6 Days Hiking Itinerary

THE BACKBONE OF BHUTAN TOUR: 06 DAYS HIKING ITINERARY

This 6 days tour will take you through the places of 3 Districts. The Western valleys of Bhutan is an ideal introduction to the Dragon Kingdom. Experience Bhutanese hospitality, admire the ever-changing landscapes, and immerse yourself in Bhutan’s rich Buddhist culture. Highlights include Ta Dzong Museum, Rinpung Dzong with its wooden cantilevered bridge and the infamous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) in the beautiful Paro Valley. After crossing the 3050m Dochula Pass with spectacular Himalayan views, a journey into the sub-tropical Punakha Valley featuring the incredible Punakha Dzong and Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the ‘Divine Madman’. Ike to Khamsum chorten and Lungchuste hike are included as well.

OVERVIEW

DAY 01:  PARO
DAY 02: THIMPHU
DAY 03: PUNAKHA
DAY 04: PARO
DAY 05: PARO
DAY 06: DEPART

DAY 01: Arrive Paro. Check in hotel and Paro Dzong built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, perhaps the finest example of Bhutanese architecture as well as a local religious administrative Centre. Next visit Paro Museum an ancient watchtower housing the National Museum, with abundant culture relics.

DAY 02: Paro to Thimphu (65 km-1½Hours) Today you will drive to Thimphu and make hike to Tango and Cheri monastery: The road head at Dodayna is about 30 minutes’ drive from Thimphu city. 

Cheri Monastery & Tango Monastery

Distance:  1 hours approximately for each.

Altitudes: 2800 meters

Elevation Gain: 400 meters

Difficulty Level: Medium

In 1627 the first Buddhist Monastic School for Bhutan was started by Zhabdrung in Cheri, which to these days has become a Meditation centre for higher level Buddhist studies. The Monastery buildings are old and still contains many sacred relic from past. Definitely, visit to this place is more purifying and refreshing. From the road head at Dodayna it will take about 40 minutes hike to reach Cheri Monastery. The trail leaves Dodayna bride and gently goes up through woods of blue pine, Oke trees and with lots of Rhododendron under growth.

After coming back to Dodayna Bridge from Cheri yet you still have Tango hike which is even more satisfying and spiritual. The hike to Tango can take about another 40 minutes and goes gently uphill through alpine woods. Tango is the highest level of Buddhist studies in Bhutan. The qualification after you finish Tango is equivalent to Master’s Degree in Academy studies. Tango is also the seat of our renowned Buddhist Master known as Gyelse Tenzin Rabgay. The young reincarnation of the master still resides at Tango. We also have many other young reincarnated masters studying there.

On return at Thimphu, visit to Tashi chhodzong “fortress of the glorious religion” was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s.  Tashi chhodzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body.

Buddha Point the tallest statue of Buddha and could get a superb view of Thimphu Valley   Memorial Stupa built in 1974 in the memory of Bhutan‘s third King. Chorten literally means ‘Seat of Faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments, the ‘Mind of Buddha.   

DAY 03: Thimphu to Punakha (70 km-3 Hours).Today after breakfast you will drive to Punakha (1300m/4265ft) the former capital of Bhutan. On the way after 45 minutes’ drive from Thimphu will reach at highest pass between Thimphu and Punakha the place called Dochula pass (3140m) where you can have a superb view of the Eastern Himalayas on clear day.

Proceed to Chhimi Lhakhang a temple dedicated to the Devine Madman and a sacred place where people pray for children. Upon arrival check in hotel and make hike to Khamsum chorten hike

 

Distance:   1 hour approximately.

Altitudes:  1500 meters

Elevation Gain: 200 meters

Difficulty Level: Easy

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal stands majestically on a strategic ridge above the Punakha valley. Built over a period of 9 years, Bhutanese craftsmen including carpenters, painters, and sculptors consulted Holy Scriptures rather than engineering manuals, to construct this 4-storey temple.

It is a splendid example of Bhutan’s fine architectural and artistic traditions and the only one of its kind in the world. Built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, this temple is dedicated for the well-being of the kingdom and in particular he long life of our beloved King. A 30-minute drive from the Punakha Dzong will bring you to the base of the hill on which this temple is built. From the car park, you have to cross a suspension bridge and walk through rice fields before you start climbing a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees. It takes about 1 hour from the car park to hike up to the temple, and 30 minutes to hike down. During the summer, the walk could be a bit muddy, so be prepared. A hiking pole is recommended.

The best view of Punakha is enjoyed from the top of this temple. If the caretaker is convinced that you will not take pictures inside the temple, and only shoot out of the temple, you will be allowed to take your cameras. On the top floor, you can step outside. Enjoy the view. 

On return visit Punakha Dzong a very beautiful Bhutanese architecture armed by the Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River) rivers, built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the unifier of Bhutan which houses some rich Buddhist collections.

Day 04: Punakha to Paro via Thimphu (125 km-4 hours) Afterbreakfast you will drive back to Paro, but on the way at Dochula make hike for 3 hours for both the ways.

Lungchutse Hiking Trail (3.5 Kms) which is about 2 hours travel time (one way). The highest point on the trail is about 3569 meters above sea level. You will trek from Dochula Pass, climb towards the Lungchutse Lhakhang (highest point on the trail) and then descend towards Yusipang via the Tashigang Gonpa covering 9.2 kms.  From Lungchutse one could see the spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari, Gang Bum, Gangchen Tag, Masagang, Tsenda Gang, Teri Gang, Table Mountain, Hinglae La, Gangkar Puensum and Dagala to mention few.

The trail mostly passes through conifer forest with rhododendron, juniper, hemlock, birch etc.

Day 05: Paro- Hike to Taktsang (Distance 3-4 Hours walk). Today, you will hike to Taktshang, Tiger’s Nest. “Trip to Bhutan is never complete without climbing to Taktsang”, says one tourist. Indeed it’s true as the journey there fills you with spiritual bliss. Taktsang monastery is located on a top 800 meter cliff in Paro. Taktshang or the Tigers lair as the monastery is widely regarded as one of the most important in Bhutan. Its history is associated with the visit of Guru Padmasambhava, the Indian saint who came to Bhutan in the 8th century AD. The cave was named Taktshang after Guru Rinpoche flew into the cave from Kurtoe Singye Dzong in eastern Bhutan riding on a tigress. Later in 1692 the fourth Druk Desi Tenzin Rabgye started to construct monastery and finally completed after three years in 1694.

Kichu lhakhang one of the oldest temples to have been built in Bhutan by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century AD

Day 06: Departure

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