This is a short and easy trek through Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. The altitude of the trail covers almost a thousand meters in range but the slopes are mostly gradual and should not present hikers with much difficulty.
This hike follows the old foot trail from Thimphu to Punakha passes through several villages, forests and rice fields. It offers incredible views of Phajoding Monastery and crosses through Sinchula Pass. Hikers will also camp near Chorten Ningpo, an ancient chorten linked to Bhutan’s favourite patron saint, The Divine Madman Lam Drukpa Kuenley.
Due to the low altitude and warm climate of the area, this hike is available all winter but the best times to go are between March-May and September-November.
Day 1: Arrival into Paro
On a clear day, the flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. You will see major Himalayan peaks such as Everest, Kanchenjunga and Makalu, and then on the final approach to Paro Bhutan’s own snowy peaks, Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tserimgang will come into view. You will be received by your guide at the airport and then transferred to your hotel. Afternoon free for leisure or sightseeing, Evening visit to Paro market and town
Overnight in Paro|Altitude: 2200m
Day 2: Paro
Hike to the famous Tiger’s Nest (temple in the morning. Lunch at the cafeteria on the way back. After lunch hike back till the road and drive back to the hotel. On the way back to the hotel visit the national museum and the fortress of Paro. Evening back to hotel.
Overnight in Paro | Altitude: 2200m
Day 03: Paro-Thimphu
Visit Drukgyel Dzong ruins, Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan. Drive to Thimphu, Stopping to visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the kingdom. Check into your hotel, have lunch and then visit few places in Thimphu like National Memorial Chorten that is both a memorial to the Late King (“the father of modern Bhutan” we visit Tashichhodzong, the seat of government and summer residence of the Chief Abbot and central monk body. Evening free to take a stroll around Thimphu town
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu
Day 4: Thimphu
Full day sightseeing in Thimphu today, Visiting the National Library, Arts and crafts school, National Institute of Traditional Medicine (outside only),) and a monument to world peace, Folk Heritage, National Textile Museums and Handicrafts Emporium.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu
Day 05: Thimphu – Dopshing Pang
17km, 5-6 hours
We drive north up the valley towards Dechenchholing Palace, following the Thimphu river passing through Kabjisa village en route to Shong Pang where the trek begins.
The trek trail ascends gradually to Sinchu-la (3,200m). If the weather is clear, you can see Phajoding monastery from the pass. After walking another 2 km., you can view Thinleygang village, Talo monastery and the road to Bhutan’s former capital, Punakha. The trail descends gradually from the pass till we reach our overnight campsite at 2,800m.
Day 06: Dopshing Pang – Chorten Ningpo
18km, 6-7 hours
The trail to Chorten Ningpo descends rather gradually, passing mainly through densely forested areas. We pass through rice fields before reaching our campsite at 2,700m.
Day 07: Chorten Ningpo – Kabesa/Punakha
5km, 1 hour
The trek trail takes us through villages for an hour until we reach the motor road, where our transport will meet us to take us to Punakha. About 7 km before Punakha valley we stop to visit the Chorten Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal, situated on a hilltop across the river. This Chorten is dedicated to Bhutan’s protective deity Mahakala and contains exceptionally fine sculptures and mural paintings. It was Consecrated in Dec. 1999,
Overnight at the hotel in Punakha| Altitude: 1300m
Day 08: Punakha – Limukha
15km, 5-6 hours
Following the road to Punakha Dzong, we cross the Pho Chu (river). After walking through rice fields for about 15 minutes, we start a gradual climb through scattered chirpine forest, and after about 3 hours enter deciduous forest. Further along the trail we will also enjoy a wonderful view of Punakha valley and Dzong, and if the weather is clear we will also see some of the snow-capped mountain peaks to the north.
Overnight at Campsite near Limukha village at |Altitude: 2,250m
Day 09: Limukha – Chungsakha – Wangduephodrang
15km, 5-6 hours
Trekking thru oak and rhododendron forests, we descend gradually through thick forest to a small Lhakhang dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who used it as a winter residence in the 15th century. From Chungsakha, you can look across the valley to Samtengang. We walk downhill till we reach the road, where our transport will meet us for the 30-minute drive to Wangduephodrang.
Overnight at hotel in Wangduephodrang. Altitude: 1300m
Day 10: Wangduephodrang /Punakha – Paro
Visit Wangdue Dzong, stretched along the hilltop above the confluence of the Punakha Chu and Tang Chu rivers. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built this fortress in the 17th century. Then drive up the valley to Bhutan’s former capital, Punakha, and visit sacred Punakha Dzong. Damaged over the centuries by fire, flood and earthquake, this superb example of Bhutanese architecture has been fully restored in recent years. The Shabdrung died here, and his remains are preserved in a casket in Machen Lhakhang in the Dzong. After lunch, drive to Paro.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro. Altitude: 2200m
Day 11: Depart Paro
Drive to Paro International Airport for flight to onward destinations.