Druk Path Trek

Following the ancient high-level route between Paro and Thimpu, the "Bhutan Trek & Tour" which is also called as "Druk Path trek" is an excellent short trek, ideal for those who are in Bhutan only for a short duration.

You will experience the countryside, mountains, alpine meadows, glacial lakes and monasteries. The first day’s walk leads to the ruined Jeli Dzong which sits on a high ridge above the Paro Valley and commands breathtaking views across to Chomolhari.

During the succeeding 4 days of trekking, we climb above the tree-line and cross several passes. En route, we camp beside clear mountain lakes, visit yak herders encampments and enjoy splendid panoramas of the peaks on the border with Tibet, including Jitchu Drake and Gangkar Puensum. We visit the ever impressive Taktsang Monastery in the Paro Valley and to visit the Tashichho dzong at Thimpu.

Price: AUD5215 per person

Duration: 9 Days

Trek Ratings: Activity 3 / Conditions 5 / Accommodation 1&4 / Training/Preparation 4

Best Season: March to May; September to November

Country Visited: Bhutan

Trip Start: Paro

Trip Ends: Paro

Trip Route: Paro-Jangchulakha-Simkotra-Phazoding-Thimphu-Paro

Trip Style: Guided Trekking

Activity: Sightseeing and High Altitude Trekking

Max. Altitude: 4,090 m /13415.2 ft

Activity Per Day: Approximately 4-6 hrs walking per day

Day 01 Arrival at Paro Airport (2,280m). Overnight at Hotel.
Day 02 Day excursion from Paro to the Taktsang Monastery. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 03 Trek from Paro to Jele Dzong (3,436m) – Distance: 8 kms – 5 hrs. Overnight at Tented Camps.
Day 04 Trek to Jangchulakha (3,962m) – Distance: 9 kms – 5 hrs. Overnight at Tented Camps.
Day 05 Trek to Jimilang Tsho ( 3,880m) – Distance: 10 kms – 6 hrs. Overnight at Tented Camps.
Day 06 Trek to Simkotra (4,090m) – Distance: 7 kms – 4 hrs. Overnight at Tented Camps.
Day 07 Trek to Thimphu via Phazoding – Distance: 14 kms – 7 hrs. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 08 Drive from Thimphu to Paro. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 09 Departure from Paro (by Druk Air).

Day 01 Arrival at Paro Airport (2,280m).
You can take flight to Paro from Bangkok, New Delhi, Kathmandu, Dhaka etc. We recommend you to fly from Bangkok because Druk air offer everyday flight from Bangkok – Paro – Bangkok whereas Druk air do not operate everyday flights from other sectors.

Our airport representative will welcome you at the airport and transfer to your hotel on a private tourist vehicle. After lunch, we visit the Paro Dzong and the National Museum. The evening ends with a walk through Paro’s main shopping district.Overnight at a hotel.

Overnight at Hotel
Lunch and Dinner

Day 02 Day excursion from Paro to the Taktsang Monastery.
After a hearty breakfast, at 8.30 am your sightseeing trip will start. You will have a private vehicle and a professional tour guide at your disposal. Today we will visit some heritages listed below:

We take a day excursion to Taktsang Monastery or the Tiger’s Nest, the most spectacular monastery and probably the most photographed one in Bhutan. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery, hence its name. The excursion to monastery’s view point takes about 5 hours for a round trip. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria, followed by a short walk back. We’ll have a leisure evening to take some rest before the trekking starts the following day.

Overnight at Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 03 Trek from Paro to Jele Dzong (3,436m) – Distance: 8 kms – 5 hrs.
Today is a short trekking day. We start from above the National Museum, gradually ascending up to the camp. If the weather is clear Paro valley and the surrounding mountains can be seen. The campsite is near the old Jele Dzong which, we can visit in the evening.

Overnight at Tented Camps
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner )

Day 04 Trek to Jangchulakha (3,962m) – Distance: 9 kms – 5 hrs.
We begin with a 1.5-hour climb and then further ascend gradually through thick alpine forests and rhododendrons. There is fine views of snow capped peaks and you may hear some monal pheasants calling during the day. You may see yak herders around your campsite.

Overnight at Tented Camps
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 05 Trek to Jimilang Tsho ( 3,880m) – Distance: 10 kms – 6 hrs.
The trail follows the ridge and on a clear day the views of the mountains and valley are beautiful. Our camp is close to Lake Jimilangtsho. This lake is known for its giant-sized trout.

Overnight at Tented Camps
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 06 Trek to Simkotra (4,090m) – Distance: 7 kms – 4 hrs.
The trail takes you through dwarf rhododendron trees and passes by the lake of Janetsho. Today you may come across some yak herder’s camp. We camp overnight close to Simkotra lake.

Overnight at Tented Camps
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 07 Trek to Thimphu via Phazoding – Distance: 14 kms – 7 hrs.
After the lake, the trail is a gradual climb and if the weather permits you will have a majestic view of Mt. Gangker Phuensum, the highest mountain in Bhutan, and other mountain peaks. The trail slowly descends through junipers tress and finally descends down to Phajoding monastery from where Thimphu town is visible at the valley floor. The trek from Phajoding to Thimphu is downhill all the way, passing through a forested area mostly blue pine. With a leisurely pace, you can reach Thimphu in about 2 hours.

Overnight at Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 08 Drive from Thimphu to Paro.
Full day sightseeing of the Thimphu valley. Visit to National Library, Traditional Medicine Institute, Arts & Crafts School, Textile and Folk Heritage Museum, National Memorial Chorten, Zilukha Nunnery, Traditional paper factory, Zilukha Nunnery, Takin mini Zoo, Handicrafts Emporium, local shops. Finally a visit to Tashichho dzong. Evening departure to Paro.

Overnight at Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 09 Departure from Paro (by Druk Air).
After breakfast our airport representative will drop you at the Paro International Airport for your flight departure from Bhutan.

Breakfast

NOTE: During the trip; weather, local politics, transport or a multitude of other factors, that are beyond our control can result in a change of itinerary. It is, however, very unlikely that the itinerary would be substantially altered; if alterations are necessary the leader will decide what is the best alternative, taking into consideration the best interests of the whole group. Where a change does occur, we do everything we can to minimise its effect, but we cannot be responsible for the results of changes or delays.

Book Bhutan Trip as early as possible

Druk Air, Bhutan’s national airline is the only airline to enter and exit Bhutan. The Druk air flight tickets sold out two to eight months in advance. We recommend you reserve your Bhutan trip as early as possible, so we can secure these flights for you.

Cost Includes

Pick up from and drop off at the hotel and the airport on a private tourist vehicle.
Guided city tour in Paro by private tourist vehicle.
Standard government-approved accommodation (in twin sharing rooms) for the duration of the tour.
Full-board meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea & snacks – for the duration of your stay.
Tented accommodation and equipment during the camping trek. (We will provide fully water proof two men tents, dining tents, kitchen gear, dining table, chairs, toilet tents, shower tent etc.)
Drinking water for the duration of the tour.
Country presentation and tour Briefing on the evening of Day 1 with welcome drinks.
Licensed English-speaking Bhutanese tour guides.
The required number of local staff and porters to carry your luggage and camping equipment during the trek.
Private transportation and a designated driver within Bhutan. Toyota 4WD luggage vans and light trucks for group travel. Luggage will be hauled by horses, mules or yaks at higher elevations.
Monument and museums entrance fees for all sightseeing locations detailed in the itinerary.
Cultural afternoon/evening sessions with traditional mask and folk dances (with beverages). Only for group tours.
Bhutan visa fees and processing assistance.
Government royalty (35% of $225), which goes to the country’s health and education projects.
All trekking, route and monument access permits and fees.
All government taxes, official expenses and tourist service charges.

Cost Does not Include

International airfare and airport departure tax.
Travel insurance which covers emergency Rescue and Evacuation. (See the travel insurance page)
Tips for trekking staff and driver (Tipping is expected).
All items of personal nature like drinks, laundry etc.
Any others expenses which are not mentioned on ‘Price Includes’ section.

Please Note: Druk air flight costs are not included in the trip price. Druk air flights cost are different as per the flights sectors that you are taking. Druk air offer flights from following location. We recommend you to book your flight to Bangkok as they have every day flight to Paro and from Paro as well.

The following gives you a general idea of the personal items that you can bring for the trek. The personal items are of individual interest, and choice. The most important fact that one should keep on mind is that one should have enough clothes to tackle the cold weather in the Himalayas.

In a supported trek, heavy items are carried by porters or horse/donkeys and personal belongings that you may need for the day like money, water bottle, rain gear, camera, sun cream and toilet paper etc. should be carried by yourself. So you are briefed to pack items in two different bags.

If you are flying from kathmandu, we will supply complimentary water and wind proof duffel bag which you can use on the trek and is carried by porter/s. The duffel bag is yours to keep after the trek.

General

4 seasons Sleeping bag (Optional/we can provide one if you need it but is to be returned after the trek)
Duffel or Rucksack bag or suitcase (We will provide one complimentary ACE duffel bag for you to keep.)
Daypack
Down Jacket (Optional/we can provide if you need one but is to be returned after the trek)

Upper Body – Head / Ears / Eyes

Shade hat or baseball cap – some people drape a bandana down the back of their head and then put a baseball cap on to hold it in place. This can be a flexible alternative while keeping the sun off your ears and neck.
Warm wool or synthetic hat that cover your ears.
Balaclava – lightweight, thinner variety.
Glacier glasses – 100% UV protection with side shields and a hard-sided storage case (i.e. Julbo or Cebe). This is to protect your eyes from the stronger rays of the sun due to the thinner atmosphere which can cause a painful condition known as snow blindness. Regular sunglasses are not sufficient. If you wear prescription glasses, speak to your doctor about prescription glacier glasses, perhaps with transitional lenses.
Headlamp – Black Diamond and Petzl both make several good ones. Make sure to bring extra batteries and that they are lithium batteries so that they will last in the colder temperatures. These are indispensable for getting around at night, reading, etc. so, don’t go cheap here.
Some people like ear-muffs; These are optional; a good hat, balaclava, and hooded jacket should really be sufficient, but this is a personal choice for some people (optional).
A neck warmer is another piece of gear for extra warmth if you feel you will need it (optional).

Hands

1 pair liner gloves, thin wool or synthetic, useful alone on mild days or as a layer inside other gloves / mitts for additional warmth.
1 pair warm gloves (heavier fleece or wool).
1 pair shell gloves or mitts; Gore-Tex is preferred for keeping hands dry.
Instant hand warmers are always nice in a pinch, but really shouldn’t be necessary on the trek. Bringing appropriate hand protection as recommended above, should be sufficient (optional).

Core Body

T-shirts (2).
Light and expedition weight thermal tops.
Fleece jacket or pullover.
Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional).
Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket.
2 women sports bras, Synthetic, no cotton!

Lower Body – Legs

2 pairs nylon hiking shorts – Quick drying type, not cotton!
Underwear, stay away from cotton (4).
2 pairs lightweight long underwear – capilene or other synthetic.
1 pair soft shell pants – synthetic, full zip from top and bottom preferable.
2 pairs trekking pants, preferably that zip on/off at the knees so they double as shorts.
1 pair hard shell pants. Waterproof / breathable, Gore-Tex or equivalent is best. Should zip from the top and bottom – this makes it easier to put on over boots without getting undressed should the weather change once you are underway for the day.
1 pair cotton pants (loose jeans/khakis).
All clothing should be kept dry using waterproof stuff sacks or large puncture resistant plastic bags.

Feet

4 pairs of liner socks, synthetic or capilene.
3 pairs heavy weight socks to be worn over liner socks.
1 pair light weight socks, a good option for the lower / warmer parts of the trail.
1 pair light to medium weight water proof hiking/trekking boots. Ensure a good fit with layered socks and you have worn then before to get used to it (otherwise you will get lots of blister).
1 pair light trekking shoes or sneakers. Good for around the camp/lodges and in Kathmandu.
1 pair hiking gaiters, good for keeping dust and rocks out of your shoes / boots as well as keep your feet dry as necessary (Optional).
1 pair sandals (Optional).

Medicines and First Aid Kits

(Please note our guide will also carry the first aid kit bag during the trek. However we still recommend you to bring your personal first aid kit as well)

Extra Strength Excedrin for altitude related headaches.
Ibuprofen for general aches and pains.
Immodium or Pepto bismol capsules for upset stomach or diarrhea.
Diamox (commonly prescribed as Acetazolamide) 125 or 250mg tablets for altitude sickness. Please discuss with us before starting to take this medicine.
1 small personal sized first-aid kit with blister treatments such as mole skin, band-aids, some waterproof tape, anti-infection ointments, etc.
Your guides will have more extensive medical gear, but you should have the basics for general use.

Miscellaneous, but Important!

Passport and extra passport photos (4 copies).
Airline ticket (Please make a copy and leave on at our office in KTM just in case if you need to change the date of your).
Durable wallet / pouch for travel documents, money & passport.
Lip balm. At least SPF 20, 2 sticks. A string taped to the stick is helpful, to hang around your neck and some are now being sold with a cord already attached. Handy as it avoids you from having to stop and look for it.
Sunscreen. SPF 40 is recommended and should be relatively new since it loses its’ effectiveness over time.
Pocket knife or small Swiss Army type.
Water purification Iodine tablets or Polar-pure crystals.
Toiletry kit. Be sure to include toilet paper stored in a plastic bag, hand wipes, and liquid hand sanitizer, towel, soap, etc.
2 bandanas.

Optional

1 pair adjustable trekking poles. Although these are listed as optional, these can be of great assistance to people who may think of themselves and generally clumsy or with bad knees, ankles, etc, especially when going downhill (Optional).
Favourite snack foods, no more than 2 pounds (Optional).
Paperback books, cards, mp3 player (there are a couple of stops where you could recharge. Avoid players with moving hardware as it may not function. Remember, keep these items light weight (Optional).
Binoculars (Optional).
1 light weight point & shoot camera or 1 large SLR. Digital cameras are ok, but you must keep the batteries warm when not in use (Optional).
Hydration bladder with drinking tube and tube insulator (Optional).
A pee bottle for men and pee funnel for woman, some swear by them to avoid that chilly late night trip (Optional).
1 small stainless steel thermos (Optional).

N.B. This list is only a guide. While you are required to bring everything on this list, there are numerous options, brands, and versions of each piece of equipment. Use your experience and the listed features to find the best gear for you. Some of the above equipments can be easily found in stores in Kathmandu for cheaper prices.

Please Note: Tight fitting, figure-hugging clothing, such as those made with Lycra can often be offensive to locals, especially to women. If you find these items comfortable as a base layer, please pack something to wear on top of them.

What type of shape do I need to be in, is this trip for me?

Druk Path trek is suitable for any kind of person, no previous experience is required. To condition yourself for the trek, some physical fitness programs such as walking, running, swimming, and hiking are recommended before you embark on your journey.

Will somebody come to pick me up at the airport upon my arrival?

Yes, our airport representative will be there to greet you at the airport. S/he will be displaying a sign board with your name on it at outside the airport terminal. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel by our tourist vehicle.

What sort of accommodation can I expect in Paro, Thimpu and in trekking?

Standard government-approved three star hotel accommodation (in twin sharing rooms) for the duration of tour in Paro and Thimpu. In trekking routes we provide the best possible camping service complete with comfortable two-person tents with good mattress. A kitchen, dining, shower, toilet tents and chairs with tables are also provided. Refer to the equipment list for items you will need to bring. You will also get a bucket of hot water each morning in your tent for a quick scrub up.

Is it possible to reserve a trip now and pay deposit later or do I HAVE to pay deposit at booking/reservation?

The trip will be confirmed only when we receive the completed final booking form and deposit payment. You can pay the balance of the money 60 days prior to your departure.

What sort of food can I expect in trekking?

Most of the restaurants serve Bhutanese, Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisine with plenty to choose from. Whiling camping our expert camping cook will prepare Bhutanese, Indian, Chinese and Continental fare. If you have any special dietary requirements please advise us in advance so that we can make the necessary arrangements.

What mode of transportation do you use?

We use comfortable and reliable Japanese Toyota SUVs, micro-buses and coaches to transport our guests. All our drivers are licensed by the Road surface transport authority (RSTA). Our vehicles are also certified and inspected by the RSTA frequently to comply with the road worthiness and safety standards. The guests will have a vehicle, a guide and a driver at their disposal at all times.

Druing the trekking we use horse, donkeys or yaks to carry the food, luggage and camping equipment from one to another camping spot every day.

What is the best season for this trekking?

The best time for this trek is from March to May, and from September to November.

What is the weather and temperature like in trekking?

The weather in the mountains is notoriously difficult to predict. Nights are generally colder (-2°C to -15°C) than the daytime (5°C to 30°C). It is also important to make sure that you stay warm and dry in just about any conditions. Expect the unexpected! depending on season the temperature could range from -10°C to 30°C

I'm a Vegetarian, is that a problem?

No problem at all because the lodges mostly serve the vegetarian meals. We always recommend our clients to eat vegetarian meals to avoid the food poisoning, eating heavy meals and non- vegetarian meals at the high altitude is not really safe for the stomach.

Will it be possible to get any clothes washed along the way, to enable load to be kept as light as possible?

Laundry service is difficult to find, except in cities. For other trips, laundry is done by self at the taps.

What opportunities will I have for shower along the trek?

Yes, we provide you shower facilities during your trek. We erect a shower tent and provide you with Buckets of hot water.

Do I need to obtain VISA for Bhutan?

We will handle the visa procedures for you. The Govt. will sanction the VISA only after the receipt of full payment in advance. The visa fee is included with our tour price. Actual Bhutan VISA will be stamped in your passport on arrival on Paro airport. Without visa clearance number, tourists cannot board the flight or enter the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs forwards a copy of this visa clearance to the concerned Druk Air stations and other entry points; we also fax a copy of the visa clearance document to our clients for their reference. While the actual visa is stamped on arrival, the initial visa clearance is also required at the time of issuing Druk Air Tickets.

All you need is to carry 2 copies of original passport-sized photographs, which are required on arrival in the country. Please e-mail us the clear color copy of the passport for the visa procedures.

Do we book our international flights and Druk air flights?

Yes, you need to book your own International flights. We are a local agent and it would cost you significantly higher to book through us. Please find more information in the International Flight page.

Druk air is the only airline to and from Bhutan. We can ebook the Druk air flight to and from Bhutan and e-mail you the e-ticket.

Druk air flight cost is not included in the trip price. Druk air flights cost are different as per the flights sectors that you are taking. Druk air offer flights from following location. We recommend you to book your flight to Bangkok as they have every day flight to Paro and from Paro as well.

Are there any photography restrictions?

You will have many photo opportunities during the trek. Please ask for permission before taking a person’s photo. Photography in, monasteries, shrine rooms of Dzongs and religious institutions is generally not permitted, but outdoor photography is. To be sure when visiting such treks, you may consult with your guide just to make sure. Carry plenty of films and batteries. Photo shops in Bhutan do not sell equipment or accessories.

Can I charge my digital camera or other equipments on my trip?

These facilities will not be available on this trekking, but you can definitely in Paro. Remember to bring travel adapters!

Are there any communication facilities during the trek?

Most hotels have communication services for international calls with fax, but along the camping route they are limited.

Can I use credit cards in the treks visited in trekking?

There are just a few ATM’s in Bhutan for credit card (Master card / Maestro) & only few establishments in Bhutan accept credit card payments hence US Dollars   (cash or Amex travelers cheques) or Euros Cash  is suggested and convenient  to cover any personal expenses  (eg. beverages , laundry ,phone bills , tipping , shopping etc) that  the Pax  may make in the Kingdom.    1US$ is equivalent to Nu. 55 & 1 Euro is equivalent to Nu.69 as of today (the day we writing this text).  .  NU= Ngultrum, the Bhutanese currency

How much additional money do I need per day?

It depends on your spending habits. Generally, all the foods, accommodation and hot drinks are included in the price. You can allocate USD 10 to USD 15 for chocolates and a few drinks during the trip.

Do I need to tip my guide and porters? How much would that be?

This is a difficult thing to gauge. We have seen everything from USD 20 to USD 1000 per person for guides and porters. Tipping is not required, but a small gesture of thanks to your guides and local porters thanks for their help. The level of the tip should reflect the level of satisfaction from and personal involvement with your guide.

Is the water available drinkable? Do I need to bring purifying tablets/filter?

The trip price included the drinking water for the all Bhutan trip. You don’t need to bring any bring purifying tablets/filter or pay for the water.

Are the local staff insured?

Our company insures all our trekking staff members, including guides, cooks, Sherpas and porters.

What essential documents do I need to bring with me on tours?

Here are some documents that you will need to carry with you:

  • Valid Passport – must be valid for up to 6 months after you return from your tour, keep a separate photocopy.
  • Travel insurance, keep a separate photocopy
  • Cash and Traveller’s Cheques, keep numbers and proof of purchase separately
  • Flight tickets
  • Emergency contact numbers for T/C’s, banks, insurance, family contacts.

Are there any weight restrictions on Druk air flights?

Druk Air allows only up to 20 kgs of luggage per person, after which the excess baggage charge is USD 5 per kg.

Can I add extra days to my trek?

No, because we can’t change your Druk air flight once it is booked.

What immunisations will I need?

No vaccinations are compulsory in Himalaya, but we do recommend you are covered for diphtheria & TB, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, *malaria, typhoid, polio and tetanus.

We also recommend:

  • A dental check-up prior to travelling.
  • That you know your blood group in case of emergency.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions which might affect you on tour, you make these known to your tour leader and Ace the Himalaya at the time of your booking.