The Samtengang Winter Trek is a short trek that offers the opportunity to experience the culture and traditional lifestyle of the people of Shar. The trek goes through idyllic villages and terraced paddy fields. Although the trek is possible throughout winter, the ideal season is from March through April and October through November.
Day 1: Arrival, Paro
After you touchdown at the Paro International Airport, our local tour executive will welcome and escort you to the hotel. Thereafter, you will be taken for a tour to the historic ruins of Drukgyel Dzong followed by the visit to Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the country. After lunch, you will visit the Rinpung Dzong and the Ta Dzong (National Museum). We call it a day after dinner.
Day 2: Tiger’s Nest Hike, Paro
You will be taken for a hike to Taktshang or Tiger’s nest, an uphill walk of about three hours. This hike is basically done to accustom trekkers to the mountain altitude of the Himalayas. The Tiger Nest, precariously perched on a 1,000 ft, will offer a spectacular view of Paro valley. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the kingdom. Needless to mention, the place is of great religious significance. Guru Padmasambhava, the great Buddhist master flew at the back of a Tigress to meditate here at Taktsang in order to subdue the evil spirits residing in place. He introduced Buddhism in Bhutan.
Day 3: Paro/Thimphu
The journey between Paro and Thimphu takes an hour and a half. It is a smooth drive along the Paro Chhu and later the Thimphu Chhu after crossing Chuzom. Along the road, you will be able to see village settlements, farmlands, temples and chortens (stupas). On the way, you will visit Tagcho Lhakhang (temple) on the other side of the river. In Thimphu, you will be taken for a cultural tour to Changangkha Lhakhang, Folk Heritage Museum, National Memorial Chorten, and Kuenselphodrang, popularly known as The Buddha Point.
Day 4: Thimphu/Punakha
You will leave early for Punakha and experience the sun rise at Dochula(pass) with a cup of tea or coffee at the cafeteria. When you reach Lobesa, you will walk a few minutes through a village to Chimmi Lhakhang perched on a hillock. This is the famous temple of fertility. After lunch, you will hike to Khamsum Yueley Namgyel Chorten located in the north of Punakha.
Day 5: Punakha/Limukha
Time: 4 hours
Camp altitude: 1,980m
After passing the spectacular Punakha Dzong you cross the footbridge over the Pho Chhu and walk up to Shengana. You will climb uphill gradually before reaching Limukha. The trail is dry so trekkers are advised to carry enough drinking water. You will halt for the night at Limukha.
Day 6: Limukha/Chhungsakha
Time: 5 hours
Camp altitude: 1,550m
You will continue the trek that will take you through a vegetation of rhododendron and oak trees until you reach the village of Chhungsakha. Ten houses compromise this small village. In the village, there is a holy stone and a cypress tree that was left by the divine madman, Lam Drukpa Kuenley.
Day 7: Chhungsakha/Samtengang
Time: 5 hours
Camp altitude: 1,830m
The trail descends till Pe Chhu. After crossing this river, you will climb uphill and pass the village of Sha on the way to Samtengang. Along the way, you will be able to see beautiful villages and paddy fields, and a rustic way of life. Samtengang is a beautiful place on top of a hill. There is a small lake near the school. You will camp for the night near the lake.
Day 8: Samtengang /Chhuzomsa/Thimphu
Time: 5-6 hours
The trail to Chuzomsa is steep, downhill till you reach the road head. The car will pick you and drive you back to Thimphu. On the way back, you will visit Wangduephodrang Dzong.
Day 9: Thimphu Hike
You will be driven to north of Thimphu. The uphill hike to Cheri is a gentle one that takes about two hours. Cheri Monastery was the seat of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal from where he started the first monastic body. After you visit Cheri, you will walk down till the road head from where you will be driven to the road head toward Tango, on the opposite ridge. You will be served lunch by the riverside. The uphill hike to Tango is a gentle one too and takes around roughly two hours. Tango is the leading Buddhist University in the country.
Day 10: Exit
Our local tour executive will see you off at the airport.