Bumthang Dur Tsechhu Hot Springs Trek
The hidden hot springs in the wild, wild East of Bhutan are a special program indeed. This vigorous and challenging week of trekking into the wilderness can include a day at the amazing Jambay Lhakhang festival in Bumthang in the fall.
Fly Kathmandu to Paro Bhutan. During the flight, you will see breathtaking views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Mount Jhomolhari and Jitchu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by your guide. Paro sightseeing: Drive to Drugyal Dzong (a ruined fortress ~16 kms away from Paro town). The dzong(castle fortress) was built in 1647 although in ruins, holds great historical significance. It was from this fortress that the Bhutanese repelled many Tibetan invasions. The name means "The Victorious Bhutanese." This spot unfolds a magnificent vista of Mount Jhomolhari, 24000 feet / 7330 meters. Visit the 7th century Kyichu Monastery, a typical Bhutanese farmhouse and Paro national museum on the way back.
Warm-up day, and stretch your legs after travel. Drive to Chelela Pass (one of the highest motorable pass in the Kingdom / about 3900 meters altitude above sea-level) and take a day hike along Chelela ridge.
Drive along the winding road alongside the Paro Chu (Chu means water or river) to the confluence with the Wang Chu, then follow the Wang Chu to Thimphu, the Capital. After lunch visit the Memorial Chorten (dedicated to the Late Third King of Bhutan), Takins mini zoo (Takin is a rare and unique species and its the national animal of Bhutan), Thimphu view-point, Zilukha Nunnery, National Library, Traditional Painting School, traditional indigenous hospital, hand-made paper factory and visit to a traditional handicraft gift shop.
The journey to central Bhutan begins today. The drive to Trongsa takes about 7-8 hours from Thimphu. Packed lunch stop at Chendebji Chorten.
Drive for 2 and half hours to Jakar. Bumthang (the "Plain of Ghosts") is a land of myth and mystery and tales of the great Guru Padmasambhava who performed formidable feats and miracles here. Bumthang sightseeing: view of Jakar Dzong ("Castle of the white Bird"), Jambay Lhakhang (the monastery was built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gambo), and visit Mebar Tso(the 'burning lake' from which Pema Lingpa retrieved sacred religious relics). Evening fire ceremony at Jambay Lhakhang, as the festival starts.
Bumthang to Gorsum, ~18 Km, 6-7 hrs journey. Camp ~3120 m. After breakfast transport will reach the group to the starting point of the trek just below Kurjey Lhakhang. The trek route follows the Chamkar Chu, a river rich in trout. The trail from Bumthang to Gorsum is a gradual climb.
Gorsum to Lungsum. ~12 Km, 5 hours journey. Camp ~ 3160 m.) The trail ascends gradually through dense forest of spruce, hemlock, Cypress, Juniper and Maple.
Lungsum to Tsochenchen, ~15 Km, 6-7 hours journey. Camp ~3100 m. The vegetation remains the same until the camp site, which is above tree level.
Tsochenchen to Dur Tsachhu, ~17 Km, 7 hours journey. Camp ~ 3400 m. The trek from Tshochenchen is uphill all the way till the Julila Pass at about 4700 m. From the pass, if the day is clear, surrounding mountains can be seen. After crossing the pass, the trail descends till the camp site. Musk deer, herds of blue sheep and Himalayan bear is sometimes seen along the route.
Rest day at Dur Tsachhu (Hot Spring). After a late breakfast, relax in the hot spring or hike around the surrounding areas.
Dur Tsachhu to Tsochenchen, ~17 Km, 7 hours journey. The route from Dur Tsachu ascends till the Julila Pass, and drops down till Tsochenchen.
Tshchenchen to Gorsum, ~27 Km, 9 hours journey. An early start is a must because the distance is longer than usual. The trail leads gradually down hill.
Gorsum to Bumthang. From Gorsum the trail descends gradually till the bridge near Dur village. From here transport will pick you up and take you to Bumthang.
The drive from Bumthang to Wangdi takes about 7 hours. Picnic lunch will be arranged along the way.
Drive from Wangdi to Paro. Visit Punakha Dzong enroute. Punakha used to be the winter Capital of Bhutan until 1966. It is a place of great historical significance. The mortal remains of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal are preserved in a shrine here. Punakha is also the winter residence of the (Head Abbot) and the Central Monk body.
Day trip to Taktsang, the Tiger's Nest Monastery. The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 4,000 feet. In the 8th century, Guru Padmasambhava flew here on a tiger's back to found the monastery.
Visit Paro week-end market and excursion with short day trek to Dzongdakha Monastery.
Depart Paro for Kathmandu, and connect to homebound flights.
LAND US$ 4000 per person, Single room supplement US$ 640
AIR Kathmandu - Paro - Return US$ 480