Bhutan: Druk Path Trek & Tshechu Festivals

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Himalayan Majesty

Sacred sites, cultural connections, outstanding trekking—the true adventure of a lifetime

Two Exclusive Departures

Sold OutMarch 3 - 15, 2022

Sold OutMarch 30 - April 11, 2022

13 Days, 12 Nights

Limited to 12 people, includes roundtrip airfare from Bangkok to Bhutan

Price from

$7,900

Per person based on double occupancy

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+1 (855) 219-8018

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Strings of prayer flags dance on the wind and pierce the clouds. You thought things were remote when you simply entered Bhutan—now you’re on the ancient Druk Path trail deep in the Himalayas. Trekking in the “Land of the Thunder Dragon” is more rewarding that you thought possible, despite the sore feet and tired muscles. But all of that fades with a sense of sheer accomplishment and serenity. The prayerful songs and dance at an ancient festival, greeting monks at monasteries and yak herders traversing the towering mountains, you’ve never felt so immersed in a place. Here, pursuit of happiness trumps everything. And anything you’ve ever worried about drifts away like flags on a string.

This 13-day trekking and cultural adventure sounds like fantasy. In fact, it’s Bhutan. This journey into the long-isolated Himalayan kingdom takes in the country’s most sacred sites, the annual Punakha and Talo festivals, stunning mountain passes, five days’ worth of fully supported Himalaya trekking, hot stone baths and heritage hotels—and the rare opportunity to connect to Bhutan’s timeless traditions thriving at dzong monastery forts, local markets and remote villages.

Join us at the rooftop of the world. Rarely experienced by foreigners, and home to fewer than 750,000 people, Bhutan is as heartfelt and devout as it is enthralling and remarkable. This is the most amazing combination of remote trekking and fulfilling cultural sightseeing like you won’t find anywhere else. You won’t forget it.

Your Bhutan Experience

Who It's For

This is the perfect blend of trekking and culture. We’ll experience local life at the Punhaka and Talo festivals, at village markets and remote mountain villages, visit dzongs along roaring rivers, and trek for five days up and over Bhutan's legendary Druk Path trail.

Difficulty: Moderate

We’ll spend five days of our journey camping in the wild—fully supported by guides, sherpas and cooks—and hiking on trails accessible for people who maintain good physical fitness and are prepared for the demands of hiking at high elevations in remote mountainous areas.

How We Travel

In style! In Paro, Thimphu and Punakha we stay at luxurious properties. Over five days of trekking, we are fully supported with an expert Bhutanese guide, camp cooks, horsemen and yak wranglers. We’ll carry lightweight daypacks while the rest of our gear is transported for us.

True wilderness. Epic exploration. Cultural immersion. We’ve scoured the earth for hidden gems and invite you to join us on one of these exclusive trips designed by Modern Adventure in collaboration with Backpacker magazine. Let's explore the trails less traveled, together.

Your Experience

“If the government can not create happiness for its people, there is no purpose for the government to exist.”
Bhutan's legal code

Bangkok to Paro, Punakha, Thimphu

“The world has few secrets left, but Bhutan is one of them.”
Author Katie Hickman

Day by Day

Day 1

We’re kicking things off in style, with a leisurely day in Bangkok, Thailand. In the late afternoon, we’ll meet up as a group and discuss the itinerary and tomorrow’s flight. Then spend the evening exploring Bangkok or just relaxing at our hotel—the rooftop skybar features stunning views of the city—before turning in on the early side. We’re up and out an early to catch our 5am flight to Bhutan.

Day 1 Highlights

  • Arrival in Bangkok, Thailand
  • Group meet-up at hotel
  • Evening to explore or relax
  • Stay at Suvarnabhumi Ville in Bangkok

Day 2

We left Bangkok before sunrise; three hours later we’re weaving through 18,000-foot Himalayan peaks and sweeping in low through a long, winding valley to land at Paro’s airport. At 8,000 feet, this is the lowest elevation we’ll be at for the entire trip. It’s also the only entry point into the country by plane! Clearly, they keep the best stuff in the places hardest to find.

We’ll transfer to our hotel in Paro just in time for lunch. This age-old city is in one of Bhutan’s most sacred valleys. Take in the view, encircled by towering peaks, and get ready for our incredible adventures to come.

After settling in, we’ll visit Rinpung Dzong, a Bhuddist monastery dating back to the 15th century, for a taste of Bhutanese art and to marvel at this ancient architectural opus in peaceful solitude. Then we’ll stroll through the town of Paro before meeting up for a delicious, locally sourced welcome dinner.

Day 2 Highlights

  • Flight from Bangkok to Paro
  • Visit Rinpung Dzong & explore Paro
  • Welcome dinner
  • Stay at Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary in Paro

Day 3

There is no better way to celebrate our adventure, and to gently acclimate to hiking at elevation, than a visit to sacred, iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Taktshang Goemba). The only access is by foot; it’s a steep climb to the site, which clings impossibly to a sheer cliff face, capped with views of the valley 3,000 feet below. Eight caves burrow into and around the monastery, and many sections of the gold-plated sanctuary are literally carved from the rock face. Each morning at 4am, a prayer wheel in the temple courtyard is rotated by monks to mark the beginning of a new day. Each hour flows by in a mesmerizing rhythm, in time with the clouds floating gracefully across the wide green valley. To spend time here is simply magical.

We’ll have time to explore the grounds before heading back down into Paro for dinner at our hotel, and time to rest and relax ahead of tomorrow’s trekking start.

Day 3 Highlights

  • Day hike to Tiger’s Nest
  • Picnic lunch on monastery grounds
  • Stay at Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary in Paro

Day 4

Our trek begins! After breakfast in Paro, it’s a short drive to the Druk Path, where our guides, pack horses and camp cooks await. This ancient trading route is one of the finest treks in all Bhutan, connecting the Paro and Thimpu Valleys with beautiful rhododendron forests, yak pastures, apple orchards, ancient monasteries and snow-capped mountains.

We’ll load up and head out with our day packs. The trail leads up into the forests and along a narrow road through Himalayan villages dappled across the wooded mountains. We cross valleys traversed by yak herders and continue up a ridge to Jele Dzong. This old fortress, strategically situated on a hilltop between Paro and Thimphu, has catered to travelers for centuries. Kick back, soak in the views and maybe hang your own prayer flags as camp is set up, and as we savor our first camp dinner under the stars.

  • Elevation gain: 4,035ft
  • Distance: 3.7 miles
  • Hiking time: 3 hours
  • Overnight elevation: 11,500ft

Day 4 Highlights

  • Trek from Paro to Jele Dzong
  • Dzong visit
  • Camp at Jele Dzong

Day 5

Get ready for our longest—and certainly one of our most rewarding—trekking days. After breakfast, with the morning sun peeking over the Himalayan peaks, we start with a gradual climb to a high ridge for more scenic overlooks and photo ops. We descend through more rhododendrons and forest, the intoxicating piney scent practically levitating us toward our destination this evening, past the yak-herder pastures at Jangchulakha. Before we arrive, we’re rewarded with views of the kingdom’s iconic peaks including Mt Jichu Drake (23,000 ft) and Jumolhari, the ‘Goddess Peak’ (24,035 ft). We’ll camp tonight at Jimilangtsho Lake.

  • Elevation gain: 1,673ft
  • Distance: 11 miles
  • Hiking time: 8-9 hours
  • Overnight elevation: 12,300ft

Day 5 Highlights

  • Trek from Jele Dzong to Jangchulhakha
  • Camp at Jimilangtsho Lake

Day 6

It’s all downhill from here—for this morning, anyway. We’ll head out on a leisurely descent before climbing gradually through thick alpine forest, catching glimpses of Jomolhari, the rugged mountain separating Tibet and Paro. We’ll stop for lunch at Janesto Lake, with time to admire the half-dozen towering snow-capped peaks vying for our attention en route to our next campsite. Keep your ears open for pheasants beckoning us ever closer. We camp tonight at Simkotra Lake,.

  • Elevation gain: 853ft
  • Distance: 6.8 miles
  • Hiking time: 4-5 hours
  • Overnight Elevation: 13,200ft

Day 6 Highlights

  • Trek from Jimilangtsho Lake to Simkotra Lake
  • Camp at Simkotra Lake

Day 7

Next up is Phajoding, up and up, and over our first pass today—and the highest pass of our trek—at 14,764 feet. On clear days it’s impossible to miss Gangkhar Puensum (24,836 ft), the highest mountain in Bhutan and the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. Breathe in that crisp alpine air, descend through dwarf rhododendron trees as we skirt around a small lake. Then, we climb to our second-highest pass, Phume La, at 13,812 feet, with magnificent views of the eastern Himalayas. This is what Bhutan trekking is all about.

Our long descent runs through juniper forests down to Phajoding Monastery, where end the day as any Bhutanese monk or nun should: communing with local pilgrims at the ancient monastery, with the chance to join in their chants and rituals.

  • Elevation gain: 328ft
  • Elevation loss: 1,509ft
  • Distance: 8 miles
  • Hiking time: 5-6 hours
  • Overnight elevation: 10,500ft

Day 7 Highlights

  • Trek from Simkotra Lake to Phajoding
  • Camp at Phajoding Monastery

Day 8

Our final trekking day is downhill all the way. We start our long, slow descent through thick forest of blue pine, fir and spruce, rewarded with breathtaking views of Thimphu Valley below. Our trail ends in the afternoon at Motithang, a short drive from Thimphu, where we’ll settle into our luxurious boutique hotel in the heart of this ancient city.

  • Elevation loss: 4,292ft
  • Distance: 6.2 miles
  • Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Day 8 Highlights

  • Trek from Phajoding to Motithang
  • Transfer to hotel
  • Stay at Norkhil Hotel in Thimphu

Day 9

The morning is yours: We’ve earned a leisurely breakfast and some downtime. We’ll reconvene in the early afternoon and dive deep into Thimphu’s history and heritage. First up at Jungshi, we’ll see where locals produce Deh-sho, the authentic and traditional Bhutanese paper. Then we’ll visit the College of Zorig Chusum, where students are trained in the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan, including lhazo (wall painting), shingzo (wood carving) and thagzo (weaving). Our final stop is Thimphu’s Buddha Dordenma statue, a bronze monolith glistening in its golden gild, a landmark to the meditation hall he sits atop. As if one Buddha wasn’t enlightening enough, the statue in fact contains more than 100,000 miniature Buddhas within it.

Back at the hotel, the evening is yours to explore Thimphu’s temples, markets, cafes and restaurants.

Day 9 Highlights

  • College of Zorig Chusum & paper factory
  • Visit Buddha Dordenma statue
  • Evening to explore Thimphu
  • Stay at Norkhil Hotel in Thimphu

Day 10

Today we depart Thimphu for Punakha—and as with much of our journey, we’re taking the scenic route. Along the way, a traditional herbal expert will invite us into their home and teach us about the rich history of medicinal plants and herbal tinctures, the basis for much of Bhutan’s health care up until the 1980s.

Lunch is at 10,000 feet in Dochu La Pass, where the sights are as good as the local fare. In the small village of Metsina, we’ll receive a blessing from its Lord of Fertility at Chimi Lhakhang temple. Fully satiated by stellar scenery and spirituality, we arrive in Punakha for dinner and time to relax at our hotel.

Day 10 Highlights

  • Transfer to Punakha 
  • Meet traditional Bhutanese herbalist
  • Ancient temple visit in Metsina
  • Stay in Punakha

Day 11

Festival day! After breakfast we’ll visit our second dzong of the trip, but this time, things will be considerably more boisterous.

On our March 3 departure, we’ll mingle with locals and villagers, monks and pilgrims, as we celebrate Punakha Tscechu (Punakha Festival) at the sublime Punakha Dzong. The festival celebrates Indian Tantric master Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century. Prayerful song, masked dancers and the most colorful cultural regalia: This is the Dragon Kingdom in all its glory. 

On our March 30 departure we’ll head instead to Talo Sangnacholing monastery, built on a small plateau with majestic views of Punakha valley, to celebrate the 300-year-old Talo Tshechu (Talo Festival) on the monastery’s grounds. Famous for mask and atsara (clown) dances, Talo Tshechu is also a deeply religious celebration showcasing the Zhungdra—a classical dance performance with songs passed down through generations without the slightest change in tune or lyric (to change anything would bring bad luck).

On both departures, after a picnic lunch on the festival grounds, we head to the Wolakha Village nunnery for a blessing and to witness afternoon prayers.

Day 11 Highlights

  • Punakha or Talo festival
  • Picnic lunch on dzong grounds
  • Afternoon prayers at Wolakha nunnery
  • Stay in Punakha

Day 12

Today we depart Punakha for our return to Paro, on a beautiful drive passing parades of prayer flags and sprawling mountain vistas. Along the way we’ll stop at the Iron Chain Bridge, Tachog Lhakhang, built in the 15th century and rebuilt after a 1969 flood. More than 100 of these iron-chain bridges were built in the 15th century over the Himalaya’s wide, fast-flowing rivers by Thangtong Gyalpo: yogi, doctor, blacksmith, architect and a pioneering engineer. Take in the views—and hang on—as you sway side to side over the rushing Paro River.

We’ll have lunch in Paro, and settle into our hotel for a final afternoon to explore this ancient city. We’ll meet for a farewell celebration at one of Bhutan’s only craft brewers, Namgay Brewery, for dinner and a flight (or two!) of local brews. As they say in Bhutan, “Tashi Delek!” to the joyful times we’ve shared, and the friendships we’ll bring back with us.

Day 12 Highlights

  • Drive from Punakha to Paro
  • Visit Iron Chain Bridge
  • Farewell & celebration at Namgay Brewery
  • Stay at Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary in Paro

Day 13

Our time in this magical mountain kingdom has come to an end. After a final breakfast today, we’ll say farewell and head to Paro airport for flights to Bangkok. Book a late flight home from Bangkok, or stay an additional night to ease back into reality. Until we meet againlog jay gay!

Day 13 Highlights

  • Farewell breakfast
  • Transfer to Paro airport for flights to Bangkok

Where We Sleep

Heritage hotels and villas overlooking jagged peaks, camping comfortably under the stars—we stay in style in the Himalayas

Suvarnabhumi Ville

Bangkok, Thailand

Our trip starts in Bangkok, just a short drive from the airport. The contemporary Thai style gives the whole hotel a sleek and luxurious feel—accentuated by its courtyard pool, skybar and restaurant with views of the city. There’s even a fitness center if you need to get some last-minute conditioning in before our trek. But we believe in you.

Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary

Paro, Bhutan

Our luxurious home base on Days 2 and 3, and again on Day 12. Bhutan's first and only five-star spa hotel is nestled in a dozen expansive acres in Neyphu Valley. The classic Bhutanese cottage-style hotel is surrounded by serene mountains with stunning views, including from the infinity pool overlooking the valley. There's an emphasis throughout on finding your well-being in body, mind and spirit. It's the perfect combination of modern design and spacious rooms equipped with all the amenities you'd expect in one of Bhutan's top hotels.

Punakha

Our Punakha home base on our March 3 departure is the Dhensa Boutique Resort; on our March 30 departure, it is the Kunzang Zhing Resort. Both resorts are contemporary-meets-ancient Kingdom hideaways overlooking a peaceful valley and the same gentle river looping through it. Both resorts have awe-inspiring mountain vistas, not to mention design-forward rooms with full modern amenities.

Norkhil Hotel

Thimpu

Situated in Thimphu’s city center, the new Norkhil Hotel is a tranquil oasis and a case study in modern comfort and convenience. With views of Himalayan foothills, it's one of the premier spots in this burgeoning city. Indulge in spa treatments, organic and locally sourced cuisine, and the always gracious Bhutanese approach to hospitality.

Camping

The heart of our Bhutan experience is trekking the Druk Path. We provide expedition-quality tents, trekking poles, and group-size tarp shelters to house the best nomadic cooking equipment in the camping world. We’ll eat well along the way, our cooks using local ingredients to make a mix of Bhutanese and regional specialties, to restore ourselves after a day on the trail.

Book Bhutan: Druk Path Trek & Tshechu Festivals

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$7,900

Per person based on double occupancy

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Questions?

That’s OK, we have answers. Read our FAQs below. Or text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018 to speak with a Modern Adventure Trip Specialist.

  1. What is included in this trip?

    Roundtrip flights from Bangkok (Thailand) to Paro (Bhutan); accommodations for 12 nights, including 8 nights at luxurious boutique hotels and villas, and 4 nights of fully supported camping with camp cooks and porters; expert local trekking guides; activities, tours and monastery visits; surface transport and airport transfers in Bhutan; most camping gear including four-season tents, thermal foam mattress; all additional camp equipment; all fees related to tourism development, internal taxes and charges including visa fees; gratuities for local staff. We will be joined on this adventure by expert expedition guides and a Modern Adventure trip leader.

  2. What does the price not include?

    Roundtrip airfare to Bangkok, Thailand (where we start and end our trip); travel insurance; activities not included in the trip itinerary; personal incidentals including room service, laundry, etc; personal gear; gratuity for tour leader, donations to monasteries.

  3. How difficult is this adventure?

    This is considered a moderate trekking adventure. We trek for 5 days, carrying a day pack each day, with our own water and daily supplies, while the rest of our luggage is transferred between campsites and lodges with the help of horses and yaks. We’ll follow well-maintained paths but sometimes go off-trail, and will sleep either in group campsites or remote village lodges. This adventure has been planned keeping a steady climb in height over a number of days to permit for the necessary time for you to acclimatize to high altitude. We strongly recommend that participants have a good level of fitness and are well prepared. While this trek is open for all skill levels, previous hiking experience is a benefit.

  4. What are the arrival and departure details?

    Our trip begins and ends at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Bangkok, Thailand. The following day after arrival, we take an early-morning flight to Bhutan (organized and paid for by Modern Adventure). If you miss this group flight to Bhutan, you are responsible for additional change fees and costs associated with obtaining a new flight. On our final day in Bhutan, we will organize a group airport departure and flights back to BKK airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Your flight home should depart from BKK no earlier than 3pm local time.

  5. What are the accommodations on this adventure?

    We spend one night in Bangkok, and in Bhutan we split our time between staying in luxurious boutique hotels for 7 nights, and camping fully support for 4 nights in the mountains, in comfortable camps set up by our trekking teams.

  6. Who is going on this trip?

    This adventure will be limited to no more than 12 fellow adventurers plus your Modern Adventure team. This adventure is recommended for travelers aged 18 and above who are in good health and have some experience with hiking. Guests are a mix of couples, friends traveling together, and solo travelers. On our trek will travel fully supported with two cooks, a local guide, trek helpers, horsemen and yak wranglers.

  7. What if I’m a solo traveler?

    Prices are based on double occupancy. If you wish to be paired up with a roommate of the same gender, select ‘Single: Willing to Share’ at check out. Modern Adventure will pair you up with a roommate of the same gender to share a tent and hotel/resort accommodations with. If you are a solo traveler and want to have your own accommodations, a $2,000 supplement will apply at checkout; these spots are very limited due to the type of accommodations on our adventure and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

  8. What travel documents are needed?

    U.S. citizens carrying a tourist passport and in possession of an onward or return airline ticket do not require a visa to enter Thailand. The passport must have at least six months validity remaining to be allowed entry. If you plan on staying in Thailand for an extended period of time requirements may vary. For Bhutan, Modern Adventure will oversee and gather all necessary documentation needed for you to enter and exit Bhutan (included in your trip cost). All tourist visas are issued through local licensed operators, and must be obtained directly through Modern Adventure. For citizens of other countries, please check with the Bhutanese Embassy or Consulate for information and requirements.

  9. Do I need Travel Insurance?

    We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance allows you to seek reimbursement for your trip costs; if your trip plans change for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to get medical help, emergency transport, and for theft, loss or damage of items while traveling. For best coverage, always insure the full trip cost within two weeks of your initial trip deposit and note that most ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ policies must be purchased on the date of your initial deposit.

  10. What is the cancelation policy?

    For our March 3, 2022 departure, you may cancel on or before November 3, 2021 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel after November 4, 2021 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after January 2, 2022 there is a 100% cancellation fee.

    For our March 30, 2022 departure, you may cancel on or before November 29, 2021 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel after November 30, 2021 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after January 28, 2022 there is a 100% cancellation fee.We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases family/medical emergency (see our Terms and Conditions for full details).

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