After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to Katsho, where you will begin your first day of trekking on the ancient Trans Bhutan Trail. For generations, the people of Haa followed the route you will walk today to trade with the Parops in the neighbouring valley. There, they would barter 20 drey (approximately 30 kilograms or 66 pounds) of Shakam (dried meat) for 20 drey of rice at Paro Tshongdu (market) because the harsher climatic conditions in Haa are unsuitable for rice cultivation.
The age-old trail follows the beautiful Haa river as it gently rises out of the Katsho Valley, passing through yak pastures before heading into forests of pine and rhododendron. As you traverse the Katsho Valley, look out for cliff-edge Bjungneydra Taktsang (monastery), also known as “The Mini Taktsang”, and the sky burial site of Kungkarpo. The trail continues to climb until it reaches the pass at Kaleyla, where it crosses the ridge trail between Chelela and Sagala. At Kaleyla, you will enjoy stunning views of the Himalayan range to the north, including on the clearest days vistas of Mount Jomolhari (7,314m/23,996ft), Mount Jichudrakegang (6,794m/22,290ft) and Mount Tsherimgang (6,789m/22,273ft). You will be provided with a picnic lunch during this stop.
From Kaleyla, the trail descends through rhododendron and bamboo forest into the Paro Valley. The last few kilometres to Paro will then be on tracks which meander through traditional Bhutanese farming villages.
On arrival in the Ngopa gewog of Paro you will have the chance to visit Kichu Lhakhang (temple). Said to date from the 7th century and built by Songtsen Gampo, it is one of Bhutan’s oldest religious sites. Kichu Lhakhang is home to an original statue of Jowo Jamba which is one of the most sacred sculptures in the region; and the two orange trees inside the monastery courtyard are said to bear fruit year round.
Your guide will arrange for dinner either at your hotel or in a local restaurant.
Accommodation: The Village Lodge or similar (3*)
Trek Distance: 17 kilometres (10.57 miles)
Estimated Trek Duration: 8 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,169 metres (3,835 feet)
Starting Elevation: 2,801 metres (9,190 feet)
Ending Elevation: 2,380 metres (7,809 feet)
Maximum Elevation: 3,790 metres (12,435 feet)