Druk Path Trek

Tour Overview

This wonderfully scenic high-altitude walk accesses remote alpine lakes, yak herders and boasts views of Bhutanese Himalayas. For most part, it follows the traditional mule route between Thimphu and Paro. Because it departs or ends in Paro or Thimphu, it logistics make it a great choice as an add-on to any cultural tour of Bhutan. One of the variation of Druk Path called Tsaluna trek is quite easy, short and can be done till late into winter and starting from early spring. Regular Druk Path trek if it is done in 4 days (Jele Dzong, Jimlangtsho, Phajoding and Thimphu), it is considered moderately strenuous.

Trek Duration: 4 days
Max. Elevation: 3570 at Jili La pass
Max. Campsite: 3,200m
Difficulty: Easy.
Seasons: Best from March till May & from Mid Sept till Nov. Can be done in all other months, accept in December and January.


Itinerary

Day 1: Begin trek from Paro to Jele Dzong (B/L/D)
From your hotel in Paro, transfer to the trail head near Ta Dzong museum and begin trekking. About 4-5hr trek uphill ascending 1050m. Camp at 3570m.

Day 2: Trek to Jangchulakha (B/L/D)
Visit Jeli Dzong and trek along the ridges with the views of Paro’s side valleys. About 10km/4hr trek and camp at 3760m.

Day 3: Trek to Jimilangtso lake (B/L/D) 
Trek for about 10km/4hr and camp near the lake at 3870m.

Day 4: Trek to Simkota lake (B/L/D)
Climb up gradually up to 4150m and descend to your camp site at 4110m overlooking another lake. About 11km/4hr trek.

Day 5: Trek to Phajoding (B/L/D)
Gradually trek up hill and climb to Labanla pass at 4210m, after which the trail makes a long and steep descent past Thujidrag to Phajoding. The campsite is near the hermitages and monasteries at 3750m. About 10km/3-4hrs trek.

Day 6: End with the trek to Thimphu (B/L/D)
After visiting the temples and monasteries in Phajoding, walk downhill for about 5km/3hr to Motithang (2540m). Meet and transfer to your hotel or city center. Alternative route: This trek may be done in 4 or 5, if you are a strong trekker. The route and sights remain same but you cover more distances. Also, instead of starting the trek in Paro, it can be done in reverse order; starting from Thimphu and ending in Paro

Drukpath Trek – 5 Days – Option B
This is slightly more strenuous then option A. The duration is shorter by day for the same distance. However this is the most popular option on Drukpath trail.

Day 1: Begin trek from Paro to Jele Dzong (B/L/D)
From your hotel in Paro, transfer to the trail head near Ta Dzong museum and begin trekking. About 4-5hr trek uphill ascending 1050m. Camp at 3570m.

Day 2: Trek to Jangchulakha (B/L/D)
Visit Jeli Dzong and trek along the ridges with the views of Paro’s side valleys. About 10km/4hr trek and camp at 3760m.

Day 3: Trek to Jimilangtso lake (B/L/D)
Trek for about 10km/4hr and camp near the lake at 3870m.

Day 4: Trek from Jimilangtsho to Phajoding (B/L/D)
Climb up gradually up too 4150m and descend to Simkota, which takes 4hrs. Then gradually trek up hill and climb to Laban La pass at 4210m, after which the trail makes a long and steep descent past Thujidrag to Phajoding. The campsite is near the hermitages and monasteries at 3750m. Total about 7-7-8hrs trek, about 21km.

Day 5: End with the trek to Thimphu (B/L/D)
After visiting the temples and monasteries in Phajoding, walk all downhill for about 5km/3hr to Motithang (2540m). Meet and transfer to your hotel or city center. Alternative route: This trek may be done in 4 or 5, if you are a strong trekker. The route and sights remain same but you cover more distances. Also, instead of starting the trek in Paro, it can be done in reverse order; starting from Thimphu and ending in Paro.

Druk path Trek – 4 Days – Option C
For those who are serious trekker and are short on time, this is definitely the choice. The second and the third day of the trek are both long days of 7-8hours trek, making the trek quite strenuous. This is also also commonly done.

Day 1: Begin trek from Paro to Jele Dzong (B/L/D)
From your hotel in Paro, transfer to the trail head near Ta Dzong museum and begin trekking. About 4-5hr trek uphill ascending 1050m. Camp at 3570m.

Day 2: Trek to Jimilangtso lake (B/L/D)
Trek for about 20km/7-8hr trek and camp near the lake at 3870m.

Day 3: Trek from Jimilangtso to Phajoding (B/L/D)
Climb up gradually up too 4150m and descend to Simkota, which takes 4hrs. Then gradually trek up hill and climb to Laban La pass at 4210m, after which the trail makes a long and steep descent past Thujidrag to Phajoding. The campsite is near the hermitages and monasteries at 3750m. Total about 7-7-8hrs trek, about 21km.

Day 4: End with the trek in Thimphu (B/L/D)
After visiting the temples and monasteries in Phajoding, walk downhill for about 5km/3hr to Motithang (2540m). Meet and transfer to your hotel or city center.

Drukpath Tsaluna Trek – 3 days – Option D
This is the easier alternative of Druk Path trek, skipping Phajoding and Jimilangtsho area. As most of the areas are lower then regular Drukpath route, the trek can be done for longer season.

Day 1: Thimphu – Trek beyond Pumela Pass (B/L/D)
(Approx. 5hrs.). Start your trek above Thimphu valley through pine forest, following old mule track used in the olden days between Thimphu and Paro. It’s a gradual climb about three hours to the Pumela Pass (3000m) then descend to the cow herder’s camp for about an hour and a half. Overnight Camp.

Day 2: Trek Jay-dikha (B/L/D)
(Approx. 5 to 6 hrs.) In the morning you descend to Tsaluna village through coniferous and bamboo shrubs forest for two hours. When you pass through the village, you will see self-sufficient farmers, who produce all their basic necessities in their small farm. Later, you will gradually climb up to Jay-dikha village through cold broad-leaved forest for about three hours. Overnight Camp.

Day 3– Trek Jili Dzong – Trek ends at Ta Dzong (B/L/D)
(Approx. 5 to 6 hrs.) About two hours gradual climb through spruce, hemlock, fir and giant rhododendron forest to Jili la pass (3570m). On a clear day, from the Pass, you can see panoramic views of the Himalayan range bordering Tibet along with Mt. Jomolhari, Jichu Drake & Tserim Gang. You will also see spectacular ridge views and view of Paro valley. Later, descend to Paro by trekking for three hours. At the end of the trek, if time permits, you may visit the National Museum. Check into Hotel Gangtey Palace or Similar.
All of the above trek can be done in the reverse order and you would need to plan addition time for touring part, which could be as follows or as per your interest:

Day 1: Arrive in Paro-Paro valley tour
Day 2: Paro Valley sightseeing
Day 3: Paro (Excursion to Takstang Monastery)
Day 4: Begin Trek

First day after the trek, keep it for Thimphu tour and depart the next day