The best does not come easy unless you have worked hard for it. Bhutan is one of the fascinating countries and is home to one of the hardest treks called Snowmen Trek. It is hard but equally rewarding with its picturesque beauty.
The trek starts from western Paro district and end in Bumthang & Trongsa which is central region. The arduous trek covers majority part of Himalayas in Bhutan. As you venture on this trek, be ready to feed your soul with glimpses of turquoise green glacier lake, snow capped mountains and remote villages.
The landscape changes often requiring trekker to pass through 11 passes which means plethora of fitness preparation is needed. As you finish the trek, feel the joy of accomplishment.
- Trek covers almost the whole part of greater Himalaya in Bhutan.
- Explore Lunana region the highest settlement in the country.
- Amazing day hike to “Tiger’s Nest” monastery in Paro valley
- Traditional hot stone bath called Dotsho, believed to be good for skin and joint pains.
DAY 2~ 12th Sept, Saturday PARO
DAY 3~ 13th Sept, Sunday PARO – SHANA (approx. 15 km, 4 to 5 hrs walk) – TREK STARTS
DAY 4~ 14th Sept, Monday SHANA – SOI THANGTHANGKHA (approx. 26 km, 7 to 8 hrs)
DAY 5~ 15th Sept, Tuesday SOI THANGTHANGKHA – JANGOTHANG (approx. 14 km, 5 to 6 hours)
DAY 6~ 16th Sept, Wednesday JANGOTHANG HALT
DAY 7~ 17th Sept, Thursday JANGOTHANG – LINGSHI (approx. 21 km, 5 to 6 hrs)
DAY 8~ 18th Sept, Friday LINGSHI – CHEBISA ( approx15 km, 4 to 5 hrs )
DAY 9~ 19th Sept, Saturday CHEBISA – SHAKYAPASANG (approx. 16 km, 5 to 6 hrs)
DAY 10~ 20th Sept, Sunday SHAKYAPASANG – TSHERINGYANGU (approx. 18 km, 6 to 7 hrs)
DAY 11~ 21st Sept, Monday TSHERINGYANGU -LIMITHANG (approx. 19 km, 6 to 7 hrs)
DAY 12~ 22nd Sept, Tuesday LIMITHANG – LAYA (approx. 10 km, 5 hrs)
DAY 13~ 23rd Sept, Wednesday LAYA REST DAY (A day to wash your gears, clean yourself and relax)
DAY 14~ 24th Sept, Thursday LAYA – RODOPHU (approx. 15 km, 7 to 8 hrs)
DAY 15~ 25th Sept, Friday RODOPHU – NARETHANG (approx. 17 km, 7 to 8 hrs)
DAY 16~ 26th Sept, Saturday NARETHANG – TARINA (approx. 15 km, 5 to 6 hrs)
DAY 17~ 27th Sept, Sunday TARINA – WOCHE (15 km, 5 to 6 hrs)
DAY 18~ 28th Sept, Monday WOCHE – LHEDI (approx. 14 km, 5 to 6 hrs)
DAY 19~ 29th Sept, Tuesday LHEDI – THANZA (approx. 13 km, 5 to 6 hrs)
DAY 20~ 30th Sept, Wednesday THANZA REST DAY
DAY 21~ 1st Oct, Thursday THANZA – TSHO CHENA (approx. 17 km, 7 to 8 hrs)
DAY 22~ 2nd Oct, Friday TSHO CHENA – JICHU DRAMO (approx. 15 km, 5 to 6 hrs.)
DAY 23~ 3rd Oct, Saturday JICHU DRAMO – CHU KARPO (approx. 19 km, 7 to 8 hrs)
DAY 24~ 4th Oct, Sunday CHU KARPO – TAMPOE TSHO (approx. 15 km,6 to 7 hrs)
DAY 25~ 5th Oct, Monday TAMPOE TSHO – MAUROTHANG (approx. 17 km, 6 to 7 hrs)
DAY 26: 6th Oct, Tuesday MAUROTHANG – NIKKA CHHU (approx. 24 km, 7 to 8 hrs) – Trek End
DAY 27~ 7th Oct, Wednesday BUMTHANG – PUNAKHA (Altitude: 1350 m above sea level, 8 hrs drive)
DAY 28~ 8th Oct, Thursday PUNAKHA – THIMPHU (Altitude: 2320 m above sea level)
DAY 29~ 9th Oct, Friday THIMPHU
DAY 30~ 10th Oct, Saturday THIMPHU PARO AIRPORT
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.
From the museum, a short walk takes you to the base of the Dzong and across a traditional cantilever bridge and into Paro town. Overnight in hotel, Paro. LD
DAY 2~ PARO Today hike to Taktshang, the Tiger’s nest monastery built on the face of a cliff. The hike will take three hours altogether and will serve as an acclimatization trip for your trek. The monastery is at 3100m, about 900m above Paro valley.
Overnight in hotel, Paro. BLD
DAY 3~ PARO – SHANA (approx. 15 km, 4 to 5 hrs walk) – TREK STARTS Drive to Drukgyal Dzong to start trek to Shana. From the starting point, at 2580m, you will see distance views of Mount Jomolhari. Follow the old route along the Paro River through fields and beautiful villages until the campsite at Shana at 2,820m not far from the army out post.
Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 4~ SHANA – SOI THANGTHANGKHA (approx. 26 km, 7 to 8 hrs) Today you have a long day, so start early. The trail from Shana ascends through the river valley with pine and rhododendron forests. The trail ascends gradually gaining height and eventually arrives at Thangthangkha campsite at 3650m. From the camp you have wonderful views of Jomolhari (7340 m), Bhutan’s second highest peak.
Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 5~ SOI THANGTHANGKHA – JANGOTHANG (approx. 14 km, 5 to 6 hours) The trail continues to follow the river and passes a small army post where the valley begins to widen again. Views of high ridges and snow-capped peaks can be seen on all sides. At this altitude (about 4040 m) it is possible to see yaks and yak herders. Jangothang camp is beneath a ruined fortress at the base of Mount Jomolhari, at an altitude of 4044 m.
Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 6~ JANGOTHANG HALT As you have come a long way the other day, it is good to have rest. Besides the break, it is also gives more time for acclimatization. A day at Jangothang is an opportunity to explore the region.
You can climb the ridge towards the northeast to reach Tshophu lake. The view of Jichu Drake is awesome from the lake area. One can also walk towards Jomolhari to see great moraines and huge glaciers. One more challenge would be to climb the huge steep ridge above your camp to see both views of Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. The climb would take 3 to 4 hours to reach the rocky submit. Later in evening relax in your camp and prepare for your trek tomorrow. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 7~ JANGOTHANG – LINGSHI (approx. 21 km, 5 to 6 hrs) The trail climbs gradually to Nyili La Pass (4800 m). You can see broad yak pastures along the length of the route. in clear weather, there are an excellent views of Tsherim Gang to the northeast. It is also possible to see other far mountain passes towards the east that you have to go through in the next couple of days.
As you descend to Lingshi over vast pastureland the Lingshi Dzong can be seen below. About 300-400 people live in Lingshi, a sub district of Thimphu District. Your camp at Chashithang at an altitude of 4010 meters offers great views of Jichu Drake and Tsherim Gang to the north. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 8~ LINGSHI – CHEBISA ( approx15 km, 4 to 5 hrs ) The trail from the camp gradually climbs to a stupa below the Dzong and descends to Lingshi village, which consists of a primary school, wireless telephone station, a basic health unit and some households. The hillsides are richly covered with medicinal plants. There is a centre for medicinal plant collection set up by the government. The trail levels pleasantly and descends into a side valley with a beautiful village called Gongyuel. Continue walking through a slope to another side valley with Chebisa village where your camp is located at an altitude of 3990 m. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 9~ CHEBISA – SHAKYAPASANG (approx. 16 km, 5 to 6 hrs) Leaving Chebisa village, the trail leads up immediately through a steep slope of grassy land for 3 hours till you reach Gogula pass at 4440 m. During the climb you might see herds of blue sheep and large Himalayan griffons. After the pass the trail descends gradually through thick bush of rhododendron and finally drops to the valley of Shakyapasang campsite at an altitude of 4000 m. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 10~ SHAKYAPASANG – TSHERINGYANGU (approx. 18 km, 6 to 7 hrs) The day starts with a climb to Jarela pass at an altitude of 4785 m. The descent from the pass is bit steep and rocky and enters thick fir woods before appearing in Tsherejathang, a large reserve land for Takin the national animal of Bhutan. The Takin inhabits this area throughout summer and moves back to upper Punakha valley in winter. A steep 40 minutes climb will lead to a nice campsite of Tshereyangu at an altitude of 4160 m. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 11~ TSHERINGYANGU – LIMITHANG (approx. 19 km, 6 to 7 hrs) Start early to enjoy the best possible view from Shinchela pass at 5000 m. The trail crosses some small streams and you will come across a platform with lots of prayer flags. From here a large glacial valley opens up leading to the east and finally to today’s pass. On the trail you will hear shrill noises which are of marmots, whose holes can be seen everywhere. The hill sides here are covered with medicinal plants. The campsite is through a beautiful cedar forest, with Great Tiger Mountain looming over your campsite at Lingimethang at an altitude 4160 m. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 12~ LIMITHANG – LAYA (approx. 10 km, 5 hrs) You will follow the valley parallel to the Timuchang Chhu through a cedar and then fir forest. Yak people from Laya might overtake with their yaks carrying loads of goods. About 30 minutes before reaching Laya, there is a clear split in the trail. The left fork is better. After some small ups and downs and crossing a ridge you reach a Chorten and a prosperous Laya village appears before you at an altitude of 3800 m. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 13~ LAYA REST DAY (A day to wash your gears, clean yourself and relax) It’s rest day. You can check your supplies and on the arrangements of the pack animals to continue your journey further to Lunana. Laya village is worth a visit. You can visit some families and enjoy local brew “Singchang”.
You will also come across people playing archery with traditional bows. Laya women, unlike other women in the country, have a very unique way of dressing themselves.
If you walk about an hour northeast you will reach a viewpoint from where you can see Lungo village and also get stunning views of Masagang and Tshendagang peaks. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 14~ LAYA – RODOPHU (approx. 15 km, 7 to 8 hrs) The trail leaves the village and leads down to Takse army camp. After half an hour on the main trail of Laya you will reach a junction, from where you have to take the trail on left to Robhuphu. The trail ascends rapidly for about 2 hours and arrives at a viewpoint. You can see Mo Chu flowing down through the dark fir forest. The trail continues through the forest, up by the Rodhu Chu, finally arriving at the Rodhuphu campsite after crossing a small bridge. From the camp many snow-capped peaks can be seen. (Altitude: 4215 m). Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 15~ RODOPHU – NARETHANG (approx. 17 km, 7 to 8 hrs) Today you will climb steeply upward for about 45 minutes. You will then come across an open valley where vegetation is mainly alpine herb, grasses, moss and lichen. The trail descends uphill to Tshomola pass at 4850 m. From the pass the trail gently falls for about 15 minutes and then continues to go up gradually above 5000 m and finally drops down to Narethang camp at 4900 m right in front of Gangla Karchung peak with huge glaciers in view. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 16~ NARETHANG – TARINA (approx. 15 km, 5 to 6 hrs) From the camp you can see Gangla Karchung pass (5180 m), which would take about an hour. All the rivers and streams that you have come across from Lingshi to Gangla Karchung flows into Mo chu River. Gangla Karchung la (pass) also marks the area into Lunana. The trail from the pass gently goes over the moraines for over an hour and finally reaches the edge overlooking beautiful views 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 down, 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. Your camp is at about 3700 m. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 17~ TARINA – WOCHE (15 km, 5 to 6 hrs) The trail leaves camp parallel to Tarina Chu, 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.
After lunch continue through conifer forest with beautiful meadows. Before the camp at Domchuthang you have to cross Woche River, which runs down from the glaciers of Teri Gang in the north. The campsite at Domchuthang (4163 m) has great views of Teri Gang to the north and Gangla Karchung can be seen towards southwest. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 18~ WOCHE – LHEDI (approx. 14 km, 5 to 6 hrs) The trail steadily climbs up after the camp, with many small flowers and herbs, and a good view of Woche Chhu. Just before reaching the pass you will come across a long clear green lake. The Kechela pass at 4666 m offers great mountain views all around. From the pass the trail descends steeply to Phochu valley passing Thega village down the side valley. You have to cross Lhedi Zam (bridge) just before your camp at Lhedi at about 3900 m. The Lhedi village is the centre administration of Lunana Gewog, comprising Gup’s office, a lower secondary school, basic health unit, a wireless telephone station and some households. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 19~ LHEDI – THANZA (approx. 13 km, 5 to 6 hrs) Today’s path follows through the last forest encountered for the next couple of days (fir and juniper). After a short walk you will enter into a deep “U” shaped valley in the north. There are numerous settlements that can be seen to the left, opposite and below. The path continues following the left bank of the Pho Chu, crossing glacial drainage, with excellent views of the Table Mountain. The trail continues back and forth through rubbles of a big riverbed and enters Chuzo village with impressive view of the Table Mountain behind. From Chuzo village the trail follows through huge grassland finally leading to Thanza village where your camp is located at 4100 m. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 21~ THANZA – TSHO CHENA (approx. 17 km, 7 to 8 hrs) The trail from the camp climbs up with the view of Thanza village and Table Mountain getting better and better and finally entering a narrow valley, which leads to Danjee campsite at 4540 m. Little further from Danjee you will come across a junction to Bumthang, exit on the left.
The trail on the right crosses a river on a wooden bridge and suddenly climbs up through a rocky slope, finally reaching Jazela pass at 5150 m. Up on the slope you can find beautiful pink poppy. The trail from the pass descends to a large glacier valley with impressive view of glaciers up close. The camp at Tsho Chena is near the bank of a big green lake called Tsho Chena. The campsite is at 4960 m. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 22~ TSHO CHENA – JICHU DRAMO (approx. 15 km, 5 to 6 hrs.) Today’s path climbs up for a while to a plateau. Here you will come across panoramic views of snowcapped peaks. Watch out for snow partridges. You will now go through several trails leading to a next big lake whereby you will also see a carpet of blue and violet alpine vegetation that includes all kinds of herbal plants. As you reach Loju La pass at 5145 m you can see Jichu Darmo camp site at 5060 m. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 23~ JICHU DRAMO – CHU KARPO (approx. 19 km, 7 to 8 hrs) It is a challenging climb to the highest pass of the trek at 5326 m popularly known as Rinchen Zoe la. You will come across excellent views of huge glaciers and glacier 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 4450 m. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 24~ CHU KARPO – TAMPOE TSHO (approx. 15 km,6 to 7 hrs) Today there are many stony grounds to be covered. The trail is very muddy and slippery at first, and later covered with boulders. Later there will be a steep climb through a forest of juniper and fir leaving the valley floor behind. A steep climb and a short walk parallel to the valley will lead you to a beautiful lake. Next to the lake is your campsite at 4355 m. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 25~ TAMPOE TSHO – MAUROTHANG (approx. 17 km, 6 to 7 hrs) Climb up steadily for 40 minutes to Tempoe La Pass 4665 m. It is time to bid farewell to the high altitude mountains and it is fresh crispy air. You will descend steeply to yak herder camps with a big lake below from which a treasure had been revealed in the past. You will further descend through thick woods to your campsite at 3698 m. Overnight in tented camp. BLD
DAY 26~ MAUROTHANG – NIKKA CHHU (approx. 24 km, 7 to 8 hrs) – Trek End Today is the last day of the trek. You will now bid farewell to the yak herders. The trail is easy. Several tributaries have to be crossed on various kinds of bridges, as well as a couple of clearings with some huts. Finally after a long time, the forest opens up with a view towards agricultural valley. Later you will come across motor road where your driver and car will be waiting to take you to your hotel where you will be staying tonight. Overnight in hotel, Trongsa. BLD
DAY 27~ TRONGSA – PUNAKHA (Altitude: 1350 m above sea level, 7 hrs drive) Morning visit Trongsa Dzong, which was used to be the winter capital of the Bhutan before Thimphu. It was the seat of power for both the first and the second Kings of Bhutan. Later drive to Punakha valley (4 hours 30 minutes drive) via Wangdue town.
Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955. It is the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the monk body. It has a temperate climate and its rich fertile valley is fed by Pho (male) Chu and Mo (female) Chu (river). Overnight in hotel, Punakha. BLD
DAY 28~ PUNAKHA – THIMPHU (Altitude: 2320 m above sea level) Thimphu is a bustling town on the banks of the Thimphu Chhu and set gloriously in the hills of the Thimphu valley. It is home to the Bhutanese Royal Family, the Royal Government to several foreign missions and development projects. Bhutan’s only golf course, a nine-hole circuit, is situated next to the magnificent Tashichoo Dzong.
Morning hike to Kham Sum Yule Lhakhang (Monastey),it was built by HRH Azhi (Queen) Tshering Pem Wangchuck for a successful rule during the reign of the present King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, Punakha Dzong (fortress) built in 1637 by Zhabdrung which is remarkably located between the rivers of Mo (Female) Chu (river) and Pho (Male) Chu. Later drive to the capital city Thimphu (2 hours 30 minutes drive. Overnight in hotel, Thimphu. BLD
DAY 29~ THIMPHU Morning visit weekend market, and hike to Cheri Monastery, which is about 2hours. Afternoon visit Memorial Chorten, Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the glorious religion) and the Takin Preserve. Overnight in hotel, Thimphu. BLD