Itinerary Details

Most itineraries begin upon arrival at the destination airport. Bhutan is an exception, since the flight to Paro is a highlight on its own, as the plane crosses the Himalayan Mountains, offering spectacular views of renowned peaks, including Jumolhari and Jichu Drake in Bhutan.

Once you reach the picturesque and unusually small airport of Paro, you will be welcomed by a Rahhalah representative, and you will be transferred to the hotel.

In the afternoon, you will head to Paro Dzong, built in 1646 for fortification purposes. Today, it houses government offices and religious institutions, as is the fate of all old Dzong (forts).

You will also visit the National Museum, formerly the watchtower of the Dzong, which hosts a beautiful collection of artifacts, paintings, thankas, statues, and antiques that will shed some light into the Bhutanese culture. Your day will finish at Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country, and Drukgyel Dzong, before returning to Paro to stroll through its streets. Paro is a small, provincial town with colorful buildings, limited traffic, singular stores, and a relaxing ambience; and, yet, it is the second most important city of the country, home to the only international airport of Bhutan.

Accommodation: Tenzinling Luxury Villa Tent (or similar) in Paro.

The first day is a tough day as you have to climb more than 1,000m elevation. You start from the Ta Dzong (National Museum) in Paro. The trek follows a gravel road past a few farms for about 30 minutes and then climbs up a steep ridge before leading through blue pine and fir forests to Damche Gom. Once you reach the ridge below Jili Dzong you descend about 100m to the campsite.

Hiking details:
Distance: 7 km
Hiking time: approx. 4-5 hrs.
Altitude change: 1,090m ascent; 100m descent.

Overnight: in camp (3,480m altitude).

You will start the day with a steep climb for about 1.5 hours, and then you will continue to ascend on a milder slope. The trail takes you through thick alpine forest and dwarf rhododendron trees, while you may encounter yaks and yak herders around the campsite.

Hiking details:
Distance: 10 km.
Hiking time: approx. 4-5hours.
Altitude change: 310m ascent; 50m descent.

Overnight: in camp (3,770 m altitude).

The trail follows the ridge, offering, on a clear day, beautiful views of the mountains and the valley. Early in the afternoon, you will reach the campsite close to Jimilang Tsho Lake, known for its giant-sized trout.

Distance: 11 km.
Hiking time: approx. 4-5 hours.
Altitude change: 230m descent; 330m ascent.

Overnight: in camp (3,870 m altitude).

The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees and the Janetso Lake. On the way, you may come across some yak herders’ camps where you will have the opportunity to get a glimpse of nomadic life on the Bhutanese mountains. Early in the afternoon, you will reach the campsite, pitched close to Simkotra Tsho Lake.

Hiking details:
Distance: 11 km.
Hiking time: approx. 4-5 hours.
Altitude change: 820m ascent; 400 m descent.

Overnight: in camp (4.110 m altitude).

Today’s trek begins with a gradual climb. Weather permitting, you will enjoy spectacular views of Mount Gangkar Puensum, the highest mountain in Bhutan, and other Himalayan peaks. Once you pass, though, the Phajoding monastery, the remaining path to Thimphu (Mothitang) is downhill, walking through a forested area of blue pine. At a leisurely pace, this last part of the route takes around three hours until the end of the trail, where you will meet your driver to head to the hotel.

On your way to the hotel, you will stop for a visit at the Takin reserve. Takin is a large, Himalayan goat and the national animal of Bhutan.

Hiking details:
Distance: 14 km.
Hiking time: approx. 6-8 hours.

Accommodation: Pema by the Realm (or similar) in Thimphu.

In Thimphu, you will visit the statue of Buddha Dordenmawhich which is located on the top of a hill in the Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and overlooks the Southern entrance to the Thimphu Valley. It fulfils an ancient prophecy that dates to the 8thc. A.D and was discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer). As a result, it is said that it emanates an aura of peace and happiness towards the whole world.

Afterwards, you will head towards the Dochula Pass. On the way, you will see the fort of Simtokha Dzong: the first of its kind in Bhutan, built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who unified Bhutan. Besides being a religious and historical monument, it also houses the premier Institute of Language and Cultural Studies for both monks and lay people.

Dochula Pass (elevation of 3100m) is located on the road to Punakha from Thimphu and is popular among the tourists because it offers stunning, 360-degree panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain range. The landscape is especially scenic on the clear winter days with the snow-capped mountains forming a majestic background to the 108 chortens (Buddhist shrines) that adorn the mountain pass. The place is also known as Druk Wangyal, a spiritual destination for both locals and visitors.

You will then visit Punakha Dzong-Punakha Dzongkhag which has been inextricably linked with momentous occasions in the Bhutanese history. It served as the capital of the country from 1637 to 1907, and the first national assembly was hosted there in 1953. Punakha Dzong is not only the second oldest and second largest dzong but also has one of the most imposing structures in the country

Optional:
You may choose to add a rafting adventure to your itinerary. Only a few rivers are available for rafting in Bhutan based on their safe course and easy access. Pho Chu, with its approx. 16 km course and fifteen, Class II-IV rapids, is the most popular river for rafting in the country, followed by Mo Chu River that boasts a 10-Km course and 10 rapids (2 - 2+ class).
(The rafting activity is not included in the price. Cost per boat is approx. 180 USD; the final cost per person will be determined based on the size of the group. Please inform the guide in advance if you would like to add the rafting activity to your itinerary).

Accommodation: Dhensa Boutique Resort (or similar) in Punakha.

After breakfast, you will depart for an early morning visit to Chimmilkahang, known to the English-speaking world as The Fertility Temple. It is a Buddhist monastery in the Punakha District, idyllically placed on a round hill. The temple was built over half a millennium ago by Ngawang Choegyel, the 14th Drukpa hierarch. The stupa – a meditation hall – was constructed by the “Divine Madman,” the eccentric Yogi and saint Drukpa Kunley, who blessed the entire land. The monastery is famous throughout Bhutan as a fertility-inducing magnet, pledging that all who wish to conceive will find guidance at the temple. Thousands each year flood to the site in hope of having a child, as well as receiving a wang (a blessing) from the saint with the ‘magic thunderbolt of wisdom’. You will be amazed to hear the real-life stories of many tourists who visited the temple and, afterwards, were blessed with a baby.

Afterwards, you will visit Rinchengang: a village famous for being very tightly built, allowing extremely narrow spaces among the houses, barely enough for someone to walk through. Rinchengang is located opposite to the Wangdi Phodrang Dzong, near Punatsangchhu River that runs along the highway. The topography of the village, with its arrays of traditional houses clustered neatly on a tiny hillock overlooking the imposing Wangdi Phodrang Dzong, adds to the place’s allure. It is among Bhutan’s oldest villages dating to 16th century.

After lunch (which may take place in Wangdue or Thimphu), you will head back to Paro. There, you will enjoy the evening exploring the town at your own pace.

Accommodation: Tenzinling Luxury Villa Tent (or similar) in Paro.

After an early breakfast, you will drive to the starting point of the hike to Taktsang, the famous cliff hermitage also known as the “Tiger’s Nest”.

Today’s hike is not only historically and culturally interesting, but also incredibly scenic. This monastic retreat is built into a sheer cliff face high above the Paro valley. Legend has it that the Tibetan Buddhist saint Padmasambhava flew across the Himalayas on the back of a tiger and landed there, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest and occasional groves of fluttering prayer flags.

Hiking details:
Distance: 12 km.
Hiking time: approx. 5-7 hours.
Altitude change: 2950m ascent; 2200 m descent.

Accommodation: Tenzinling Luxury Villa Tent (or similar) in Paro.

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home.