Often referred to as one of the most difficult treks in the Himalayan region, the snowman trek II spans 25 days through high altitudes, total wilderness and some of the most remote regions of the country. It demands physical fitness and stamina.
The trek goes over 11 mountain passes, all of which are more than 4,500 m from sea level and reaches Lunana, the remotest region along Bhutan’s northern frontiers. The trek also offers splendid mountain views of mount Jhomolhari (7314m), Masang Gang (7194m), Jichu Drake (6794m), Gangla Karchung (6395m) Jejekangphu Gang (7300m), Kangphu Gang (7212m) and Tsenda Kang (7100m). The trail passes through grasslands, waterfalls and mountain cliffs en-route to Lingshi village.
This trek starts from Paro, Drugyal Dzong, goes up to the base of the Gangkar Phuensum mountain and emerges in the central district of Bumthang.
SNOWMAN TREK 32-DAYS detail itinerary
Day 01~Arrive Paro
You will be received by Bhutan Bokar Tours and escorted to the hotel. In the afternoon visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum, is the Paro Rinpung Dzong, the centre of administration and religious authority in Paro District. A short walk takes you to the base of the Dzong and across a traditional cantilever bridge. A short distance further is one of the innumerable archery grounds. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan.
Day 2~ Hike to Taktshang (Tiger Nest), Paro valley sightseeing
Hike to Taktshang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest, perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro valley. In the eighth century the great Indian saint, Guru Padmasambhava, is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. It is a two-hour uphill walk at moderate pace. Drive to the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong, visit Kyichu lhakhang built in 7th century AD. Evening, stroll around Paro town.
Day 3~ Paro – Shana (Start of Trek) Distance 14 km – time approx 5 – 6 hours
Drive to Drukgyal Dzong to start trek to Shana. From the starting point, at 2580m, you can see distance views of Mount Jomolhari. Follow the old route along the Paro River through fields and beautiful villages till the campsite at Shana at 2,820m not far from the army out post. Overnight in tented camp.
Day 4~ Shana – Soi Thangthangka, Distance 21 km – time approx 7 – 8 hours
The route goes through thick forests and a few settlements to a place called Shingkarap. The route continues through forest crossing several small wooden bridges. Close to the campsite the route opens to a meadow where camp is pitched at 3,610m.
Day 5~ Soi – Thangthangka – Jangothang, Distance 15 km/time approx 5 – 6 hours
After crossing the small army check post the route passes through meadows leaving the tree line where you will see a few yaks. Walk through a valley where there are a few houses, pass by a health center and a school. After a few minutes reach Jomolhari base camp and soak in the awesome view of Jomolhari and ruins of an old fort near your camp at 4,080m.
Day 6~ Jangothang Exploration
Day 7~ Jangothang – Lingzhi, 21km/5-6hrs
The route follows a small stream, crosses a bridge and climbs the ridge offering views of Jomolhari and Jichu Drake peak. After descending to the valley the trail goes up to Nyele la pass at 4,700m. Then it goes downhill towards the campsite at 4,000m. From here the beautiful Lingzhi Dzong can be seen with mountain peaks in the background.
Day 8~ Lingshi – Chebisa, 16km/3-4hrs
The trail from the camp gradually climbs to a stupa below the Dzong and descends to Lingshi village. The hillsides here are covered with medicinal plants. The trail levels pleasantly and descends into a side valley with a beautiful village called Gongyuel. Continue walking to the other side of valley to Chebisa village, your camp for the night at 3,850m.
Day 9~ Chebisa – Shoumuthang, 17km/6-7hrs
Today’s trek begins with a four-hour climb to a ridge to Gubu la pass at 4,500m. The route descends from the pass into rhododendron forests until a stream. Continue further up and down through rhododendron forests and yak herder camps. Tonight’s camp is at 4,250m.
Day 10~ Shoumuthang – Robluthang, 18 km/ 6-7 hours
The route starts with a climb to Jari La pass at 4,700m then goes down to Tasharijathang valley, the grazing grounds of the Himalayan TAKIN. Later after crossing the stream, the path moves up to reach Robluthang camp at 4,200m.
Day 11~ Robluthang – limithang, 19km/7-8hrs
Today the route is quite long and climbs to Shinje La pass at 4,900m. The trail is narrow and crosses a stream along the way while offering stunning views of peak Gangchen ta (6,840 m). Campsite is above the river at 4,140m.
Day 12~ Limithang – Laya, 10km/4-5hrs
Don’t miss the beautiful view of Gangchenta in the morning. Step into the beautiful village of Laya after crossing a forest of cedar and fir. Laya is the second highest settlement in the country at 3,800m. Camp at Laya village.
Day 13~ Laya Exploration
Explore Laya village and its environs. The people of laya are a unique and hospitable nomadic community. You will see women with plain black yak wool garments set off by elaborate necklaces and conical bamboo hats decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments. If interested, cultural programmes can be organised in the evening.
Day 14~ Laya – Roduphu, 15km/7-8hrs
The trail leaves the village and goes down to Taksemakhang army camp. After half an hour on the main trail you will reach a junction, from where you have to take the left trail to Rodphu.The trail ascends rapidly for about 2 hours and arrives at a viewpoint. The trail continues through the forest, up by the Rodhu Chu River, finally arriving at the Rodhu phu campsite after crossing a small bridge. Campsite at 4,215m.
Day 15~ Roduphu – Narithang, 17km/7-8hrs
Today you will climb steeply upward for about 45 minutes and then come across an open valley where vegetation is mainly alpine herb, grasses, moss and lichen. The trail descends uphill to Tshomola pass at 4,905m. From the pass the trail gently falls for about 15 minutes and then continues to go up gradually above 5,000 m and finally drops to Narethang camp at 4,900 m right in front of Gangla Karchung with huge glaciers in view. Campsite at 4,490m.
Day 16~ Narithang – Tarina, 16km/5-6hrs
From the camp you can see Gangla Karchung pass 5,180m, which takes about an hour from the campsite. Gangla Karchung la pass also marks the area into Lunana.
The trail from the pass gently goes down over moraines for an hour and finally reaches the edge offering beautiful views of the landscape down below. On the other side you can see a beautiful river running down from a glacial lake at the foot of Teri Gang.
As you descend further the trail gets rapidly steeper and harder on your knees. The rhododendron bush roots and mud, if raining, can make the trail very difficult. Once on the valley the trail follows Tarena Chu. Camp is at 3,700m.
Day 17~ Narithang – Woche, 14 km, 5 to 6 hours
The trail leaves camp parallel to Tarina Chu Rivers, surrounded by some beautiful waterfalls. Later the trail becomes muddy through the forest and starts climbing steeply, crossing landslide areas. You will reach Woche village, the first settlements of Lunana County (gewog). After lunch continue through conifer forest. Before reaching camp at Domchuthang, cross Wochu River, which runs down from the glaciers of Teri Gang in the north. The campsite at Domchuthang 4,163m offers great views of Teri Gang to north and part of Gangla Karchung can be seen towards southwest.
Day 18~ Woche – Lhedi, 15km/5-6hrs
The trail steadily climbs up from the camp. Just before reaching the pass you will come across a long clear green lake. The Kechela pass at 4,666 meter offers great mountain views all around. From the pass the trail descends steeply to Phochu valley passing Thega village. You cross Lhedi Zam (bridge) just before camp at Lhedi at about 3,900m. Lhedi village is the centre administration of Lunana county, comprising a local government office, a lower secondary school, a basic health unit, a wireless telephone station and some households.
Day 19~ Lhedi – Thanza, 13km/5-6hrs
Today’s path follows through the last forest that will be encountered for the next couple of days (fir and juniper). After a short walk you reach a deep u shaped valley in the north. There are numerous settlements that can be seen here. The path continues following the left bank of the Pho Chhu, crossing a glacial drainage, with excellent views of a table mountain. The trail continues back and forth through rubble of a big riverbed and enters Chuzo village. From Chuzo village the trail follows through huge grassland finally leading to Thanza village, the camp for the night at 4,100 m.
Day 20~ Thanza halt
Rest in Thanza to refresh, stretch and relax. Explore the village.
Day 21~ Thanza – Tshorim, 17km/8-9hrs
Having chosen the route to Bumthang the trek starts by climbing a ridge with a great views of the Table Mountain and Thanza valley below. The ridge altitude is 4,500m and it rises gradually up to 4,650m. After lunch, walk upwards towards the left side of the bridge to enjoy the view of snow capped peaks. The camp will be at 5,120m.
Day 22~ Tshorim – Gangkar Phuensum basecamp, 17km/6-7hours
Today’s trek starts with a short climb to the Tshorim Tso. You walk on the side of the lake enjoying a panoramic view of the Gophu La ranges. The last climb to the Gophu La pass (5,230m) is very short. After descending to base camp walk along the ridge to view of Gangker Phuensum. The camp is at 4,970m.
Day 23~ Gangkar Phuensum base camp – Geshe Wongma, 14km/6-7hours
The trails further goes along the course of Sha chhu river and descends gradually to camp site in Geshe Wongma at 4200m.
Day 24~ Geshe Wongma – Warathang, 16km/8-9hours
The trail continues along the course of the Sha Chu until climbing point to Saka la pass at 4,800m. There are stunning views on the way while descending past a couple of lakes. Then ascend to camp near beautiful lakes and mountain peaks are beautiful. The campsite is at 4,000m.
Day 25~ Warathang-Dhur Tshachu, 14km/5hours
A one hour climb leads to Juli La pass 4,700m. After the pass, you descend to the riverside through dense rhododendron, juniper and conifer forests. After the bridge a short climb leads to Dhur Tsachu. These hot springs are believed to be blessed by Guru Padmasambhava.The campsite is at 3,590m.
Day 26~ Dhur Tshachu-Tshochenchen, 16km/8-9hours
From the hot springs it is a long and steady climb again with great views of mountains in Lunana. You will also come across several blue lakes and yak grazing pastures and camps. Overnight camp at 3,850m.
Day 27~ Tshochenchen – Dhur, 21km/13hours
The last day of the trek follows the Chamkhar Chhu, descending gradually with a few climbs in between. The trek ends when you arrive at Dhur village. From here you drive to Bumthang. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 28~ Exploring Bumthang, 2600m
Today, explore Bumthang, the most beautiful valley in the kingdom and the country’s spiritual heartland. You can visit Jakar Dzong, the administrative center of the valley; Jambay Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries in the Bhutan, Kujey Lhakhang, where Guru Rinpoche left his body imprint when meditating; and Tamshing Lhakhang on the other side of the river. Overnight in hotel, Bumthang.
Day 29~ Bumthang – Phobjikha, 155km/5hrs
Drive to the glacier valley of Phobjikha, one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country and the winter roosting grounds of the endangered Black-necked cranes. The valley also has a very interesting Nyingmapa monastery dating back to the 17th century.
In Phobjika valley you can do short walks taking the trail downhill.
Overnight stay in hotel, Gangtey.
Day 30~ Phobjikha – Thimphu, 130km/5hr
Before driving back to the Thimphu visit the Crane Observation and information center. Stop at Dochula pass and view the 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens. Evening freely stroll in Thimphu town and mingle with the local people. Overnight in hotel, Thimphu.
Day 31~ Exploring Thimphu, 2350m
Today’s sight seeing starts with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, a stupa built in memory of the Third King and dedicated to world peace and prosperity; the National Institute of Zorig Chusum where students undergo training in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts and the Folk Heritage Museum which will provide insight into Bhutan’s rural past.
After lunch visit Changangkha Lhakhang, a fortress like temple, which lies perched on a ridge above Thimphu; Takin Preserve to see the national animal of Bhutan: Buddha point where a 138.6-foot-tall Sakyamuni Buddha statue (inclusive of lotus) is seated on a 62-foot-tall throne. Buddha Point affords panoramic views of Thimphu valley. Also visit a nunnery temple followed by a visit to TashichhoDzong or “the fortress of the glorious religion” which is the seat of government. Overnight in hotel.
Day 32~ Paro Departure
Early morning drive to Paro international airport for your onward destination……..
Good Bye & TASHI DELEK