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Bhutan – Druk Path Trekking

Mit Güter beladene Pferde laufen an einem Waserfall, das zwischen grünen Bäumen herunterfällt - Bhutan Trekking
Bhutan Bhutan

Trekking Map

The Druk Path Trek is one of the most beautiful short treks in Bhutan, which is only committed by the lucky few. It leads over an old trade route, overcomes high mountain passes and connects the valleys of Paro and Thimphu.
The path leads through spectacular rhododendron forests, alpine yak pastures and beautiful lakes with mountain trout. The trek begins with a hike through apple orchards and pine forests, past the ruins of Jele Dzong (monastery fortress), which are located on a high grass ridge with a breathtaking view of Mount Chomolhari (7,326m) in the north. In the next 4 days we climb over the tree line and cross several passes, including the Phume La (4,210 m). On the way we have a wonderful view of the Himalayas along the border between Bhutan and Tibet, including Mount Chomolhari (7,326m), Jichu Drake (6,662m) and Gangkar Puensum (7,570m).

Another highlight is the hike to the world-famous Tiger’s Nest monastery high above the Paro Valley. Let yourself be inspired by a lively culture and its unique natural wealth in this remote Himalayan country. On the way we enjoy the hospitality of the locals, the unclouded peace and beauty of the mountains of Bhutan.

Trip Details

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel – welcome dinner
You will be picked up at the airport and driven to your reserved hotel. In the evening you will be invited to a tasty welcome dinner to get to know the diverse dishes of Nepalese cuisine. Overnight in Hotel Tibet or similar category, (D).

Day 2: Sightseeing in Kathmandu
Today you will explore Kathmandu with a local guide. The most popular places are the Buddhist / Hindu temple Swayambhunath, which is also called the monkey temple, is reached via a long staircase and offers great views of Kathmandu. Other significant sights are the Hindu temple complex of Pashupatinath on the banks of the Bagmati River, with cremation sites, and the holy Buddhist Boudhanath Stupa, which is decorated with colorful prayer flags. This stupa has been a magnet for Buddhist pilgrims for many centuries, who repeatedly circled the structure, turning prayer wheels, praying and mumbling mantras (kora). Overnight in Hotel Tibet or similar, (B).

Day 3: Flight Kathmandu to Paro (2,200m) – approx. 1 hour – Afternoon briefing and free time
We fly to Paro early in the morning. If the weather is clear we should have fantastic views (from the left side of the cockpit) of much of the eastern half of the Himalayas, including the 8000m peaks of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Makalu and Kanchenjunga. After we have completed the visa formalities in Paro, we drive to our hotel. The Paro Valley is one of the most beautiful in Bhutan, with hills covered in blue pines and attractive, solidly built farmhouses between the rice fields. In the afternoon we will visit the Paro Dzong and the National Museum above. Paro Dzong is one of the most impressive monastery fortresses in Bhutan and the most beautiful example of Bhutanese architecture that we will see. The inwardly inclined walls form a massive structure that towers over the city. The fortress was built in the 17th century and was one of the most massive and important in Bhutan, and several times it managed to defend the Paro Valley from the invasions of Tibet. The dzong, which used to be the assembly hall of the National Assembly, now houses a convent school and offices of the district government. Scenes from the 1995 film “Little Buddha” were filmed in the dzong. Please note that the above itinerary may change depending on flight times, which are generally unpredictable. Overnight in the hotel, (B|L|D).

Day 4: Warm-up hike to Taktsang, also known as Tiger’s Nest Monastery (3,120m)
Today we do a warm-up hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). The most famous monastery in Bhutan was recently registered as one of the most sacred places in the world. This monastery is also the holiest in Bhutan. It towers 900 meters above the Paro valley and is known as the tiger’s nest because Guru Rimpoche allegedly came to this place on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. On the five-hour intensive but rewarding mountain tour to the monastery, during which more than 900 meters of altitude are overcome, body and soul are equally cleansed, and the sight of the monastery up close is also worth the effort. We recommend taking trekking shoes, trekking poles and plenty of water with you. Please note that there is about 100 steps up and down. After returning to the hotel, we have time in the afternoon to explore the city of Paro. Overnight in the hotel, (B|L|D).

Day 5: Paro – Jangchulakha – 15km drive and 6 hours hike (3,770m)
The first day can be quite exhausting as we have to climb more than 1,000 meters in altitude. We start from the Ta Dzong (National Museum) in Paro. The hike follows a gravel road for about 30 minutes, past some farms and then climbs a steep ridge before we reach Damche Gom through blue pine and tan forests. As soon as we have reached the ridge below the Jili Dzong, we descend about 100m to the campsite below the Dzong. Here we start with a steep ascent of about an hour and a half, then it goes a little flatter and the ascent is slower. The path leads us through dense alpine and rhododendron forests. We can see shepherds and their yaks near our campsite. Overnight in a tent, (B|L|D).

Day 6: Jangchulakha – Jimelang Tsho – 11km and 4 hours hike (3,780m)
The trail follows a ridge and on a clear day the views of the mountains and valley are simply breathtaking. The campsite is near Jimge-lang Tsho Lake. This lake is known for its huge trout. Overnight in a tent, (B|L|D).

Day 7: Jimgelang Tsho to Simkotra Tsho / Labana – 11km and 4 hours hike (4,090m)
Another long, exhausting, but great day of hiking through dwarf hodendron forests and past Lake Janetso, with a good view of the mountains, awaits us. The path leads from the camp on a rocky path up to Janye Tscho Lake at 3,956m. We climb even higher to a saddle at 4,150m and then briefly descend to Simthokha Lake (4,090m), the highest lake on our hike. From the lake there is a slight up and down to our camp in Labana. Overnight in a tent, (B|L|D).

Day 8: Labana to Thimphu (Mothithang) – 14km and approx. 7 hours of hike (1,130m)
Today the path gradually climbs to the highest point of this hike, the Labana Pass at 4,235 m. The view becomes more and more spectacular and on a clear day we can see Gangar Peunsum (7,570m), Table Mountain and much of the Bhutan Himalayas. Far below is the Thimphu Valley. From above we cross the slope with a fantastic mountain view and descend towards Thimphu. There are a few small climbs over some saddles, but the general tendency is downhill. From Phajoding Labsa Chörten we descend quite steeply to Phajoding Monastery. Here we will have lunch. The place houses several temples, a monastery school and is visited by many Bhutanese people. We continue to descend through blue pine forests until we end our hike in Motithang, a little above Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. We should arrive at our hotel in the late afternoon. Overnight in the hotel, (B|L|D).

Day 9: Day trip to Punakha and drive to Thimphu
Today we take a trip to the nearby town of Punakha. The road leads steadily out of the Thimpu Valley and winds through forests to the Dochula Pass. At 3,050m the view over the eastern Himalayas is great, although this is definitely weather dependent! It goes down to the valley floor and we continue to the subtropical climate of Punakha. At an altitude of 1,350m, the temperature difference can be clearly felt and the flora has now also changed significantly. Punakha was the winter capital of Bhutan and the dzong was the second to be built in Bhutan. This remarkable fortress lies between two rivers and has survived many fires, an earthquake and a glacial flood. It has been repaired and expanded over the years and has several interesting features to keep it safe from invasions. In the afternoon we drive back to Thimphu to spend the night there. Overnight in the hotel, (B|L|D).

Day 10: Thimpu Sightseeing or Thimpu Festival and drive to Paro – approx. 2 hours drive
Today we spend the day visiting the main attractions in and around Thimpu, including the Memorial Chorten built in 1974 in honor of the third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and Buddha Point, a large Buddha statue that overlooks on the hillside Thimpu was built. In Thimpu there are several museums and an art school, the post office and the market are interesting and there is a takin area above the town. Your guide will endeavor to show you as much as possible in the time available and depending on the opening times.

If a festival takes place during your selected travel period, we will spend the whole day experiencing one of the many vibrant festivals in Bhutan. During the festivals, Bhutanese people gather to see monks and amateur dancers in colorful brocade and silk costumes, wearing painted masks and reenacting Bhutan’s religious history through music and dance. There are mask dances and prayer meetings for several days, and there is a general carnival atmosphere as many villagers arrive to meet old friends. You dress in the most beautiful national costumes for the festival. The most popular festivals in Bhutan take place in Paro and Thimpu. In the afternoon we drive to Paro. Overnight in the hotel, (B|L|D).

Day 11: Flight to Kathmandu, drive to Bhaktapur – free time
Today we fly back to Kathmandu and immediately upon arrival we will be driven to Bhaktapur, which is located at an altitude of 1,401 m about 14 km east of Kathmandu and covers an area of four square kilometers. Bhaktapur, also known as the City of the Pious, has retained its medieval charm, and visitors to this ancient royal city will be surprised with countless cultural and artistic secrets. The palace courtyard (Durbar Square) bears witness to the past glory of the Malla dynasty. Pottery and weaving are the two traditional crafts in Bhaktapur. The old city is also famous for wood carvings and the Bhadgaolen hat or the Bhadgaolen cap (the old name of Bhaktapur is Bhadgaolen). Overnight in the hotel, (B).

Day 12: Drive to the airport and flight home
The day is at your disposal until your departure, (B).

We reserve the right to change the program due to special events, force majeure or weather conditions.

B = Breakfast | L = Lunch | D = Dinner

B = Breakfast | L = Lunch | D = Dinner

German guided tour
English guided tour

Bhutan Festival overview 2022: Download file here

This tour can also be booked for your individual group at an additional cost at dates other than shown here.

Duration: 12 days
Costs:
2.990€ per Person
Group size: min. 3 Persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of only three persons)
€ 390 for single room supplement (only for hotel accommodation, for tent overnight stays during the trek, especially during the high season, single accommodation is not available)

What’s included:

  • Airport transfers in Bhutan and Nepal
  • Flight from Kathmandu Paro–Paro-Kathmandu and 20kg free luggage
  • All relevant surface transfer
  • All hotel accommodation with breakfast in Nepal
  • English speaking Tour Guide in Nepal and Bhutan
  • All meals in Bhutan, (B|L|D)
  • Camping equipment, cook and helping personal
  • Sightseeing with entrance fees, guide and vehicle
  • Permit, National Park Entrance/Conservation Fees
  • Guide & Driver in Bhutan
  • Visa Bhutan
  • US$ 250 tourist fee per day and person, in Bhutan
  • Quality service

Not Included:

  • International Flights
  • Additional tours and meals that are not mentioned
  • Beverages
  • Personal bills
  • Visa Nepal (approx. US$ 50)
  • Excess baggage charge (beyond 20 Kg each)
  • Insurance (for cancellation, accident, health, emergency evacuation and loss, theft of or damage to baggage and personal effects)
  • Tips

Visa
Visa fees for Bhutan are included in the price. We will provide the visa applications. Visa fees for Nepal are not included in the price and will be paid in the airport at arrival in Kathmandu (around US$ 50). Two passport size photographs must be provided for the visa. At the time of the trip your passport must be valid for at least a further six months and have at least two blank pages.
These visa and passport regulations apply to EU countries, Switzerland and the USA. Other nationals should check with the relevant consular authorities.

Vaccinations
There are no vaccinations required for traveling to Bhutan at this time. However, you should be vaccinated against tetanus, hepatitis A and diphtheria. We recommend you consult your GP (general practitioner) in good time, about three months before your trip.

Insurance
Travel health insurance (with rescue costs) is essential for your own safety and a prerequisite for booking our trips. In the event of an accident in a country that requires a helicopter, it will not take off until the full cost coverage has been clarified. We strongly recommend that you take out travel cancellation insurance. Flights at bargain prices in particular cannot usually be re-booked or canceled free of charge. Complications with your health could also occur in the travel destination that force you to discontinue your trip.
We have requested ERGO (Reiseversicherung) to create various service packages for you. You can book travel cancellation insurance at www.reiseversicherung.de.

Please note: ERGO insurance can be booked by residents of Germany and Austria. Those living in other countries are requested to book their travel insurance through an insurance provider in their own country.

It should be noted that geoDiscovery Tours advises its customers to book their travel insurance via ERGO as a recommendation only, and accepts no responsibility for the contractual content between the customer and the travel insurance provider. Customers can book their travel insurance via ERGO or another provider at their own discretion.

Flying in Bhutan and Nepal
The flights booked by us, between Nepal and Bhutan are with Bhutan Air or Druk Air. The domestic flights in Nepal booked by us are with Tara Air, Yeti Air, Sita Air, Summit Air or Buddha Air.

The hotels and lodges booked by us
In Nepal and Bhutan the hotels we book are good and correspond to medium-level Western standards. Sanitary facilities are clean and functional; the hotel cuisine is adapted to Western eating habits and the food is safe to enjoy. In Nepal, there may sometimes be power cuts or no hot water available for a while. The hotel staff is generally very friendly and looks after the welfare of guests. The hotels booked by us are as follows:

In Bhutan
Thimphu: Hotel Phuntsho Pelri
Phobikha: Hotel Dewachen
Bumthang: Hotel Ugyen Ling
Punakha: Meri Puensum Resort
Paro: Tashi Namgay Resort

In Nepal
Kathmandu: Hotel Tibet/Manaslu ***+
Pokhara: Mount Kailash Resort, Lake side retreat ***
Lumbini: Hotel New Crystal ***
Chitwan: Jungle Villa Resort
Nagarkot: Nagarkot Farmhouse

Tour program
The travel program for all of our recommended tours is carefully planned. It can happen, however, that roads are closed without advance notice or are impassable, that there are waiting times of several hours because of traffic congestion or fuel shortages and that specific tourist attractions are closed for various reasons. Other restrictions such as flight delays or even cancellations due to bad weather, strikes or the health of participants may also make the implementation of the travel program more difficult or at worst make it impossible. However, our local guides are prepared for such situations and will make every effort to achieve every aspect of the program to your satisfaction. As a result the inconvenience can normally be kept to a reasonable level. Nevertheless, it must be pointed out at this juncture that for the above reasons program changes are possible at any time and cannot be influenced by the organizers. The resulting costs are borne by the traveler. We ask for your understanding.

Road Situation
Despite high mountains, steep slopes, and the deepest of valleys Bhutan has a relatively well developed network of roads. It is difficult to find a length of either straight or flat road. In some stretches one can encounter 6 to 7 bends per kilometer! Steep ascents and descents are characteristic of road travel in Bhutan and this can make traveling much slower than one may be used to. The average driving speed is 40 km per hour. Travelers need to be adaptable, however.


Trip Details

  • Duration: 12 days
  • Holiday Type: Camping / Hotel
  • Best trekking period: Oct/Nov/Dec/Feb/Mar/Apr/May
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Max Altitude: Labana Pass at 4,235 m
  • Group size: Min. 3 persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of only three persons)
  • Tour guide: English speaking, trained Nepalese/Bhutanese mountain guide/tour leader
  • Difficulty:
  • Fitness:
  • Price: 2.990,00 
  • Single room supplement: 390,00 €
    (only for hotel accommodation, for tent overnight stays during the trek, especially during the high season, single accommodation is not available)