Embark on an awe-inspiring journey through the heart of Bhutan with the Punakha Winter Trek, a 12-day adventure that seamlessly blends cultural exploration with natural beauty. From the breathtaking arrival at Paro International Airport, where Himalayan peaks including Chomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake greet you, to visits to historical landmarks like the Drugyel Dzong and the vibrant culture of Thimphu, this trek offers a unique blend of experiences. As you venture deeper into Bhutan’s landscapes, passing through charming villages and lush forests, you’ll be captivated by the warmth of the Bhutanese people and culminate your journey at the iconic Punakha Dzong, all while forging a deep connection with the serene beauty of this Himalayan kingdom.
Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk Air
During the journey to Paro, one will experience breath taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Chomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by our representatives, who will escort you to the Hotel where arrangements have been made for two nights.
Day 02: Paro – Sightseeing
Drive to Drugyel Dzong (a ruined fortress – 16 Kms away from Paro Town). Although now in ruins this Dzong is of historical importance. It was here that the Bhutanese finally defeated the Tibetans and drove them back. From here too the Peak of Chomolhari “Mountain of the Goddess” (Alt. 7,329m/24029ft) can be viewed on a clear day. On the way back you visit a typical Bhutanese farmhouse.
After lunch, at the hotel, take a leisurely stroll around the compound.
Day 03: Paro – Thimphu
Drive to Thimphu takes about 1 hours with a distance of 60Km. Check in at Hotel. After some rest, visit the following places:
Memorial Chorten (a huge stupa) built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned the Kingdom from 1952 – 1972. The National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved.
Visit Tashichho Dzong the secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the government ministries, office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and senior monks.
Evening: Reception by our tour operator and dinner.
Day 04: Thimphu – Sightseeing
Visit Simtokha Dzong. This is one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan. It was built in 1629 A.D. It houses the largest monastic schools in the country. Visit the wood craft and painting school where traditional art and crafts are still kept alive. Visit the handicrafts emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts are displayed and can be purchased.
Afternoon free and stroll around Thimphu valley and its town.
Day 05: Thimphu – Shong Pang
Drive north up the valley towards Dechencholing (the residence of the Queen Mother) Palace, following the Thim-Chu. The transport will reach you up to Pangrizam, the last motor point. from here, the trek starts towards Shong Pang which takes about 4/5 hours through villages. The camp will be just above Chamina village. O/n Camp
Day 06: Shong pang – Dopshing pang
The trek trail ascends gradually up till you reach the pass called Sinchula which is about 3,490m. From this point, if the weather is clear, one can see Phajoding Monastery which is just above Thimphu. After 2 Km walk, you can view Thinley Gang village, Talo Monastery and the motor high-way towards the ancient capital of Bhutan. The trek from the pass are more or less downhill till you reach the camp site. O/n Camp.
Day 07: Dopshing Pang – Chorten-Ningpo
The trek to Chorten Ningpo is rather gradual and will be walking through thick forests, villages and rice fields. The camp site is at an Alt. of 2,700 m. o/n Camp.
Day 08: Chorten Ningpo – Zomlingthang
For about 2-3 hours the trek trail will be through several villages until you reach a motor road. From the motor road, you will follow the road towards Punakha which is the ancient capital of Bhutan. O/n Camp.
Day 09: Zomlingthang – Limukha
Follow the motor road till Punakha Dzong and then cross the Pochu River (Male River), the river that drains the remote Lunana region. You will have a steady half day climb into a forest of scattered long needle Chir Pines. Make sure to fill your water bottle before leaving Punakha, as there is no water on the way for a couple of hours. You will have a wonderful view of Punakha valley and the Dzong. If the weather is clear, you can see some snow mountains to the north. The camp site is near Limukha village Alt. 2,250m. o/n Camp.
Day 10: Limukha – Chungsakha- Wangdiphodrang/Punakha
The trek trail ascends gradually up through the thick forest of oak species and rhododendrons till you reach a pass called Dochula. Then descend through the thick forest leading to a small monastery dedicated to a lama called Drukpa Kuenlay (popularly known as the Divine Madman). From Chungsakha you can look across the valley to Samtengang on the ridge to the south. Walk down hill till you reach the motor road and then drive for about half an hour to Wangdiphodrang. O/n Hotel at Wangdue or Punakha.
Day 11: Wangdiphodrang/Punakha – Paro
After breakfast, drive to Punakha Dzong view point at the north end of the Punakha Valley. The Punakha Dzong lies between two rivers known as Pochu and Mochu which means (Male River and Female River”. It houses the District Administration office and the winter residence of the State Monastic Body and its Chief Abbot.
Drive up to Dochula pass and stop for a hot cup of tea and some snacks. Continue to drive down to Paro. Evening: guests can either rest in the hotel or be at leisure to explore the Paro town.
Day 12: Departure
Morning drive to Airport for your onward flight.