The Snowman Trek is the longest hiking trail of Bhutan that extends from Laya to the high Bhutanese Himalayas, created by the yak herders of the country. It is one of the hardest trekking trails due to hard weather, duration, and altitude in the world and only a few were able to trek. The route begins from Lunana to higher up in Gangkar Puensum, and ends in Trongsa and from there to Bumthang District, taking through the rough paths of the Himalayas and takes you as high as 5000m above the sea level. It takes you through eleven mountain passes and provides you the picturesque views of some of the highest mountains of the Kingdom like Jomolhari, Jichu Drake, Gangkar Puensum, Masangang, Tiger Mountain, etc.
Arrive Paro by Druk Air/ Bhutan Airline. The flight offers you beautiful views of mountains on your approach. On arrival at the Paro Airport and after clearing customs and immigration, you will be received by our representative and transferred to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Begin this day with a short drive to the ruined fortress of Drugyel dzong which still attracts visitors due to the strategic location of the fort. From this fort Bhutanese repelled several invasions by Tibetan armies. Nearby visit traditional Bhutanese Farm House which offers good insight into lifestyle of local people. Then take an excursion to Taktsang Monastery, the spot where Guru Rinpoche arrived on the back of a tigress and meditated. The temple is perched on a sheer rock face. The excursion to monastery’s view point takes about 5 hours for round trip. While return to Paro town visit enroute Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom.
A short drive from Paro takes us to Drukgyel Dzong where the trek begins. Heading up the Paro Chhu river valley, the trail passes the small settlements of Chang Zampa and Mitshi Zampa where we will see excellent examples of Bhutanese farmhouses. Camp at Shana (2800m / 9200 feet).
Continue uphill through the river valley. It narrows and closes in and the trail winds up and down along the drainage. After crossing a bridge to the left bank of the river, we stop for a hot lunch. Then we continue along the river, climbing upwards through rhododendron forests, and crossing the river once more before reaching our campsite (3,750m).
The path ascends for a while until we reach the army camp. We then follow the river above the tree line, enjoying stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Lunch will probably be at one of these camps beneath a ruined fortress at the base of Chomolhari. A short walk from here into the valley takes us to our campsite at Jangothang (4,040 m). From here, the views of Chomolhari and Jichu Drake are superb.
The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right bank. We now start our climb up to the first ridge, enjoying breathtaking views of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tserimgang. The trail then takes us across a fairly level valley floor until the climb up to Nyele-la pass (4,700m). We descend gradually from the pass to our campsite at Lingshi (4,000m), enjoying a panoramic view of the mountain peaks and Lingshi Dzong as we walk.
Today is an easier day compare to day before, as we climb past Lingshi dzong, perched on the hill top with a commanding view of green hills, the winding river and magnificent peaks. It is a pleasant walk through villages and yak herders camp. After lunch, a short walk will take you to Chebisa village. Camp by the side of the stream at an altitude of 3,850m.
The day begins with stiff climb to Gomby La (4,450m). On the way, you will see few people herding the yaks. After crossing the Gomby -la (Alt. 4350m), it is a long descent to a stream at 4,170m. Later the trail again climbs over a small ridge through a cedar forest. It is a long climb over the ridge, then the trail descends on a muddy path into main Jholethang valley in a deep forest of fir and birch. Afternoon, the trail traverses high above the valley floor on stream right to Chachim, a yak pasture at 4,260m. The camp at 4,250m is in a cluster of brush beside a stream at the bottom of the valley.
The trek starts with a climb up to the Jhari La pass at an altitude of 4,700m. Then descend to Tsheri Jathang valley, the summer residence of the rare Himalayan Takin (national animal of Bhutan). From here we may have to cross the stream as the foot bridge is often washed away. After crossing the stream towards the left, the trail climbs to reach Robluthang camp at an altitude of 4,400m.
It is a long climb up to Shinjela pass (5,000 m), the last and highest pass en route. You may be able to spot Blue Sheep high on the slopes. From Shinjela, the descent is on a rough, rocky trail that follows moraine into another glacial valley. The last part of the trek is very interesting with fascinating view of Mt. Gangchey Ta. Campsite in a meadow at 4,140m.
In the morning wake up with a superb view of Gangchey Ta peak in front of you. The walk to Laya is very pleasant with wonderful views. You will pass through a damp forest, filled with moss and singing birds. Arrive at Laya village, the second highest settlement in the country, at an altitude of 3,800 m.
A day of rest and relaxation. One can take a leisurely walk through the village or hike to the monastery above the village. Overnight in camp.
Day 13: Laya – Rodophu, 19 km, 6–7 hours
The trek leads gradually downhill to the Lunana trail junction, then makes a gradual climb to the camp through a forest of conifers, maple and rhododendron. The trail improves and becomes wider as we climb out of the river valley. Camp at Rodophu near a small stream at 4160m (13,645 ft).
It is a long hike, first crossing the Tsimo La pass at 4950m (16,200 ft). Descending to Narithang we pass some dwarf rhododendron and hike in the shadow of Gangla Karchung peak (6395m). Overnight in camp.
Today you will be crossing the highest point of your trek at the Ganglakarchung Pass at an altitude of 5100m. This is considered the highest pass in the country. Overnight in camp.
The walk leads down through conifer forests, following the upper reaches of the Pho Chhu river. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to the village of Woche at 3940m (13,000 ft). The trek has now entered the Lunana region, a land known for it’s glacial lakes which brought the heavy flood in Punakha a few years ago.
The trail today consists of crossing the Kechela Pass at 4550m. Stop at the Thega village for rest and lunch, then continue to camp.
The trail climbs gradually following the main source of the Pho Chhu to Chozo village. At the small Chozo Dzong there are some lay monks. Above Chozo the valley opens as we approach Thanza village near the foot of 7100m Zogophu Gamp, which is also known as Table Mountain. Camp at Thanza, 4080m (13,300 ft).
A day of rest to soothe aching muscles. Explore the village and meet some locals. Short hikes can be taken around the camp.
Day 20: Thanza – Tshochena, 18 km, 6–7 hours
Another beautiful pass to cross today, namely, the Jezela pass at an altitude of 5050m.
Follow the bank of the blue green lake before arriving at a ridge at 5,100m, where there is another spectacular view in all directions. After going up and down over small hills to reach a glacial lake, the route descends first before climbing again up the next pass, the Loju La (5,140m). Finally after crossing a small saddle (5,100m) you will enter a wide glacial valley from where the trail descends gradually to the campsite at Jichu Dramo.
Right after leaving the camp you will climb through a moraine to Rinchen Zoe La (5,320m). Spectacular mountain scenery with Gangkhar Puensum amongst the impressive mountains is the reward for climbing the highest pass on this trek route. Rinchen Zoe Peak (5,650) towers above the pass the west. Descending from the pass, the route leads into a wide valley with several lakes and goes steeply down along a moraine to the Thamphe Chhu. Here the vegetation begins to thicken again and you will see the first real trees since Lhedi. After a couple of hours you reach the campsite at Chukarpo.
The descent continues along the river till you reach the yak herder huts at Gala Pang Chhu (4010m). From here the trail climbs steeply towards Thampe Tsho, a beautiful clear turquoise lake, with the campsite next to it.
From the lake you climb steeply to the last pass on your trek, the Thampe La (4,600m) with a good chance to spot some blue sheep on the way. Then the path descends to the sacred lake Om Tsho. Passing a waterfall you will reach another, smaller lake 100m below to descend steeply to the Nikka Chhu. The path finally leads through mixed forest to large clearing on the banks of the river with a few yak herder huts, Maurothang.
On the last day of this extraordinary trek your porters will have to change from yaks to horses as the yaks will not be willing to go further down. The path follows the Nikka Chhu to reach a large grassy area overlooking the road and the village of Sephu. You finally reach the road at the Nikka Chhu bridge at Sephu where you will find several stores (mainly selling bamboo products) and small restaurants.
Transfer to Thimphu via the lateral highway. Stop at the Wangdi Town for lunch. Tea will be served at the Dochula Lhakhang. Overnight in hotel.
After breakfast visit Trashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress/monastery which houses most of the Government’s office and King’s Throne room. Then visit National Library which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts. After that visit Painting School, famous for traditional thangkha paintings. Also visit to Traditional Medicine Institute is worthwhile where centuries old healing arts still practiced. Later visit, Textile and Folk Heritage Museum, a fascinating testimony of the Bhutanese material culture and living traditions.
After that, visit the Handicrafts Emporium and local shops for souvenirs ranging from Bhutan’s fine traditional arts, textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and woodcarvings, jewelers to other interesting items made from local materials. Then drive to Memorial Chorten, the stupa built in the memory of Bhutan’s Third King who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan. Evening, drive to Paro. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
After breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to onward destination. Our representative will bid you farewell.
The minimum daily package covers the following services.
The minimum daily package for tourists travelling in a group of 3 persons or more is as follows:
These rates are applicable per tourist per night halt in Bhutan.
On the day of departure, the ‘local agents’ host obligation shall be limited to providing breakfast only and any extra requirements shall be payable on usage basis.
The list of hotels and lodges approved to provide accommodations all listed on this website. If your accommodation is not listed on this website then it is not licensed cater for international tourists.
The Royal Government of Bhutan sets minimum selling prices for packages to Bhutan. These must be paid in US dollars prior to arrival in Bhutan.
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