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Druk Path Trek

9 Nights 10 Days

Druk Path Trek

$2700 per person

For generations the Druk Path was an important trading link between Paro and Thimphu, crossing the chain of remote mountains that separates the two valleys.  The trail goes as high as 4100m and in clear weather the panoramic views of the Himalaya are breathtaking throughout.

Destinations

Thimphu, Paro

Duration

10 Days

Arival/Departure Location

Paro International Airport. Paro, Bhutan

Departure Time

Please arrive at least 2 hours before the flight.

Include

  • 5 nights in high altitude luxury tent accommodation.
  • Three meals a day, freshly cooked by our expert camp cook.
  • Experienced English speaking Bhutanese cultural & Trekking guide
  • Complimentary Wireless internet at lodges that have the facility
  • Airport Transfers
  • Internal transfers as per itinerary
  • Full camp hauling
  • All Bhutanese Government visa and royalty fees, service charge and sales tax
  • All museum and visitor centre entry fees and special permits
  • Bottled drinking water in your hotel rooms as well as in the vehicles

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance against medical and personal accident risks (including repatriation costs, air ambulance and helicopter rescue services), as well as cancellation insurance. Please ensure that your policy provides a sufficient level of protection and covers you for the activities involved in this package.  You must carry proof of insurance (e.g. your insurance certificate) with you in Bhutan.

Note*: This itinerary is intended as a guide only.  Routes and weather conditions may mean variations to the program which may affect the availability of views and panoramas described.  Please be aware that all times stated are approximate, and may vary with individual group fitness and interest levels.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise us in advance.

Related Tours

  • Included
    Druk Path Trek
    Entry Fees for Parks and Monuments
    Dedicated English Speaking Guide
    Travel Insurance
  • Not Included
    Domestic Flight
    Visa and permit processing
    Processing and purchase of Bhutanese visitor pass
    Land transfers in private vehicle
    Airport transfers
    Flights To and From Bhutan
    Tips for Guides and Drivers
    Dedicated tour vehicle and driver
    3 Meals a Day (B/L/D)
    3 Star Accomodation (twin sharing)
    Government Royalty and Taxes
    5 Star Accommodation
1
Day 1: Paro the valley of un-surpassing beauty
Arrival, check-in, show around the property Elevation Paro: 2250m

Transfer for the flight by Druk Air, Bhutan's national airline, to Paro, the country's only airstrip. Flying in on Druk Air, the National Airline of Bhutan, you have a spectacular raven’s-eye view of the great Himalayan peaks to catch your first glimpse of Bhutan. Descending into the beautiful Paro valley at 2250m, you will land in the beautifully crafted traditional airport.  Your journey, rare in time, place and spirit has begun. NAT staff will welcome you at the airport to transfer to your hotel for the evening.

Today provides an opportunity to acclimatize to the rarefied air at this 2250m altitude and to get to know your guide.

Sightseeing and acclimatization hikes for the rest of the day may include:

Ta Dzong- National Museum: Ta Dzong built in 1951 was once the watch tower for the defense of Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century.  It was re-established as the National Museum in 1967 and has been rated among the best natural history museums in Asia.  It holds a fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings, handicrafts, masks, costumes, armor and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps.  The museum’s circular shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors.  The visit will provide an insight into the rich and unique cultural heritage and tradition of Bhutan. Afterwards, descend upon Rinpung (Paro) Dzong also known as “Fortress on a Heap of Jewels”. 

Rinpung Dzong: Meaning Fortress on a Heap of Jewels was built in 1646 AD by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal mainly for defense purpose against frequent incursions.  Historically, it was an important administrative centre and the seat of many feudal lords and penlops.  Today it houses the administrative offices which include the legislative, executive, judicial and religious centre for the people of Paro.

Paro’s Market & Town Square: Paro's market isn't very large but it has a more traditional feel than Thimphu's weekend market and is a fine introduction to some of Bhutan's unique local products. You'll see strings of chugo (dried yak cheese), either white (boiled in milk and dried in the sun) or brown (smoked). The fruit that looks like an orange egg is actually fresh husky betel nut, imported from India. The jars of pink paste contain lime, which is ingested with the betel nut. There are also exotic-looking ferns, powdered juniper incense, squares of dried jellied cow skin known as khoo (a local snack!) and slabs of datse, the cheese used in almost every Bhutanese dish.

Weekend Archery: It’s not just sport but its celebration of the way of life and an expression of Bhutan’s rich culture and heritage, because when Bhutanese play archery it's not just archery - the players also have to participate in singing and dancing. Family members also join in, so it's a kind of a social event. Apart from the grand festivity complete with traditional attire, it is probably the only sport, where players are allowed to drink! Traditional archery wouldn't be complete without a lot of indulging in eating and of course drinking. This is something which has been passed down generations and it is still continued!

2
Day 2: Hike to Tiger’s Nest (Taksang Monastery)
  • Walking distance       : approximately 4-5 hrs
  • Difficulty                 : Moderate-Strenuous
Although not an ordeal, the climb is demanding.

Today we hike toward one of Bhutan’s most sacred places—the site of a Cliffside monastery and an important pilgrimage destination. Partly damaged by fire in 1998, the Taksang (meaning Tiger’s Nest) Monastery was built atop the cave where Guru Rimpoche, the father of Mahayana Buddhism, meditated for three months after arriving in the Paro Valley on the back of a legendary tigress. You’re likely to see locals displaying handicrafts for sale along the route to the monastery—evidence of individual enterprise rarely seen until the past few years.

The trail rises slowly above the valley, passing through fields, forests and by large prayer wheels turned by a stream. We continue hiking across an open meadow and up a steep trail to a ridge where prayer flags rustle in the wind. Just beyond is the Taktsang teahouse, at 9,200 feet, where we stop to enjoy a hot drink and striking views of the monastery across the valley. The scene is straight out of National Geographic, and it’s only when a local’s cell phone goes off that you realize it’s the 21st century!

We then retrace our steps for the descent. Back at the base of this rewarding pilgrimage, we board the car and drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1644 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to control the northern route to Tibet. The drive is picturesque, and the site of ancient, now ruined dzong is magnificent.  From here, it is only a two-day hike to the border with Tibet, dominated by the sacred Mt Jhomolhari.

3
Day 3: National Museum to Camp Jele Dzong (Trek Day 1)
  • 2360m-2915m-3400m
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
  • Overnight: Fully equipped luxury camp
  • Full board basis

The trek begins above the National Museum. Today’s trek climbs non-stop for over 1065m, before dropping down over 80m to camp. The trek trail winds its way steeply through blue pine forest and around several farmhouses and fenced apple orchards.  After an hour of steady climbing you will have nice views over the Paro valley.  Above the camp is Jele la (3,400m) and Jele Dzong that is mostly in ruins.  Walk through beautiful mixed forest till you reach Jele Dzong. This is a large monastery and contains a huge statue of Padma Sambhava. There are birds nesting in the arrow slits and old Mongol helmets and shields hanging on the walls. The building was until very recently deserted, but has now undergone some renovation and is in use again for monastic school.  It sits astride a ridge, which affords dramatic views of the valleys on both sides and the Himalaya to the north. The second highest mountain in Bhutan can be seen, Mt. Jhomolhari, 7,314m/23,997ft. The camp site is just a few hundred feet below Jili Dzong in a clearing. There are plenty of interesting birds, flora and fauna throughout the day.

4
Day 4: Jele Dzong to Camp Jangchu Lakha (Trek Day 2)
  • 3480m-3780m
  • Duration: 3-4hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
  • Overnight: Fully equipped luxury Camp
  • Full board basis

The altitude gain today is significant so it is recommended that you walk at a slow and steady pace. Walk through forest of pine before climbing to reach a yak herder’s pasture at Jangchu Lakha (3780m) with great views of the Himalayan range.

5
Day 5: Camp Jangchu Lakha to Camp Jimilangtsho (Trek Day 3)
  • 3780m-3870m
  • Duration: 5-6hours
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Overnight: Fully equipped luxury Camp
  • Full board basis

The trail today follows the ridge and on a clear day the views of the mountains and valleys are sensational. Lovely walk to the large beautiful lake, stocked with trout, with a large chorten (religious obelisk) built at one end. En route we cross a series of small passes in the vicinity of 4050m with each marked by a stone memorial and an abundance of prayer flags. From our lunch spot we can appreciate the location of our campsite on the shores of the Jimilang Tsho. To reach the lake involves a log and gradual descent taking an hour & then we will reach at our wonderful campsite.

6
Day 6: Camp Jimilangtsho to camp Simkotra Tsho (Trek Day 4)
  • 3870m-4110m
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
  • Overnight: Fully equipped luxury Camp/Two persons tent
  • Full board basis

From the lake the trail ascends through wild forest before traversing a series of grazing meadows. It takes around three hours to reach the secluded encampment of Janye Tsho (3950m) and a fine place for a break. Thereafter the profile of the trail continues with short ascents and descents to reach the campsite above Simkota Tsho (4050m). From the campsite you can appreciate Jilli Dzong and the ridge-line you trekked along a few days earlier

7
Day 7: Camp Simkotra Tsho to Phajoding (Trek Day 5)
  • 4110m-3870m
  • Duration: 5-6 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
  • Overnight: Fully equipped luxury camp/2 persons tent
  •  Full Board basis

On our final day along the ridges we head over a series of small passes leading towards the Thimphu valley. En route we pass a number of yak herders settlements and alpine lakes before reaching the Phume La (4200m) from where we appreciate the vast sprawl of the Thimphu Valley. We continue our descent to a campsite near Phajoding Goemba (3650m). This is a beautiful Buddhist monastery and an important pilgrimage site for the Bhutanese people

8
Day 8: Phajoding – Thimphu (Trek Day 6)
  • 3870m-2400m
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

From Phajoding the trail descends steeply, passing through mixed forest for a couple of hours before following the valley floor to the Youth centre (2580m). From the road head, we drive to our hotel in Thimphu.  In the evening, you have time to roam the streets of Thimphu, the Bhutan’s capital and largest city. By western standards and compared to other Bhutanese centers of commerce, Thimphu is the only center that rates being called a city. There are no traffic lights here—one was installed and quickly removed after citizens complained--but there are two traffic huts in the center of the main road that provide shade for white-gloved policemen who wave their arms in slow motion. Small shops line the street, mostly catering to the locals. There are a few ―tourist shops but you must seek them out. To make the most of your free time, feel free to ask a guide or driver to accompany you.

9
Day 9: Thimphu

Let’s hike to the giant Buddha that towers above the Wang Chhu. At 169‟ feet, it is one of the largest Buddha statues in the world and houses an astonishing 100,000 smaller Buddhas inside. Buddha’s place is a major pilgrimage center and a focal point for Buddhists from all over the world to get together, practice and meditate.

The massive Buddha fulfills an ancient prophecy dating back to the 8th century A.D that was discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer) and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world.

There are numerous long and short, easy & hard hiking trails around the Buddha through beautiful meadows, pine trees and rhododendron bushes with even more beautiful birds singing overhead.

Takin Preserve: Takins are the resident animals of Bhutan and looks like a smaller version of the American Buffalo of yore.  The takin is a cross between a Goat and a cow! The preserve is a beautiful area, not like a zoo at all...peaceful, green and lovely.

Sightseeing in Thimphu may include:
  • Check out the archery field for competition and practice
  • Thimphu’s colorful weekend market
  • Craft Baazar
  • World’s tallest Buddha
10
Day 10: Departure

Alas, all good things must come to an end and our time in Bhutan is over.  After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our departure flight.  We hope you have enjoyed your visit, have found it rewarding, and leave with new found understanding.

Tashi Delek !