Day 1: Arrive Paro (By Druk Air/ Bhutan Airlines)
After a flight offering beautiful views of the World's highest peaks on a clear day you'll arrive at the Paro airport whereupon your Bhutanese escort from Yak Holidays will take you to your hotel After lunch, we will visit the Ta dzong, a National Museum housed in an old watchtower above Paro Dzong, the Paro Rimpung Dzong, and one of the innumerable archery grounds of Bhutan. Overnight Hotel in Paro)
Day 2: Paro - Excursion to Taktsang Monastery - Shana
After breakfast we'll begin an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger's Nest), a monastery perched at the edge of a cliff 900 meters above the Paro valley. A short drive will take us to Satsam Chorten, where we'll embark on a 2 hour horse ride to the viewpoint of the monastery, and trek up the rest of the way through a beautiful pine forest, stopping for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria). Lunch will be served at the cafeteria, followed by a short walk to Satsam Chorten. Following this we'll visit Kichu Lhakhang and witness and archery match in the town before driving to view Drukgyal Dzong. We'll then have dinner and spend the night camping in Shana.
Day 3: Shana - Thangthangka (Start of Trek)
Altitude: 3610m. Distance 22Km. Time 7 - 8 hours (Ascent: 770 meters, Descent: 10 meters).
We'll begin trekking along the trail, which follows the river through a heavily forested area with a few isolated farmhouses, narrowing and closing in, eventually winding up down along the drainage. We will camp in a meadow with a stone shelter for the night.
Day 4: Thangthangka - Jangothang
Altitude: 4080m. Distance 19Km. Time 5 - 6 hours (480 meters Ascent).
In the morning, after passing a small army post, the trail will slowly leave the forest line and gradually climb into a beautiful valley, passing Tegethang, a winter home of yak herdsmen. Lunch will be served in one of these huts. Lots of yaks will be seen today before we arrive at the Jomolhari base camp (4,115 m). High mountains overlook the camp and visible nearby are the ruins of an old fortress used to guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasions.We'll have dinner and spend the night in camp.
Day 5: Jangothang
Rest day at Jangothang, enjoy the superb view all around.
For Day hikes, you have 3 options on this day at Jangothang.
1. Hike to Jumolhari Glacier which is around 4 and half hours (Back and forth).
2. Hike to Jichu Drake Glacier which is around 3 hours (Back and Forth).
3. Walk up the mountain between Jumolhari and Jichu Drake, the summit is at 5200 meters with a great view of both the mountains. This is 8 hours (Back and forth).
Day 6: Jangothang - Lingshi
Altitude 4000m. Distance 17km. Time 6 - 7 hours. Today we'll enjoy spectacular views of the Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake and the Tserim Gang. After some 3 to 4 hours of climbing we'll reach the Nyelela pass (4,700 m) and descend to a circular hut just below Lingshi, where we wil camp and obtain our first views of the truly mystical Dzong atop a high hill. We'll have dinner and spend the night in camp.
Day 7: Lingshi - Chebisa
Altitude 3880m. Distance 10km. Time 5 - 6 hours (Ascent: 280 meters, Descent: 410 meters).
This is a magical day. After we leave Lingshi, we'll gently climb gently to reach another delightful village right below a 300 m cliff, Gom Yu. Another hour walk brings us to a lovely little valley with a huge waterfall at one end of the Shangri La village of Chebisa, where we will have dinner and camp by the side of the river.
Day 8: Chebisa - Shomuthang
Altitude 4220m. Distance 17km. Time 6-7 hours (Ascent 890 meters, Descent 540 meters).
Today starts with quite a stiff climb through high pastures up the Gokula pass (4,320 m) before we drop through forests of dwarf rhododendron. We will climb gradually and head down to the camp near a riverbed.
Day 9: Shomuthang - Robluthang
Altitude: 4,160m. Distance 18 km. Time 6 - 7 hours (Ascent 700 meters, Descent 760 meters).
We'll begin with a long haul over the Jarela pass at 4,640 m where we once again get stunning views of the Himalayan Mountains above us. We'll drop steeply down a forest trail to the Tsarigathang valley, where herds of Takin roam, then cross a knee deep river before climbing up Robluthang where we will camp.
Day 10: Robluthang - Lemithang
Altitude 4,140m. Distance: 19km. Time 6-7 hours (Ascent 850 meters, Descent 870 meters).
This is one of the hardest days of the trek. We climb slowly up to Shinchela pass at 4,870 m. and are rewarded with stunning views of mountains, including the spectacular Gang Chen Ta at the head of the valley. On a clear day practically all the mountains on the northern border are visible. Eagles, griffin vultures, blue sheep and yaks abound in this area. We'll then descend down to camp on a lovely spot by the riverbank.
Day 11: Lemithang - Laya
Altitude 3840m. Distance 10kms. Time 4-5 hours (Ascent 60 meters, Descent 340 meters).
Today we will walk along the river, one of the tributaries of the Mochu and through a forest, then enter the village of Laya where the people are famous for their vertical stripe yak hair clothing and their conical bamboo hats. The rest of the day is spent at leisure or visiting village houses and mixing with the villagers.
Day 12: Laya (Halt)
We have a rest day at Laya and an opportunity to meet the local people.
Day 13: Laya - Koena
Altitude 3050m. Distance 19km. Time 6-7 hours (260 meters Ascent, Descent 1070 meters)
Back on the trail, we'll wind along the river valley, which offers breathtaking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and waterfalls. We'll have dinner and spend the night in camp.
Day 14: Koena - Gasa Tsachu (End of Trek)
Altitude: 2,638m. Distance 14km. Time: 6-7 hours (Ascent 900 meters, Descent 1710 meters).
Today we'll gradually climb up to Balela pass at 3,740 m and then descend to Gasa village where we'll get a spectacular sight of the Gasa Dzong perched on the hillside before dropping steeply down to the river to camp near the Hot Spring, offering a chance for a good, hot bath!
Day 15: Gasa Tsachu - Punakha
After the breakfast we will drive to Punakha and have dinner and spend the night in the hotel.
Day 16: Punakha - Thimphu
After breakfast, we'll visit Punakha Dzong situated between Pho Chu (Male river) and Mo Chu (Female river). After lunch, we'll drive to Thimphu and enroute visit Chimi Lhakhang also called Temple of Fertility. Enjoy dinner and a night in hotel in Thimphu.
Day 17: Thimphu Sightseeing
The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, and the Dupthop Lhakhang, followed by a visit the impressive National Library, and the Painting School where traditional art is kept alive through the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). After lunch we'll drive and view these various sights: the Traditional Medicine Institute, Lungtenzampa to observe the Royal silversmiths and Bhutanese paper factory at work, Tashichho Dzong, and the Handicrafts Emporium, ending the day by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu.
Day 18: Thimphu - Paro (Departure)
Early Morning, drive to the airport and farewell.