Druk Path Trek

Duration: 6 days, Max. Elevation: 4,220m

Seasons: March to June & Sept to Nov

Start: National Museum in Paro

Finish: Mothitang (Timphu)

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 a fairly easy hike to undertake as the distances between rest camps is fairly short. The trail takes 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. Gangkar Puensum, the highest unscaled peak in the world. The best times to embark on the Druk Path Trek are between March-June or September-November.

Drukpath Trek Map

Drukpath Trek Map

itinerary.

DAY 1: PARO – JILI DZONG

[Distance 7 km],[ 4-5 hours], [1,020 m ascent], [20m descent],[camp altitude 3,480 m]. The first day can be quite arduous as you have to climb more than 1,000m elevation. You start from the Ta Dzong (National Museum) in Paro. The trek follows a gravel road past a few farms for about 30 minutes and then climbs up.

DAY 2: JILI DZONG – JANGCHULAKHA

[Distance 10 km][, 4-5 hours], [305 m ascent], [80 m descent],[ camp altitude 3,760 m]. You begin with a steep climb for about an hour and a half, then the slope evens a bit and the ascent is more gradual. The trail takes you through thick alpine forests and dwarf rhododendron tress. We continue our up hill walk to reach a yak herders’ pasture at Jangchulakha (3,780m) with outstanding views of the Himalayan range. We camp in a yak pasture near the hillside for the night.

DAY 3: JANGCHULAKHA – JIMGELANG TSHO

]Distance 11 km],[ 4 hours],[ 330 m descent], [360 m ascent],[ camp altitude 3,860 m]. The trail follows a ridge and on a clear day the view of the mountains and valley are simply stunning.Near the camp, you can have great views of Jichu Drake(6986), the peak representing the protective deity of Paro. Overnight camp close to Jimilangtsho Lake. This lake is known for its giant sized trout.

DAY 4: JIMGELANG TSHO – SIMKOTRA TSHO

[Distance 11 km],[ 4 hours], [720 m ascent],[ 200 m descent], [camp altitude 4,110 m]. The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees and past Janetso Lake. You may come across some yak herder camps where you will have the opportunity to get a glimpse of a nomad’s life. The campsite is close to Simkotra Tsho.

DAY 5: SIMKOTRA TSHO – PHAJODING

[Distance 10 km], [3-4 hours],[ 130 m ascent],[ 680 m descent], [camp altitude 3,750 m]. The day begins with a gradual climb. If the weather permits, you will have a spectacular view of Mount Gangkar Puensum, the highest mountain in Bhutan and several other Himalayan peaks.

DAY 6: PHAJODHING – MOTHITANG

[Distance 4-5 km], [3 hours], [1,430 m descent].You will then descend to another small lake and then climb to the Phume La pass (4,220m) which is adorned with beautiful prayer flags and after passing Phadjoding monastery(3,790m), the trek to Thimphu (Mothitang) is downhill through a forested area of mostly blue pine. The walk, at a leisurely pace, takes about three hours.

 

Jomolhari Trek

Duration: 9 days, Max. Elevation: 4,890m

Seasons: April to June & Sept to November

Start: DrukgyelDzong (Paro)

Finish: DrukgyelDzong (Paro)

Jomolhari Trek is longer than the Jomolhari Loop – the most popular trekking routes in Bhutan. With altitude differences of 2,500m and nearly 5,000m it offers a wide range of landscapes, fauna and flora. The highlight of this trek is the spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari from Jomolhari Basecamp (Jangothang).

Jumolhari Trek Map

Jumolhari Trek Map

Itinerary

DAY 1: GUNITSAWA VILLAGE – SHARNA ZAMPA

[50mins], [70m descent], [camp altitude 2,880m]. This trek begins at Gunitsawa Village were you pass the army post. At the army checkpost your trek permit (provided by your tour operator) will be checked and endorsed. The campsite is on the opposite side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa. This is the last stop before Tibet and border close to it. You will then cross Pachu River on a wooden bridge and then climb to Sharna Zampa at 2,880m. Just beyond Shana Zampa, there are several meadows surrounded by trees where you will camp for night.

DAY 2: SHARNA ZAMPA – THANGTHANGKHA

[Distance 20 km], [7-8 hours], [ 680m ascent], [20m descent],[ camp altitude 3,710m]. On this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley the valley finally narrows gradually to a mere path which descends to a meadow where a hot lunch will be served after crossing the bridge towards the left side of the river. Little ahead is the trail junction – left an old trade route and invasion from Tibet and right leading to the wooden bridge (we follow the right). After climbing up through rhododendron forests and finally crossing the bridge again, we reach our camp at 3710m, which is amidst beautiful meadows.

DAY 3: THANGTHANGKHA – JANGOTHANG

[Distance 19 km],[ 5-6 hours],[ 370m ascent], [camp altitude 4,060m]. If you did not see Mt. Jomolhari the previous evening, you will still have a chance to get a great view early this morning. This morning the trek continues up the Paro Chhu valley which widens into patches of alpine meadow and  we walk our final approach across a plateau and up a stream bed and Dangochang village to the awesome campsite of Jangothang at an altitude of 4,060m. From here, the views of Mount Jumolhari(7,327 m) and Jichu Drake(6,664 m) are superb.

DAY 4: JANGOTHANG HALT

The rest day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views of lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley. Jangothang is a perfect environment for your acclimatization and exploration.

DAY 5: JANGOTHANG – LINGSHI

[Distance 16km], [6-7  hours], [720m ascent], [960m descent], [camp altitude 3,950m]. The trail leads to a last settlement in the valley and drops to the Paro Chhu. Passing the lake of Tshophu (4,380m) you will climb up steeply to Bhonte La pass at 4,890 m, the highest point of this trek rout then walk towards the valley, almost flat for a while, until you climb to the Ngye La pass at an altitude of 4,600m. After the pass, it is a gradual descent to the camp, enjoying the panoramic view of the surrounding peaks and Lingshi Dzong.

DAY 6: LINGSHI – SHODU

[Distance 22km],[ 8-9 hours], [640m ascent],[ 720m descent], [camp altitude 4,090m].The trail climbs up to the Yelila pass at an altitude of 4,810m. From the pass, on a clear day you will get an excellent view of Jumolhari, Tserimgang and Masanggang. Descend alongside a stream to a shelter, and then further downstream to a camp at Shodu (4,090m), a meadow with a Chorten.

DAY 7: SHODU – BARSHONG

[Distance 16km],  [470m descent], [camp altitude 3,700m]. The trail follows the Thimphu Chhu through rhododendron forests, past beautiful waterfalls along the way. The valley narrows till the path takes to the slopes and gradually ascends to the ruins of Barshong Dzong.

DAY 8: BARSHONG – DOLAM KENCHO

[Distance 15km], [5-6 hours],, [340m descent], [camp altitude 3,430m]. The trail descends down to the Thimphu Chhu river valley, through dense forests of rhododendron, birch, conifer, maples and bamboos and then ascends to pasture lands. The a camp among pastureland at 3,430m.

DAY 9: DOLAM KENCHO-DODENA-THIMPHU

[Distance 8km],[864m descent].The trail goes in and out steeply to the river and follows it southward to the road head at Dodena, elevation 2,600m where you will be picked up by SP Travelers transport to drive to Thimphu

 

Merak and Saktang Trek

Duration: 7 days

Seasons: September to April

Start: Chaling

Finish: Phongmay

Merak-Sakteng stands out as a distinct attraction in Bhutan. Unlike anywhere else in the country, it offers a visitor to experience a unique semi-nomadic lifestyle, culture and vernacular in one of the most scenic pastoral valleys in the protected area of Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) in Trashigang Dzongkhag (District), in Eastern Bhutan.

It is a moderate trek (between 1,500m and 4,100m) traversing through the semi-nomadic villages of Gengu (3400m), Merak (3500m), Sakteng (2800m), Thakthi (2200m), and Joenkhar (1700m). Tour operators are not mandated to use a particular trail but the most common trail usually begins from Chaling and ends in Phongmey. Both these Geogs of Merak and Sakteng are an important watershed for Ngere Ama chu and Gamri chu rivers respectively.

The campsites have been designed aesthetically to blend with local architecture and ambiance. Enclosed by a stonewall (with a gate to bring in the ponies to unpack trekking paraphernalia), the campsite is equipped with facilities such as tenting sheds, toilets, kitchens (in some), dining area and water supply. A signage describing the location, altitude, forest type, fauna, additional hiking trails in the locality, distance and time to next camp welcomes a visitor to each campsite

Merak Sakten Trek Map

Merak Sakten Trek Map

Itinerary

DAY 1: CHALING – DAMNONGCHU

The trek to Merak will start from Chaling reached by following an unsealed road from Rangjung. Damnongchu camping area is located after Mindrula which lies at about 3354m / 10,880ft. You will see yaks and sheep grazing with yak herders’ huts dotted on the hills side. Climb further to reach Mendula Pass at 3354m. From this pass, you will descend through rhododendron forests to Donmong Chu camp at 3124m.

DAY 2: DAMNONGCHU – MERAK

5 hours, camp altitude 3,499 m.  The trail from Damnongchu to Merak goes along the river bank with gradual ups and downs. The trail from Domong Chu to Merak mostly follows the river bends. The final stretch has gentle ascend before you reach Gangu village. After another 45 minutes walk from this village, you will arrive at Merak located at an altitude of 3520m. The campsite located before the village has spectacular views of nearby mountains and village. Visit the local village to experience the life of this people.

DAY 3: MERAK – MIKSA TENG

The trek from Merak to Miksa Teng is long and of medium difficulty. It will pass through the beautiful Nagchungla pass (approx 4,100m / 13,451ft). From the campsite climb gradually to the first pass at 3900m from where you can have last glimpse of Merak valley. Continue the trek along the tree line of juniper and rhododendron forests and conquer the Nachungla pass. Then you will descend to your camp Miksateng at 3080m surrounded by rhododendrons.

DAY 4: MIKSA TENG – SAKTENG

Trek to Sakteng from Miksa Teng is easy making your way through beautiful woods with a short climb before reaching Sakteng. you will climb gradually to a hill adorned by small Chorten (Stupa) overlooking the Sakten valley. If you are lucky, you can spot red panda among the trees. Descend down from the ridge and camp on the outskirts of the Sakten village at 2950m.

DAY 5: SAKTENG DAY HALT

Time to explore this remote Himalayan village.

DAY 6: SAKTENG-JOENKHARTENG

Leaving Sakten, start with short climb to the small hill towards the west end of the village. Then descend down to the river and walk alongside it through the broad leaf forests. We camp in a beautiful meadow near the river by Joenkhar Teng village (1800m). Joenkhar Teng is situated on the hillside and its population comprises of Brokpa and Sharchopa with a community school and outreach clinic.

DAY 7: JOENKHARTENG-TRASHIGANG

The last day of the trek begins with short climb through the Joenkhar Teng. Crossing the suspension bridges, you will climb shortly to Phongmay village. Meet your transport and drive to Trashigang. On the way, stop at Rangjung and visit the Rangjung Monastery, which is founded by His Eminence Garab Rinpoche

Snowman Trek I (to Sephu)

Duration: 25 days, Max. Elevation: 5,320m

Seasons: Mid June to Mid October

Start: DrukgyelDzong (Paro)

Finish: Sephu (Trongsa)

The Snowman Trek is an extension of the beautiful Laya Gasa Trek, and leads from Laya into high altitudes of the Bhutanese Himalayas. It takes tough and enduring trekkers into the Lunana region and further on to Gangkhar Puensum and Bumthang or down to Sephu in Trongsa district, depending on which route you choose. The Snowman trek leads through the most remote areas up to very high altitudes. Trekkers have to camp in altitudes above 5,000m more than once, and depending on the seasonal temperatures, the camps are sometimes on snow.

snowman-trek

Snowman Trek Map

Itinerary

DAY 1: GUNITSAWA VILLAGE – SHARNA ZAMPA

[50mins], [70m descent], [camp altitude 2,880m]. This trek begins at Gunitsawa Village were you pass the army post. At the army checkpost your trek permit (provided by your tour operator) will be checked and endorsed. The campsite is on the opposite side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa. This is the last stop before Tibet and border close to it. You will then cross Pachu River on a wooden bridge and then climb to Sharna Zampa at 2,880m. Just beyond Shana Zampa, there are several meadows surrounded by trees where you will camp for night.

DAY 2: SHARNA ZAMPA – THANGTHANGKHA

[Distance 20 km], [7-8 hours], [ 680m ascent], [20m descent],[ camp altitude 3,710m]. On this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley the valley finally narrows gradually to a mere path which descends to a meadow where a hot lunch will be served after crossing the bridge towards the left side of the river. Little ahead is the trail junction – left an old trade route and invasion from Tibet and right leading to the wooden bridge (we follow the right). After climbing up through rhododendron forests and finally crossing the bridge again, we reach our camp at 3710m, which is amidst beautiful meadows.

DAY 3: THANGTHANGKHA – JANGOTHANG

[Distance 19 km],[ 5-6 hours],[ 370m ascent], [camp altitude 4,060m]. If you did not see Mt. Jomolhari the previous evening, you will still have a chance to get a great view early this morning. This morning the trek continues up the Paro Chhu valley which widens into patches of alpine meadow and  we walk our final approach across a plateau and up a stream bed and Dangochang village to the awesome campsite of Jangothang at an altitude of 4,060m. From here, the views of Mount Jumolhari(7,327m) and Jichu Drake(6,664m) are superb.

DAY 4: JANGOTHANG HALT

The rest day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views of lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley. Jangothang is a perfect environment for your acclimatization and exploration.

DAY 5: JANGOTHANG – LINGSHI

[Distance 16km], [6-7  hours], [720m ascent], [960m descent], [camp altitude 3,950m]. The trail leads to a last settlement in the valley and drops to the Paro Chhu. Passing the lake of Tshophu (4,380m) you will climb up steeply to Bhonte La pass at 4,890m, the highest point of this trek rout then walk towards the valley, almost flat for a while, until you climb to the Ngye La pass at an altitude of (4,600m). After the pass, it is a gradual descent to the camp, enjoying the panoramic view of the surrounding peaks and Lingshi Dzong.

DAY 6: LINGSHI – CHEBISA

[Distance 10 km],[ 5-6 hours],[100m ascent], [330m descent],[ camp altitude 3,860m]. Today is the shortest walking day, and you can really take it easy. Shortly after starting you will reach a chorten below Lingshi Dzong. Here, you have the choice of staying on the main trail or taking a detour  and after lunch, a short walk will take you to Chebisa, a charming little village adorned with a beautiful crystal clear waterfall. Camp by the side of stream at an altitude of 3,860m.

DAY 7: CHEBISA – SHOMUTHANG

[Distance 17 km], [6-7 hours], [760m ascent], [350m descent], [camp altitude 4,250m]. The morning starts with a long ascent behind Chebisa Village (2-3 hours) through a wide pastureland towards Gobu La (pass). On the way, you will see a few people herding yaks.  From there, we walked down through a thick rhododendron forest until our next camp in Shakshepasa at 3980m. Climbing steeply up to the northern side of the valley and passing by a couple of yak herder’s camp, we arrive at our camp, which is beside a stream at an altitude 4,250m.

DAY 8: SHOMUTHANG – ROBLUTHANG

[Distance 18 km], [6-7 hours],[ 50m ascent], [460m descent], [camp altitude 4,200m]. The trek starts by walking through edelweiss bound trail with a climb to Jari La pass at altitude 4,760m. The snow capped peak visible to the south-east is Kangbum at 6526m. Then descend to Tsarijathang valley, the summer residence of rare Himalayan Takins (national animal of Bhutan). From here we may have to cross the stream as most of the time the footbridge is washed away. After crossing the stream towards the left, the trail ascends till you reach Robluthang, a rocky meadow camp at an altitude of 4,200m.

DAY 9: ROBLUTHANG – LIMITHANG

[Distance 19 km],[ 6-7 hours], [850m ascent], [870m descent], [camp altitude 4,140m]. The trek starts out with an initial 40-60mins ascent before gradually raising for another 1.5 hours through a boulder field.  It is then a 1 hour steep ascent before reaching Sinche La (5,005m).The view of snow-covered Gangchenta or the Tiger Mountain (6,840m) filling the northern horizon is simply stunning. After the pass, descend through rough rocky trail following moraine river valley to Kango Chhu River. The path is quite narrow and you may have to cross a stream again and get wet. After walking through cedar forests we arrive Lingmethang (4,140m), which is a beautiful scattered meadow by the river with Tiger Mountain towering behind your campsite.

DAY 10: LIMITHANG-LAYA

[Distance 10 km],[3-4 hours], [camp altitude 3840m]In the morning you wake up with a superb view of Gangchenta peak in front of you. The walk to Laya is very pleasant with wonderful views. You will pass through a damp forest, filled with moss and singing birds. Arrive at Laya village, the second highest settlement in the country, at altitude of 3,800m.

DAY 11: REST / ACCLIMATIZATION DAY IN LAYA

Explore around Laya village. You can go and visit any of the houses around. Even to a perfect stranger, traditional Bhutanese hospitality is extended and a cup of tea and Chang (local, wine) always offered. The people in this valley are very interesting especially the women. They wear traditional black wool kiras and conical bamboo hats decorated with turquoise, silver ornaments and strings of beads.

DAY 12: LAYA – RHODUPHU

[Distance 19 km], [7-8 hour,[ 870m ascent],[ 230m descent], [camp altitude 4,160m]. From Laya we descend to an army camp and continue following the river till the turn off point to   Rhoduphu. The trail follows Rhodo Chhu valley, first through mixed conifers and then through rhododendron, above the tree line. From top of large rock-slide, there is a view of the glacial valley and a massive glacier on Tsenda Gang (7100 m). Our camp is at Rodophu at 4160 m just beyond a wooden bridge across the Rhodo Chhu river.

DAY 13: RHODOPHU – NARETHANG

[Distance 17 km],[5-6 hours],[ 740m ascent], [camp altitude 4,900m].   After following the river for about half an hour you will have a steady climb to a high open valley at 4,600m and then further up to Tsomo La (4,900m). Tsomo La offers a superb view of Lunana, Mount Jomolhari and Jitchu Drak.

DAY 14: NARETHANG – TARINA

[Distance 18 km],[ 5-6 hour],[ 270m ascent],[ 1,000m descent], [camp altitude 4,170m]. Ganglakarchung Pass at an altitude of 5120m. From the pass, the views of Kangbum (6530m), Tsendhen Gang (7100m), Teri Gang (7300m) and Jejegangphu Gang (7120m) are superb. You will descend through massive moraines to the edge of straight cliff with views of glacial hanging from Teri Gang that forms two turquoise-colored lakes at the base. The lake towards the left in 1961 due to outburst has caused a flood downstream in Punakha destroying the Mochu Bridge. Descend through a steep path to the U-shaped valley following the Tangchu stream towards right to arrive at your camp at 4170m.

DAY 15: TARINA – WOCHE

[Distance 16 km], [6-7 hours],[ 210m ascent], [350m descent],[ camp altitude 4,210m].   The walk leads down through conifer forests following the upper ridges of the Pho Chhu, passing some impressive waterfalls. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to Woche, a settlement of a few … you will be making a steep ascent to Woche Village, the first settlement in Lunana region at an altitude of 4210m. The Woche village marks the beginning of the Lunana region and above the village, you will see tomorrow’s route to Ledhi.

DAY 16: WOCHE – LHEDI

[Distance 17 km], [6-7 hours],[ 780m ascent],[ 960m descent],[ camp altitude 4,200m]. Start climbing up the Woche valley and cross a small stream to go over a moraine. You will then descend to a wooden bridge across a Woche Chu River and climb up past a clear glacial lake to reach Keche La pass (4650m) with magnificent views of nearby mountains including three-prong peaks of Jejegangphu Gang mountain. From the Thaga village, we descend passing few scattered settlements, waterfalls and reach Lhedi (4200m) after walking along the Phochu River bed. Lhedi village consists of a school, Basic Health Unit and a wireless station.

DAY 17: LHEDI – THANZA

[Distance 17 km], [ 7-8 hours],[ 450m ascent], [camp altitude 4,150m].   In clear weather, you will have great views of Table Mountain (7,100m).  Around lunchtime you will pass the small village of Chozo (4,090m) which has a dzong still in use. Reaching Thanza again you will have a gre…

DAY 18: REST DAY AT THANZA

In Thanza walk around and experience some village life or climb up the ridge for fascinating views of lakes and mountains. But as it takes time to arrange new yaks (the yaks from Laya will not go further than Thanza) you might have to spend one day at Thanza anyway.

DAY 19: THANZA – DANJI

[Distance 8 km], [three to four hours],[ 80 ascent], [camp altitude 4,230m].   From Thoencha, the trail climbs up to a large boulder from where you will have excellent views of Thanza, Toencha and Choso village and the surrounding mountains. After a few hours of relatively flat and easy walking, you …

DAY 20: DANJI – TSHOCHENA

[Distance 12 km], [5-6 hours], [880m ascent], [340m descent], [camp altitude 5,000m].   Having chosen the route to Sephu, the trek crosses the creek and after a long climb, you will reach Jaze La (5,320m) with spectacular panoramic mountain views . The path then descends between snow covered peaks and lakes to Tshochena at 5000m.

DAY 21: TSHOCHENA – CHUKARPO

[Distance 14 km],[ 4-5 hours],[ 230m ascent],[ 150m descent], [camp altitude 5,050m]. You follow the bank of the blue green lake before arriving at a ridge at 5,100m, where there is another spectacular view in all directions. After going up and down over small hills to reach a glacial lake, th…

DAY 22: CHUKARPO – THAMPE TSHO

[Distance 18 km], [five to six hours], [400m ascent], [ 80 descent], [camp altitude 4,310m].   The descent continues along the river till you reach the yak herder huts at Gala Pang Chhu (4010m). From here the trail climbs steeply towards Thampe Tsho, a beautiful clear turquoise lake, We will camp at end of the lake at 4310m.

DAY 23: THAMPE TSHO – MAUROTHANG

[Distance 14 km],[ 4-5 hours],[ 330m ascent], [1020m descent],[ camp altitude 3,610m].   From the lake you climb steeply to the last pass on your trek, the Thampe La (4,600m) with a good chance to spot some blue sheep on the way. Then the path descends to the sacred lake Om Thso.The trail finally meets the left bank of Nika Chu River. After sometime, we reach to a large open area close to the confluence a major tributary flowing from east. We will then cross a wooden bridge and walk along mixed forests to reach Maraothang (3610m), which is a wide open area with yak herder’s camp and your last night camp.

DAY 24: MAUROTHANG – SEPHU

[Distance 18 km], [ 5-6 hours], [990m descent].   On the last day of this extraordinary trek your porters will have to change from yaks to horses as the yaks will not be willing to go further down. The path follows the Nikka Chhu to reach a large grassy area overlooking the road and the villa…

DAY 25: SEPHU

 where the first hot showers is awaiting you in nearly after a month.