- Address: Bumchu House, Flat#:202, Olakha,Thimphu;Bhutan
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- Website: www.skylarkbhutan.com
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Drive to the end of the motor road at Drukgyel Dzong to begin the trek. While you wait for the horses to load up you will have time to take a look at the ruined Dzong. Known as the fortress of victory, it was constructed to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644 and destroyed by a butter lamp fire in 1951. Today's trail follows the river uphill through a narrow agricultural valley as far as the border army camp at about 2800 m. There is now a feeder road as far as the army check post at Gunitsawa about half an hour before camp so if you prefer you can take a day hike near Paro for acclimatisation and then drive towards camp at Shana in the late afternoon. (17 km, 6 hours)
The path from Shana ascends through the river valley with pine and rhododendron forests. On the way, there is a fantastic view of Mount Jomolhari. We will camp in a meadow with a stone shelter at an altitude of about 3860 m. (19 km, 6 to 7 hours)
The trail continues to follow the river and passes a small army post where the valley begins to widen again. Views of high ridges and snow-capped peaks can be seen on all sides. At this altitude (about 4040 m) it is possible to see yaks and yak herders. Camp is beneath a ruined fortress at the base of Mount Jomolhari. (19 kms, 6 hours)
It's possible to hike in various directions: towards Mount Jomolhari and its subsidiary to the west, Jichu Drake to the north and unclaimed summits and ridges to the east. Or just relax at camp and enjoy the splendid views.
The trail leads north crossing the Paro Chhu (river) on a wooden bridge. Climb the hillside to the lakes of Tshophu (4380m) and continue high above the eastern side of the second lake across a scree slope to a crest. Descend into a hidden valley and climb steeply to Bhonte La at 4890m. From the pass the trail eventually switchbacks down to the Dhumzo Chhu and after you cross the river there is a short climb to a camp in a meadow at Chora at 3800m. (16 km, 6 to 7 hours)
The trail climbs 100m over a ridge, then drops to another stream. Crossing that stream, the trail heads up the hillside, dropping into a small side valley before emerging onto a ridge. Here the route turns south, ascending past a few huts to Takhung La (4520m). A short descent leads to Thombu Shong, with three yak herders' huts. We camp at Thombu Shong at 4180m. (12 km, 5 hours)
Climb out of the valley to Thombu La at 4380, then drop gradually to about 4000m. The trail then makes a steep descent, switch-backing down the ridge, finally reaching the helipad at Gunitsawa (2730m) (13 km, 5 hours) from where your driver can meet you to and drive to Thimphu.