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108 Stupa at Dochula Pass
The View from the 108 Stupa
The view of the Himalayas
The View of the Mt. Gangkar Puensum
The view of the Himalayas
Dochula Pass
The View of Mt. Gangkar Puensum
The Nabesa Village monastery
The Exploring Team on the mountain top
Bhutan Swallowtail Team Exploring the Trail
The highlight of the tour from the Thimphu to Punkaha valley is the stopover at the Dochula Pass (3,150 meters) with the beautiful 108 stupas on a hill and the majestic views of the Himalayan Ranges. From this high altitude, you will see the highest unclimbed Mount Gangkar Puensum along with the sister Himalayan mountains like Table Mountain, Tiger Mountain, Mt Masang Gang and a lot more smaller ones. All these snow capped mountains flying high above the valleys and as if growing from the clouds beneath.

You will encounter even more spectacular and majestic views of these mountains if you hike from Dochula to Lungchuzekha monastery. It is about 3 hours gradual hike with about half an hour uphill in between. The trail leads through the rhododendron forests and in the spring you will actually be walking on the garden of rhododendron flowers with mosses hanging from them, and in the monsoon you can even collect various edible mushrooms all along the way. Breathe in the fresh Himalayan air as you enjoy this leisurely walk

From the LungchuTse monastery which is located at the top, the views of the snow capped mountains and the surrounding valleys and hills are picturesque and spectacular.

The only structure at the top is LungchuTse monastery which was built in the 18th century and the main sacred statue is of Guru Pema Jungney, one of the eight manifestation of Guru Padmasambhava popularly known as Guru Rinpoche. The statue is believed to have ‘spoken’ and is considered as one of the most sacred in the country. The other main statues are of the Chenresig (Avalokitesvara – Buddha of Compassion) and Tandrim (Hayagriva).

After this holy visit and being blessed solemnly, the trail descends down to Nabesa village under Wangdue district. It leads through a mixed forests of hemlocks, coniferous and pine trees. One hour of descend will bring you to an open meadow surrounded by pristine forests and overlooking the Wangue Valley and is the best place for camping overnight.

You can help in pitching your tents and helping your team in preparing your hot meals and enjoy them by the bonfire.

As you hike further down, the air gets warmer with noticeable change in the vegetation. The birch (Betulutilis) trees starts to appear and the Alsophilacostularis trees grow beautiful along the trail with lots of shrub bamboos. After three hours of hiking down, which is a bit steep and ankle twisting, you will finally reach Nabesa village.  Nabesa is a remote village with only about six households, and you can explore by visiting the traditional houses and the fields and interacting with the villagers. You will also hear the barking deer in the distant.

Your car will pick you up from the road point at the village and drive you to your hotel in Wangdue or Punakha.

Note – You can also do this hike vice versa starting from Nabesa and coming out from Dochula Pass. This route might be a bit more challenging with more uphill climbs on the first day. However the highlight will be the sunrise from the Lungchu Tse Monastery. 


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Trail Summary

Trial Name: Bhutan Swallowtail Overnight Trek

Trail DifficultyChallenging (4-5 hours of activity a day and/or elevation gain, uneven terrain, Steep Slop)


Dochu La to Lungchu Tse Monastery:

2 Hours leisure and gradual climb

Lungchu Tse to Nabesa Village:

4 hours of challenging downhill hike on uneven terrian

Additional Options :

Guided Hike by a specialized nature guide

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