Sinchula winter trek with wild Kabjihoka Tsho lake
About this trek
Dec - Feb
Mar-June & Sept-Nov
Highest Walking dist
Mar-June & Sept-Nov
Highest Walking Time
Generally Bhutan offers most treks in spring and fall season with very limited options during winter. Although winter is cold, most of time sky remains clear for great mountain views. This 3-day trek offers great way to enjoy a trek during winter with some elements of cultural touches. The trek begins from north of Thimphu valley, crosses a Sinchula Pass 3315m, which is a dividing range between Thimphu and Punaka valley, takes you to a beautiful Lake and then ends at country side of Punakha.
11KM | 6-7 HOURS | ASCENT 650M | DESCENT 995M | CAMP ALT 2320M
Drive for 12km north of Thimphu valley, passing through small town of Dechencholing you take a left track passing through vast village of Kabisa. Drive along right side of the village for a while through forest of pines with sight of a countryside, you arrive at Chambina 2665m, which is a small meadow near Chambina river. Your trekking crew will be waiting here for you. After loading your baggage on horses, we start a trek for a day. First ten minutes of our trek will be an easy gradual walk along the rough motor road, and then make a left climb for an hour to arrive a large meadow called Barnakepa at 3135m. Pines, spruce, oak trees and few scattered maple trees could be seen on the trail. Yellow- billed blue magpies and common nut crackers are sighted here. Trekking for another one hour, you arrive at Sinchula Pass at 3315m, which is marked by an old Bhutanese chorten and few prayer flags.
Take a rest here for a while. There is a trail to the right of the pass, that would lead to Dochula and it’s an off-road mountain biking trail. We do not attempt this, but take a left trail descending all the way to Chulujangsa 2830m. This is the lunch spot for today. On further descending for an hour to the far right below, we see villages of upper Begana and Thinleygang. Walking further down we reach at the campsite Dushipang at 2320m.
12KM | 6-7 HOURS | DESCENT 270M
After breakfast, we descend through sub-tropical forests consisting of wild ferns, scattered bamboos and Daphne plants. Wild nuts and fruit are found along the trail when we first did this trek in last week of November. Walking further down for more than an hour we arrive at the Suspension bridge locally known as Gedhothusazam – a legend has it that the local deity Ap Gaynen has collected stones from the area and hence the name. Right after the bridge there is a road junction. We take the left, walking for 20 minutes, we arrive a beautiful village of Tongzhingnang. Continue your hike keeping to the left, passing through few farm houses. From the last farmhouse, we make a short descent and then walk gradual uphill along the stream. We then reach, a cow herder’s camp. You may have your lunch on this spot and then continue trekking uphill. The trail has thick undergrowth of mosses, wild ferns, beetle leaves and stinging nettles. After making a steep ascent, we reach at the small saddle like pass, which is marked by small stone chorten hidden among bushes and trees. From here, we move downhill making many switch backs all way to three road junctions – we take middle, which would lead to elongated meadow called Margay at 2070m and finally to Kabjiho Tsho Lake at 2050m. We camp here tonight nearby the lake. The lake has full of fishes and area has many bird species. There is a interesting story pertaining to this Lake – its said that the water buffalo, which belonged to the Lake Deity used to be inside the Lake was killed by the people of Kabisa, a village down. Villagers gathered for the feast but the meat could not be cooked however they tried to put fire. Out of a curse it’s said the Villagers of Kabisa will not become rich as like the other valleys how much effort they put for work.
11KM | 4-5 HOURS | DESCENT 340M
Before breakfast, spend some time enjoying the panorama of the Lake. Trace your journey for 30 minutes back to Margay and following the right trail way down to a large swampy meadow called Tabatsa. Right trail would take you to another lake called Row Tsho, a name derived the shape of a horn. As the horses cannot cross swampy area, we will take side trail to the right. After walking up for a while, we will then descend through the warm sub-tropical forests to Kabisa Village. Trail is adorned with wild orchids, flowers and wild fruit trees. After crossing a small stream, we walk along the channel till we meet the farm road. Walking along the farm road through Kabisa village, we reach Chorten Ningpo, a large monastery with around 40 monks. Right in front of the Monastery is an old oak tree, which according to legend is that the tree was supposedly grown from a burnt twig thrown to the site from Jilligang hilltop by a Devine madman in a move to subjugate group of evils who were meeting at the place where the tree is found. You can enjoy the view of the surrounding villages from the Monastery. This is the end of your trek. Driving through the villages for about 20 minutes will take you to Punakha Valley. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
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