This trek, while not ascending to high altitudes, is still considered fairly challenging with steep climbs and drops as it moves from central Bhutan (Bumthang) to the eastern borders in Trashiyangtse district.

Once an important trade route in the past, the trail passes through alpine and bamboo forests and through villages and monasteries. The trek begins at Jakar, Bumthang, going over the Phephe La pass on the second day and through, bamaboo, hemlock and alpine forests.

The trail also winds through the villages of Ungaar, Bulay, Kulapang before reaching Drula village and Khaine monastery, one of the oldest temples in the country, which was built in the 7th century. The longest day of the trek is on the last day to the town of Trashiyangtse. The hike lasts for about 8 to 9 hours in a gradual descent through hardwood forests slowly giving way to oak trees.

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Wild east Rodungla trek detail itinerary

DAY 1~ARRIVE PARO

On arrival You will be received and welcomed by Bhutan Bokar Tours at the airport and escort you to hotel. Visit Paro Rinpung Dzong (fortress on heap of jewels) built in 1646 AD by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal; Ta Dzong (watch tower) built for the defense of the Paro Rinpung Dzong. It was turned into a natural history museum in 1967. Evening, stroll around Paro town.

DAY 2~ TAKTSANG EXCURSION – DRIVE TO THIMPHU, 55KM/1HR

This hike, which is all the way uphill takes about 2 hours at average pace.

The tiger’s nest monastery clings to a huge rocky cliff 900 meters above the valley floor. The great tantric saint Padmasambhava is said to have come here on a flying tigress and meditated for three months. After lunch visit the auspicious Kyichu Lhakhang built in the 7th century and the ruins of Drugyel dzong, the fort that defended Paro valley from Tibetan invasions in the early 17th century. Drive to Thimphu. Overnight in Thimphu.

DAY 3~ THIMPHU SIGHT SEEING

Today’s sight seeing starts with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, a stupa built in memory of the Third King and dedicated to world peace and prosperity; the National Institute of 13 traditional arts and crafts and the Folk Heritage Museum. After lunch visit Changangkha Lhakhang, a fortress like temple, Takin Preserve, Buddha point where a 138.6-foot-tall Sakyamuni Buddha statue (inclusive of lotus) is seated on a 62-foot-tall throne and TashichhoDzong, the seat of government. Overnight in hotel.

DAY 4~: THIMPHU TO PUNAKHA 1300M 77KM/3HRS

Today the drive to Punakha, Bhutan’s old capital, will take you through some of the kingdom’s fertile agricultural land and most dramatic river valleys.

The first stop is Dochu La (pass) at 3,050 meters. The snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen on a clear day. You could also circumambulate the 108 stupas of the Druk Wangyal Chorten. On the way down into Punakha valley, stop at Mitsina village to visit Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility.

In the afternoon visit Punakha Dzong, which stands at the junction of the two Pho (male) Chu and Mo (female) chu rivers. Overnight in hotel, Punakha.

DAY 5~ PUNAKHA-TRONGSA 142KM/ 5HR

After an early breakfast, drive to the central district of Trongsa and pass over Pele La, at 3,390 meters. Trongsa forms the central hub of the kingdom and is the seat of the Bhutanese monarchy.

The massive Trongsa Dzong stretching across a ridge is an architectural wonder. Its watchtower (Ta Dzong) has been converted into an excellent museum. Overnight in Trongsa.

DAY 6~ TRONGSA – BUMTHANG 68KM/2HR APPROX.

After breakfast visit Trongsa Dzong, built in 1648. Both the first and second kings ruled the country from here. Visit Trongsa Ta Dzong museum for a glimpse of the rich historical and religious heritage of Trongsa Dzong. After lunch continue drive to Bumthang crossing Yotong La (pass) at 3,425 meters. Along the way, stop at a yathra weaving centre. Yathra is a woolen textile weave unique to Bumthang. Watch weavers at their looms. Overnight in hotel, Bumthang.

DAY 7~ EXPLORE BUMTHANG

Today, explore Bumthang, the most beautiful valley in the kingdom and the country’s spiritual heartland. You can visit Jakar Dzong, the administrative center of the valley; Jambay Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries in the Bhutan, Kujey Lhakhang, where Guru Rinpoche left his body imprint when meditating; Tamshing Lhakhang and Mebar Tsho (the flaming lake). Overnight in hotel, Bumthang.

DAY 8~ TOKTU ZAMPA – NGANG LHAKHANG 12 KM/4 1/2 HOURS

The trek starts from Toktu Zam following the Chamkharchu River, passing villages, temples, meadows and forests of blue pine. Camp at Ngang Lhakhang (Swan Temple) at 2,900m.

DAY 9~ LHAKHANG – UGYENCHHOLING 17 KM/ 7/8 HOURS

The trail goes through meadows, dwarf bamboo and several small streams. It then ascends to Phephe la pass 3,360m where you see tall birch and fir trees. Then it goes through a stream, dwarf bamboo groves, past prayer walls and pasture land. The campsite is near the river at 2,850m.

DAY 10~ UGYENCHHOLING – PHOKPEY 17 KM/ 5-6 HOURS

Today’s the trail continues through dwarf bamboo forests, hemlock, meadows and blue alpine forest. The camp for the night is in a meadow at 3,650m.

DAY 11~ PHOKPEY – PEMI 20 KM/ 6-7 HOURS

The trail climbs to Rodung La (4,160m), which is about three hours from camp. From the pass the trail descends through a gorge, overlooking stunning mountain valleys covered in lush pine forests. Camp is near pine trees at 2,950 m.

DAY 12~ PEMI – KHAINE LHAKHANG 21 KM/ 7 -8 HOURS

The trail goes down to the bottom of the valley to Ungar where there are cluster of households in Bulay, Kulaypang and Gomda before reaching Drula village and Khaine Lhakhang (temple). It is believed that this is one of the 108 temples, built in 7th century by the King Songtshen Gompo of Tibet, to suppress a demoness.

DAY 13~ KHAINE LHAKHANG – TANGMACHHU 18 KM/ 6- 7 HOURS

The trail descends to a stream and back up to a basic health unit and community school in Gorsam. Pass a Tibetan-Style Umling Mani, built by a Lama from Tibet, and a Chorten on Zerim La (pass) at 1,940m. You will see a village with white houses. The trail leads towards to Taki la at 1,760m. The Camp is south-east of the pass at 1,700m. The Lhuentse Dzong is about 8 km from campsite.

DAY 14~ TANGMACHHU – MENJI 16 KM/ 5 HOURS

Today’s route goes through rice terraces and corn fields leading to Menji village. You will camp near Darchu Pang temple situated in a garden of marigold, geraniums, dahlias and nasturtiums. Campsite at 1,800m.

DAY 15~ MENJI – PEMI 20 KM/ – 7 HOURS

Continue to walk uphill through thick, humid forest with dense foliage of ferns. The path is narrow and steep. Climb steadily up for two hours to a ridge at the top of a meadow, then walk back into the forest to reach the camp at Pemi, 2,400m.

DAY 16~ PEMI – TAUPANG 21KM/7 -8 HOURS

After climbing up to Dongla at 3,900m descend through thick evergreen forests until you reach the campsite at Taupang village 2,450m.

DAY 17~ TAUPANG – TRASHI YANGTSE 24 KM/ 8 HOURS

Today is the longest trek. It is a gradual downhill trek to Yangtse through chir pine and hardwood forests, and then oak in the sub tropical forest zone. Overnight at camp at 1,830m. End of trek.

DAY 18~ TRASHI YANGTSE – TASHIGANG, 1620M, 52 KM/2HRS

Drive to Tashigang and enroute visit the Gomkora temple and sacred sites of Guru Rinpoche. Visit Trashigang Dzong situated on the rocky cliff. In the evening, walk around the charming town of Trashigang and mingle with locals. Overnight in hotel in Tashigang.

DAY 19~ TASHIGANG – SAMDRUP JONGKHAR, 180KM / 7HRS

After breakfast drive south towards the border town of Samdrup Jongkhar. Today you will drive through several villages and town like Kanglung, Khaling, Womrong and Narphung. Overnight in hotel, Samdrup Jongkhar.

DAY 20~ SAMDRUP JONGKHAR- GUWAHATI 90KM/3HRS.

Leave for the Indian city of Guwahati for your onward journey.