TheSnowman Trek is our most challenging trek in Bhutan and one of thefinest in our Himalayan program. It is undertaken by only a handfulof trekkers each season and accesses Lunana – the most remoteregion of Bhutan. The trek crosses eleven high passes over 4,500mthat define the borders of Bhutan and Tibet. Savouring views ofChomolhari and Jichu Drake, we follow trails through yak herdersencampments and isolated farming settlements as we prepare for ourtrek to Lunana. Amid a constant backdrop of 7000m peaks we discover aregion of tiny Buddhist monasteries and secluded villages that areisolated from the rest of Bhutan for many months of the year. This isHimalayan trekking at its absolute finest.
Duration: 25days, Max. Elevation: 5,320m
Best Seasons: MidJune to Mid October
Start: GunitsawaVillage, Paro Valley
Finish: DuerVillage, Bumthang
Day01: Arrive Paro
Theflight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in theworld, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highestmountains on earth. After passing through customs, enjoy some lunchbefore afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the TaDzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art andhandicrafts. Next, visit the Rimpong Dzong. Dzong’s are largemonasteries and district administrative centres, which were oncestrategic forts. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Enjoya full day of sightseeing, including a visit to the National MemorialChorten, 12th century Changangkha Temple, the Zilukha Nunnery andTashichhodzong. If your visit to Thimphu coincides with the weekend,you can walk through the Thimphu Market. Overnight at your hotel inThimphu.
Day03: Thimphu – Punakha
Punakhawas the ancient capital of Bhutan. Visit spectacular Punakha Dzong,built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’. Afterlunch, enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of Drukpa Kuenly.Overnight at your hotel in Punakha.
Day04: Punakha/Tashithang – Damji
Thetrek starts by the riverside, following a well marked path throughsubtropical forest. There are many wild orchids growing in thisrather damp area, but be on the lookout for leeches also! Today’swalk is fairly gentle climb up to Damji village (2,400), where wecamp for the night.
Day05: Damji – Gasa
15km, 6-7 hours
Thepath continues on through subtropical forested area and villages upto Gasa Tshachu (hot spring). The Tshachu is famous for its curativepowers, and people come from all over the country to bathe here.After lunch near the spring, we have a climb up to Gasa Dzong(2,900m) where we camp overnight.
Day06: Gasa – Chamsa
Afterbreakfast, we visit the Gasa Dzong. Today’s trek begins with asteep climb up to Bele-La Pass (3,700m) through mixed forests. Wethen descend for about to our forest camp at chamsa (3,650m).
Day07: Chamsa – Laya
22km, 8-9 hours
Thetrail descends to the bank of the Mo Chu. After crossing the river wehave lunch by the bridge. From here it is a gradual climb up to Laya(3,800m) passing by an army camp en route. We camp at Laya.
ExploreLaya village. You can go and visit one of the local houses.Traditional Bhutanese hospitality is extended even to a stranger, anda cup of tea and chang (alcohol brewed from barley) is alwaysoffered.
Day09: Laya – Rhodophu
19km, 8-9 hours
FromLaya we descend to the army camp and continue following the trailalong the river till the turn off point for Rhodophu. After lunch wecontinue climbing upwards through rhododendrons till we reach ahanging valley where there are yaks grazing (4,350m). We camp here bythe river.
Day10: Rhodophu – Tarina
Today’strek is the longest of the trip and it is important to start early,around 5 am. We first climb up to Tsimo-La Pass (4,700m) where we canenjoy a superb view of Lunana, and the peaks of Chomolhari and JichuDrake. Following 4 hours of level walking, we climb up toGanglakarchung-La Pass (5, 080). The view from the pass isbreathtaking, encompassing the whole mountain range. After crossingthe pass, it is a very long descent to the Tarina valley, where wecamp at 3,980m.
Day11: Tarina – Wochey
17km, 6-7 hours
Thepath descends through coniferous forest, following the upper reachesof the Pho Chu .The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops toWochey at 3,800m, the first village since Gasa. Camp at alt 3, 800m.
Day12: Wochey – Lhedi
17km, 6-7 hours
Today’strek begins with a walk through mixed forests and further aheadthrough rhododendron bushes. We climb up to Keche-La Pass (4,480m).We then descend enjoy mountainous views en route. We walk upstream asfar as Lhedi village (3,650), where we camp overnight.
Day13: Lhedi – Thanza
17km, 7-8 hours
Theroute continues to follow the river, rising gradually to Choejongvillage (the biggest village in Lunana) where we stop for lunch.After lunch, we visit the village temple, then walk for some timeto asuspension bridge to cross the river. Soon we reach our campsite atThanza (4,000m).
Awelcome day of leisure, or if you are feeling really energetic, youcan climb up to the ridge for yet another splendid view of themountains.
Day15: Thanza – Tshorim
19km, 8-9 hours
Today’strek starts with a climb up to the ridge, from where there is a greatview of Table Mountain and Thanza valley below. We follow a streamthrough a small valley, enjoying the view of snowcapped Mountains. Wethen climb up out of the valley to reach our campsite at Tshorim(5,125m).
Day16: Tshorim – Gangkar Puensum Base Camp
16km, 6-7 hours
Today’sTrek is one of the highlights of the Trip. The day starts with ashort climb up to Tshorim Lake. We walk around the side of the lake,enjoying a panoramic view of the Gophula Ranges. The final stretch upto Gophu-La Pass (5,230m) is very short. After crossing the pass, wedescend to the base camp, walking along the ridge and enjoying agreat view of Gangkar Puensum. Climb up a pyramid shaped peak for abetter view or you can go directly to the base camp (4,970m) near theSha Chu.
Day17: Gangkar Puensum Base Camp
Restday at the base camp, enjoying the great views.
Day18: Gangkar Puensum Camp – Geshe Woma
14km, 6-7 hours
Today’strail follows along the Sha Chu and descends to Geshe Woma (4,200m)where we camp.
Day19: Geshe Woma – Warathang
18km, 8-9 hours
Thepath continues along the course of the Sha Chu until the climb toSaka-La Pass (4,800m). Visibility is poor along this part of thetrail, so we must keep watching the top of the ridge in order to stayon course. Enjoy stunning views of small lakes spread below toweringpeaks. We camp at 4,000m.
Day20: Warathang – Dhur Tshachu
14km, 5 hours
Ashort half hour climb take us up to Juli-La (4,400m) beforedescending to the riverside through dense rhododendron, Juniper andconifer forests. We then cross a bridge and after a short climb reachDhur Tshachu hot spring, where legend has it that Guru Padmasambhavabathed in the 8th century.
Day21: Dhur Tshachu – Tshochemchem
16km, 8-9 hours
Fromthe spring, it is a long and steady climb upwards, with great viewsof the mountains in Lunana. Eventually the ground levels out, and wesee several beautiful deep blue lakes, yaks grazing on thesurrounding Pasture, and yak herder’s camp (3,850m).
Day22: Tshochemchem – Dhur (Motor Road) – Bumthang (Jakar)
21km, 13 hours
Thisis the last day of the trek. We must set off very early in order toreach Bumthang before dark. The path follows the Chamkhar Chu,descending gradually with few climbs. The trek ends when we reachDhur village, where transport will meet us and drive us to the lodgein Bumthang (Jakar).
Note: Unless very fit, it is best to spreadthis final stage over 2 Days.
Bumthangis the spiritual and cultural heartland of Bhutan. Spend the dayexploring the some of Bumthang’s sacred sights including KurjeLhakhang, home to a rock featuring the imprint of Guru Rimpoche’sbody, Jambay Lhakhang (7th century) and Jakar Dzong. Also visitTamshing Monastery housing some of the oldest wall paintings inBhutan. Overnight at your guesthouse in Bumthang.
Day24: Bumthang – Trongsa
Thejourney to Trongsa takes approximately 3 hours. Trongsa is theancestral home of Bhutan’s ruling dynasty. After lunch on arrival,visit Trongsa Dzong, a masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. Trongsais the largest Dzong in Bhutan and the location of where theinstitution of monarchy in Bhutan began. Also visit the Ta Dzonglocated on the hill overlooking the Dzong. Overnight at your hotel inTrongsa.
Day25: Trongsa – Paro
Afterbreakfast, depart for Paro. On arrival, enjoy a stroll through theParo township. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Afterbreakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery, walking approximately 1.5 to 2hours uphill. The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliffface 900 metres above the valley floor is spectacular. Afterwardsvisit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Day27: Depart Paro
Breakfastin the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onwarddestination. Tashi Delek!