NABJI KORPHU TREK – 16 DAYS
This one week trek offers a short, easy and enjoyable journey around scenic Trongsa Dzongkhag. The climate is warm and pleasant as the trail stays between 1000-1500m in altitude and there is a wide array of flora and fauna observable along the route including the rare Golden Langur, Red Pandas, Himalayan Black Bears, Rhesus Monkeys, Rufous-necked Hornbills and Clouded Leopards.
Hikers on this trek will have plenty of opportunity to experience traditional rural life as they will spend nights in the villages of Nabji, Korphu and Nyimshong. Nabji is an idyllic village surrounded by verdant paddy fields and the villagers of Korphu are famed for their hospitality.
This is the perfect trek for visitors looking to learn about and experience traditional rural life firsthand while enjoying the natural beauty and biodiversity of Bhutan. The best time to embark on this trek is in winter, between October-April.
Day 1: Arrive Paro then to Thimphu
The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. If you arrive via Kathmandu, which offers the most breathtaking view of the range, it’s possible to see Mount Everest and Mount Kanchenjunga as well. Upon arrival in Paro, you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon you can visit the Paro Dzong. It was built in 1646 and now houses government offices and religious institutions, as do all the Dzongs (forts) currently. You’ll cross a traditional wooden bridge on the way to the Dzong. You can then tour the National Museum, formerly the watchtower for the Dzong. It now houses a collection of fine arts, paintings, thangkas, statues, and antiques. Afterward you will visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. Later drive to Thimphu. Overnight in Thimphu
Day 2: 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),Buddha Point, 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 Tashichodzong. Overnight in Thimphu.
Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time).
Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. After Lunch, visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’ as predicted by the great Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava). And drive for about 12 km and from the road point take a walk across the rice fields and a river to reach the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, which is located on a beautiful hillock called Ngezergang. It houses the paintings and statues belonging to the Nyingmapa tradition. Visit Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chime Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple, where you may receive a special fertility blessing if you wish. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 4: Punakha – Trongsa
After an early breakfast, drive to Trongsa via Wangduephodrang and later passing through Pelela pass at 3,300m, the traditional boundary between east and west. Overnight in Hotel in Trongsa.
Day 5: Trongsa – Riotala – Nimshong (6.5km; 3-4 hours) – TREK BEGINS
The first day starts with a brief tour through Trongsa Dzong and its Ta Dzong strategically located above the Mangde River. From there the bus will follow the road towards Zhemgang to halt in Riotola (1,060m/3533 ft), the start of Nabji Trail. Keep an eye open for deer and macaques along the way but notice the beautiful view over Mangde Valley as well.
The trek starts with a steep descent of 693m/2310 ft, to the bed of Mangde River; within one and hour from the river you can have a rest at a place called Matling (804 m/2600 ft). After half an hour you will come across a chorten that indicates the entry to the Nimshong village which is a steep climb for about two hours from the river. Nimshong is a small (circa 58-household) village, which has a population of about 465 people. The villagers welcome you with dance and songs while cooks are preparing diner. The campsite (1319m/4397 ft) is just beside the Nimshong Community School next above the village. Overnight in Camp.
Day 6: Nimshong – Nabji (13km; 4-6 hours)
Early in the morning, the village guide will take you to the local temple. From there the hike will go through a lush broadleaf forest alive with abundant bird and mammal life, with possible sightings of Golden Langur and Rufous-necked Hornbill. Nabji is pretty much at the same elevation as Nimshong village; however, the trail will move up and down through a dense forest. Nabji consists of 55 households and an approximate population of 400 people. The village is situated on a foothill above terraced fields of rice. The temple of Nabji -which means ‘promising’ or ‘oath’- harbours the stone pillar to mark the peace between Bumthang and Assam Kings. In the village you can find rock remains of a blacksmith (one of the reincarnations of Pema Lingpa). Overnight at campsite surrounded by the rice fields of Nabji. Overnight in Camp.
Day 7: Nabji – Halt (9-13km; 4-5 hours)
From our base camp in Nabji, we will do a day hike to Korphu village. Korphu is situated on a mountaintop at an altitude of 1,500m/5000ft. The village consists of 76 households, with an approximate population of 600 people. It is a spectacular hike uphill, and the view from the clustered village of Korphu is breathtaking. It is possible to visit Korphu’s temple, which houses the sacred relics of Pema Lingpa. A local lunch will be provided in the village. In the mid-afternoon, we hike back to Nabji. Overnight in Camp.
Day 8: Nabji – Kubdra (11-14 km; about 5-7 hours)
Our trek today starts on a trail to Kubdra village, leaving Nabji village at the holy tree. The trail has it own beauty; you will come across dense forest, big trees with clippers, orchid and small bamboos. After 5 to 6 hours hike, you can rest on the benches provided; enjoy your lunch with a nice view of water fall at a place called Zhelyung (1565m/5217ft.). Then after few hours walk you will come across an ethnic group (called the Monpas) inhabited in Kubdra. Kubdra is situated in the middle of the forest, around 6 hours walking from Nabji. Along the way you’ll find traces of Guru Rimpoche. The habitat you traverse is very attractive for tigers and leopards (though it is very rare to spot them, droppings and spores can be found). Kubdra only has 3 households, but the few Monpas living here are very happy to welcome you at their campsite. Overnight in Camp.
Day 9: Kubdra – Jangbi (13-14,5km; circa 6 hours)
The hike continues from Kubdra to Jangbi village. Again traces of Guru Rimpoche can be found along the way (foot print, dragger and hat). A brief visit will be paid to the small village of Phrumzur with its temple (at 1,400m). From the site of the temple there’s a good view over the valley, here lunch will be served. From Phrumzur the hike continues, with great vistas and pristine forest along the way. A welcoming tea is prepared in the orchid garden in Jangbi. Here you will also find more information on the Monpas and their Cane and Bamboo Project. Camp will be set near Jangbi village with a beautiful view over the valley and Mangde Chhu. Overnight in Camp.
Day 10: Jangbi – Tongtongfey – Trongsa (7-9.5km; about 3-4 hours) – TREK ENDS
Today there is a steep descent of 950 meters, which will bring you to the bridge crossing the Mangde Chhu; after that there will be a last climb to Tongtongfey. From here, the bus will bring you back to Trongsa for a real bed and shower. If time permits, you can visit the Kuenga Rabten Palace and the Nunnery (on the way back to Trongsa). Overnight in Trongsa at Guest House. -B/L/D
Day 11: Trongsa – Bumthang
Morning drive to Jakar across Yotongla (3450 m) and descend into the valley of Chumey, the first of four Bumthang valleys. Bumthang valley is one of the most sacred in the kingdom and innumerable legends surround the area. It is here that the kings were cremated and the present royal families trace their ancestry back to a famous saint called Pema Lingpa, who was also a smith in Jakar. Jakar is also wide and large valley compared to other valleys in Bhutan. Most prefer to explore the valley on foot and almost all sites are located along the easy walking path. Here we will have time to watch the Weavers and see the weaving of Bhutan’s colorful and textiles. Jakar, the center of Bumthang valleys is only about half hour drive from here. Check in and lunch at hotel. After lunch visit Jambay Lhakhang (7th century), Kurjey Lhakhang and Jakar Dzong. Evening at leisure. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.
Day 12: Bumthang Excursion to Ura valley
Day excursion to Ura valley. Hot lunch will be served at Ura village. After lunch visit Ura Lhakhang where you will have time to admire the wall paintings. Return to Jakar for your final night in Jakar. overnight Hotel in Bumthang
Day 13: Bumthang – Punakha
Today you will drive back to Punakha with photo stops along the way. Lunch at the Chendebji restaurant. After lunch walk around the Chendebji Choeten (Stupa). This stupa was built in the 18th century by Lama Sidha to cover the remains of an Ogress subdued at this stop. After lunch resume your return journey. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
Day 14:Punakha – Paro
Set out for Paro with a stop in Thimphu for lunch and a visit to the Folk Heritage Museum. In the afternoon, you will continue the drive to Paro. In the evening you can visit a traditional farmhouse and, if you wish, enjoy a hot-stone bath and a typical Bhutanese dinner. Overnight in Paro.
Day 15: Hike Paro Taksang
Drive up to Satsam Chorten, 10 km from Paro town and hike up to Taktsang Monastery. The name Taktsang means ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The Monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 3000 ft. and overlooks the Paro valley and river. Taktsang is one of the most venerated pilgrim sites of the Himalayan world. It is believed that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padmasambhava, known as the second Buddha in Bhutan, meditated in the spot where the Monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a tigress. Picnic lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria. The round trip hike takes about 4 hours.
Day 16: Depart Paro
After early breakfast drive to Paro Airport for departure. Our representative will bid you farewell.