This trek offers a short, easy and enjoyable journey around scenic Trongsa Dzongkhag. The climate is warm and pleasant as the trail stays between 1000-1500m in altitude and there is a wide array of flora and fauna observable along the route including the rare Golden Langur, Red Pandas, Himalayan Black Bears, Rhesus Monkeys, Rufous-necked Hornbills and Clouded Leopards.
Hikers on this trek will have plenty of opportunity to experience traditional rural life as they will spend nights in the villages of Nabji, Korphu and Nyimshong. Nabji is an idyllic village surrounded by verdant paddy fields and the villagers of Korphu are famed for their hospitality. Visitors will often be greeted by a Chipdrel procession and Marchang ceremony, practices typically reserved for royalty. Nyimshong is a good place to observe some of the local culture as the women often put together cultural shows full of singing and dancing for visitors.
This is the perfect trek for visitors looking to learn about and experience traditional rural life firsthand while enjoying the natural beauty and biodiversity of Bhutan. The best time to embark on this trek is in winter, between October-April.
The flight into Bhutan takes you to the great Himalayas, offering the most scintillating scenery of the world's nighest glacial peaks. On arrival, received by the representative of Yak Holidays transfer to the hotel where arrangements have been made for the night. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
(Altitude 2350 m, Distance: 55 km & 1 hour drive)
On arrival at Thimphu, after check in to your Hotel, visit Mothithang Mini Zoo to see the National Animal of Bhutan, the Takin. Also visit the Drupthop Lhakhang (the nunnery). After lunch, we will see the Painting school, Folk Heritage Museum, the National Library, Bhutan Postal Office and Handicrafts Emporium and stroll around Thimphu town before dinner. Overnight at Hotel.
(Altitude 2200 m, Distance: 199 km & 7 hours drive)
After breakfast, drive to Trongsa via the Dochula Pass (3150 m). The mountain pass is marked by hundreds of rippling prayer flags, and 108 Namgyel Khangzang Chortens. On clear days the pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the Eastern Himalayas. From here drive is all the way down through magnolia and rhododendron forests to the tropical valley of Wangduephodrang (1350 m) and then continue drive to Trongsa en route crossing Pelela Pass (3300 m). The region has different species of rhododendron depending on the flower season- Spring– April to May). There is also an abrupt change in vegetation at this point, with mountain forests replaced by high altitude dwarf bamboos. Stop at Chendebji Choten (a Nepalese-styled Stupa) for lunch/pack lunch. After lunch continue your journey to Trongsa. Overnight at Hotel.
(Altitude range 1,000 m - 1,350 m, Distance: 7-9.5 km, 3-4 hours)
After an early breakfast at your hotel, you could afford some time to strut around Trongsa town, combining it with a visit to the Dzong and also Trongsa's Tag Dzong. The latter is going to be upgraded into a museum which will definitely captivate the visitor with its myriad collections. A two hour drive from the town along the Zhemgang highway brings you to the start of the Trek, Tongtongphey. You could also augment your itinerary along the way with a visit to Kuenga Rabten Palace (see right), an important heritage in Bhutanese history. After furnishing yourself with ample information about the trek from the information booth, your guide will steer you down to the Mangdue river where you cross a suspension bridge. Unless you have a strong proclivity for ants and other ground creatures, it is almost impossible to miss out on Golden Langurs that are bountiful on this stretch. The first day brings you in contact with the Monpas who are believed to be the first inhabitants of Bhutan. A glimpse on their lifestyle further validates their ethnicity, coupled by mythical legends about their origins. The campsite in Jangbi stands on the valley sill, which offers a resplendent view of the Mangdi valley. If you still have some energy for locomotion, you could audience yourself to a local cultural program, or better, partake in it.
(Altitude range - 1,350 m - 1,500 m, Distance: 13-14.5 km, around 6 hours)
The morning allows you to further interact with the Monpas (women dancing above). Before you proceed, you could also pay a visit to the orchid garden that fences about 75 different kinds of orchids till your thirst for botanical photography gets satiated. The hike to Kudra provides a nuance of jovial atmosphere because this part of the trail meanders along stone imprints of Guru Rinpoche, footprints, dagger and phallus, festooned by stories that espouse Gurus practices. Lunch is served just before you arrive at Phrumzur, one of the villages of the Monpa communities off the trail. You could also visit the village Lhakhang in Phrumzur and then proceed to the campsite in Kudra. En route, you traverse another small Monpa village called Lekpogang, after which, the campsite in Kudra is just an hour’s walk. The campsite offers a birds-eye-view of Nyimshong village and also the Zhemgang town.
(Altitude range - 1,500 m - 1,300 m, Distance: 11-14 km, about 5-7 hours)
You wake up with the distant call of the Rufous-necked hornbill. This part of the trek is a collage of streams, waterfalls and thick forests that will give you an invigorating feeling of being out in the wild. The Great Himalayan Squirrel, Rhesus Mecaques and small snakes are often spotted along the trail. Unseen but present, are the Himalayan Black Bear, Red Pandas, Royal Bengal Tigers, Clouded Leopards etcetera. Upon arrival at the Holy Tree in Nabji, the people will give you a heartwarming reception. Nabji is a beautiful village where paddy fields seem to circumambulate the clustered houses. You could also hike to the community school and indulge yourself in a game of football or volleyball, where children rejoice the presence of outsider athletes.
(Altitude range – 1300 m – 1500 m, Distance: 9.5-13 km, 2-3 hours)
En route to Korphu, the Nabji temple is located in the middle of the paddy fields. Inside there remains a stone pillar on which Guru Rinpoche while traveling through Bhutan in the 8th century brought consensus between the warring kings: King Sindha Gyelp of Bumthang, and King Noeche, by imprinting their thumbs on each side of the stone. A unique festival is celebrated sometime in early January at the temple grounds. Korphu is situated on a mountaintop at an altitude of 1,500 m. The most striking thing about Korphu is that the people exemplify hospitality to the utmost. You have the option of being welcomed with a traditional Chipdrel procession and a Marchang ceremony, singing traditional songs of praise and wellbeing for new visitors. They also perform the traditional Tashi Lebey dance to bid you farewell. If you are interested, the villagers can explain and demonstrate and even allow you to participate in the quintessential Bhutanese games of Khuru (long distance darts), Dego (Darts game using stone), Soksum (javelin), and Pundo (akin to Shot Putt), all on the brink of disappearance. You could also pay a visit to the village temple that houses the sacred relics of Pema Lingpa, the famous Treasure Revealer of Bhutan. A local lunch could be provided in the village campsite which also provides a spectacular birds-eye view of Nabji and other surrounding areas.
(Altitude range- 1,500 m - 1,300 m, Distance: 11-12 km, roughly 4-6 hours)
The hike from Korphu to Nyimshong is the pleasant and arguably the best birding spot which can boast a bird list of more than 395 species. The elusive Rufous Necked Hornbill has its nesting holes adjacent to the trail. The walk is mixed with waterfalls and, streams and cantilever bridges. The evening brings you to Nyimshong, a village with its reticent architecture and lifestyle. The campsite is equipped with an amphitheatre. The women of Nyimshong have a penchant for singing and dancing and a cultural show would be ideal to express certain euphoria to end your trek. Of course this is optional.
(Altitude range - 1,300 m - 1,000 m, Distance: 5-6 km, about 2 hours)
If you are lucky, the Golden Langurs will lead you to the exit. You descend down to the Mangdi river again to see some Herons and River-lapwings. An hour’s steep ascent to the road and your driver will take you back to Trongsa.
(185 km & 6 hours drive)
After breakfast drive to Punakha en-route visit Gangtey to explore Phobjikha valley, chosen winter home of black necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan Plateau. After lunch, continue your drive to Punakha. Overnight at Hotel.
(Altitude range- 122 km & 3 hrs 30 min drive).
After breakfast drive to Paro via Dochula. A half-hour walk through mustard fields brings us to Chimi Lhakhang ('Lhakhang' means temple), a monastery and fertility temple dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist Saint known popularly as ‘the Divine Madman’ and considered a folk hero in Bhutan for his unconventional ways. Drukpa Kuenley originally built a Chorten on the site in the 14th century. The temple, flanked by nearly 100 tall prayer flags, sits atop a picturesque hill and has long been a pilgrimage site for childless couples. After a hot cup of coffee at a café near the Pass, we continue our drive to Paro. Evening we will stroll around Paro Town to do last shopping for authentic souvenirs and gifts from Bhutan. Dinner and Overnight Stay at Paro Hotel.
Morning, drive to Drugyal Dzong, which is 16 km away from the town. The Dzong though in ruins played a very important role in defending the valley from Tibetan Invasion and it was built to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan forces. Drive back to Ramthangka to hike up to the view point of Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest- 2950 m). The round trip will take about three hours. After a brief refreshment at Taktsang cafeteria, you can take a walk little higher to have a closer view point of Taktsang monastery. Legend says that in the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche who is regarded as the second Buddha meditated here. The place now is one of the holiest pilgrim sites for Mahayana Buddhists (as compared to Hinayana Buddhists of Thailand and Sri Lanka- who take the Buddha as a Teacher and not God). After lunch, retreat back to hotel. On the way, visit the 7th century Kyichu temple, the oldest monastery of the Kingdom, built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gambo. In the evening explore the Paro village town. Overnight at Hotel.
Early breakfast and drive to the airport for your departure. Farewell and hope to see you again.
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