Detailed Itinerary for Tsaluna Trek:
Day 01: Arrive Paro:
Your Bhutanese escort from Yak Holidays will greet you on arrival, and then drive you the short distance to the Hotel.
After lunch visit to the Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong, the center of civil and religious authority in this valley. A short walk takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge. A short distance further is one of the innumerable archery grounds (Archery is the national sport of Bhutan). If we are lucky, we may catch a match in action. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Day 02: Paro- 2280 meters: Excursion to Taktsang Monastery – start the hike to Jele Dzong:
A very special day, with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery – After breakfast a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten, from there a 2 hour walk till the monastery. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tiger. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria, followed by a short walk to Satsam Chorten.
After lunch, drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7,314 m). On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo.
- Srongsen Gampo: He was a Tibetan king who married a Chinese princess, Wenchen in 641. In 659, He decided to build 108 Temples in a single day to pin the Ogress to the earth forever and, at the same time, convert the Tibetan people to Buddhism. 6 of these Temples lie in Bhutan, most prominent of them are Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang and Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. Kichu Lhakhang is said to hold the left foot of the Ogress and Jambay Lhakhang pins the left knee.
In the evening, free to stroll in the town for shopping and photography. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 03: Paro – Jele Dzong – Start of Tsaluna Trek: (8km, 3 hours. 1090 m ascent).
After lunch, drive to Damchena and start Tsaluna trek. We walk from Damchena to Jele Dzong.
Today is a short trekking day. The journey starts with a climb up to Jele Dzong. The trek trail ascends gradually up to the camp, and if the weather is clear Paro valley can be seen surrounded by snow capped mountains. Above the camp is Jele La (3400m) and Jele Dzong. There is also a Lhakhang containing a statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. Overnight at campsite. Altitude 3480m
Day 04: Jele Dzong – Jangchulakha: (10km, 3 – 4hours. 310m ascent, 50m descent).
Begin with a one and a half hour climb and then ascend more gradually upwards. The trail takes us through thick alpine forests of rhododendrons. We will have fine views of Mt. Chomolhari and other snow capped peaks if the weather is right. We may hear some pheasants calling during the day. We may also see yak herders around your campsite. Overnight at campsite. Altitude 3770m.
Day 05: Jangchulakha – Jimilangtso: Distance 11 Kms; Walking time 4 hours, (330 meters ascent, 230 meters descent).
Today we ascend 330m and descend 310m. The trail begins with a short climb and follows a ridge. From the top on a clear day, we get amazing views of the beautiful Mt. Jumolhari and other Himalayan ranges. After a short descent, we arrive at Jimilangtsho Lake (3,700m). Dinner and overnight in Camp. Camp Altitude: 3700m;
Day 06. Jimilangtsho – End of Tsaluna Trek (9 kms- 4 hours) – Thimphu:
After breakfast, start walking down hill following a stream till Tshalu ney. Packed lunch will be served. Your vehicle will pick you up at Tshaluna. Tsaluna trek ends here and we bid farewell to the trekking crew members. Your vehicle will drive you to Thimphu. Relax in the hotel. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 07: Thimphu sightseeing:
The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls).
After lunch, visit to the Tallest Statue of Buddha in the world, witness Archery Match. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). The Tashichho Dzong is open to visitors only in winter when the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body move to Punakha the ancient winter capital of Bhutan and finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 08: Thimphu – Punakha – Thimphu: (Altitude 1310 m) (76 Km, 3 hrs drive).
After breakfast, drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. We stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas.
Drive further to Punakha. On the way, view Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (Popularly known as “The Divine Madman”, in the year 1499. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder bolt” and built the temple on top of a hillock. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”.
- Lama Drukpa Kuenley (1455 – 1529) was one of the Bhutan’s Favourite Saints who was born in Tibet, trained at Ralung Monastery and was a contemporary and a disciple of Pema Lingpa. He Travelled throughout Bhutan and Tibet as a “Neljorpa” (Yogi) using songs, humour and outrageous behavior to dramatise his teachings of Salvation through sex.
After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the First National Assembly here in 1952. In the evening, drive back to Thimphu. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 09. Thimphu – Paro (Departure):
After breakfast, drive to the airport and farewell.