Trekking in Bhutan
Trekking in Bhutan is unlike anywhere else in the Himalayas. The kingdom is home to some of the most challenging high-altitude treks in the world. Perched on the eastern edge of the Himalayas — make excellent terrain for trekking enthusiasts. There is no shortage of treks in Bhutan, ranging from the relatively easy and scenic Druk Path, to one of the world’s hardest treks, the Snowman Trek.
So whether you’re going on a short hike in the lowlands or challenging yourself to an epic high-altitude trek, you need to prepare yourself for the raw wilderness and harsh conditions that any traveller to Bhutan faces.
The Snowman Trek travels through the remote part of the Lunana district and is the most difficult trek in Bhutan, if not the world. The combination of distance, altitude, remoteness, snow-filled passes and changeable weather conditions makes this trek very challenging – but also adventurous and thrilling.
NOTE: Snowman Trek is one of the most demanding and longest treks in the Kingdom and can climb as high as 5000 meters and above. It is only promoted for groups of more than 4-6 persons. Due to its rigors, it is strongly recommended that all trekkers are in excellent physical condition.
Day 01 : Arrive at Paro. 2250M.
Flight from Bangkok to the Kingdom of Bhutan. On the flight, you can see breathtaking views of the Great Himalayas. Upon arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be welcomed to the Kingdom by your guide from the Travel Agent. After lunch: visit to Ta- Dzong (built in the 17th century to help protect Paro Dzong). In 1968 it was turned into the National Museum of Bhutan. It has a fascinating collection of Household, Military, Royal & Religious items including beautiful Thangka Paintings.
Day 02 : Paro Sightseeing
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 depend on one’s pace. When we return to 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 03 : 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 down hill to reach Punakha for lunch. Visit Punakha Dzong. It was 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 head quarters of Punakha district. Camp Tashithang. Altitude: 1,600m.
Day 04 : 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 05 : 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. A Hot lunch will be served here. After lunch, 2 hours stiff climb to Gasa Dzong and camp below the Dzong.
Day 06 : Gasa – Chamsa. Altitude: 3650m. Walking time 6-7 hours.
After breakfast visit 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 half – hour to camp at Chamsa. Overnight Camp.
Day 07 : 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 08 : 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 09 : 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 continue 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 breath taking. 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 visit 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 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 hours walk downhill to the camp near the lake of Tshochena. Overnight Camp.
Day 16 : Tshochena – Jichu Dramo. 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 by 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.