Day 1 Arrival. Transfer to Thimphu, o/n Thimphu
Day 2 Transfer to Gangtey, o/n Gangtey
Day 3 Trek. Gangtey to Gogona
Day 4 Trek. Gogona to Khotokha
Day 5 Trek. Khotokha to Chazam, o/n Wangdue
Day 6 Transfer to Paro, o/n Paro
Day 7 Explore Paro. Tiger’s Nest Hike, o/n Paro
Day 8 International Departure
Grade: easy – moderate
Duration: 3 days trek and 8 days total program
Altitude gain: 3234ft/986m
Altitude loss: 7554ft/2303m
Best Time: March –May/ September – November
This is a good trek for average hikers. It takes three days and gives you a chance to visit the isolated valleys of Gangtey (locally known as Phobjikha), Gogona and Khotokha. The monastery of Gangtey Goempa belongs to the Nyingmapa school of Tibetan Buddhism and is situated dramatically at the head of the valley. The Phobjikha valley is also well known as one of the last wintering grounds of the endangered and graceful black-necked cranes that fly in from northern China, Mongolia and Siberia. They are best seen between November and March making it a good winter trek. This trek can be done from October to May. When the rhododendrons are in full bloom in April and May it is a special treat.
Day 1: Arrive in Paro
Drive Time: 1.5 hours
On arrival at Paro airport, you will be met by your guide and driver and will drive you to Thimphu, the capital of the Kingdom.
About 7 km before Thimphu, pause briefly to admire Bhutan’s oldest fortress, Simtokha Dzong built in 1627, rising up from a small hilltop on the right side of the road.
After lunch visit the National Memorial Chorten built as a tribute third king and as a monument to world peace; the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, where herbal medicines are made and dispensed and traditional medicine practitioners are trained; the Institute for Zorig Chusum, where students learn the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan; the National Library, which houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature including many ancient Buddhist texts; Tashichhodzong, which houses the Throne room, His Majesty’s secretariat, offices of some Ministries and the Central Monk Body.
Day 2: Thimphu – Gangtey
Drive Time: 5-6 hours
Drive for about 5 hours to Gangtey. Hike to Hongtsho Goempa before you drive pass Dochu La pass (3,088m) and Wangdue Phodrang Dzong.
On a clear day there is a spectacular view from here of
Bhutan’s highest peaks. On a clear day Masagang (7,158m), Tsendegang (6,960m), Terigang (7 ,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158m), Kangphugang (7,170m), Zongaphugang (7,060m) a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana, and finally, Gangkar Puensum, the highest peak of Bhutan at 7,497m can been seen from Dochu La. Continue on to Wangduephodrang town, where your lunch will be served. Then proceed to Trongsa over PeleLa pass (3,300m), which divides the country the east from the west.
Day 3: Gangtey Goempa – Gogona
Time: 5-6 hours
Trek commences today. The trail winds gradually upwards through meadows and fields, ascending to Tsele-la pass (3,400m) where we stop for lunch. The trail then descends gradually for
sometime through forests of junipers, bamboo, magnolias and rhododendrons. After a last short climb, we reach Gogona village. The people of Gogona were originally nomads and they speak a language called Bjopkha (language of nomads).
Day 4: Gogona – Khotokha
Time: 5-6 hours
The trail winds up gently above Gogona village, climbing into a forest of fir, Oak, Spruce, Rhododendron, Cypress and Juniper. A long and gradual climb takes us up to Shobju La pass (3,400m). The path leads down to the wide valley of Khotokha, where the people of Sha (a region of Wangdue Phodrang district) come in summer to graze their animals.
Day 5: Khotokha – Chazam/Wangdue Phodrang
Time: 4-5 hours
A short ascent takes us to a pass, from where the path descends steeply through ever- changing vegetation till finally reaching the bridge at Wangdue Phodrang. The trek ends here.
Day 6: Wangdue Phodrang – Paro
Time: 3. 5 hours
After exploring the beautiful Wangdue Phodrang and Punakha valley in the morning, we drive to Paro. In the afternoon in Paro, visit to the National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong (watchtower). Here, an intriguing collection of artifacts provide a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom. Just a short walk downhill lays the dominating Paro Dzong, a fine example of Bhutanese historic architecture. From the Dzong, the tour crosses Nyamai Zampa, a traditional cantilever bridge.
Day 7: Explore Paro Valley – Tiger’s Nest Hike
This morning will begin with a hike up to view one of Bhutan’s most revered monuments, the Taktshang Goempa, more commonly referred to as the “Tiger’s Nest”. The four to five hour return trek offers spectacular views of this sacred monastery perched on a cliff face 900m above the valley floor. The balance of the day can be spend browsing shops in town, enjoying the spa around the lodge or taking on another hike into the rich forests that rise up behind the lodge.
This afternoon there will be choice of excursions with those wanting a further immersion into the culture and religion with visits to the Kyichu Lhakhang, Dumtse Lhakhang and the Drukgyel Dzong alter.
Day 08: Paro – International Departure
After early breakfast drive to Paro airport for flight to onward destination, enjoying superb mountain views from the aircraft as you fly out of the valley. Soon you leave Bhutan shrouded in mist and surrounded by her guardian peaks.