Elevation 1,300 m
This is one of the most rejuvenating and picturesque hikes in the Thimphu region. It can be done as a loop starting from Dochula and finishing at Hongtsho village with Lungchytse gomba and Trashigang gomba visit. A Lungchutse one can enjoy 360o view of the Himalayan mountain range. You will start your hike from the large chorten in the middle of Dochula, the pass between Thimphu and Punakha at 3,140 m (10,300 feet) above sea level. From here the rail slowly climbs a ridge through a forest of hemlock, birch and rhododendrons until reaching an open meadow. Again, you will enter into a forest of moss-covered rhododendrons, gigantic hemlocks, junipers, and bamboo undergrowth. A small trail leads you the last 50 m past a row of fluttering prayer flags up to Lungchutse temple.
On clear days, the view from the temple is fantastic! You will have 360o view of the Himalayas including views of Jumolhari (7,314 m/24,00 feet), Masang Gang in the region of Laya (7,158 m /23,500 feet), Zongophu Gang – a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana (7,060 m/23,160 feet) and Gangkhar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan and the highest unclimbed peak in the world (7,497 m/24,600 feet). You can also see Gasa Dzong, as a tiny white speck in a sea of green almost 50 km to the north. A trail to the left just 150 m below Lungchutse leads to Transhigang village and temple. It slowly descends through spruce, rhododendron, and hemlock and juniper forest. The village’s many dogs will warn the villagers about your arrival as you walk through the settlement down to the temple. It is nice to have lunch around the chorten in the temple’s courtyard while watching the monks in their daily endeavors.
The trail leading down from the front of the temple zigzags quite steeply down the side of the mountain until reaching a farm road, which takes you up to the main road. Unless you have had enough hiking for one day, you might also want to visit Hongtsho village temple on the hillside to the right on the opposite side of the road. This involves a 30-60 minute short hike up through the little village and back down again the same way. Trashigang Goemba was built in 1786 by the 12th Je Khenpo.
It is an important mediation center, and houses statues of several Je Khenpos who meditated here. Hongtsho Goemba was built in 1525 by the older brother of Drukpa Kuenlay, the Divine Mad Man. It is a two story traditional Bhutanese building where the main later room has an enormous statue of Guru Tashoki Dorji in a standing posture together with a statue of Duru Dorji Drool, Lama Ngawang Chhoegyal, and Lama Drukpa Kuenley. After the beautiful hike walk down to the road where your car will be waiting for you for your next destination to Punakha. Dinner and overnight at a hotel there.