Take in the best Bhutan has to offer, from culture to mountain scenery. Visit the impressive fortresses and monasteries of Thimphu and Punakha, see the tranquil Bhutanese countryside, and enjoy day hikes before embarking on the famed trek to Mount Jomolhari. It's an adventure that takes you to the stunning snow-capped mountains and lakeside campsites, with the chance to see Himalayan vultures and the elusive snow leopard along the way.

Highlights

  • Go on a 7-day camping trek to the Himalayan giant of Mount Jomolhari 
  • Explore the cultural highlights of Western Bhutan
  • Hike to the spectacular Tiger's Nest Monastery
  • Experience local life in Bhutan’s quiet countryside

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Paro & Drive to Thimphu Thimphu
Day 2 Sightsee in Thimphu Thimphu
Day 3 Travel from Thimphu to the Punakha Valley Punakha
Day 4 Explore the Punakha Valley Punakha
Day 5 Hike to the Lungchutse Temple Paro
Day 6 Drive to Shana & Begin Trek Tented camp
Day 7 Trek to Soi Tangthanka Tented camp
Day 8 Continue to Jangothang Tented camp
Day 9 Take a Rest Day in the Mountains Tented camp
Day 10 Cross Bhonte La to Soi Yaksa Tented camp
Day 11 Trek to Thongbu Shong Tented camp
Day 12 Hike to Shana & Drive to Paro Paro
Day 13 Day Hike to the Tiger's Nest Monastery Paro
Day 14 Depart from Paro   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Paro & Drive to Thimphu

Tashicho Dzong
Tashicho Dzong

Welcome to Bhutan! Upon arrival in Paro today, you will be welcomed by your guide and transferred to Thimphu, the capital city. Depending on your arrival time, you'll have the opportunity to visit the great Tashichho DzongMemorial Chorten, and the Giant Buddha statue, from where you'll enjoy stunning valley views as the sun sets in the valley. 

Day 2: Sightsee in Thimphu

Children hiking above Thimpu
Bhutanese children in Thimphu

The capital of Bhutan has endless sights for visitors to explore while here. A full-day tour of Thimphu’s cultural sites and monuments will take you to highlights such as the Traditional Art School, the Indigenous Hospital, and the Nunnery at Zilukha. After a break for lunch, continue on to other attractions such as the Takin Sanctuary (where you'll see the national animal of Bhutan), Zangdopelri Temple, Changangkha Monastery, Simtokha Dzong, the Textile Museum, and the National Stadium.

Day 3: Travel from Thimphu to the Punakha Valley

Chimi Lhakhang Temple
Chimi Lhakhang Temple

After breakfast, set off for Punakha. As you leave Thimphu, the forests begin to thicken and the road climbs toward the Dochu La Pass at 10,000 feet (3,050 meters). From here, visitors can see the northernmost mountains of the country on a clear day. After descending into the valley of Punakha, you will have the chance to visit the traditional village of Richengang and take a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang Temple, a famous fertility temple and pilgrimage spot.

Day 4: Explore the Punakha Valley

Suspension bridge over the  Punakha Chu (River)
Suspension bridge over the Punakha Chu River

Explore the idyllic countryside north of Punakha. From a small suspension bridge, start your short and steep hike to Khamsum Yulley Chorten, a relatively new stupa (Buddhist shrine) with amazing interiors and spectacular valley views. From here, you'll continue hiking through rice fields and along the riverside to another suspension bridge. At this bridge, your car is waiting to drive you to the impressive Punakha Dzong, an architectural wonder located on the convergence of two rivers. Later in the afternoon, visit the town of Punakha, stop at the market, and attend an evening prayer ceremony at the local nunnery.

Day 5: Hike to the Lungchutse Temple

View atop Lungchutse Lhakhang
View atop Lungchutse Lhakhang

Today you'll drive back to Dochu La Pass for another opportunity to view Bhutan’s peaks in the north — they form the natural boundary with the Tibetan Plateau. Even better views emerge from Lungchutse Lhakhang, located above the Dochu La Pass. A two-hour hike through rich vegetation, including moss, laden birch, hemlock, and rhododendrons, will bring you to the Lungchutse Temple. Sit down for a picnic lunch with astonishing views before walking downhill to another retreat and monastic center, Trashigang Goemba. Afterward, you will be picked up and driven to Paro for the evening.

Day 6: Drive to Shana & Begin Trek

Drugyel Dzong ruins
The ruins of Drugyel Dzong

Have breakfast at the hotel before driving north to the ruins of Drugyel Dzong. Originally burned down in a fire in the 1950s, the fortress is currently being rebuilt. From there, you'll drive another hour along a dirt road to Shana. This is the starting point of the trek. You will meet your trekking crew for the next six days before starting the hike itself. The first leg of the trek will take three to four hours on a trail that leads gradually uphill along the banks of the Paro Chu River. You'll camp in a tent at Thongduzam

Hiking Distance: 5 miles (8 km) / 3-4 hours

Day 7: Trek to Soi Tangthanka

Camp at Soi Tangthangka
Camping at Soi Tangthangka

Today you'll only trek for a short distance: it's important to gain altitude slowly so that your body can get used to the lack of oxygen. After breakfast, continue along the river through a magnificent forest of pine and spruce, mixed with oak, birch, and maple, as the valley begins to narrow. In some areas, the trail can be muddy. There are many small ups and downs as you follow the river north. After crossing a bridge, you'll start a short climb to reach a junction of two valleys. From here, you can see Jomolhari (also spelled Chomolhari), the mountain known as "the bride of Kangchenjunga." Continue on the trail along the west bank of the Paro Chu. The campsite is a short hike ahead at Soi Tangthangka.

Hiking Distance: 6 miles (9 km) / 4-6 hours

Day 8: Continue to Jangothang

Camp at Jangothang
Camping at Jangothang

On this morning's hike, you'll cross a small army post and leave the forest behind as you enter a more open landscape surrounded by high ridges and snow-capped peaks. The trail continues through pristine juniper forest, winding past a few yak-herder villages. After breaking for lunch, you'll continue to your camp for the night, located in a beautiful grassy meadow beside a ruined fortress. The views are outstanding: the campsite in Jangothang is positioned beneath the enormous east face of Jomolhari.  

Hiking Distance: 9 miles (15 km) / 6 hours

Day 9: Take a Rest Day in the Mountains

View of Chomolhari
View of Chomolhari

Today is a scheduled rest day, intended to aid acclimatization before you cross the high passes on the trek. Fortunately, Jangothang is one of the most spectacular camping spots in the Himalayas. Snow-capped peaks are visible on the western side, with the majestic Jomolhari mountain just in front of you. A clear stream runs through the valley, surrounded by tiny villages and trout-filled lakes. If you're feeling up to it, take a short hike up the ridge to a grassy summit for a close-up view of Jomolhari and its glaciers. You'll enjoy a small feast for dinner before camping overnight in the same place.

Day 10: Cross Bhonte La to Soi Yaksa

Peaks of Jichu Drake and Tserim Kang
Peaks of Jichu Drake and Tserim Kang

Today is the most challenging day of the trek. The trail starts with a steep hike to the high-altitude Tshopu Lake. Looking back towards the west, great views of Jomolhari and Jichu Drake appear as you travel higher. Continue the gradual climb up to Bhonte La Pass, spotting sheep, marmots, and migrating Himalayan birds. You'll also come to a fabulous view of the peak of Tserim Kang. After the mountain pass, it's a steep descent downhill to the small yak-herding village of Soi Yaksa. You'll camp nearby in Dumzo.

Hiking Distance: 10 miles (16 km) / 7 hours

Day 11: Trek to Thongbu Shong

Soi Yaksa Valley ridge
Soi Yaksa Valley ridge

Today’s hike starts with a gentle uphill trail to the top of the eastern ridge of the Soi Yaksa Valley. From here, take in an incredible view of the amphitheater of mountains to the north. Cross Takhungla, then descend to your campsite in a wide, grassy valley. Have a leisurely meal with the trekking crew and your companions on the last night of the journey.

Hiking Distance: 7 miles (11 km) / 5 hours

Day 12: Hike to Shana & Drive to Paro

Local Bhutanese people
An encounter with Bhutanese people

After a short, steep climb out of camp, leave the remote mountain area behind and follow a ridge to Thombu La for a glimpse of the Paro Valley to the south (and mountain views all around). Start the steep descent to Shana. After saying goodbye to the trekking crew, you'll drive to Paro. 

Hiking Distance: 8 miles (13 km) / 5 hours

Day 13: Day Hike to the Tiger's Nest Monastery

View of Tiger's Nest Monastery
View of Tiger's Nest Monastery

Embrace your final day of the itinerary with a hike to the legendary Taktsang Goenba (Tiger's Nest Monastery). A steep climb will bring you face to face with this spectacular monastery. For those up to it, you will have the chance to hike beyond Taktsang to visit more remote monasteries such as Zangdopelri and Ugyen Tshemo. Return to Paro Valley, stopping at Bhutan’s oldest temple, Khyichu Lhakhang, before returning to Paro for a farewell dinner.

Day 14: Depart from Paro 

Young Bhutanese monks
Bhutanese children

After breakfast, it's time to transfer to Paro airport to board your homebound flight. Safe travels!

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Map

Map of Bhutan Trekking Tour - 14 Days
Map of Bhutan Trekking Tour - 14 Days