The highlight of my recent holiday to Bhutan was certainly the five day trek along the “Druk Path”. A Druk is a thunder dragon and the national symbol of Bhutan. So if there is any route to walk in Bhutan, then it must be this one!
Over the five days we climbed up to an altitude of over 4,200 meters on the last day, the highest I’d ever been in my life. In fact, we slowly climbed higher each day – and each day was the highest I’d ever been in my life. So a major adventure for me from day one.
And let’s start with day one. We were driven to the start of the trek and walked along a dirt road for an hour or so. Then we got to a small settlement where we met our fantastic crew consisting of 25 horses and 8 young men (in addition to our two guides).
Our crew had various talents which included cooking us three fantastic meals a day, camp building and disassembling, making hot water bottles, serving us tea in bed, taking care of horses, walking really fast up and down hills and being overall lovely and helpful human beings.
Here they are packing up our stuff: a duffel bag person, sleeping mats, a dinner table, chairs, a gas heater, pillows, rugs, kitchen equipment… it was very luxurious.
The first day of trekking was mainly walking through a forest without any overly spectacular views. We had to put in the work first to reach a certain height before being rewarded.
Unfortunately it started to rain. I guess in that sense it was good that we were in between trees most of the time because they sheltered us a bit.
I was very impressed because not only did the crew provide us with a delicious hot lunch but they also had set up the table and chairs inside a tent to shelter us from the rain.
And by about 3pm or so we reached our camp. I was lucky that I didn’t have to share the tent with anyone else because I was travelling alone. So this was going to be my home for the next 4 nights.
A foam mattress, a white bed sheet, a pillow, a rug against the cold from below… I can’t repeat enough times how luxurious this experience was!
The night was cold, but the next morning was bright and sunny. The crew had set up our breakfast table outside.
Every morning and every evening we had to fill in these self-assessment sheets about how we were feeling at the altitude. Our guide, Norbu, was monitoring us to make sure that none of us were having any severe effects.
And after breakfast we got ready.
And the horses got ready.
And off we went.
The first stop was a monastery not too far from our camp. On the way there we hoisted prayer flags and enjoyed the first of many more fantastic views.
Most days we walked the bulk of our route before lunch. Same as on this day. We usually had a rest stop after a couple of hours where our guides were feeding us nuts, chocolate and juice from cartons.
But by the time we finally had lunch I was pretty hungry and tired. Approaching this table setup was a very welcome sight. Not quite as good as seeing the camp at the end of the day, but it was up there…
This was a lunch with fantastic views and sunny weather. Once I stopped walking I usually got quite cold, so had to put my down jacket on and a hat. But mostly I walked in a long-sleeve merino top during the first few days.
And eventually we were approaching the campsite with hot tea and snacks waiting for us…
…and these incredible views!