Bhutan: Druk Path Trek

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Small group
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  • A short classic trek through the beautiful Bhutanese countryside
  • An opportunity to gain an insight into the culture of the people
  • Famous cultural highlights; Paro Dzong and Thimpu’s Memorial Chorten
  • Witness Bhutan’s colourful, vibrant festivals (on festival departures)
  • Visit the incredible Taktsang ‘Tiger’s Nest’ Monastery



Day 1

Arrive Kathmandu

Land in Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel. The evening is free to relax.

Day 2

Fly to Paro; visit Paro Dzong and museum

We fly to Paro today. If the weather is clear, we should get a fantastic view (from the left hand side of the plane) of much of the eastern half of the Himalaya, including Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and Chomolhari (Jhomolhari). After completing visa formalities in Paro, we transfer to our hotel. The Paro valley is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Bhutan. Its blue pine-covered hills and attractive, solidly built farmhouses among the paddy fields are dominated by the massive dzong, or fort.

This afternoon we aim to visit the Paro Dzong and the National Museum above it. Paro Dzong is one of Bhutan’s most impressive, and the finest example of Bhutanese architecture you will see. The inward sloping walls form a massive structure that towers over the town. Built in the 17th century it was one of Bhutan’s strongest and most important fortresses and it was used on several occasions to defend the Paro Valley from invasions by Tibet. Formally the meeting hall for the National Assembly, the dzong now houses a monastic school and district government offices. Scenes from the 1995 film ‘Little Buddha’ were filmed in the dzong. West of the dzong a traditional wooden covered bridge called Nyamal Zam, a reconstruction of the original bridge, which was washed away in a flood in 1969. The most famous pictures of Paro Dzong are taken from the west bank of the river, just downstream from the bridge. At the top of the hill above the dzong is the old watchtower known locally as Ta Dzong. Originally built in 1656, it was renovated in 1968 by King Jigme Dorje Wangchuk to house the National Museum. Damaged by the earthquake in 2011, the museum is housed at the present time in a new building above the Ta Dzong. Inside the museum there are collections of masks and thangkas.

Please note that the itinerary above could change subject to flight timings, which are generally unpredictable.

Day 3

Warm up hike to Taktsang also known as Tiger’s Nest Monastery

Today we will have a warm-up hike to Taktsang Monastery. ‘Tigers Nest’ Monastery, is perched on the ledge of a cliff high above the Paro Valley. Partly destroyed by fire in 1998, it has now been completely restored to its former magnificence. We drive a short distance from the hotel and then hike up for about 1.5 hours to a viewpoint, for the classic views of the monastic buildings which cling impossibly to the cliff wall opposite. For the energetic, there is the chance to walk another 2 hours to the actual monastery. The walk is good for acclimatization and we recommend you wear trekking boots and take trekking poles and plenty of water. Please note there about 100 steps up and down. Returning to the hotel we have time in the afternoon to explore Paro town.

Day 4

Trek to Jele Dzong

Today we start our trek. After breakfast, we have a short drive to about 2620m, just above the ancient Ta Dzong watchtower. The first day’s trekking is not long in terms of hours but it’s uphill all the way and we gain quite a lot of height. From our trek start point it is a gentle climb for about 1.5 hours on a jeep track to a prayer wall. The trail then narrows and we continue climbing on a rocky path up a little steeper now through the forest. We have lunch about an hour further on in a clearing and then it’s about an hour’s walk in the afternoon to the Jele La (3550m) and our camp just below the pass and Jele Dzong. If the weather is clear, we can see the Paro Valley below. The energetic can walk further up the ridge from the Jele La to a ruined shepherd hut with a small Bon shrine inside.

Day 5

Trek to Jangchulaka

After breakfast, we walk five minutes back up to the main trail and continue climbing for about half an hour to Jele Dzong. If it is open, we can go and see inside the dzong which dates back to the 14th century. Continuing up the ridge for a short way we can see the Paro Valley way below and if the weather is clear we may even spot Chomolhari in the distance. The trail undulates through thick rhododendron forests this morning – look out for the colourful Monal and Blood Pheasants which inhabit the forests. Lunch is in a forest clearing and we have a short walk in the afternoon to our camp at Rawna at 3860m. (Please note that if there are other trekking groups around we may have to camp at Jangchu Lakha (3700m) or Tsokam (3750m). All 3 campsites are close by, each sitting in different forest clearings.

Day 6

Follow the ridge with spectacular views of Jichdrake to reach Jimi Lang Tsho

A long day today and probably the hardest walk of the trek. We climb steeply up from camp on a narrow trail for about an hour to rejoin the main trail. We continue climbing through a rocky landscape littered with small rhododendron bushes. We reach a col at 4073m marked with prayer flags and then drop down a short way to a cave. The trail then climbs again quite steeply to a ridge at 4080m, from where on a clear day we get spectacular mountain views including Chomolhari and Jichudrake. We have lunch on the ridge to enjoy the views and then continue a little further up the ridge to 4120m. From here we contour round a little and then drop steeply on a rocky trail to the shores of Jimi Lang Tscho, well known for its trout.

Day 7

Trek to Labana

Another long but great day’s walk with good mountain views. The trail climbs from camp along a rocky trail up to Janye Tscho Lake at 3956m. Climbing even higher to a col at 4150m, we then have a short descent to Simthokha Lake (4090m), the highest lake on our trek. From the lake the trail undulates all the way to our camp at Labana.

Day 8

Cross the Labana Pass and descend to Phajoding; transfer to Thimphu

The trail today climbs gradually up to the Labana Pass at 4235m (the highest point of this trek). The views get better and better and on a clear day we can see Gangar Punsum, Table Mountain and much of the Bhutan Himalaya. Way below is the Thimphu Valley. From the top we traverse the hillside with great mountain views and descend towards Thimphu. There are a couple of small climbs to cols but the general direction is downhill. From the Phajoding Labsa chorten we descend quite steeply to Phajoding Monastery for lunch. There are several temples here and a monastic school and the place is a visited by many Bhutanese. We descend even further through forests of blue pine to the end of our trek at Motithang, just above Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. We should reach our hotel by mid afternoon. The evening is free to explore Thimphu.

Day 9

Thimpu sightseeing, or Thimpu/Genekha/Dechenphu Festival, or day trip to Punakha

Departures starting in Kathmandu in March/April will spend today sightseeing in Thimphu before driving to Paro

Today we spend the day visiting the most important sites in and around Thimpu, including the Memorial Chorten, which was built in 1974 to honour the memory of the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and Buddha Point, which is a large Buddha statue built on the hillside overlooking Thimpu. There are several museums in Thimpu and an art school, the post office and the market are interesting and above the town is a takin preserve. Your leader will aim to show you as much as possible in the time available depending on opening times.  In the late afternoon, we drive to Paro (1hours drive)

Departures starting in Kathmandu in September will visit Thimphu Festival, whereas October/November departures will visit Dechenphu Festival

We spend the whole day experiencing one of the many vibrant festivals in Bhutan. During the festivals the Bhutanese gather to see the monks and lay dancers dressed in colourful brocade and silk costumes, wearing painted masks re-enacting the stories of the religious and lay history of Bhutan through music and dance. For several days there are masked dances and prayer meetings, and a general carnival atmosphere prevails as many villagers arrive to meet old friends. The Bhutanese all dress in their finest national dress for the festival and one of the highlights is the riot of colours of the magnificent silks on display. Paro and Thimpu are the most popular festivals in Bhutan whereas the one at Dechenphu is much smaller.

Day 10

Paro Festival, or sightseeing in Thimpu; overnight in Paro

Departures in March/April – Paro Festival

We spend the day at the Paro Festival.

Departures between September & November: Thimphu sightseeing; drive to Paro

We spend most of today visiting the main sights of the town including the Memorial Chorten, which was built in 1974 to honour the memory of the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and Buddha Point, which is a large Buddha statue built on the hillside overlooking Thimpu. There are several museums in Thimpu and an arts school, the post office and the market are interesting and above the town is a takin preserve. Your leader will aim to show you as much as possible in the time available depending on opening times. In the late afternoon, we drive to Paro (1 hour).

Day 11

Fly to Kathmandu

Today we fly back to Kathmandu. The rest of the day is free to explore the temples and markets of Kathmandu or go shopping. There are several sightseeing tours on offer (ask the Exodus representative in Kathmandu), or you may want to explore Kathmandu on your own. You may want to visit the monkey temple at Swayambhunath or the largest Hindu temple in Nepal at Pashupatinath or the one of the largest Buddhist stupas in Asia at Boudhanath. Once you have had your fill of culture the colourful markets of Thamel are great for souvenir hunting.

Day 12

End Kathmandu

Our trip ends in Kathmandu after breakfast.

Please note that sometimes due to opening times, holidays or festivals we have to change the timings of the sightseeing around. We will endeavour to show you all the sights in the time available. In case it is not possible to visit any of the sights described in the notes above an alternative will be provided.


  • 7 nights hotels and 4 nights full-service camping in two-person tents
  • 5 days point-to-point walking with full porterage, plus 1 daywalk
  • Group normally 4 to 16 plus tour leader and local staff. Min. age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 4235m, average 3654m
  • Travel by private minibus
  • Free transfers for any flight
  • Paro and Thimphu Festival departures available (see dates and prices for details)
  • Countries visited: Bhutan, Nepal


  • All breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Bhutanese visa



Images courtesy of Exodus Travel