Bhutan – Druk Path Trek
Bhutan – the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ - perched among the peaks of Eastern Himalayas has been described as the last Shangri-La. The tiny kingdom (second least populous nation in South Asia) shrouded in centuries of mystery is only beginning to open up in recent years to welcome more visitors. Landlocked, it is bordered by the Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and the Indian states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh to the west and south. Being a Buddhist kingdom, it is well known for its monasteries and fortresses (or dzongs) and offers a fascinating insight into Buddhist culture. Coupled with its dramatic Himalayan landscapes range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys, Bhutan feels like a tranquil place, where time has stood still amidst landscapes of astounding and untouched beauty.
One of the best ways to experience Bhutan is to trek through one of its ancient routes or picturesque mountain ranges. The first road in Bhutan was built only in the early 70s. Until then people travelled along trails for over hundreds of years. Till today, some parts of Bhutan are still days away from the nearest road. Many treks in Bhutan are along these ancient routes in the Himalayas mountain ranges.
About The Trek
The Druk Path Trek is one of the most popular and well known trek in Bhutan. Sandwiched in a valley between Paro and Thimpu, it is easily accessible.
The trail is an ancient trading route that passes through a gorgeous natural landscape of blue pine forests, high ridges and pristine lakes with stunning views of Mt Jomolhari and Mt Gangkar Puensum (the highest unscaled peak in the world). It is also dotted with ancient lhakhangs and dzongs.
The trek connects the valley of Paro to the valley of Thimpu. The 5-day trek begins with a short trek (3-4 hours) starting from the Damchena village (2900m) to head uphill through pine forests to the restored Jele Dzong (fortress/3490m), perched on a grassy whaleback ridge with breathtaking views of Mount Jumolhari to the north. Day 2 is a 5-6 hour undulating trek. From Jele Dzong, continue to ascend up the ridge, walking along the ridge line, before descending below the ridge line to enter into a forested area of thick alpine trees and rhododendrons, to start another uphill climb to reach Jangchulakha (3760m) - a pasture for yaks. The next 2 days are trekking days of around 4-5 hours. On Day 3 and 4, continue to trek on undulating mountain terrain, over 4000m passes and along ridges with magnificent views of the Himalaya. On both days, the campsites are near two gorgeous alpine lakes respectively - Jimilang Tsho (3870m) and Semkotha Lake (3834 m). The final day of the trek will reach above 4000m and is the longest day of around 7-8 hours of trekking. The trek begins with a gradual climb to a small saddle (4150m) with majestic view of Mt Gangkar Puensum and other Himalayan peaks. Then, descend to a small lake to climb up to Phume La pass (4210m), which is adorned with beautiful prayer flags. From the pass, great view of Thimphu from far below can be seen. Descend through a juniper forest to a community hall near Phajodhing (3870m) and continue to walk down hill through more forests to arrive at the end point of the trek, which is just above Thimphu town (15 km).
There are four seasons in Bhutan. The best seasons to visit Bhutan for trekking are spring (mid March to June) and autumn (mid September to early December). In winter, the temperature in higher altitudes becomes very low and snowfall starts. July to early September is the monsoon season when gloomy sky and heavy rain is the typical daily weather pattern.
Autumn (mid September to early December): This is the most popular time for trekking in Bhutan. The sky is often clear blue with barely a wisp of cloud. Though the temperatures can be cold in the higher areas of the mountains, there is little or no snow in most places yet.
Spring (mid March to June): While the spring season may not yet be ideal for trekking in the higher mountains (above 5000m), it is the perfect time for the lower altitude treks, such as the Druk Path Trek. The spring conditions are pleasant for trekking, with cool temperatures and rhododendrons blooming across the hillsides.
No trekking experience is required. Anyone with a good level of fitness can complete this trek. The trek will bring you to an altitude ranging from 2400-4200m in undulating mountain terrain. You will be trekking for 5 days with a 5-6kg backpack load and sleeping for 4 nights at above 3000m. The average trekking hours are around 4-5 hours, expect for the last day, which is the longest trekking day of around 6-7 hours.
Equipment and Gear
You will need thermal base layers, a fleece jacket and an outer shell jacket. When at the campsite and after sundown, a down jacket will help keep you warm. A down sleeping bag is also needed and provided.
A packing list will be provided to all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page to learn about the layering system and choose the right gear/equipment for your trek.
- Group size: 10-16 people
- Group size 7-9 people: $5100 per person
- You can also form a private group. For enquiry, send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Day||Description||Meals||Altitude at Rest Point|
|Day 1||Arrive Paro||-/-/D||2200m|
|Day 2||Acclimatization hike to Taktshang Monastery (Tigers Nest/Hike to Taktshang Monastery (Tiger Nest/3120m). On the way back visit places of interest like Dumtse Lhakhang temple.||B/L/D||2200m|
|Day 3||Acclimatisation hike with a drive Chele La (3900m) and a short hike up Gung Karpo La (4300m)||B/L/D||2200m|
|Day 4-8||For the next 5 days, trek the famous Druk Path. Day 8 drive to Thimphu for overnight.||B/L/D||Jele Dzong-3560m
|Day 10||Depart Thimphu||B/-/-|
- Return SIN/PRO/SIN air ticket, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
- Bhutan tourist visa fee
- Return airport transfer and all land transfer as in itinerary
- All sightseeing and entrance fees as in itinerary
- Meals as in itinerary
- Twin/Trip sharing accommodation in standard local hotels outside of trek and in tents during trek
- Trek gear: Sleeping mats and bags, sleeping tents, dining tents, toilet tents and dinning tables and chairs
- Trek support: Trekking guide, assistant trekking guide and horses for portage support
- Trek leader from Singapore (experience in trek leading and first aid trained)
- Boiled drinking water, tea and coffee during meals on trek
- Permits & fees: Trekking permit fee
- Comprehensive first aid kit carried by guide
- International air tickets for other routes, except SIN/PRO/SIN
- Single Supplement
- Meals not indicated in itinerary
- All tipping
- Personal porters
- Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover travel agent insolvency and trekking up to 5000m)
- Personal expenses like shopping, laundry etc
- Personal travel & trekking gear
- Compensation for damaged or lost of personal items (eg: climbing/trekking gear and equipment, cameras and any valuable items etc)
- Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
- Any expenses including accommodation, meals & transfer outside the stipulated trek/climb itinerary – i.e. any person leaving the group for personal travel, illness/injury or any form of extension of stay
1. Trip briefing and information kit
2. Gear list and gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Training guideline kit
4. Rope skill workshop (For climbs that require rope up and/or fixed rope skill)
Our Local Trek Operator
We carefully select and establish strong working relationship with our local trek operator to ensure safe participation by everyone.
Our local climbing guides have extensive experience in guiding treks in all regions in Bhutan, possess intimate knowledge of the local surroundings, conditions and culture. They carry a comprehensive first aid kit for emergency purpose.
Training: Regardless of your level of fitness and physical conditions, it is advisable to train prior to embarking on a trekking or mountain climbing trip.
Pure cardiovascular fitness is NOT enough.
Focus your training effort in the following areas, assuming that you are in good health and injury-free:
- Climbing conditioning – stairs and load training.
- Cardio training - Jogging/running and interval training like CrossFit or HIIT.
- Strength training for the lower body, shoulder, back and core
- Flexibility training - eg: Yoga and stretching exercises
A good three-four of training would be a good preparation for this trek.
A recommended training guide specific to the trek or climb will be given to you upon signing up.
Refer to our Grading chart for an overview on the technical difficulty and fitness required for this trek.
Refer to our Training Guide for tips on trekking and mountain climbing training.