Hiking or TrekkingTours in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan
Climbing or Peak TrekkingTours in Nepal
Cycling or Mountain BikingTours in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan
Sightseeing or FestivalTours in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan
A truly high altitude trek, the trek begins from Paro/ Punakha (west) and ends in Bumthang/Trongsa (central). It is a combination of Jhomalhari, Laya and the Lunana treks crossing the Renchen zoe pass at 5,400m the highest pass in Bhutan. From Laya onwards you stay continuously above 4000m. On the route, four of the highest passes to cross are the Gangla Karchung La at 5230m; the Jaze La at 5251m; the Loju La (5155m) and the Rinchenzoe La, at 5332m.
Taking you into seldom visited regions of the Himalayas and Lunana, it passes through picturesque farmlands and forest as well as alpine pasturelands. This trek will take you close to the snow, ice and rock faces of the mountains where most of the Himalayan peaks towering to the north are unnamed and unclimbed.
The only inhabitants in most of these areas are rare species such as bharal, or blue sheep, takin and the snow leopard. During the spring, summer and autumn, the alpine meadows are filled with countless varieties of flowers.
This tour is designed to start either in Kathmandu or in Bhutan Click here to see the Nepal extension
Day-1: Arrive Paro by Druk Air. On arrival and after visa formalities you will be met and transferred to the hotel. Afternoon / evening time at leisure.
Day-2: Day hike to Taktsang monastery. The hike which is all the way uphill takes about 2 /3 hours through villages and pine forests. The monastery clings to a huge granite cliff 800 meters from the Paro valley.
Day-3: Distance: 13km - 5 to 6 hours A short drive from Paro takes us to Drukgyel Dzong, the old fort where the trek used to begin, but we continue up the extended road to the Army Camp, and the start of our trekking route. Heading up the Paro Chhu river valley, the trail passes the small settlements where we see excellent examples of Bhutanese farmhouses and gradually ascends to 2800 meters at Shana camp. Walking time 5/6 hours.
Day-4: Shana to Soi Thangthangkha. Distance: 18km - 6 to 7 hours Leaving camp the trail continues upriver and the route winds in and out of rhododendron and blue pine forests. We are now in Jigme Dorji National Park, so keep your eyes open for wildlife and changes in vegetation as we continue to climb in elevation. Tonight we camp in Thangkthanka The camp is at an altitude of 3800 meters near a stone shelter.
Day-5: Thangthangkha to Jangothang. Distance: 19km - 5 to 6 hours An hour out of camp this morning we leave the tree line and head into the high mountains. After about 8km we cross Tengethang, a winter home of the migratory yak herders. Arriving at Jangothang (4040m / 13,250 ft), we can watch the sun set on Mt. Jhomalhari (7314m) and Mt. Jichu Drake (6989m).
Day-6: Jangothang. Explore the surrounding areas like Tshophu lake, visit Yakherders or simply relax.
Day-7: Jangothang to Lingshi. Distance: 20km - 6 to 7 hours Heading uphill from Jangothang we cross the first of many major passes. The Nyile La pass at 4890m (16,135 ft) is about a four hour ascent. Descending the other side we will encounter sparce juniper and rhododendron and pass many yak herder camps. From this area on we start to see herds of blue sheep. Arriving in Lingshi we set up camp at 4150m
Day-8: Lingshi to Chebisa. Distance: 14km - 4 to 5 hours This morning we will visit Lingshi Dzong, also known as Yugyel Dzong in the 17th century, it was used in the past to control travel between Tibet and Bhutan. Since today's hike will not be as long, the pace will be more relaxed. Upon reaching the camp at Chebisa (3850m), we will have time to visit Chebisa village and see a slice of Bhutanese village life.
Day-9: Chebisa to Shomuthang. Distance: 18km - 6 hours Crossing the Gombu La pass at 4350m we descend into a rhododendron filled valley, and continue past some yak herder camps to Shakshepasa where we camp continue on to a bigger camp for another 1.5 hours further along the trail to make the next day a little shorter.
Day-10: Shomuthang to Robluthang. 18km - 7 to 8 hours An early morning start will get us on the way to Jhari La pass at 4747m (15,600 ft). Decending to Tsharijathang, the valley where herds of Takin (the national animal of Bhutan) are normally seen. From here we climb to our camp at Robluthang at 4160m
Day-11: Robluthang to Limithang. Distance: 19km - 7 to 8 hours Starting early a strenuous hike leads to the Shinge La pass at 5005m (16,650 ft). Descending to Limithang we'll see Mt. Gangchenta (6840m) and the glacially carved Gangchhenta valley. Gangchhenta means Great Tiger Mountain. We camp at 4140m (13,650 ft).
Day-12: Limithang to Laya. Distance: 10km - 4 to 5 hours A shorter hike follows a trail in and out of a heavily wooded, uninhabited valley. Climbing up out of the forests we will be rewarded with some great views of Gangchhenta and Masang Gang (7165m) mountains. We camp at Laya at 3840m (12,650 ft).
Day-13: Laya. Explore the village by visiting the home of the Laya people.
Day-14: Laya to Roduphu. Distance: 19km - 6 to 7 hours The trek leads gradually downhill to the Lunana trail junction, then makes a gradual climb to the camp through a forest of conifers, maple and rhododendron. The trail improves and becomes wider as we climb out of the river valley. We set up our tents at Rodufu near a small stream at 4160m
Day-15: Roduphu to Narithang Distance: 16km - 8 to 9 hours It is a long hike, first crossing the Tsimo La pass at 4950m (16,200 ft). Descending to Narethang we pass some dwarf rhododendron and hike in the shadow of Gangla Karchung peak (6395m). We camp at 4900m
Day-16: Narithang to Tarina. Distance 18km - 6 to 7 hours Climb to Karchung La pass at 5240m (17,187 ft) and down to the glacial lakes that are the source of the Tang Chhu river. Above the lakes are the mighty peaks of Jejekangphu Gang (7300m) and Tsenda Kang (7100m). We camp at Tarina, 4020m
Day-17: Tarina to Woche. Distance: 15km - 5 to 6 hours The walk leads down through conifer forests, following the upper reaches of the Pho Chhu river. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to the village of Woche at 3940m (13,000 ft). The trek has now entered the Lunana region. We often continue on about an hour past Woche to a spectacular campsite below the Keche La pass.
Day-18: Woche to Lhedi. Distance: 19km - 7 to 8 hours It's a gradual climb from Woche to the campsite below the pass, and then gets steeper on the section up to the Keche La, at 4580m (15,100 ft), after which it drops steeply to Thega village our usual lunch spot. The afternoon hike continues along a beautiful river valley past spectacular waterfalls to Lhedi village where we camp at 3600m (11,800 ft). Sometimes we continue on about an hour or so beyond Lhedi village to a lovely campsite.
Day-19: Lhedi to Tanza. Distance: 19km - 6 to 7 hours The trail climbs gradually following the main source of the Pho Chhu to Chozo village. At the small Chozo Dzong there are some lay monks. Above Chozo the valley opens as we approach Thanza village near the foot of 7100m Zogophu Gamp, which is also know as Table Mountain. We camp at Thanza, 4080m
Day-20: Tanza to Danji: Distance: 8km - 4 hours Today is a relatively short, although somewhat steep, climb to a campsite called Danji, part way up to the Jaze la pass. It will allow us to have some extra time in the morning and make a later start. The camp is around 4600m/15,000ft, with spectacular views of snow-capped peaks! It is an important acclimatization spot.
Day-21: Danji to Tshochena. Distance: 12km - 5 hours The first part of the day involves a climb up over three false summits to Jaze La pass at 5050m (16,570ft). From the pass it is a short downhill trek to the campsite at the lake of Tso Chena at 4800m (15,740 ft). Keep your eyes open for blue sheep during the hike.
Day-22: Tshochena to Jichu Dramo. Distance: 14km - 4 to 5 hours The trail has a series of gradual ups and downs between the snow-capped peaks and across the Loju La pass at 4940m (16,300 ft) before descending to camp at Jichu Dramo at 4880m
Day-23: Jichu Dramo to Chukarpo. Distance: 18km - 6 to 7 hours We start with a hard climb to Rinchen Zoe La pass at 5332m (17,350 ft), the highest on the trek. It is then all downhill to Chukarpo, which is just above the tree line at 4950m
Day-24: Churkarpo to Tempetso . Distance: 18km - 5 to 6 hours It is a long mostly downhill walk along the river, followed by a climb up to the Um So lake at 4230m (13,950 ft). In this lake Pema Lingpa found a number of religious treasures. Continuing downhill we camp by lake Thampe Tso at 4200m
Day-25: Tempetso to Marothang. Distance: 14km - 5 hours It is a short walk to the base of Thampe La and a steep climb to the pass at 4580m (15,100 ft). The trek is then all downhill through rhododendron bushes to the yak pasture of Maurothang where we camp at 3550m
Day-26: Marothang to Nicachu Zam. Drive to Punakha | Distance: 17km - 5 hours On our final day of trekking we descend through a beautiful valley to the lovely village of Sephu where the new road-head beyond Nikachu Chazam continues to push up the valley to the upper part of the village. From there, where drive to Punakha, stopping at the top of the Pele La pass (3400m). Overnight in Punakha
Day-27: Punakha to Thimphu. This morning we will start with a visit to the Punakha Dzong which served as an old capital of Bhutan. This beautiful Dzong is the centre of the region of Bhutan called "Bumthang". The Trongsa Dzong is one of the most impressive in the kingdom, and can be seen from a great distance in its strategic position high above the Mangde Chhu river. Drive 3 hours to Thimphu for lunch and proceed 2 hours to Paro via visiting the oldest building in Bhutan, the Simtokha Dzong.
Day-28: Early morning transfer to airport for departure.
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The Snowmans Trek has a very short climbing window if you want to catch the best of the weather. The official climbing season, unlike other treks in Bhutan, is from September to October.
The best weather window comes in the first three weeks of October, though it is unpredictable given the high elevations and despite this, the passes can be heavily packed with snow making them impassable. This, and high altitude, is often the cause of trekkers not being able to complete the trek.
If starting in Nepal, we spend two nights in 3-star, Thamel Eco Resort, well situated within the heart of Thamel, or, if it is full, a similar category in Kathmandu.At the end of the tour we return to the same hotel. For our first two and last night in Paro, we will stay in a hotel.
While on trek, we stay in tents which will be erected by our porters and trekking team. You will be given a bowl of boiled water in the morning for washing along with a cup of bed tea. Meals are prepared by our cook and served in the Dining Tent. Lunches will probably be packed lunches which you can enjoy along the route.