Paro-Rinpung-Dzong-3.jpg

Western Adventure

Trip Duration
3 Days
Grading
Activity Level
Easy
Ascent & Descent
2,998 m  
Max Elevation
3,790 m

Summary

Take a few days out to embrace nature and culture on this memorable three-day walk. Enjoy incredible views of the Haa, Paro and Thimphu Valleys; as well as panoramic vistas towards the Himalayan range from Kaleyla at clearer times of year. Pass alongside the rice paddies of Paro and the towering Buddha Dordenma, the world’s largest sitting Buddha, which guards the entrance to the Thimphu Valley.


Itinerary

Start your journey on this ancient and historic route. For generations, people of Haa have journeyed across this trail to barter with Parops. They bartered 20 drey (approximately 30 kilograms or 66 pounds) of Shakam (dried meat) for 20 drey of rice at Paro Tshongdu (market) because harsh climatic conditions in Haa prevented local paddy cultivation. This old Trail gently rises from the Katsho Valley along the idyllic river valley of Haa through the yak pastures into the pine and rhododendron forest. While walking on the trail in Katsho Valley, do stop to embrace the view of Bjungneydra often referred to as “The Mini Taktsang” on the cliff. The Trail then keeps ascending all the way to the top of Kaleyla from where the route crosses the ridge trail between Chelela and Sagala and descends through Rhodo and bamboo forest deep into Paro Valley.

At the Kaleyla Pass, watch out for the breathtaking views of Mount Jomolhari (7,314m/23,996ft), Mount Jichudrakegang (6,794m/22,290ft) and Mount Tsherimgang (6,789m/22,273ft). This is also a perfect lunch stop. We would recommend you carry packed lunches as there aren’t any restaurants or human settlements along the Trail.

Before you head out for your journey, you can get a pre-expedition blessing for a safe journey at Lhakhang Karpo. At the end of the day, you can also soak away your fatigue with a hot stone bath in Ngopa.

Bjungneydra

Known to the local community as “Mini Taktsang” Jungney Dra is the sacred residence of 100,000 dakinis. It houses the right footprint of Khandro Machig Lhabdron and the imprints of Guru’s back from when he was resting against the rock. Guru is believed to have subdued a demon here and the marks of its fangs and eyes are still visible today. 

Trek Distance: 17 kilometres (10.57 miles)
Estimated Trek Duration: 8 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,169 metres (3,835 feet)
Starting Elevation: 2,801 metres (9,190 feet)
Ending Elevation: 2,380 metres (7,809 feet)
Maximum Elevation: 3,790 metres (12,435 feet)

Ideal Lunch Spot: Kaleyla Pass

Accommodation Recommendation: Homestay or hotel

Meals Included: ZEN_HOLIDAY_NO_MEALS

The Trail today rises gently from Lamgong Village through rice paddy in the sprawling valley of Paro, offering some of the best views of the scenic valley. The trail carves around the northern ridge, descending into the traditional village of Dopshari. There are several lunch and accommodation options in this valley offering varieties of cuisine. We recommend you to try the local cuisine in any of the farmhouses. You can also try this section on your mountain bike. After lunch, the Trail ascends sharply to upper Dopshari. Since there aren’t any accommodation options, you will want to carry your own tents or spend the night at the camp service provided at the spot.

You can also make side trips to Paro Rinpung Dzong and the Ta Dzong Museum while you are in Paro.

Paro Rinpung Dzong

The construction of the Fortress of Heap of Jewels or Rinchenpung Dzong began after the 1450s and is believed to be completed by 1458. Located approximately four kilometres north of Paro Airport, the original five storey structure was built by Drung Drung Gyalchog. Later in the 17th century, it was offered to Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. In 1644, the fortress was demolished and a new larger foundation was laid under the supervision of Paro Penlop Tenzin Drukdra. Unfortunately, between the years 1905 to 1906, the Dzong was destroyed by fire. Its restoration was completed by Paro Penlop Dawa Penjor in 1909. In 1951, His Majesty the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck renovated the Dzong to mark his royal wedding.

Ta Dzong

Ta Dzong or the ‘watchtower’ was built in 1649 by Paro Penlop, Tenzin Drukdra using Bhutanese architects and indigenous resources is home to the tangible and intangible heritage of Bhutan. Ta Dzong was built to safeguard the Paro Dzong from the Tibetan military incursion. Later in 1968, it was converted to the National Museum due to its historical role as a watchtower and to mark the peaceful present and future. The National Museum of Bhutan when translated to Dzongkha is ‘Druk Gyalyong Namsay Bangzon’. ‘Namsay’ is the God of wealth and ‘Bangzon’ is the treasure of a house. Thus, the National Museum is the ‘House of God & Wealth’.

In 1968, some of the finest art specimens such as sculptures, paintings and artifacts from various eras were displayed to the public. Some of the famous artifacts of the museum are the eggs believed to have been laid by a mule in 1928, and the image of Milarepa carved on rhinoceros’ horn among others. Some of its special exhibitions are “Dawn & Early history of Bhutan” and “Medieval Bhutan (Part 1 & 2)”. On the highest level of the museum, you can see the ‘Tshogshing Lhakhang’ which means ‘Temple of Refuge Tree’. This temple place of worship is a representation of Buddhist iconography and visualization tool for initiates. 

 
Meals Included: ZEN_HOLIDAY_NO_MEALS

Start your day with a climb from Upper Dopshari enjoying the morning sun glaring upon the ridge across and slowly finding its way down to the Paro Valley. This might be the perfect spot for you to hoist Lungdhar (Prayer flags) if you plan to carry one for this trip. The trail travels through community reforestation projects, small farming villages and through deep forest along pristine rivers. It is recommended you carry packed lunch which you can enjoy in the wilderness. After lunch, drop down a gentle descent into Tshalunang Valley in Thimphu through the blue pine and rhododendron forest. Bird watching would be a possibility along this trail and do visit the Jela Dzong if time permits.

Jela Dzong

The original name of the popular Jela Dzong is Drela Samten Choekho. It was built by Lam Ngawang Chogyal in the 15th century. Lama Khandu, a monk at Jela Dzong, narrated the historical background of this glorious landmark. When Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel was on a pilgrimage to Paro, due to the Tibetan invasion, he was denied hospitality at a monastery. While in search for a place to stay, Zhabdrung reached Drela/Jela and there he encountered the protective deity Pal Yeshey Goenpo. Thus, to commemorate the meeting of Zhabdrung and Pal Yeshey Goenpo, the monastery was named ‘Jela’ meaning the ‘meeting place’. The statues of Dü Sum Sangye: Buddha of the Past, Present and the Future, are among the main relics of the Dzong. It is believed that Buddha Shakyamuni used to face the north towards Tshaluna, however magically, it turned itself towards Paro. Hence the locals attribute their prosperity and good harvest to the statue.

Trek Distance: 14.2 kilometres (8.82 miles)
Estimated Duration: 6 hours
Elevation Gain: 886 metres (2,907 feet)
Starting Elevation: 2,826 metres (9,272 feet)
Ending Elevation: 2,774 metres (9,101 feet)
Maximum Elevation: 3,546 metres (11,634 feet)

Ideal Lunch Spot: Jilila

Accommodation Recommendation: Homestay or camp service providers

Meals Included: ZEN_HOLIDAY_NO_MEALS

Additional Activities

Looking for something more? These activities are examples of excursions or activities that are available to travellers that are not included in this trip fee. These activities can be subject to availability. Contact us with any questions regarding these additional activities.

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