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Punakha Winter Trek is a short and easy trek through Punakha,it is ancient capital of Bhutan. This trek is a newly established trekking route which is in the central part of Bhutan. The altitude of the trail covers almost a thousand meters in range but it is one of the easy trek. It is suitable for both be a beginner or an experienced ones. Anyone who are fit can carry out this trek easily.
Punakha Winter Trek starting point is from a drive from Thimphu . From Thimphu we drive all along passing through Dechenchholing Palace and Pangri Zampa Lhakhang with wonderful view of nature. Few kilometers drive from the Lhakhang will take you to Chamina, a beautiful and wonderful small village. This is the starting point of our trek.
You have to walk for about 7 to 8 hours in order to reach Dopshipang, our 1st resting destination where we will camp overnight. On the next day, we will have a Trek passing all the way through village and rice fields. Similar Trekking hours on this day as well will lead you towards Chorten Ningpo which is linked to Drukpa Kuenley better known as the “divine madman”. Our two days Punakha Winter trek ends at this spot.
Due to the low altitude and warm climate of the area, Punakha Winter Trek is available all winter but the best times to go are between March-May and September-November.
Day 01: Arrive at Paro
The flight into Bhutan is a breathtaking one with views of Mt. Everest. Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan peaks including sacred Jomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro Airport you will be received by a representative of Himalaya Journey Treks & Expedition, Check in at Hotel. After lunch you will be taken for a visit to Ta-Dzong Museum. Overnight at Hotel Olathang.
Day 02: Paro Sightseeing
Drive the winding road northwest up the Pa Chu to the ruins of Drugyel Dzong. Now a burned shell was once strategic in Bhutanese defense against Tibetan invasion. On a clear day you can view the sacred summit of Mt. Jomolhari which reaches skyward beyond the Dzong on the way back visit a typical Bhutanese farmhouse. Overnight at Paro
Day 03: Paro – Thimpu
This morning follow the winding road beside the Pa Chu (Chu means water or river) downstream to its confluence with the Wangchu then up valley to Thimphu the capital. Lunch at hotel Taktsang. Afternoon visit Memorial Chorten (stupa), here the faithful circumambulate the shrine dedicated to the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, telling their prayer beads as they walk. Overnight at Thimpu
Day 04: Thimpu sightseeing
A full day of sightseeing and shopping in Thimphu. Wander in town, visit shops and the handicrafts emporium. You may return to the hotel for lunch with your guide and transport. Afternoon drive north up the valley to Dechenchholing (residence of the Queen Mother) to get a wonderful down valley view of Thimphu and Tashichhodzong. Visit the silversmiths at the north end of the valley. Overnight at Hotel Thimpu
Day 05: Thimpu – Shongpang
Drive north up the valley towards Dechenchholing. Palace (residence of the Queen Mother) following the Thim Chu, the transport will reach you to Pangrizam the last motor point. From here the trek starts towards Shong Pang, which takes about 4/5 hrs through villages. The camp will be just above Chamina village and vegetation like Blue Pine, Oak spices, Rhododendrons etc can be seen. Overnight at camp.
Day 06: Shong Pang – Dopshing pang
The trek trail ascends gradually up till you reach the pass called Sinchula, which is about 3490m above sea level. From this point, if weather is clear, one can see Phajoding monastery. After 2km walk you can view Thinleygang village, Talo monastery and the motor highway towards the ancient capital of Bhutan. The trek from the pass more or less descends till you reach campsite. Overnight at camp.
Day 07: Dopshing pang – Chortern Ningpo
Today the trek to Chorten Ningpo is rather gradual and you will be waling into thick forests and just before reaching campsite you will pass by villagers and rice fields. Overnight at camp. Alt. 2700m.
Day 08: Chorten Ningpo – Zomlingthang
For about 2 – 3 hrs the trek trail will be through villages and suddenly you will be on the motor road. From here you will follow the road towards Punakha the ancient capital of Bhutan. Evening at leisure and those interested can fish in the MoChu (female river).
Day 09: Zomling Thang – Limukha
Follow the motor road till Punakha Dzong and then cross the PhoChu river (male river) the river that drains the remote Lunana region. You will have a steady half-day climb into a forest of scattered long needle Chirr pines. Make sure to fill your water bottle before leaving Punakha, as there is no water on the way for a couple of hours. You will have wonderful vies of Punakha valley and the Dzong. If the weather is clear you can see snow capped mountains to the north. Overnight at camp, which is near the Limukha village. Alt. 2250m
Day 10: Limukha – Chungsakha /Wangdi
The trek trail ascends gradually up through the thick forest of Oak species and Rhododendrons till you reach Dochula. Then descend through the thick forest till you reach a small monastery dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley. Then from Chungsakha you can look across the valley to Samtengang on the ridge to the south. Walk downhill till you reach the motor road and then drive for about half an hour to Wangdi. Overnight at Wangdi tourist lodge.
Day 11: Wangdi – Thimpu
After breakfast drive to Punakha Dzong viewpoint at the north end of the Punakha valley. It was the nation’s capital until 1966. The Je Khenpo head abbot of the religion in the country and most of the monks of Thimphu occupy this Dzong throughout the Dochula pass and stop at the cafeteria for a hot cup of tea and snacks and view show capped mountains on a clear day. Continue to drive to Thimphu, the present capital of Bhutan. Overnight at Hotel Taktsang.
Day 12: Thimphu – Paro exit
After breakfast, relaxing or shopping then three hours before departure , Himalaya Journey Treks & Expedition’s airport representative will drop to you Paro airport for onward journey.
Punakha Winter Trek follows the old foot trail from Thimphu to Punakha passes through several villages, forests and rice fields. Punakha Winter Trek offers incredible views of Phajoding Monastery and crosses through Sinchula Pass.
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