Day 1 Arrive Kathmandu
Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel. The evening is free for you to relax.
Day 2 Paro
You will fly to Paro on Day 2. If the weather is clear, you should get a fantastic view of much of the eastern half of the Himalaya, including Everest, Kanchenjunga and Chomolhari (Jhomolhari). After completing visa formalities in Paro, you transfer to the hotel. The Paro valley is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Bhutan. Its blue pine-covered hills and attractive, solidly built farmhouses among the paddy fields are dominated by the massive dzong, or fort. This afternoon you will visit the Paro Dzong and the National Museum located above it. Paro Dzong is one of Bhutan's most impressive, and the finest example of Bhutanese architecture you will see. The inward sloping walls form a massive structure that towers over the town. Built in the 17th century it was one of Bhutan's strongest and most important fortresses and it was used on several occasions to defend the Paro Valley from invasions by Tibet. Formally the meeting hall for the National Assembly, the dzong now houses a monastic school and district government offices. Scenes from the 1995 film 'Little Buddha' were filmed in the dzong. West of the dzong a traditional wooden covered bridge called Nyamal Zam, a reconstruction of the original bridge, which was washed away in a flood in 1969. The most famous pictures of Paro Dzong are taken from the west bank of the river, just downstream from the bridge. At the top of the hill above the dzong is the old watch tower known locally as Ta Dzong. Originally built in 1656, it was renovated in 1968 by King Jigme Dorje Wangchuk to house the National Museum. This round building is said to be in the shape of a conch shell, and there is a specific route to follow throughout the entire building, which ensures that you walk clockwise around important images. Inside the museum there is a spectacular collection of thangkas, an extensive philatelic collection, a temple, which depicts the history of Buddhism, ancient bronze and stone objects and displays of weapons captured during the Tibetan invasions.
Day 3 Takstang Monastery (Tiger's Nest)
Today you will have the chance to hike to the Takstang Monastery. The Takstang, or 'Tiger's Nest ' monastery perched on the ledge of a cliff high above the Paro Valley. Partly destroyed by fire in 1998, it has now been completely restored to its former magnificence. You will hike to a viewpoint where there is a small cafe for classic views of the monastic buildings which cling almost impossibly to the cliff wall opposite. For the energetic there is the chance to walk even higher to the actual monastery.
Day 4 Paro festival
You will spend all of today at the spectacular Paro festival. This is the most famous festival in Bhutan and thousands of people gather to see the monks dressed in colourful brocade, silk costumes and wearing painted masks re-enact the story of the gompa's particular divinity though music and dance. For several days there are masked dances, prayer meetings and a general carnival atmosphere prevails as many villagers arrive to meet old friends.
Day 5 Ta Dzong watchtower (2510m)
Today you will start the trek. After breakfast there will be a short drive to the road head at the ancient Ta Dzong watchtower (2510m). The first day's trekking is quite hard, as we gain quite a lot of height and it's all the way uphill. From Ta Dzong it is a gentle one hour climb to a fork in the trail. The trail then climbs steeply up to our camp just below Jele Dzong (3450m). If the weather is clear, you can see the whole of the Paro Valley below and in the distance is Chomolhari. 4 to 5 hours walking.
Day 6 Explore Jele Dzong
After breakfast you wil have time to explore the Jele Dzong and we may be lucky enough to be allowed inside! Our day’s walk begins with a climb through thick rhododendron forest to the Jele La (3490m) and onto a saddle at 3590m. You may see yak herders here and there are great views of Chomolhari. Look out for the colourful Monal Pheasants which inhabit the forests. The camp is located at the yak herders' camp called Jangchu Lakha. Approx 5 to 6 hours walking.
Day 7 Camp at Janya Tsho (3780m)
After breakfast you will descend for a couple of hours to the Jimilang Tsho stream - look out for blood pheasants. Crossing the stream the trail zig zags to Janye Tsho from where you start to climb again all the way to our camp at Janya Tsho (3780m). There are many different paths today - some only suitable for trekkers and not for pack animals. We leave the main trail and take a shorter route to Janya Tsho, where there are several yak herders huts. From camp you should have wonderful views back to Jel dzong and the mountains ahead. Look out for Blue Sheep at the campsite. Approx 4-5 hours walking.
Day 8 Camp at Labana (4130m)
A fairly easy day to day with great mountain views. The trail undulates all day through the forest and past Simtoka Lake to our camp at Labana (4130m). Far below us is the Thimpu Valley. Approx 4-5hours walking.
Day 9 Labana Pass at 4210m
The trail today climbs gradually up to the Labana Pass at 4210m (the highest point of this trek) from where we traverse the hillside with great mountain views. On a clear day we should see Gangar Punsum, the highest mountain in Bhutan and Kanchenjunga. A long descent through forests of blue pine brings past Phajoding monastery to the end of our trek at Motithang, just above Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan. You should reach the hotel by mid-afternoon. The evening is free to explore Thimpu. Approx 4–5 hours walking.
Day 10 Sightseeing Tashichodzong, drive to Paro
You spend most of today visiting the main sights of the town including the Tashichodzong, which is the centre of the Bhutanese Governement, the Memorial Chorten, which was built in 1974 to honour the memory of the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Simtokha dzong and a painting school. In the late afternoon there will be a short drive back to Paro.
Day 11 Fly back to Kathmandu
Today you will fly back to Kathmandu. The rest of the day is free to explore the temples and markets of Kathmandu or go shopping.
Day 12 Free day at Kathmandu
A free day in Kathmandu for sightseeing or shopping. There are several sightseeing tours on offer (see the notice board in the hotel in Kathmandu), or you may want to explore Kathmandu on your own. The Kathmandu Durbar Square is full of ancient temples and palaces. You may want to visit the monkey temple at Swayambhunath or the largest Hindu temple in Nepal at Pashupatinath or the one of the largest Buddhist stupas in Asia at Bodnath. Once you have had your fill of culture, the colourful markets of Thamel are great for souvenir hunting.
Day 13 Depart Kathmandu
Final Departure. Transfer to airport.