Punakha Winter Trek (12 Days)
Trekking in Bhutan
Day – 1 Arrive Paro International Airport
During the flight, one will experience breathtaking views of Mount Everest, Kangchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Chomolhari and Mount Jitchu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by our company representative and escorted to the hotel where arrangements have been made for two nights.
Day – 2 Paro – Sightseeing
Drive to Drugyel Dzong (a ruined fortress-16 kms away from Paro town). Although now in ruins this Dzong is of great historical significance. It was from here that the Bhutanese finally defeated the Tibetans and drove them back. From here too the peak of Chomolhari “Mountain of the Goddess” (Alt.7329 mtrs/24029 ft) can be viewed on a clear day. On the way back visit a typical Bhutanese farmhouse. After lunch at the hotel, take a leisurely stroll around the hotel compound.
Day – 3 Paro – Thimphu
Drive to Thimphu takes about 2 hours. Distance 65 kms. Check in at Hotel.
Visit Memorial Chorten, a huge stupa built in memory of the third King who reigned from 1952-1972. The National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. Visit Tashichho Dzong, the seat of the Royal Government and the winter residence of the Head Abbot and the central monastic school.
Day – 4 Thimphu – Sightseeing
Visit Simtokha Dzong. This is one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan. It was built in 1629 A.D and presently houses the largest monastic school in the country. Visit the woodcraft and painting school where tradition art and crafts are still kept alive.Visit the Handicraft Emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts are displayed and can be purchased. Afternoon will be left free to stroll around Thimphu valley and its town. Overnight in hotel.
Day – 5 Thimphu – Shong Pang(trek starts)
Drive north up the valley towards Dechencholing. The transport will reach you upto Pangrizam, the last motor point. From here the trek starts towards Shong Pang, which takes about 4/5 hours through villages. The camp will be just above Chamina village.
Day – 6 Shong pang – Dopshing pang
The trek trail ascends gradually till you reach the pass called sinchula, which is about 3490 mtrs. from this point, if the weather is clear one can see Phajoding Monastery which is just above Thimphu. After 2 kms walk, you can view Thinley Gang village, Talo Monastery and the motor high way towards the ancient capital of Bhutan. The trek from the pass is more or less downhill to the camp site.
Day – 7 Dopshing Pang – Chorten Ningpo
The trek to Chorten Ningpo is rather gradual and goes through thick forests, villages and rice fields. The camp site is at an Alt. of 2700 mtrs.
Day –8 Chorten Ningpo – Zomlingthang
For about 2-3 hours the trek trail will be through several villages until you reach a motor road. From the motor road, you will follow the road towards Punakha which is the ancient capital of Bhutan.
Day – 9 Zomlingthang – Limukha
Follow the motor road till punakha Dzong and then cross the Pochu River (Male River), that drains the remote Lunana region. You will have a steady half day climb into a forest of scattered long neddle chirpines. Make sure to fill your water bottle before leaving Punakha, as there is no water on the way for a couple of hours. You will have a wonderful view of Punakha valley and the Dzong. If the weather is clear, you can see some snow mountains to the north. The camp site is near Limukha village. Alt.2250 mtrs.
Day – 10 Limukha – Chungsaka/Wangdiphodrang
The trek trail ascends gradually up through the thick forest of oak species and rhododendrons till you reach a pass called Dochula. Then descend through thick forest leading to a small monastery dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley (popularly known as the Divine Madman). From Chungsakha you can look across the valley to Samtengang on the ridge to the south. Walk downhill till you reach the motor road and then drive for about half an hour to Wangdiphodrang. Overnight in Wangdiphodrang Guest House.
Day – 11 Wangdiphodrang – Thimphu – Paro
After breakfast, drive to Punakha Dzong viewpoint at the north end of the Punakha Valley. The Punakha Dzong lies between two rivers known as Pochu and Mochu which means (male river and female river). Drive up to Dochula pass and stop for a hot cup of tea and some snacks. Continue to drive down to Paro via Thimphu. Overnight in hotel.
Day 12 Departure from Paro International airport.