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Bhutan is the best-kept secret in the travel industry. Due to its relative isolation, the country is not known to the out side world until 1960.Now, Bhutan is the one of the best tourism destination in south Asia.
A land with a vibrant and orthodox culture, Bhutan is often referred to as the “living museum” of the world. Bhutan harbors many endangered species mainly due to the intact forests and the fact that this small country stretches from the subtropics in the south to the perennially frozen regions of the Himalayas in the north.
It has 770 species of birds (15 globally threatened), 165 mammals (among them 24 internationally protected wild animal species) and 5500 species of vascular plants (among them 152 medical plants).
The Punakha trek travels through various landscapes and thick forests and we can have the pleasure of scenic beauties of pine forests, rice fields and blooming rhododendrons in almost everywhere.
Day 1 Arrival in PARO
When you arrive in Paro airport, you will be met by our Bhutanese representative and guide who will escort you to the hotel after the custom formalities at Paro airport. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 2 Sightseeing in PARO
We start hiking to Taktsang monastery (Tiger Nest). The climb up to the viewpoint will take around 3 hours. We can enjoy the stunning view of the monastery where Guru Padmasambava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century, and meditated for three months. The monastery was later built in this holy place in 1684, the fourth temporal ruler of Bhutan. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 Drive to THIMPU
We leave early for Thimpu, the capital city of Bhutan, en-route visit to the ancient fortress of Simtokha Dzong. The most fascinating feature of Thimpu is that it is amongst the two national capitals of Asia that do not have Traffic lights. Thimpu offers the best opportunity to do our own thing. It’s relaxed, friendly and pretty informal, and is most rewarding if we can be the same. It’s around two hours driving from Paro to Thimpu. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 Trek to SHONG PANG
From here, the trek starts. We drive north up the valley towards Dechencholing (the residence of the Queen Mother) Palace, following the Thimphu. The ride will take us up to 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. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 Trek to DOPSHING PANG
The trek trail ascends gradually up till the Sinchula pass is reached. From this point, if the weather is clear, we can see Phajodhing Monastery, which is just above Thimphu. After walking 2km, we can view Thinly Gang village, Talo Monastery and the motor highway towards the ancient capital of Bhutan. The trek from the pass is more or less downhill till we reach the campsite. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 Trek to CHORTEN NINGPO
The trek to Chorten Ningpo is rather gradual and will be walking through thick forests, villages and rice fields. It is the least deforested country in the world. Over 70% of Bhutan is blanketed in virgin blue pine forest. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 Trek to ZOMLINGTHANG
The trek takes about 2-3 hours through several villages until we reach a motor road. From the motor road, we follow the road towards Punakha, which is the ancient capital of Bhutan. The Punakha Dzong “Palace of Great Happiness” is the former winter Capital and at present day hosts the administrative seat of the district. Also the winter residence of the central monastic body and its Chief Abbot. The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, male and female river. The location is strategic. It was built in 1637 A.D. It was here on 17th December 1907, Bhutan’s first king was crowned. We continue on our trek to reach Zomlingthang for our overnight. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 Trek to LIMUKHA
We leave for Limukha after breakfast as we follow the motor road to Punakha Dzong and then cross the Pochu River (Male River), the river that drains the remote Lunana region. We will have a steady half day climb into a forest of scattered long needle chirpines. As we continue, we will have wonderful views of Punakha valley and the Dzong. If the weather is clear, we can see some snow mountains to the north. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 Trek & drive to CHUNGSAKA/WANGDIPHODRANG
After breakfast depart Limukha towards Chungsaka/Wangdiphodrang. The trail ascends gradually up through the thick forest of oak species and rhododendrons till a pass called Dochula (10,500 ft) is reached. Prayer flags send prayers on the wind. We can enjoy spectacular views of the Eastern Himalayan Mountains In Bhutan. There are over 50 species alone of Rhododendrons, not to mention beautiful wild orchids, tropical and high altitude plants, and the national flower, the Blue Poppy. Then we descend through the thick forest leading to a small monastery dedicated to a lama called Drukpa Kuenly ( popularly known as the Divine Madman). We can look across the valley to Samtengang from Chungsakha on the ridge to the south. Then we walk down hill till we meet the motor road and then drive for about half an hour to Wangdiphodrang. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 Drive to THIMPU
We drive towards the west to Thimphu. On our way we will stop at the Punakha Dzong to tour the Dzong and marvel at its architecture and ancient wall frescoes and its ornate structure. We continue to drive over Dochula Pass and stop for a short break. Eventually, we drive down to Thimphu. We stay overnight in a hotel. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 Drive to PARO
Our trek to Bhutan almost completes here so we head to Paro through winding road all the way down following the Wangchuk River that reaches to the confluence (Chu- Zom). It means the meeting of two rivers Wangchuk & Pa- Chu from Paro. This point is to check the vehicle pass by and immigrations. On the junction of these two rivers, we will witness the three different kind of Chorten: Tibetan, Bhutanese and Nepalese style. We will cross this bridge and turn to right towards Paro. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 Fly to KATHMANDU
After breakfast we are being transported to airport for the flight back to Kathmandu from Paro Airport. This day can be utilized buying gifts and souvenirs for friends and family. In the evening you will be invited to join FAREWELL reviewing great photos and share experiences of the trip. Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner