Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights
Destination: Thimphu, Punakha & Paro
Nabji Karphu Trek is a six days cultural base trek that takes trekkers through some of the remote and isolated village of Trongsa. The name Nabji and Karphu is a name of two different kind of village in Trongsa. The trek can be best enjoyed in the winter wood where you get to see interesting villages dotted around the remote hilltops with huge Mangdue Chhu (river) cutting through the edge of the valley. No worries the climate is warm and pleasant as the trail stays between 1000 m – 5000m in altitude and there is a wide array of flora and fauna. Trekking through this typical village offers plenty of opportunity to visitors to experience the traditional rural life and as you gets to spend night in the village of Nabji, Karphu and Nyimshong.
Day 01: Arrival Paro – Drive to Thimphu
At your arrival at Paro airport, our local escort will receive you at the airport and after short introduction transfer you to Thimphu the capital city which lies at an elevation of 7700ft/2350. It takes 65 km from the airport and can be negotiable within one hour. The drive takes you through the Paa Chhu (river) till you reach Chunzon which takes around 31 km and from there the drive takes you through the Wang Chhu which as mainly scrub as vegetation. The countryside from Chhudzom till te capital Thimphu the hillside offers less forested but the drive takes you through scenic beauty of terrace rice fields and settlements. Reaching hotel check in and after short break drive further north of Thimphu and hike to Cheri Goempa.It is only one hour walk uphill from the base. The magnificent Cheri Goempa was bult in the year 1620 and was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and is the place where he established the first monk body. Following downhill the same trail we recommend taking an alternative to visit the Tango Goempa whilc takes another one hour ascend is one of the important monastery in Bhutan and site at the edge of richly forested hill. Returning back visit the National Memorial Chorten (stupa) which was built by the late Queen Mother Ashi Phuntsho Choden in the year 1974, built in memory of her son the third king of Bhutan. The complex is built in the central heart of the capital and is visited by thousands of people every day and is one of the central public figure and serves as the gathering place for both old and young. If you are here in the weekend, we recommend you to visit the weekend market to see the organic products brought from different parts of the country and get encountered with the local farmers. Your last stop of the day, the Trashichhoe Dzong, known as the fortress of the glorious religion. The dzong can be visited only after office hour or after five. The Trashichhoe dzong is the main house of the secretariat building and the central monk body. After the dzong drive to the main downtown of the city and stroll around.
Day 02: Thimphu – Trongsa
We suggest you making an early start as the drive from Thimphu to Trongsa are bit longer and the interesting part of this journey is on a clear day the magnificent view of the snowcapped peaks of Himalayas can be seen from the top of Dochu La Pass which lies at an elevation of 10150ft/3100m. The pass is unlike that many of the pass that you will encounter and nowhere in the world. On a clear day the view of the Himalayan snow-capped peaks can be visible like – Mt. Masa Gang(235012ft/7165m), Mt. Thsneden Gang(23288ft/7100m), Mt. Teri Gang(23944ft/7300m), Mt. Jejegangphu Gang, Mt. Khangphu Gang, Table Mountain “Mt. Zongaphu Gang(all above 23288ft/7100m), Mt Gangkar Puensum(24735ft/7541m). The drive from the pass takes your downhill through many twist and turn until you reach a small town of Lobesa, which lies al lowly as 4430ft/1351m. Passing Lobesa village you then reach Wangdue with its dzong strategically located on the hilltop on the confluence of Punatshang Chhu (river) and Dang Chhu (river). Crossing the Dzong the drive takes you uphill with many twist and turn through different landscapes and settlement and finally reach the top pass of the day, the Pele La Pass (11070ft/3375m) which is marked by a small Chorten (stupa) and prayer flags. The hill slope covered in bamboo, locally known as “ham” which is a favorite meal for the resident yaks. The road descent downhill through groves of fir trees and evergreen forest and then finally leads you through variety of broad-leaved forest till you reached Trongsa which lies at an altitude of 6800ft/2073m.
Day 03: Tongtongphel – Jangbi Village
In the morning before you venture off for your adventurous trek, we suggest you to make a short visit to the Trongsa Dzong that lies below the small township of Trongsa. It is possibly one of the most impressive fortresses in the country intricately layered on the hilltop. According to the prophecy, Lam Ngagi Wangchuk meditated above the place where Trongsa dzong stands now. While meditating, he saw butter lamps burning on the ridge where the dzong stands today and he built a small temple in 1543. Later many people started settling around the temple and the place began to look like a village and named it “Trongsa” which means new village. Later in 1647 Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel rebuilt the dzong into present structure. You can also visit the Ta Dzong “Watch Tower” of Trongsa dzong built in 1652, now house a museum which display the Buddhist art and history of the monarchy. Drive further southward of Trongsa to visit the Kinga Rabten Palace, which is the winter ome of the second king of Bhutan. After arming yourself with much information regarding the trek, you will be accompanied by your local village guide, who will stress your trail by leading you through downhill walk towards the Mangdue Chhu (river) where you cross a suspension bridge. On this stretch of the journey the otherwise the rare golden languor, the endangered species of primate are abundant and almost impossible to miss. As your journey continues, you will get a chance to meet the Menpas who are considered to be first inhabitant of Bhutan.
Day 04: Jangbi Village – Kudra Village
Today before you begin your trek, we suggest you to make a short visit to the local orchard farm garden which consist around 75 different species of orchids. As you trail from Jangbi Village to Kudra Village provides an immense opportunities and interest as it passes a religious stone imprint of Guru Rinpoche’s footprint, draggers and phallus. Lunch will be served in one of the village of Monpa in Phrumzur. We also encourage you to visit the local village temple before you proceed to your onward trail, as you continue en route you will encounter another Menpa village called Lekpogang after which is your campsite at Kudur Village which is an hour walk from here. The campsite offers an far-end view of Nyimshong village and also of Zhemgang town.
Day 5: Kudra Village – Nabji Village
Your trail today offers an interesting insight into wilderness experience. Your trail takes you through collection of streams, waterfalls and thick forest of broad-leaves, which gives you an invigorating feeling of being out in the wild. The trail also offers variety of flora and fauna with a chance to encounter Himalayan black bears, red panda, tigers, and clouded leopards. Upon arrival at the holy tree in the Nabji village the villagers here will give you a warm welcome and reception. Nabji is one of the beautiful village filled with terrace of rice fields circling the houses. Optional hiking are available once you get to the village earlier – like visit to the Community school and walk nearby surrounding areas.
Day 06: Nabji Village – Korphu Village
As your trail begins en route make a short visit to the Nabji village temple located amidst the terrace of rice fields. After the temple continue your journey to your destination Korphu village which is stuated at the mountain top and the most important and exciting about the village is their hospitality towards visitors or new guest. The local villagers exemplify hospitality almost treating visitors like the royal. As soon as you set your foot in the village, you will be welcomed with a traditional “Chipdrel” procession and a “Marchang” ceremony. The village will greet you by welcoming song and dance in their traditional way which signifies “praise and wellbeing”. They also performed a traditional “Tashi Labey” dance to bid you farewell. The villagers will also demonstrate and explain you and allow you a short game of traditional archery and long darts. The areas also provide many day hiking opportunities.
Day 07: Korphu Village – Nimshong Village
Today your trail takes you to Nimshong village, which is one of the finest trail, and arguably the idle sport for bird watching as it is one of the area which provides over 395 species of birds. The elusive rufous necked hornbill has its nesting hole adjacent to the trail. The walk is interspaced with waterfall and streams with cantilever bridges. The evening brings you to Nimashong village. The campsite is equipped with amphitheatre. The women of Nimshong have a penchant for singing and dancing and often put on cultural show for visitors.
Day 08: Nimshong Village – Trongsa
Today your trail takes you with a downhill descent towards the Mangdue Chhu (river). The trail offers many species of birds and animals like – herons, river-lapwings and even chance to see the golden languor in the region. A steep hour-long walk up hill brings you to the main expressway between Wangdue and Trongsa. Your transport car will drive you back to Trongsa for your halt in the hotel.
Day 09: Trongsa – Punakha
Today your drive takes you via Wangdue valley to Punakha, which served as the capital until 1955. The valley of Punakha is warm and lies at an altitude of 4430ft/1351m. The valley has a rich fertile soil. It has been inextricably linked to some of the most momentous events in the Bhutanese history and deserves its reputation as one of the most significant and beautiful regions at the heart of Bhutanese culture. As you enter Punakha valley en route you can stop to visit the re-known Chemi Lhakhang temple “No Dogs Temple” which lies atop a small hillock. It is a pleasant 30-40 minute walk from the road head, taking you through cultivated fields, charming village of Sobsokha and up a gentle slope. The temple dated back to 1499 and was built by Lam Ngawang Chogyel dedicated to Lam Drukpa Kinley “divine mad man”. Lam Drukpa Kinley is believed to have subdued the demoness residing at Dochu La Pass whit his magical thunderbolt of wisdom and a wooden effigy and pin down under the stupa nearby the temple. After the temple drive to visit the newly founded town of khuruthang with its central attraction being the Zangtopelri Lhakhang with its large Nepalese style Chorten.
Day 10: Punakha – Paro
In the morning drive, further north of Punakha valley through terrace paddy fields, scattered settlement, the route takes you along Mo Chhu (river) to Khamsum Yueli Namgyel Temple which was built in 1999. It takes roughly one hour walk uphill to the temple and the impressive temple provides you with an insight of new look and the panoramic view of the valley below provides worth visiting. Returning back the same route visit the Punakha Dzong saddled on the confluence of Pho Chhu(male river) and Mo Chhu (female river). The dzong cuts a striking picture with its impressive walls rising up from the tumbling clear waters of the river and fremed against startling blue sky. This extremely impressive fortress was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the year 1637 and was the second of the mightiest fort built by him. After your lunch in the tourist recommended hotel in Punakha drive to Paro via Dochu La Pass (10150ft/3100m) and Thimphu (7700ft/2350m). At your early arrival, we suggest you making a short visit to Paro Rinpung Dzong which strategically built on the hilltop overlooking the valley. It takes only 10-20 minute walk from the parking lot through crossing the cantilever bridge over Paro Chhu (river). This massive dzong was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the year 1646. Afther the Rinpung Dzong visit the National Museum which is open till 5 in the evening. The museum previously served as the watch tower of Paro dzong and since 1967, the dzong was re-established as the National Museum and holds a fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thanka paintings, Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps and ancient war armors.
Day 11: Hike to the Famous Tiger’s Nest
We suggest you making an early start. Tiger’s Nest built amazingly on a cliff side is said to believe that Guru Rinpoche visited the place in the eight century flying from the eastern Bhutan on the back of a pregnant Tigress. He underwent for 3 month meditation and subdued the evil spirit through one of his wrathful manifestation of Guru Dorji Drolo. The site as been revered by many permanent Buddhist religious leaders and was also visited by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the year 1646 and now visited by every Bhutanese from far and near at list once in their lifetime. The monastery was built in 1692 and was caught fire in 1998 and in the same year it has been renovated and restored to the present glory and consecrated in 2005. Following downhill through the same trail to the parking lot, drive to visit the ruined Druk Gyel Dzong at the northern end of the valley. It was built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to commemorate his victory over Tibetan invasions. The dzong caught fire in 1951 and remain ruined till today. Turning back the same route visit the ancient historical Kichu Lhakhang (temple) en route Paro town. This temple has its date back to seventh century and is one of the 108 temple built by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gyelpo to pin down the giant ogress that lay across the whole Himalayas. After the temple drive to Paro town and stroll around the town for your last day shopping.
Day 12: Board your flight back to your onward destination