Day 01: Arrival and sightseeing in Paro (2,250m/7,382ft)
As our flight nears Bhutan, we can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to our hotel. Today, we will visit Rinpung Dzong which was built in 1646 and now houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. We will also visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country and Drugyal Dzong, built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. Overnight in Paro.
Day 02: Acclimatization hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery (3,180m)
After breakfast, we hike for 4 -5 hours to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan's most famous monastery situated at 3,180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up the mountain. After having explored the monastery, we hike down to the valley floor and return to Paro and spend the night.
Day 03: Trek begins: Paro to Jele Dzong (3,480m/11,415ft): 10 km, 4 - 5 hours
First we are going to drive to the point where we start our trek to Jele Dzong. From there, we hike for a short while (around an hour) to the Dzong. The trail ascends gently through a forest before reaching our campsite. Above the camp on top of the hill is Jele Dzong. From here, the Paro valley can be seen with snow-capped mountains as its back drop. Built in the 15th century, Jele dzong is mostly in ruins but there is a Lhakhang (Buddhist Temple) with the statute of Buddha Sakyamuni. Overnight camp at 3,480m.
Day 04: Jele Dzong to Jangchulakha (3,770m/12,365ft): 10 km, 3 - 4 hours
Today we embark on about 2 hours of trekking. We begin with a gradual ascent (310m) then descend (50m). The trail passes through thick alpine and rhododendron forests and reaches Jangchulakha. We still walk for some time and arrive at the campsite, which offers scenic views of the amazing landscape below. You can also see yak herders around your campsite at the height of 3,600m.
Day 05: Jangchulakha to Jimilangtsho (3,880m/12,729ft): 11 km, 4 hours
The trail descends for around 230m then ascends 330m until we reach Jimilangtsho. We walk on a ridge that leads us to a pass from where we get to enjoy picturesque views of the nearby mountains and valleys. Descending from the pass, we arrive at our camp beside the Jimilangtsho lakes. These lakes are famous for their giant sized trouts. From our campsite, we also get breathtaking views of Jichu Drake (6,989m) and Gangkar Puensum (7,497m), Bhutan's highest mountain. Overnight at a camp at an altitude of 3,870m.
Day 06: Jimilangtsho to Simkota (4,110m/13,480ft): 11 km, 4 hours
The trail climbs up from the lower end of the lake and passes through the side of the ridge. It then descends to a single stone shelter and again ascends to a summit at 4,050m overlooking Janetsho Lake. Today, we may come across some yak herder's camp and get an idea about their lifestyle. Our camp is close to Simkota Lake at an altitude of 4,110m.
Day 07: Simkota to Phajoding to Thimphu (2,350m/7,710ft): 14 km, 5 hours: Trek Ends
Today we begin with a gradual climb to enjoy majestic views of Mt. Gangkar Puensum and other peaks. The trail slowly descends through junipers trees to a community hall near Phajoding. From Phajoding the trek to Thimphu is downhill, passing through a forested area of mostly blue pine. After arriving in Thimphu, we check-in to our hotel and spend the night.
Day 08: Thimphu to Punakha (1,250m/4,100ft): 76 km, 2 - 3 hours
After breakfast, we enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at Dochu La pass (3,100 m), where on a clear day we get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, we drive downhill through rhododendron, fir and hemlock forests. We then pass through rice fields along river banks and reach Punakha. After lunch, we visit Punakha Dzong. Built between 1637-1638, it is the second oldest and the second largest dzong in Bhutan. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 09: Punakha to Paro (2,250m/7,382ft): 130 km, 4 hours, Hike to Chimi Lhakhang
After breakfast we drive towards Paro. On the way, we stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. After the visit, we continue with our drive and cross the Dochu La Pass. Here, we visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is popular for its elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. Later, we stop in Thimphu for lunch and reach Paro around evening. Overnight in Paro.
Day 10: Final Departure
Today we bid farewell to the tiny Himalayan kingdom and her friendly people. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, after taking breakfast, we will be taken to the airport.