Punakha Winter Trek (7 Nights/8 Days)
This is a pleasant trek and not too taxing low altitude walk over the hills from Dechencholing to Punakha, and so is particularly suitable for the winter season.
Day 1: Arrive Paro and transfer to Thimphu
Arrive Paro in the morning. After lunch visit National Museum and Paro Dzong. Evening drive to Thimphu. Evening at leisure. Welcome dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Thimphu
Morning visit textile museum, folk heritage museum, Institute for Zorig Chusum (Painting school) and National Library. Lunch in town. After lunch visit Memorial Choeten, Changangkha lhakhang, Sangaygang viewpoint and Dupthob Lhakhang (Nunnery) and Handicrafts Emporium. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3:Thimphu-Dopshing Pang (17km, 5-6 hours): TREK BEGINS
Drive north of Thimphu towards Dechencholing, following the Thimphu River. We drive along a logging road for about an hour, passing through Kabesa village en route to Shong Pang where the trek begins. The trek trail ascends gradually to Sinchula (3200m). If the weather is clear, you can see Phajoding Monastery from the pass. After walking for another 2km, you can view Thinleygang village, Talo Monastery and the road to Bhutan’s former capital, Punakha. The trail descends gradually from the pass till you reach your overnight campsite at 2800m.
Day 4: Dopshing Pang-Choeten Ningpo (18km, 6-7 hours)
The trail to Choeten Ningpo descends rather gradually, passing mainly through densely forested areas. You pass through rice fields before reaching your campsite at 2700m).
Day 5: Choeten Ningpo-Kabesa/Punakha (5km, 1 hour): TREK ENDS
The trail takes you through villages for an hour until you reach the motor road, where YANA transport meets you to transfer to Punakha. On route visit Khamsum Yuelay Namgyal Choeten, situated on a hilltop across the river. Consecrated in December 1999, this choeten is dedicated to Bhutan’s protective deity; Yeshey Gonpo (Mahakala) contains exceptionally fine sculptures and mural paintings, Overnight at hotel.
Day 6: Punakha-Paro
After breakfast visit Punakha Dzong and hike to Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenlay and worshipped for fertility blessings by Bhutanese women. After lunch drive to Paro. Overnight at hotel.
Day 7: Paro (Excursion to Taktshang)
Day Excursion to Taktshang literally known as Tiger’s Nest. This is one of Bhutan’s most sacred places, and an important pilgrimage destination. Lunch at the cafeteria. Evening you will visit the Drukgyel Dzong, which was built in 1649 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate the victory of the Bhutanese armies over the Tibetan intruders. On route you will visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang. Overnight at hotel.
***OPTIONAL Day: Excursion to Haa Valley:
After breakfast you will drive to Haa via Chelela Pass (3900m). Haa valley was recently opened to visitors and remains one of Bhutan’s most pristine areas. The valley is dotted with fields of millet; barley, potatoes, wheat and farmhouses are adorned with intricately painted cornices and frames. On route you will visit Lhakhang Karpo, which houses the Dratshang with around 120 monks studying Buddhist philosophy. Lunch in a restaurant in town. After lunch you will explore Haa valley with visit to Chundu Lhakhang at Hatey village. The visit to both the lhakhangs (Temples) will provide an insight into the history of the valley. You will then return to Paro for your final night in the country. Farewell dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 8: Departure
After breakfast you will drive to the Paro International Airport for your onward destination. Your YANA Expeditions Team will assist you with check in formalities and bid you farewell.