Paro to Jela Dzong
10KM | 4-5 HOURS | 1003M ASCENT | 10M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3480M
After what should be a spectacular flight (due to the views of the mountains you’re seeing), you should be heading out towards one of the most prominent and awe-inspiring building structures in Bhutan, a Dzong. These ancient buildings had many uses to the Bhutnanese. Some were places of worship, some housed important members of state and others were used in the defence of the kingdom.
Paro Dzong sits at 2300m and just below it is Ta Dzong, the Bhutnaese National Mueseum. Depending on the time of your departure, a quick tour of the muesem is a necessity in taking in the vast amounts of history within Bhutan.
After taking in all your history notes, an easy day of trekking lies ahead. Apples Orchards (don’t pick any!), outskirts of Damchena village and the wonderful serene pine forests of Bhutan are just some of the landmarks of the day. If you’re lucky with the weather – you might just be able to see Mt. Jomolhari.
Jele Dzong to Jangchulakha
10KM | 4 HOURS | 300M ASCENT CAMP ALT 3780M
A ridgeline descent into rhododendrons and alpine forests is your start to the day. Yak herders roam these parts and a tip of the hat won’t go amiss. Views of Kitchu Drake and Jomolhari dot the sky during the day and by night a pasture against the hillside shall be your home
Jangchulakha to Jimilangtsho Lake
11KM | 4-5 HOURS | 400M ASCENT | 300M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3880M
Whereas your first two days were spent in alpine splendor, the third day of the trek ushers you out onto the open plains of the Bhutnases countryside. Wild Onions laden the fields around you and if you’re lucky enough to have some Masterchefs on your group – most of these will turn up in your dinner. But first you’ll have to reach Jangchu La (3800m) with it’s panromaic views of the valleys below and the Himalayn Peaks and your desitnation for the day – Jimilangtsho Lake. There is a tale that farmers bring their cows to the lake in hopes to mate it with a mystical ox providing them with strong offspring.
Jiminlangstho to Simkota
11KM | 4 HOURS | 270 ASCENT | CAMP ALT 4110M
Dawn greets you with more good trails, bypassing Lake Janetsho, and delivering epic views of the Himalaya’s. At 4,110m – Lake Simkotatsho rests serine below you and camp is setup on a nearby yak pasture overlooking the deep valleys of the Himalayas.
Simkota to Thimpu City
14KM | 7 HOURS | 100M ASCENT | 1800M DESCENT
A long last day of trekking – starting with a small saddle climp at 4,150m then onto Phumela Pass (4210m) with it’s array of prayer flags and stone cairns set with a backdrop of Gangar Puensum, the world’s highest unclimbed mountain. Down below is Thimpu and several sacred peaks which are used for sky burials, an ancient funreal practice in which a human corpse is placed upon a mountaintop to slowly decompose while exposed to nature. Although sounding macarb, it is considered an act of generosity on the part of the deceased, since the deceased and her/his realtives are providing food to sustain living beings.
After that. All downhill. Descending through Juniper Trees via a small community at Phajodhing, you’ll finally reach the road at Sangaygang, where a car most likely will take you to Thimpu.
From Thimpu there are a variety of day trips (via vehciles) to other walks around the valley. But if you’ve had your fill of walking – you’re mostly likely going to make your way back to Paro.