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Punakha trek bhutan

Punakha Winter Trek

The best seasons for this trek are March to May and September to November. But due to the low altitudes, the trek is possible throughout the whole winter. The trek is the old walking route from Thimphu to Punakha.

Punakha Winter Trek / Max.Elevation: 3,400
Highest Camp: 3,360
Standard: Easy
Best Seasons: September to May

No.of Days / Duration: 12

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This is a short and easy trek through Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. The altitude of the trail covers almost a thousand meters in range but the slopes are mostly gradual and should not present hikers with much difficulty. This hike follows the old foot trail from Thimphu to Punakha and it passes through several villages, forests and rice fields. It offers incredible views of Phajoding Monastery and crosses through Sinchula pass. Hikers will also camp near Chorten Ningpo, an ancient chorten linked to Bhutan’s favourite patron saint, The Divine Madman Lama Drukpa Kuenley. Due to the low altitude and warm climate of the area, this hike is available all winter but the best times to go are between March-May and September-November.

Day 1: Arrival at Paro International Airport

Fly from Bangkok, Delhi, Kathmandu, Kolkata and other Druk airports to Paro Bhutan. One can have the breathtaking bird’s eye view of Himalayan Mountain and green valley of Paro. On arrival at Paro airport you will be received by a representative of Bhutan Buddha Travellers and will be escorted to a Hotel where arrangements will be made for two nights halt.

Day 2: Paro Sightseeing

Beautiful Monuments can be seen at Paro. It includes Drugyel Dzong, a ruined fortress having great historical importance where Bhutanese finally defeated Tibetan invaders and drove them back. Others monuments includes Dilgo Khyentshe’s temple, Kichu Lhakhang built in 7th century, Dungtshe Lhakhang built by Lam Thongto Gyalpo who first introduced iron in Bhutan.  Take a break for lunch at the finest restaurant in town. Visit National Museum housed in Ta Dzong which was used as watch tower during the time of Tibetan invasions and amazing Rimpung Dzong below the Ta Dzong. In the evening visit local farmhouse in a village and take leisurely stroll around the town. Overnight halt and dinner in the hotel.

Day 3: (Taktshang Hike, Paro- Thimphu)

Your hike will be to Taktshang Monastery literally meaning Tiger’s Nest in local Language. It is located at 2000ft/600m in a steep Rock cliff. It is believed to be a place where Guru Rimpochoe flew on the back of Tiger and meditated there. The place is about 3 hours walk from the nearest road. Lunch and tea will be served in a tea house on the way with the majestic view of the Taktshang Monastery and Paro Valley. Ponies will be arranged on request till the tea house which is about 2 hours walk from the nearest road. You may opt to further continue the trip from the tea house which is about 1 hour walk uphill. On return back to the road, it would take about 1 and half hours walk downhill. At this point driver will be waiting to proceed to Paro town and then continue to Thimphu which is about 1 and half hours drive along the Paro river downstream to the confluence with Wang Chhu then turn upstream along the Wang chhu to Thimphu. Rest, dinner and overnight halt in a hotel.

Day 4: (Thimphu, Sightseeing)

Sightseeing in Thimphu includes Memorial Chorten built in the memory of our third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, Buddha Statue at Kuensel Phodrang, Tashichho Dzong where Monk Bodys’ living quarters, His Majesty the king’s Throne room and Offices of Government Ministries are housed, National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved, paintings and wood crafts schools where traditional arts are kept alive, indigenous hospitals, textile museum, handmade paper factory, folk heritage museum, Simtokha Dzong the first and oldest Dzong in Bhutan and other various Monastery around Thimphu.

Day 5. Thimphu to Shong Pang.

After driving north to Dechencholing Palace (the residence of the Queen Mother) the trek begins at Pangrizam.  Today’s route passes several villages before reaching the campsite just above Chamina village.  (4 to 5 hours)

Day 6. Shong Pang to Dopshing Pang.

The trail ascends gradually to the Sinchu La Pass (3490 m).  If the weather is clear it is possible to see the Phajodhing monastery above Thimphu.  After 2 kilometres you will be in Thinly Gang village, Talo monastery and the highway to Punakha, Bhutan’s ancient capital can be viewed.  After the pass the path is mainly downhill.

Day 7. Dopshing Pang to Chorten Ningpo.

A gentle day’s walk through thickly forested areas, villages and rice fields.

Day 8. Chorten Ningpo to Zomlingthang.

Continue walking through several villages until we reach the road head at Zomlingthang.  Camp near the river above the Dzong.  (2 to 3 hours)

Day 9. Zomlingthang to Limukha.

After crossing the Pho Chu River in front of PunakhaDzong, there is  steady half-day climb through forest of Chir Pines with wonderful views of Punakha valley and the Dzong.  If the weather is clear snow-capped mountains are visible to the north.  The campsite is near Limukha village at an altitude of 2250 m.

Day 10. Limukha to Chungsakha/Wangdiphodrang.

Today’s trail ascends gradually through a dense forest of oaks and rhododendron. Later the descend is through the forest to a small monastery dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenlay (popularly known as the ‘Divine Madman’).  From Chungsakha you can view across the valley to Samtengang on the ridge to the south.  The walk proceeds downhill to the farm road where the trail ends. Drive an hour or so to Wangduephodrang.

Day 11. Wangdi to Thimphu (visit Punakha, Dochu La)

Drive west crossing Punakha through Punakha Dzong, Chimi Lhakhang and Dochula pass (10000ft/3000m) that has beautiful view with 108 temples and a Monastery. On the clear day panoramic view of Himalayas and Gasa Dzong can be seen. The road after the pass is routed down the hill back to Thimphu.

Day 12. Drive to Paro for Departure.

After Breakfast drive back to Paro International Airport. Bhutan Buddha escort will help you with exit formalities and then bid you farewell.

Cost Includes:

  • Receive and Transfer to Airport
  • Double/Twin in 3 Star Hotel
  • 3 Meals every day with Evening Tea
  • Toyota SUV for FIT & Toyota Bus for Group with Driver
  • English Speaking Guide
  • All Sightseeing
  • Museum Fees
  • Bhutan Visa
  • All Permits
  • Bottled Mineral Water

Cost Does Not Include:

  • Donations to Monasteries
  • Insurance
  • Alcohol & Beverages
  • Tips for Guide, Driver & Hotel Staff
  • Gifts & Souvenirs
  • International Telephone Calls
  • Round Trip Air fare
  • Inbound Airfare

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