Season: February – June & October – December
Group Condition: Minimum of three persons but two can be entertained after payment of surcharge.
Weather: Days are normally warm. Nights can at times be very cold and in winter temperatures can go below freezing point. There is monsoon showers in summer, (heaviest in July and August) and sometimes even in spring and autumn.
What To Bring: Personal clothing: strong normal clothing (according to season). Preferably cotton for summer. Woolen clothing for the evenings and winter.
For Trekking: strong, comfortable trekking boots, sunglasses, headgear, rain coat, & warm clothing for the evenings (lots of spare clothes. A sleeping bag is a must and it is advisable to have a heavy one. A torch light can be very handy (Note: for trekking, a load of 25 kg is allowed).
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
01. Arrive at Airport by Druk Air During this flight one will enjoy the view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan Mountains including the sacred Mt. Chomolhari & Mt. Jechu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro Airport the representative of Atlas will receive you and transfer you a hotel for the overnight halt.
02. Paro – Thimphu In the morning drive up the Pa Chu to Drugyel Dzong, the ruined Fort (destroyed by fire in 1950.) which once defended this valley from the Tibetan invasion. From here one can have the view of sacred Mt. Chomolhari on clear days. Then on the way back visit Ta Dzong, former Watch Tower which now houses the National Museum and then drive back to hotel for lunch. Then drive to Thimphu following the winding road beside the Paro Chu (Chu meaning river or water) down stream to its confluence with the Wang-chu then up the valley to Thimphu capital. Overnight in hotel.
03. Thimphu – Sightseeing Morning drive for the sightseeing of the Thimphu valley with the Nunnery, National Library, Painting School and Handicraft Emporium and then drive back for lunch. After lunch visit Memorial Chorten (Stupa) of His Late Majesty the 3rd King of Bhutan. Visit Simthokha Dzong, the first fort built by Shabdrung who unified the kingdom in the 17th century, now also houses the school for study of National Language – Dzongkha. Overnight in hotel.
04. Thimphu – Tongsa The journey to central Bhutan begins today. The drive to Tongsa takes approximately 7 to 8 hours. Pack lunch will provided at the hotel. Stop for lunch at Chendeje Chorten. Overnight at lodge/camp in Tongsa.
05. Tongsa – Bumthang After breakfast sightseeing of the Tongsa Dzong from outside and also visit the Ta-Dzong which houses the temple for Geysar (warrior deity of the buddhist religion) and stroll in Tongsa town. After early lunch drive to Jakar(Bumthang which is about 3 hours drive from Tongsa. Tales of the great teacher Guru Padmasambhava dominates this holy valley. From the view point you can see Jakar Dzong “Castle of the White bird”. Overnight in hotel/lodge.
06. Bumthang – Nganglhakhang The trek route takes you along the Chamkharchu, a river known for the richness of trout. Lunch stop at Thangbi Lhakhang – then you enter to the “Swan Land” (Ngang Yul) with the “Swan Temple” (Nganglhakhang) at the center. This part of the valley was at first inhabited only by Swans who gave their name (Ngang) to the place. The lama Namkha Samdrup, having had a vision of how to build a Gompa, shot a arrow at the spot where the arrow landed was chosen the site where the Lhakhang was constructed. Cultural programme can be arranged in the evening. Overnight in camp, alt. 2,978ft, distance 14 km and about 5 to 6 hours walk.
07. Nganglhakhang – Ugyencholing The trek starts with a gradual climb till Phephela pass, alt. 3,625m/11,965ft. the highest point on this trek route. The trail you follow until the pass takes you through one of the most beautiful forested areas of this region, allowing for many stops to enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding. You can also view the Ugyenchholing palace on the way. Overnight in camp by the riverside, alt. 2,820 m.
08. Ugyenchholing – Phokey Ascending through bamboo, Ham lock and finally up to the alpine forest. Overnight in camp, alt. 11,500ft, distance 17 km and about 5 to 6 hours walk.
09. Phokey – Ungar Continue the trek up to Radungla pass, alt. 12,300ft. which takes about half an hour. Then continues downhill through the gorge which is about 10,000ft. deep. Overlooking some mountain valleys and the plains, then head toward the campsite through the pine trees. Distance is about 20 km and about 6 to 7 hours walk.
10. Ungar – Taskila The trail winds up and down en route Drula village, and Khaine Lhakhang, one of the oldest in existence from the mid 17th century, built by the 1st King of Tibet, Tsong Tsen Gampo in order to subdue demons. Alt. 6,000ft and distance of about 21 km, about 6 to 7 hours walk.
11. Taskila – Lhuntshi Drive up to Lhuntshi Guest for lunch. After lunch at leisure. Overnight in Guest house or camp. Alt. 6,000ft.
12. Lhuntshi – Menji Drive down to Kuri Zam and trek starts gradually up through the paddy fields and villages. Overnight in camp. Distance of about 16 km, about 4 to 5 hours walk, alt. 6,000ft.
13. Menji – Pemi Continue up hill through the thick forest overlooking some mountains. The camp is under the shelter of the forest. Alt. 8,000ft and about 20 km, 6 to 7 hours walk.
14. Pemi – Taupang Continue the trek up to Dongla where you can see all the high mountains. Then the trek descends down through thick evergreen forest till you reach the campsite, alt. 8,000ft and distance of aout 21 km, 6 to 7 hours walk.
15. Taupang – Yangtsi This shall be the longest trek on the tour. The trail gradually descends down hill till Yangtsi through chir pine and hard wood forest. Overnight in camp. Distance is about 24 km, about 8 to 9 hours walk.
16. Yangtsi – Tashigang Morning make a visit to Chorten Kora and drive to Tashigang via Dugsum village where one can witness the weaving and the interesting iron chain made by Drubthog Thangtong Gyelpo in the 15th century. Drive to Tashigang and if time permits walk down to the town. Overnight in Guest house/camping.
17. Tashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar With pack lunch drive through villages via Kanglung College, the only one in Bhutan, and visit the Zangtok Pelri Temple which is just above the college. Then continue the drive up and down the winding road passing through cliffs which is one of the most exciting and adventurous motor able roads. Lunch and half way. Overnight in camp/guest house. The drive is about 7 to 8 hours.
18. Samdrup Jongkhar – Gauhati The drive is through the Indian territory which takes about 4 to 5 hour to catch the flight for your onward journey.
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2012 Festivals of Bhutan