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The Snowman Trek 24 Days

Snowman-Trek-Bhutan

The Snowman Trek is considered to be not only Bhutan’s but one of the world’s most difficult treks. The trek starts from starts in Paro Valley’s Drukgyel Dzong at 2580 meters and passes through the remote parts of northern Bhutan. Normally the trek takes 24 days to complete when it started from Paro. However, you may save a few days, about 4 days if you begin the trek from Punakha. This trek is not for the beginners, you pass through some of the highest Bhutanese passes such Gangla Karchung La at 5230m, Jaze La at 5251 m, Loju La at 5155m and Rinchenzoe La at 5332m. Moreover, since the trek ascends along the Pa Chu River to the remote northern district of Lunana, it’s also a difficult region of the inhabitants of the country. On the uphill trek for about an hour near Gophula pass, the views of the Gangkhar Phuensum (7,561m) mountain look spectacular on a clear day.

Detailed Itinerary:
Day 01. Arrive Paro (By Druk Air):
The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks, give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. greet you on arrival, and then drive you the short distance to the Hotel.

Day 2: Paro Sightseeing. Altitude: 2250 M
Early morning start from the hotel and drive to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong to see the view of Mt. Chomolhari (7315m). Drive back to Sartsam Chorten and walk up to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger nest) viewpoint. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche, who brought Tantric Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century, meditated here. The monastery was built later in the 17th century on the same site.

In April 1998, a fire destroyed the main structure of the buildings and the religious contents. A complete restoration was done and was built exactly the same as the original one. This place beholds the history of the hidden land. The walking time is approximately five hours. But depending on one’s pace.

When we return to the main road we turn to the right and drive further to Drukgyel Dzong. It was built in1649 by Shabdung Ngawang Namgyel. The Dzong was destroyed by fire in 1951 & the ruined remains are now preserved as a historical site. On the way back we will visit one of the oldest monasteries that we have in Bhutan.
The first King of Tibet Songtsen Gambo built Kyichu Lhakhang in the 7th century to introduce Buddhism into our country.

Day 3: Paro – Punakha
Drive to Punakha via the Dochula pass (3050 m), through magnificent forests of rhododendron and magnolia. From the pass, one can see the panoramic view of the eastern Himalayas. From here you will travel downhill to reach Punakha for lunch. Visit Punakha Dzong. It was the old capital of Bhutan before moved to Thimphu. Enjoy visiting the Dzong (built-in 1637 during the time of Shabdrung). The Dzong is now used as the winter residence for the Central Monk Body and headquarters of Punakha district. Camp Tashithang. Altitude: 1,600m.

Day 4: Punakha -Tashithang – Damji. Walking times. 5-6 hours
The trek starts by the side of the river, following a well-made path through semitropical forests. This part of the area is quite wet and one has to watch out for leeches. There are also lots of wild orchids around for those who love flowers. The day walk is fairly gentle, climbing up to Damji village. Overnight Camp. Damji. Altitude: 2250m.

Day 5: Damji – Gasa. Altitude: 2,900m. Walking time 6-7 hours
The path continues through subtropical forests and villages up to Gasa Tsachu (Hot spring) The Tsachu is a famous place where many people from all over Bhutan come to bath for its curative powers. There are four pools, ranging from mild to hot. Hot lunch will be served here. After lunch, 2 hours stiff climb to Gasa Dzong and camp below the Dzong.

Day 6: Gasa – Chamsa. Altitude: 3650m. Walking time 6-7 hours.
After breakfast visits the Dzong which was built in the 17th century to protect the valley against Tibetan invaders. The path starts with a stiff climb up to Bele la pass (3,700m) through bamboo, rhododendron, juniper and fir forests. The climb up to the pass will take around 5 hours. The descent will be about a half-hour to camp at Chamsa. Overnight Camp.

Day 7: Chamsa – Laya. Altitude: 3,800 m. Walking time: 8-9 hours.
The path starts by descending to the bank of the Mo – Chu River. It goes up and down again to detour back up the hillside, to avoid the steep spur. Lunch will be served near the side of the bridge crossing the river. After lunch climb up gradually to Laya crossing the army camp. Overnight Camp. Laya village.

Day 8: Rest day at Laya for acclimatization.
One can go around the village visiting the houses and people. The Laya people are very fascinating and friendly and will happily pose for photographs. The women in Laya wear a very special dress. In the evening there will be a cultural dance if the local people are around. Overnight Camp.

Day 9: Laya – Rhodophu. Altitude: 4350 m. Walking time: 8-9 hours.
From Laya descend to the army camp and continue following the river until the turn off point to Rhodophu. After lunch continues the climb through rhododendron bushes until the camp. Overnight Camp.

Day 10: Rhodophu – Tarina. Altitude: 3980 m. walking time: 10-11 hours.
This is the longest day of the trip and therefore it is essential to start very early. We start at 5 am by climbing to Tsimola (4,700 m). After crossing the first pass and at the little summit one can have a superb view of Lunana, Chomolhari, and Jichu Drake. The path is flat for another four hours till the climb to Gangla Karchung la pass (5,080 m). The view from the pass is breathtaking. The whole range of mountains, including Masagang, Tsendegang, and Teri Gang can be seen. After the pass, there is a very long descent to Tarina valley. Overnight Camp.

Day 11: Tarina -Wache. Altitude: 3800 m. walking time: 6-7 hrs.
This day is much easier as the path follows the river down the valley. Lunch will be served at the lowest point of today’s trek, (3500 m). After lunch climb up about 300 meters to the village of Woche. Overnight Camp.

Day 12: Woche – Lhedi, Altitude: 3650 m.
The trek starts through juniper and fir forests and then through rhododendron bushes. We climb up to Keche la pass (4,480 m) where one can have a great view of the mountains. After the pass, descend to the riverside, walking through the village with stunning views of Table Mountain and others. Follow the river (one of the main sources of the Pho- Chu), until we reach Lhedi village.

Day 13: Lhedi – Thanza. Walking time: 7-8 hours.
The trek continues following the river, rising gradually to Choejong village. After lunch visits the Choejong Dzong and then continue towards the wide valley, crossing the bridge to reach Thanza. Overnight Camp. 4000 m.

Day 14: Rest day at Thanza.
One can walk around or climb up the ridge to see the view of the lakes and mountains.

Day 15: Thanza – Tshochena. 20KM. 7-8 Hours. 4900M.
Today is a long trekking day. We should start as early as possible. The climb of three false summits will take you to Jaze La 5050M, after this pass it will be less than an hour’s walk downhill to the camp near the lake of Tshochena. Overnight Camp.

Day 16: Tshochena – Jichu Drama. 14 KM. 4-5 Hours. 4880M.
The trail is gradual with ups and downs between the snow-capped peaks and across the Loju La Pass 4940M. Overnight Camp.

Day 17: Jichu Dramo – Chukarpo. 18 KM. 5-6 Hours. 4950M.
Today the trek will climb up to Rinchen Zoe La Pass 5140M, and this will be the highest point on the trek. It is then a long downhill walk to Chukarpo. Overnight Camp.

Day 18: Chukarpo – Thampe Tsho. 18 KM. 5-6 Hours.
It is a long trek mostly downhill, walk along the Riverside and then climb back to the Um Tso at 4230M. The legend believed that Saint Pema Lingpa the reincarnation of Guru Rimpoche had discovered a number of religious treasures from this Lake. A bit further you will reach to the camp near the Thampe Tso. Overnight Camp.

Day 19: Thampe Tsho – Maurothang. 14 KM. 5 Hours. 4000M.
It is around two hours walk to the base of Thampe Tso and then a steep climb to the pass at 4230M. Then the trek route will take you downhill through rhododendron to the yak pasture of Maurothang. This is as far as the Yaks go. The back- up will come from Sephu.

Day 20: Mauraothang – Sephu. 18KM. 5-6 Hours.2500M.
The trail follows the Nikka Chu through bamboo thickets and fields to the road at the village of Sephu. Here you will meet your coach or car.

Day 21: Sephu – Wangdue.
Visit Wangdue Dzong. Hike to the Divine Madman monastery.

Day 22: Wangdue – Thimphu.

Day 23: Thimphu – Paro.

Day 24: Departure.

Cost Details:

Cost Includes

  • Private transportation.
  • All necessary travel permits.
  • English speaking local guide.
  • Accommodation on a twin room basis.
  • Sightseeing and monastery entrance fees as per the itinerary.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
  • Bhutan Visa fee.
  • Government royalty and all the taxes.
  • Bottled drinking water.

Cost Excludes

  • Flight fare.
  • Travel / Medical Insurance.
  • Additional cost due to natural calamity and unforeseen circumstance.
  • Personal expenses such as drink, guide tips & etc.
  • Luxury hotels/resorts available on supplement cost.

Note: This itinerary is a sample itinerary intended to give you a general idea of a trip to Bhutan. We can tailor an itinerary to suit your requirements and interests. Please Contact Us to design the exact itinerary you desire.

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Trip Facts

  • Starting Price: $200+
  • Trip Starts/End: Paro Int’l Airport
  • Activities: Cultural Tours, Hiking, Sightseeing
  • Group Size: 1+
  • Accommodation:  Deluxe 3-star hotels
  • Meals:  Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Transportation:  Private Vehicle
  • Guide:  English speaking local tourist guide
  • Best Time: All months
  • High Season:  March, April, May, September, October, and November
  • Low Season:  June, July, August, December, January, and February
  • All Seasons:  September – November (fall), December – February (winter), March-May (spring), June – August (monsoons)

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