This trip generally involves an average of 4 – 5 hours slow but steady walk in a day. This rating is for less than 7 days walk below 3500 meters.
Early in the morning you can take a self-guided walk from your hotel to the memorial chorten, where your see many Bhutanese circumambulate the temple as they chant prayers. After breakfast, drive east to Punakha, the old winter capital. En-route stops at Dochu LaPass, 10,000ft/3,048m to view the eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan’s highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 24,770ft/7,550m. The road then drops down through varied forest finally emerging into the highly cultivated, sub-tropical Punakha valley; with rice paddies, bananas, orange grooves and cactuses. Sightseeing and lunch in Wangdue and transfer to the hotel in Punakha. In the evening, take a pleasant 20 minutes walk through the fields and village to visit Chimi Lhakhang temple dedicated to Bhutan’s popular saint Drukpa Kunley, also known as the “divine madman” (1455-1529). He is very popular to date because he preached in n the way that is unlike the stiffness of clergy and society of the time; he dramatized the teachings using songs and outrageous sexual humor. Bold Phallus symbols and paintings on the houses or temples come as a result his influence.
Punakha and Wangdue Valleys are at lower elevation of approx. 1400m and therefore it is warmer and has semi-tropical vegetation with cactuses, bananas and orange grooves. Punakha Dzong used to be the winter capital of Bhutan until 1958 and even today the head Abbot and central monastic body move here from Thimphu Tashicho Dzong, in the winter months.In the morning, drive to the idyllic countryside, north of Punakha Dzong and walk uphill for 20 minutes to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, which is perched high on the hill. Visit this temple, which has some beautiful and incredibly complex Buddhist paintings. It was recently completed in 1999 after taking almost 9 years to build. Return downhill and walk on the mostly leveled path along the east bank of the river. The transport will meet you and drive you to Punakha. Visit Punakha Dzong and the areas around Punakha.
After leisurely breakfast, drive down the valley to the town of Wangdiphodrang. Here again there is a very large fortress (Dzong) built in the shape of a sleeping bull. After sightseeing in Wangdiphodrang, we retrace our drive back to west across Dochula Pass, providing one more opportunity to view the peaks of the eastern Himalayas. At the pass, there is a small restaurant, where we can sip tea and enjoy the views. Descend from the pass in time for a late lunch at the restaurant in Thimphu and proceed to Paro. En-route to Paro, we will stop to visit farm houses and may be even a nunnery. Upon arrival in Paro, check into your hotel.
Transfer to airport for flight to Bangkok or Kathmandu or Delhi or next destination.
Footwear : Well broken-in walking shoes - these must be suitable for snow, thick socks, light socks, camp shoes.
Clothing : Down or fiber filled waterproof jacket and trousers, sweater or fleece jacket, underwear, warm and cotton trousers or jeans, shirts and T-shirts, shorts, long underwear, wool hat, sun hat, gloves, bathing suit, track suit.
Other equipment: Sleeping bag (5 seasons), lock, day pack, water bottle, sun cream, sunglasses, flashlight with spare bulbs and batteries, lip salve, gaiters.
Other items: Insect repellent, toilet articles, diary, toilet roll, laundry soap, wet ones, pocket knife, towel, sewing kit, plasters, binoculars, camera, film, cards and personal medical kit.
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