Xplore Bhutan

By: admin on Wednesday, May, 6th,2015 in Slider.


Discover awesomeness and take home fond memories of Bhutan


Xplore Bhutan

By: admin on Wednesday, May, 6th,2015 in Slider.


Yak –Nature’s crafted Creation


Thimphu

By: admin on Monday, May, 4th,2015 in Recommended.


Thimphu (Tibetan script: ཐིམ་ཕུག།) is the capital of Bhutan, and also the name of the surrounding valley and dzongkhag, the Thimphu District. With a population of approx 98,676 (2005 PHCB), it is the largest population centre in the country. Thimphu is located at an altitude of 2320m/7656ft.

Overview

Thimphu with the 17th century fortress-monastery called Tashichho Dzong on the northern edge of the city, has been the seat of Bhutan’s government since 1952.

The city sprawls across the western slopes of the Wang Chhu river valley. Rapid expansion following the pattern of rural exodus has resulted in considerable rebuilding in the city centre and mushrooming suburban development elsewhere. Norzin Lam, the recently upgraded main thoroughfare, is lined with shops, restaurants, retail arcades and public buildings. Elsewhere, there is a mix of apartment blocks, small family homes and family-owned stores. By regulation, all buildings are required to be designed in traditional style with Buddhist paintings and motifs. A lively weekend market near the river supplies meat, vegetables and tourist items. Most of the city’s limited light industry is located south of the main bridge. Thimphu has a growing number of commercial services and offices, which provide for ever-growing local needs. The city is surrounded by forests, which make the city look even greener. With on going construction for the 2008 celebrations of 100 years of Monarchy and Bhutan’s transition to Parliamentary Democracy, more and more construction is seen throughout Thimphu.

Dechenphu, Tango and Cheri monasteries, and Dechenchoeling Palace, are located to the north of the city.

Month                         Jan       Feb      Mar      Apr      May     Jun       Jul        Aug     Sep      Oct      Nov     Dec

Average high °C         12,3     14,4     16,4     20        22,5     24,4     18,9     25        23,1     21,9     17,9    14,5

Average low °C          -2,6      0,6       3,9       7,1       13,1     15,2     13,4     15,8     15        10,4     5          -1,1

Thimphu is served by a ‘City Bus’ service, which operates throughout the day. Plans have also been made to construct a light tram along the banks of the Wang Chhu that is both environment-friendly and efficient.

Tashichho dzong hosts a colourful masked-dance festival (tsechhu) at the end of summer, which is popular with tourists. A new Tsechhu ground, which can take in the capacity of both tourists and the locals, is under construction and is expected to be completed by August 2008.

Thimphu is the only national capital in Asia that does not have traffic lights. When local authorities installed a set of lights, people complained that they were too impersonal. The authorities gave in, and took them down. Instead of traffic lights, the city takes pride in its traffic police that directs the oncoming traffic with their dance-like movement of their arms and hands.

The Memorial Chorten dominates the skyline of Thimphu. This Chorten is dedicated to the Third Druk Gyalpo(King), Jigme Dorji Wangchuck after his sudden death while traveling abroad. A great amount of renovation is taking place for the 2008 celebrations to mark the Century of the Monarchy in Bhutan.

The National Library (1967) built in the style of a traditional temple contains a large collection of religious books and manuscripts in Dzongkha and Classical Tibetan and a collection of English-language books. It also contains a copy of the largest published book in the world.

The Buddha Dordenma statue, the largest Buddha statue in the world, is under construction on a mountain top called Kuensel Phodrang, overlooking the city. The statue is expected to be finished in 2008.

The National Post Office, along Chang lam, is an institute itself where famous Bhutanese export is seen and sold: the various stamps. Stamp collectors all over the world know that Bhutan is the first country to diversify and export quality stamps. Old and expensive stamps are exhibited at the National Museum in Paro.

The Clock Tower Square is a recently renovated square surrounded by shops and restaurants. Fountains and traditional Bhutanese Mani Lhalhor (prayer wheels) make the place more comfortable. On one side, the Druk Hotel is situated. Various programmes and activities are held here.

Along the end of the Norzin Lam(Lam – road/street), Thimphu’s own Textile Museum that displays various Bhutanese textiles that are extensive and rich in traditional culture. It also exhibits colourful and rare kiras and ghos (traditional Bhutanese dress, kira for women and gho for men).

The National Folk Heritage Museum displays traditional Bhutanese ways of life in a traditional Bhutanese house. It is an interesting view in to Bhutanese culture and domestic lives of the Bhutanese. There are also Bhutanese dances and exhibits held in the Museum Compound.

VAST (Voluntary Artist’s Studio, Thimphu) located along Chang Lam is a busy place with after-school and weekend drawing and painting classes for youngsters conducted by volunteer artists. A gallery on the top floor exhibits a mixture of both traditional and contemporary works. There is also a small library and coffee shop where budding artists are encouraged to meet.

Tango Cheri Monastery: With about 12 kilometers of drive you arrive at the starting point of Tango hike. It takes about an hour to arrive at the temple and is about 900 feet climb. Tango Monastery is a Buddhist college, and it’s the residence of the Desi Tenzin Rabgye, a young boy who is the reincarnation of the 16th-century monk who built Tango. Built in 12th century by Gyalwa Lhanampa, it serves as the monastic school for study of Buddhist Philosophy, metaphysics, mathematics, poets and many other Buddhist studies. On the same day you can hike to Cheri monastery, return back to the road, your car will drive you to the traditional bridge over the Thimphu River. From here you hike for about an hour and half. Crossing the lovely traditional bridge you climb steeply to the monastery. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal founded the temple in 1620.

The National Institute of traditional Medicine has also a small museum on its premises.

Every monastery and temple in Thimphu is alive and well. These are some institutions where one can see how Buddhists pray and their daily routines.

Thimphu is the center for various educational institutions:

The city is the home for the office of the [[Royal University of Bhutan] (Commonly known as the RUB). Some of the member colleges of RUB which are also located in Thimphu are:

* The Institute for Language and Culture Studies (ILCS) provide training to undergraduate students in national language, culture and traditions of Bhutan.

* The National Institute of Traditional Medicine (Estb. 1988) contains an impressive, large laboratory and production facilities that ensures quality of the products, the components of which includes plants, minerals, animal parts, precious metals and gems. The Institution produces traditional Bhutanese medicine towards the needs of the public. There is a day-care facility and clinic where doctors diagnose patients and prescribe appropriate medicines or treatments. The institute also researches the use of herbs and plants and has a plot(trial) on the premises. A small museum and a gift shop(where the famous herbal tea -Tsheringma- is produced) is also present in its compounds.

* Royal Institute of Health Sciences (RIHS) provides training to nurses and technician.

* Royal Institute of Management (RIM) provides training in administrative and financial management to mid-level manager.

The National Institute for Zorig Chusum is a training institute that trains students in the thirteen traditional arts known as the Zorig Chusum. Many visitors take time to look at the works and arts and even watch how a piece is made.

The Royal Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA) is the home of the Royal Dance troupe. The history of the academy dates back to 1954 when it was started under the command of late His Majesty the King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck with the gracious intention to preserve and promote Bhutanese performing arts. The academy was institutionalized in 1967 with a mandate to preserve and promote performing arts traditions. Folk music and dancing- group was introduced in 1970.

Situated in the capital city, Thimphu, the academy is the only of its kind in the country, where all kinds of performing arts traditions are being preserved and documented for future posterity.

The Bhutanese culture including music is being threatened owing to accelerating infiltration of other cultures. To combat this trend, the Royal Government has been making every effort to reorganize the existing activities at the academy to enable its efforts to preserve and promote the performing arts traditions. This process has called for an expansion in the programs, including curriculum development.


Paro

By: admin on Monday, May, 4th,2015 in Recommended.


Paroསྤ་རོ་རྫོང་ཁག་ is the name of a district (dzongkhag), valley, river and town (population 20,000) in the Kingdom of Bhutan. It is one of the most historic valleys in Bhutan. Both trade goods and invading Tibetans came over the pass at the head of the valley, giving Paro the closest cultural connection with Tibet of any Bhutanese district. Important cultural sites include:

* Taktsang, or Tiger’s Nest, the most famous monastery in Bhutan. Northwest of Paro, perched more than 3,000 feet above the Paro-chu River, is the Buddhist hermitage of Taktsang. Legend holds that the great 8th century Buddhist teacher, Padmasambhava, traveled throughout the Himalayas on the back of a flying tigress, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan and other areas in the region. He alighted at the site that is now Taktsang, which means “Tiger Lair.” Since that time, many notable spiritual masters have come here to meditate. Although the hermitage appears inaccessible, one can actually reach it after a long and steep hike up the mountainside. It was a beautiful hike, punctuated with a welcome rest at a teahouse set high in the mountains across a valley from Taktsang. For those who would prefer to save their energy and ride as far as the teahouse, horses were available for rent in the valley below.

* Kyichu Lhakhang, which along with Jambay Lhakhang in central Bhutan is the oldest temple in Bhutan, dating to the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a giant demoness lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with precise plans. Thus, it happened that in about the year AD 638 the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the very heart of the demoness. Kyichu Lhakhang pins down her left foot and Jamba Lhakhang in Bumthang her left knee.

* Drukgyel Dzong, at the upper end of the valley, built to protect against invading Tibetans, but in ruins since a fire in the 1950s. Drukgyel Dzong is situated 14 km from Paro at the end of the road.

This Dzong was built in a location chosen for control of the routes to tibet. In 1647 Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel erected the Drukgyel Dzong, just north of Taktshang, in commemoration of the victory over the Tibetans in 1644. Thus while Bhutan has many cultural associations with Tibetan cultural areas, it has not been dominated by Tibetan political influence since the 17th century.The name “Drukgyel Dzong” means “Fortress of the Victorious Drukpa”. In 1951 it was destroyed by fire. Now the Dzong is closed to all visitors. There have been attempts to renovate the buildings.In the background there is the Jhomolhari mountain, which is the place and embodiment of the female mountain goddess Tsheringma, who watches over the land.

* Paro Town, the single market town in the dzongkhag which is booming (by Bhutanese standards) due to an influx of tourist dollars.

* Rinpung Dzong, also known as Paro Dzong, the massive fortress/monastery which is also the administrative center of the dzonkhag. Scenes from the movie Little Buddha were filmed in and around this dzong. Also known as ” fortress of the heap of jewels “, it was built during the time of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called the Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge to the Dzong, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also venue of the Paro Tshechu, held once a year inspiring.

* Ta Dzong -The National Museum of Bhutan : The  Ta Dzong is a castle-shaped fortress built in 1651 as a watch tower to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century. The National Museum of Bhutan is a cultural museum now housed in the Ta Dzong. In 1968, it was renovated under the command of His Majesty, the King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third hereditary Monarch of Bhutan. The necessary infrastructure was created to house some of the finest specimens of Bhutanese art, including masterpieces of bronze statues and paintings. Suitable galleries were constructed to house the extensive collections. Works of art were elegantly displayed on scientific lines.Today the National Museum has in its possession over 3,000 works of Bhutanese art, covering more than 1,500 years of Bhutan’s cultural heritage. Its rich holdings of various creative traditions and disciplines, represent a remarkable blend of the past with the present and is a major attraction for local and foreign visitors.

Paro contains the only active international airport in Bhutan, the Paro Airport, a beautiful small green-roofed facility in a valley, served only by Druk Air (Bhutan’s National Airline) from India and other countries in Southeast Asia.

Paro is bordered by Haa dzongkhag to the west, Tibet to the north, Thimphu to the east, and Chukha dzongkhag to the south.

Paro was featured on the NBC Today Show segment Where In The World Is Matt Lauer  and on the Discovery Travel show “1000 places to see before you die”


Punakha

By: admin on Monday, May, 4th,2015 in Recommended.


Punakha (སྤུ་ན་ཁ་) is the administrative center of Punakha dzongkhag, one of the 20 districts of Bhutan. Punakha was the capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu. It is about 72 km away from Thimphu and it takes about 2 ½  hours by car from the capital Thimphu. Unlike Thimphu it is quite warm in winter and hot in summer. It is located at an elevation of 1200 m aboove sea level and rice is grown as the main crop along the river valleys of two main rivers of Bhutan, the Pho Chu and Mo Chu. Dzongkha is widely spoken in this district.

The Punakha Dzong was constructed by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637-38. It is the winter home of Bhutan’s Central Monk Body led by the Je Khenpo. Punakha Dzong is perhaps Bhutan’s most attractive landmark. Constructed in 1637-8 during the reign of the Shabdrung, the dzong was Bhutan’s second, after Simtokha in Thimpu. At 600 ft long, the dzong has housed as many as 600 monks. Today, the Central Monk Body winters here before moving to Trashi Chhoe dzong in Thimpu for summer. The dzong also hosted the National Assembly until the capital was moved to Thimpu in 1961.

The dzong has survived 6 fires, 2 glacial lake bursts, and 1 earthquake. Its defensive fortifications include a giant wooden front door that is still closed and barred shut at night and a steep set of front steps than can be pulled up.

The dzong’s location at the confluence of the Mo Chhu and the Pho Chhu (literally, the mother and father rivers) not only quelled the spirits present wherever two rivers meet, but it was also foretold by Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century, when he said that a man would “arrive at a hill shaped like an elephant.” (Guru Rinpoche introduced Buddhism to Bhutan.) Look closely at the two hills left of the dzong and you might be able to see the elephant laying down with its trunk pointing at the dzong.

The architect of the dzong conceived the dzong in a dream where Guru Rinpoche took him to Zangto Pelri, the Guru’s heavenly abode. Of course, the design was never put on paper or even sketched.

Machey Lhakhang in Punakha dzong holds the remains of the Shabdrung, who built and died in the dzong. Only four people are allowed into the room where the casket is held: the King, the Chief Abbott, and two caretaker monks.

Also in the dzong is Bhutan’s prize possession, an image stolen by the Shabdrung from Tibet, which resulted in a protracted series of invasions by Tibet (often at Paro’s expense).

This courtyard is the monastic courtyard.

The Chief Abbott lives in the corner of the dzong to the far right in this pic. His residence was destroyed by fire in 1986 and is still being restored. A large Bodhi tree (the species under which Buddha meditated) occupies the courtyard (dochey). This courtyard houses the dzong’s administrative offices.

In 1907, Punakha Dzong was the site of the coronation of Ugyen Wangchuck (or Deb Nagpo) as the first King of Bhutan. Three years later, a treaty was signed at Punankha whereby the British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs and Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs.

In 1987, the dzong was partially destroyed by fire.

Due to its location at the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in the Punakha-Wangdue valley, the dzong is vulnerable to flash flooding caused by glacier lakes (GLOF). According to a recent report, flash flood damage to Punakha Dzong occurred in 1957, 1960 and 1994.[1]

Punakha valley is famous in Bhutan for rice farming. Both red and white rice are grown along the river vallley of Pho and Mo Chu, two of the most prominent rivers in Bhutan. The village houses are made of pounded mud with stone machinery foundations. Each house is only two storeys high. Surrounding the houses are the gardens and the rice fields. The gardens also usually have fruit bearing plants like oranges and papaya among the organic vegetables. In the recent years, the farming work has been mechanized and power-tillers instead of bullocks are used to plough the fields and villagers have become relatively prosperous.

 


“Multisport trip”

By: admin on Monday, May, 4th,2015 in Tours.


Days 01 : Arrival at Paro. Check into Hotel. Day at leisure. Either walk around or bike around Paro in the late afternoon.

Day 02 : Hike to Taktsang monastery

Day 03 : Trek to Jele Dzong. Start Trek above the Museum and gradually climb upto Jele Dzong. Atl: 2590m, dist: 7 Kms. Overnight at camp.

Day 04 : Jele Dzong – Jimilangtshoa :The trail takes you through thick alpine forest and rhododendron tree with beautiful views of mountains and the valley. Campsite near Jimilangtsho lake alt. 3350m.  Camp site at the height of 3350m distance 20 km.

Day 05 : Jimilangtso – Phajoding :The trail continues with gradual climb. If weather permits, beautiful views of Mt. Gangkhar Phunsum can be seen. Campsite near the monastery alt. 3116 m. Distance 21 km.Overnight at camp.

Day 06 : Phajoding – Thimpu Sightseeing :The trek to Thimpu is down hill through blue pine forest. Distance 8 km. Evening at leisure.Overnight at Hotel in Thimpu.

Day 07 : Thimpu – Punakha / Wangdi :Morning Thimpu sightseeing, visit Memorial Chorten, Painting School, National Library, Bhutanese Hand Made Paper factory. After lunch drive to Punakha across the Dochula Pass (Alt. 3050 m) where one can see the beautiful views of Eastern Himalayan Ranges. Overnight at Hotel in Wangdi.

Day 08 : In the morning at about 9.30 am hike about 1 hr from the Punakha Dzong up the Pho Chhu Valley to the put in at Samdenkha for a nice class II/III raft trip down to the Punakha School.  After lunch visit the Punakha Dzong.

Day 09 : Punakha to Phobjikha by car (2 hours drive) Visit Gangtey Monastery (under renovation) Phobjikha valley has no electricity , but is one of the more beautiful valleys. Over night either camp or stay at one of the lodges in Phobjikha

Day 10: Cycle back to Punakha 62 KM – 6 hours ride time. Moderate.

From Phobjikha valley you work your way back up to Lawa La (13 km up) and the main road and from there continue the long descent to Wangdue Phodrang. After passing the village of Nobding, 12 km down, there is a single restaurant a further 12 km down and then a few shops at Teki Zampa another 15 km further. Just past here a new Japanese bridge spans the Dang Chhu. At Chuzomsa, there is a side road to an abandoned slate mine. After a long almost flat stretch you reach Wangdue Phodrang. The town is supposed to be relocated to a site closer to the river. Overnight camp in Punakha.

Day 11 : Punakha – Thimphu : Drive from Punakha to Thimphu. Those who want can bike down to Thimphu from the Dochula Pass onward. Overnight at Thimphu or Paro

Day 12 :  Departure.

 

 

 


Chomolhari – Lingshi Trek

By: admin on Monday, May, 4th,2015 in Tours.


The land locked Kingdom of Bhutan comprises mountains, forests and rivers and offers all that the Himalayas has to offer. For centuries the Bhutanese have traveled through their country on foot and the trails they used then have today been developed as trekking trails. However, modern development and the building of roads to access the remote regions has led to the disappearance of numerous old routes, leaving only a few intact as they were eons ago. The Chomolhari-Lingshi trail being one of the few.    Bhutan had been closed to the outside world  (with a very few exceptions), until the first paying tourist group visited this hidden paradise in 1974. Trekking started in western Bhutan in 1978 and in central Bhutan in 1982. Trekkers make up for only 10 to 15% of the total number of tourist arrivals a year (17000 + in 2006). Therefore trekking in Bhutan is truly a once in a lifetime experience. It is different from trekking in other regions of Asia. Bhutan boasts a forest cover of approx 70 % and provides an enormously rich flora and fauna.

 

This trip presents the opportunity to visit a part of Bhutan that has only ever been experienced by a handful of outsiders. A vast, pure and untrammeled wilderness, significantly detached from all that lies below. You start you’re your journey from Paro in the western part of Bhutan and it is from within this exceptionally picturesque and spiritual setting that your expedition truly begins.

The trek follows a traditional route favored by migratory yak-herders. The information provided in the detailed itinerary is as accurate as humanely possible. It is based on an independent survey done by a few of us and the details (like names of places) have been derived from local people and information passed on to us by the Department of Tourism. Walking times have been based on an average westerners ability to walk the rough terrains of the Himalayas and due time given to acclimatize on the way up.

 

The Chomlhari Lingshi trek is one of  the finest treks Bhutan has to offer. The route starts from Drukgyel Dzong in Paro and continues onwards to Chomolhari base camp. It then goes via Lingshi and exits via Thimphu

 

Day 1—Paro, Bhutan. Fly to Paro, Bhutan, on Druk Air, the national airline of Bhutan. If the weather cooperates, you might have spectacular views of the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas, including peaks in Bhutan such as Chomolhari, Jichu Drake, and Tsering Kang. After visa formalities at the Paro airport, we drive to our hotel. We’ll have a late afternoon visit to the National Museum, housed in an old watchtower above Paro Dzong (a dzong is a fortress-monastery). The museum’s collections include displays of spectacular thangkas (religious scroll paintings), bronze statues, Bhutan’s beautiful stamps, and the Tshogshing Lhakhang (Temple of the Tree of Wisdom), with its carvings depicting the history of Buddhism. After the early morning flight everybody is going to want to have an early dinner and a good night’s rest

 

Day 2—Paro. Drive above 9 miles north of Paro town to the trailhead where you start a 1 ½ hr hike to the viewpoint of Taktsang Monastery (aka “Tiger’s Nest) perched on a cliff 2700 feet above the valley floor. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche arrived here on the back of one of is consorts who was in the guise of a flying Tigress sometime in the 7th century. Hence, the name “Taktsang” (Tiger’s Nest). After a short tea break, the options are to sit back and read a book for a while or if you feel energetic enough, to continue another 45 minutes up to the monastery. Evening, relax at the hotel, sort gear etc to commence trek the following morning.

 

Day 3—Begin Trek –Paro to Shana.  The Trek begins today. After an early breakfast, drive to the end of the road north from Paro to the ruins of the Drukgyel Dzong ( Fortress of the Victorious Drukpas) (alt. at Drukgyel Dzong 8460ft/2580m) with Mount Chomlhari (23,995 ft/7315m) looming in the background. Here’s where you meet the rest of the trekking crew and the first group of pack ponies. The first hour or so of the trek follows a dirt road through a wide, rich, cultivated valley, following the Paro Chhu (river) after which you cross a suspension bridge. After about 3 to 3.5 hrs walk you reach the military outpost of Gunitsawa, which you bypass, and cross over the Paro Chhu on a footbridge and walk north-northwest following a trail next to the river. After about half an hour you reach the first night’s campsite called Shana (9480ft/2890m). Total time: 5 to 5.5 hrs. Distance: Approx 15km

 

Day 4 – Shana to Soi Thangthanka. A long and hard day ahead with a lot of distance to cover, and the trail is rough and stony with a lot of ups and downs. Today we count on a late arrival into camp and it’s advisable to carry an extra wooly top or sweater. The trail was used in the old days by travelers coming from or going to Phari in Tibet and basically follows the river. The trail climbs steadily through thick forest of oak, rhododendron, bamboo and ferns. Birdlife is plentiful. After about 2.5 hrs you reach a small clearing with two huts called Shingkarap. Not far after that, the trail forks, marked by a big cairn decorated with flowers and prayerflags. Stay to the right. You keep following the main river upstream and after a while the trail makes a short steep ascent and descent, followed by a big foot bridge crossing to the east side of the river. Five minutes after crossing the bridge comes a big clearing in the forest, lunch will be here. The trek continues up and down for about another 3-4 hrs through beautiful forest consisting mainly of birch, fir, larch, maple, blue pine and rhododendron. After all the ups and down you finally come to abridge that you cross over. From the bridge, a short climb follows and then you see a big chorten and a second bridge at the confluence of the Paro Chhu from the north and Ronse Ghon Chhu from the west. From the bridge leading to the chorten you see Mount Chomolhari to the north. Do not cross the second bridge but continue for another half an hour till you reach a meadow with a small stone hut almost in ruins (no one lives there). This is Soi Thangthanka (11,730ft/3575m) camp for the night. Total time 7 to 7.5 hrs. Distance : Approx 22km

 

Day 5 – Soi Thangthanka to Jangothang. If the weather is clear, breakfast is served with a breathtaking view of  Mount Chomolhari. The first hour or so of walking is through forest until the view of Chomolhari is lost. The rest of the trail again follows the river. We cross a small military camp and about 1 hour past the camp the trail turns right at a mani wall. After climbing a small ridge, we reach a big open meadow with a chorten in the middle, called Geza or Heysithangka. The walk through the open meadow takes us through little villages and before reaching Jangothang (about 30 minutes or so) you come across a Basic Health Unit outpost. By now we should get a fairly good view of Mount Jitchu Drake (22470ft/6850m) As you approach camp for the night the ruins of a dzong located on a rock next to the stream joining the main river is clearly visible with the overwhelming snow and ice-capped east face of Chomolhari (23,995ft/7315m). Jangothang ( 13,260ft/4044m) and camp for tonight is located next to a stone hut near the stream. Total time : 5 to 5.5 hrs. Distance : Approx 17km.

 

Day 6 – Rest day at Jangothang. The morning sun hits camp at about 0800 hrs and some people might feel the effects of the ascent of 1800m in the last three days, so a rest day at Jangothang definitely helps with the process of acclimatization. There are some good day hikes around the Chomolhari camp area and today we follow the rule of “trek high, sleep low”. We could either hike up the valley towards the foot of Chomolhari or east towards the twin lakes Tsho Phu (14,270ft/4350m), or if people prefer a more challenging day hike, up a steep grassy ridge located next to camp to the north. It takes about 3-4 hrs to reach the final rocky summit (15,610ft/4760m). A more pleasant hike (2-2.5hrs up and 1-1.5hrs down) goes to the direction of Jitchu Drake or one could just sit back.. read a book and just enjoy the day at base camp.

 

Day 7 – Jangothang to Lingshi. Leaving camp you walk north past the houses till you come to a log bridge to cross the river (this is the second log bridge. The first, being the one that leads to Tsho Phu lakes). A steep switch back trail starts climbing out of the valley into another that leads to the final climb and the Nyele La (“sleepy”) Pass. (16,040ft/4890m). It’s a long climb to the top and a test for one’s level of acclimatization. If anyone is having a problem this is the time to turn back, cause once you cross over to Lingshi you can only get out by crossing high passes.  From the top of Nyele La pass you can see the trekking area to be covered over the next couple of days and Mount Takaphu (21,405ft/6526m) and Tiger Mountain.  After descending from the pass the trail is pretty flat and easy, leading to a viewing point from which Lingshi Dzong can be seen in it’s full glory; a powerful, solitary structure in the middle of nothing but wilderness. The dzong gets closer as we further descend to camp near a stone hutment.  Lingshi camp ( 13,150ft/4010m). Total time : 5.5-6.5hrs. Distance : Approx 19 km

 

Day 8 –  Lingshi to Shodu

Today is a long hard day. The trail goes through a rhododendron forest on the ridge above the camp in an easterly direction towards a small chorten. Turning a corner, the trail then goes south into a valley with few trees. The climb is gradual at first for about 3 hrs after leaving camp. You then cross the river and climb out of the valley to a big side valley. The last part of the climb is through an area with large boulders and several switchbacks. After about 4.5 hrs (after leaving camp) you reach the big cairn on top of the Yale La (4950 m), with views towards snow capped mountains around Lingshi and the peaks to the south. The descent joins the Jaradinthang Chhu, which becomes the Thimphu Chhu (Wang Chhu). At around 4150 m is a chorten  from where the trails takes an easterly direction following the river. The campsite is at Shodu (13380 ft/4080 m) just after crossing a sandy slope. Total time : 8 hrs Distance : Approx 22 km

 

Day 9 – Shodu to Barshong

Most people traveling between Lingshi and Thimphu use this same trail, which passes a deserted military camp. You follow the trail to the river through the limestone valley. Monks use the caves in the rocks and Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel is said to have meditated here. Cross the bridges over the main river. Towards the end of the days trek the trail gradually ascends about 130 m to the ruins of the Barshong Dzong. There is a muddy campsite below the dzong, but you could carry on for about another 1.5 hrs to a better campsite.  Total time :  4-5 hrs.  Distance : Approx 14 km

 

Day 10 – Barshong to Dolam Kencho

After crossing a side stream, make a steep descent on a rocky trail ending at the Wang Chhu. There a several ups and downs and crossing of smaller side streams. Upon reaching a split in the trail; the one on the right descends to the sampsite for the night, Dolam Kencho (3290 m). Total time : 4 – 5 hrs. Distance : Approx 15 km

 

Day 11 – Dolam Kencho to Dodena (Thimphu) – End of Trek

Climb back from the campsite upto the main trail to a cairn at 3450m, from where the route descends to a side stream. There are small ups and downs followed by a couple of short steep switchbacks to descend a vertical cliff before finally reaching the last stretch to Dedena. The trail descends through bamboo forests, follwing the mule trail high above the river until it finally ends at Dodena. From there you drive on to the capital city of Thimphu for a well deserved hot shower. Total time : 4 hrs Distance : Approx 10 km.

Evening at leisure and night at a hotel.

 

Day 12 – Thimphu Sightseeing

Morning sightseeing of Thimphu Valley. Visit the National Memorial Chorten, Indigenous & Traditional Hospital, School of Art & Crafts, National Library and The Tashichho Dzong. Late afernoon and evening at leisure to do  some souvenir shopping. Night in Thimphu

 

Day 13 – Departure

Morning Departure


“The Drukpath Trek ”

By: admin on Monday, May, 4th,2015 in Tours.


DThe Drukpath Trek : Trek/Culture

Day 1 

Your flight from Bangkok to Paro will take about 5 hours. On this flight the views of the Everest, Kanchen Junga and other Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Chomolhari and Jichu Drakey in Bhutan are awesome. On arrival in Paro our guide will receive you and check you into your hotel. After lunch we will see the rich history of Bhutan exhibited in the 17th century National Museum. The Paro Dzong, a massive fortress built in the 17th century now houses the monastic body. A tour of this beautiful Dzong will introduce us to the unique aspects of the Bhutanese Buddhism. A lovely stroll downhill from the Dzong over an old cantilever bridge wraps up an eventful first day in this magical kingdom.

Overnight in Paro | Altitude: 2200m

Day 2

Taktsang or the tiger’s nest temple is the most revered temple to the Buddhist. This magical temple clings to a vertical granite cliff 800m above the valley. Legend has it that in the 8th century, Guru Rimpochey, a tantric master flew here on the back of a tigress and meditated in a cave around which the temple is built. A hike to this temple will take up most of our morning. In the afternoon, we will host a special Buddhist prayer ceremony at the beautiful 1200 year old Kyichu Lhakhang Temple, to bring us good luck for the rest of the journey.

Overnight in Paro | Altitude: 2200m

Day 3

Start of the Druk Path Trek
Paro to Jela Dzong 
Distance: 10k
Walking time: 6h
Sleeping altitude: 3000m

The start of the Drukpath Trek is at the historic Ta Dzong, the National Museum. We follow a dirt road until it gives way to our trail in the pine forests. The trail is uphill all the way till Jela Dzong, a temple built as a war fortress in the olden days, overlooking the Paro valley below.

Day 4

Jela Dzong to Jangchublakha 
Distance: 10k
Walking time: 4h
Sleeping altitude: 3200m

Today’s trail looks like the setting of Stephen Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. With ancient firs wrapped in Spanish moss, a dinosaur or a Bhutanese Yeti might actually surprise you around the bend. You may see yak herders around the campsite.

Day 5

Jangchublakha to Jimilangtsho
Distance: 13k
Walking time: 6h
Sleeping altitude: 3300m

The trek today starts off with a climb, overlooking the rolling valleys below. Rhododendrons and other high altitude shrubs decorate the rocky trail which climbs up and down. On a clear day the Chomolhari can be seen. Our camp is at the lake of Jimilangtsho.

Day 6

Jimilangtsho to Labana 
Distance: 15k
Walking time: 7h
Sleeping altitude: 3500m

The trail will take us through dwarf rhododendrons and junipers. We will also pass the lakes of Janatso and Simkotha. The view of the far ridge across the valley which you trekked will fill you with a sense of personal satisfaction and renew you with extra confidence in yourself. Tonight is going to be the coldest of all our camps.

Day 7

Labana to Thimphu 
Distance: 12k
Walking time: 6h
Pass to cross: Pumo La, 4200m

An hours’ climb from the camp will take us over the highest pass on this trek at 4100m. On a clear day we can see the Gangkhar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan. Descending from the pass over rocky steps, we will be greeted by the sight of Thimphu far below in the valley. From this point on, it’s all downhill. We will be passing through the temple and meditation center complex of Phajoding. Our transport will meet us just as we start emerging from the forest.

Overnight in Thimphu | Altitude: 2400m

Day 8

Explore Thimphu. Visit the National Memorial Chorten (monument), the Textile Museum, Folk Heritage Museum, Takin zoo, the National Library, the Government Handicrafts and the Handicrafts Emporium.

Overnight in Thimphu | Altitude: 2400m

Day 9

Thimphu to Punakha
Distance: 80k
Driving time: 2 ½h

Drive to Punakha (2 ½ hours) over the Dochu La pass at 3000m. If we are lucky with the weather, we can see the entire Bhutanese Himalayas from this pass; east of Chomolhari to Gangkhar Puensum.

Punakha was the capital of Bhutan until the 1950s. Today, the central monk body moves to Punakha in the winter when it gets too cold in Thimphu. With a climate almost tropical in the summer, the valley is blessed with an abundance of fruits and rice. After lunch we will visit the magnificent Punakha Dzong which without doubt showcases the finest example of Bhutanese arts and crafts. After the Dzong, we will go on a short drive in the lush upper Punakha valley and hike for 45 minutes to the beautiful chorten temple of Khamsum Yuley on a hill.

Overnight in Punakha | Altitude: 1250m

Day 10

Punakha to Paro 
Distance: 140k
Driving time: 4h

Bhutan is a place where people live in magic and mysticism. When a couple cannot have children, they pray for the blessings of the Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility, blessed by the Divine Mad Man, in the 1500s. We will start off our day with a short hike to this temple which will take us through a village surrounded by rice fields.

Lunch at the tea shop at the Dochu La pass, and we will resume our drive to Paro.

Overnight in Paro | Altitude: 2200m

Day 11

Departure

 


“On the Wings of a Prayer”

By: admin on Monday, May, 4th,2015 in Tours.


Day – 1   Early morning check in and flight to Paro. Arrive Paro by Druk-Air.
 The flight to Paro offers breath taking views of the eastern Himalayan Range, including the sacred Mount Chomolhari and Jichu Drake in Bhutan. Upon arrival at Paro International Airport, representatives of Xplore Bhutan will escort you to the hotel. After check in and lunch and maybe a little rest, visit the unique Paro Museum. Overnight at hotel

Day – 2 After a fairly early breakfast drive to Punakha via the Dochula Pass (10000 ft). Weather permitting, the views of the majestic eastern Himalayas are quite spectacular and breathtaking. Upon arrival at Punakha, check in at hotel and after lunch sightseeing of the Punakha Valley. (Hike to either Khamsum Yulley Monastery or Chhimi Lhakhang; the monastery of Lama Drukpa Kuenley – “The Divine Mad Man”. Overnight at hotel

Day – 3 Punakha – Bumthang
. A day of driving. The drive to Bumthang (also known as Jakar and what used to be the summer capital of Bhutan in medieval times) goes over the Pele La Pass (12000 ft) with lunch at the Chendebji Chorten. After a brief stop for tea at Trongsa the drive once again goes up over the Yotungla Pass (11000 ft) before dropping down into the spectacular Bumthang Valley. Over night at Hotel in Bumthang.

Day – 4  Bumthang valley sightseeing. Bumthang is at times referred to as the cultural heartland of the country. The hillsides are dotted with monasteries and pilgrimage sites. Visiting Kurjey Lhakhang, Tamshing Lhakhang, Menbar Tsho (Burning Lake) and Jakar Dzong (Castle of the White Bird) will be the days agenda. Overnight at the hotel.

Day – 5 After breakfast, drive to Gangtey Gonpa in the Phobjikha Valley. 174kms from Bumthang. Overnight in Gangtey. Phobjikha is a beautiful little valley situated at an altitude of 3000m. and is home to the endangered Black Necked Cranes from the month of November to March. Overnight at hotel/guest house.

Day – 6 After breakfast hike around the villages of Phobjikha. After lunch visit the Gangtey Gonpa. Later part of the afternoon drive back to Thimphu over the Dochula Pass. Overnight at Hotel.

Day – 7 Morning visit the local weekend farmers market, The Folk Heritage Museum and the Zilukha Nunnery. After Lunch visit the Textile Museum, The National memorial Chorten and the Tashichho Dzong. Evening Dinner and drinks and overnight at the hotel.

Day – 8 Morning at leisure to shop for souvenirs. After an early lunch drive to Paro valley. Visit the National Museum (Ta Dzong) and the Kyichu Lhakhang. Overnight at hotel

Day – 9 Day excursion to Taktsang Monastery also know as “Tiger’s Nest” – Taktsang Monastery is located on the face of a cliff about 3000 feet above and overlooking the Paro valley. The round trip takes about 4 hrs with lunch at the View Point Cafeteria. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava or Guru Rimpoche arrived here sometime in the 7th century on the back of one of his consort’s who was in the guise of a flying tigress, hence the name “Taktsang” or “Tiger’s nest). Overnight at hotel in Paro.

Day – 10 Depart for Bangkok.


About Xplore Bhutan

By: admin on Monday, May, 4th,2015 in About.


Xplore Bhutan is a small and reputed adventure travel company that specializes in combined cultural/trekking/biking and river trips. Being the first of its kind in the country, Xplore Bhutan strives to set international standards in the field of adventure travel within the kingdom. With the use of state of the art equipment manufactured by reputed companies and professional support from its team of existing guides, Xplore Bhutan provides the best of services in terms of equipment and safety standards.