Snowman Trek - 24 Days

Trip Facts:

Trip Name: Snowman Trek
Trip Duration: 24 Days
Max. Altitude: 5,005m/16,420ft (Sinche la)
Best Season: March to May and September to November
Meal: Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Accommodation: Government approved 3 stars and Above 
Transportation: Private vehicle

Trip Overview:

Bhutan Snowman trek is considered the world’s toughest and most difficult treks. The starting-point of the trek is from the Paro Valley at the Drukgyel Dzong at an altitude of 2580 meters and goes to the remote regions of northern Bhutan. To complete the trek it takes 24 days altogether if started from Paro but the trek cab be made shorter by cutting 4 days if begin from Punakha. The trek is not for beginners and those who do not have trekking experience as it passed through some of the highest passes of Bhutan like Gangla Karchung at 5,230 meters, Jaze La at 5,251 meters, Loju La at 5,155 meters and Rinchenzoe at 5,332 meters. The trekking trail ascends along the Pa Chu River to the remote northern districts of Bhutan.

Trip Highlights:

  • Witness spectacular bird’s eye view of the Himalayas while flying in/out from Paro.
  • Explore Paro exploding with colors and tradition.
  • Probably the hardest & best Himalayan treks in the world
  • Spectacular mountains view Gangkar Puensum, the World`s highest unclimbed Peak
  • Great lakes of Thpe Tsho & Om Tsho
  • Trek through great high mountain passes above 4,000 meters
  • Discover Laya & Lunana across 11 passes
  • Discover abundant flora and fauna, wild flower & picturesque villages
  • Hike to the Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’
  • Experience Bhutanese culture, tradition and lifestyles of simple

Day to Day Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrival Paro (2250m)
Arrive Paro by Bhutan’s national carrier, Druk Air, and it’s a scenic flight as the plane touch down the lush green Paro Valley flying past the world’s highest mountains. Steeping down from the plane, cool, clean and fresh air welcomes the visitor, the first gift of Bhutan. After clearing the customs and visa formalities, transfer to the hotel by the Breakfree representatives - a short drive from the airport. Afterwards, the day is spent in sightseeing around Paro visiting Rinpung Dzong & Ta Dzong. Rinpung Dzong built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan; the Dzong continues its age-old function as the seat of the district administration, district court and the monastic body. The southern approach to the Dzong has a traditional roofed cantilever bridge called Nemi Zam. Ta Dzong, once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century. It was inaugurated as Bhutan’s National Museum in 1968. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 02: Paro – Hike to Taktsang (3,120m)
After breakfast, drive towards Drukgyal Dzong. The ruins of Drukgyal Dzong, is 18 km from Paro town on the north side of the valley. It was from here that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century. Mt. Jhomolhari can be spotted in a clear day from Drukgyal village. Afterwards, drive towards Ramthangkha for hike up to the Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). It’s one & half hour hike to the cafeteria. Stunning view of the monastery where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century can be seen from the view point. Walk back the road point and visit Kyichu Lhakhang one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 03: Paro – Punakha - Tashithang (1,600m)
Drive to Punakha via the Dochula pass (3050 m), through magnificent forests of rhododendron and magnolia. It’s about 4 & half hours drive. Panoramic view of the eastern Himalayas can be spotted from the pass in a clear day. Afterwards, the road descends along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha. Punakha was the old capital of Bhutan before Thimphu. In Punakha, visit Punakha Dzong and another Dzong (built in 1637 during the time of Shabdrung). The Dzong is now used as the winter residence for the Central Monk body and head quarters of Punakha district. Afterwards, drive to Tashithang to the camp-site following the Mo Chu River. Overnight in Camp.

Day 04:Trek from Tashithang to Damji (2,250m)
The trek starts by the side of the river, following a well-made path through semitropical forests. This part of the area is quite wet and one has to watch out for leeches. There are also lots of wild orchids around for those who love flowers. The day walk is fairly gentle, climbing up to Damji village. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration 5-6 hours)

Day 05:Trek from Damji to Gasa (2,900m)
The path continues through subtropical forests and villages up to Gasa Tsachu (Hot spring) The Tsachu is a famous place where many people from all over Bhutan come to bath for its curative powers. There are four pools, ranging from mild to hot. A Hot lunch will be served here. After lunch, the path stiffly climbs for about 2 hours to Gasa Dzong and camp below the Dzong. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 6-7 hours)

Day 06: Trek from Gasa to Chamsa (3,650m) 
After breakfast visit the Dzong which was built in the 17th century to protect the valley against Tibetan invaders. The path starts with a stiff climb up to Bele la pass (3,700m) through bamboo, rhododendron, juniper and fir forests. The climb up to the pass will take around 5 hours. The descent will be about half - hour to camp at Chamsa. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 6-7 hours)

Day 07: Trek from Chamsa to Laya (3,800m)
The path starts by descending to the bank of the Mo - Chu River. It goes up and down again to detour back up the hillside, to avoid the steep spur. Lunch will be served near the side of the bridge crossing the river. After lunch climb up gradually to Laya crossing the army camp. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 8-9 hours)

Day 08: Rest day at Laya (3,800m) 
Today is the rest day at Laya for acclimatization. One can go around the village visiting the houses and people. The Laya people are very fascinating and friendly and will happily pose for photographs. The women in Laya wear a very special dress. In the evening there will be a cultural dance if the local people are around. Overnight in Camp.

Day 09: Trek from Laya to Rhodophu (4,350m) 
From Laya descend to the army camp and continue following the river until the turn off point to Rhodophu. After lunch continue the climb through rhododendron bushes until the camp. Overnight in Camp. (Walking time: 8-9 hours)

Day 10: Trek from Rhodophu to Tarina (3,980m) 
This is the longest day of the trip and therefore it is essential to start very early. So, the trek starts at 5AM by climbing to Tsimola (4,700 m). After crossing the first pass and at the little summit spot the superb view of Lunana, Chomolhari and Jichu Drake. The path is flat for another four hours till the climb to Gangla Karchung la pass (5,080 m). The view from the pass is breath taking. The whole range of mountains, including Masagang, Tsendegang, and Teri Gang can be observed. After the pass there is a very long descent to Tarina valley. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 10-11 hours)

Day 11: Trek from Tarina to Wache (3,800m) 
This day is much easier as the path follows the river down the valley. Lunch will be served at the lowest point of today’s trek (3,500 m). After lunch climb up about 300 meters to the village of Woche. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 6-7 hrs)

Day 12: Trek from Woche to Lhedi (3,650m)
The trek starts through juniper & fir forests and then through rhododendron bushes. Then the trail climbs up to Keche la pass (4,480 m) where some great view of the mountains can be witnessed. After the pass, descend to the riverside, walking through the village with stunning views of Table Mountain and others. Follow the river (one of the main sources of the Pho- Chu) until reaching Lhedi village. Overnight in Camp.

Day 13: Trek from Lhedi to Thanza (4,000m) 
The trek continues following the river, rising gradually to Choejong village. After lunch visit the Choejong Dzong and then continue towards the wide valley, crossing the bridge to reach Thanza. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 7-8 hours)

Day 14: Rest day at Thanza (4,000m)
Today is rest day at Thanza. The day can be spent in walking around or climb up the ridge to see the view of the lakes and mountains. Overnight in Camp.

Day 15: Trek from Thanza to Tshochena (4,900m)
Today is a long trekking day so the trek is started as early as possible. The climb of three false summits will arrive at Jaze La (5050m), after this pass it will be less than an hours’ walk downhill to the camp near the lake of Tshochena. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 7-8 hrs)

Day 16: Trek from Tshochena to Jichu Dramo (4,880m) 
Following the shore of the lake, climb up the ridge at 5100 meters from where witness the 360 degree panorama of the snowy peak; Dochula pass can also be spotted after short descend. Then the path makes several ups and downs descending past a glacial lake and climbs up to Loju La pass (5140m). Then it crosses a small saddle at 5100 meters into a wide glacial valley and descends gradually to camp at Jichu Dramo, a small pasture land. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 4-5 hrs)

Day 17: Trek from Jichu Dramo to Chukarpo (4,950m) 
Climb through a moraine to Rinchen Zoe La pass (5320m) which divides the Pho Chhu& Mangde Chhu drainages. Spectacular view of mountains with Rinchen Zoe peak (5650m) towering over the pass to the west and many other major peaks stretch along the northern horizon can be seen from the pass. Towards the east spot the western flank of Gangkhar Puensum and down south the Thampe Chuu Valley. After the pass the trial descends broad, marshy valley with a strings of lakes. Then the valley narrows as the route lowers down and eventually descends steep down the face of a moraine to a yak pasture in the upper reaches of theThampe Chhu. Cross the west bank and continue as the vegetation thickens from rhododendron to juniper shrubs and trees. It’s a welcoming sight after trekking through treeless area. Finally arrive at Chukarpo (4600m). Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 5-6 hrs)

Day 18: Trek from Chukarpo to Thampe Tsho 
It is a long trek mostly downhill, walk along the Riverside and then climb back to the Um Tso at 4230M. The legend believed that Saint Pema Lingpa the reincarnation of Guru Rimpoche had discovered a number of religious treasures from this Lake. A bit further the camp can be reached near by the Thampe Tso. Overnight Camp. (Walking Duration: 5-6 hrs)

Day 19: Trek from Thampe Tsho to Maurothang (4,000m)
It is around two hours walk to the base of Thampe Tso and then a steep climb to the pass at 4230M. Then the trek route goes downhill through rhododendron to the Yak pasture of Maurothang. This is as far as the Yaks go and they won’t be willing to go further down, so yaks needs to be replaced with horses. Overnight Camp. (Walking Duration: 5 hrs)

Day 20: Trek from Mauraothang to Sephu. (2,500m)
The trail follows the Nikka Chhu to reach a large grassy area overlooking the road and the village of Sephu. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 5-6 hrs)

Day 21: Sephu – Wangdue (1,240m)
Drive from Sephu to Wangdue. In Wangdeu, visit Wangdue Dzong. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 22: Wangdue – Thimphu (2,350m)
After breakfast, drive back to Thimphu via Dochula pass to Thimphu which is about 3 hours drive. En-route visit hike to Chime Lhakhang, temple of the “Divine Madman” built in 1499 and today mostly visited by the women who couldn’t bear Children, thus also known as the temple of fertility. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 23: Thimphu – Paro (2,250m)
After breakfast, visit the National Memorial Chorten with it’s golden spines shinning in the sun, its tinkling bells built in honor of third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Institute of Traditional Medicine, where old healing arts such as acupuncture and herbal remedies are still practiced. Also visit the Folk Heritage Museum, dedicated to the Bhutanese rural past with it’s exhibition of items & artifacts used in rural households, the Textile Museum, where the art of traditional weaving is still kept alive and preserved through exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles rich in its colour and design. Afterwards, drive back to Paro which is about 1 & half hours drive. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 24: Paro depart 
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and bid farewell to the Breakfree representatives and journey back home.

Cost Details:

The tour cost depends upon the category of hotels used and as per the group-size. Normally we use government approved 3 star and above hotels. Please contact us for the trip pricing. 

Our entire Bhutan tours are private journeys and tailor made programs suited for any independent travelers according to their chosen traveling dates. Should you wish, the tour can be easily customized as per your interest and activities you wish to get involve in or spend more time in your places of interest. Contact us to customize this tour as per your requirements. This tour can be undertaken round the year.

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    Bhutan tour review Bhutan is a very beautiful country in the Himalayas and worth visiting with Family. People of Bhutan are very kind and happy people and tourist friendly nature.Climate is pleasant during April-May. Temples and monasteries are very beautiful and historical. Flora and fauna are great. Green and white (Snowclad) hills and clean rivers are really very attractive.  Only a co Read More

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