Bhutan Thousand Lakes Trek
Deposit $500 per person - paid at the time of signup; fully refundable up to 90 days prior to departure
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This trip features touring Paro, then driving to Thimphu where the trek begins. The trek is easy and most days are short, although there are some steep climbs and the altitude reaches nearly 15,000 feet. You will pass through magnificent scenery and hike along trails with beautiful Himalayan views. Our Thousand Lakes trek is an excellent trek for those who are physically fit who have not necessarily had previous trekking experience. This moderate trek passes around various picturesque high altitude lakes and thus is named the Thousand Lakes Trek.
The route is particularly rich in bird species, alpine flowers, and attractive meadows. The trek presents incredible views of prominent eastern Himalayan peaks such as Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Chomolhari, Jichu Drake, Masang Gang, Tsenda Gang, and Gangchhenta. The best months for this trek are spring and fall, April/May and October/November. During this trek, we also visit Paro, famous for its ruined fortress, museums, and panoramic views, as well as Thimpu, the capital city. At the end of the trek, we will hike to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) monastery, perhaps the most breathtaking monastery in the world. This monastery is built on a rock cliff around 3,000m (10,000ft) above sea level. The main temple complex was built in 1692 and is considered to be one of the holiest places for the Bhutanese people.
Day 1 Arrive in Paro: During the flight into Paro, you will experience, from the left side of the plane, breathtaking views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jhomolhari and Jitchu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by our guide, who will escort you to your hotel.
Day 2 Paro Sightseeing: After breakfast, we will drive sixteen km to Drukgyel Dzong whose name means “Victorious Druk.“ Although in ruins, it is of great historical importance. It was on this spot that the Bhutanese finally defeated the invading Tibetans and drove them back. From here the peak of Jhomolhari, ”Mountain of the Goddess,” can be seen on a clear day. On our way back into Paro we will explore a typical Bhutanese farmhouse. After lunch at the hotel, we are off to visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. This massive fortress sits on a small hill just above the Paro River (Pa Chu). We walk for about fifteen minutes, crossing an old cantilevered wooden bridge of traditional Bhutanese architecture. Constructed in 1645, this Dzong houses the District Administration offices and the District Monk Body. We will also find time to visit the National Museum, Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower on the hill just above the Rinpung Dzong and Kyichu Lhakhang. This monastery, built-in 659 by King Songsten Gempo of Tibet, is considered one of the holiest places in Bhutan as it marks the advent of Buddhism in the country.
Day 3 Paro – Thimphu: The drive to Thimphu takes about two hours. We will check into the hotel and spend some time sightseeing in Thimphu. First, the Memorial Chorten built-in 1974 in memory of the third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, then on to the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. Afterward, we will visit Tashicho Dzong. This massive structure houses part of the government ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and senior monks.
Day 4 Sightseeing: Today we will visit Simtokha Dzong, one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan, built-in 1829. Then we will tour the woodcraft and painting school where traditional arts and crafts are taught to talented young people. We also will go to the Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts are displayed and can be purchased.
Day 5 Thimphu – Talekha (Start of Trek): (Distance 12km, Time 2 hrs, Altitude 2,925m/9,500ft) The trek begins at Simtokha Dzong where the ponies and camping crew will be waiting. The trail winds through blue pine and evergreen forests to Talekha Village. The first two hours are a difficult climb, but the remaining two hours are a pleasant walk through the forests. Talekha Village consists of five houses and a huge temple called Tale-Lhakhang. We will overnight at a campsite there.
Day 6 Talekha - Japhuna: (Distance 8km, Time 4 hrs, Altitude 4000m/13,000ft) Today the trail winds for two and one-half hours through thick forests of blue pine and oak, which gradually change into soft pine and spruce. For lunch, we will stop at a yak campsite. After lunch, we cross Jeleze La pass with fabulous views of the Thimphu Valley and its surrounding mountain ridges. After crossing two of these ridges, we will arrive at our campsite, Japhuna.
Day 7 Japhuna - Jaduna): (Distance 8km, Time 5/6 hrs, Altitude 4100m/13,500ft) The trail from Japhuna takes you up and down over several ridges for about four hours until you come to a small stream where there are two trails which both lead to the same destination. Along the route, there are many small lakes. After another hour and a half climb through rhododendron shrubs, you reach the third campsite, another yak camp.
Day 8 Jaduna - Labatama: (Distance 7km, Time 5 hrs, Altitude 4460m/14,600ft) There are two trails, one going to the left of Aum Jomo (the highest peak in the Dagala range), and the other to the right of Aum Jomo over the Jomigue pass to Setso and Yumtso Lakes. We follow the right trail and over the pass and by Dungka Tso Lake. From the pass, you can see beautiful views of the high mountains in Northern Bhutan. The trail then descends for two hours to reach Labatama yak camp by the side of Yumtso Lake where we will camp for the night.
Day 9 Labatama Rest Day: You can spend the day visiting several lakes and enjoy fishing or go back to Jomigue pass and climb Aum Jomo to the summit at 16,500 ft, which takes five to six hours.
Day 10 Labatama - Grenache: (Distance 7km, Time 5 hrs, Altitude 4170m/13,700ft) Today we leave the lovely pastures of Labara and move out of the Dagala range. The trail ascends gradually through lovely landscapes until we reach Pagalaptsa pass, the highest point of the day. From the pass, there are beautiful views of Genekha Village and a portion of the Paro Valley. After the pass, the trail winds gradually down through thick rhododendrons and oak forests until we reach Genekha where we will camp.
Day 11 Genekha – Paro (End of Trek): A short walk brings us to the road and our transport back to Paro where we will overnight in the hotel.
Day 12 Paro Sightseeing: It will be a special day with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktshang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery. After breakfast, a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten. And we walk from there to the monastery. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forests, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktshang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktshang Monastery. The first part was built around the Guru Rimpoche meditation cave in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro, Gyaltsen Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters (3,000ft) into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche), the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo. Lunch is served at the cafeteria.
Day 13 Departure: This morning we will have our last Bhutanese breakfast, and then we’ll be transported to the Paro National Airport for our flights home.
» All tour related to travel and transfers
» All activities, entry fees and taxes as described in the itinerary (unless noted as optional)
» All lodging accommodations (double occupancy) * Single supplement available
» All meals as noted
» Local English speaking guides
» Trekking staff, Trekking tents, cooks, horses and Yaks for carrying the trekking equipment
» Insurance fees
» Phone calls
» Alcoholic beverages
» Guide gratuities
» Sleeping bags and personal gear
Please contact us for the Travel Application for this trip.
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