18-Day Medium-Hard Grade Trip
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Expect incredible Himalayan views on this memorable trip, including a 12-day mountain trek, close to the border with Tibet, where you will meet the unique people of Laya. Finish the trek with a visit to the hot springs at Gasa before travelling to beautiful Punakha.
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The Tiger's Nest
The hike to the amazing Tiger's Nest Monastery is one of the best in the world. As you ascend through pine and rhododendron forest you glimpse the monastery high above and the Paro Valley down below. Suddenly, after a final push upwards you are faced with the most magnificent views of the Tiger's Nest clinging to the side of a cliff. It's simply breathtaking.
The beautiful dzong at Punakha sits at the confluence of two great rivers and is reached by a wooden cantilevered bridge. This elegant building displays the very best of Bhutanese architecture, embellished with intricately carved, painted and gilded woodwork. The dzong is the site for the coronation of Bhutan's kings and it is the winter residence of the central monk body.
At 3,700 metres in altitude Laya is the highest and one of the most remote villages in Bhutan, located a short distance from the Tibetan border. The Layaps, as the locals are known have their own language and customs and wear a distinct style of dress, most notably a small spire-shaped hat made from bamboo worn by Layap women. They are primarily yak herders but also grow crops such as turnips and barley.
Paro is the gateway to Bhutan. Its wide valley makes it the most suitable location for Bhutan’s only international airport. The valley is dominated by the view of the magnificent dzong, or fortress, which is the site of one of Bhutan’s most popular festivals. Above the dzong sits the National Museum, home to some fine examples of Buddhist art and sculpture, as well as a room dedicated to Bhutan’s flora and fauna.
Spectacular mountain scenery
Bhutan's remote trails offer stunning views of the Eastern Himalayan Range. As we travel further into the mountains, above the tree line, the views become more dramatic, with vast sweeping panoramas. You may find yourself standing within a 360 degree circle of peaks. It is truly awe inspiring.
The trail to this beautiful high alpine lake is a great day hike from Mount Jomolhari base camp. As you ascend you gain superb views of Jichu Drake with its dramatically pointed peak. Jichu Drake translates as ‘angry bird’. The lake is located at 4,430 metres above sea level and is a brilliant blue colour when viewed from above.
The high passes in Bhutan are places where we usually pause in our journey and stop to take in the magnificent views. The Dochu La not only has great views of the mountains but is an impressive sight in itself, with 108 chortens spread over a small hill at its centre.