This trek is like an exploration of remote and unsullied northern Bhutan where yaks far outnumber the people who live within its rugged topography. This trek offers the opportunity to sight Blue Sheep, Griffons, Snow Leopard in their natural surroundings and the Blue Poppy, which is the national flower of Bhutan.

The trail passes through sub tropical and alpine landscapes and mountain passes with stunning views of Mount Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsrim Khang.

This trek also offers the opportunity to get a close view of the Layaps, a nomadic community that lives in this region and rears yaks.

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Price details

Departure Dates Twin Share Single Supplement Booking Remarks
24th March 2016 US$2608 US$2743 Open Arrive earlier to attend Paro festival 19 -23 March
15th Oct 2016 US$2608 US$2743 Open Arrive earlier to attend Thimphu festival 11 -13 Oct

Merak Sakteng trek detail itinerary

DAY 1~ ARRIVE PARO

You will be received and welcome by Bhutan Bokar Tours at the airport and transferred you to hotel. In the evening, stroll around Paro town’s main street. Overnight in hotel, Paro.

DAY 2~ EXPLORE PARO

Visit Paro Rinpung Dzong (fortress on heap of jewels) built in 1646 AD by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal; Ta Dzong, once a watch tower for the defense of the Paro Rinpung Dzong; ruins of Drukgyal Dzong (fort of victory) built in 1646 to commemorate victory over invading Tibetans; Kyichu lhakhang built in the 7th century by Buddhist Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.

DAY 3~ EXCURSION TO TAKTSANG MONASTERY

Hike to Tiger’s nest. This hike, which is all the way uphill, takes about 2 hours through pine forests at average pace.

The tiger’s nest monastery clings to a huge rocky cliff 900 meters above the valley floor. The great tantric saint Padmasambhava is said to have come here on a flying tigress and meditated for three months in the eighth century. It is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists from around the world. Overnight in hotel, Paro.

DAY 4~ PARO – SHANA (START OF TREK) DISTANCE 14 KM – TIME APPROX 5 – 6 HOURS

Drive to Drukgyal Dzong to start the 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 5: SHANA – 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 will be pitched at 3,610m.

DAY 6~ 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 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 7~ JANGOTHANG EXPLORATION

Explore around Jangothang and hike up the ridge at 4,750m to view Jichu Drake and Jomolhari peaks. Chances of encountering blue sheep and yaks. The other option is an excursion to Tshophu Lake.

DAY 8~ JANGOTHANG – LINGSHI, 18 KM (7 / 8 HOURS)

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 9~ LINGSHI – CHEBISA, 10 KM (5/6 HOURS)

Pass through Lingshi Dzong and from the hilltop enjoy splendid views of the hills, winding roads and exhilarating views of mountain peaks. Walk through villages, yak huts and finally reach Chebisa village, your campsite at 3,850m.

DAY 10~ CHEBISA – SHOMUTHANG (17 KM, 6/7 HOURS)

The route starts with a steep climb to Gubu La (pass) 4,450m then descends through rhododrendon forests to a stream. The trail then goes up and down through forests and yak huts where blue sheep is occasionally encountered. Camp at Shomuthang at 4,250m.

DAY 11~ SHOUMUTHANG – ROBLUTHANG (18 KM, 6/7 HOURS)

The route climbs to Jari La pass at 4,700m then goes down to Tasharijathang valley, the grazing grounds for the Takin. After crossing the stream, the trail moves up to Robluthang, the campsite at 4,200m.

DAY 12~ ROLUTHANG – LIMITHANG (19 KM, 7/8 HOURS)

Today, the walk is quite long and the trail climbs up to Shinjela pass at 4,900m. The path is narrow and crosses a stream. The trail offers stunning views of peak Gangchenta (6,840m). The campsite is just above the river in the forest at 4,140m with views of peak Gangchenta.

DAY 13~ LIMITHANG – LAYA (10 KM 4/5 HOURS)

Don’t miss the beautiful view of Gangchenta in the morning. Step into the beautiful village of laya after passing through a forest of cedar and fir. Laya is the second highest settlement in the country at 3,800m. Your camp will be at Laya village.

DAY 14~ LAYA – CHAMSA (19 KM, 8/9 HOURS)

Walk down to the army camp and follow the Mo Chu river. Cross a bridge and walk through juniper and fir forest until you reach camp at Chamsa at 3,500m.

DAY 15~ CHAMSA – GASA TSACHU (14 KM, 6/7 HOURS)

In morning, after walking for some time, cross Belela pass and move down towards Gasa hot springs. On the way down, explore around the village and visit Gasa Dzong built in the 17th century. Move down to campsite near the hot spring at 2,200m.

DAY 16~ GASA – DAMJI (18 KM, 6 HOURS)

The path continues south towards a tributary of the Mo Chu River. After walking downhill, cross the river and take the trail, which climbs on the opposite hill. Gasa Dzong will be still visible as well as peaks with snow. Descend to Gayza village. Drop again and walk back up to a stupa and after few minutes enter the village of Damji where your camp is set at 2,430m.

DAY 17~ DAMJI – TASHITHANG (16 KM, 6 HOURS)

The last day of trek descends into thick forest along the Mo Chu River till Tashithang. Drive to Punakha through unpaved road, which is 5 km long.

DAY 18~ PUNAKHA – THIMPHU (75 KM, 2.1/2 HOURS)

Morning visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637, and hike to Chimi Lhakhang the temple of fertility. After lunch drive to Thimphu. Stop at Dochula to view the 108 stupas of Druk Wangyel chorten. Overnight in hotel in Thimphu.

DAY 19~ THIMPHU – PARO (55 KM, 1HOUR)

Today’s sight seeing of Thimphu starts with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, a stupa dedicated to world peace and prosperity; the National Institute of Zorig Chusum or Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts and the Folk Heritage Museum.

After lunch visit Changangkha Lhakhang, a fortress like temple, which lies perched on a ridge above Thimphu; Takin Preserve to see the rare 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. Also visit a nunnery and Tashichhodzong, Bhutan’s seat of government. Overnight in hotel, Thimphu.

DAY 20~ DEPART PARO

After breakfast drive to Paro International Airport for departure