1. The Samtengang Trek is one of the easier lower altitude treks in Bhutan. It explores some of the
beautiful forests, many remote historical and religious sites and isolated villages in and above the
Punakha & Wangdi Valley. Weather permitting, it also offers stunning views of mountainous
peaks including Jumolhari (7315m), Kang Bum Peak located above Gaza (6300m) and Tiger
Mountain (Gangcheta 6840m) north of Laya. Some of the climbs may be steep and challenging.
This trek is especially recommended in winter as there is the possibility of leeches on the trail
during the remainder of the year.
DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO, PARO – THIMPHU
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly
changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. Our National Adventure
representative will meet you at Paro airport. After lunch enjoy afternoon sightseeing around
Paro, including a visit to the National Museum, Ta Dzong. This museum houses many religious
relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural,
and religious past. Next, visit the Rimpong Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa,
considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained
enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzong’s are large monasteries and district administrative centres,
which were once strategic forts. Afterwards, transfer for Thimphu for overnight (1.5 hours).
DAY 02: THIMPHU
Enjoy a full day of sightseeing beginning with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten
depicting the Buddhist faith in the form of paintings and statues. This temple was first initiated
by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernization. The Royal
Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the third King who passed away in the year
Other highlights include the 12th Century Changangkha Temple, Drubthob monastery housing
the Zilukha nunnery, the School for Arts and Crafts where the students are taught to master the
13 types of Bhutanese art, the National Library housing a collection of Bhutanese scriptures
dating back to the 8th century, and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk
If there is time, you may also visit the nursing pen for the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan
and Tashichhodzong. ‘the fortress of the glorious religion’. Initially built in 1641 by Shabdrung
Ngawang Namgyal, it was rebuilt in the 1960s during the reign of Bhutan’s third king in the
traditional style, without plans or nails. Tashichhodzong houses government ministries, His
Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
2. DAY 03: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA
Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of
Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time).
The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of
Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to
tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring
Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by the
Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’ as predicted by the great Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava).
It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the
winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from
Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a
breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars
crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver.
After lunch, enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known
as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the
orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not
necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and
most childless couples go to his temple for blessing. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha.
DAY 04: PUNAKHA – LIMBUKHA (9km, 4 hours. 940m ascent)
The trek starts upstream from the Punakha Dzong, over the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan
(180m) across the Pho Chhu. Climb gently on the left side of the Po Chhu through terraced field
of mustard and winter wheat. The Punakha valley is low enough to enable two harvests, so there
is plenty of activity in the field in the winter months. The valley also produces fruits such as
bananas and oranges.
After about a 2.5hr hike uphill through pine forest, fern, oak and some rhododendron, there is a
nice clearing for lunch with a big prayer flag and a beautiful view over the valley. In the far
distance the huge chorten, Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal, can be seen. Looking to the west the
road to Dochu La can be partly traced, and if lucky some snowy peaks maybe visible: Jumolhari,
kang Bum and Tiger mountain.
A chorten and some prayer flags on the skyline at 2200m indicate the end of today’s climb. From
the chorten you can see towards Wangdi and Limbukha where our campsite (2220m) is located
just behind the village on a beautiful green area (1.5hr).
Limbukha has several large old houses. Some people say that this place, at the upper end of a
watershed, used to be a lake. The inhabitants perform a special annual ceremony in connection
with the lake, when they begin to irrigate the fields. In former times a king lived here.
DAY 05: LIMBUKHA – CHUNGSAKHA (10km, 4 hours. 375m ascent, 745m decent)
Leaving camp climbs steeply (150m) up to a small ridge (2370m) through a cold dense forest,
from which today’s climb is visible. Cross this ridge, and descend steeply into a small side valley
3. where a small stream (2235m) is crossed. Surrounded by beautiful birdsong and oak and
rhododendrons forest, follow an unclear trail covered by slippery leaves.
After about 2hrs of climbing reach a small pass, Dochen La (82645m) littered with prayer flags
and possibly a good view towards Dochu La, Jumolhari, Kang Bum, Tiger Mountain, as well as
Talo Lhakhang and Nobgang Lhakhang down in the valley. After the pass a steep steady descent
follows along a forest trail. The forest opens up after reaching Dagegon with a beautiful big old
farmhouse. In the distance a ridge with Samtengang village and Chhuni Gompa can be seen.
Walk alongside Dargyel Gompa, an old monastery of Drukpa Kinley, the` Divine Mad
Madman’, whose teaching methods often shocked monks and lay people. On the hillside above
the monastery are several small meditations cells.
At 1850m Chungsakha (Chhungsekha) is reached. The village has one lhakhang with a simple
but atmospheric chapel on the first floor. The monastery has a festival every three years with
masked dances and singing. The campsite is in front of the Lhakhang.
DAY 06: CHUNGSAKHA – SAMTENGANG (4km, 2.5-3 hours. 550m ascent, 350m
Descend to the road in 45min and find a suspension bridge crossing the Bae Chhu 1500m. The
trail from here is clear, and moderately steep passing through several villages. The trail goes
through small deeply eroded gorges, which will be very slippery in the rain. In December, the
daphne flower is already starting to flower.
The climb is finished for the day when you pass Samtengang High School (established 1952) on
your right. Walk through a narrow gorge to the other side at 2000m and look down towards a
holy lake, Lutshokha (Tsho Shokha). Afterwards continue on to the campsite, located on the
other side of the lake and other 20min beyond it. It is a beautiful flat campsite (2050m) in the
forest below the village of Samtengang.
After lunch there will be plenty of time either to visit Samtengang or stay in camp and enjoy the
fresh wind blowing through the pines. There is a wonderful trail climbing up to Samtengang
Village. The local Lhakhang is Gonjo Lhakhang, and there is another one 2hrs above the village.
Samtengang is mentioned again and again in old literature regarding travelling/exploring/plant
hunting in Bhutan. It was the old stopping place on the first day out from Wangdi for people
travelling east-west (and vice versa). The booklet ‘The Ballad of Pemi Tshewang Tashi: A Wind
Borne Feather’ by Karma Ura will tell you more about the history of the area.
DAY 07: SAMTENGANG – BRIDGE AT TIKA ZAM/CHHUZOMSA (1.5-2km, 3 hours.
Starting near camp, the trail today is steep and challenging. It passes through endless agricultural
fields, heading into the valley of the Dang Chhu. The road will be reached next to the bridge at
Tika Zam (5100ft/1555m). Overnight at a hotel in Wangdue.
DAY 08: WANGDUE – PARO
This morning visit Wangduephodrang Dzong. Built in 1639 the strategically located Dzong is
4. perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. In the 17th century Wangduephodrang played
a critical role in unifying the western, central and southern regions of the country.
Drive back to Thimphu where you will enjoy lunch and have an opportunity to visit handicraft
and souvenir stores. Afterwards proceed to Paro. On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel.
Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 09: PARO
After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 1.5
to 2 hours uphill takes you high above the Paro valley. The view of Taktsang Monastery built on
a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is also
an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here
on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the
8th Century. Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for refreshments before returning to
Paro for lunch.
In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument
built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine
weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning
backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108
temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Kyichu is built in a manner similar to
the Jokhang in Lhasa. Inside there is a great golden image of Buddha Shakyamuni. Overnight at
your hotel in Paro.
DAY 10: DEPART PARO
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.
BHUTAN TREK DATES:
All of our Bhutan tours and treks are private, tailor-made journeys for independent travel on
dates of your choosing, subject to the trek taking place during the trekking season as identified in
the itinerary overview above. We can easily customise your Bhutan tour and trek’ tab above to
begin customising this tour to your requirements.
Travel Time. 4 pax 6 Pax & above
November. 2. USD 2430 3. USD 2340
WHAT WE INCLUDE IN OUR TAILOR MADE BHUTAN TREKS:
Bhutan Tourist Tariff Royalty & Visa fees.
All private excursions and transfers in superior air-conditioned vehicle.
Local English speaking trekking guide/tour leader.
Cook and camp hand who will take care of camp chores and provide wholesome meals.
Services of horsemen who will look after the yaks & ponies that transport luggage and
5. Experienced driver.
Accommodation in carefully selected, highest standard goverment approved hotels &
All meals in Bhutan.
All entrance fees and permits.
All personal expenses such as bars, beverages, laundry, telephone and tips.
Medical / Travel Insurance.
In addition to offering independent, flexible tour options, National Adventure can also arrange a
variety of “add on” options to provide a more in-depth experience of Bhutan. These include:
A farmhouse stay
“Ara” (rice liquor) brewing lessons
Evening dinner & culture show
Alternatively, you can awaken your senses with a range of wellbeing and spa retreats offering
yoga, pilates, meditation, healing bodywork, hot stone baths and massage.
These activities can easily be incorporated into any itinerary. Please note that some activities
may attract additional fees.