After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to the Dochula Pass, east of the capital city. At 3,100 metres (10,200 feet) above sea level, you will be able to enjoy excellent views from Dochula at clearer times of the year. Mountain passes are some of the most sacred places in Bhutan and so it is customary to burn incense as an offering in places such as this. You may also wish to join locals in hanging colourful prayer flags as a sign of respect to the Gods.
While at Dochula you may visit the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple), built in honour of His Majesty the Fourth King Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bhutanese Monarchy. The paintings in this temple are unique insofar as they combine modern flourishes with century-old techniques. The Temple hosts a yearly tshechu (festival) which pays tribute to the wise leadership of His Majesty the King and the ongoing efforts of the Royal Bhutanese Army in protecting Bhutan’s sovereignty. You should also visit the Druk Wangyal Chorten (stupa), also known as the ‘108 Chortens’, and its nearby meditation caves.
From Dochula, head down into the adjacent valley and join a section of the Trail known as the ‘Divine Madman Trail’. You are now following in the footsteps of the Divine Madman himself, Drukpa Kuenley, when he first came to Bhutan from Tibet in the 16th century to fulfil his destiny of suppressing evil energies.
On arrival at Thinleygang, enjoy a visit to the Thinleygang Lhakhang (temple), which is where the central monastic body overnights on their two day journey from the summer residence in Thimphu to the winter residence in Punakha. A traditional Bhutanese lunch will be served in a local farmhouse.
After lunch, you will be transferred to the beautiful town of Punakha. Check in at your hotel, where you will have time to relax or to explore at your own pace, before heading out for dinner with your guide at a local restaurant.
Accommodation: Zhingkham Resort or similar (3*)
Trek Distance: 10.5 kilometres (6.52 miles)
Estimated Trek Duration: 5 hours
Elevation Gain: 50 metres (164 feet)
Starting Elevation: 3,114 metres (10,217 feet)
Ending Elevation: 1,811 metres (5,942 feet)
Maximum Elevation: 3,114 metres (10,217 feet)