This trek explores the northern most regions of the eastern district of Trashigang, the home of the Brokpas, a nomadic community who herd yaks and wear a distinctive costume made from yak hair and skin. This region is one of the least explored and least visited protected areas (Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary) in Trashigang.
The altitude on this trail varies from 1,500m to 4,100m. Some of the settlements the trail passes through are Gengu (3400m), Merak (3500m), Sakteng (2800m), Thakthi (2200m), and Joenkhar (1700m).
The trek starts at Radhi village. The third day of the trek is the toughest since it crosses the Nachungla pass at 4,153m.
|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~ Arrival in Paro, drive to Thimphu, 55km ( 1hr)
On arrival, our representative from Yeoong Travels will be there to receive you at Paro airport and drive you to Thimphu.
En route, you will stop at the magnificent Tachocho Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s Iron Bridge Builder. Further down the highway you will reach Chunzom, the confluence of Paro Chu (river) and the Wang Chu, where the highway bifurcates to Thimphu and to the southern frontier town of Phuentsholing. In the evening stroll around the small and unique city of Thimphu. Overnight in hotel, Thimphu.
Day 2~ Paro Hike to “Taktshang”
Hike to Taktshang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest, perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro valley. It is a two-hour uphill hike at moderate pace. Visit Ta-Dzong (watch tower), now the national museum, and Paro Rinpung Dzong. Evening, drive to Thimphu.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 3~ Thimphu, 2350m
Visit National Memorial Chorten built in 1974 in memory of the third king of Bhutan and dedicated to world peace and prosperity, Drive to Takin preserve and see the Takin, Bhutan’s national animal, visit nunnery, school of thirteen traditional arts and crafts and national library. After lunch visit Changangkha Temple built in 12th century, Buddha point to see the 138.6 foot tall statue of Buddha Sakyamuni and Tashichoedzong, the seat of government, first built in 1641.
Day 4~ Thimphu – Punakha, 77km/3hrs
Today the drive to Punakha, Bhutan’s old capital, will take you through some of the kingdom’s fertile agricultural land and most dramatic river valleys.
The first stop is Dochu La (pass) at 3,050 meters. The snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen on a clear day. You could also circumambulate the 108 stupas of the Druk Wangyal Chorten. On the way down into the Punakha valley, one stop is at Mitsina village to visit Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility.
In the afternoon visit Punakha Dzong, which stands at the junction of the two Pho (male) Chu and Mo (female) chu rivers. Overnight in hotel, Punakha.
Day 5~ Punakha – Bumthang, 142km/5hrs
After an early breakfast, drive to the central district of Trongsa and pass over Pele La, at 3,390 meters. Trongsa forms the central hub of the kingdom and is the seat of the Bhutanese monarchy.The massive Trongsa Dzong stretching across a ridge is an architectural wonder. Its watchtower (Ta Dzong) has been converted into an excellent museum.In afternoon visit Trongsa Dzong, first built in 1648. Both the first and second kings ruled the country from here. Visit Ta Dzong museum for a glimpse of the rich historical and religious heritage of Trongsa Dzong.
Continue to drive to Bumthang crossing Yotong La (pass) at 3,425 meters. Along the way, stop at a yathra weaving centre. Yathra is a woolen textile weave unique to Bumthang. Watch weavers at their looms. Overnight in hotel, Bumthang.
Day 6~ 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 opposite the Kurje Lhakhang. Overnight in hotel, Bumthang.
Day 7~ Bumthang – Mongar 179km/7hrs
Continue drive to the eastern district of Mongar crossing Thrumshing La pass at 3,750m and then descend to Kurizampa. This area is one of the best for bird watching given is amazing variety of avian species. In the evening, stroll around Mongar town. Overnight in Mongar.
Day 8~ Mongar – Trashigang 90km /3 hrs
Visit Mongar Dzong built in 1953. Continue drive eastwards and pass through through several villages before reaching Trashigang town. Afternoon, visit Trashigang Dzong, which sits on the edge of a cliff. Evening, stroll through the small and compact town of Trashigang, the shopping centre for a number of nearby villages. Overnight in Trashigang.
Day 9~ Tashigang-Chaling
Drive 17 kms to Rangjung town and then take a 15 km dirt road to Chaling village, the start point of the trek. The dirt road drive through the villages takes about an hour. Explore Chaling village. Overnight in Chaling in tented camp.
Day 10~ Chaling – Damnongchu 7hrs
The trek from Chaling to Damnongchu starts from the Chaling School through pastureland and past old stupas, prayer walls and a monastery. Cross Mon Laptsa at 3,390m. Campsite is at Damnongchu at 3,120m, once a battlefield between Prince Kuentu Lekpa and demon Lhacham.
Day 11~ Damnongchu – Merak 3.5hrs
Trek through Juniper, Rhododendron, Larch and Hemlock forests and reach a village called Gangu. The trail goes further up above the village to open grazing grounds from where you will see the village of Merak. Campsite is at 3520m.
Day 12~ Merak – Mikateng 7hrs
The trail starts above Merak village and ascends up to Nyakchung La pass at 4,070m. The pass offers good view of the eastern Himalayan range. The trail descends over rocky surface to the campsite at Mikateng at 3,050m.
Day 13~ Mikateng – Sakteng 3.5hrs
Today is an easy short walk following the river through beautiful forests and over a wooden bridge. The trail then goes to a hilltop at 3,070m from where you can see Sakteng valley. Campsite in Sakteng at 2,940m.
Day 14~ Sakteng – Jyonkhar 7hrs
The route between Sakteng and Jyonkhar is mostly downhill. Descend to the valley crossing the bridge over Gamri Chu river which is a tributary of Drangme Chu river. Campsite is at Jyonkhar near the river at 1,820m.
Day 15~ Jyonkhar – Phongmay 5hrs
The trail ascents uphill for some hours from the camp and later the path goes up and down until you reach the settlement at Phongmey at 2710m, the end of the trek. A car will be waiting to transfer you to Tashigang.
Day 16~ Tashiyangtse excursion
You will drive to Trashiyangtse with stop at Gomphu Kora, a site where Guru Rinpoche meditated and subdued a demon that dwelt in a big rock. A temple was then built at the site. And further drive to Chorten Kora via Duksum the small town where many villagers coming for shopping.
Chorten Kora is similar to the stupa of Boudhanath in Nepal and was built in 1770. During the second month of the Bhutanese lunar calendar an interesting celebration known as “kora” takes place here and people from neighboring Arunachal Pradesh also join in the festivities. The area is also known for its exceptional woodcraft. Overnight at hotel, Trashiyangtse.
Day 17~ Tashigang – Samdrupjongkhar 175km/approx 6HR
Today is the last day of your tour and you will drive to the southeastern border town of Trashigang passing through the country’s oldest college and the national handloom weaving centre in Khaling.
After climbing up to Yonphula, 32 kms from Trashigang town, you slowly descend to the foothills as conifer forests give way to broadleaf vegetation. Overnight at hotel, Samdrup Jonkhar.