This trek goes to the remote Lunana district and considered as the most challenging trek in Bhutan. The attributes those make it a tough trek are ; distances, altitudes, weather and remoteness.
Duration: 27 days, Max. Elevation: 5,320m
Highest Camp: 5,120m
Best Seasons: Mid June to Mid October
Start: Drukgyel Dzong (Paro)
Finish: Duer Village (Bumthang)
Day 01 : Arrive Paro
On arrival at Paro airport, received by our representative and transfer to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital town. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02 : Thimphu
Full day city tour, visit to ; Memorial Chorten, Trashichho dzong, National Library, Art School, Traditional Medicine Institute, Handicrafts Emporium and Textile and Folk Heritage Museum. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03 : Thimphu to Punakha / Tashithang
Drive to Punakha via Dochula pass (3,050m), through magnificent forest of rhododendron and magnolia. From the pass one can have the panoramic view of eastern Himalayan peaks and enticing view of Lunana route, Picnic lunch at Punakha by the riverside. Enjoy the view of Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 during the time of Shabdrung. The Dzong is now used as the winter residence of monk body and administrative centre of the district. After lunch drive on to Tashithang following the Mo Chu river. Camp at Tashithang at the end of the road at alt. 1,600m.
Day 04 : Tashithang to Damji
The trek starts by the riverside, following a well made path through semi tropical forest. This part of the area is quite wet and one has to be careful of leeches. Also for flower lovers there is abundant on wild orchids here. The day walk is fairly gentle climbing upto Damji village. Camp at Damji at alt. 2,250m, walking time 5/6 hours.
Day 05 : Damji to Gasa
The path continues through semi-tropical forests and villages upto Gasa Tsachu (hot spring). The Tsachu is a famous place where people from all over the country come to have bath, due to its curative powers. Here there are four pools of different temperature from mild to hot. Hot lunch will be served close to spring. After lunch two hours stiff clib to Gasa Dzong. Camp below the Dzong at alt. 2,900m. Walking time 6/7 hours.
Day 06 : Gasa to Chamsa
After breakfast, visit the Dzong, which was built in 17th century, to protect the valley against Tibetan invaders. The path starts with stiff climb upto Bele la pass (3,700m) through bamboo, rhododendron, juniper and fir forests. Then descend for about half an hour to camp at Chamsa at alt. 3,650m. Walking time 6/7 hours.
Day 07 : Chamsa to Laya
The trail starts by descending to the bank of Mo Chu river. Lunch will be served at the side of bridge, across the river. After lunch climb gradually to Laya crossing the army camp. Overnight camp at alt. 3,800m. Walking time 8/9 hours.
Day 08 : Rest day at Laya
One can go around the villages, visiting houses and the people. Laya people are very friendly and will happily pose for photographs. Women of Laya wear a special dress and typical bamboo hats, decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments. Cultural evening with dances performed by local girls.
Day 09 : Laya to Rhodophu
From Laya descend to army camp and continue following the river till the turn off point to Rhodophu. After lunch continue the climb through rhododendron bushes till reach the camp at alt. 4,350m. Walking time 8/9 hours.
Day 10 : Rhodophu to Tarina
Today is the longest day of the trip and it is important to start early. Start at about 5 a.m. by climbing to Tsimola (4,700m). After crossing the first pass and the little summit, one can have superb view of Lunana, Mt. Chomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake.
The path is flat for another four hours till climb to Ganglapachung pass (5,080m) is started. The view from the path is breathtaking and whole range of mountains including Masagang, Tsendegang, Teri gang can be seen. After the path, it is very long descent to Tarina valley. Camp at alt. 3,980m. Walking time 10/11 hours.
Day 11 : Tarina to Woche
The walk leads down through conifer forests following the upper reaches of the Pho chu river. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to Woche at 3,800m, the first village after Gasa. Camp at alt. 3,800m. Walking time 6/7 hours.
Day 12 : Woche to Lhedi
The trek starts through juniper and fir forests and further ahead through rhododendron bushes. Climb upto Keche la pass (4,480m) where one can have the great view of mountains. After the pass, descend to the riverside walking through the village with stunning view of Table Mountains and others. Follow up the river till Lhedi village, which is one of the main sources of Pho Chu river. Camp at alt. 3,650m.
Day 13 : Lhedi to Thanza
The trek continues following the river, rising gradually to Choejong village. After lunch, visit the Choejung village walking towards the wide valley. Cross the bridge to reach Thanza camp at alt. 4,000m, walking time 7/8 hours.
Day 14 : Rest day at Thanza
One can walk around or climb the ridge for fascinating view of lakes and mountains.
Day 15 : Thanza to Tshorim
The trek starts by climbing the ridge, with great view of the Table Mountain and Thanza valley below. The ridge alt. Is 4,500m and it rises gradually up-to 4,650m. After lunch walk upwards the left side of the bridge enjoying the view of snow capped mountains. Further after climbing ridges, you reach the camp site of Tshorim at alt. 5,125m, walking time 8/9 hours.
Day 16 : Tashorim to Gangkar Puensum Base Camp
This is one of the highlights of the trip and day starts with a short climb to the Tashorim Lake. Walk on the side of the lake enjoying the panormic view of Gophula ranges. The last climb to the Guphola pass (5,230m) is very short. After the pass descend to the base camp, walking along the ridge and enjoying the great view of Gangkar Puensum. If interested, one can divert to the left side to climb up the pyramid peak for a better view or you can go down to base camp nearby Sha Chu at the alt. of 4,970m, walking time 6/7 hours.
Day 17 : Gangkar Puensum base camp
Rest day at the base camp enjoying the great view.
Day 18 : Gangkar Puensum Base Camp to Geshe Woma
The trek is not yet over. The trail further follows the Sha Chu and descends gradually to Geshe Woma at alt. of 4,200m, walking time 6/7 hours.
Day 19 : Geshe Woma to Warathang
The path continues following Sha Chu for two and half hours until the stiff climb to Sakala begins. Visibility along the Sakala trail is poor so one must se top of the ridge for guidance. Lunch nearby a yak herder’s camp. After that climb up to Sakala pass at alt. 4,800m. Later descend to the lakes and another short ascent is stunning. Scenery once again is beautiful with small lakes and the mountain peaks. Camp at the alt. of 4,000m, walking time 8/9 hours.
Day 20 : Warathang to Dur Tshachu
A short half-hour climb leads the Juelela pass (4,400m). After the pass, descend to the riverside through dense rhododendron, juniper and conifer forests. After the bridge a short climb leads to dur Tshachu hot spring, where Guru Padsambhava is suppose to have taken bath in the 8th hot spring, walking time 5 hours.
Day 21 : Dur Tshachu to Tshochenchen
From the spring, it is a long and steady climb again with great views of the mountain is Lunana. You also come across blue lakes and yak herders camp at alt. 3,850m, walking time 8/9 hours.
Day 22 : Tshochenchen to Dru to Bumthang (Jakar)
This is the last day of the trek where you change from yak to pack ponies. The path follows the Chamkhar Chu descending gradually with few climbs. The trek ends when you arrive at Dur village where transport will pick you up and drive to Bumthang. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 23 : Bumthang
Bumthang is the general name given to combination of four valleys to Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with altitude varying from 2,600m to 4,000m. It is home to many of prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries.
Visit to Tamshing Lhakhang, the treasure house of interesting religious Buddhist paintings. Then visit, Jakar Dzong, the administrative centre of the valley.
Afternoon visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places. Later visit Jambay Lhakhang, the ancient monastery dating from the introduction of Buddhism in the country.
Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Evening visit to local shops. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.
Day 24 : Bumthang to Trongsa (68 km, 3 hours)
The crown prince of Bhutan traditionally becomes the Penlop (governor) of Trongsa prior to crowned as king. Trongsa Dzong built in 1648 is the master piece of Bhutanese architecture, which has been traditional home of all four kings of Bhutan before they crowned as King. Standing above this fortress is Ta Dzong, which once guarded this place from internal rebellion and provides visitor more insight into the historical significance of Trongsa in Bhutan’s history. Overnight at the lodge in Trongsa.
Day 25 : Trongsa to Paro (250 km, 7 hours)
Morning drive to Paro en-route visiting Wangduephodrang and local market. This place is also famous for its bamboo products, slate and stone carvings.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro..
Day 26 : Paro
After breakfast visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum of the Kingdom. Originally built as Watch Tower since 1967 it is acting as the National Museum of the country and holding fascinating collection of art, artifacts, thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong which has a long and fascinating history.
After lunch drive north of Paro valley to ruins of Drukgyel Dozng. From this fort Bhutanese repelled several invasion by Tibetan armies. Nearby visit traditional Bhutanese Farm House which offers good insight into lifestyle of local people.
While return to Paro town visit enroute Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 27 : Paro depart
After breakfast drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.
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