A Himalayan trek is the ultimate travel experience, and this six-day itinerary allows you to traverse some of Bhutan's most breathtaking terrain. The climb starts in Paro, with a few hours' of trekking per day until you reach Simkota at more than 12,500 feet above sea level. End your journey in a luxury hotel in Thimphu.
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You'll start this amazing Bhutan trek in Paro. Here, check into your luxury resort – we recommend both Amankora and the Uma by COMO – then spend the afternoon acclimatizing and sightseeing. Paro is impossibly picturesque and you have today to relax and enjoy this Himalayan setting.
Start off your morning with a brisk walk to Taktsang Monastery, the famous "Tiger’s Nest" perched on a cliff 3,000 feet above the Paro Valley. This half-day hike takes you through fragrant pine forest and offers some of the most breathtaking views in the Himalayas. At night, relax and get a good night's sleep at your luxury resort in preparation for the upcoming treks.
Today, you'll walk through beautiful apple orchards and forest, ascending to the fortress of Jili Dzong, at an elevation of 10,300 feet. This 16th-century fortress has long been a resting spot for travelers making their way between Paro and Thimpu. After a break, you'll trek onwards to Jangchula Camp, where you'll spend the night.
Continue your ascent today, covering 11 miles on the way to Simkota at an altitude of 12,700 feet. The trail traverses ridges with an average elevation of 10,000 feet, with some challenging rocky areas. By lunch time, you’re trekking party will break above the tree line to the alpine Jimi Langtso Lake. From here it's onwards another two hours to the smaller, but no less beautiful, Simkota Lake, where you'll camp for the night.
Today you'll cover 11 miles, starting from Simkota and ending the day's journey in Phajoding, a downward trek of about five or six hours. The trail will lead you through dwarf rhododendron trees and past the glacial Lake Janye. On the way, there's a good chance you'll meet yak herders, and on a clear day, you'll be able to see Mount Gangkar Punsum, at more than 24,000 feet – the highest unclimbed peak in the world. The campsite is close to the monastery of Phajoding that overlooks the Thimphu Valley.
It's all downhill today as you make your way to the capital of Thimphu at 7,500 feet. You'll trek through beautiful blue pine and rhododendron forests. On the way, take time to see the national animal – the takin – at the Motithang Takin Preserve. In Thimphu, you can enjoy a nice hot shower in your luxury resort – Amankora Thimphu and Taj Tashi are both recommended five-star hotels. This afternoon, you have free time to explore the charming narrow streets and shops of Thimphu.
Amankora Paro is located just outside of town and features sweeping views of the Paro valley and snow-capped mountains. The hotel, just 30 minutes from Paro airport, has 24 spacious suites designed to evoke a contemporary and minimalist vision of traditional Bhutanese style, incorporating local wood, stone and terrazzo tile. Each suite has a bukhari, or wood-burning stove, and a luxurious bathroom complete with soaking tub. Bhutanese cuisine and international fare are served in the hotel’s great room lounge, dining room, and terrace. The two-level spa contains private areas for massage and treatments, a glass-walled sauna, hot stone baths and a yoga room with a relaxation area. Fax services are available, as is Internet. There is no fitness center or pool, but the Amankora’s idyllic surroundings are perfect for hiking and mountain biking.
Uma by COMO, Paro is a 29-room hotel set in Paro Valley with breath-taking views of the Himalayas. The Bukhari restaurant, set amid pine trees, uses mostly organic food from the surrounding area for Bhutanese delicacies such as pakshee paa, a sliced pork dish with chilies and radishes; ema datsee, a chili and cheese dish, or hewa datsee, a combination of potatoes, cheese and chilies. Uma by COMO, Paro is home to the COMO Shambhala Retreat, a holistic health spa with an open-air yoga pavilion overlooking the Paro Valley. Additional facilities include a business center, fitness center and swimming pool. The hotel is a 10-minute drive from the airport in Paro.
Enjoy close commune with nature by setting up camp in the great outdoors as part of a Bhutanese Himalayan trek. Surrounded by forests, travelers fall asleep under the stars and wake up to glorious mountain views each morning – campsites really allow travelers to connect with their environment and enjoy the serenity of the Himalayas. Accompanied by guides and horses or yaks transporting camping equipment, you will stay at established campsites with all food and drinks provided, with meals prepared by an experienced chef. In some places around Bhutan, our recommended camps share sites with yak herders, giving travelers the chance to learn about this traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle first-hand. Camping in the oak forests, peaks and valleys of Bhutan also puts campers in close contact with a diverse array of wildlife, including the chital, deer, langur, and different species of Northeast Himalayan birdlife.
Amankora Thimpu is located on a hillside in a verdant pine forest far above Bhutan’s capital city. The hotel’s architecture is reminiscent of Bhutanese temples, or dzongs, and incorporates white-washed stone buildings around an enclosed courtyard. Sixteen suites are composed of living and sleeping areas, with views of the forest and nearby streams. The spacious terrazzo-tiled bathrooms have soaking tubs and twin vanities. Guests may dine either in an elegant dining room or on the adjacent terrace, both of which serve Bhutanese and international cuisine. Steam and sauna rooms are available, and massage and spa treatments are offered in private rooms nearby. Traditional hot stone baths can be scheduled. There is no fitness center. Fax and Internet are available. The resort is approximately 30 minutes from the airport in Paro.