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Dur Hot Spring Trek is known as a moderate to the strenuous level of the trek and the trekkers should have good physical capabilities along with the enthusiasm to walk for at least 6 to 7 hours a day. Dur Hot Spring Trek is an exhilarating trek through Bumthang following the old expedition route of Gangkhar Puensum (mountain) and crossing through several hot springs. This trek is particularly famous for its hot springs which are said to be the most beautiful natural springs in the Himalayas. You will come across several hot springs where one can relax and shower in the mineral-rich water.
Dur Hot Springs trek certainly is for any nature enthusiast and enjoying the cultural, religious and historical aspects of the Dragon Kingdom. The starting point of the trek is Dur village which is one hour (5kms) rough drive from Toktu Zampa. 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. The trail leads you through forests of Cyprus, juniper, spruce, hemlock, and maple, the route also offers the opportunity to view interesting fauna such as Snow leopard, Bhutan Takin, Musk deer, Blue sheep, Tibetan wolf, and Himalayan black bear. Spectacular mountain scenery, remote and dramatic monasteries, and pristine Himalayan culture can explore throughout the trip. The main highlight of the trek is a visit to these hot springs which is believed the best for healing skin and skin-related disease and at the same time enjoying the natural wonders of Bhutan. Dur hot spring trek includes a visit to a Tsachhu. With special permission, it may be possible to extend the trek to the base of the mountain base camp, though this is a difficult route. March to April and September to early November is the best season for the Dur hot spring trekking.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Arrive Paro by the Bhutanese National Carrier flying over the world’s highest mountains and finally landing at the lush green Paro valley. A cool and clean fresh air greets the visitor as stepping down from the plane, the first gift of Bhutan. After clearing customs and visa formalities, meet the representatives and the Bhutanese guide, and a short tour brief by the guide then transfer to Paro town for lunch.
Then drive towards Thimphu (the capital of Bhutan) for about 1 & a half hours drive. En-route Thimphu, one can do a short hike to Tamchog Monastery, a private temple owned by the descendants of famous Tibetan bridge – builder Thangthong Gaylpo. Later on, continue the drive to Thimphu. In Thimphu, visit Buddha point for a stunning view of Thimphu city and Takin Compound- on the way to the viewpoint over Thimphu is the home of Bhutan’s national animal, the Takin. Then continue to Tashi Choe Dzong- the fortress of the glorious religion was initially constructed in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk in the 1960s, Folk Heritage Museum – a 300-year-old traditional house converted into a museum, Centenary Farmers Market, the new authentic craft bazaar. Overnight at Hotel. (Lunch/Dinner included)
After breakfast, drive towards Gangtey via Wangdue. The road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m). This pass often offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges on a clear day. After stopping for a tea, descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Wangdue. Short visit to view the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong dramatically located on the spur of a hill at the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers. Then a gradual climb goes into the valley of Gangtey (Phobjikha). There is an old monastery of Gangtey Gompa dating back to the 17th century. A few kilometers past the Gompa on the valley floor are the fascinating valley of Phobjikha. The gentle sloping hillsides of Phobjikha are described as “the most beautiful valley in the Himalayas”. Overnight at Hotel. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Early start with a drive to the central valleys of Bhutan. The drive to Bumthang via Trongsa is about six hours crossing over Pelela Pass (3,300 m) and Yotongla Pass (3,400 m). The road climbs steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then to Pelela Pass(3,300m) with an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo. This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between west and east Bhutan. If the weather is clear, particularly the peak of Jhomulhari (7314 m) to the west can be spotted. En-route cross Chendebji Chorten built to suppress a demon. After lunch, go out to view the impressive Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. In the olden days, the Dzong commanded the passage between East and West Bhutan. Finally, drive towards Bumthang valley (described as “one of the most beautiful spots in the Himalayas” across the Yotongla Pass (3,400 m) Overnight at Hotel. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
In the morning visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom as Bhutan’s “patron saint”, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) meditated here. From Kurje monastery, a tarmac road heads south along the right bank of the river to Jambey Lhakhang. This temple, erected by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, is one of the two oldest in Bhutan (the other being Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro). After lunch, hike to Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Later, visit Jakar Dzong, “the castle of the white bird”, and then take a stroll through Bumthang’s market area before returning to the hotel. Overnight at Hotel. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
After breakfast drive to Kurjey Lhakhang, from here it is an 8 km drive on an unpaved road. The trek starts at Dur Zam alongside the Chamkhar River famous for trout and is very gradual throughout. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 6-7 hrs)(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Today the route passes through the dense forest of Cyprus, juniper, spruce, hemlock, and maples. This trail is muddy and climbs gradually till the campsite. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 5 hrs)(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Today trek along more or less through similar vegetation till the campsite which is above the tree line. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 6-7 hrs)(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
The trek is all the way up until reaching Julila pass at 4700m. On clear days surrounding mountains can be viewed. After crossing the pass the trail descends up till camp. Musk deer, herds of blue sheep and Himalayan bear may be seen en-route. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 6-7 hrs)(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Today is the rest day in the Tsachhu (hotspring) Overnight in Camp.(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
The trekking trail from Dur Tsachu is uphill till Julila. After crossing the pass the trail descends till the campsite. Overnight at Camp. (Walking Duration: 7 hrs)(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Today is a bit more hours of walking covering up two days of a walk so it starts early. The trail goes through Tsochenchen-Lungsum-Gorsum. Overnight at Camp. (Walking Duration: 9 hrs)(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Last day of the trek starts at Gorsum and ends at Dur Zam, from here drive towards Bumthang. From Gorsum the trail descends downhill till crossing the Dur Village bridge then follows the new motor road till meeting up with the drive-back vehicle back to Bumthang. Overnight at Hotel. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
After breakfast, retrace the same route back towards Gangtey and the road journey today is a bit longer with 6 hours of drive. Upon arrival at Gangtey, check-in hotel. Overnight at Hotel(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
After early breakfast, drive towards Punakha for about 3 hours. En-route take a short hike through beautiful rice fields to Chimmi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, who as a favorite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as “the Divine Madman”. And Punakha Dzong located at the confluence of the Pho-chu (male-river) and Mo-chu (female-river), the Punakha Dzong is arguably the most impressive dzong in the country. Overnight at Hotel(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
After breakfast, trace the route back to Paro. In Paro, visit Rinpung Dzong built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan; the Dzong continues its age-old function as the seat of the district administration, district court and the monastic body. The southern approach to the Dzong has a traditional roofed cantilever bridge called Nemi Zam. Overnight at Hotel(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
After breakfast drive towards the base camp of Taktsang for the hike up to the Taktsang Monastery-Tiger’s Nest. It’s about two hours hike up the cafeteria. From this point, enjoy the spectacular view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. Then visit the Taktsang Monastery and hike back to the road point then drive to Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan. Afterward, back to the hotel. Overnight at Hotel(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch the onward flight. Bid farewell to the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappearing again behind its guardian mountains. (Breakfast only included)