Wild East Rodungla Trek

Trip length: 18 Days
Level: Moderate-Hard
Season: March to May & September to November

The trek across the top of eastern Bhutan is tough and involves a tremendously long, steep descend; it used to be an important trade route before completion of National Highway.

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 - Thimphu

After breakfast in the hotel drive to Drukgyal Dzong (Victory Fortress) built to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders. On a clear day the guests can witness the snowy dome of sacred Jumolhari peak (mountain of goddess) that looms directly over the Dzong. Along the way visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in Himalayas by Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. This temple reflects the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. After lunch visit to Ta Dzong, originally as watchtower, now converted into the national museum of the Kingdom. It displays unique antique thangkas, textiles, weapons, amours, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning “fortress of heap of jewels” which has a long and fascinating history. Drive to Thimphu with a short stop at Chuzom (confluence) where Paro river joins Thimphu river. Three different styles of chortens adorn the confluence. Before arriving Thimphu, visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom, built in 1627. Check in at the hotel on arrival. The guests are free to stroll around the town on their own before dinner. Overnigt at a hotel in Thimphu.

Day 3: Thimphu

After breakfast you will visit the King's Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Changgangkha Monastery, the radio tower (for a great view of Thimphu valley and the Tashichhodzong), the open air zoo, which contains the national animal of Bhutan (Takin) together with other animals like the Sambhar deer and barking deer. From there you will visit the nunnery temple, the National Library (which houses ancient manuscripts), and the School of Thirteen Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school). After a relaxing lunch, you will visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, a traditional paper factory, the majestic Tashichhodzong.  Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.

Day 4: Thimphu - Trongsa

After early breakfast, drive to Dochula pass (alt. 3,100m). If weather permits, the guests can see a range of high mountains of high Himalayan peaks towards the northeast. Following peaks can be seen from this pass on a clear day; Masanggang (7,158m), Tsendegang (6,960m), Teri gang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158m), Kangphugang (1,170m), Zongpaphugang (7,060m), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana and finally Gangkar Puensum (7,497m).  Further drive onwards to Wangduephodrang town for lunch. The descend from Dochula into Wangduephodrang valley is quite long as the difference is 1700 meters. Proceed to Trongsa across Pelela pass (alt. 3,300m), the traditional boundary between east and west Bhutan. A large prayer flag marks the pass and the ground is covered with high altitude dwarf bamboo. Stop en route at Chendebji Chorten, which was built in 18th century by lama named Shida. It is Nepalese in style with eyes painted at four cardinal points.  Overnight at a hotel in Trongsa.

Day 5: Trongsa - Bumthang

After breakfast, you'll visit Trongsa Dzong, the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture, and you'll also see Ta Dzong, the former watch tower built to defend this Dzong. This watchtower is now converted into a state-of-the-art museum. Then drive to Bumthang, which is about 3 hours, through the Yutong La pass (alt.3, 400m 29 km from Trongsa). Further 13 km ahead, the road enters into a wide, open cultivated valley known as Chumey. On arrival in Bumthang, check into the hotel. After lunch visit  Kurjey Lhakhang (where the saint body imprint on a rock), he Jambay Lhakhang (7th century), Tamshing Monastery (containing one of the oldest painting in Bhutan), the Jakar Dzong (administrative center) of this district.  Later part of afternoon, the guests are free to stroll around the small town.  Overnight at a hotel in Bumthang.

Day 6: Bumthang - Ngang Lhakhang

After breakfast, start on the trek which begins today. The route takes you around Chamkhar Chhu, a river which has trout in abundance as people do not catch fishes since this district has plenty of religious sites thus Bhutanese do not kill living beings.  Lunch will be arranged at Thangbi Lhakhang, a temple built by the first Karma Shamar in the 13th century. Further ahead you enter Ngang Yul, ‘Swan Land” and at its center is Ngang Lhakhang, the “Swan Temple”. This part of the valley was at first inhabitated by swans who gave their name (Ngang) to the place. The Lama Namkha Samdrup, having dreamt a vision of how to build a temple, shot an arrow at the spot where the arrow landed, the Ngang Lhakhang was thus constructed here. Overnight at a camp site at an altitude of 2,800m. Distance is 20 km, walking time 6-7 hours.

Day 7: Ngang Lhakhang - Ugyenchholing

Climb gradually to Phephe La pass (3,350m). Follow the trail until the pass takes you through one of the most beautiful forested areas of this region. Allow for stops to enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings. Overnight at a camp site at an altitude of 2,850m.  Distance about 14 km. walking time about 4-5 hours

Day 8: Ugyenchholing- Phokphey

After breakfast, start the trek as this day's walk will be through bamboo shrubs, hemlock trees and finally up to the alpine forest. Overnight at a camp site at an altitude of 3,600m. Distance 17 km, walking time 5-6 hours.

Day 9: Phokphey-Ungaar

After breakfast, start the trek and continue ascending for half an hour until you reach Rodung La (4,160m) pass, and then continue downhill through the gorge, overlooking some of the mountain valleys.   Overnight at a camp site at an altitute of 3,200m. Distance 20 km, time 6-7 hours.