Trekking enthusiasts from around the world are drawn to the mystical charm of Bhutan’s mountains and landscapes. On this 10-day adventure, you'll hike along various trails, including the famed Dagala Trek — it's nicknamed "the thousand lakes trek" because of the many beautiful lakes visible from the trail. Sleep in a tent at high-altitude campsites, embark on treks that range from easy to challenging, and enjoy spectacular views of the mountain peaks of Bhutan, Sikkim, and Nepal along the journey.

Highlights

  • Enjoy impressive views of the Himalayas from the hiking trail 
  • Interact with local nomadic people
  • Marvel at colorful flowers that bloom in the spring and summer
  • Experience a lesser-visited trekking trail in the Himalaya

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bhutan & Drive to Thimphu Thimphu
Day 2 Sightsee in Thimphu  Punakha
Day 3 Explore the Punakha Valley Punakha
Day 4 Begin the Dagala Trek Gur
Day 5 Hike from Gur to Lambatama Lambatama
Day 6 Rest Day in the Mountains Lambatama
Day 7 Trek from Lambatama to Panka Panka
Day 8 Continue from Pankha to Chamgang  Paro
Day 9 Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery Paro
Day 10 Depart Paro   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bhutan & Drive to Thimphu

A stupa in Thimphu

Welcome to Bhutan! Arrive in Paro. You'll be welcomed by your guide and transfer to the capital city of Thimphu. Depending on your time of arrival, there may be time to visit the great Buddhist monastery of Tashicho Dzong and the famous stupa known as Memorial Chorten. From the Giant Buddha, enjoy sweeping views over the valley below as the sun goes down. 

Day 2: Sightsee in Thimphu 

Himalayan views from the Dochu La Pass

The capital has many attractions for visitors. During a guided tour today, you will visit several of Thimphu’s cultural sites, monuments, and temples. You'll also attend a crafts workshop and explore the Textiles Museum. Check out the archery ground at the National Stadium, where you can try Bhutan's national sport for yourself, and stop by the Takin Preserve to see the Bhutan Takin, a quirky-looking animal that's related to the goat and the antelope. It's the national animal of Bhutan.

After lunch, start the three-hour drive to Punakha. As soon as you leave Thimphu, you will be surrounded by forest. The road climbs gently to the Dochu La Pass at an altitude of 10,000 feet (3050 meters); from here, you can enjoy spectacular mountain views to the north.  Even finer views will appear as you approach the hilltop Lungchutse Lhakhang. A two-hour hike through birch, hemlock, and rhododendron trees will bring you to the Lungchutse Temple. Continue driving to the subtropical valley of Punakha, where you'll spend the night.

Day 3: Explore the Punakha Valley

Punakha Dzong, an architectural marvel 

In the morning, drive to the northern end of the Punakha Valley and hike through scenic terraced rice fields beside the Punakha River. The hike will take around two to three hours. After reaching the road, cross a small suspension bridge and hike up to Khamsum Chorten, from where you will get even better valley views. Then continue down to the river and walk to the suspension bridge, where a car will be waiting to take you to the impressive Punakha Dzong. This architectural masterpiece is located at the confluence of two rivers.

Day 4: Begin the Dagala Trek

Dramatic scenery in the Thimphu Valley

Drive back to the Thimphu Valley and onward to the village of Gyenekha, where the trek starts. Begin with a short descent to the river. After crossing the river, climb until you reach a huge rock platform offering picturesque views. After another couple of hours, you'll reach Gur, an area full of yak pastures that's just below the main trail. You'll camp here in a tent tonight at an altitude of 10,793 feet (3290 meters).

Day 5: Hike from Gur to Lambatama

Camping overnight during the trek

Today's trail takes you across high ridges to appreciate the rugged beauty of your surroundings rich with mountain vegetation. The path winds through meadows adorned with wildflowers (in summer) and asparagus (in spring). The first mountain pass you cross provides a spectacular view of Kanchenjunga (on the border of Nepal and India), and a number of Bhutanese Himalayan peaks. As you descend the pass, you will be able to see the entirety of the Dagala Mountains range, as well as meadows and yak herder camps.

Once you have descended into the Labatama Valley, you'll begin climbing gradually through the valley, passing yak herder huts before arriving at Uthso Tsho. Your campsite for this evening is right next to the lake. 

Day 6: Rest for the Day in the Mountains

A beautiful lake near Labatama

You'll spend today acclimatizing, relaxing, and recuperating in the Labatama Valley. You can take an excursion to any of three nearby lakes: Reli Tsho, Hen Tsho, and Jama Tsho. If you like, you could also try trout fishing. Permits are required for this, so let your local specialist know in advance if you're interested in a fishing excursion.

Day 7: Trek from Lambatama to Panka

Spectacular views of the Bhutanese Himalaya

Today's trail climbs along the western side of Dala Tsho up to a summit at 14,829 feet (4520 meters). From here, you will have a fantastic view of the majestic Himalayan peaks, including Everest, Kanchenjunga, Jomolhari, Jichu Drake, Tshering Gang, Khangbum, Masang Gang, Tsende Gang, and Gangche Ta. From here, the path descends, passing some yak herder huts, to Doccha Chhu. Follow the river for a while — higher up on the slope — to reach Panka, with ascents and descents along the way. You'll camp overnight in a tent at an altitude of 13,123 feet (4000 meters).

Day 8: Continue from Pankha to Chamgang 

Peaceful mountain trails in Bhutan

Today you'll cross several passes, but none of them require a major climb. Keep your eyes open out for different varieties of blue poppy (in summer) and a wide diversity of birds. After crossing the last pass, Tale La (13,713 feet/ 4180 meters), you'll start a long descent to Chamgang. Meet your vehicle and drive to Paro, a journey of about two hours. The Paro Valley is one of the loveliest valleys in Bhutan. The roads are lined with willow trees, and you will see apple orchards, whitewashed farmhouses and temples, terraced fields, and forested hills rising on either side.

After your arrival in Paro, if your energy levels are up to it, check out a few sights, including the National Museum and Dumtse Lhakhang Temple, known to have some of the finest murals in the kingdom. 

Day 9: Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery

Tiger's Nest Monastery

Enjoy a hike today to the legendary Taktsang Goenba (Tiger's Nest Monastery). A steep climb will bring you face-to-face with this spectacular monastery. You may also hike beyond Taktsang to more remote monasteries further uphill, such as Zangdopelri and Ugyen Tshemo, to get away from tourist crowds and enjoy fantastic views. Return to the Paro Valley, where you will stop to check out Bhutan’s oldest temple, Khyichu Lhakhang, dating back to the 7th century. Enjoy one last dinner before the trip comes to a close.

Day 10: Depart Paro 

Bhutanese children in traditional clothing

After breakfast, transfer to the airport in time for your departure flight. Safe travels!

More Bhutan Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Bhutan? Check out these other 10-day Bhutan itineraries, with trekking adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

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