Overview The Punakha Winter Trek is an enchanting adventure that takes you through the picturesque landscapes of Bhutan. This trek also offers a unique opportunity to explore the stunning winter scenery, remote villages, and ancient monasteries of the region. Starting with your arrival in Paro, the journey begins with a scenic drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Here, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture, visit monasteries, and witness the traditional way of life. From Thimphu, you will also embark on a drive to Punakha, known for its historic Punakha Dzong, a magnificent fortress that stands…
The Punakha Winter Trek is an enchanting adventure that takes you through the picturesque landscapes of Bhutan. This trek also offers a unique opportunity to explore the stunning winter scenery, remote villages, and ancient monasteries of the region.
Starting with your arrival in Paro, the journey begins with a scenic drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Here, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture, visit monasteries, and witness the traditional way of life. From Thimphu, you will also embark on a drive to Punakha, known for its historic Punakha Dzong, a magnificent fortress that stands at the confluence of two rivers.
The trek itself starts from Punakha and takes you through breathtaking valleys, dense forests, and charming villages. The trail leads you to Limbukha, a small settlement surrounded by terraced fields and pristine natural beauty. As you continue your journey, you will also pass through Chungsakha, a village known for its traditional Bhutanese houses and warm hospitality.
The next stop on the trek is Samtengang, offering panoramic views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks. Along the way, you will also witness the rich biodiversity of the region, with chances to spot various bird species and perhaps even glimpse rare wildlife.
After reaching Wangdue Phodrang, you will drive back to Thimphu, where you can further explore the city’s cultural attractions and indulge in local cuisine. The final leg of the trip takes you to Paro, where you can visit the iconic Taktsang Monastery, also known as the Tiger’s Nest, perched on a cliffside.
Throughout the Punakha Winter Trek, you will be surrounded by awe-inspiring natural beauty, immerse yourself in Bhutan’s unique cultural heritage, and experience the warmth and hospitality of the local people. The trek requires moderate physical fitness and offers an unforgettable adventure for nature lovers and trekkers seeking a glimpse into Bhutan’s untouched landscapes. With the guidance of experienced trekking guides and the necessary permits in hand, you can embark on this incredible journey and create lifelong memories in the pristine winter wonderland of Punakha.
Arrive Paro by Bhutan’s national carrier, Druk Air, and it’s a scenic flight as the plane touch down the lush green Paro Valley flying past the world’s highest mountains. Steeping down from the plane, cool, clean and fresh air welcomes the visitor, the first gift of Bhutan. After clearing the customs and visa formalities met by the representatives and transfer to Paro for lunch. Afterwards drive to Thimphu (1 & half hrs) following Pa Chhu downstream. In Thimphu, drive on to the Buddha Terrance for a stunning view of the valley and take a drive to visit Takin Preserve to see Takin, Bhutan’s national animal – a strange looking beast which some say resembles a beestung moose!
Take a view of the majestic Tashichoe Dzong, the seat of the government before circumventing the Memorial Chorten – a monument erected in memory of Bhutan’s third king H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Visit Centenary Farmers Market, the new authentic craft bazaar, National Institute of Traditional Medicine that still dispenses traditional herbal medicines to the locals, the Folk Heritage Museum – a 300 year old traditional house converted into a museum. Overnight at Hotel.(Lunch/Dinner included)
Early in the morning after breakfast drive to the northern valley to Dechencholing palace alongside Thimphu chhu ‘river’ crossing over the bridge after the army camp. The trail follows the unsealed road just above Chamina village. The hike starts from this point; in a clear weather one can observe Phajoding Monastery locate just above Thimphu. After 2 km of hiking will you will notice Thinleygang village, Talo Monastery and the motor highway to the ancient capital of Bhutan, Punakha. The hike then is more or less downhill until reaching the campsite. Overnight Camp.(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
The trek towards Chorten Ningpo is rather a gradual walk and passing through thick forests, villages and rice fields. The trek ends at Chorten Ningpo which is linked to Durpa Kuenley, better known as the ‘divine madman’. Overnight Camp.(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
After breakfast drive to Punakha. Visit Punakha Dzong, one of the impressive Dzongs in Bhutan, located between two great rivers Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). This dzong serves as the winter residence for the Je Khenpo, Chief Abbot of the Central Monastic Body and also the office of the district Administration.
After lunch drive 7 km approx from Punakha and cross the suspension bridge over the Mo chu river then walk for about 30-45 minutes to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten. The Chorten is perched on a strategic ridge overlooking nearby village under Kabisa geog. Her Majesty the Queen Mother ‘Ashi Tshering Yangden Wangchuck’ has built this Chorten to throw away evil powers and restore peace, stability and harmony in the world. Afterwards back to Punakha. Overnight at Hotel.(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Drive to visit a stunning hill-top nunnery – Sangchen Dorji Lhundrup Chholing. Have a chat with the nuns and enjoy the charm of the surrounds! The main temple is dedicated to the bodhisattva of compassion (Avaloketeshvara) and next to the temple is a beautiful Stupa and there are slate carvings of religious figures. Re-crossing Dochula and stopping at Thimphu for lunch. Arrive Paro in the afternoon and check hotel. Overnigh at Hotel.(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Early in the morning, drive towards the base camp of Taktsang for the hike up to the Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’. It’s about 2 hours hike up the cafeteria. From this point, enjoy the spectacular view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. The hike then further continues with steps all the way down to a water fall and further up into the interior of the monastery which takes about 1 & half hour. Afterwards, hike back to the bottom is by the same trail and to the road point and drive towards Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fort. This fort once defeated this valley from the Tibetan invasions during the 17th century. Also visit the local farm house at Drukgyal to witness daily life of the Bhutanese people. Later on, drive to Kyichu Lhakhang one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan. PM: Stroll around the main shopping district in Paro. Overnight at Hotel.(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch the onward flight. Bid farewell to the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappearing again behind its guardian mountains(Breakfast only included)
Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
• 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium).
• Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing
• Route Permit
• Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan
• A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
• All land transportation by private vehicle
• Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
• Sightseeing as per itinerary
• Monuments entrance fees where applicable
• Drinking water
• All internal taxes and charges
• A sustainable development fee of $65. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)
Airfare & Travel Insurance
• Expenses of personal nature, Tips to guides and drivers
• Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.
The Punakha Winter Trek is a popular trekking route in Bhutan, offering breathtaking views of the snow-capped Himalayan mountains and the opportunity to explore remote villages and monasteries. Here’s some information about the Punakha Winter Trek:
Duration: The trek usually takes around 6-7 days to complete, depending on your pace and the weather conditions.
Best Time to Go: The Punakha Winter Trek is typically done between late October and early March when the weather is relatively dry and the skies are clear. However, it’s important to note that temperatures can drop significantly during this time, so proper winter clothing and gear are essential.
Difficulty Level: The trek is considered moderate in difficulty, suitable for individuals with a reasonable level of fitness. The highest point of the trek reaches an elevation of about 3,400 meters (11,150 feet). It involves some uphill and downhill sections, as well as walking on uneven terrain.
Permits: To undertake the Punakha Winter Trek, you will need to obtain a trekking permit from the Tourism Council of Bhutan. This can be arranged through a licensed tour operator or travel agency in Bhutan.
Accommodation: During the trek, you will typically stay in campsites or basic lodges along the route. In cities like Thimphu and Paro, you can find a range of accommodation options, including hotels and guesthouses.
Guides and Porters: It’s highly recommended to hire a licensed guide and, if necessary, a porter for the trek. They can provide valuable assistance, navigation, and local insights throughout the journey.
As trekking conditions and regulations may change over time, it’s advisable to contact a reliable local tour operator or travel agency in Bhutan for the most up-to-date information and to help you organize your Punakha Winter Trek trip.