Upon arrival at the airport, you will be received by our guide who will escort you to your hotel. You can spend the rest of the evening exploring Paro soaking in the Bhutanese way of life.
The hike to Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest takes 4-5 hours. This magical monastery clings to a vertical cliff (800m) above the valley. Legend says that Guru Padmasambhava (one of the greatest Buddhist saints) flew here on the back of a tigress – hence the name – to meditate. Visit the ruins of Drugyel Dzong upon return. In evening, if you are not tired, visit Paro Rimpung Dzong (fortress of the “heap of jewels”). Take rest to prepare for the trekking next day.
Today is the first day of our trek. This exciting day begins simply with a visit to the National Museum at Ta Dzong. We then begin our amble starting at 8500 feet as we commence our trekking days by hiking to Jili Dzong at 11,400 feet. We’ll walk six miles in four to five hours. Weather permitting, you will see a panorama of Jhomolhari and other majestic, snow-covered peaks in the distance. The isolated fortress has a statue of Shakyamuni (the historical Buddha) and has been recently restored. Our first camp tonight offers a great view of Paro valley surrounded by Snowclad Mountains.
Our hiking distance today is about six miles. We begin with an hour and half of steep climbing until the trail moderates to an easier slope. The trail leads us through an alpine forest of dwarf rhododendron tress. You may spy yaks and yak herders scattered around our camp site. Total hiking time today is about four to five hours. We camp at 9443 feet.
We cover seven miles in about five hours of hiking, leaving us plenty of time to relax or explore later in the day. Thetrail follows the ridge and on a clear day the view of the mountains and valley are beautiful. The campsite is close to the Lake Jimilangtso. These lakes are known for their giant sized trout.
Today’s six mile hike will take about four hours. Our trail takes us to the lake of Janatso. You again may see yak herder camps – icons of a nomads life in Bhutan. Our campsite is close to Simkota Lake at an altitude of 11,500 feet.
Today is the last day of the trek. The four mile trek to Phajoding begins with a gradual climb. If weather permits, you’ll have a spectacular view of Mount “Gangkhar Phuensum,” the highest mountain in Bhutan. From here, the trekking descends to Phajoding, which overlooks the capital Thimphu. After lunch, we will make a five mile hike to Thimphu in about three hours. The route is downhill through a forested area of mostly Blue Pine. Back to hotel for a hot shower and enjoy the evening at your leisure. Thimphu sightseeing includes the local market, a painting school, a handicraft emporium, or the Folk Heritage Museum.
The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). After lunch we drive to the Traditional Medicine Institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices, and to the Bhutanese paper factory at work. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). We finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping and walk through the town. You can also visit the weekend farmer’s market.
Early morning drive to Paro airport for your onward journey.