18 days Duer Hot Springs Trek

duer-hot-spring-trek

This is one of the most challenging treks available in Bhutan and route partially overlaps with the trail of the legendary Snowman Trek, the most difficult trek in the world.  This gruelling nine day journey will take you up to the Duer Hot springs, arguably the most beautiful hot springs in the Himalayas.

The trail has numerous steep ascents and descents and ranges from altitudes between 3000-4700m.  However, despite the difficulty this trek is well worth the effort as it will take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Bhutan.  You will journey through forests of spruce, hemlock, juniper and maple, through regions populated by herds of Blue Sheep, Musk Deer and even Himalayan Black Bears.

An entire day will be dedicated to resting in the hot springs.  The periods between March to April and September to November are the best times to take on this challenging route.

Day  1: PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - PARO (B/L/D) 

Upon arrival at Paro International airport, you will be met by your guide..

After lunch, we will visit Drugyal Dzong (a ruined fortress), 16 km away from Paro. Although it is now in ruins, this dzong has great historical importance for the people of Bhutan. It was a place where the Bhutanese finally defeated the Tibetan invasion. On a clear day one can view sacred Mt. Jomolhari (Mountain of Goddess). We will also visit Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Rinpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”), the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley, built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 2:HIKING TO TAKTSANG MONASTERY OR TIGER’S NEST (B/L/D) 

After breakfast, we will drive you to the trail head to commence a climb through beautiful pine forest. We will stop for light refreshments at the Taktsang cafeteria before walking on to the famous, Taktsang monastery or Tiger’s Nest. The primary Lhakhang or main temple was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 m into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo from Kurtoe Singye Dzong in the east.
In the afternoon, you will have an opportunity to explore the beautiful town of Paro.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 3:PARO – THIMPHU (B/L/D)

A drive along the winding road by the Paro Chu (Chu means water or river) downstream to the confluence with the Wang Chu, then turn upstream and travel along the Wang Chu to Thimphu, Bhutan’s scenically located capital city. Lunch will be at your hotel. In the afternoon, you will visit the Memorial Chorten, dedicated to the late Third King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

In the evening, visit the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body which includes the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan).

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

Day 4: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (B/L/D)

Today, drive to Punakha via the Dochula Pass (3,140 m). On the way stop to see the spectacular array of chortens, to enjoy the superb view over the snow capped Himalayan Mountains and also to the Gasa Dzong at a distance if the weather is clear.

Your journey then continues through varying scenes of greenery all the way to Punakha. Visit Punakha Dzong. The impressive Punakha Dzong lies between two great rivers. The names of the rivers are 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.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Punakha.

Day 5: PUNAKHA – TRONGSA (B/L/D) 

After an early breakfast, drive about 7km from Punakha town and after crossing the suspension bridge over the Mochu River, it takes approximately 30-45 minutes to walk to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten (Stupa) which is perched on a strategic ridge overlooking the nearby villages under Kabisa geog.  It was built under the sponsorship of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangden Wangchuck to remove evil forces and promote peace, stability and harmony throughout the world.  As the first of its kind in the world to have been constructed the details and the architectural designs were drawn from scriptures as visualized by Dudjom Lingpa.
Then drive to Trongsa via Wangduephodrang and later passing through Pelela pass at 3,300m, the traditional boundary between east and west.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Trongsa.

Day 6:TRONGSA – BUMTHANG (B/L/D)

After breakfast, visit Trongsa Dzong, an ancestral residence of Bhutan’s royal family. Then visit the Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower built to guard the Trongsa Dzong.  After lunch, drive to Bumthang.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Bumthang.

Day 7: DUER – GORSUM (Distance: 18km, 6-7hrs, 380m ascent, camp altitude 3120m) (B/L/D)

The trek route follows the Yoleng Chhu, a river known for its abundance of trout.  The trail from Bumthang to Gorsum is a gradual climb.

Dinner and overnight camping at Gorsum.

Day 8: GORSUM – LUNGSUM (Distance: 12km, 5hrs, 40m ascent, camp altitude 3160m) (B/L/D) 

The trail leads through a dense forest of Spruce, Hemlock, Cypress, Juniper and Maple. It ascends gradually to the campsite.

Dinner and overnight camping at Lungsum.

Day 9: LUNGSUM – TSOCHENCHEN (Distance: 15km, 6-7hrs, 620m ascent, camp altitude 3780m) (B/L/D)

The vegetation along the route is similar to places crossed the previous day.  Near the campsite the vegetation thins out and the camp is made above tree line.

Dinner and overnight camping at Tsochenchen.

Day 10: TSOCHENCHEN – DUER TSACHU (Distance: 18km, 8-9hrs, 1340m ascent, 1530m descent, camp altitude 3590m) (B/L/D)

The trek from Tsochenchen is uphill all the way until Juli La pass (4,700m). If the day is clear, you will have a great view of the surrounding mountains from the pass.  After crossing the pass, the trail descends to a lake at 4,220m, and then climbs again to Gokthong La pass (4,640m).  From here the path is steep descent until the campsite.  Musk Deer, herds of blue sheep and Himalayan bears are sometimes seen along the route.

Dinner and overnight camping at Duer Tsachu..

Day 11: DUER TSACHU (B/L/D)

As the highlight of the trek, today will be spent resting at the Duer Tsachu.  After a late breakfast, relax in the rejuvenating hot springs or take a leisurely hike around surrounding areas.

Dinner and overnight camping at Duer Tsachu..

Day 12:  DUER TSACHU – TSOCHENCHEN (Distance: 18km, 8-9hrs, 1530m ascent, 1340m descent, camp altitude 3780m) (B/L/D)

Return by the same route taken on the day four.  The journey will be even tougher than before as there is slightly more climbing than descending.

Day 13: TSOCHENCHEN – LUNGSUM (Distance: 15km, 5hrs, 620m ascent, camp altitude 3160m) (B/L/D)

Return by the route taken on day three. 

Dinner and overnight camping at Lungsum.

Day 14: LUNGSUM – GORSUM (Distance: 12km, 4hrs, 40m descent, camp altitude 3120m) (B/L/D)

The trail descends gradually from the campsite.  It leads through dense forest of Spruce, Hemlock, Cypress, Juniper and Maple.

Day 15: GORSUM – DUER VILLAGE (Distance: 18km, 6hrs, 380m descent) (B/L/D)

From Gorsum the trail descends gradually until the bridge near Duer village, where you reach the road head.  From here, drive through to Bumthang.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Bumthang.

Day 16: BUMTHANG – THIMPHU (B/L/D) 

After early breakfast, drive to Thimphu.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

Day 17: THIMPHU- SIGHTSEEING – PARO (B/L/D) 

After breakfast, we will drive to Dodeyna to climb through a beautiful forest track to the Tango Monastery which overlooks a forested valley and other Buddhist retreats high in the mountains. Then we will visit the mini zoo at Motithang to see the Takin, Bhutan’s national animal. If you wish we can then visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs and other items in the shops of Thimphu. In the evening, we will drive through to Paro.

Farewell dinner with traditional dance and overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 18: PARO – PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (B) 

In the morning drive to Paro International Airport where your guide will accompany you to bid you farewell.

Cost Information

Peak-Season (Mar, Apr May, Sep, Oct and Nov)
Number of days:  18 days (9 days trekking & 9 days cultural sightseeing)
Price:
US$ 6,325 single per person
US$ 5,705 twin/double per person
US$ 5,265 triple per person

Trekking Dates

Any date on a private basis