This trek route offers great variety of trekking conditions, from picturesque farmland and forests to alpine pastureland and high passes. Spectacular campsites, beneath some of Bhutan’s most impressive peaks, of which the most notable are Mount Chomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake, are also the features of this trekking route. Numerous isolated Dzongs and scattered settlements, including the outlandish village of Laya, provide a great deal of cultural interest enroute. Wildlife such as the blue sheep, marmots, musk deer and the national animal, the Takin, can be seen. One should also not rule out the possibility of the rare sighting of a snow leopard, great Himalayan bear or even the yeti! The best season for this trek is April-May and mid September to mid November.
Arrive in Paro. Visit Ta-Dzong, the National Museum, Rinpung Dzong
Hike to Taktsang Monastery. This monastery is built on a cliff, it is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and mediated at this monastery and hence it is called â€˜Tigerâ€™s Nestâ€™. This site has been recognized as most sacred and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. The Monastery built in 1692 caught fire on 19th April 1998, it was renovated later.From the road point the hike up to Taktsang, on a well maintained path, is quite uphill and it takes 4-5 hours at an average walking speed for to & fro journey. Visit the Drugyal dzong and the Kichu Monastery ,this is one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan Songtsen Gyampo in the 7th Centuryto subdue the ogress that lay across the whole of the Himalayas. This temple has a orange tree that bears fruits, which is quite amazing because no where in the valley you can find orange tree bearing fruits. Visit Dungtse Lhakhang it was constructed by the great bridge-builder Thangtong Gyelpo in 1433. It is said to have been built on the head of demoness, who was causing illness to the inhabitants. The building was restored in 1841 and is a unique repository of Kagyu lineage arts. You may or may not be permitted inside but can walk around this three-storey Chorten-type building.
Drive from Paro to Drugyal Dzong and start trek to Shana Drive upto Drugyal Dzong where the road ends and start the trek by following the river gently uphill through a narrowing valley of paddy fields. You will find plenty of traditional farm houses in a purely rural setting. The camp site is just beyond an army outpost. Alt. 2800m,Distance - 17 km and time 5-6 Hr.
Trek Shana - Soe Thangthangkha Continue uphill through the river valley which narrows and closes in after some distance. The trail then winds up and down along the drainage. Most of the trail actually is down hill after the initial climb.The camp site is located in a meadow with stone shelter. Alt. Approx.3400m, distance 15 km, time 4-5 Hr.
Trek Soe Thangthangkha - Jangothang Walk up along the Pachu (Paro river), pass a small army outpost where the valley begins to widen again. You can now clearly view the high ridges and the snow capped mountains all around and also see the yaks and the yak herders winter homes. Camp beneath a ruined fortress at the base of the Jomulhari mountain. Alt. 4040m. ,Distance 19 km and time 5-6 Hr.
Trek Jangothang – Lingshi Walk up toward the pass through a wide pasture land. Depending on the season you are there, you might find some yak herders in their camping tents along the way. As you come down after the pass to the Lingshi basin, you will see some beautiful views of the Lingshi Dzong and the valley and also Tserim Kang (mountain) and its descending glaciers at the north end of the Valley. Camp in a stone shelter with a built-in fire pit or in the tent.Alt. 4150m. Distance 19 km. Time 5-6 Hr.
Today is the shortest walking day and you can really take it easy. On reaching the camp site at Chebisa, you can visit the village houses if you feel upto it. Alt. 3850m. Distance 12 km. Time 3-4 Hr.
You walk through a wide pasture land towards Gobu-la ( pass).On the way, you will see few people herding the yaks. After crossing the Gobu -la ( Alt. 4350m ) descend down to the valley. The camp site is on a bench above a river which is a tributary of the Nochu river.Alt. 4260. Distance 17 km. Time 5-6 Hr.
As the walk is little strenuous, it is advisable to start a little early. After crossing the Jarela (pass) Alt. 4600m you come down to Tsarijathang valley where you can normally see herds of Takins.Camp at Tsarijathang. Alt.4390m. Distance 15 km. Time 6-7 Hr.
After crossing the Shingela pass, alt. 4900m., you come down and follow the valley. Lemithang is under the Laya District and you will see people dressed in typical Laya costume with long pointed bamboo hats on their head. Camp at Lemithang. Alt. 4140m. Distance 19 km.Time 6-7 Hr. If you have time, it would be advisable to spend a day here exploring the valley and meeting the people who have a different and unique culture.
Today, you walk all the way downhill along a narrow winding river valley. The trail leads you to the west side of Laya village. Camp site is on a high flat bench above the Laya village. Alt. 3850m. Distance 10 km. Time 3-4 Hr.
Explore the Laya village.
The trail winds up and down along the river valley avoiding natural obstacles and affording breath-taking views of the crashing river,feeder streams and water falls. Camp. Alt. 3800m. Distance 19 km. Time 6-7 Hr.
You cross the Babela pass, Alt.3740m., after which the trail is all the way down till you reach the camp site which is close to Gasa Dzong.Alt. 2900m. Distance 17 km. Time 6-7 Hr.
After a late breakfast, trek to Gasa Tsachu. After lunch relax in the hot spring. The Gasa Tsachu is one of the most popular hot springs in Bhutan. Camp at Gasa Tsachu.
After a short climb, the trail winds through the rolling hills and passes through the pine and oak forests, villages and wheat fields. You will also see a beautiful view of the Gasa Dzong glued to the valley wall seeming to float in space. Camp. Alt. 2280m. Distance 21 km.Time 6-7 Hr.
The trail descends from the high agricultural benches above the Mochu ( Chu means River ) into a lush semi-tropical gorge filled with banana trees, creepers and various tropical vegetation. You will also see monkeys and few other animals Occasionally.Tashithang. Alt. 1700m. Distance 17 km. Time 6-7 Hr. At Tashithang, your cars will be waiting for you and you drive to Punakha and check in at Hotel Meri Phuensum.
Visit the Black Necked Crane centre and Gangtey Monastery
Drive Gangtey – Paro via Dochula pass
Drive Gangtey – Paro via Dochula pass
Visit the Wangchulo Dzong, the Lhakhang Karpo and the Lhakhang
Day free until departure transfer to the airport for onward journey
“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”
- Henry David Thoreau
Get lost and feel the mystic energy of the Himalayas with Shiva Treks