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This trek is a short and pleasant journey from Punakha to Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag. It is a fairly easy trek as the altitude only ranges between 1100-1900m and the climate is warm throughout the hike.
The path takes you through forests of rhododendron and oak, through the villages of Sha and Chungsakha and across the longest foot bridge in Bhutan. While this trek is available throughout the winter the best times to embark on it are between March-April and September and October. The trail is approximately 54km in length.
Your flight, descending over the final Himalayan ridge, brings you to Paro International Airport, elevation 7500 feet.
Your Druk Air experience has been highlighted with breathtaking views of Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Mount Chomolhari and Jitchu Drake in Bhutan.
Your excitement mounts and you are received at Paro Airport by your tour representative, visas are processed. and you are escorted to your hotel for lunch and check-in. After lunch, visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong). Once the watchtower for the Rinpung Dzong, it was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The conch shaped museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley in all its glory. On the way back, visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong., “Fortress of the heap of jewels.” A flagstone path rises gradually from a beautiful wooden bridge with shingle roofing and abutted by two guardhouses. Today, the dzong is the seat of the district administration, as well as the home for the monastic school. Evening, we visit Paro town, built in traditional architecture, with rows of shops. Enjoy dinner at a cozy restaurant. Review itinerary with guide.
Overnight at hotel.
Depart Paro for Thimphu, the capitol of Bhutan, drive along the winding road along the Paro Chu (chu means river), downstream to the confluence with the Wang Chu, then turn upstream and travel along the Wang Chu to Thimphu. We will stop at the bank in Thimphu for currency conversion, as well as an opportunity to visit the post office. An amazing array of collector Bhutanese stamps are here, absolutely exquisite. A stop at the famous weekend market offering fresh produce, rice, chilies, jewelry, local art, handicrafts, and enchanting local shoppers. Kodak moments are here. We now check in at our hotel, enjoy lunch and drive to embark on a vigorous hike up the mountain to Tango Goemba Monastery, one of my favorite experience in Bhutan. Tango is one of Bhutanese’ most important Buddhist colleges. Its name, meaning ‘horse’s head’, is derived from the horse-head shaped rock at the top. It is a beautiful dzong built in the 18h century by the 8th Desi, Druk Rabgye. Today, Tango is home to the eight-year-old reincarnate Lama Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye. Meet with monks for discussions. Tonight, join Soenam, your local Bhutanese host, for a welcome reception dinner at her home.
Overnight in Druk Hotel.
Depart Thimphu for Khuruthang. On the way we view the Memorial Chorten on the river bank below our winding road. We cross Dochula Pass at 10,500 ft as prayer flags send prayers on the wind. Here we enjoy spectacular views of the Eastern Himalayan Mountains. Continue on to our campsite, where we enjoy a picnic lunch. After lunch, drive down to Punakha and visit the dzong. The Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness,” is the former winter capitol and, at present day, hosts the administrative seat of the district. Also, the dzong is the winter residence of the central monastic body and its Chief Abbot. The dzong lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, male and female rivers: The location is strategic. It was built in 1637 AD. It was here on 17th December 1907, Bhutan’s first king was crowned. Return to our campsite and our high- altitude tents, warm sleeping bags, and gourmet Bhutanese dinner. Enjoy folklore- song- dance – local brews.
Today, our trek begins at Punakha, with the gradual climb through chirpine forests. On the way, visit the remote village of Dompala. Trek the virgin blue pine forest that blankets 70% of Bhutan; which is the least deforested country in the world. Enjoy picnic lunch and continue our trek on to Limukha for our campsite for the night, trekking for approximate 5-hours. Watch for wildlife and tropical and high- altitude flowers along the way. Song, dance, great food and conversation by the campfire. Sleep well.
The trail today takes you through rhododendron and oak forested area. Tropical foliage surrounds your path. Our trek is 6-hours today. In route, we pass the three buildings of Drukpa Kuenly Lhakhang. Here in a cave within one of the temples is the body print of Guru Rinpoche. An awesome sight in the Himalayan Mountain Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon. Overnight and dinner at camp in Chungsaka.
Depart Chungsaka after buckwheat pancake breakfast toward our goal today: Samtengang. The trail now takes you through the village of Sha Wangdi. Look for monkeys and wild orchids along the path, as well as exotic birds. Set up camp at Samtengang by the lake side. This day is about a 5-hour trek and tonight you will relax and unwind by the fire and enjoy the companionship of fellow trekkers.
Our final day of trek today as we leave Samtengang for Wangdiphodrang. The trail now drops down to reach the road. Here our van is waiting to drive us to our hotel for the evening, the Dragons Nest Resort. Hot bath tonight, excellent Bhutanese cuisine, and wonderful balcony views from your hotel room, overlooking the river. the and pristine village, and Wandi Dzong.
Breakfast and drive to Thimphu. we will stop to see the tarkin, the national animal of Bhutan, and enjoy local archers at play. Check into the hotel, enjoy a leisure lunch, and make a visit to the Textile Museum, paper making house, and incense factory. Visit Simtokha Dzong. This is one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan. It was built in 1629 A.D. It houses the largest monastic schools in the country. You will have an opportunity to shop and visit the Handicrafts Emporium, where Bhutanese textiles and other arts are displayed and can be purchased. Your guide will assist you with any special interest. Tonight, after dinner, you may wish to explore Thimphu, or visit the Health Spa for sauna and steam bath. Enjoy.
After breakfast, we depart Thimphu for Paro. Along the way, we will stop to hike to the famous Taktsang Monastery to view this an architectural wonder (horses can be provided if you have had enough walking! Taktsang means “Tiger’s Nest” and this spectacular building is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of 3,000 ft. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padmasambhava, the second Buddha, alighted here upon the back of a tigress. Enjoy picnic lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria. We finish our journey to Paro, check in at hotel. Farewell dinner at hotel.
Today we drive to the Paro Airport and you depart Bhutan.
We hope you enjoyed Samten-Gang Trek.