This trek gifts you with great variety of Bhutanese landscapes and is without doubt one of the most beautiful and unspoiled trekking areas in the entire Himalayas. The trek begins at Drugyal dzong passing through beautiful villages, scattered hamlets and farmland. We find different vegetation from richly forested valley to high alpine pastureland where Yak herders graze their animals. Trout fishing in sky blue lake with magnificent views of three majestic peaks is one of the activities, which can be done on a rest day. You will also encounter rare species like the blue sheep & snow leopard.
The Bhutan Himalayas offer great opportunities for trekking. Treks can range from a merry jaunt or a day’s outing to the arduous 27-day “Snowman Trek” that will test even the stamina and prowess of the seasoned trekker. The land offers scenic beauty with its splendid lofty mountains and deep valleys undisturbed by modernization. Nature unfolds in all its glory and charm when you venture out into the country with your sights set on that distant mountain peak. Away from the bustle of towns and cities, the trail will take the trekker through densely wooded slopes abounding in magnolia, pine, juniper and rhododendron trees to verdant high meadows carpeted with alpine flowers, which come to life with a riot of colors in the spring. The days will be free of care as you amble over the sun-drenched hills and dales, reveling in the sheer joy of being alive and a part of the pristine natural environs that makes it seem as if every new day is the first. And there is no more heartwarming sight as the dusk descends. You approach the camp site and see in the distance the glimmer of cooking fires where the advance party eagerly awaits your arrival with a welcoming feast.
Trekking in the Bhutan Himalayas can be a truly rewarding experience and Himalayan Holidays with its team of trained and trusted Sherpa staffs from Nepal and backed by the local Bhutanese staffs in their “Go” or traditional attire, offer treks listed below to choose from. Trekking permits are required for all parties. A trekking day usually consists of five to six hours of walking. Pack animals, ponies and yaks for the higher altitude treks, are provided for carrying provisions, baggage and equipment and food preparation is provided by the Company.
A trained and trusted guide, a cook, a trek assistant and at least one horseman accompany all trekking parties. The support crew walks ahead of the trekking party each day and pitches camp before the trekkers arrive.
Altitude sickness may be a problem for some trekkers for high altitude treks, which usually goes above 3,000 meters. Those who have not properly acclimatized or suffer from altitude sickness are advised either to choose lower altitude treks or to start slowly and allow you to acclimatize.
It is a short drive of approximately 20 minutes up the Paro valley to the road head at Drukyel Dzong and onto Shana (1-1.5h drive) where our trek commences. Drukyel Dzong was originally built as a fortress in 1647 to guard against Tibetans invading the Paro Valley, although it was destroyed by fire in 1951.
We also witness our first views of the summit of Jomolhari (7314m) at the head of the valley, while horseman organizes their loads. We get under way straight away and take a break for lunch where it suits us, as we are carrying a packed lunch. Initially the trail is wide and flat, passing through farm country made up of fields of rice, wheat, barley, mustard, potato, and radish as well as herds of cows. The traditional Bhutanese two stores, timber and stone houses form photogenic scenery for the beginning of our trek. It is a reasonable day’s walk today, our first day’s trek, taking us past a couple of settlements including a military post where our permits will be checked.
The trail again follows the Pachu River ascending through pine, oak and spruce forest. Lunch will be served near a wooden bridge. The camp is at an altitude of 3800 meters near a stone shelter. Walking time 7~8 hours.
Climb slowly for a while till you reach an army camp. Then follow the river above the tree line with stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch will be served inside a Yak herder’s camp. An easy walk will reach you to Jangothang at an altitude of 4050 meters. The view of Chomolhari (7320 meters) and Jichu Drake (6900 meters) is superb. Both the mountains are still virgin peaks. Walking time 4~5 hours.
The trail leads north to the last settlement in the valley and drops to the Paro Chhu, crossing it on a wooden bridge. Switch back up the side of the hill to a glare cirque and the lake of Tsho Phu (4380m), which is inhabited by a flock of ruddy shelducks. Stay on the eastern side of the lake, passing a second lake as the trail climbs across a slope to a crest. Descend into a hidden valley and climb steeply to Bontela pass at alt. 4890m. From the pass the route descends steep slope, then winds down a ridge with a lot of crisscrossing yak trails, it finally switchbacks down to the Dhumzo Chhu. Trek downstream below the few houses of Dhumzo to a bridge, cross to the south side of the river and continue a short distance to a camp at 3800m.
The trail climbs 100m over a ridge and then drops to another stream. Crossing that stream, the trail heads up the hillside, dropping onto a ridge. Here the route turns south, ascending past a few huts to Takhung La pass (4520m). A short descent leads to Thombu Shong (4180m) with a open pasture land with 3 yak herders’ huts.
Climb out of the valley to Thombula pass (4,380m), then drop gradually to about 4000m. The trail then makes a steep descent, switch backing down the ridge, finally reaching the helipad at Gunitsawa (2730m). Camp here or walk further down past the army camp and camp below village houses near a stream.
Backtrack to Drukyal Dzong where you will meet the waiting vehicle. After bid farewell to Trekking support team board the vehicle and drive to hotel. Rest of the day is free for leisure and hot shower.