Samtengang Winter Trek

Trip length: 10 Days                                                     
Level: Easy
Season: Jan to May & September to December

Day 1: Arrive at Paro Airport

On the flight to Paro International Airport, the guests will experience breath-taking views of Mount Everest, Mount Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan mountain ranges, including the sacred Mount Jumolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by Mr. Sonam Peljore, CEO or the representative of Sonam Tshoey Travel together with the Guide and driver who will take you directly to the hotel for a short rest and some refresments.  Depending on the time, the guests can take a stroll around the town and visit some interesting local handicraft shops.  Overnight at a hotel in Paro.

Day 2: Paro Sightseeing

After the breakfast, the guests will be driven to visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong - Watch Tower).  The watch tower was initially built to guard the Paro Rinpung Dzong.  As it has been converted into a National Museum, it now offers some unique and varied collections of ancient artifacts, armours used during the wars, textiles from various parts of the country, antique thangkha paintings and other items which has been collected from all over the country.  After the visit to the National Museum, the guests will then be escorted to the Rinpung Dzong, which is a massive fortress strategically located on a hilltop above the Paro Valley. At the present time, the Dzong houses the District Administration Office and the District Monk Body. After lunch the guests will be driven to visit the Drukgyel Dzong, a fortress in ruins where Bhutanese warriors won the war against the Tibetan invaders and thus the name Drukgyel Dzong (Victory Dzong) derived from this Victory.  The snowy dome of sacred mount Jumolhari, "mountain of goddess" looms directly over the Dzong. Visit to some typical Bhutanese farmhouse can also be arranged if the guests are interested. On the way back, the guests will also visit the 7th century Kichu Lhakhang (monastery), one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. This temple reflects the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. Overnight at  a hotel in Paro.

Day 3: Paro - Thimphu

After breakfast drive to Thimphu, on the way stop to view the famous Tachog Goenpa (monastery) where Terton Thangthong Gyalpo meditated.  Terton Thangthong Gyalpo is also a well known iron chain bridge builder who built about 7 iron chain bridges in Bhutan.  Today across the Pa Chhu the guest will witness the assembled iron chain bridge that has been built by the government to preserve this technology.  The guests will also have the opportunity to walk on this iron chain bridge if they desire.  The guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy the cluster of villages and paddy fields including the times when the farmers are busy in their fields.  While in Thimphu the guests will be taken directly to the hotel and lunch will be organized in a local restaurant. After lunch the guests will visit the Memorial Chorten (stupa) which was built in memory of our beloved 3rd King of Bhutan.  The guests can also stroll at the recently established cottage industries where they can buy traditional handwoven fabrics, carvings etc.  As per the government rules, the guests will be allowed to visit Tashichhodzong after the government offices are closed at 5 p.m.   The guests can witness a game of archery match played at the Changlimithang archery range.  Archery is the national sports of Bhutan, both young boys and the older men enjoy playing this sport during the weekends and holidays.  If the guests happen to be in Thimphu during the weekend, it will be interesting to visit the sunday market where villagers from far and near bring their agriculture and livestock products for sale in this market.  Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.

Day 4: Thimphu - Khuruthang

After breakfast slowly move towards Punakha.  On the way enjoy the view of the Simtokha Dzong which is one of the oldest dzong that was built and also view the Statue of Buddha on the other side of the valley and one could pray for peace and happiness in the world.  The drive towards Dochula pass (3,300m) goes through lush green forests with blue pine, oak, chirpine and rhododendron trees.  Once you are at the top of the mountain on a clear day, the guests will enjoy the most spectacular view of many peaks/mountains in Bhutan and also enjoy a short stroll around the 108 chortens (stupas).  Lunch will be organized in a farmer's house in Thinlaygang where the guests will be exposed to the real life situation of a village house in Bhutan.  After lunch, drive down to Punakha and visit the Dzong situated in between Pho Chhu (male river) and Mo Chhu (female river). Overnight at a hotel in Punakha.

Day 5: Khuruthang - Limukha

After the breakfast, the guests will be driven towards the Dzong and from here the guests will cross the longest suspension bridge of 230 meters which was built with the financial assistance from the government of Switzerland.  The trek is not very difficult as we will be walking through the farmers paddy field and blue pine and chir pine forests with only some gradual climb.  Picnic lunch will be arranged during the trek as well as some tea and snacks on the way.  Walking distance 5-6 hours.  Overnight at a camp site in Limukha

Day 6: Limukha - Chungsakha

After breakfast, slowly start on the trail that will take the guests through lush rhododendron and oak forested area engulfing the aroma of the natural forest and shrubs. Guests will also have the chance to see a barking deer which are in abundance in these forests and come across scattered farm houses and their fields.  In a village during the trek the quests will come across the lhakhang of Drukpa Kuenlay most popularly known as the Divine Mad Man.  Walking distance 5-6 hours.  Overnight at a camp site. 

Day 7: Chungsakha - Samtengang

After breakfast, slowly start on the trail that will take the guests through the fields of the farmers and ocassionally stop and chat with farmers working in the field.  The guests will also be exposed to the clustered village houses which are built with traditional architecture and intricate paintings of the houses made from rammed mud which can withstand earthquakes as well.  This place is famously known as Sha under Wangduephodrang District. Walking distance about 5-6 hours.  Camp site at Samtengang near the  lakeside.

Day 8: Samtengang - Wangdue/Thimphu

After breakfast, slowly start on the trail which gradually drops down till the motor road at Tiki Zam where the driver will be waiting to pick up the guests.  The guests will be driven to Wangdiphodrang where lunch will be provided at a local hotel.  After lunch drive towards Thimphu.   On reaching Dochula pass, visit the Druk Wangyel monastery which was recently built depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. Continue the drive to Thimphu and check into the hotel. Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.

Day 9: Thimphu Sightseeing

After breakfast in the hotel, the guests will be taken to visit Simtokha Dzong which is about 7 kilometers from town. This is one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan that was built in 1629 A.D. Visit the Zorig Chusum and Painting School where traditional art and crafts are still kept alive. After a relaxing lunch, visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine and a traditional hand made paper factory. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 10: Paro Airport

Depending on the flight timing, the guests will be driven to the Paro International Airport to bid good bye and safe journey back to their home country.