BHUTAN'S druk path tREK & CULTURE TRIP
FIXED DEPARTURE DATES FOR 2018:
The tiny Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan awaits, nestled high in the Himalayas its isolation from the world has cultivated a culture rich in traditions, religion and a benevolent monarchy. The dramatic landscapes, from snow-capped peaks and deeply forested slopes to raging, boulder-strewn rivers, sit largely undisturbed as the endeared environmental initiatives and religious beliefs leave the Kingdom pristine and a jewel of nature. The program takes you into this ancient Kingdom for an adventure into the hearts and lands of charming farmers, fascinating weavers, enchanting monks and charismatic leaders.
Day 1 Arrival in Paro
Arrive in Paro (2200 m) with spectacular mountain views welcoming you to the Kingdom of Bhutan. On arrival your guide will greet you and escort you to hotel. On arrival in Paro our guide will receive you and check you into your hotel. After lunch we will see the rich history of Bhutan exhibited in the 17th century National Museum. The Paro Dzong, a massive fortress built in the 17th century now houses the monastic body. A tour of this beautiful Dzong will introduce us to the unique aspects of the Bhutanese Buddhism. A lovely stroll downhill from the Dzong over an old cantilever bridge wraps up an eventful first day in this magical kingdom.
Day 2 Tiger's Nest Hike
Taktsang or the tiger’s nest temple is the most revered temple to the Buddhist. This magical temple clings to a vertical granite cliff 800m above the valley. Legend has it that in the 8th century, Guru Rimpochey, a tantric master flew here on the back of a tigress and meditated in a cave around which the temple is built. A hike to this temple will take up most of our morning. In the afternoon, we will host a special Buddhist prayer ceremony at the beautiful 1200 year old Kyichu Lhakhang Temple, to bring us good luck for the rest of the journey.
Day 3 Paro to Jela Dzong (Day 1 of Druk Path Trek)
The start of the Drukpath Trek is at the historic Ta Dzong, the National Museum. We follow a dirt road until it gives way to our trail in the pine forests. The trail is uphill all the way till Jela Dzong, a temple built as a war fortress in the olden days, overlooking the Paro valley below.
Distance: 10 km
Hike Time: 6 hours
Altitude: 3000 m
Day 4 Jela Dzong to Jangchublakha (Day 2 of Druk Path Trek)
Today’s trail looks like the setting of Stephen Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. With ancient firs wrapped in Spanish moss, a dinosaur or a Bhutanese Yeti might actually surprise you around the bend. You may see yak herders around the campsite.
Distance: 10 km
Hike Time: 4 hours
Altitude: 3200 m
Day 5 Jangchublakha to Jimilangtsho (Day 3 of Druk Path Trek)
The trek today starts off with a climb, overlooking the rolling valleys below. Rhododendrons and other high altitude shrubs decorate the rocky trail which climbs up and down. On a clear day the Jumolhari can be seen. Our camp is at the lake of Jimilangtsho.
Distance: 13 km
Hike Time: 6 hours
Altitude: 3300 m
Day 6 Jimilangtsho to Labana (Day 4 of Druk Path Trek)
The trail will take us through dwarf rhododendrons and junipers. We will also pass the lakes of Janatso and Simkotha. The view of the far ridge across the valley which you trekked will fill you with a sense of personal satisfaction and renew you with extra confidence in yourself. Tonight is going to be the coldest of all our camps.
Distance: 15 km
Hike Time: 7 hours
Day 7 Labana to Thimphu (Day 5 of Druk Path Trek)
An hours’ climb from the camp will take us over the highest pass on this trek at 4100m. On a clear day we can see the Gangkhar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan. Descending from the pass over rocky steps, we will be greeted by the sight of Thimphu far below in the valley. From this point on, it’s all downhill. We will be passing through the temple and meditation center complex of Phajoding. Our transport will meet us just as we start emerging from the forest and drive to Hotel in Thimphu. Overnight in Thimphu.
Distance: 12 km
Hike Time: 6 hours
Altitude: 4200 (Pumo pass)
Day 8 Thimpu to Punakha (72 km drive / 3 hour drive)
After breakfast, drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas. On the way, stop a while to view Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in 15th century. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder bolt”. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”.
Lunch at Punakha.
After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal which 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, Zowe Palep, 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 Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (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 Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952.
Dinner & Overnight in Hotel in Punakha.
Day 9 Punakha to Paro (126.7 km / 3.5 hour drive)
After breakfast drive to the valley of Wangdiphodrang, it includes: visit to The Wangdue Phodrang Dzong which was founded by the Zhabdrung in 1638 atop a high ridge between the Punak Tsang Chhu and the Dang Chhu, clearly chosen for its commanding view of the valleys below. Wangdue is important in the history of Bhutan because in the early days it was the country's second capital. Sadly the Dzong caught fire on 24 June 2012 and was virtually destroyed save for the lower walls. The mammoth task of rebuilding is expected to continue until 2021.
Legend relates that as people searched for a site for the Dzong; four ravens were seen flying away in four directions. This was considered an auspicious sign, representing the spreading of religion to the four points of the compass. After Trongsa Dzong was established in 1644, the Penlop (governor) of Wangdue Phodrang became the third most powerful ruler, after Paro and Trongsa. The Dzong's strategic position gave the Penlop control of the routes to Trongsa, Punakha, Dagana and Thimphu. As of 2016, the three-story kunrey (assembly hall) had been rebuilt but was not open to visitors.
Drive further to Limbukha village which is accessible by feeder road from Punakha and Wangdue. Limbukha farmers are known for growing Bhutan's famous red rice which is supposed to have medicinal values. Limbukha is also known for its love of peace and tranquility. Legends say that during medieval wars the people of Limbukha always volunteered as peace negotiators. This is also depicted during annual festival when the Limbuk men are found carrying peace flags instead of swords and fireworks.
In the afternoon drive to Paro. Dinner & Overnight in Hotel in Paro
Day 10 Departure from Paro
Early morning, drive to the airport, your journey begins and a future pilgrimage to further explores the hearts and lands of the Kingdom’s charming farmers, fascinating weavers, enchanting monks and charismatic leaders awaits.
This is a STRENUOUS trek. Recent hiking and/or backpacking experience is highly recommended. You will need to prepare in terms of cardio workout and consult with your doctor prior to joining the trip given the high altitude. You will be required to familiarize yourself with the hazards and risks of high altitude trekking, sign a liability waiver and terms & conditions forms.
PRICE: PRICING PER PERSON
$4495 1 person
$4365 2 persons
$3953 3-15 persons
HOW TO BOOK: You will be required to complete a booking form and the entire amount is due at time of booking in order for all visa and permits to be secured by the local agency. Once we receive your booking form, we will send you an invoice to make the full payment via credit card or Paypal.
The cancellation policy is as follows:
Bhutan tour programs booked and subsequently cancelled shall be subject to cancellation charges as follow:
Before 60 days of start of the tour programme: 30% of rate
within 60 and 30 days: 75% of rate
within 30 days or less: 100% of rate
Click on Book Now below to book.
✓ All 3 meals
✓ All 3 stars category accommodation double/twin sharing
✓ Entrance fee, permit and Bhutan visa
✓ All transportation airport pick and drop
✓ Tour with English-speaking guide entire journey
✓ Trekking arrangement (all meals on the trek, guide cook, pony and guide, dining tents, sleeping tents, toilet tent)
✗ Travel insurance and other emergencies
✗ Single room accommodation
✗ Liquors, beers and bottle beverages
✗ Photography accessories, like camera, etc.
✗ Tips for driver and guide
✗ Any other countries transit visa/ visa en-route on travel to Bhutan
✗ Service not mention above
International flights are excluded. Clients must book their own flights and send a copy of their flight itinerary by e-mail to no later than the trip balance due date. You must book your round-trip flight to Bangkok. The next day you take your flight to Paro. Flight to Paro can be book jointly as a group via the local operator once a group is confirmed.
TRAVEL INSURANCE REQUIRED:
After making a deposit, you are required to obtain appropriate travel insurance through Travel Guard or other insurance of your choice that should cover at a minimum 100% of the trip cost (land & air), emergency medical and evacuation for high altitude trekking of up to 5000 meters. Proof of travel insurance must be provided via electronic mail to no later than the trip balance due date. Failure to obtain travel insurance by the trip balance due date will result in cancellation and no refund of your trip deposit and/or applicable cancellation fees as noted in the Terms & Conditions.
Note: If you opt to buy your insurance from a company other than Travel Guard, please ensure that the insurance you purchase covers high altitude trekking as there are only a select number of companies that provide such type of coverage.
Please check ahead of time as to the visa requirements for the country of your choosing. You are responsible for securing your own visa, if required. In this case, our local partner will obtain visas for all attendees.
Upon booking, you will receive trip notes that include the recommended gear list and logistics prior to your departure.