This is a strenuous trek crossing 11 passes, three which are over 5,000m /16,400 ft. You have to be physically fit & mentally prepared. The trek begins from Paro and ends in Wangdue /Trongsa (central). It is a combination of Chomolhari, Laya & Lunana trek crossing the Renchen zoe pass alt.5, 400m the highest pass in Bhutan. It is one of the most challenging treks in the Himalayas.
This trek leads you to the seldom visited region of Lunana, passing some of the last virgin peaks of the Himalayas offering you great variety of trekking conditions, from picturesque farmland and forest to alpine pastureland. This trek will take you close to the huge snow, ice and rock faces of the mountains where most of the Himalayan peaks towering to the north are unnamed and unclimbed. The only inhabitants are rare species such as bharal, or blue sheep, takin and the snow leopard. During the spring, summer and autumn, the alpine meadows are filled with countless varieties of flowers.
Arrival in Paro. Upon arrival meet Asiatic Roads representative and transfer to hotel for room check in and lunch.
Pm: After lunch proceed through a beautiful valley to the watch tower or locally known as Ta-Dzong. It was housed into the National museum in the 1960s by the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The seven floors museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century. A short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong which serves as the administrative center and school for monks. Walk down crossing traditional old Bridge.
After early breakfast drive to hike starting point of Taktsang Monastery or the “Tiger’s Nest. The hike which is all the way uphill takes about 2 to 3 hours through villages and pine forests. The monastery which clings to a huge granite cliff 800 meters from the Paro valley was devastated by fire in 1998 but the Royal Government has taken immediate steps to restore the monastery to its original structure. It is believed that the great saint Padmasambhava came in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in a cave for 3 months. The demons were subdued who were trying to stop the spread of Buddhism and converted the Paro valley into Buddhism. During the end of the 17th century a monastery was built on the spot where the saint meditated and it is a pilgrimage site for every Bhutanese to visit once in their life time. Later back to Resort for lunch.
After breakfast drive to Drugyal Dzong (Trek starting point). Where you will meet your Trek support team, after the short preparations trek begins. Initially the path goes upstream of the Pachu River through villages gradually ascending to 2,800 m at Shana camp.
Climb slowly for a while till you reach an army camp. Then follow the river above tree line with stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch will be served inside a Yak herders camp. A 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.
The trail follows the stream for half hour and crosses the bridge to the right side. Climb up the ridge and enjoy stunning views of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tshrim Khang mountains. Than walk through the wide open valley sometimes coming across herds of blue sheep. The climb up to the Nyele la pass 4,700 m is not too difficult and the view is breathtaking. After the pass it’s a gradual descend and through the valley with beautiful views on all side. Nearing the camp you will see the Lingshi Dzong perched ontop of a hill with commanding view of the valley. Arrive camp at 4,100 meters near a stone shelter.
Today begins with a stiff climb up a ridge to Gobu la pass 4600 meters taking nearly 3/4 hours to the top but rewarded with magnificent views of the Himalayas. This is a blue sheep area so always keep a sharp eye. After the pass descend through rhododendrons bushes and lunch will be served at an ideal spot. The path goes up down crossing streams and Yak herders camps.
The trek starts with a climb to Jari la pass 4, 650 meters. Then descend all the way through alpine forest and rhododendron shrubs to Tsharijathang a summer feeding ground for the rare Takins (national animal of Bhutan). During summer/monsoon the path is all wet so be prepared to get wet as the small wooden bridges are all washed away. After crossing the stream the trail ascends for a while till you reach the camp at 4,300 meters.
Today will be a long climb up to Shinje la pass at 4,950 meters. The view of Gangchey ta mountain 6,800 meters from the pass is breathtaking. From the pass descend all the way with a wider view of the mountain. Arrive Limithang a wide open valley and summer grazing ground for the yaks of the Laya people.
Wake up with great view of Gangchey Ta Mountain in front of you. After breakfast the walk to Laya is pleasant passing through damp forest filled with moss and singing birds. Arrive Laya village the second highest settlements in the country at an altitude of 3,850 meters.
Explore the village by visiting the home of the laya people. Every home will welcome you with smiling faces and there is no need for invitation. A cup of butter tea, yak milk, Chang (local brewed wine made from wheat or barley) any of your choice will be offered. They are very friendly people and will happily pose for photographs. The Laya women have a dress that is unique in Bhutan. They wear the conical bamboo hats decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments and dark yak wool dress. If the group is interested in a cultural dance program by the Laya people it can be arranged.
Begin a steep climb over Tsimo la pass at an altitude of 4,700 meters offering views of Lunana, Chomolhari and Jichu Drake. The trail is very faint since it is a barren land and it is advisable to walk with the yaks or horses.
Today begin a gradual climb till you begin a steep climb over Kangla Karchung pass at 5100 meters. The view from the pass will always be remembered for a life time. The close up view of Kangla Karchung Mountain is a highlight from the pass. More mountains like Masakhang, Tsendegang, Teri gang can be seen in a distance. It’s all the way downhill from the pass taking almost 3 hours through dwarf rhododendron shrubs. Arrive Tarina valley filled with Juniper trees at 3,900 meters.
The trek starts through Juniper and Fir forests and then through dwarf rhododendrons bushes. We climb up to Keche la pass at 4600 meters with wonderful mountain views. After the pass descend to the riverside passing villages and view of the table mountain.
The trail follows the river rising gradually to Chuzor village and visit the ancient dzong. After lunch at Chuzor continue walk through the wide valley and arrive Tanza the final village of Lunana at 4000 meters. This village consists of two settlements divided by the river.
A short climb leads you through a wide open valley till you start the steep climb to Jazela pass at 4950 meters. This climb is a bit tricky since you cannot see the top and the stairs never seem to end but you are rewarded with great views of the Table mountain and others. You will not see any trees for another 2 days. From the pass it is a gradual descend and arrive camp near a lake at 4200 meters.
The trek continues through the barren lands passing beautiful turquoise lakes, close up view of the mountains, different species of alpine wild life. The path goes up and down without much difference in altitudes.
Today you will cross the highest pass in Bhutan the Rinchenzoe pass at 5,400 meters. The walk up the pass is rather gradual but could be difficult if there is snow so we suggest to start very early. The beautiful lakes and mountains seen from this high point is the most remarkable in the trek. The descend from the pass is not too steep and walk through the wide valley to the next camp located near a river at 4200 meters.
Today cross the Tempe la pass at 4,450 meters and the last one. Begin by climbing which takes about 2 hours to reach the top. The weather is rather misty and pass the sacred lake called Umt sho where religious treasures where discovered by Terton Pemalingpa. The descend is quite difficult because trail leads down through huge stone slabs. It is interesting to note how the yaks manage their way down. Arrive camp consisting mainly of yak herders camp at 3,700 meters.
The trek is very pleasant today passing scattered farm houses and fields. From a distance you will see the motor road and it is sure a thrill to have challenged one of the most difficult treks in the Himalayan region. After bid farewell to your trekking Crew, meet waiting vehicle and drive to Punakha. Upon arrival check in at hotel and enjoy hot shower. Rest of the day is free for leisure.
The day is for most deserved rest. If you are interested you can you can proceed for a sightseeing tour of Punakha Dzong which served as an old capital of Bhutan. This remarkable fortress is built between two rivers and has survived many glacial floods and fire. Every year during the month of February a procession known as the Punakha Serda takes place to commemorate the victory over the Tibetans. Later return back to hotel for rest and relxation.