Druk Path Trek (BHU-DRU-14)
One of the most scenic treks in Bhutan, the Druk Path ventures along wilderness trails into unpopulated regions, past several remote lakes. There is plenty of time also to visit the architectural wonders and spiritual centers of Paro and Thimphu, to chat with the people and shop in the bazaars. This is a trip that will introduce you to all facets of this entrancing contry.
Where are you going?
Days 1-2 : Flying into Kathmandu is an unforgettable experience with the Himalaya spread out before you. You will be met at the airport on arrival and transferred to your hotel. In the morning of day 2 a half-day city tour will introduce you to some of the highlights of Kathmandu .
Day 3 : The flight from Kathmandu provides a most dramatic view of the Himalaya as you fly alongside the world's highest mountain range. The tiny town of Paro is bursting with colour and tradition overlooked by a dramatic dzong. Fields, cover most of the valley floor, while hamlets and isolated farms dot the countryside - the houses here are considered to be among the most beautiful in the country. Paro is believed to be one of the first valleys to have received the imprint of Buddhism.
In the afternoon visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong) and Paro Rinpung Dzong.
Days 4-5: A long climb through fields then into blue pine and fir forests to camp just below the Jili Pass. Crossing the pass visit Jili Dzong where a large chapel contains an impressive 4-meter Shakyamuni statue. The route then follows a long, rhododendron-covered ridge with views of Jhomolhari and other snow peaks.
Days 6-8: Fir and rhododendron forests lead to Jimilang ‘Sand Ox' Lake, named for a bull that emerged from the lake and joined the herd of a family that uses the area as summer grazing ground. Then on to camp above Simtotra Lake before the climb to Labana La. You will pass a seldome used sky burial site, marked by prayer flags. There are great views of Gangkhar Puensum and below is the Thimphu Valley .
Days 9-10: Thimphu lies in a wooded valley, sprawling up a hillside on the west bank of the Thimphu River . Quiet and peaceful, w ith its streets lined with traditional shop fronts, this town seems almost too small to be a capital – it is often said to be the only one without traffic lights. Beautiful textiles in wool, silk and cotton, basketwork, silver jewelry, thangkas and other traditional crafts of the Kingdom are available in various Handicraft Emporiums.
Sights include the Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan), the Textile Museum, The Arts and Crafts School , the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved, Trashichho Dzong is the Secretariat building, which houses the Chief Abbot and central monastic body. It also houses the Throne Room. Thinphu's oldest fortress, Semtokha Dzong, still houses a few monks and is also the center for Cultural and Language Study.
Days 11-12: Taktsang is the most famous of all Bhutanese monasteries. It is perched on the side of a cliff 900 m above the floor of the Paro valley, where the only sounds are the murmurs of the wind, and water and the chanting of the monks. The name Taktsang means ‘Tigers Nest'; the Guru is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to the site of the monastery where he meditated in a cave for three months.
The monastery itself is closed to tourists except by special permit. However the one-hour walk to the viewpoint, where there is a small wooden teahouse provides a close-up view of the monastery. It's also a good warm-up hike if you are going trekking.
Day 13: The early morning flight back to Kathmandu leaves the rest of the day free for shopping and sightseeing.
Day 14: Depart