Wild East Rodungla Trekking - 20 Nights/ 21 Days

Wild East Rodungla TrekkingWild East Rodungla trek in Bhutan across the top of eastern Bhutan is tough and involves a tremendously long, steep descent. Though it was an important trader route before the national highway was built, few people travel this way. Wild East Rodungla Trek crosses the road near Lhuntse, which breaks up the continuity of the experience, but offers a chance to visit the remote Dzong. Part of the route between Phopkey and Pemi is along a vertical face and the trail is on wooden galleries that are fastened to the side of the cliff. There are a few small meadows as the trail winds its way down on a complex route through a region where sightings of ghosts and yetis have been reported. This was the former trade route between eastern and western Bhutan.

Season: The recommended season for this trek is October, early November and late spring.

Wild East Rodungla Trekking - Day to Day itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Paro

Arrive Paro by Drukair flight. During this flight, one will experience breathtaking views of Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan peaks including, the sacred Jomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake in Bhutan. Received by Mountain Sherpa Trekking & Expeditions representative and transfer to the hotel. Evening visit Paro market and town. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 2: Paro - Thimphu

After breakfast in the hotel drive to Drukgyal Dzong (Bhutan Victory Fort), a ruined fortress built to commemorate victory of Bhutanese warrior over Tibetan invaders centuries ago. Witness the snowy dome of sacred Jumolhari, “mountain of goddess” that looms directly over the Dzong. Along the way see the 7th century Kichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in Himalayas by Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. This temple reflects the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. After lunch visit to Ta Dzong, originally as watchtower, now houses national museum of the kingdom. It boasts antique thangka, textiles, weapons, amours, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning “fortress of heap of jewels” which has a long and fascinating history. Drive to Thimphu with a short stop at Chuzom (confluence) where Paro river joins Thimphu river. Three different styles of chortens adorn the confluence. Before arriving Thimphu, visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the Kingdom, built in 1627. Check into your hotel on arrival. Go for an evening walk before dinner. Overnigt at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 3: Thimphu

After breakfast you will visit the King's Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Changgangkha Monastery, the radio tower (for a great view of Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong), and the zoo, which contains the national animal of Bhutan: the takin. From there you will visit the nunnery temple, the National Library (which houses ancient manuscripts), and the School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school). After a relaxing lunch, you will visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, a traditional paper factory, the majestic Tashichhodzong. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 4: Thimphu - Trongsa

After early breakfast, drive to Dochula pass (alt. 3,100m). If weather permits, you can see a range of high mountains of high Himalayan peaks towards the northeast. Following peaks can be seen from this pass on a clear day; Masanggang (7,158m), Tsendegang (6,960m), Teri gang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158m), Kangphugang (1,170m), Zongpaphugang (7,060m), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana and finally Gangkar Puensum (7,497m), the highest mountain peak in Bhutan. Further drive onwards to Wangdiphodrang town for lunch. The descent from Dochula into Wangdiphodrang valley is quite long as the difference is 1700 meters. Proceed to Trongsa across Pelela pass (alt. 3,300m), the traditional boundary between east and west. A large prayer flag marks the pass and the ground is covered with high altitude dwarf bamboo. Stop en route at Chendebji Chorten, which was built in 18th century by lama named Shida. It is Nepalese in style with eyes painted at four cardinal points. Arrive Trongsa and check into hotel in Trongsa. Overnight at the hotel in Trongsa.

Day 5: Trongsa - Bumthang

After breakfast, you'll visit Trongsa Dzong, the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture, and you'll also see Ta Dzong, the former watchtower built to defend this Dzong. This watchtower is now converted into a state-of-the-art museum. Then drive to Bumthang, which is about 3 hours, through the Yutong La pass (alt.3, 400m 29 km from Trongsa). Further 13 km ahead, the road enters into a wide, open cultivated valley known as Chumey. On arrival in Bumthang, check into the hotel. After lunch visit to Kurjey Lhakhang (where the saint body imprint on a rock), he Jambay Lhakhang (7th century), Tamshing Monastery (containing one of the oldest painting in Bhutan), the Jakar Dzong (administrative center of the region). Later, take a stroll in the village. Overnight at the hotel in Bumthang.

Day 6: Bumthang - Ngang Lhakhang

Trek begins today. The route takes you around Chamkhar Chhu, a river rich in trout. Lunch at the Thangbi Lhakhang, a temple built by the first Karma Shamar in 13th century. Further ahead you enter Ngang Yul, ‘Swan Land” and at its center is Ngang Lhakhang, the “Swan Temple”. This part of the valley was at first inhabitated by swans who gave their name (Ngang) to the place. The Lama Namkha Samdrup, having dreamt a vision of how to build a temple, shot an arrow at the spot where the arrow landed, the Ngang Lhakhang was erected. Overnight at the camp at an altitude of 2,800m. Distance is 20 km, walking time 6/7 hours.

Day 7: Ngang Lhakhang - Ugyenchholing

Climb gradually to Phephe La pass (3,353m). Follow the trail until the pass takes you through one of the most beautiful forested areas of this region. Allow for stops to enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings. Overnight camp at an altitude of 2,850m.

Day 8: Ugyenchholing- Phokphey

Today’s walk is through bamboos, hemlock and finally up to alpine forest. Overnight camp at an altitude of 3,600m. Distance 17 km, walking time 5/6 hours.

Day 9: Phokphey-Ungaar

Continue ascending for half an hour until you reach Rodungla (3,800m), and then continue downhill through the gorge, overlooking some of the mountain valleys. Towards the camp you see pine trees. Overnight camp. Distance 20 km, time 6/7 hours.

Day 10: Ungaar-Taskila

This trail winds up and down till you reach Drula village and Khaine Lhakhang en route. It is one of the oldest temples in existence today, built in mid 7th century by the King Songtshen Gampo of Tibet to subdue demons. Overnight camp. Distance 21 km, time 7/8 hours.

Day 11: Taskila-Lhuntse

Proceed to Lhuntse guesthouse for lunch. After lunch it is leisure time. Overnight camp.

Day 12: Lhuntse-Menji

Arrive firstly to Kuri Zampa and the trek from here is gradually up through the paddy fields and villages. Overnight camp. Distance 12 km, time 4/5 hours.

Day 13: Menji-Pemi

Continue uphill through thick forests overlooking mountain views. The camp is under forest shelter at an altitude of 2,400m. Distance 20 km, time 6/7 hours.

Day 14: Pemi-Taupang

Continue up to Dongla where you will have the fascinating mountain views. Descend through thick evergreen forests till you reach campsite. Overnight campsite. Distance 21 km, time 6/7 hours.

Day 15: Taupang-Tashiyangtse

Today is the longest trek. It is a gradually downhill till Yangtse through Chir pine and hardwood forests like oak of sub tropical forest zone. Overnight camp. Distance 24 km, time 8/9 hours.

Day 16: Tashiyangtse-Trashigang

End of the trek and drive to Trashigang. Overnight at the hotel in Trashigang.

Day 17: Trashigang - Mongar

In the morning you can visit the weaving center in Khaling (which is operated by the National Women's Association of Bhutan), Sherubtse College in Kanglung (Bhutan's first college), and Zangdo Pelri Monastery. From there you will head back to Mongar. Overnight at the hotel in Mongar.

Day 18: Mongar - Bumthang

Drive the spectacular 8-hour route back to Bumthang, with stops for lunch and tea in nearby villages. Overnight at the hotel in Bumthang.

Day 19: Bumthang - Wangdiphodrang

You'll begin the day at the Bumthang market, and then drive to Wangdiphodrang, where you can stroll through the town and visit the shops. The nearby villages are known for their slate and stone carvings and bamboo work. Overnight a the hotel in Wangdiphodrang.

Day 20: Wangdiphodrang – Paro

After break fast you will drive to Paro via Thimphu. If it's the weekend, you can stroll through the market to see the variety of food of the country, including basket upon basket of fiery chilies, fresh cheese, and mangoes. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. It's fun to wander the aisles, taking in the bustling atmosphere of the market. After lunch you will drive to Paro. At Paro visit a traditional farmhouse and, if you wish, enjoy a hot-stone bath and a typical Bhutanese dinner. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 21: Depart Paro

After breakfast drive to Paro Airport for departure. Our representative will bid you farewell.

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