail ascends gradually up to the camp, and if the weather is clear Paro valley can be seen with snow-capped mountains behind. Above the camp is Jele-la pass (3,400m) and Jele Dzong (mostly in ruins). There is also a lhakhang containing a statue of Buddha Sakyamuni. Overnight camp.
Day 04: Jele Dzong – Jangchulakha (10km, 3-4 hours)
Begin with a one and a half hour climb and then ascend more gradually upwards. The trail takes you through thick alpine forests and rhododendrons. You will have fine views of Jomolhari and other snow capped peaks if the weather is right, and you may hear some monal pheasants calling during the day. You may see yak herders around your campsite. Overnight camp.
Day 05: Jangchulakha – Jimilangtsho (11km, 4 hours)
The trail follows the ridge, and on a clear day the views of the mountains and valley are sensational. You will enjoy a great view of Jichu Drake (6,989m), the peak representing the protective deity of Paro. Our camp is close to the Jimilangtsho lakes, which are famous for their giant sized trout. Overnight camp.
Day 06: Jimilangtsho – Simkota (11km, 4 hours)
The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees and passes by the lake of Janetsho. Today you may come across some yak herders’ camps and get an idea of how these people live. We camp overnight close to Simkota Lake, and if you are lucky you can catch a lake trout for your dinner.
Day 07: Simkota – Phajoding (10km, 4 hours)
Today begins with a gradual climb, and if the weather permits you will enjoy majestic views of Mt. Gangkar Puensum, and a host of other peaks. The trail slowly descends through juniper trees to a campsite beside a community hall near Phajoding cafeteria. Overnight at cafeteria or camp, depending on weather conditions.
Day 08: Phajoding – Thimphu (5km, 3 hours)
The trek to Thimphu is downhill all the way, passing through a forested area of mostly blue pine. Taking a leisurely pace, you reach Thimphu in about 3 hours. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 09: Excursion to Punakha/Wangduephodrang
After breakfast, full day excursion to the Punakha and Wangdue valleys. The drive from Thimphu crosses Dochu-la pass (3,088m) from which there are the most enchanting mountain views. In Punakha, visit Punakha Dzong situated at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. Built in the 17th century by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, this dzong has played important role in Bhutan’s history. Then drive to Wangduephodrang, to visit 17th century Wangduephodrang Dzong and the local market. In the evening drive back to Thimphu. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 10: Thimphu – Paro
Full day of sightseeing in Thimphu, including visits to the following, as time permits: National Memorial Chorten: uilt as a memorial to Bhutan’s third king (“the father of modern Bhutan”) and as a monument to world peace;
Tashichhodzong: the impressive fortress/monastery housing some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body;
Handicrafts Emporium: a wide assortment of intricately hand-woven textiles and other craft products is available for purchase at this government-run outlet, and at many smaller handicrafts shops around town;
National Library: established in the late 1960s primarily to conserve the literary treasures which form a significant part of Bhutan’s cultural heritage, it now holds an extensive collection of Buddhist texts and manuscripts;
Institute for Zorig Chusum, more commonly known as the Painting School, where students learn the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan;
National Institute of Traditional Medicine (outside only) – the rich herbal medicines made up from plants abundant in the kingdom are dispensed here, and traditional medicine practitioners trained.
In the evening drive to Paro. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 11: Depart Paro
After early breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.
- Passport (with at least 6 months’ validity from the date of your exit from Bhutan)
- Photocopy of picture page of passport showing number, etc. Keep this in a separate place in your baggage. If for any reason you lose your passport, this will expedite the process of applying for a new passport.
- Print out copy of the visa & International air tickets.
- Temperatures will fluctuate greatly depending on elevation and time of day. You should be prepared for a minimum temperature of 04 degrees and a maximum of 35 degrees. You have to plan for layered clothing to be prepared for such a wide-ranging temperature fluctuations.
- Drink only bottled water, sodas, beer, etc.
- Stay away from any cold salad! These are normally rinsed in tap water before or after being sliced and are a major cause of traveler’s gastro-intestinal distress.
- All tipping is optional and by no means mandatory, however if you feel that your staff and drivers have performed at a good or excellent level, it is a great way to let them know you appreciate their efforts.
A few items to keep in mind:
- Accept or offer items with the right hand or, more politely, with both hands. Using both hands to give or receive signifies that you honor the offering and the recipient or giver.
- When you visit Buddhist shrines or temples, it is appropriate and a sign of respect to walk around the building in a clockwise direction (so that the structure is to your right side). This is also true for mani walls (walls built of stone tablets with Buddhist mantras carved on them) and Chorten (small Buddhist shrines.)
- Your guide will give you additional tips along the way, when in doubt, check in with them. You will be travelling into areas that have had relatively few foreign visitors. Your positive attitude and interaction is needed and welcomed to maximize this adventure.
What should I bring with me for the trip?
- Good walking shoes
- Sunscreen (highest possible)
- Headgear for sunny days
- Bug/Insect repellent
- Cotton clothing for summer days, light woolen clothes for evenings. Heavy woolens for winter.
- Shorts for hiking and walking around town are fine. Out of respect, please don't wear shorts in public buildings or monasteries. Have a pair of long pants or longer skirt for these locations.