Mystical Monuments in Bhutan
This trek starts from Haa Kajana, passes through buffer zone touching the reserve area at Nub Tshonapata, the legendary lake. The highest altitude is 4340 m and this trek offers beautiful view of the world’s third highest peak,Mt Kanchajanga. Gorgeous Landscapes, beautiful alpine lakes and beautiful golden sunrays at the sunset are other things the undisturbed nature around here has to offer.
This is a six days easy trek.This trek may be experienced with extensions to other places with the increase in number of nights. Or may be combined with any other activities or interests as per the convenience, comfort and requirements of the travelers traveling to Bhutan.
DAY 1 – Arrive Paro
DAY 2 – Paro Sightseeing
DAY 3 – Paro – Haa
DAY 4 – Haa Kajena – Tshokam (Trek Start)
DAY 5 – Tshokam – Wangjithang
DAY 6 – Wangjithang – Nub Tshonapatta
DAY 7 – Nub Tshonapatta (Halt day)
DAY 8 – Nub Tshonapatta – Regona
DAY 9 – Regona – Yulo
DAY 10 – Yulo – Lukha – Haa
DAY 11 – Haa – Thimphu
DAY 12 – Thimphu
DAY 13 – Thimphu – Paro
DAY 14 – Departure
Altitude of Paro: 2250 m
On your journey to Paro, the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including the Everest and other famous Himalayan Peaks. The approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro becomes more exciting as you enter Bhutan. Many travelers have termed the landing very much adventurous.
On arrival you will be welcomed by your Bhutanese guide from Find Bhutan with “Tashi Khadar”, and a small welcome note by your Bhutanese host.
Drive to Hotel.
After lunch, explore the Paro Valley and town.
Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Altitude of Paro: 2250 m
Start your day with a hike to the abode of gods and monks would be a pretty good start. It shall be taken care of that the time shall be yours for the hike, no hurries and no worries. Reaching the top shall be worth the climb; the touch of the Himalayan breeze and views of the valley below and temple on the rocky cliff shall be fascinating and shall let you feel the real freedom of mind and happiness.
After breakfast, excursion to Taktshang Monastery.
Taktshang Monastery; The primary lhakhang was built surrounding Guru Rinpoche’s Meditation cave in the 1684 by Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer Rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava flew here on the back of a tigress. It is a two to three hours excursion uphill; however, one feels truly blessed reaching the monastery.
After lunch, visit,
Drukgyel Dzong: This dzong is in ruins now. The Dzong was destroyed by fire in 1951 and is now preserved as heritage site. The Dzong is situated in Drukgyal, overlooking the beautiful village with Mount Chomolhari in the background. The dzong was built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal to commemorate victory over the Tibetan invaders led by Mongolion warlord, Gushri Khan.
Kyichu Lhakhang: This temple is one of the oldest buddhist temple in Bhutan. The Tibetan King, Songtsen Gompo, to consecrate the entire region of Himalaya, in the 7th century miraculously built 108 temples. Kyichu Lhakhang is considered to be one of them.
After the visit to the Drukgyal Dzong, drive to a Bhutanese farm house and relax in traditional hot stone bath.
Hot stone bath: The traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Many Bhutanese believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxing and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak.
Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Driving Distance: 65 km, Driving Time: 2 – 3 Hr, Altitude of Haa Valley: 2700 m
After breakfast, drive to Haa via Chelela Pass. Stop at Chelela pass and enjoy the view of High mountains and the prayer flags. You can put up your own prayer flags here.
Chelela Pass: It is the highest point between the Haa valley and Paro valley at an altitude of 3810 m. This place gives a very good view of the Himalayan mountains, including the mountain Jumolhari. The place also gives good view down towards the Haa valley. A lots of prayer flags flutter in the place.
Drive further to Haa Valley.
Haa Valley and places to visit in Haa: Haa valley was known for its animist tradition during the pre- Buddhist era. Inhabitants of Haa then believed offering animal blood to their local deities. However, after the visit of the tantric master, Guru Padmasambhava, in the 8th century the inhabitants were transformed into peaceful Buddhist.
Guru Padmasambhava, subdued the local deities such as Ap Chundu and made them the guardians of the Buddhist tradition. Traces of this belief system are still noticed in the form of festivals and rituals.
Opened to foreign tourist only in the year 2002, it is a culturally rich valley. A few famous places to visit are:
7th century Lhakhang Karpo (White temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black temple) at the foothills of a venerated three brotherly mountains known as Meri Puensum. The grand annual Haa Tshechu is also performed here at Lhakhang Karpo on the 8th-10th day of the 8th Bhutanese month.
The Haa Wangchuklo Dzong built in 1915 after the Dumchog Dzong was razed to the ground by fire is worth visiting.
The valley is also unparalleled in Bhutan in terms of the diversity of the folk culture, legends and shamanistic rituals. The shamanistic traditions is vividly practiced in almost all the communities, most notable of which is the annual ceremony to honour Ap Chundu, the guardian deity of the valley. The valley is also a paradise for nature lovers and travelling there is a very rewarding experience.
Dinner and over night in hotel.
The day starts with a climb to Bjana Dingkha monastery, one of the four main monasteries of the Haa valley. Visit the monastery. After lunch continue the climb to Tshokam (3500m).
We will camp at Tshokam.
The trail leads towards Yulo (3870m) and gradually ascends to Tsabjola (4100m) and then descends to Wangjithang, summer pasture land of Isu block. We will camp at Wangjithang.
The day starts with a climb to Gangchele (4180m) and then steeply descends towards Chhosholumpa (3830m) after which it again ascends via ghoom Maru and finally crosses Tsejey la (4340m). On a clear day you can view Mt. Gangkharpunsum, the highest mountain of Bhutan and the Table Mountain in the east and to the west you can see Mt.Kanchenjunga the third highest mountain in the world. In the same direction, one can view Mt. Chundu gang, considered the sacred mountain of the Haa valley. One can also view Mt.Jichudrake, Tsherim Gang and Gangchentag. From the pass we will descend to Nub Tshonapatta (4180m).
Overnight in camp by the lake side.
Explore around the Nub Tshonapatta lake and enjoy the view of Mt.Kanchenjunga. One may also be able to spot blue sheep, marmots and many different species of birds.
Making a gradual climb to Dongkacheydola (4030m) one can enjoy the splendid view of Mt.Kanchenjunga and surrounding mountains. Then descend to Tsephu through dwarf rhododendrons and a climb to the yak herders camp and finally again descend to Regona (3940m).
Camp at Regona.
Climb to Bjara la (4050m) and enjoy the views of Mt.Jomolhari and Jichdrakey if the weather is clear and then gradually descend to Yulo camp.
While descending through silver fir and pine forest you may spot pheasants (monal). We continue descent to Lukha and reach the Haa valley or Haa town.
Overnight in Hotel.
Driving Distance; 115 Km, Driving time: 3-4 Hr, Altitude of Thimphu: 2320 m.
After breakfast, drive to Thimphu. Lunch at Thimphu.
After lunch is a time to refresh in the cool breeze of the Himalayas with the perfect views of the Thimphu valley. Visit the following:
Sangaygang view point (2685 meters); to have view of whole Thimphu valley and walk through hundreds of colorful prayer flags that dot the hill overlooking the Thimphu valley.
Takin Reserve Centre: The takin, the national animal of Bhutan can be seen here. This particular animal is found only in the Himalayan region.
Kuenselphodrang: A place for refreshing with a huge statue of Buddha on the top of Kuenselphodrang. The area also gives a very good view of the Thimphu valley from the west.
National Memorial Chorten: This Chorten was built in the honour of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, also known as “The Father of Modern Bhutan”. This Chorten was built in 1974 in a typical Tibetan style. This Chorten is also a center of worship for the people living in Thimphu and contains many religious paintings and tantric statues.
Then, walk around The Thimphu town visiting different textile and handicraft shops.
Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Altitude of Thimphu: 2320 m
The Institute for Zorig Chusum: Students are taught the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan in this institute.
The Institute of Traditional medicine: Here Medicines are prepared according to the Tradition practices.
Folk Heritage Museum: Founded by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. The museum is one of a kind that portrays the lifestyle of a family in the Thimphu valley in the olden days. This is a three storied, 19th century traditional house giving an insight to the Bhutanese lifestyle, and artifacts from the rural households. The museum contains typical Bhutanese household objects, tools and equipments.
Typical Bhutanese lunch at the Folk Heritage Restaurant.
After lunch, visit:
Textile Museum: This Textile Museum is operated by the National Commission for Cultural Affairs of Bhutan. The Museum was established in the year 2001 and has a good collection of exclusive and antique Bhutanese textile artifacts. The museum was set up with an objective to promote and encourage weavers to continue weaving of traditional Bhutanese textile, Promote Bhutan in the field of textile art and to preserve and promote the history and tradition of Bhutan.
Jungshi handmade paper factory: It is a 1 km drive from main city of Thimphu to the factory. The factory Manufactures the traditional Bhutanese paper using the bark of two tree species in the manufacture of traditional paper the Daphne tree and Dhekap. The entire process of traditional manufacturing of the Handmade paper can be observed. It was previously operated by the government. Now it is run by a private entrepreneur.
Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion): A Doom (Blue Stone) Dzong was built on the hill above Thimphu in 1216 the lama Gyalwa Lhanampa. A few years later Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who brought the Drukpa Kagyu lineage to Bhutan, took over Dohon Dzong. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (The one who unified the country) acquired the Dzong in 1641 from the descendants of lama Phajo and renamed it as Trashi Chhoe Dzong. The Dzong is the seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan) at present.
Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Driving Distance: 65 Km, Driving Time: 1.5 – 2 Hr, Altitude of Paro: 2250 m
After breakfast, drive to Paro. On the way, visit Tamchog Lhakhang.
You shall enjoy one of the oldest iron bridge built by Tangtong Gyalpo to reach the temple. The cool breeze of the river is enchanting.
Tamchog lhakhang (between Paro and Thimphu) ; built in the 13th century by Thangthong Gyalpo. He is also known as the Iron bridge builder. Situated on a hill top, we have to cross an ancient style bridge to reach the temple. It is owned by the descendants of Thangthong Gyalpo
Drive further to Paro.
After lunch visit;
Ta Dzong: An ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan.
Paro Rinpung Dzong: literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646. Some of the scenes in the film Little Buddha (1993) were filmed in this Dzong.
Overnight in Hotel.
After breakfast, drive to Paro Airport and farewell.