Hike through spectacular mountain scenery, along one of Bhutan's oldest trails, from Paro and Thimpu, and take in the best of Bhutan, including the gravity defying Tiger's Nest Monastery, on this 12 day tour which starts and ends in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu. The Druk Path trek is an ideal introductory trekking experience in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan; The Land of the Thunder Dragon.
Arrive in Kathmandu and included transfer to our hotel in the heart of the city. Depending on flight times there may be time to look around the area of Thamel before meeting the group for dinner, where you will also be given information on timings for tomorrow's flight to Bhutan.
Overnight: Kathmandu | Dinner
Kathmandu - Paro. We transfer to the airport for the short flight to Paro. Sit back and enjoy the spectacular scenery on the flight, with amazing views of Everest, Makalu and Kangchenjunga, three of the world’s highest mountains. As we descend into the Paro Valley, enjoy the wonderful views of alpine forests, small monasteries, temples and flat-roofed farmhouses. After a warm welcome from our Bhutanese guide, we will check in to our accommodation in Paro with time to stroll and acclimatise to the thinner air.
Overnight: Paro | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Tiger's Nest Monastery
Today we hike up to the spectacular Taktsang, aka' Tiger’s Nest', Monastery, which is perched on a ledge of a cliff high above the Paro Valley. The monastery was partly destroyed by a fire in 1998 but has now been restored to its former glory. To reach the monastery it's a return trek of around 5 hours. High up, there is a wonderful viewpoint for the Tiger's Nest Monastery, looking across the gorge to the monastic buildings which cling, seemingly impossibly, to the cliff wall opposite.
Overnight: Paro | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Paro Dzong & trek across Jili La
Paro - Jili La. We start the morning with a visit to Paro Dzong before meeting our trek crew and the horses just above the Ta Dzong, an ancient watch-tower situated above Paro Dzong. We begin trekking through apple orchards and cultivated terracing. Stopping for lunch before continuing our steady climb through temperate forest up to the Jili La (pass) at 3490m. We camp in a great spot, high above the Paro Valley and just below the pass in a meadow on the ridge.
Overnight: Jili La (camping) | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Trek to Rawana
Jili La - Jili Dzong. Today we follow the ridge to the remote Jili Dzong which was one of the shelters on the main route between Paro and Thimpu in ancient times. Here we can admire the wonderful views from the ridge of Chomolhari and the Jitchu Drake. Our trail is undulating as we cross several spurs passing through thick forest and meadows. We camp in a meadow along the ridge at 3890m.
Overnight: Jili Dzong (camping) | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hike to Jimilangtso Lake
Jili Dzong - Jimilangtso Lake. It's a longer hike today but a wonderful day’s walking, through coniferous forests, rhododendron forest and finally through more open country and fields of wild onions. We trek up the Jangchu la (4190m) where we can enjoy the spectacular views of the valleys below and, weather permitting, the distant Himalayan peaks. We trek downhill to the valley floor and past Jimilangtso Lake at 3860m. We camp on the shores of the lake.
Overnight: Jimilangtso Lake (camping) | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Trek to Labana via Simkotra Lake
Jimilangtso Lake - Labana. Our hike today begins with a short climb to Janeytsho Lake. Then we continue through beautiful Rhododendron trees to the larger Simkotra Lake before we reach a saddle at 4180m, below some rocky peaks. The peaks are sacred and used for ‘sky burial’. Decending from a small pass we eventually arrive into our camp Labana (4130m). Labana means 'in between two passes' and from camp we can see the Phume La, which we will cross tomorrow; at 4210m this will be the high point of our trek.
Overnight: Labana (camping) | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Labana - Thimpu. We make the short climb to cross the Phume La (4210m) this morning, with its unmistakable stone cairn decorated with colourful prayer flags. On a clear day we will be rewarded with a spectacular Himalayan panorama, including Gangar Puensum, the world's highest unclimbed mountain. Then it's all downhill as we enjoy a leisurely walk to Phajoding monastery (3960m) and on through a forest of blue pine to the road, where our vehicle takes us the last mile to Thimpu. After hotel check in and lunch, the afternoon is free for sightseeing and shopping.
Overnight: Thimphu | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Thimpu - Punakha. We spend the morning sightseeing in Thimphu, taking in highlights such as the Great Buddha Dordenma, the world's largest seated golden Buddha and the textile museum where we can see some amazing examples of intricately woven costumes from all over Bhutan. We will also pass an archery ground to see if there's a competition taking place. Archery is Bhutan's national sport and and if we are not able to witness a match here, then we should definitely have an opportunity either in Punakha or Paro.
After lunch in Thimphu we enjoy a scenic drive across the Dochu La (3000m), the highest road pass in Bhutan, en route to Punakha.
Overnight: Punakha | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Punakha - Paro. We explore Punakha this morning, taking a short walk through rice paddies to visit Chimi L'hakhang, the Temple of the Divine Mad Monk and visiting the striking Punakha Dzong, which is one of Bhutan's most impressive buildings and home to over 1000 monks in winter. After lunch we drive back across the Dochu La and on to Paro. We spend our final night in Bhutan sampling some tasty Bhutanese cuisine and taking a last look at Paro Dzong which is spectacular when illuminated at night.
Overnight: Paro | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Paro - Kathmandu. We transfer to Paro Airport early this morning for our flight back to Kathmandu. The flight is only 45 minutes long and after we've checked into our Kathmandu hotel the rest of the day is free to explore the city. An evening meal is included at the hotel, for those that wish to dine together, or you are free to head out into Thamel independently to a restaurant of your choice.
Overnight: Kathmandu | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Our tour ends after breakfast today. Transfers to Kathmandu airport are provided.
Is This Holiday For You?
Walking the ancient high-level route between Paro and Thimpu, plus visits to all Bhutan's premier cultural sites, this Druk Path holiday is the perfect option for anyone looking for a short or introductory trekking experience in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan.
Trekking conditions on this short trek are reasonably straightforward, since we are following a route that was formerly an important link between Paro and Thimpu and which has been used for generations by pack-animals. The altitude attained on the trip is not extreme and the passes that we cross should not be snow covered at the time of our departures. However, it should be noted that trekking at even moderately high altitudes is more demanding than the equivalent terrain at lower elevations. You will be walking through a great variety of landscapes; ranging from terraced farmland and some of the finest mixed forest in the world, to open, alpine pastureland and scenic mountain passes.
Please refer to the Trip Notes for further information about this trekking holiday, including the distance covered each day.
If you would like the chance to attend one of Bhutan's wonderful festivals during this trekking holiday, then be sure to check out our special Druk Path Trek festival departures and refer to the Trip Notes for more information:
Paro Festival - 06 Apr 2020
The Paro Festival takes place the dzong overlooking the town. One of the highlights of the festival is at dawn on the last day with the unfurling of the giant silk Thangka depicting Guru Rinpoche. Looking at the Thangka is said to liberate the soul.
Thimphu Festival - 07 Oct 2019 / 26 Sep 2020
Taking place in Bhutan's capital city, this vibrant festival takes place in the courtyard of the city's dzong. Expect to see the crowd wearing their most colourful and elaborately decorated national costume; Gho for the men and Kira for the women.
Dechenphu Festival - 18 Oct 2020
This festival takes place at the Dechenphu Lhakhang, a quiet hillside monastery, which is known to the locals as the ‘House of Final Decisions’. The festival is dedicated to Gay Ngyen Jakpa Melen, a local guardian deity.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room.Read More