This is supposed to be the hardest trek in the world. The trail goes above 4000 mts most of the time crossing over several high passes. The trail is rugged and physically very challenging. We recommend this trek only to ones who are physically fit. One needs to be prepared well in advance for this challenging trek.
Arrival at Paro on national carrier; Druk Air. It is the most exciting mountain flights and befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In a clear weather, there are magnificent views of the world's highest peaks. On arrival, you will be welcomed by the representative of Experience Bhutan Travel at the airport, assist you with your luggage and drive to hotel for lunch. After lunch, we drive and visit the National Museum, an ancient tower, which served as watch tower to the Paro Rimpong Dzong until 1968 when it was converted into museum. The museum collection includes displays of spectacular thankas (religious scroll painting), ancient artifacts dating from 7th century onwards, beautiful Bhutanese stamps, temple with tree of wisdom depicting the history of Buddhism, collection of animals, birds & butterflies and the good collection of ancient armors such as canons, guns, shield, bows & arrows, spears etc. Visit the Rimpong dzong (fortress), the administrative & religious centre of Paro district. This dzong was built in 1646 by the order of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the one who unified Bhutan in the 17th century. Overnight at the hotel. L/D
Day 02: Excursion to Taktsang Monastery. O/N hotel. B/L/D
After b/fast at the hotel, drive 10km north and hike to Taktsang (tiger's Den) monastery hanging on a cliff 800m above the valley. It takes 2 hours ascend till the closest view point and 1 hour descend to the valley. We stop at tourism café situated half way for refreshment. Excursion to Taktsang is the highlight of the trip. Many tour operators abroad recommended including this excursion. In the 8th century Guru Rimpoche flew here on the back of a tigress in one of his eight forms (Guru Dorje Drolo) and meditated for 3 months in a cave and converted Paro valley into Buddhism. Dinner & overnight at the hotel. (Taktsang excursion is recommended to acclimatize yourself before you start your trek).
Day 03: Trek-Drukgyel Dzong - Shana Zampa. O/N Camp. B/L/D
Distance: 17km, Time: 6 hours Drive up to Drugyel Dzong where the road ends and the trek begin, following the river gently uphill through a narrow agricultural valley, passing by village houses. It is a well worn trail with lots of round stones and irrigation water running down it. Cross Gunitsawa army camp and then cross the river to the left and continue for another 20 minutes to the camp at 2850m.
Day 04: Trek-Shana Zampa - Thangthangkha. O/N Camp. B/L/D
Distance: 22km, Time: 8 hours Continue uphill through the river valley. It narrows and closes in and the trail winds along the drainage. It is a long hard day with lots of short ups and downs. One should have a good balance to hop from one stone to another to avoid mud especially when it rains. The trail makes a continuous but gentle climb through oak rhododendrons and ferns, birch and firs, crossing several small streams finally arriving to Thangthangkha campsite at 3619m.
Day 05: Thangthangkha - Jangothang (Jomolhari base camp. O/N camp. B/L/D
Distance: 16km, Time: 5-6 hours Continue up the Pa Chhu (river). Pass a small army post where the valley begins to widen again. Now views of high ridges and snow-capped peaks can be seen all around. You may see yak herders' winter homes depend on time of year. Camp beneath a ruined fortress at the base of Mount Jhomolhari. Altitude: 4,080 m.
Day 07: Jangothang - Excursions. O/N camp. B/L/D
18km, 6-7 hours Following breakfast, continue your journey following stream and crossing at its right past wide yak pastures that are visible both on the way up and down the pass. You may encounter some nomads in their yak tents depending on the time of year you are there. After about 4 hours of walk you arrive to Nylela pass (4870m). The pass is very windy so you need to head down quickly to avoid chilly wind. Great views of Lingshi Dzong, Mt. Tsherim Gang are visible as you come down into the Lingshi basin. Camp inside the stone shelter or in a tent. Altitude: 4,010 m.
Day 08: Trek- Jangothang - Lingshi. O/N camp. B/L/D
10km, 5hours Today is the shortest walking day and you can take it easy. The trail passes above Lingshi village. You can also enjoy stunning views of snow covered mountains and sometimes avalanches with big cracking noise at a distant. At Chebisa village you can visit village houses. Camp opposite Chebisa village at 3,880m.
Day 09: Trek - Chebisa – Shomuthang. O/N Camp. B/L/D
The route leads through wild high pastures. Cross Gobula Pass at an altitude of 4,440 m. From the pass the trail descends into a side valley through a deep forest of rhododendrons and then climbs again over a small ridge passing several places where hillsides has been burned. The trail crest the ridge at 4210m, then descends to a muddy path in a deep forest of fir and birch to Shakshepasa and a helipad. The trail from here goes steeply north and after some time of hard walk it levels and heads into a side valley passing a couple of yak huts on a river right to Chachim, a yak pasture at 4220m. The camp is in a cluster of bushes beside a stream at 4220m.
Day 10: Trek - Shomuthang – Robluthang. O/N Camp. B/L/D
18km, 7 hours An early start is needed for trekking to the Jarela Pass, altitude of 4,750 meters, then descend to Tsharijathang, the valley where Takin, the national animals of Bhutan are usually seen. Overnight in camp. Altitude: 4160m.
Day 11: Trek - Robluthang – Limithang. O/N Camp. B/L/D
19km, 7 hours This is a long hard crossing over Sinchela pass (5005m). The trail climbs through the burned forest and up the hillside through some boggy patches. Follow the stream for a while crossing to river right through a log bridge. About 5 hours from camp you will reach to the Sinchela pass. The trail from the pass is downhill and it is rocky and sometimes twists your ankles. Cross the stream to the left on a small log bridge. A short distance beyond the stream crossing is a yak pasture and a camping spot but you need to continue to usual campsite at Limithang. Altitude: 4140m
Day 12: Trek - Limithang-Laya. O/N camp. B/L/D
10km, 4-5 hours The route descends along a closed-in winding river alley. The trail splits, with one trail following the river down. The other stays high leading to the west of Laya village. Camp overnight on a high flat bench above the east end of Laya Village. Altitude: 3840m.
Day 13: Halt at Laya. O/N camp. B/L/D
Following breakfast, depend on weather, you can wash up and take bath. After lunch, visit Laya village houses; meet with people who are semi-nomadic with very unique dress of yah hair, conical bamboo hats and lots of necklaces and beads around neck of Laya women. A folk dance and singing program can be arranged in one of the Layaps houses in the evening. O/N camp.
Day 14: Trek - Laya - Roduphu. O/N camp. B/L/D
19km, 7-8 hours The trek leads gradually downhill to the Lunana trail junction, and then climbs steeply for 40 minutes to a hilltop with good view of the Mo chhu and the Rodo Chhu. The rough trail continues to climb through mixed conifers and rhododendron shrubs. At the top of a large rock slide there is an excellent view of the glacial valley and glacier on Mt. Tsenda gang (7100m). The campsite is just beyond a wooden bridge across the Rodochhu at 4160m.
Day 15: Trek - Roduphu - Narithang. O/N camp. B/L/D
17km, 6-7 hours The trail crosses the wooden bridge and follows the river for about 20 minutes through rhododendron shrubs before turning right up the hill. Climb steadily to a high open valley at 4600m then gradually through meadows to Tsomola pass (4900m), which offers good views to Mt. Jomolhari. From here the trail is generally flat with view of barren plateau of 5000m with yak trails crisscrossing everywhere. The camp is at Narithang at 4900m below Mt. Gangla Karchung (6396m).
Day 16: Trek - Narithang - Tarina. O/N camp. B/L/D
18km, 7 hours It takes about an hour to reach the Gangla Karchung La pass (5120m). The mountain views from the pass are superb with Mt. Khang Bum (6526m) in the west and the rugged peaks of Tsenda gang Teri Gang Kangphu Gang on the northern horizon. The trail descends from the pass. The views are breathtaking along this trail suppose to be the best in entire trek route. At the bottom of the large U shaped valley the trail turns right following the Tangchhu downstream. There are several good campsites along the river.
Day 17: Trek - Tarina - Woche. O/N Camp. B/L/D
17km, 6-7 hours The trail leads through coniferous forest down the Tang Chhu passing some impressive waterfall from both sides of the valley. The trail climbs gently out of the valley past several huge land slides and eventually climbs steeply to the northeast into the high side valley of Woche. It is a small settlement of five houses at 3940m and is the first village in the Lunana region. Camp near the village.
Day 18: Trek - Woche - Lhedi. O/N camp. B/L/D
17km, 7-8 hours The trail begins below the camp and climbs the valley past a lake at Kachela pass ( 4650m). There are excellent views of the surrounding mountains from the pass. The route then descends steeply into the Phu Chhu valley, past the small village of Thega (4050m). from here the path drops towards the Pho Chhu then turns north-east towards Lhedi. Pass few scattered settlements crossing a waterfall on a wooden Pho Chhu. Overnight camp in Lhedi at 3700m. Lhedi has a school, basic health unit and wireless station.
Day 19: Trek-Lhedi - Thanza. O/N camp. B/L/D
17km, 8 hours The trail follows the river, past several small farms. The flood have destroyed parts of the trail so the temporary path winds its way among massive boulders in the river bed crossing small bridges across several channels of the river. In half day (lunch time) the trail passes the small village of Chozo at 4090m. It has a small dzong, which is still in use. From here it is about 2 hours to Thanza (4100m). Camp in Toencha (4150m) or at Thanza.
Day 20: Trek-Thanza - Halt. O/N camp. B/L/D
Visit village houses and mingle with the people of Thanza Or hike in and around the camp. Overnight in camp.
Day 21: Trek-Thanza - Tshochena. O/N camp. B/L/D
20km, 8 hours The trail climbs to a large boulder sought of the village and then turns east up a side valley. After few hours of flat walking the trail enters the yak meadow with some herders huts. Past Danji (also a camp site) and continue leaving the Gangkher Puensum trail up from the junction. There is along climb across several false summits to Jaze la pass Cross Jazela Pass, altitude: 5,150m. The camp is near the shore of the lake at 4970m.
Day 22: Trek-Tshochena - Jichu Dramo. O/n camp. B/L/D
14km, 5 hours The trail follows the shore of the lake to a ridge at 5100m. On top you are surrounded by a panorama of snowy peaks. The path makes several ups and downs over small rounded hills, but because of the altitude, the pace can be slow. The trail descends past a glacial lake before climbing up to Loju la pass at 5140m. Many trails wander around high altitude yak pastures in this region. The correct path will lead you across a small saddle at 5100m into a wide glacial valley. The trail descends gradually to the campsite at Jichu Dramo at 5050m, a small pasture on the east side of the valley. B/L/D
Day 23: Trek-Jichu Dramo - Chukarpo. O/N camp. B/L/D
18km, 6-7 hours The trail climbs through a moraine to Rinchen Zoe la pass (5320m), which divides the Pho Chhu and Mangde Chhu drainages. The pass is surrounded by breathtaking scenery. From the pass the trail descends into a broad marshy valley. The trail generally follows the left side of the valley, which narrows you move further eventually reaching to Tempey chhu. There are trails on both side of the river but you should cross the west bank as there is no bridge further down. The vegetation begins to thicken with shrubs of rhododendron and juniper. After couple of hours walk you reach to campsite at Chukarpo (4600m) or you can continue further an hour walk for a better camping place at Thsongsa Thang (4400m. B/L/D)
Day 24: Trek-Chukarpo - Tampetso. O/N camp. B/L/D
18km, 6-7 hours The trail continues to descend along the right bank of the river until it reaches a yak pasture at Gala pang Chhu (4010m). You might be lucky enough to spot some takins on the hills across the river. From here the path begins to climb steeply through junipers and silver firs towards Tampetsho. The path generally follows a stream to the beautiful clear lake surrounded by steep mountain walls. Campsite is at the far end of the lake at 4300m. B/L/D
Day 25: Trek-Tampetso - Maorothang. O/N camp. B/L/D
14km, 5-6 hours Climb steeply to Tampela pass (4600m) then the path descends to Om Tsho Lake and then drop steeply past a waterfall to a smaller lake about 100m lower. From here the trail descends steeply to the headwaters of the Nikka Chhu. It is so steep that the yaks are reluctant to come down this stretch. The drainage of the second lake also forms a waterfall, which can only be seen once you have descended almost to the bottom. The trail levels out following the left bank of the Nikka Chhu. After about 2 km, a wooden bridge crosses the Nikka Chhu to river right, and then a broad path follows through mixed forest to maurothang (3610m), alarge clearing on the banks of the river beside a few yak herders' huts. B/L/D
Day 26: Trek-Maorothang - Nikkachhu Chazam & drive to Wangdue. O/n hotel. B/L/D
19km, 7-8 hours A well used trail continues down the west side of the river for about 30 minutes before crossing to the east bank into a mixed deciduous and bamboo forest, then descends gradually through forests and pasture land. Eventually it emerges into a large grassy area overlooking the road and the village of Sephu. Meet your vehicle at the Nikka Chhu Bridge and if time permits, drive to Wangdue for overnight or camp around where there are small shops near the bridge. Day 24: Nikachhu Chazam/Wangdue - Thimphu After your b/fast, 5 hours (if drive from Nikkachhu and 3 hours drive from Wangdue) drive to Thimphu crossing over the Pilela pass (3,300m). Overnight at the hotel. Day 25. Thimphu sightseeing & drive to Paro. O/n hotel. B/L/D Following breakfast, visit places of interests in Thimphu, do shopping and in the afternoon, 2 hours drive to Paro. Day 26. Fly out to onward destination Early depends on flight timing, drive to airport for onward destination. Your guide will bid you farewell and wish you safe journey back home.