11 days from £2260pp plus international flights.
The Druk Path is a 5-day route from Paro to Thimphu, across the mountains that separate the two valleys. You'll be trekking in awe-inspiring views and majestic scenery. This itinerary also takes in the main cultural areas in Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, too, for sightseeing.
The trek forms the core of this itinerary, but we've added some extras that we think are must-sees while you're in Bhutan, such as the famous Tigers Nest monastery just outside Paro and several formidable dzongs, a type of fortified monastery. You'll also get to see the eclectic collections at the National Museum and observe students honing their skills in traditional painting at the institute in Thimphu.
The trek itself is not strenuous but does include sections of both ascent and descent. The trails are easy to follow and pass through alpine forest and rhododendron fields up to trout-filled lakes and mountain ridges. You may come across traditional yak herders as you walk through these remote areas. The trekking time is about 4 hours each day, so there will be plenty of time to stop and admire the views, You will be camping in private sites, all meals are included and you have the services of porters, a cook and an English-speaking guide. The main luggage and camp equipment is carried by mules, so you need carry only your day pack.
The trek can be undertaken at any time of year, but we especially recommend the months March to June and September to November, when the weather is generally clear giving great views of the mountains. If you want to see the rhododendrons in bloom, May is the best month to travel.
This morning, you start the 5-hour walk along a forest trail to Tigers Nest monastery, famously perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the valley floor.
After the hike, you'll be driven to the ruined fortress of Drukgyel Dzong, which stands commanding the entrance to the Paro Valley. In the 17th century it was the site of some fierce battles as the Bhutanese triumphed over several Tibetan attempted invasions. This evening you'll visit Rinpung Dzong. The courtyard galleries contain fine wall paintings depicting scenes from Bhuddhist lore. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Your trek today starts with a climb back to the ridge to cross the small pass leading down to Jele Dzong. You walk through the village of Gida and close to the dzong and several lakes. From here you travel north for some ten minutes along the ridge where you get fine views, before the route takes you in to the forest, and on to another ridge. There's a short, steep ascent to the peak at 3,750 metres, from where you have views back to the part of the Paro Valley, and can see the Dagala mountain range to the south. The trek continues for another four hours or so to the campsite at Tshokam, at 3,962 metres. Today's trek is about 9 km and takes 4-5 hours. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
The trail today follows a ridge and offers some sensational views of the mountains and valley, weather permitting. To begin with you ascend a gentle gradient to a couple of passes, with views of Jhomolhari and Jimilang Tsho laker. As you continue you see lots of small stone shelters, used by yak herders, and should be able to make out yak trails. There are many lakes in this area, including the large sacred lake of Jimilang Tsho which you glimpsed earlier. This is known for its trout and you may see locals standing in the water as hey fish, using bamboo spears. Your camp is nearby. You cover about 10kms today and will be trekking for around 6-7 hours. Breakfst, lunch, dinner
The scenic trail passes through dwarf rhododendron trees and Janetsho Lake today. There are several yak herders' camps in this area, and you may come across some of these and gain some insight into their lifestyle. The camp tonight is close to Simkota Lake. If you feel lucky try your hand at fishing here and you may catch a trout for your dinner! You'll have walked bout 11kms today in the course of 4 hours. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
This morning your path climbs steadily uphill and if the weather is kind, you'll see the impressive Mount Gangkar Puensum, the tallest mountain in Bhutan, plus many other peaks. The trail now descends slowly through juniper trees to the camp at Phajoding. Trekking time today is 4 hours covering 10kms. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Guide price from (pp sharing): £2260 (ex. international flights)
2019 price from (pp sharing, exc international flights):
01 Sep – 30 Nov 2019 from £2730
01 – 31 Dec 2019 from £2360.
2020 price from (pp sharing, exc international flights):
01 Jan – 28 Feb, 01 Jun – 31 Aug & 01 - 31 Dec 2020 from £2260
01 Mar - 31 May, 01 Sept - 30 Nov 2020 from £2725
Twin share accommodation; meals as indicated; transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary; the service of an English-speaking guide, porters, mules and a cook on the trek; entrance fees; government royalty and taxes; Bhutan visa fee
International flights; taxes; travel insurance; drinks; items of a personal nature; sleeping bag
This itinerary starts and ends in Paro. Return flights to Paro from the UK operate via India or Nepal and take between 10 and 15 hours. They cost around £1,150 per person.
Departure dates: This is a tailor-made holiday and can be taken at any time of year, though the recommended months for this trek are March to June and September to November.
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Time: GMT +6 hours
Flight time: National carrier Druk Air flies from several locations but commonly you'll connect from Delhi (2hrs), Koltata or Kathmandu (both just over an hour). You will need to come via one of these destinations which in turn are about 12 to 15 hours from the UK depending on the routing.
Language: Dzongkha is Bhutan's national language. English is widely spoken and is used in all schools.
Visas: Visas are required and are issued from Bhutan. Tribes will arrange your visa for you through our partners in Bhutan.
Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations.