8 Days Hiking Itinerary

LAND OF MONARCHY TOUR: 08 DAYS HIKING ITINERARY

This popular Bhutan hiking tour provides an in-depth hiking that still thrives in Bhutan today through the western valleys and hills like Paro, Thimphu and Punakha. It is a well-paced tour, designed to provide the opportunity to to carryout hiking through the western districts which offer diverse mountainous landscapes and a rich Buddhist heritage including monasteries, temples and chortens, historical fortresses. You will discover the vibrant history of Bhutan visiting the Ta Dzong Museum, Rinpung Dzong with its wooden cantilevered bridge and the infamous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) in the beautiful Paro Valley. In Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, you will hike to Cheri and Tango. At Dochula Pass with its 108 chortens, numerous prayer flags and spectacular Himalayan views into the sub-tropical with Lungchutse hike. In Punakha hike to Khamsum chorten. Punakha Dzong and Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the ‘Divine Madman’.

OVER VIEW

DAY 01: PARO

DAY 02: PARO

DAY 03: THIMPHU

DAY 04: PUNAKHA

DAY 06: PARO

DAY 07: PARO

DAY 08: DEPART

DAY 01: Arrive ParoCheck in hotel and visit 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. Then visit Weekend market and watch archery match in the evening.

Farm House (traditional village house); the beauty of Paro valley is embellished by cluster of quaint farm houses. Bhutanese farm houses are very colorful, decorative and traditionally built without the use of single nail. All houses follow the same architectural pattern. A visit to Farm House is very interesting and offers a good glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer.

DAY 02: Paro- Hike to Chumophug: From Paro town, it is about 45 minutes drive on the farm road, on side valley, following Dochu river, which flows into Pachu. From the road head, it is about 3 hrs trek through dense oak, conifer and bamboo forests. First two hours hike is a gentle gradual ascend, crossing rivers few times well maintained small wooden bridges. The final 45 minutes trek is a steep ascend to reach the main temple. Along the way, one can make de-tour, visiting caves and waterfalls.

Chumphug is situated at about 3100m above sea level on a steep mountain slope. It is one of the most sacred pilgrimage places in the Himalayas. With its towering cliffs and waterfalls, it revered as a Second Pemako, in reference to Padmasambhava’s "Hidden Land", situated along Tsangpo gorge in remote part of Aurunachal Pradesh.

Guru Padmasabhava is said to have mediated in Chumophug for about 3 months in 8th century. There are numerous caves associated with Guru. Many important Buddhist masters is said to have followed the footsteps of Guru and mediated here. Among other, many Bhutanese teachers such as Terton Drukdra Dorji, Jey Shakya Rinchen, Jey Yonten Thaye, Jey Kuenga Gyeltsen is said to have spent time here. The main relic in the temple is self-arisen image of Vajravarahi or Dorji Phagmo, a form of Varja Yogini, the highest female tutelary deity in Himalayan Buddhism. There are lots of unusual shaped rocks and imprint of Guru Rimpoche in the area.

DAY 03:  Paro to Thimphu (65 km-1½ Hours). Upon arrival check in hotel and

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: 400meters

Difficulty Level: Medium

In 1627 the first Buddhist Monastic School for Bhutan was started by Shabdrung 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, Oak 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, visitto 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.

Day 04: 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:   1hour 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  of Bhutan which houses some rich Buddhist collections.

Night View of Punakha Dzong

Day 05: Punakha to Thimphu (70 km -3 hours) After breakfast you will drive back to Thimphu, but on the way at Dochula make hike for 3 hours.

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.

At Thimphu Hike to Wangditse (1-2 hours) Sangaygang Cross Country Hike or Wangditse Hike It starts from Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) tower and ends at Dechenphodrang, through Pine forest. It is a very easy hike and it takes about 2 hours. Through this hike we can see Thimphu valley & Tashichho Dzong so beautifully.

Day 06: Thimphu to Paro (65 km—1 and half hours) In the morning hours make hike to Phajoding and drive to Paro by the evening.

Phajoding Hike: It is a 5 km walk uphill from the youth centre in Motithang to Phajoding Goemba (3640 m), a large monastic complex with 10 lhakhangs and 15 monastic residences, many of them used for extended meditation retreats. It was founded in the 13th century by Togden Pajo, a yogi from Tibet, who was searching for a place of meditation. Most of the buildings were constructed in 1748 through the efforts of Shakya Rinchen, the ninth Je Khenpo, whose image is the central figure in the main Khangzang Lhakhang. The monastic school is housed in the Jampa Lhakhang and offers a more scheduled environment than the Dechen Phodrang School in Thimphu. From Phajoding you can ascend another 3000 m to Thujidrag Goemba. This is the last day of the Druk Path Trek in reverse.

Night View of Paro Dzong

Day 07: 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. The cave was named Taktshang after Guru Rinpoche flew into the cave from Kurtoe Singye Dzong in eastern Bhutan riding on a tigress

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 08: Paro-Departure

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