Summary

snowmen trekThe Snowman Trek is one of the most difficult and daunting treks in the world, with the trail cutting across high altitudes of the Bhutanese Himalayas. An extension of the Gasa Laya Trek, the Snowman Trek leads further into the upper Himalayas, to Lunana region, Gangkhar Puensum and Bumthang or down to Sephu in Trongsa, depending on the route. The best time for this trek is summer. Although very difficult, it offers a lifetime’s experience to trek through the Himalayas, across breathtaking landscapes and remote highland settlements of the country. At the end of the trek, you will be gripped by an intense feeling of conquest and joy.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Paro

Our local tour executive will receive you at the Paro International Airport and take you to the hotel. After freshening up, you will take a tour of Paro town which includes visit to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong and Kycihu Lhakang.

Day 2: Tiger’s Nest hike

Today, you will 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 1000ft, 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: Drukgyal Dzong/Shana:

Distance: 17km
Time: 4-5 hours
Camp altitude: 2,850m

The trek begins from the Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) road point. It is a gentle climb along the Paro Chhu. The trail passes through green meadows, paddy fields and traditional Bhutanese farm houses. After about four hours of trekking, you will reach the army outpost at Gunitsawa village where your guide will provide permits. You will have to walk to the other side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa, to the campsite.

Day 4: Shana/Soi Thangthangkha

Distance: 22km
Time: 7-8 hours
Camp altitude: 3,610m

This is a long trek that involves walking uphill and downhill at short intervals. After climbing uphill through the river valley, you will enter the Jigme Dorji National Park. The valley narrows down to a single path that descends to a meadow. The camp will be set up here. This is a right spot for the camp as you will be able to see Mount Jomolhari on a clear day.

Gasa DzongDay 5: Soi Thangthangkha/Jangothang

Distance: 19km
Time: 5-6 hours
Camp altitude: 4,080m

You resume the trek early in the morning. The trail continues uphill across alpine meadow and stunted vegetation. Along the trail, you will be able to view Mount Jomolhari. On the way, you will come across an army outpost, yak herders homes, and enjoy the view of beautiful snow clad mountain peaks and ridges. The trail passes through the highland villages of Soe, Takethang and Dangochang. Here you will be able to experience the typical lifestyle and culture of highlanders. You will continue till Jangothang, the campsite at the base of the majestic Mount Jhomolhari, the abode of the protective deity, Jomo.

Day 6: Rest day at Jangothang

The day will be spent at Jangothang. Short hikes offer the opportunity to see lakes and various other mountain peaks like Mount Jomolhari and Jyichu Drakey. There are also possibilities of sighting the blue sheep. There are good short hiking trails in three directions. Jumolhari and its subsidiary mountain chains lie directly west, Jyichu Drakey to the north and a number of unclimbed peaks to the east.

Day 7: Jangothang/Lingshi

Distance: 18km
Time: 6-7 hours
Camp altitude: 4,010m

After the day’s halt, you will resume the trek. The trail from the camp ascends through a steep ridge for about half an hour. After that, it is a gradual downhill walk to the Nyilila pass at 4,870m. From here, you will be able to view Mount Jomolhari, Mount Jyichu Drakey and Tsherimgang, all above 7,000m. Along the trail, you may sight herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes. The downhill trek will take you to Lingshi basin. Along this trail you will come across yak, yak herders and their homes. You will also see Lingshi Dzong on a clear day. You will halt at the campsite before you reach the Dzong.

Day 8: Lingshi/Chebisa

Distance: 10km
Time: 5-6 hours
Camp altitude: 3,880m

It is going to be an easy day of walking. So relax. Shortly after reaching the Chorten below Lingshi Dzong, you have the choice of staying on the main trail or taking the diversion that leads to Lingshi Dzong (4,220m), which sits right atop a ridge. The Dzong offers a serene view of the valley. As you continue the trek, you will pass through the villages of Lingshi and Goyul. At campsite in Chebisa at the backdrop of the village and beautiful waterfall, you can get time to visit the village and interact with different communities.

Day 9: Chebisa/Shomuthang

Distance: 17km
Time: 6-7 hours
Camp altitude: 4,220m

The trail goes through a wide pastureland towards Gobu La pass at 4,410m. After crossing the pass, you will descend to the valley, from where you will again climb a little after which the trail descends to Shakshepasa (3,980m) where a helipad is built. You will then climb till the campsite at Shomuthang located above a river, a tributary of the Nochu river.

JomolhariDay 10: Shomuthang/Robluthang

Distance: 18km
Time: 6-7 hours
Camp altitude: 4,160m

You will start early as the going is quite tough along this trail. You will climb up the valley and after about two hours, you will reach Jhari La at 4,750m. From here, you will be able to see Sinche La, the pass you will have to cross the day after. You will also see Mount Gangchhenta (6,840 m) also known as the Great Tiger Mountain. On a clear day, you will be able to see Tserimgang and the peak of Mount Jumolhari. You will walk down to Tsheri Jathang. This valley is the summer habitat of Takin and rightly declared as the Takin sanctuary. From here you will climb uphill to reach the campsite at Robluthang.

Day 11: Robluthang/Lmithang

Distance: 19km

Time: 6-7 hours

Camp altitude: 4,140m

After crossing Sinche La (5,005m) – the highest pass on the route, you will head towards Laya. On the way you will come across Laya women clad in their traditional attire. From here you can catch the view of a glacial lake at the foot of the valley and a terminal moraine. The descent will continue, and after crossing Kango Chhu reach Limithang campsite. From the camp, the peak of Gangchhenta is visible.

Day 12: Lemithang/Laya

Distance: 10km
Time: 4-5 hours
Camp altitude: 3,840m

The trail continues to descend, along a narrow river valley and leads to a dense forest. It moves on the west side of Laya village from where you can view Gangchhenta and Masagang. The campsite is below the school in Laya.

Day 13: Rest day at Laya

You will take the day off and rest in Laya. You will engage in short hikes, visiting the community school and meeting the Layaps. The interaction would enrich your understanding and knowledge of these people’s lifestyle, culture and traditions.

Day 14: Laya/Rodophu

Distance: 19km
Time: 6-8 hours
Camp altitude: 4,160m

From Laya, the trail descends to an army camp and follows the river until the turn off point to Rhoduphu. After lunch, the climb continues through rhododendron bushes till you reach the camp at Roduphu, next to the Rhodu Chhu.

Day 15: Rodophu/Narethang

Distance: 17km
Time: 5-6 hours
Camp altitude: 4,900m

The trail follows the river for about half an hour after which it climbs up to an open valley at 4,600m and further up to Tsomo La at 4,900m. From here, you can have a spectacular view of Lunana, Mount Jomolhari and Jyichu Drakey, and the Tibetan border on the other side. The trail then crosses a flat, barren plateau at about 5,000m. The campsite at Narethang is towered by the peak of Gangla Karchung (6,395m).

Day 16: Narethang/Tarina

Distance: 18km,
Time: 5-6 hours
Camp altitude: 3,970m

From the campsite, the trail climbs up for about an hour to Gangla Karchung La. From this pass at 5,120m, you will have a magnificent view of the Jekangphu Gang (7,100m), Tsenda Kang and Teri Gang (7,300m). The trail then descends along a large moraine, and continues downward through thick rhododendron vegetation to Tarina valley. You camp along the Tang Chhu.

snowmen trek in bhutanDay 17: Tarina/Woche

Distance: 17km,
Time: 6-7 hours
Camp altitude: 3,910m

The trail runs through conifer forests on the upper ridges of the Pho Chhu. Along the way, you will come across beautiful waterfalls. The trail ascends over a ridge and then descends to Woche, the first village in the Lunana region.

Day 18: Woche/Lhedi

Distance: 17km
Time: 6-7 hours
Camp altitude: 3,700m

The trail continues through juniper and fir forests, and further through rhododendron bushes. The route ascends to Keche La pass at 4,650m from where you can have spectacular view of the mountain ranges. The trail then descends to the riverside through a village, from where you can see the table mountain. The trek continues up the riverside till Lhedi village.

Day 19: Lhedi/Thanza

You will walk few hours to reach Thanza village where you will take the day off.

Day: 20 Rest at Thanza

Here you will be able to walk around the village, interact with local people and experience the highland culture.

Day 21: Thanza /Danji

Distance 8km
Time: 3-4 hours
Camp altitude: 4,230m

The trail climbs up to a large boulder from where you will have excellent view of Thanza, Toencha and Choso village and the mountains. The trail is relatively easier and after few hours of walking through almost flat area, you will reach a meadow with a few yak herders’ huts.

Near the campsite, there is a trail junction – one route leading to Gangkhar Puensum base camp, and the other to Bumthang or to Sephu in Trongsa.

Day 22 Danji/Tshochena

Distance 12km
Time: 5-6 hours
Camp altitude: 4,970m

This trek will follow the route to Sephu. The trail crosses through the creek and after a long climb, reaches Jaze La at 5,150m. After the pass, the trail descends to the campsite near Tshochena lake. Along the way, you will come across several lakes.

snowmen trek in bhutanDay 23: Tshochena/Jichu Dramo

Distance 14km
Time: 4-5 hours
Camp altitude: 5,050m

The trail goes along the banks of the green lake before arriving at a ridge at 5,100m from where you can have a spectacular view of the mountain ranges. The trail then ascends and descends over small hills and reaches a glacial lake. After that, the route descends and then again ascends to first Loju La at 5,140m. Finally after crossing a small saddle (5,100m) you will enter a wide glacial valley from where the trail descends gradually to the campsite at Jichu Dramo.

Day 24: Jichu Dramo/Chukarpo

Distance: 18km
Time: 5-6 hours
Camp altitude: 4,600m

The trail ascends through a moraine to the highest pass on the trek, Rinchen Zoe La at 5,320m. From here, you will have a panoramic view of Gangkhar Puensum. The route then descends into a wide valley with several lakes and further down along a moraine to the Thamphe Chhu. From here, you will be able to see trees. After a few hours of walk, you will reach the campsite at Chukarpo.

Day 25: Chukarpo/Thampe Tsho

Distance 18km
Time: 5-6 hours
Camp altitude: 4,300m

The route descends along the river till you reach the yak herders’ huts at Gala Pang Chhu, 4010m. From here the trail climbs steeply towards Thampe Tsho.

Day 26: Thampe Tsho/ Maurothang

Distance: 14km
Time: 5 hours
Camp altitude: 3,610m

The route ascends steeply to the last pass on the trek, Thampe La at 4,600m. Along the way, you may sight herds of blue sheep. After the pass,the trail descends to the sacred lake Om Tso. After passing a waterfall you will reach another, smaller lake 100m below. You will descend steeply to the Nikka Chhu. The trail leads through mixed forest to large clearing on the banks of the river with a few yak herder s’ huts, Maurothang.

Day 27: Maurothang/Sephu/Wangdue

Distance: 18km
Time: 5-6 hours

This is the last stage of the trekking. The trail follows the Nikka Chhu and finally reaches the village of Sephu and to the road point at the Nikka Chhu bridge.

Day 28: Sephu/Thimphu

Early in the morning, you will be driven to Thimphu. On the way, you will visit the Wangduephodrang Dzong.

Day 29: Rest day in Thimphu

You may like to take rest after the tiring trekking. However, depending on your choice, you can visit certain historical monuments in Thimphu. You may also take a tour of the city and do some shopping.

Day 30: Exit

Our local tour executive will see you off at the airport.