Trip Description & Itinerary

Come with us on one of the most mythical adventures in the world as we explore the Kingdom of Bhutan, it’s people, landscape and legends. Bhutan is known throughout the world as one of the last locations of the famed Shangri La, and has preserved its culturally rich Buddhist heritage through its unique form of government which is rooted in the concept  of Gross National Happiness. After Tibet lost its independence with China, Bhutan became the last true remaining Buddhist nation in the world. Throughout the country there are many temples, shrines, monuments and places of worship that date back many centuries, and are still in use today by the country’s nearly 12,000 monks. Tourism in this tiny country has been limited by the government in order to preserve its environment and cultural heritage, and it is still a very unique time to visit the country, reminiscent to traveling in Nepal before tourism exploded there. Our journey will take us on what is known as the most beautiful trek in Bhutan, through Jigme Dorje National Park along the Jomolhari route,  traveling in the footsteps of local herders, tribesmen and monks.

Our journey begins in Paro Bhutan.  There we will spend two nights at a first class hotel while we spend a few days touring this ancient city, and doing an acclimatization hike in the surrounding hills visiting Chelela Pass & Nunnery.

The next day we begin our trek starting in the lowlands, ascending semi-tropical valleys, which change quickly into tall thick forests, comprising a variety of oaks, maple, birch, and allders that will be replaced by rhododendron and pines as we trek even higher.  We will pass through several microclimates, and encounter an enormous diversity of birds and wildlife including the Fire-Tailed Sunbird, Ibis Bill, White-Throated Dipper, Yellow-Billed Chough, Rosy Pipit, Snow Partridge and Blue-fronted Redstart.  In the lowland forests we may spot Grey Langurs Tigers, Leopards, Gorals and Seras.  As we ascend higher we may catch a glimpse of Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, Sambar, Wild Pig and Barking Deer.  The alpine zone in Bhutan is home to the highest concentration of Snow Leopards in the world, and is also habitat for Blue Sheep, Tibetan Wolf, Antelope, Himalayan Musk Deer, and herds of Takin (national animal).

On day three we will reach Jagothang, and stop for a rest in order to acclimatize for the higher altitude to come. Today we will hike up towards Chomolhari glacier and have spectacular views of Jomolhari (24,035 feet) and Jichu Drake (22,930 feet). Both mountains are considered sacred, and we will see Buddhist practitioners making pilgrimage to the many temples sited along the mountain’s lower ramparts.  The next day we will climb up Bhonte La pass at 16,000 feet where we will have some of the most spectacular views of the entire trek looking out across the Himalayan range.

From here we will descend into a pristine valley with many small villages.  The next morning we gradually climb through the forest of rhododendron up to Takhung La Pass (4,520 m/14,829 ft) where we once again have stunning views of the Himalayan Mountains, including Mt. Kanchenjunga (the third highest mountain in the world). From the Pass, you descend to Thombu Shong, a wide glacial valley commonly frequented by yak herders and their yaks. Then shortly reach your camp at Thombu Shong, the highest camp and one of the most beautiful campsites in Bhutan.

The next day is one of the most challenging days of the trek hiking up to Thombu La pass (4,380m/14,370ft). Crossing the pass you will hike along one of the most picturesque ridges on the trek for another hour. On clear days you have beautiful views of the mountains, including some peaks located in Tibet. The trail suddenly makes a long descent to finally reach Gunitsawa, where our vehicles await.

With the trekking behind us we can now fully relax as we make our way to Thimphu and Punakha traveling by private motor coach through a lush semi-tropical gorge filled with banana trees, creepers and the sight of an occasional monkey. After lunch we will climb up and over Dochula Pass (10,200 feet)  and visit the extensive grounds, which include 108 stupas, a monastery and the Royal Botanical Park.  From here we descend towards the capital city of Bhutan – Thimphu.  Here we will stay in a first class hotel and tour the many ancient sites and monasteries, including the Tashichho Dzong, Tango Goempa, the Memorial Chorten and Dechen Phodrang (world’s largest statue of Buddha -169 feet).

The following day we will make our way back to Paro for our final night, and celebrate with a closing dinner at one of the many fine restaurants. The next day we depart Bhutan for our return flight home.

Our trip begins and ends in Paro where our local guide will meet you and transfer to your hotel. We will have 2-nights accommodation and have opportunity to explore this culturally rich city.  We will spend a few days doing some initial acclimatization hiking around the valley and visiting many of the sites.

We will then drive to the army post of Gunitsawa at the entrance of Jigme Dorje National Park where we will begin our 6-day trek.  We will be met by our horsemen, cooks and porters who take care of every logistical detail during our trek. Participants will only need to carry their day packs, with extra food, water and clothing for the entire trek.

The first several days will be moderate hiking as we ascend through sub-tropical valleys on our way up to higher altitude.  Once reaching Jangothang near 14,000 feet we will have an acclimatization day before heading higher towards bhonte LaPass at 16,000 feet the following day.  Due to the altitude we will have an extra mule, bottled oxygen and potable Gamov bag to address any altitude issues.  All camps along the trek are situated below 14,000 feet and acclimatization should not pose a problem after the initial ascent.

From there we will make our way back to Paro via private motor coach, visiting several ancient sites and monasteries along the way.  We will have a 2-night stay in Thimphu and tour this culturally rich city, before returning to Paro the following day.  In Paro we will have one more night stay, and visit the famed Tiger’s Nest Monastery then celebrate with a closing dinner at one of the many fine restaurants.  The next day we depart Bhutan for our return flight home.

  • Day 1 – Arrive in Bhutan
    Arrive in Paro check into our first class hotel and have a group dinner.
  • Day 2 – Tour Paro
    Acclimatization hike at the scenic Chelela mountain pass & the nunnery.
  • Day 3 – Paro To Thongo
    Distance: 14km; Total altitude gain: 390m; Duration: 5-6 hours; Campsite elevation: 2,820m
  • Day 4 – Thongo To Thangthangka
    Distance: 9km; Total altitude gain: 410m; Duration: 7-8 hours; Campsite elevation: 3,610m
  • Day 5 – Thangthangka To Jangothang
    Distance: 14km; Total altitude gain: 420m; Duration: 4-5 hours; Campsite elevation: 4,080m
  • Day 6 – Jangothang Rest Day
    Hike up to Jomolhari Glacier and Base Camp
  • Day 7 – Jangothang To Yaska
    Distance: 16km; Total altitude loss: 280m; Duration: 6-7 hours; Campsite elevation: 3,800m

  • Day 8 – Yaska To Thombu Shong
    Distance: 11km; Total altitude gain: 380m; Duration: 4-5 hours; Campsite elevation: 4,180m
  • Day 9 – Thombu Shong T0 Paro
    Distance: 15kms; Total altitude loss: 1,480m; Duration: 5-6 hours; Namgay Heritage Hotel
  • Day 10 – Explore Thimpu Valley
    Visit National Memorial Stupa, Tashichho Dzong, Dordenma – world’s largest Buddha. Namgay Heritage Hotel
  • Day 11 – Explore Punakha Valley
    Visit Punakha Dzong, Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang, Chhimi Lhakhang, Docho La Pass (10,000 ft. elevation). Namgay Heritage Hotel
  • Day 12 – Return To Paro
    Early morning to Paro (1.5 hr drive); Hike to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery (5-6hr hike round trip). Tashi Namgay Hotel
  • Day 13 – Depart For Home

  • Day Pack – 20-30L
  • Water Bladder – 3L
  • Sleeping Bag – 20F at least (synthetic recommended)
  • Sleeping Pads – Inflatable and/or closed cell foam
  • Duffel Bags – Large expedition-size vinyl or canvas to be carried by the mules.
  • Additional bag to leave at hotel with change of cloths.
  • Shoes – Lightweight hikers or cross trainers
  • Camp Shoes
  • Warm Hat
  • Gloves
  • Waterproof Pants
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Fleece Jacket
  • Insulated Jacket
  • Long sleeved shirt

  • Insect repellant with Deet (*Important, there are biting flies near the river)
  • Lightweight Trekking Pant
  • Shorts and/or bathing suit for hot springs and river
  • Capaline/Polypro top and bottom
  • Socks – At least 4 pair
  • Sun Hat/visor
  • Sunglasses
  • Hygiene/toiletry kit – Small
  • Pee bottle or female spout
  • First Aid Items – Small. We provide a larger kit for the group
  • Headlamp w/spare batteries
  • Trekking Poles – Highly recommended
  • Camera
  • Nalgene bottle
  • Snack foods to supplement standard meals.

  • Ear plugs
  • Plastic Bags – Garbage bags for your duffel for rain protection.
  • Camp Soap/Shampoo
  • Small camp towel
  • Disposable wipes
  • Hand sanitizer– Small
  • Sunscreen
  • Bandana-optional
  • Knife or multitool – Optional
  • Duct tape, Blister Kit
  • Journal – Optional
  • Donation items for local people – Shoes, shirts, socks, sunglasses, school supplies.
  • Tip money.This is optional, but the guideline is approximately $150 for the trek.
  • 2 photocopies of your passport
  • Label all Gear