Nabji Korphu Winter Trek

Highlights: The Nabji Trail was opened recently to tourism. It is an ideal post-harvest/winter trek in Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, a park with an ecologically rich environment. Geographically it is located centrally, giving insight to the rural Bhutan and its culture and traditions. The trail is a six-day low-altitude trek (between 693m/23100ft and 1,636m/5453ft) through six different villages located inside the park. Starting point is Riotala (1060m/3533ft) and final destination is Tongtongphey (1061m/3537ft).

Day 1 Arrive at Paro Airport: You will be received by our guide at the Paro International Airport and escorted to your hotel for refreshment. After lunch you will visit the National Museum, Paro Rinpung Dzong and if time permits you can go for short drive up to Drugyal Dzong, which will offer you an opportunity to view Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) from a distance. The monastery is perched on a rocky cliff with a sheer drop of nearly 3,000 ft. On the drive back you can visit Kechu Monastery. This is oldest Buddhist monastery in the country built in the 7th century by a Tibetan King. Overnight in Paro hotel.

Day 2 Paro – Thimphu: Depart for Thimphu and visit the Handicraft Center, National Library (contains huge collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts), General Post Office, Arts and Crafts School (where you can see how the ancient crafts are being taught and kept alive). If you are interested in textiles, the Handicraft Emporium is worth a visit. Afternoon visit to the Memorial Chorten, built in 1974 in memory of our late His Majesty the third king of Bhutan. It gives rare insight into Buddhist religion through its painting and sculptures. Drive up to Sangaygang, where you can capture the whole view of Thimphu valley. On the way up you will take a short stroll to see our national animal, the Takin. Overnight in Thimphu hotel.

Day 3 Thimphu – Trongsa. After breakfast, depart for Trongsa, On the way we will stop at Dochu-la Pass (10,000 ft) to view the spectacular sight of the Eastern Himalayan range. If weather is favorable, you can see mountains: Masagang (23,500 ft), Tsendagang (22,800 ft), Terigang (23,100 ft), Jejegangphugang (23,400 ft), Kangphugang (23,500 ft), Zonggaphugang (23,100 ft), Table mountain and finally Gangkar Punsum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 24,600 ft. Stop for a lunch at Wanduephodrang. After lunch proceed to Trongsa across Pele-la, the boundary between east and west. Stop en route at Chendebji Chorten, which was built in 18th century in Nepalese style. Overnight stay in Trongsa.

Day 4 Trongsa – Riotala – Nimshong. The first day of the trail starts with a brief tour through Trongsa Dzong and its Ta Dzong, strategically located above the Mangde River. From there the bus will follow the road towards Zhemgang to Riotola (3,533 ft), the start of Nabji Trail. Keep an eye open for deer and macaques along the way but notice the beautiful view over Mangde Valley as well. The trek starts with a steep descent of 2,310 ft, to the bed of Mangde River; within one hour from the river you can have a rest at a place called Matling (2,600 ft). After half an hour you will come across a chorten that indicates the entry to the Nimshong village, which is a steep climb for about two hours from the river. Nimshong is a small (58-household) village, which has a population of about 465 people. The villagers welcome you with dance and songs while cooks are preparing dinner. The campsite (4,397 ft) is just beside the Nimshong Community School, above the village. Altitude 4,000 ft; Distance 4 miles; Time 3-4 hours.

Day 5 Nimshong Campsite – Nabji. Early in the morning, we will travel to the local temple. From there the hike will go through a lush broadleaf forest, alive with abundant bird and mammal life, with possible sightings of Golden Langur and Rufous-necked Hornbill. Nabji is at the same elevation as Nimshong village, however, the trail will move up and down through a dense forest. Nabji consists of 55 households and an approximate population of 400 people. The village is situated on a foothill above terraced fields of rice. The temple of Nabji – which means ‘promising’ or ‘oath’- harbours the stone pillar to mark the peace between Bumthang and Assam Kings. In the village you can find rock remains of a blacksmith (one of the reincarnations of Pema Lingpa). Overnight at campsite surrounded by the rice fields of Nabji. Altitude 4,200 ft; Distance 8 miles; Time 4-6 hours.

Day 6 Nabji Village – Korphu. From our base camp in Nabji, we will do a day hike to Korphu village. Korphu is situated on a mountaintop at an altitude of 5,000 ft. The village consists of 76 households, with an approximate population of 600 people. It is a spectacular hike uphill, and the view from the clustered village of Korphu is breathtaking. It is possible to visit Korphu’s temple, which houses the sacred relics of Pema Lingpa. A local lunch will be provided in the village. In the mid-afternoon, we hike back to Nabji. Altitude 2,000 ft; Distance 6 miles; Time 4-5 hours.

Day 7 Nabji/Korphu – Kubdra. Our trek today starts on a trail to Kubdra village, leaving Nabji village at the holy tree. The trail has its own beauty; you will come across dense forest, big trees with clippers, orchids and small bamboos. After 5 to 6 hours hike, you can rest on the benches provided; enjoy your lunch with a nice view of a waterfall at Zhelyung (5,217 ft.). Then after a few hours walk you will come across an ethnic group (called the Monpas) inhabited in Kubdra. Kubdra is situated in the middle of the forest, around 6 hours walking from Nabji. Along the way you’ll find traces of Guru Rimpoche. The habitat you traverse is very attractive for tigers and leopards (though it is very rare to spot them). Kubdra only has 3 households, but the few Monpas living here are happy to welcome you at their campsite. Altitude 5,300 ft; Distance 8 miles; Time 5-7 hours.

Day 8 Kubdra Campsite – Jangbi Village. The hike continues from Kubdra to Jangbi village. Again traces of Guru Rimpoche can be found along the way. A brief visit will be paid to the small village of Phrumzur with its temple at 4,600 ft. From the site of the temple there’s a good view over the valley; here lunch will be served. From Phrumzur the hike continues, with great vistas and pristine forests along the way. A welcoming tea is prepared in the orchid garden in Jangbi. Here you will also find more information on the Monpas and their Cane and Bamboo Project. Camp will be set near Jangbi village with a beautiful view over the valley and Mangde Chhu. Altitude 4,500 ft; Distance 8 miles; Time 6 hours.

Day 9 Jangbi – Tongtongfey – Trongsa. Today there is a steep descent of 3,000 ft, which will bring us to the bridge crossing the Mangde Chhu; after that there will be a last climb to Tongtongfey. From here, the bus will bring us back to Trongsa. If time permits, we can visit the Kuenga Rabten Palace and the Nunnery (on the way back to Trongsa). Overnight at hotel.Altitude 3,500 ft; Distance 5 miles; Time 3-4 hours.

Day 10 Trongsa – Punakha/Wangdue. Afternoon visit to Wangdue Phodrang Dzong, built in 1638 and Chhimi Lhakhang, one of the most beautiful Dzongs in Punakha, which used to be a Bhutan’s capital until 1955. The head abbot of country and most of the monks of Punakha occupy this Dzong throughout the winter. This Dzong is located in between the two swift flowing rivers namely “Pho Chu” and “Mo Chu”, considered male and female rivers. Overnight at hotel.

Day 11 Punakha/Wangdue – Paro. After breakfast drive to Paro; it is 120 miles and takes 4 to 5 hours. On the way you can ask the guide to stop for photos, which you think you missed during the earlier journey. Lunch will be at restaurant in Thimphu. Over night at hotel.

Day 12 Paro. Early morning drive to Paro international airport after breakfast.