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Druk Path Trek Bhutan

Trek between Thimphu and Paro, Bhutan

10

Days

TREK

Druk Path Trek Bhutan Trip Map, Route Map
Trip highlights
  • Highlights of western Bhutan, along with a 4 days trek between Thimphu and Paro.
  • Visit and walk in subtropical Punakha and Wangdue valley with amazing landscape of fields sloping up the sides of the hills
  • Cross Dochula pass with spectacular Panorama of most of Bhutan peaks
  • Visit the capital of Bhutan with many cultural sights to see
  • Trek in 3 nights/4 days along the ridges from Thimphu to Paro
  •  Hike to the iconic Takstang (tigers nest) monastery

 

This wonderfully scenic high-altitude walk accesses remote alpine lakes, yak herders and boasts views of Bhutanese Himalayas. For most part, it follows the traditional mule route between Thimphu and Paro. Because it starts/ends in Paro or Thimphu, it logistics make it a popular choice as an add-on to any tour of Bhutan.
Drukpath trek can be done in as short as 2 days and could take as long as 5 days. 2-3 days trek does not go through Jimilangtso but takes a lower trail from Jele Dzong to Pumola pass. Ideally the trek is better to start in Paro but it can also be started in Thimphu also. Our choice for the Druk Path trek starts in Thimphu, with 3day pre-tour that will get you acclimated and camping at locations that avoids the main crowd.

Outline Itinerary

The trek portion of this particular Drukpath is more strenuous than other Drukpath routes and so we consider this trek to moderately challenging. It is however the best way to do it if you can walk 6-7hrs a day on a moderate terrain. To get the full details, complete a Detailed Trip Info form.

Day 1: Arrive in Paro
Depending on your arrival time, we will tour serene Paro valley. Most probably we will be able to cover visit of Ta Dzong, the National Museum of Bhutan housed in a an Watch-tower. Then visit Rinphung Dzong (fortress monastery), which currently houses the district office, local court and the regional monastic body. Later take a short around the charming town. If you are arrival is early, we can cover visits to other sights such as the Kichu Temple complex and Dungtse Lhakhang temple. Overnight hotel in Paro

Day 2: Paro to Punakha
Drive down south following Pachu river and then north, upstream following the Wangchu river towards capital Thimphu. After Thimphu, the road climbs up to Dochula pass (3100m) with spectacular panorama of the peaks along Bhutan-Tibet border (weather permitting). Most of Bhutan peaks’ including the highest peak Gangkar Puensum can be seen. Take a short break for tea, visit the Chortens or even a temple atop the ridge and enjoy the views.
Our Guide can offer you an option to hike to Lungcuzekha monastery, which is around 2hrs further uphill with great views and through rich forests filled with Rhododendron trees.  The return is along the same path and takes little less.
From Dochula, the road drops down to subtropics (approx 1400m) in just over 1hr from Dochula pass. This evening or afternoon, we plan on visiting Chimi Lhakhang temple or others as per available time and your interests. Overnight hotel in Punakha or Wangdue.

Day 3:  In Punakha
A full day of activities could include hikes, walks, visits to villages and sights that can be arranged as per interests. We could visit impressive Punakha Dzong located at the confluence of the two rivers. Hike up to Khamsum Chorten, which typically takes about 45 minutes uphill through the terraced rice fields. Depending on your interests, we could visit few other temples, nunnery etc and drive to Talo and Nobgang villages. There are some nice walks and could also hike for an hour or so downhill to Punakha, through fields, villages etc. Overnight hotel in Punakha or Wangdue.

Day 4: Punakha – Thimphu
After breakfast, drive to the capital Thimphu. With the better road conditions, it should just take over 2 hrs. Spend the rest of the day, visiting some of the many attractions in around Thimphu. We will not miss the visit of Tashicho Dzong, the main seat of the Government, the giant Buddha statue on Kueunselphodrang ridge, the memorial Chorten, the Centennial Farmers market (which is vibrant on weekends). You will also have a little time of you own to walk the main streets in Thimphu. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.

Day 5: Begin Trek to Phajoding
The trek begins from Motithang (above Wind Horse Office and from next to Takin Preserve)  at about 2500m. It is approximately around 5-6 km of steep hike uphill and could take 3hrs or more. The path goes through the forest of mostly blue pine, rhododendrons and as you reach Phajoding, the trees turn mostly to shrubs. Phajoding is a large monastic complex with 10 or so temples, and residences for the monks on extended retreats. You can visit some of these temples. The campsite is located at about 3700m. Overnight in tents.

Day 6: Trek from Phajoding to Simkotra Tsho.
The trek is much tougher today as we gain altitude. From Phajoding a steep hike uphill for about 45 mins brings you to the ridge-top (4090m). However instead of going directly, you can climb for about 300m from the campsite to Thujedrak Goempa (3950m), a remote meditation center that clings to a side of a precipitous cliff.  After the ridge top, your walk is gradual uphill along the ridge with great views of Dochula, Chomolhari and other peaks. Cross Labanla pass (4235m) and make a long descend through switchback trails to campsite near Simkotra Tso Lake (4100m). Approx. 11km/4-5hr trek. Overnight in tents

Day 7: Trek from Simkotra to Janchu Lakha
From Simkotra, we will follow the main trail at first but instead of going to Jimilangtso, we will you use a direct route to Jangch Lakha. This part is expected to take 6-7hrs. Those who are good hiker, can also go to Jimilangtso and then come to Jangchulakha, a yak pasture located at 3750m. Overnight in tents

Day 8: Trek to Jili Dzong, Jaydika and finish in Paro 
Today’s hike is an enjoyable as you walk along the sides of ridge, through meadows and forests, to arrive in Jili Dzong after about 4hrs. You might occasionally see or hear monal pheasants. Jili Dzong (monastery) is located on a promontory at 3540m with views of Paro and Tsaluna valley. The temple inside contains a large impressive statue of Buddha. Then begin a long descent through the dense forests of golden moss to a few settlements with apple orchards and finally arrive at road point after 2-3hrs downhill from Jili Dzong. Meet the vehicle,and transfer to the hotel in Paro valley. Overnight in comfortable hotel.

Day 9: In Paro (Takstang)
In the morning, transfer to the trail head for a hike to the iconic Takstang (tiger’s nest) monastery, which is expected to take 2-3hrs for the uphill part. After visiting the monastery and having lunch enroute, it takes up most of our day. In the evening cover any missed-out sights in Paro valley. Overnight in a comfortable hotel.

Day 10: Departure
Departure transfer to the airport in time for your flight.

 

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Option A Drukpath Trek – 6 Days

This is the recommended route and duration for those who like to be an easy trek with ample time to stop, rest and look around.

Day 1: Begin trek from Paro to Jele Dzong
From your hotel in Paro, transfer to the trail head near Ta Dzong museum and begin trekking. About 3 -5 hr trek uphill ascending 1050m. Camp at 3570m.

Day 2: Trek to Jangchulakha
Visit Jeli Dzong and trek along the ridges with the views of Paro’s side valleys. About 10km/4hr trek and camp at 3760m.

Day 3: Trek to Jimilangtso lake
Trek for about 10km/4hr and camp near the lake at 3870m.

Day 4: Trek to Simkota lake
Climb up gradually up to 4150m and descend to your camp site at 4110m overlooking another lake. About 11km/4hr trek.

Day 5: Trek to Phajoding
Gradually trek up hill and climb to Labanla pass at 4210m, after which the trail makes a long and steep descent past Thujidrag to Phajoding. The campsite is near the hermitages and monasteries at 3750m. About 10km/3-4hrs trek.

Day 6: End with the trek to Thimphu
After visiting the temples and monasteries in Phajoding, walk downhill for about 5km/2-3hr to Motithang (2540m). Meet and transfer to your hotel or city center.


Option B Drukpath Trek – 5 Days  

This is slightly more strenuous then option A. The duration is shorter by day for the same distance. However this is the one of popular option on Drukpath trail.

Day 1: Begin trek from Thimphu to Phajoding
Walk steep uphill for about 5-6kms in about 3-5hrs and camp at about 3700m

Day 2: Trek to Simkotra
Trek for about 10km. in about 4-5hrs. At the start, it is really steep uphill for about an hour and reach the hightest point on this trek at Labanla at 4235m. Campsite near Simkotra lake is around 4100m

Day 3: Trek to Jimilangtso lake
Trek for about 11km/4hr and camp near the lake at 3870m. About 400m ascent/820m descent.

Day 4: Trek to Jangchu Lakha or Rabana
Climb up gradually and walk along the sides of ridges with many short ascents and decent to Yak pastures at Jangchulakha at 3760m or a short distance before at higher site of Rabana (3900m). Approx 11km -4hrs/ with 375m ascent and 370m decent.

Day 5: Trek to Jili Dzong and then downhill to end above Paro
Today’s hike (5-6hrs) is an enjoyable as you walk along the sides of ridge, through meadows and forests, to arrive in Jili ili Dzong (monastery) located on a promontory at 3540m with great views of the Himalayas and also of Paro and Tsaluna valleys on the either side. After visiting the temple, begin a long descent through the dense forests of golden moss to a few settlements with apple orchards and finally arrive at road point. Meet the vehicle,and transfer to the hotel in Paro

 


Drukpath Trek – 4 Days  Option C
For those who are serious trekker and short on time, this is definitely the choice. The second and the third day of the trek are both long days of 7-8hours trek, making the trek quite strenuous. The trek is also commonly done.

Day 1: Begin trek from Paro to Jele Dzong
From your hotel in Paro, transfer to the trail head above Ta Dzong museum and begin trekking. About 4-5hr trek uphill ascending 1050m. Camp at 3570m.

Day 2: Trek to Jimilangtso lake
Visit Jele Dzong and trek for about 20km/7-8hr trek and camp near the lake at 3870m.

Day 3: Trek from Jimilangtso to Phajoding
Climb up gradually up too 4150m and descend to Simkota, which takes 4hrs. Then gradually trek up hill and climb to Laban La pass at 4210m, after which the trail makes a long and steep descent past Thujidrag to Phajoding. The campsite is near the hermitages and monasteries at 3700m. Total about 7–8hrs trek, about 21km.

Day 4: End with the trek in Thimphu
After visiting the temples and monasteries in Phajoding, walk downhill for about 5km/2-3hr to Motithang (2540m). Meet and transfer to your hotel or city center.


Option D Drukpath Tsaluna Trek –  2 days 
This is a shorter alternate but not an easy one as the hikes are long.
You will miss out the alpine lakes but cover the first and last parts of Drukpath trek. It is also called Tsaluna trek. Horse or pack animals are not used on this trek, instead we bring supplies and large safari style tents with mattress by the vehicle across the valley (Lungta Comfort Camp). The advatage of this trek is that you camp at a lower altitude

Day 1: Thimphu – Phajoding -cross Pumela to Tsaluna
(Approx. 7hrs.). Start your trek from Thimphu (Takin Preserve) to Phajoding (3600m) in 2-3hrs (5km). Visit some of the temples and walk across the slopes of the ridge for less than 2hrs to Pumola pass (approx. 3750m). Then it is a long steep decent down into Tsaluna valley which could take up to 3hrs. Decend through the forests of spruce, juniper and through rhododendrons, pines and bamboo shrubs into the valley with small villages. Camp site is in the field on the knoll, after crossing the villages. Overnight in Lungta comfort camp (2800m)

Day 2: Trek to Jele Dzong – Paro
(Approx. 6 hrs.) Begin the walk up the hill to Jay-dikha village. Then climb up gradually through spruce, hemlock, fir and giant rhododendron forest to Jili Dzong (monastery) located on a promontory at 3540m with great views of the Himalayas and also of Paro and Tsaluna valleys on the either side. After visiting the temple, begin a long descent through the dense forests of golden moss to a few settlements with apple orchards and finally arrive at road point. Meet the vehicle,and transfer to the hotel in Paro


All of the above trek can be done in the reverse order and you would need to plan addition time for touring part (Minimum 4 days )

  • Group Size Private departures

  • MealsFull Board

  • Trip AccommodationHotels are tourist standard and can be compared as 3 -4* locally.

  • Trip Type Trekking

  • Trip Seasons From late Feb till end of May & Sept. till Nov. Best time is in March, April and in October for autumn colors.

  • Best MonthsApril, May, October, November

  • Good MonthsMarch, September

  • Lean MonthsJune, July, August

  • Not RecommendJanuary, February, December

Prices & Dates

For details about cost, please submit a detailed trip Info form.

Included

  • Bhutan royalties, Visa fees.
  • Fully organized trek with Tents, Thermal Pads, Blow pillow, Hot-water bag, Pack animals to carry luggage and additional riding pony for emergency, Basic Medical Kit
  • Support Staffs – Trekking Guide, Cook and assistants, Horseman
  • All camp meals, snacks and refreshment.

Not included

  • Flights in and out of Bhutan.
  • Personal trekking gears such as sleeping bag, clothing, shoes etc.

Accommodations


Hotels in Thimphu

Hotels in Paro

Hotels in Trek

  • Trek Camp

    During the trek: Fully organized trek with all meals, bars and beverages. All trekking gears including Tents, Thermal mats, Blow pillow, Hot-water bag for warmth during night. Pressured Altitude Bag for emergencies (only available in Bhutan with Win...

    Click here for full description and more photos

Trip Guide/Leader


  • Namgay

    Namgay

  • Pema Namgay

    Pema Namgay

  • Yonten Phuntsho

    Yonten Phuntsho

  • Yeshi Penjor

    Yeshi Penjor

Reviews / Testimonials

  • Lucy Katherine
    British Indian Ocean Territory
    11 - 20, Nov, 2018
    Conventional Druk Path Trek ( Conventional Druk Path Trek)
    5 " " We had a fantastic time in Bhutan, what an amazing country and amazing people. We were so impressed by the beauty and the culture! The hotels and food were fantastic too - especially in Paro and Thimpu - and the itinerary worked really well for the most part. We did skip

    Conventional Druk Path Trek We had a fantastic time in Bhutan, what an amazing country and amazing people. We were so impressed by the beauty

  • James Pickering
    La Garde Freinet, France
    10 - 22, Oct, 2016
    Druk Path Trek ( Druk Path Trek)
    5 " " Druk Path Trek Dear Chencho We are now at the airport after a fantastic time in Bhutan. Thank you for all your organisation and your very kind invitation to dinner and the hot stone bath. It was an honour to visit you and Tashi in your home for our best meal in

    Druk Path Trek Druk Path Trek Dear Chencho We are now at the airport after a fantastic time in Bhutan. Thank you for all your

  • Drukpath Trek for Racheal
    Hung K Y Rachael
    Kuala lumpur, Malaysia
    Sept 21-28,2016
    Drukpath Trek for Racheal ( Drukpath Trek for Racheal)
    5 " " Dear Bas, Thanks for the email, been catching up with work since we got back! We would like to say that overall it was very well organised, and certainly all correspondence was swiftly managed by yourself and your colleagues. We would like to thank you for your flexibility in payment and also we

    Drukpath Trek for Racheal Dear Bas, Thanks for the email, been catching up with work since we got back! We would like to say that overall

  • Lorraine Allen
    1420 Sunset Boulevard
    Mr. Kinga was there for us with bright Wind Horse sashes and a smile as big as the country. ( Mr. Kinga was there for us with bright Wind Horse sashes and a smile as big as the country.)
    5 " " Concise Druk Path Trek  During our short stay in Bhutan, the people of this amazing country opened their hearts to us and instilled in us a love for their country.  When we arrived in Paro, Mr. Kinga was there for us with bright Wind Horse sashes and a smile as big

    Mr. Kinga was there for us with bright Wind Horse sashes and a smile as big as the country. Concise Druk Path Trek  During our short stay in Bhutan, the people of this amazing country opened their hearts to us

  • Alexander G
    Encino, California, USA
    Jul. 31 - Aug. 09, 14
    You did a phenomenal job organizing the whole trip and everything ran incredibly smoothly. ( You did a phenomenal job organizing the whole trip and everything ran incredibly smoothly.)
    5 " " Grand Culture Tour with Extension Druk Path for Jordan x 3 TID: 8569 Jul. 31, 14 - Aug. 09, 14 Dear Anand, The trip with Windhorse was excellent. You did a phenomenal job organizing the whole trip and everything ran incredibly smoothly. Namgay was an excellent guide, always courteous, polite and informative. I would

    You did a phenomenal job organizing the whole trip and everything ran incredibly smoothly. Grand Culture Tour with Extension Druk Path for Jordan x 3 TID: 8569 Jul. 31, 14 - Aug. 09, 14 Dear Anand, The

  • Roger & Lyne P
    Longueuil,Canada
    Feb 25 - March 03, 2014
    Our guided tour to Bhutan was a great experience overall. ( Our guided tour to Bhutan was a great experience overall.)
    5 " " Bhutan Tour with Druk Path Trek for Lyne & Roger TID: 746 (Feb 25 - March 03, 2014) Dear Anand, Many thanks for your e-mail and request for feedback. Our guided tour to Bhutan was a great experience overall. The quality of the guide, driver and trek assistants was outstanding and the

    Our guided tour to Bhutan was a great experience overall. Bhutan Tour with Druk Path Trek for Lyne & Roger TID: 746 (Feb 25 - March 03, 2014) Dear Anand, Many thanks

  • Ram Kumar S
    Arlington, MA, USA
    Oct. 29-Nov 7, 2012.
    We had a great trip to Bhutan. The service was good and the entire trip went smoothly. ( We had a great trip to Bhutan. The service was good and the entire trip went smoothly.)
    5 " " TID-601 Druk Path Trek for Ramkumar & Dr. Maxie (Oct. 29-Nov 7, 2012) Hi Jambay and Ugyen. Hope all is well. We had a great trip to Bhutan. The service was good and the entire trip went smoothly. Thanks to you and your staff for organizing it. I finally posted pictures from the

    We had a great trip to Bhutan. The service was good and the entire trip went smoothly. TID-601 Druk Path Trek for Ramkumar & Dr. Maxie (Oct. 29-Nov 7, 2012) Hi Jambay and Ugyen. Hope all is well.

  • Jonathan G.
    Queenscliff, Australia
    Sept. 23 – Oct. 06, 2012
    We were very happy with all the hotels and all the restaurants we visited. The provision of equipment and food on the trek was superb. ( We were very happy with all the hotels and all the restaurants we visited. The provision of equipment and food on the trek was superb.)
    5 " " TID 524 Jon & Nick Bhutan Tour with Druk Path Trek (Sept. 23 – Oct. 06, 2012) Dear Jambay, Kuzuzangbo la! Now we are safely back in Sydney I just wanted to write and let you know how happy we were with our trip to Bhutan. We had some wonderful experiences and have

    We were very happy with all the hotels and all the restaurants we visited. The provision of equipment and food on the trek was superb. TID 524 Jon & Nick Bhutan Tour with Druk Path Trek (Sept. 23 – Oct. 06, 2012) Dear Jambay, Kuzuzangbo la! Now we

  • Cindy
    Minnetonka, MN
    March-19,2011
    It’s been the experience of a lifetime given both trips and the friendships forged I think will endure. ( It’s been the experience of a lifetime given both trips and the friendships forged I think will endure.)
    5 " " Druk Path Trek March 2011 I so thoroughly enjoyed your West to East traverse cultural tour in October 2010 that I fell in love with Bhutan! Out of the 50 or so countries I have visited Bhutan is the most unique and untouched by Western society. I have lately returned from

    It’s been the experience of a lifetime given both trips and the friendships forged I think will endure. Druk Path Trek March 2011 I so thoroughly enjoyed your West to East traverse cultural tour in October 2010 that I

  • Moh Sim Y
    London, UK
    Nov 20 - 28, 2009
    We had an amazing time and feel very privileged to have visited your beautiful and mystical country. ( We had an amazing time and feel very privileged to have visited your beautiful and mystical country.)
    5 " " Tsaluna Trek Bhutan( Reverse & concise version of Druk Path Trek) with group of 5 from UK and Malayasia Nov 20-28, 2009. Dear Ugen, Just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for organising a journey of a lifetime! We had an amazing time and feel very privileged to have visited your

    We had an amazing time and feel very privileged to have visited your beautiful and mystical country. Tsaluna Trek Bhutan( Reverse & concise version of Druk Path Trek) with group of 5 from UK and Malayasia Nov

  • Graham D
    Cape Town, South Africa
    March 25-April 04,2013
    Its difficulty to express just how wonderful our trip was and how beautiful your country and the people of Bhutan are ( Its difficulty to express just how wonderful our trip was and how beautiful your country and the people of Bhutan are)
    5 " " TID-606: Druk Path Trek (March 25-April 04, 2013.Hi Jambay,Urgen and Widhorse team, Firstly, my apologies for the late reply. It’s all been pretty hectic since I returned. I was also in India for 5 days doing some business so only returned on Wednesday last week. You guys were fantastic and of course

    Its difficulty to express just how wonderful our trip was and how beautiful your country and the people of Bhutan are TID-606: Druk Path Trek (March 25-April 04, 2013.Hi Jambay,Urgen and Widhorse team, Firstly, my apologies for the late reply. It’s all

  • Christine F
    Dover Heights, NSW, Australia
    April24,2009
    We have just returned from an excellent holiday with Windhorse in Bhutan and would like to thank you for the great experience. ( We have just returned from an excellent holiday with Windhorse in Bhutan and would like to thank you for the great experience.)
    5 " " Dear Windhorse Directors, We have just returned from an excellent holiday with Windhorse in Bhutan and would like to thank you for the great experience. We had 5 days "Cultural tour " as a group of 6 people, followed by 5 days on the Druk Path Trek (just George and

    We have just returned from an excellent holiday with Windhorse in Bhutan and would like to thank you for the great experience. Dear Windhorse Directors, We have just returned from an excellent holiday with Windhorse in Bhutan and would like to thank

  • Fiona Harrison
    Australia (Currently residing in Bangkok, Thailand)
    Bhutan is a fascinating country and very beautiful…. why not go and find out yourselves? ( Bhutan is a fascinating country and very beautiful…. why not go and find out yourselves?)
    5 " " To potential travelers in Bhutan, I would highly recommend the services of Windhorse Tours. They are a highly professional, organised and informed travel company. The guide Loja was excellent and took great care of myself and friend to ensure we had a fantastic time in Bhutan. The driver too was

    Bhutan is a fascinating country and very beautiful…. why not go and find out yourselves? To potential travelers in Bhutan, I would highly recommend the services of Windhorse Tours. They are a highly professional, organised