TRIP LENGTH:27 Days
LEVEL: Most difficult
SEASONS: Mid June to Mid October
Day 1: Arrive Paro
On arrival at Paro airport, received by Adventure Geo Treks representative and transfer to Thimphu. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2: Thimphu
After break fast visit Memorial Chorten, Tashichho Dzong, National Library, Art School, Traditional Medicine Institute, Handicrafts Emporium and Textile and Folk heritage Museum. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu-Punakha/Tashithang
Drive to Punakha via Dochula pass (3,100m), through magnificent forests of rhododendron and magnolia. From the pass one can have the panoramic view of eastern Himalayan peaks on the clear days. Picnic lunch at Punakha at the riverside. Enjoy the view of Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 during the time of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The Dzong is now used as the winter residence of monk body and administrative centre of the district. After lunch drive on to Tashithang following Mo Chhu River. Camp at Tashithang at the end of the road at altitudes of 1,600m.
Day 4: Tashithang-Damji
The trek starts by the riverside, following a well-made path through semi tropical forest. This part of the area is quite wet and one has to be careful of leeches. Also for flower lovers there is abundant wild orchids here. The day’s walk is fairly gentle climbing up to Damji village. Camp at Damji at an altitude of 2,250m, walking time 5/6 hours.
Day 5: Damji – Gasa
The path continues through sub-tropical forests and villages up to Gasa Tsachu (hot spring). The Tsachu is a famous place where people from all over the country come to have bath, due to its curative powers. Hot lunch will be served close to spring. After lunch two hours stiff climb to Gasa Dzong. Camp below the Dzong at an altitude of 2,900m. Walking time 6/7 hours.
Day 6: Gasa-Chamsa
After breakfast, visit the Dzong, which was built in 17th century, to protect the valley against Tibetan invaders. The path starts with stiff climb up to Bele La pass (3,700m) through bamboo, rhododendron, juniper and fir forests. Then descend for about half an hour to camp at Chamsa at an altitude of 3,650m. Walking time 6/7 hours.
Day 7: Chamsa –Laya
The trail starts by descending to the bank of Mo Chhu River. Lunch will be served at the side of the bridge, across the river. After lunch climb up gradually to Laya crossing the army camp. Overnight camp at an altitude 3,800m. Walking time 8/9 hours.
Day 8: Rest day at Laya
One can go around the villages visiting houses and the people. Laya people are friendly and will happily pose for photographs. Women of Laya wear special dress and typical bamboo hats, decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments. Cultural evening with dances performed by the local girls.
Day 9: Laya-Rhoduphu
From Laya we descend to army camp and continue following the river till the turn off point to Rhoduphu. After lunch continue the climb through rhododendron bushes till we reach the camp at attitude of 4,350m. Walking time 8/9 hours.
Day 10: Rhodophu-Tarina
Today is the longest day of the trip and we must start early. Start at 5 am by climbing to Tsimola (4,700m). After crossing the pass and the little summit, one can have superb view of Lunana, Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake.The path is flat for another 4 hours till climb to Ganglapachung pass (5080m) is started. The view from the path is breathtaking and whole range of mountains including Masanggang, Tsendegang and Teri Gang can be seen. After the path, it is a very long descent to Tarina valley. Camp at altitude 3980m. Walking time 10/11 hours.
Day 11: Tarina- Woche
The walk leads down through conifer forests following the upper ridges of the Pho Chhu. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to Woche at altitude of 3,800m, the first village scene Gasa. Camp at altitude 3,800m. Walking hours 6/7 hours.
Day 12: Woche-Lhedi
The trek starts through juniper and fir forests and further ahead through rhododendron bushes. Climb up to Keche La pass (4480m) where one can have the great view of mountains. After the pass, descend to the riverside walking through the village with a stunning view of Table Mountains and others. Follow up the river till Lhedi Village, which is one of the main sources of Pho Chhu. Camp at altitude of 3,650m.
Day 13: Lhedi-Thanza
The trek continues following the rivers and rising gradually to Choejong village. Cross the bridge to reach Thanza. Camp at altitude 4,000m. Walking time 7/8 hours.
Day 14: Rest day at Thanza
One can walk around or climb up the ridge for fascinating view of lakes and mountains.
Day 15: Thanza- Tshorim
The trek start by climbing the ridge, with great view of Table Mountain and Thanza valley below. The ridge altitude is 4,500m and it rises gradually up to 4,650m. After lunch, walk upwards the left side of the bridge enjoying the view of snow-capped mountains. Further climbing ridges, you reach the campsite of Tshorim at altitude 5,125m. Walking time 8/9 hours.
Day 16: Tshorim-Gangkar Puensum Base Camp
This is one of the highlights of the trip and day starts with a short climb to the Tshorim Lake. Walk on the side of the Lake enjoying the panoramic view of Gophula ranges. The last climb to the Gophula pass (5,230m) is very short. After the pass descend to the base camp, walking along the ridge and enjoying the great view of Gangkar Puensum. If interested, one can divert to the left side to climb up the pyramid peak for a better view or you can go down to the base camp nearby Sha Chhu at the altitude of 4,970m. Walking time 6/7 hours.
Day 17: Gangkar Puensum Base Camp
Rest day at the base camp enjoying the great view of the Gangkar Puensum which is the tallest unclimbed mountain in Bhutan.
Day 18: Gangkar Puensum Base Camp-Geshe Woma
The trek is not yet over. The trail further follows the Sha Chhu and descends gradually to Geshe Woma at an altitude of 4,200m. Walking time 6/7 hours.
Day 19: Geshe Woma – Warathang
The path continues following Sha Chhu for 2 and half hours until the stiff climb to Sakala begins. Visibility along the Sakala trail is poor so one must see top of the ridge for guidance. Lunch nearby a yak herder’s camp. After that, climb up to Sakala pass at altitude 4,800m. Later descend to the lakes and another short ascent is stunning. Scenery once again is beautiful with small lakes and the mountain peaks. Camp at altitude of 4,000m. Walking time 8/9 hours.
Day 20: Warathang –Dur Tsachu
A short half hour climb leads to Julila pass (4,400m). After the pass, descend to the riverside through dense rhododendron, juniper and conifer forests. After the bridge a short climb leads to Dur Tsachu hot spring where Guru Padmasambhava is supposed to have taken bath in 8th hot spring. Walking time 5 hours.
Day 21: Dur Tsachu – Tshochenchen
From the spring, it is a long and steady climb again with great views of mountains in Lunana. You also come across the blue lakes and yak herder’s camp at an altitude 3,850m. Walking time 8/9 hours.
Day 22: Tshochenchen- Dur-Bumthang (Jakar)
This is the last day of the trek where you change from yaks to pack ponies. The path follows the Chamkhar Chhu, descending gradually wit few climbs. The trek ends here when you arrive at Dur village where White Lake transport will pick you up and drive to the lodge in Bumthang (Jakar).
Day 23: Bumthang
Bumthang valley is the centre for cultural wealth. The hills around valley are filled with monasteries dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava. Also it is home to one of the great Buddhist teachers, Pemalingpa, to whose descendants the present dynasty traces its origin. Explore valley visiting, Jakar Dzong, Kurjey Lhakhang, Jambay Lhakhang and Tamshing Lhakhang. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 24: Bumthang -Trongsa
The crown Prince of Bhutan traditionally becomes Penlop (governor) of Trongsa prior to crowned as King. Trongsa Dzong, built in 1648 is the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture, which has been traditional home for all four Kings of Bhutan before they crowned as King. Standing above this fortress is Ta Dzong, which once guarded this place from internal rebellion and provides visitor more insight into historical significance of Trongsa in Bhutan’s history. Overnight at the lodge in Trongsa.
Day 25: Trongsa- Paro
After breakfast drive to Paro. Evening at leisure or visit traditional farmhouse. Overnight the hotel in Paro.
Day 26: Paro
Full day sightseeing in Paro valley, visiting Drukgyal Dzong, Ta Dzong (National Museum), Rinpung Dzong and Kichu Lhakhang. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 27: Paro Depart
After early breakfast in the hotel, drive to Paro airport for onward journey.