Druk Path Trekking

druk-path-trekkingDruk Path Trekking is six day trek is the most popular trek in the country as it passes through a gorgeous natural landscape of blue pine forests, high ridges and pristine lakes while at the same time offering the opportunity to visit some ancient Monasteries, Lhakhang’s, Dzongs and villages.

The Druk Path trekking is fairly easy to undertake as the distances between the camps is fairly short. The trail takes you through forests of fir, blue pine and dwarf rhododendrons at altitudes ranging between 2250m and 4200m. On the third day trekkers will arrive at Jimilang Lake, whose crystal clear waters are home to gigantic trout.

This trek also offers stunning views of Gangkar Puensum, the highest un-scaled peak in the world. The best times to embark on the Druk Path trek are between March to June and September to November.

In addition to the above, there is the opportunity take in an exciting cultural tour of Central Bhutan and see the many Monasteries, Lhakhang’s, Dzongs and the cities, towns and villages. It includes some of the most significant historical and religious sites in the country.

The first itinerary takes in a visit to the awe inspiring Taktsang Monastery (Tigers Nest) and to visit a Lhakhang and three other Dzongs in Paro on arrival.

The second itinerary is based on the first, but it is extended to do a cultural tour in Central Bhutan.
These treks can be customised to suit your needs.

Trek Facts

Trek: Druk Path
Trek starts: Paro
Trek duration: 6 days/13 days including transportation
Grade: Easy to moderate
Maximum altitude: 4210m
Minimum altitude: 2250m
Trek ends: Thimphu

Trip Itinerary I

Day 1: Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and a representative of Unique Nepal Adventure Trek will welcome and transfer you to your selected hotel by private vehicle.

Day 2: Fly from Kathmandu to Paro (2250m). This flight into Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights to take, as it flies past Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and many more peaks. The flight takes around an hour and a half. We will then go to our hotel and take refreshment and visit Ta Dzong (National Museum) and visit Paro Rinpung Dzong.

Day 3: After breakfast, we drive to Kyichu Lhakhang. King Songtsän Gampo built the Lhakhang in the 7th century AD. The associated legend is that – this is one of 108 Lhakhang’s built in a single night by the king to tame his kingdom’s borders. The next stop is the ancient ruins of Drukgyal Dzong (30 minutes). The Dzong is a monument to the Shabdrung’s victory against an invasion of allied Tibetan-Mongolian forces in 1649. The name “Drukgyal Dzong” thus translates to “Fortress of Victory”. The Dzong was destroyed in a fire in the 1950s. On clear days, Drukgyal is an excellent place to view the glorious mountain Jomolhari. Return to stay for lunch, rest and prepare for the trek up to Taktsang Monastery (the “Tiger’s Nest”).

Drive to the start of the trek. Trek (or horse ride) to Taktsang Monastery (trek time is 2-3 hours depending on weather and fitness level).Taktsang is perched on a precipitous 900 meter cliff. The monastery has been restored at painstaking efforts to former glory after a fire in 1998. The legend is that Guru Padmasambhava flew to this holy place on the back of tigress to meditate. More recently, one of the most enlightened abbots in modern Bhutan history, Geshe Gendun Rinchen (1926 – 1997) also known as Draphugpa (Of the Caves), was born in a small cave by the path to the monastery. Tea and refreshments will be taken at Taktsang Café for about an hour’s rest to take photos and view the scenery. We will then descend to road point (horses cannot be ridden) and drive back to Paro to prepare for the trek.

Day 4: Paro – Jili Dzong 
Distance 7 km, 4-5 hours, 1090m ascent, camp altitude 3480m.
The first day can be quite arduous as you have to climb more than 1000m. You start from the Ta Dzong (National Museum) in Paro. The trek follows a gravel road past a few farms for about 30 minutes and then climbs up a steep ridge before leading through blue pine and fir forests to Damche Gom. Once you reach the ridge below Jili Dzong you descend about 100m to the campsite below the Dzong. It is a place we can visit if the caretaker is in.

Day 5: Jili Dzong – Jangchulakha
Distance 10 km, 4-5 hours, 310m ascent, 50m descent, camp altitude 3770m.
You begin with a steep climb for about an hour and a half, then the slope evens a bit and the ascent is more gradual. The trail takes you through thick alpine forests and dwarf rhododendron tress. You may see herders and their yaks around your campsite.

Day 6: Jangchulakha – Jimilang Tsho
Distance 11 km, 4 hours, 230m descent, 330m ascent, camp altitude 3870m.
The trail follows a ridge and on a clear day the view of the mountains and valley are simply stunning. The campsite is close to the Jimilang Tsho Lake. This lake is known for its giant sized trout.

Day 7: Jimilang Tsho – Simkotra Tsho
Distance 11 km, 4 hours, 820m ascent, 400m descent, camp altitude 4110m.
The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees and past Janye Tsho Lake. You may come across some yak herder camps where you will have the opportunity to get a glimpse of a nomad’s life. The campsite is close to Simkotra Tsho Lake.

Day 8: Simkotra Tsho – Phajoding
Distance 10 km, 3-4 hours, 130m ascent, 680m descent, camp altitude 3750m.
The day begins with a gradual climb up to Laban La at 4210m. If the weather permits, you will have a spectacular view of Gangkar Puensum, the highest mountain in Bhutan and several other Himalayan peaks. From here we will then trek onto Phume La also at 4210m and witness more splendid views. From this pass, the trek takes you downhill towards Phajoding where you will stay for the night. The camp is located just above Phajoding Monastery.

Day 9: Phajoding – Motithang
Distance 4-5 km, 3 hours, 1130m descent.
After passing and visiting the Phajoding monastery, the trek to Thimphu (Motithang) is downhill through a forested area of mostly blue pine. The walk, at a leisurely pace, takes about three hours. The Druk Path finishes at the Bhutan Broadcast Service (BBS) Telecommunication Tower, offering great views of the city of Thimphu (2300m). After checking in to the hotel for the night and freshen up, you are free to do some sightseeing and souvenir shopping.

Day 10: Take a bus to Paro and do some sightseeing and shopping for some souvenirs. Stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 11: Fly back to Kathmandu. Stay overnight at your selected hotel in Kathmandu.

Day 12: Souvenir and sightseeing in Kathmandu.

Day 13: A representative ofUnique Nepal Adventure Trek will drop you off at Tribhuvan International Airport by private vehicle. This tour takes in Taktsang Monastery and the Druk Path, followed by a sightseeing tour of visiting several sites of Monasteries, Lhakhang’s, Dzong’s and Chorten’s within more cities, towns and villages in Central Bhutan.

Trek Facts

Trek: Druk Path
Trek starts: Paro
Trek duration: 6 days/19 days including transportation
Grade: Easy to medium
Maximum altitude: 4210m
Minimum altitude: 2250m
Trek ends: Punakha

Trip Itinerary II

Day 1: Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and a representative of Unique Nepal Adventure Trek will welcome and transfer you to your selected hotel by private vehicle.

Day 2: Fly from Kathmandu to Paro (2250m). This flight into Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights to take, as it flies past Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and many more peaks. The flight takes around an hour and a half. We will then go to our hotel and take refreshment and visit Ta Dzong (National Museum) and visit Paro Rinpung Dzong.

Day 3: After breakfast, we drive to Kyichu Lhakhang. King Songtsän Gampo built the Lhakhang in the 7th century AD. The associated legend is that – this is one of 108 Lhakhang’s built in a single night by the king to tame his kingdom’s borders. The next stop is the ancient ruins of Drukgyal Dzong (30 minutes). The Dzong is a monument to the Shabdrung’s victory against an invasion of allied Tibetan-Mongolian forces in 1649. The name “Drukgyal Dzong” thus translates to “Fortress of Victory”. The Dzong was destroyed in a fire in the 1950s. On clear days, Drukgyal is an excellent place to view the glorious mountain Jomolhari. Return to stay for lunch, rest and prepare for the trek up to Taktsang Monastery (the “Tiger’s Nest”).

Drive to the start of the trek. Trek (or horse ride) to Taktsang Monastery (trek time is 2-3 hours depending on weather and fitness level).Taktsang is perched on a precipitous 900 meter cliff. The monastery has been restored at painstaking efforts to former glory after a fire in 1998. The legend is that Guru Padmasambhava flew to this holy place on the back of tigress to meditate. More recently, one of the most enlightened abbots in modern Bhutan history, Geshe Gendun Rinchen (1926 – 1997) also known as Draphugpa (Of the Caves), was born in a small cave by the path to the monastery. Tea and refreshments will be taken at Taktsang Café for about an hour’s rest to take photos and view the scenery. We will then descend to road point (horses cannot be ridden) and drive back to Paro to prepare for the trek.

Day 4: Paro – Jili Dzong 
Distance 7 km, 4-5 hours, 1090m ascent, camp altitude 3480m.
The first day can be quite arduous as you have to climb more than 1000m. You start from the Ta Dzong (National Museum) in Paro. The trek follows a gravel road past a few farms for about 30 minutes and then climbs up a steep ridge before leading through blue pine and fir forests to Damche Gom. Once you reach the ridge below Jili Dzong you descend about 100m to the campsite below the Dzong. It is a place we can visit if the caretaker is in.

Day 5: Jili Dzong – Jangchulakha
Distance 10 km, 4-5 hours, 310m ascent, 50m descent, camp altitude 3770m.
You begin with a steep climb for about an hour and a half, then the slope evens a bit and the ascent is more gradual. The trail takes you through thick alpine forests and dwarf rhododendron tress. You may see herders and their yaks around your campsite.

Day 6: Jangchulakha – Jimilang Tsho
Distance 11 km, 4 hours, 230m descent, 330m ascent, camp altitude 3870m.
The trail follows a ridge and on a clear day the view of the mountains and valley are simply stunning. The campsite is close to the Jimilang Tsho Lake. This lake is known for its giant sized trout.

Day 7: Jimilang Tsho – Simkotra Tsho
Distance 11 km, 4 hours, 820m ascent, 400m descent, camp altitude 4110m.
The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees and past Janye Tsho Lake. You may come across some yak herder camps where you will have the opportunity to get a glimpse of a nomad’s life. The campsite is close to Simkotra Tsho Lake.

Day 8: Simkotra Tsho – Phajoding
Distance 10 km, 3-4 hours, 130m ascent, 680m descent, camp altitude 3750m.
The day begins with a gradual climb up to Laban La at 4210m. If the weather permits, you will have a spectacular view of Gangkar Puensum, the highest mountain in Bhutan and several other Himalayan peaks. From here we will then trek onto Phume La also at 4210m and witness more splendid views. From this pass, the trek takes you downhill towards Phajoding where you will stay for the night. The camp is located just above Phajoding Monastery.

Day 9: Phajoding – Motithang
Distance 4-5 km, 3 hours, 1130m descent.
After passing and visiting the Phajoding monastery, the trek to Thimphu (Motithang) is downhill through a forested area of mostly blue pine. The walk, at a leisurely pace, takes about three hours. The Druk Path finishes at the Bhutan Broadcast Service (BBS) Telecommunication Tower, offering great views of the city of Thimphu (2300m). After checking in to the hotel for the night and freshen up, you are free to do some sightseeing and souvenir shopping.

Day 10: Thimphu
After breakfast we drive to the north end of the road and trek for 30 minutes and visit the Cheri Monastery. Our walk begins from the small village of Dodena and then crosses a covered bridge over the Thimphu Chhu and we climb steadily to Cheri Goemba, a small monastery perched on the hill with a view over the Thimphu Valley. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel built this monastery in 1620 and this is where the first community of monks in Bhutan was established. The monastery is considered very sacred as it contains the ashes of Tempi Nima, the father of the first Shabdrung of Bhutan and beautiful frescoes of Buddhist saints. Shabdrung also spent three years in retreat here and it’s a renowned meditation place even today. There are then visits to the Changangkha Lhakhang, National animal (Mini Zoo), Tashichho Dzong, National Memorial Chorten, Folk Heritage Museum, National library and return to Thimphu. Visit farmhouse. Stay overnight at the farmhouse.

Day 11: Thimphu – Phobjikha
After breakfast, drive to Phobjikha for 4-5 hours (132km). The route takes you past Simtokha Dzong, but you turn left at the crossroad and as you ascend there is a good view of the Dzong. The Dochu La pass lies at 3116m and is reached after negotiating the checkpoint at Hongtsho valley. On the pass there is 108 Chortens, otherwise known as Druk Wangyal Chortens and if the weather is clear, you can view the high peak of Gangkar Puensum (7541m) and continue the drive onto Phobjikha. The route takes you along the Puna Tsang Chhu and Wangdue city. Stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 12: Phobjikha – Jakar (Bumthang) via Trongsa
Drive to Trongsa for 4-5 hours and stop at Chendebji Chorten. The route takes you across the Black Mountains via the Pele La pass (3390m) on to Trongsa and Bumthang region that certainly qualifies as the cultural part of the country. Visit Trongsa Dzong and drive to Jakar, today you will reach the high point of the drive at Yotong La pass (3425m) and drive along the wide cultivated Chumey valley through the market village of Gyetsa and onto Jakar (2800m). Stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 13: Jakar
Today we visit the Jambay Lhakhang and make an offering to the butter lamp. Then visit Kurje Lhakhang and walk from here to visit Tamshing Lhakhang. We then visit Jakar Dzong and then onwards to visit Membartso or Flaming Lake. After dinner, take an evening walk around the city. Stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 14: Jakar – Wangdue – Punakha
Early morning drive to Wangdue/Punakha for 5-6 hours, visit Punakha Dzong. Stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 15: Punakha – sightseeing
Morning drive to the end of Punakha valley and trek to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, visit Punakha Dzong and after lunch we walk 20 minutes to Chimi Lhakhang from the road head, through cultivated fields and up a gentle slope. Located near Lobesa, Chimi Lhakhang stands on a round hillock and was built in 1499 by the 14th Drukpa, Ngawang Choegyal, after the site was blessed by the “Divine Madman” the maverick saint Drukpa Kuenley who built a chorten (which is a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics) on the site. Stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 16: Punakha – Paro
Drive back to Paro for 4-5 hours and have an evening walk around Paro city and do some sightseeing and shopping for some souvenirs. Stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 17: Fly back to Kathmandu. Stay overnight at your selected hotel in Kathmandu.

Day 18: Souvenir and sightseeing in Kathmandu.

Day 19: A representative ofUnique Nepal Adventure Trek will drop you off at Tribhuvan International Airport by private vehicle.

Price Includes:

  • Airport pick-up and drop off by private vehicle.
  • Two nights in your selected Kathmandu hotel with breakfast.
  • All meals during the trek (lunch, dinner, breakfast and tea or coffee).
  • Accommodation in a hotel in Paro and Thimphu.
  • Accommodation in twin shared tents with mattress.
  • All necessary equipment for camping.
  • One English speaking government trained license holder and well informed trekking guide.
  • Dependent on group size, cook, kitchen boy and extra horses)
  • All expenses for guide and porters – meals, accommodation, salary, equipment, insurance, transportation (bus/flights) etc.
  • First Aid kit bag.
  • Government and local area taxes where applicable. These include Royalty fees and road permit fees.
  • Return transportation from Kathmandu to Paro by flight.
  • Paro to the start of trek and Thimphu to Paro by private vehicle.
  • A Bhutanese visa fee, where the cost is dependent on the time of year you visit. See the link for Bhutan Information for prices.

Price Excludes:

  • Nepalese entry visa fee and departure tax. (See the ‘Visa Information’ link under ‘Trekking Info’ for current fees)
  • Travel insurance.
  • Soft and alcoholic drinks (mineral water, hot water, coke, fanta, beer, spirits, etc).
  • Snacks (Chocolate, biscuits etc).
  • Hot water, hot shower, heater charge, battery charge, phone calls and laundry service.
  • Donation, tips and personal expenses.
  • Emergency evacuation and medical equipment.
  • In case of natural calamities i.e. political unrest, cancellation of flight due to weather, landslides, etc, the extra charge will be borne by themselves.
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu.
  • Please note that you cannot hire equipment and other personal items in Bhutan such as (sleeping bag, down jacket, hiking boots, etc). You must either bring these items into the country by yourself, or they can be hired from Kathmandu.