Often referred to as one of the most difficult treks in the Himalayan region, the snowman trek spans more that 21 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.
The longer version of the trek, a day longer, goes up to the base of the Gangkar Phuensum mountain and emerges in the central district of Bumthang.
|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|
Snowman (I) Trek detail itinerary
Day 1~ Arrive Paro
You will be received by Bhutan Bokar Tours and escort you to 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
Today explore around and hike up the ridge at 4,750m to view Jichu Drake as well as Jomolhari. There are chances of encountering blue sheep and yaks. The other option is an excursion to Tshophu Lake.
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 – 6 hours
Today’s 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. 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 – Tsho Chena, 17km/7-8hrs
The trail from the camp climbs up with much better views of Thanza village and Table Mountain finally entering a narrow valley, which leads to Danjee campsite at 4,540 m. Little further from Danjee you will come across a junction along the path. The left trail leads to the central valley of Bumthang. Take the trail on the right, cross a wooden bridge and climb through a rocky slope to reach Jazela pass at 5,150m. Up on the slope you can fine beautiful pink poppy. The trail from the pass descends to a large glacier valley. The camp at Tshochena is near a big green lake called Tshochena.
Day 22~ Tsho Chena – Jichu Dramo, 17km/7-8hrs
Today’s path climbs up for a while to a plateau. Here you will come across panoramic views of snow-capped peaks. Watch out for snow partridges. Go through several trails leading to the next big lake and into a carpet of blue and violet alpine vegetation, which includes all kinds of herbal plants. From Loju la pass at 5,145 m you will see Jichu Darmo campsite.
Day 23~ Jichu Dramo – Chu karpo, 19km/7-8 hours
It is a challenging climb to the highest pass of the trek at 5,326 m popularly known as Rinchen Zoe la. You will come across excellent views of huge glaciers and glacial lakes. Later a long descent takes you into a broad, marshy valley. From here the trail levels and finally reaches the Chu Karpo campsite at 4,450 m.
Day 24~ Chu karpo – Tampoe Tsho, 15km/6-7hours
Today is a lot of stony ground to be covered. The trail is very muddy and slippery at first, and later covered with boulders. Then it is a steep climb through a forest of juniper and fir leaving the valley floor behind. After a short walk, parallel to the valley leads to a beautiful lake. Next to the lake is the campsite at 4355 m.
Day 25~ Tampoe Tsho – Maurothang, 17km/6-7hours
Climb up steadily for 40 minutes to Tempe La Pass 4,665 m. It is time to bid farewell to the high altitude mountains and its fresh crispy air. You will descend steeply to a yak harder camp with a big lake below. You will further descend through thick woods to your campsite at 3,698 meters.
Day 26~ Maurothang – Nikka Chu, 24km/7-8hours
Today is the last day of the trek. The trail is easy. Several tributaries have to be crossed over various kinds of bridges, as well as a couple of clearings with some huts. Finally, the forest opens up with a view of an agricultural valley. At the motor road your driver and car will be waiting to take you to your hotel in Trongsa town. Overnight in Trongsa.
Day 27~ Trongsa – Punakha, 142km/5hrs
Visit Trongsa Dzong built in 1648 and the Ta Dzong, which is now a Heritage museum. Later drive to Punakha valley via Pelela pass at 3300m approx. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955. It is the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the monk body. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 28~ Punakha-Thimphu, 77km/3hrs, then to Paro
On your drive to Thimphu stop at Dochu La pass, 3050 m, and view the 108 Druk Wangyal Chorten stupas Visit Semtokha Dzong built in 1629. Later in the evening continue drive to Paro. Overnight in Paro.
Day 29~ Paro Departure
Drive to the Paro International Airport for onward journey.