Duration 13 Days / 12 nights
Maximum elevation: 1,400 m
Trekking level: A relatively easy trek ideally suited for first timers, great for seasoned trekkers’ too
Starting point: Gynekha village,
End point: Talakha
Best seasons: April, September and October
Day 01: Arrive Paro
On arrival at Paro Airport, you will be arrange till hotel after completion of arrival formalities. Evening, visit to Paro market and town. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 02: Paro
In the morning, we drive up the valley to Drugyal Dzong (1646), which once defended this valley from Tibetan invasion.
Though largely destroyed by fire in 1951, its towering outer walls are still an imposing sight on a fine day; there is a grand view of Mt. Jomolhari from the approach road to Drugyal Dzong. Drive back along the valley to visit a traditional farm house and then the 1th Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most sacred shrines.
In the afternoon, visit Ta Dzong, built in 1651 as a watchtower and in 1968 inaugurated as Bhutan’s National Museum. The collection includes art, relic, religious thangkha paintings, postages stamps, coins and handicrafts, as well as a small natural history collection. Then walk down a short hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong), built in 1646, and now housing the offices of the district administration and Paro’s monk body. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 03: Paro – Thimphu
This morning drive down the valley following the Pa Chu (Paro river) to its confluence with the WangChu (Thimphu river). Turn left up the valley leading to the nation’s capital, Thimphu. En route visit Simtokha Dzong (1627), the kingdom’s oldest fortress which now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.
After lunch, visit the National Memorial Chorten, built as a memorial to Bhutan’s third king (‘the father of modern Bhutan’) and also as a monument to world peace. Then visit Tashichhodzong, Thimphu’s most impressive building situated by the Wang Chu. It houses His Majesty’s secretariat, some ministries, and also the central monk body during the summer months. In the evening, take a stroll through Thimphu market and town. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 04: Thimphu
After breakfast, visit the following as time permits: Institute for Zorig Chusum, where students learn the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan; the National Library, which houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature, including some manuscripts dating back several hundred years; the National Institute of Traditional Medicine (outside only), where Medicine herbs are compounded and dispensed, and traditional medicine practitioners are trained; and the Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums, for fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life.
After lunch, visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium, which carries a wide range of hand-woven textiles and craft products, and browse in the bookshops and many smaller handicrafts shops around the town. Take an early evening drive up to a lookout festooned with prayer flags, for a fine view of Thimphu and the valley. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 05: Thimphu –Genekha(14km, 4 hours)
Drive for 45 minutes to reach the starting point for the trek. The first day’s walk is along a mule path, passing by terraced fields and coniferous forest, and ending at the signboard of Genekha School. Overnight camp at Genekha (2,800m) alongside a stream.
Day 06: Genekha – Gur(15km, 4 hours)
On today’s trek the true communication with nature begins, and you will see many varieties of alpine flora and also some animals and many birds. After two hours of walking gradually uphill, rest at a huge rock platform, from which there is a picturesque view of the valley below. After another two hours the trek ends for the day. Camp at Gur, where flowers are abundant in spring.
Day 07: Gur – Labatama(12km, 5 hours)
While trekking across the ridges, one enjoys the beauty of the rugged mountain vegetation. Today’s trek takes us across meadows where wide asparagus and other small plants grow, and if taking this trek in the spring, you will feel you are of the whole Dagala range, alpine meadows and yak herders’ camps. We will lunch at a nearby yak herder’s camp. After lunch we will walk across hills and over meadows, ending the third day of our trek at Yutsho Lake, where golden trout abound. Overnight camp near the lake.
Day 08: Labatama halt
This day is for an excursion to any one of three lakes: Relitsho, Hentsho and Jamatsho. Your trekking leader will tell you mystical stories about these lakes. This would also be an ideal time and place for some trout fishing. Overnight camp.
Day 09: Labatama halt
Extension to Setsho and nearby lakes. The hike to Setho Lake is easy and interesting. You could spend the whole day trout fishing here, with packed lunch. Alternatively, after reaching Setsho you could then cross over a small ridge and go down to Jagetsho lake. Or you could try climbing Jomo, a 5,050m peak. Lunch at the summit, with spectacular views all around, can be memorable experience. Return to camp by dusk and prepare for the next day.
Day 10: Labatama – Panka(8km, 4 hours)
Walk for 20 minutes upwards before beginning the descent at around 4,460m. There will be splendid views of the Himalayas on the descent. Your escort will help you in identifying individual peaks such as Everest, Kanchenjunga, Jomolhari, Jichu Drake, Tserimgang, Khangbum, Masagang, Tsendengang and Gangchenta. Himalayan pheasants are a common sight, due to the vegetation in this area. Overnight camp on a grassy meadow at Panka.
Day 11: Panka –Talekha(8km, 4 hours)
This day entails the crossing of several increasingly impressive passes. You will see several varieties of the blue poppy (if trekking June-July) and also many mountain birds along the way. Lunch at the point where the trail divides into two paths leading to Talekha and to Wangduephodrang respectively. After lunch, an hour’s gradual climb brings us to the top of the last ridge on the Dagala range from where there is a spectacular view of Thimphu valley below. Another hour’s walk and you are at the last camp, a little above Talekha monastery.
Day 12: Takela – Thimphu – Paro(6km, 2 hours)
Passing through alpine and mixed vegetation (bamboo thickets and wild flowers) one reaches Talekha monastery and village and once again the view of Thimphu is superb. We walk through mixed vegetation and apple orchards, finally reaching the main motorable road to Thimphu where our transport is waiting for us. Drive to Thimphu in time for lunch, and in the evening drive bake to Paro. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 13: Depart Paro
After early breakfast in the hotel, drive to the Airport for flight to onward destination.