Punakha Winter Trek

Day 1: Arrive Paro

The flight to Paro on a clear day is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. On can see Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and other peaks in Bhutan such as Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsering gang. Received by Bhutan Travelers representative and transfer to the hotel. Evening take a stroll around Paro market. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 2: Paro Sightseeing

In the morning, you will visit the Drugyal Dzong (Bhutan Victory Fort), which was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Tibetan in 1600s. On a clear day you can see the captivating view Mount Jumolhari, Bhutan’s second-highest mountain at 7,314meters. Then you will hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery. It is perched precariously on the edge of a steep cliff 900m above Paro Valley floor. Visit the Monastery and hike back to Paro. In the evening visit a traditional farm house which offers opportunity to mingle with local people and their life style. If you wish, you can have a traditional Bhutanese dinner with “ara”, a local wine produced by a brewery of wheat or rice. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 3: Paro – Thimphu

Drive to Thimphu takes about 2 hours with a distance of 65Km. Check in at Hotel. After some rest, visit the following places: Memorial Chorten (a huge stupa) built in memory of the third King who reigned the Kingdom from 1952 – 1972. The National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. Visit Tashichho Dzong. This is the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the government ministries, office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and senior monks. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 4: Thimphu Sightseeing

Visit Simtokha Dzong. This is one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan, which was built in 1629 A.D by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Visit the woodcraft and painting school where traditional art and crafts are still kept alive. Visit the handicrafts emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts are displayed and can be purchased. After lunch drive 14 km to north of Thimphu to visit Tango Cheri Monastery. Early evening will be left free to stroll around Thimphu valley and its town. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 5: Thimphu – Shong Pang (Trek starts)

Drive north up the valley towards Dechencholing (the residence of the Queen Mother) Palace, following the Thimchu. The transport will reach you up to Pangrizam, the last motor point. From here, the trek starts towards Shong Pang, which takes about 4/5 hours through villages. The camp will be just above Chamina village.

Day 6: Shong Pang – Dopshing Pang

The trek trail ascends gradually up till you reach the pass called Sinchula which is about 3,490m. From this point, if the weather is clear, one can see Phajodhing Monastery, which is just above Thimphu. After 2 Km walk, you can view Thinly Gang village, Talo Monastery and the motor highway towards the ancient capital of Bhutan. The trek from the pass is more or less downhill till you reach the campsite.

Day 7: Dopshing Pang – Chorten Ningpo

The trek to Chorten Ningpo is rather gradual and will be walking through thick forests, villages and rice fields. The campsite is at an alt. of 2,700 m.

Day 8: Chorten Ningpo – Zomlingthang

For about 2-3 hours, the trek trail will be through several villages until you reach a motor road. From the motor road, you will follow the road towards Punakha, which is the ancient capital of Bhutan.

Day 9: Zomlingthang – Limukha

Follow the motor road till Punakha Dzong and then cross the Pochu River (Male River), the river that drains the remote Lunana region. You will have a steady half-day climb into a forest of scattered long needle Chir Pines. Make sure to fill your water bottle before leaving Punakha, as there is no water on the way for a couple of hours. You will have a wonderful view of Punakha valley and the Dzong. If the weather is clear, you can see some snow peaked mountains to the north. The campsite is near Limukha village, alt. 2,250m.

Day 10: Limukha – Chungsakha/Wangdue (Trek ends)

The trek trail ascends gradually up through the thick forest of oak species and rhododendrons till you reach a pass called Dochula. Then descend through the thick forest leading to a small monastery dedicated to a lama called Drukpa Kuenlay (popularly known as the Divine Madman). From Chungsakha you can look across the valley to Samtengang on the ridge to the south. Walk down hill till you reach the motor road and then drive for about half an hour to Wangdiphodrang. Overnight at the hotel in Wangdue.

Day 11: Wangdiphodrang – Thimphu

After breakfast, drive to Punakha Dzong viewpoint at the north end of the Punakha Valley. The Punakha Dzong lies between two rivers known as Pochu and Mochu, which mean ‘Male River and Female River’. It houses the District Administration office and the winter residence of the State Monastic Body and its Chief Abbot. Drive up to Dochula pass and stop for a hot cup of tea and some snacks. Continue to drive down to Thimphu. Evening: guests can either rest in the hotel or stroll in the town.

Day 12: Thimphu – Paro and depart

Be seen off by the representative of Bhutan Travelers.