Druk Path
Bhutan

Thujedraj pass
  • TRIP TYPE: Trekking
  • TRIP GRADE: Moderate
  • TRIP STYLE: Camping
  • TRIP LEADER: Local Leader
  • GROUP SIZE: 2 - 10 people
  • NEXT DEPARTURE: 09 Apr 2021

Details

Druk Path is a wonderful short trek in Bhutan Himalaya. You will experience the unique culture of Bhutan and see incredible mountain views.

This trek is only five days of walking as we travel on the high trail from Paro to Thimphu. The Druk Path trek connects these towns by following the old trading route.

We start by hiking along a quiet forest trail and through alpine yak pastures. Once above the tree line we see the spectacular view of the Himalaya along the Bhutan and Tibet border. We see several Himalayan giants from this trek. Mount Chomolhari is at an altitude of 7,326m) and Jitchu Drake is at an elevation of 6,662m. Towards the East we also see the highest unclimbed peak in the world, this is Gangkar Punsum at a height of 7,570m.

This is a camping style trek where you sleep in a tent for every night of the hike. All treks in Bhutan are camping as there are no lodges like in Nepal. Other camping treks in Bhutan include Kitiphu Ridge and Laya Gasa known as Half Snowman.

We include several days in this itinerary visiting Bhutan’s main cultural sites. Before the trek you will explore Paro Valley with a walk to Taktsang or ‘Tiger's Nest’ monastery. After the trek we explore Thimphu and Punakha’s 17th century Dzong.

  • We are Himalayan trekking specialists and we have been operating trips in Bhutan for many years. Roland Hunter, owner and founder of The Mountain Company, has modified this itinerary based on his first-hand experience of this region.
  • Read our AITO Traveller Reviews for Druk Path. Our approach to organising trips in the Himalayas has helped The Mountain Company win awards such as 2018 Gold Award as AITO Tour Operator of the Year and 2015 Bronze Award as AITO Tour Operator of the Year. Read more about our Testimonials and Awards
  • The Mountain Company will receive bespoke weather forecasts for this region from EverestWeather.com and from our in house forecasting throughout the duration of this trek.
  • We send a Thuraya satellite phone on all of our treks in Bhutan. It is essential for your guide to have reliable communications with us for logistics, planning and group safety.
  • We bring a comprehensive first aid kit plus high altitude medicine, antibiotics and other medicines. 
  • Pre trip support will be given by our Operations team with first hand knowledge of Druk Path trek.

Route Map

Itinerary

Arrive in Paro

Lunch and Dinner

Hotel Olathang in Paro

We will meet you on arrival at Paro airport and drive you to the hotel. When the whole group has arrived we will give a full briefing to get you ready for the trek. Later on we will organise a trip into Paro to change money at the bank and to look around the town. Afterwards we arrange sightseeing tour to visit Paro Dzong and the National museum.

Paro is Bhutan’s second largest town. The valley also contains significant religious and historic sites in the country. It also has as well as Bhutan’s only international airport.

Walking for 9km (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Hotel Olathang in Paro

After breakfast we organise a walk up to the Taktsang monastery known as the “Tiger’s Nest”. The hike up to the monastery through pine forest takes about 2 to 3 hours. This is a good opportunity to stretch your legs after your travels to Bhutan. In the afternoon we will visit more of the important sites of the Paro valley and have time to explore the town.

Walking 7km (4 to 5 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

We drive to the road head at the Ta-Dzong National Museum which is the old watchtower above Paro Dzong. The trek starts along a jeep track before turning off onto a trail and after 1 ½ hours we pass a mani wall at Damche Gom. We continue the climb through blue pine forest. After a further hour we arrive at a clearing in the forest where we usually have lunch. Afterwards we walk for an hour through rhododendron and yak pastures to Jele La. Our camp for tonight is a short walk way down on the other side of the pass.

Walking 7.5km (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

This morning we start with a climb through rhododendron forest  back up to Jele La. We walk along the ridge to Jele Dzong and we will visit the monastery. The view down to the Paro Valley is superb and we can see Mount Chomolhari.  We follow the ridge through a forest of blue pine and rhododendron. After a while we arrived at the clearing at Jangchu Lakha. We continue further along the trail for ½ hour to our camp at Tshokam. 

Walking 10km (6 to 7 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

From camp we take the high trail rather than the alternative trail following the valley up to Jana Tsho. After climbing up to the Jangchu La at 4,180m, there are superb views from the pass of Mount Chomolhari. After following the ridge for an hour we descend to the beautiful lake at Jimi Lang Tsho. After a break to enjoy the area we ascend up through rhododendron for a further 1 ½ hours to our camp at Jana Tsho.

Walking 8.5km (5 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Camping

After breakfast we ascend on a stone path towards Simkotra La. We then continue along a trail above Simkotra Tsho. Today there are seven minor passes to cross . From the fifth pass, called Thujedraj, we can see Mount Gangkar Puensum. By scrambling up a small rocky hill to the left of the pass we can see a panoramic view of the Bhutan Himalaya. The final pass is Dochu La where you can see down into the Thimphu valley. There is a steep descent to Phajoding monastery where we camp for the night.

Walking 4km (3 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Gyelsa Boutique Inn in Thimphu

Drive to Thimphu (1/2 hour)

The trail from the camp is downhill all the way to Thimphu. We walk through blue pine forest. At the road head we meet our vehicles and it is not too far to drive into town.

In the afternoon we have time to explore Thimphu with your guide. We visit the Tashichho Dzong and the large Shakyamuni Buddha statue overlooking town. It is also worth taking time to explore the town centre. We can see the Clock Tower square and Changlimithang Stadium. There are lots of shops, restaurants and cafes.

Drive to Punakha (4 hours)

Sightseeing in Punakha

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Meri Puensum Resort

Today we drive to Punakha which is the old winter capital of Bhutan. On the way we drive over the Dochu La pass at an altitude of 3,050m. This is one of the finest viewpoints of Eastern Himalaya. On a clear day you can see a panorama of the Bhutan Himalaya. We can see Mount Masangang, Tsendagang, Terigang and Gangkar Punsum plus many others.  On arrival at Dochu La we get out of the car to admire the view. We will walk around the 108 chortens marking the top. From the pass we drive down through beautiful forest into the Punakha Valley at an altitude of 1,350m.

Before reaching Punakha we visit Chimi Lhakang. This is also known as the fertility temple of Bhutan or the Divine Madman’s monastery. Lama Drukpa Kunley was an unorthodox Buddhist saint. It takes about 20 minutes to walk across rice fields to reach the temple. Afterwards we drive to our hotel and check in for the night.

Sightseeing in Punakha

Drive to Thimphu (4 hours)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Gyelsa Boutique Inn in Thimphu

After breakfast we make the short drive to Punakha where we visit the Dzong. This is an impressive building and located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. The Punakha dzong is the second largest in Bhutan. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal constructed this in the 17th Century.

After your visit to the Dzong and seeing the beautiful Punakha valley we drive back to Thimpu.

Fly back home

Breakfast

Transfer to Paro airport for flight back home.

Dates & Prices

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2021

Dates Trip Leader Price Single Supplement: Room/Tent Availability
Dates 09 Apr 2021 to 18 Apr 2021 Trip Leader Local Leader Price US$2,850pp Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$200pp / US$125pp
Availability 2 Left to Guarantee Book Now
Dates 01 Oct 2021 to 10 Oct 2021 Trip Leader Local Leader Price US$2,850pp Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$200pp / US$125pp
Availability 2 Left to Guarantee Book Now
Dates 29 Oct 2021 to 07 Nov 2021 Trip Leader Local Leader Price US$2,850pp Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$200pp / US$125pp
Availability 2 Left to Guarantee Book Now
Dates 19 Nov 2021 to 28 Nov 2021 Trip Leader Local Leader Price US$2,850pp Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$200pp / US$125pp
Availability 2 Left to Guarantee Book Now

2022

Dates Trip Leader Price Single Supplement: Room/Tent Availability
Dates 08 Apr 2022 to 17 Apr 2022 Trip Leader Local Leader Price US$2,850pp Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$200pp / US$125pp
Availability 2 Left to Guarantee Book Now
Dates 07 Oct 2022 to 16 Oct 2022 Trip Leader Local Leader Price US$2,850pp Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$200pp / US$125pp
Availability 2 Left to Guarantee Book Now
Dates 28 Oct 2022 to 06 Nov 2022 Trip Leader Local Leader Price US$2,850pp Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$200pp / US$125pp
Availability 2 Left to Guarantee Book Now
Dates 18 Nov 2022 to 27 Nov 2022 Trip Leader Local Leader Price US$2,850pp Single Supplement:
Room/Tent
US$200pp / US$125pp
Availability 2 Left to Guarantee Book Now

For private and bespoke trip, please contact us

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What's Included

  • All transfers including airport collections at Paro.
  • Twin share hotels while in Bhutan.
  • All meals included while in Bhutan.
  • Twin share tents while on trek.
  • All trekking arrangements including permits and fees, tents, Bhutanese guide, pack animals and cook.
  • Bespoke weather forecasts from EverestWeather.com throughout the duration of this trek.
  • Thuraya satellite phone to ensure our guides have reliable communications with us for logistics, planning and group safety.
  • Full financial protection for all monies paid to us through our membership of Association of Bonded Travel Operators Trust (our ABTOT membership number is 5365) and having an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (our ATOL number is 10921).
  • Pre departure support and advice from The Mountain Company by email, phone or face to face meetings in London. After booking with us we will send our comprehensive “Bhutan Pre Trip Information” notes.

What's Not Included

  • International flight to/from Paro (flying from Bangkok, Singapore, Kathmandu and Delhi).
  • Travel & trekking insurance.
  • Personal clothing & equipment please see Appendix for suggested kit list.
  • Tips. 
  • Other items not listed in “What is included”.

Accommodation

Hotel Olathang in Paro

Hotel Olathang is located amidst 28 acres of blue pine forest on a hill overlooking Paro valley. This hotel is designed in traditional Bhutanese style and was established in 1974 for the guests invited to the coronation of the Fourth King of Bhutan.

There are 28 rooms with attached bathroom and the cottages have an outdoor deck with chairs. There is a restaurant and bar in the main building and other facilities include a spa and a traditional hot stone bath.


Hotel Meri Puensum in Punakha

Hotel Meri Puensum is located above Punakha with good views down to the river and valley below. This property is family owned and was one of the first hotels in Punakha.

The rooms have attached bathroom and are simple yet functional. Some of the rooms have balconies overlooking the valley. There is a restaurant serving Bhutanese, Indian and Chinese with most meals are served as a buffet.


Gyelsa Boutique Inn in Thimphu

Gyelsa Boutique Inn is a family-run hotel located in the centre of Thimphu city and within walking distance of the restaurants, cafes and shops of the largest city in Bhutan.

The hotel has 6 suites and 12 twin rooms where the furniture is carved out of Himalayan wood and made in Bhutan. Every room has access to high speed wireless internet connectivity. Other facilities include a restaurant, bar and café.


Camping in Bhutan

We use A frame tents in Bhutan, these sturdy tents work well with the conditions often experienced in Bhutan and are waterproof plus have ample head room inside.

Practical Information

A Typical Day On Camping Trek

The day starts with an early morning mug of tea brought to your tent by one of the assistant guides. Before heading over to the mess tent for breakfast you will pack your overnight gear into your duffel bag. During breakfast the tents will be packed away and, after the porters have arranged their loads, they will set off on the trail in the cool of the morning. After breakfast, probably between 7am and 8am, we start walking. The pace of the trek is leisurely with plenty of time to enjoy the scenery, take photos and explore the local villages. Lunch will be around 11am at a spot by the side of the trail and is prepared for us by the cooks.


There is more walking after lunch and normally you will get into camp by mid afternoon with the tents already put up by the local staff. In the evening a three course meal is served in the mess tent around 6-7pm. After supper the international leader will discuss the plan for the next day with the group. People might stay in the mess tent chatting about the day’s events for a while before retiring to their tent for the night.

While on the trek, the cook will provide good quality food in sufficient quantities.  For breakfast you are likely to get porridge or cereal, toast or chapatis, omelettes and a range of hot drinks. For our camping treks we provide fresh coffee from our Bialetti Moka coffee machine. On arrival to camp in the afternoon you will be given tea and biscuits and a three course meal will follow later in the evening.

Communications

We bring a Thuraya satellite phone for logistical, safety and personal use. Personal calls charged at £4 (US$5 or €4.50) per minute and £2 (US$3 €4.50) to send and receive SMS text.

Clothing and Equipment List for Druk Path

For the safety of everyone in the group and to help ensure a successful trek, you are required to have the following items in our clothing and equipment list tailored for Druk Path trek.

As a reminder, the weather on this trek will vary season to season and day to day as you ascend to higher elevations. During the first couple of days on trek you are likely to experience quite warm conditions and you will experience the coldest temperatures at Jana Tsho at an altitude of 3,950m where overnight lows can get down to around -10˚C.

Each trekker should bring one backpack for gear required during the day. Your day backpack will contain items such as warm clothes, jacket, camera, water bottles, personal first aid kit and snacks. The maximum weight allowance for back pack is 5kg. The rest of your personal equipment packed in a duffel or kit bag will be carried by a pony. The maximum weight allowance for your duffel bag  is 15kg. Please ensure that your bag is marked clearly on the outside for easy identification.

We suggest you print the kit list and tick items off as you pack them then weigh your kit bag before you come on trek.

Footwear:

  • Walking boots. A pair of water repellent boots with ankle support.
  • Wool and liner socks.
  • Trainers/sneakers or sandals. Can be used in camp during the evenings.

Clothing:

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers (goretex or similar). For use if it rains or snows during the trek.
  • Trekking trousers.
  • Long sleeve shirts (not cotton). Minimum two shirts.
  • Micro fleece.
  • Mid to heavyweight fleece.
  • Sleeveless/ gilet or body warmer type fleece. This will help keep your core warm while not bulking when layering up. Gilet fleece can be used in combination with base layers, other fleeces and down jacket to provide maximum warmth and insulation.
  • Thermals or base layer for top & bottom (merino wool or synthetic).
  • Fleece pants. To be worn around camp or added as an additional layer when the temperatures start to drop higher up.
  • Medium weight down jacket (eg Nuptse jacket by The North Face

Handwear:

  • Fleece gloves.

Headwear:

  • Wool or fleece hat.
  • Sun hat.
  • Bandana or scarf. (eg. Buff Headwear or purchase a #myTMCbuff).
  • Headtorch. Bring extra batteries.
  • The lenses need to be Category 4 rated and should have side protection or wraparound design to prevent light getting through to your eyes that could cause sun blindness.

Personal Equipment:

  • Sleeping bag. Maximum overnight lows will be around -10 Celsius.
  • Fleece or silk liner for your sleeping bag. A liner protects your sleeping bag from getting dirty and helps by adding extra insulation to keep you warm at night.
  • Sleeping mat (eg. Thermarest).
  • Recommended size is 30 to 40 litres as you need to have enough space to carry water bottles, camera, snacks and extra clothing such as down jacket etc. It is also a good idea to bring a rain cover to keep the contents dry.
  • Trekking poles (Black Diamond with “Flick Lock” are best). Having two poles is mandatory as required for your safety on steep and loose sections of the trail and for walking through deep snow higher up.
  • Stuff sacks for keeping your gear dry and organised. Or even better are fold- drybags such as from Exped.
  • Two water bottles (Nalgene wide mouth bottles are the best).
  • Pee bottle. Highly recommended as means you do not have to get up to find toilet tent at night! For men you can use an old water bottle for women take a look at SheWee.
  • Sunscreen and lipsalve with a high SPF.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Water purification tablets (Pristine, Biox Acqua or Acqa Mira).
  • Favourite snack food.
  • Books, ipod and cards etc.
  • Camera with spare batteries and memory cards.
  • Insurance certificate.
  • Earplugs (optional).
  • Baby wipes (optional).
  • Hand sanitizer (optional)

Travelling:

  • Duffle bag or large backpack for your personal gear on the trek (carried by a porter). Bring a small combination padlock to secure the bag.
  • Travel clothes. You will need casual clothing for air travel days and time spent in Paro, Punakha and Thimphu.
  • Toiletry bag include toilet paper, soap, towel, toothbrush, etc.

Personal first aid kit:

Note: we provide a comprehensive group first aid kit but please bring personal medications and other items you might use regularly such as:

  • Any personal medications.
  • Blister treatment (Compeed patches are the best).
  • Rehydration powder eg Dioralyte.
  • Analgesics (paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin).
  • Plasters and zinc oxide tape.
  • Throat lozenges.

Threat and risk assessment for Druk Path

Participants should be aware trekking, mountaineering and travelling in a developing country are activities that involve a risk of personal injury or death. As a condition of booking you must accept these risks and be responsible for your own actions and involvement.

Adventure travel requires an open and flexible attitude. You may experience extreme conditions, unpredictable weather and last minute changes to the itinerary beyond our control. The ability to work in team is an important aspect of all of our trips.

As a part of our planning process we have performed a detailed threat and risk assessment for our Druk Path trek. It is worth pointing out all of our trips have a certain degree of risk, this is of course part of the attraction of adventure travel and why so many people choose to join this type of holiday. However by identifying the potential hazards on Druk Path we can assess the level of risk and implement control measures to reduce this happening.

Our full threat and risk assessment for Druk Path is available to clients on request. For your information we have listed below a summary of the significant risks and hazards identified by us:

  • Falls and trips resulting in physical injury eg. slipping on ice or falling off the path.
  • Altitude illness including but not limited to AMS, HACE and HAPE.
  • Severe bad weather and conditions when camping.
  • Climatic injuries (dehydration, sun burn, heat exhaustion, hypothermia or heat stroke).
  • Crossing a river with no bridge resulting in drowning and/ or a fall.
  • Rock fall and landslides.
  • Lightning strike.
  • Wildlife, pack animals (eg. donkeys or horses) or stray dogs. Pack animals have been known to knock people off the path. Dogs can attack and bite, we advise you discuss rabies vaccination with your doctor.
  • Earthquake.
  • Risk of fire in the hotel or lodge.
  • Endemic local diseases. We advise you discuss vaccinations with your doctor before departure.
  • Physiological injury such as heart attack, appendicitis, hernia, toothache etc. in a remote area.
  • Road traffic or flight accident.
  • Contaminated food and/ or water.

This trip visits a remote area where you are away from normal emergency services and medical facilities. In case of a serious injury requiring hospitalisation evacuation could take up to several days and may impede your ensuing recovery. Helicopters are the most usual means of evacuation, however they are not always available or they may be hindered by poor weather and flying conditions.

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