Punakha Cultural Trek
Punakha Trek is an easy hike that follows the old foot trail from Thimphu to Punakha. The trail is known for its passage through interesting villages, rice fields, forests and incredible views of Phajoding Monastery. The trail climbs almost a thousand metres, to cross over the Sinchula Pass, offering vistas of the snow-capped mountains. We camp near the famous Chorten Ningpo, an ancient chorten linked to Bhutan’s favourite patron saint, The Divine Madman Lam Drukpa Kuenley.
Arrive Paro, the wide-open valley of Bhutan and drive to Thimphu, Bhutan's charming capital. Take a comprehensive tour of Thimphu, with your private guide, then drive to Dochhu La pass (3,100m), where the trek begins. The trail, connecting remote villages, provides an insight into the local culture and time to appreciate natural beauty. During the 3-night trek, stay in farmhouses and enjoy unbridled warm hospitality of a local family. Alternatively, a deluxe camp with a private cook can be arranged.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 10-DAY PUNAKHA CULTURAL TREK...
And, experience village life in the Punakha and Thimphu valleys.
This little-known trek in western Bhutan, offers excellent scenery, wilderness and cultural encounters at low and middle altitudes. Starting in Thimphu, trek across low Himalayan passes to Punakha with farmhouse stays or luxury camping for three nights.
On your arrival at Paro, the wide-open valley of Bhutan, you will be received by our team who will drive you through the mountains to Thimphu, Bhutan's charming capital. Once known as the capital city without traffic lights, it is still the cultural capital of the Himalaya where you will explore its many cultural attractions and important Buddhist highlights.
After a comprehensive tour of Thimphu, we will drive to Dochhu La pass (3,100m) from where we will start our trek towards Punakha. Walking over trails that connect remote villages, you will have the opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of Bhutan, see its culture first-hand and meet the locals in their natural environment.
You will enjoy a three-night private trekking experience with a choice to stay in farmhouses with local families or a deluxe camp in tents. Although the farmhouses are very basic (unattached toilet/bathroom, bucket bath, sleeping & dining on the floor), you will be in good company, enjoying the warm hospitality of the family and experiencing the actual lives of a rural farming family. In both situations, you will be accompanied by an exceptional guide, expert cook and adventurous companions.
Punakha Cultural Trek This is a remote and little-known trek in western Bhutan.
Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Punakha Cultural Trek, Paro
(10 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 1 – Arrive Paro, Bhutan
Thimphu The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. You will fly over a wall of green hills known as ‘dwars’, or doors to the Himalaya. You will see Mt Everest, Mt Kangchenjunga, Mt Makalu and some of the most beautiful Himalayan peaks - a never-to-be-forgotten vista of a lifetime.
On arrival, you will be received by our representative, who will escort you to your hotel in Thimphu. The transfer to Thimphu takes approximately 1 ½ hours.
Druk Hotel (Local Restaurant – D)
Day 2 – Explore
Thimphu The best way to explore Thimphu is by foot and experience the local culture. The Thimphu adventure walk begins near the Dechenchoeling Palace, official residence of the Queen Mother. The route weaves through villages before ending below the Chari Gompa. In the evening, walk up and down the main street will always be enlightening. From the farmers that come to trade supplies in the city, to Bhutanese businessmen, to the monk body there will always be a colourful gathering passing by.
Druk Hotel – B, (Local Restaurant – L, D)
Day 3 – Trek
Toeb Village The trek start from the beautiful Dochhula pass (3,100m) about an hour drive from Thimphu. On a clear day, the panoramic view from here of the high mountains in the North would be breathtaking. We follow the old cattle trail and trek the nearby Royal Botanical Garden and through the forests before making camp at a farmhouse in the Toeb village.
Trek: 14km/ 5-6hrs
Camp or Farmhouse (B, L, D)
Day 4 – Trek
Laptsakha The trek to Laptsakha village starts through some farm houses is rough but interesting and offers great vistas of the surrounding villages and farms where we will have our picnic lunch.
Trek: 12km/ 5-6 hrs
Camp or Farmhouse (B, L, D)
Day 5 – Trek
Talo Village Today’s trek is generally uphill though not strenuous. Passing through a pine forest and traversing mountains offering great views of villages and lower Punakha valley. We camp on the outskirts of Talo village, which is one of the prettiest hamlets in Bhutan.
Trek: 10km/ 5-6 hrs
Farmhouse stay (B, L, D)
Day 6 – Trek
Punakha The last day trek is primarily downhill, passing through several villages until we reach the roadhead passing through a private orchard to enjoy Himalayan grapes, passion fruits and pears in the months of May to June. The camp provides a ravishing view of the Punakha valley.
Trek: 9km/ 4-5 hrs
Kunzang Zhing Hotel – B, (Local Restaurant – L, D)
Day 7 – Explore
Thimphu After our visit to the Punakha Dzong built on the confluence of Pho Chhu (Male River) and Mo Chhu (Female River) and Chimi Lhakhang, the auspicious fertility monastery, we head back to Thimphu.
Druk Hotel – B, (Local Restaurant – L, D)
Day 8 & 9 – Explore
Paro After lunch travel back to Paro. Stop en-route to visit an auspicious Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, dating back to the 7th century.
Next day we take a hike to Taktsang Gompa monastery (‘Tiger’s Nest’), a breathtaking monastery clings to a sheer cliff face 900m above the Paro Valley. It is said that Guru Rimpoche, a great Buddhist sage, flew on a tigress in the 8th century and meditated in the cave there before he introduced Buddhism here. A round-trip hike takes about 3-4 hours.
Naksel Resort – B, (Local Restaurant – L, D)
Day 10 – Airport Transfer
Depart Paro In the morning your guide will escort you to the airport for your flight onwards.
Make this your holiday
Getting There Flights are available to Bangkok or New Delhi from major UK cities on a variety of carriers. From there flights are with Druk Air. We will arrange your flight tickets and visa clearance details and forward them to the Druk office at the airport from which the flight originates.
Getting Around: Transfers from Paro airport in Bhutan for this tour will be arranged by AwimAway. On your arrival our representative will be waiting for you at the airport with your private car and driver. The car willbe available to you for sightseeing excursions or shopping trips at your convenience, and can be used to travel throughout Bhutan by road.
When to go Winter in Bhutan is from mid-November till mid-March, and at this time of the year the climate is dry and sunny for the most part, temperatures peaking at around 15c. in the daytime and falling below zero at night. During the spring months of March, April and May, Bhutan offers warm days and cool nights. It is a great time for treks and to watch the flora and the many birds of Bhutan.
By the middle of June, clouds begin to build up for the monsoon that arrives in July. By mid-September the monsoon clouds have all but dried and the skies begin to clear. The two-month window between October and November offers clear skies but it can be cold in the night. It is also a good time for trekking deep into the Himalayas, sitting around a camp fire and seeing the high Himalayas in the morning and evening golden light.
Passport/ Visa Land entry: AwimAway.com representatives will meet you at Bagdogra airport in West Bengal to escort you to the land border at Phuentsholing and handle entry formalities for you.
Air entry: If you are coming by air, we will forward your flight tickets and visa clearance details to the Druk Air station at which the flight originates. Please have ready at hand any documentation we have sent you concerning this, or your tour. Kindly be at the check-in counter two hours before the expected departure time for your flight.
Passport & visa arrangements: Your passport should be valid for at least a month after your planned date of departure from Bhutan. Passports are stamped when you arrive, and the visa is valid for two weeks, but can easily be extended in Thimphu if your stay in our country is longer.