Bhutan: Druk Path Trek

Resort:Bhutan: Druk Path Trek
Operator: Exodus
Destination: Asia, Bhutan, Nepal
Price From: £6399.00


Trek the Druk Path, with stunning views of the surrounding Himalaya

The Druk Path is one of Bhutan’s classic treks and follows an ancient, high-level trade route from Paro to Thimpu in a country visited by only a lucky few. Trek through splendid rhododendron forests, past yak herder settlements, across several passes and camp beside clear, blue, mountain lakes with spectacular views of the peaks which border Tibet. Experience Bhutans fascinating culture and on specific departures, its colourful festivals with masked dances and general joviality. Note that different departures follow different itineraries – see ‘is this trip for you’ for more details.


* A short classic trek through the beautiful Bhutanese countryside * An opportunity to gain an insight into the culture of the people * Famous cultural highlights; Paro Dzong and Thimpu’s Memorial Chorten * Witness Bhutan’s colourful, vibrant festivals (on festival departures) * Visit the incredible Taktsang ‘Tiger’s Nest’ Monastery


Day 1 Fly to Kathmandu.

Depart London **

Day 2 Arrive Kathmandu

Land in Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel. The evening is free to relax. *Royal Singi Hotel or similar*

Day 3 Fly to Paro; visit Paro Dzong and museum

We fly to Paro today. If the weather is clear, we should get a fantastic view (from the left hand side of the plane) of much of the eastern half of the Himalaya, including Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and Chomolhari (Jhomolhari). After completing visa formalities in Paro, we transfer to our hotel. The Paro valley is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Bhutan. Its blue pine-covered hills and attractive, solidly built farmhouses among the paddy fields are dominated by the massive dzong, or fort. This afternoon we aim to visit the Paro Dzong and the National Museum above it. Paro Dzong is one of Bhutan’s most impressive, and the finest example of Bhutanese architecture you will see. The inward sloping walls form a massive structure that towers over the town. Built in the 17th century it was one of Bhutan’s strongest and most important fortresses and it was used on several occasions to defend the Paro Valley from invasions by Tibet. Formally the meeting hall for the National Assembly, the dzong now houses a monastic school and district government offices. Scenes from the 1995 film ‘Little Buddha’ were filmed in the dzong. West of the dzong a traditional wooden covered bridge called Nyamal Zam, a reconstruction of the original bridge, which was washed away in a flood in 1969. The most famous pictures of Paro Dzong are taken from the west bank of the river, just downstream from the bridge. At the top of the hill above the dzong is the old watchtower known locally as Ta Dzong. Originally built in 1656, it was renovated in 1968 by King Jigme Dorje Wangchuk to house the National Museum. Damaged by the earthquake in 2011, the museum is housed at the present time in a new building above the Ta Dzong. Inside the museum there are collections of masks and thangkas. Please note that the itinerary above could change subject to flight timings, which are generally unpredictable. *Rema Resorts / Dewachen Hotel, or similar *

Day 4 Warm up hike to Taktsang also known as Tiger’s Nest Monastery

Today we will have a warm up hike to Taktsang Monastery. ‘Tigers Nest’ Monastery, is perched on the ledge of a cliff high above the Paro Valley. Partly destroyed by fire in 1998, it has now been completely restored to its former magnificence. We drive a short distance from the hotel and then hike up for about 1.5 hours to a viewpoint, for the classic views of the monastic buildings which cling impossibly to the cliff wall opposite. For the energetic there is the chance to walk another 2 hours to the actual monastery. The walk is good for acclimatization and we recommend you wear trekking boots and take trekking poles and plenty of water. Please note there about 100 steps up and down. Returning to the hotel we have time in the afternoon to explore Paro town. *Rema Resorts / Dewachen Hotel, or similar*

Day 5 Trek to Jele Dzong

Today we start our trek. After breakfast we have a short drive to the ancient Ta Dzong watchtower (2400m). The first day’s trekking is not long in terms of hours but its all the way uphill and we do gain quite a lot of height. From Ta Dzong it is a gentle climb for about 3 hours on a jeep track to a prayer wall. The trail then narrows and we continue climbing on a rocky path up a little steeper now through the forest. We have lunch about an hour further on in a clearing and then its about an hours walk in the afternoon to the Jele La (3550m) and our camp just below Jele Dzong. If the weather is clear we can see the Paro Valley below. The energetic can walk up and visit the Dzong. *Full-service Camping (sleeping altitude 3,530m)*

Day 6 Trek to Jangchulaka

After breakfast we have time to explore the ancient 14th century Jele Dzong and if lucky we may be allowed inside. Our day’s walk begins with a short climb up the ridge before a descent into through thick rhododendron forest. Climbing back up again we emerge on the ridge and at times we can see the Paro Valley way below us and if the weather is clear we may even spot Chomolhari in the distance. Look out for the colourful Blood Pheasants which inhabit the forests. The trail climbs the ridge most of the day on rocky/muddy paths, through forests of rhododendrons. Today is a short day and we camp tonight at the yak herders settlement called Tsokam, just beyond Jangchu Lakha. *Full-service Camping (sleeping altitude 3,800m)*

Day 7 Follow the ridge with spectacular views of Jichdrake to reach Jimi Lang Tsho

A long day today and probably the hardest walk of the trek. We climb steeply up from camp on a narrow trail for about an hour to rejoin the main trail. We continue climbing through a rocky landscape littered with small rhododendron bushes. We reach a col at 4073m marked with prayer flags and then drop down a short way to a cave. The trail then climbs again quite steeply to a ridge at 4080m, from where on a clear day we get spectacular mountain views including Chomolhari and Jichudrake. We have lunch on the ridge to enjoy the views and then continue a little further up the ridge to 4120m. From here we contour round a little and then drop steeply on a rocky trail to the shores of Jimi Lang Tscho, well known for its trout. *Full-service Camping (sleeping altitude 3,885m)*

Day 8 Trek to Labana

Another long but great day’s walk with good mountain views. The trail climbs from camp along a rocky trail up to Janye Tscho Lake at 3956m. Climbing even higher and steeply there are two more lakes above us Dungtscho Tscho and Dungtscho Sama before we finally reach a cairn at 4150m. Below is Simthoka Lake (4090m) the highest lake on our trek. From the lake the trail undulates all the way to our camp at Labana. *Full-service Camping (sleeping altitude 4,100m)*

Day 9 Cross the Labana Pass and descend to Phajoding; transfer to Thimphu

The trail today climbs gradually up to the Labana Pass at 4235m (the highest point of this trek). The views get better and better and on a clear day we can see Gangar Punsum, Table Mountain and much of the Bhutan Himalaya. Way below is the Thimphu Valley. From the top we traverse the hillside with great mountain views and descend towards Thimphu. There are a couple of small climbs to cols but the general direction is downhill. From the Phajoding Labsa chorten we descend quite steeply to Phajoding Monastery for lunch. There are several temples here and a monastic school and the place is a visited by many Bhutanese. We descend even further through forests of blue pine to the end of our trek at Motithang, just above Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. We should reach our hotel by mid afternoon. The evening is free to explore Thimphu. *Hotel Pedling / Galingkha / Gakhil, or similar*

Day 10 Excursion to Punakha

Today we take an excursion to the nearby town of Punakha.The road climbs steadily out of Thimpu Valley and winds its way through forests to the Dochula Pass. At 3050m (10,000ft) the views over the eastern Himalaya are magnificent although this is most definitely weather dependent! We descend to the valley floor and continue to sub-tropical Punakha. At an altitude of 1350m the difference in temperature and flora is apparent. Punakha is the winter capital of Bhutan and the dzong was the second one to be built in Bhutan. This remarkable fortress is situated between two rivers and it has survived many fires, an earthquake and a glacial flood. Over the years it has been repaired and added to and has several interesting features to protect it against invasion. In the afternoon we’ll drive back to Thimphu to spend the night. /Please note that for festival departures this day’s itinerary does not apply, see the ‘is this trip for you’ section for more details./ *Hotel Pedling / Galingkha / Gakhil, or similar*

Day 11 Thimphu sightseeing; drive to Paro

We spend most of today visiting the main sights of the town including the Memorial Chorten, which was built in 1974 to honour the memory of the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk,Buddha Point, which is a large Buddha statue built on the hillside overlooking Thimpu and a painting school. In the late afternoon we have a short (1hour) drive back to Paro. *Rema Resorts / Dewachen Hotel, or similar*

Day 12 Fly to Kathmandu

Today we fly back to Kathmandu. The rest of the day is free to explore the temples and markets of Kathmandu or go shopping. There are several sightseeing tours on offer (ask the Exodus representative in Kathmandu), or you may want to explore Kathmandu on your own. You may want to visit the monkey temple at Swayambhunath or the largest Hindu temple in Nepal at Pashupatinath or the one of the largest Buddhist stupas in Asia at Boudhanath. Once you have had your fill of culture the colourful markets of Thamel are great for souvenir hunting. *Royal Singi Hotel or similar*

Day 13 Fly to London.

The trip ends after breakfast.Depart from Kathmandu in the morning, you will arrive in the UK the same day. Please note that sometimes due to opening times, holidays or festivals we have to change the timings of the sightseeing around. We will endeavour to show you all the sights in the time available. In case it is not possible to visit any of the sights described in the notes above an alternative will be provided. **