This Snowman trek goes to the remote Lunana district and is considered the most difficult trek in Bhutan and perhaps in the world. The attributes those make it a tough trek are; distances, altitude, weather and remoteness. The alpine quest is deemed only for the adventurous trekkers.
Season: The snowman trek is frequently closed because of snow and is almost impossible during winter. The recommended season for this trek is mid June to mid October.
Flight to Paro is one of the most mesmerizing experience in the Himalayas with great views of snow-peaked mountains. One arrival at Paro, you will be received by Bhutan Travelers representative and transfer to Thimphu. Evening stroll freely in the town or relax in the hotel. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Today you will hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at 3180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. After having explored the monastery, you will hike down to Paro. This evening, you will drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Stroll freely in the town in the evening. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Morning sightseeing in Thimphu includes, Memorial Chorten, a stupa built in memory of the 3rd King of Bhutan; Art School where 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan is being practiced and kept alive; Traditional Medicine Institute (Bhutanese art of traditional medicines is being taught); Folk heritage Museum (more than one century old farm house converted to a heritage museum). After lunch, enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop at the Dochu La pass (10,170 feet), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass we drive downhill through forests of rhododendron, fir and hemlock. On the way, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to the Devine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. If you wish, receive the blessing from the Lama’s wooden phallus! Overnight hotel in Punakha.
In morning, visit the Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. You will then drive on to Gasa following Mo Chhu River. The drive is through the high agricultural benches above the Mochu (Chu means River) into a lush semi-tropical gorge filled with banana trees and creepers. Camp below the Dzong at an altitude of 2,900m.
After breakfast, visit the Dzong, which was built in 17th century, to protect the valley against Tibetan invaders. The path starts with stiff climb up to Bele La pass (3,700m) through bamboo, rhododendron, juniper and fir forests. Then descend for about half an hour to camp at Chamsa at an altitude of 3,650m. Walking time 6/7 hours.
The trail starts by descending to the bank of Mo Chhu River. Lunch will be served at the side of the bridge, across the river. After lunch climb up gradually to Laya crossing the army camp. Overnight camp at an altitude 3,800m. Walking time 8/9 hours.
One can go around the villages visiting houses and the people. Laya people are friendly and will happily pose for photographs. Women of Laya wear special dress and typical bamboo hats, decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments. Cultural evening with dances performed by the local girls.
From Laya we descend to army camp and continue following the river till the turn off point to Rhoduphu. After lunch continue the climb through rhododendron bushes till we reach the camp at attitude of 4,350m. Walking time 8/9 hours.
Today is the longest day of the trip and we must start early. Start at 5 am by climbing to Tsimola (4,700m). After crossing the pass and the little summit, one can have superb view of Lunana, Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake.The path is flat for another 4 hours till climb to Ganglapachung pass (5080m) is started. The view from the path is breathtaking and whole range of mountains including Masanggang, Tsendegang and Teri Gang can be seen. After the path, it is a very long descent to Tarina valley. Camp at altitude 3980m. Walking time 10/11 hours.
The walk leads down through conifer forests following the upper ridges of the Pho Chhu. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to Woche at altitude of 3,800m, the first village scene Gasa. Camp at altitude 3,800m. Walking hours 6/7 hours.
The trek starts through juniper and fir forests and further ahead through rhododendron bushes. Climb up to Keche La pass (4480m) where one can have the great view of mountains. After the pass, descend to the riverside walking through the village with a stunning view of Table Mountains and others. Follow up the river till Lhedi Village, which is one of the main sources of Pho Chhu. Camp at altitude of 3,650m.
The trek continues following the rivers and rising gradually to Choejong village. Cross the bridge to reach Thanza. Camp at altitude 4,000m. Walking time 7/8 hours.
One can walk around or climb up the ridge for fascinating view of lakes and mountains.
The trek start by climbing the ridge, with great view of Table Mountain and Thanza valley below. The ridge altitude is 4,500m and it rises gradually up to 4,650m. After lunch, walk upwards the left side of the bridge enjoying the view of snow-capped mountains. Further climbing ridges, you reach the campsite of Tshorim at altitude 5,125m. Walking time 8/9 hours.
This is one of the highlights of the trip and day starts with a short climb to the Tshorim Lake. Walk on the side of the Lake enjoying the panoramic view of Gophula ranges. The last climb to the Gophula pass (5,230m) is very short. After the pass descend to the base camp, walking along the ridge and enjoying the great view of Gangkar Puensum. If interested, one can divert to the left side to climb up the pyramid peak for a better view or you can go down to the base camp nearby Sha Chhu at the altitude of 4,970m. Walking time 6/7 hours.
Rest day at the base camp enjoying the great view of the Gangkar Puensum which is the tallest unclimbed mountain in Bhutan.
The trek is not yet over. The trail further follows the Sha Chhu and descends gradually to Geshe Woma at an altitude of 4,200m. Walking time 6/7 hours.
The path continues following Sha Chhu for 2 and half hours until the stiff climb to Sakala begins. Visibility along the Sakala trail is poor so one must see top of the ridge for guidance. Lunch nearby a yak herder’s camp. After that, climb up to Sakala pass at altitude 4,800m. Later descend to the lakes and another short ascent is stunning. Scenery once again is beautiful with small lakes and the mountain peaks. Camp at altitude of 4,000m. Walking time 8/9 hours.
A short half hour climb leads to Julila pass (4,400m). After the pass, descend to the riverside through dense rhododendron, juniper and conifer forests. After the bridge a short climb leads to Dur Tsachu hot spring where Guru Padmasambhava is supposed to have taken bath in 8th hot spring. Walking time 5 hours.
From the spring, it is a long and steady climb again with great views of mountains in Lunana. You also come across the blue lakes and yak herder’s camp at an altitude 3,850m. Walking time 8/9 hours.
This is the last day of the trek where you change from yaks to pack ponies. The path follows the Chamkhar Chhu, descending gradually wit few climbs. The trek ends here when you arrive at Dur village where Bhutan Travelers transport will pick you up and drive to the hotel in Bumthang.
Bumthang valley is the centre for cultural wealth. The hills around valley are filled with monasteries dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava. Also it is home to one of the great Buddhist teachers, Pemalingpa, to whose descendants the present dynasty traces its origin. Explore valley visiting, Jakar Dzong, Kurjey Lhakhang, Jambay Lhakhang and Tamshing Lhakhang. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.
On the way, you will have a sightseing at Trongsa. The crown Prince of Bhutan traditionally becomes Penlop (governor) of Trongsa prior to becrowned as King. Trongsa Dzong, built in 1648 is the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture, which has been traditional home for all four Kings of Bhutan before they crowned as King. Standing above this fortress is Ta Dzong, which once guarded this place from internal rebellion and provides visitor more insight into historical significance of Trongsa in Bhutan’s history Contiunue driving to Punakha with stop enroute for lunch. Check into hotel on arrival. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
After breakfast drive to Thimphu with stop at the Dochula Pass. The pass is adorned with 108 small chortens and array of Buddhist prayer flags. On driving downhill through the small settlements, you will arrive at Thimphu. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
You have the full day at your disposal. You may use it for the relaxation or for shopping in and around Thimphu valley. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
After early breakfast in the hotel, drive to Paro airport for depature.
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