Snowman Trek in Bhutan is one of the most beautiful treks in the whole Himalayas. Billed as the most difficult trek in the world due to altitude, duration, and distance, far more people climb Mount Everest in Nepal than completing this alpine quest. The trek goes on northern Bhutan along the border with Tibet crossing thirteen Himalayan mountain passes some as high as 5230m. The first leg of the trek follows the Jumolhari and Laya-Gasa trek route till Laya.
You will have spectacular mountain views of Mount Jumolhari, Jichu Drake, Masangang, Tiger Mountain and Gangkar Puensum, and other conspicuous peaks along the northern border.
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The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. On arrival, you will be greeted by the guide and transferred to the hotel. In the afternoon, visit the Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower that is now the National Museum. The museum has wide assortment of ancient paintings, armors, philatelic display and “field of Buddhas”, which helps one to visualize while meditating. Then walk down the trail to visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. It has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the courtyard of the Rinpung Dzong are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore. In the evening, you can stroll freely in Paro town. Walking around the market and meeting with the people will be an enjoyable experience. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
After breakfast hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, Bhutan’s most famous monastery which stands at 3100m. The helps you acclimatize for the next day’s trek. The 8th century Spiritual Master, Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. It is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. Explore the Monastery hike back to Paro. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
17KM | 5-6 HOURS | 300M ASCENT | 60M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 2870M
You will drive 12km north of Paro valley from your hotel to the historic Drugyel Dzong ruins at 2580m, the trek start point. Your trekking crew will be waiting here for you. After a brief meeting, you will walk downhill on a wide trail following the Pachhu (river), which then climbs gently traversing through well-maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. Soon the valley widens and the route enters an area of apple orchards, traditional farmhouses and the tiny settlements of Mitshi Zampa and Sangatan. You reach the army post of Gunitsawa at 2810m after walking for a while through blue pine forest. Here your trekking permit will be checked and stamped. This is the last stop before the Tibet border. You will then cross Pachu River on a wooden bridge and climb to Sharna Zampa at 2870m. Just beyond Sharna Zampa, there are several meadows surrounded by trees where you will camp for tonight.
22KM | 8-9 HOURS | 900M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 3750M
The trail again follows Pachhu (Paro river), ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. After 2 hours of continuous hiking and crossing several streams, you will reach at Shingkharap, a stone house at 3110m. A hot lunch will be served after crossing the bridge towards the left side of the river. Little ahead is the trail junction – left an old trade route and invasion from Tibet and right leading to the wooden bridge (we follow the right). After climbing up through rhododendron forests and finally crossing the bridge again, we reach our camp at 3750m, which is amidst beautiful meadows.
19KM | 4-5 HOURS | 290M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 4040M
Although today is not a long trekking day, you will gain significant height as the trail goes above tree line at 3700m. From the camp, your path ascends for a while till you reach the army camp. Then follow the river above the tree line enjoying the stunning view of surrounding peaks. We walk through a very muddy section of trail, pass a mani wall and enter yak country. Hot lunch will be served inside a yak herder’s camp. After lunch, we walk past yak herder settlements of Soe and Takethang. Common crops that people grow here are barley, potatoes and turnips. We walk our final approach across a plateau and up a stream bed and Dangochang village to the awesome campsite of Jangothang at an altitude of 4040m. From here, the views of Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake are superb.
Today, you will spend the day by doing a four-hour acclimatization hike towards the north of the campsite. There is practically no trail but you will climb on an open and endless slope till you see the view of Mt Jichu Drake (6989m). You can scramble further up till 4895m (higher than Mount Blanc) to see amazing view of Mount Jumolhari. You are likely to spot rare blue sheep, Himalayan rhubarb, griffon vultures, golden eagles and the remarkable blue poppy. Jangothang base is a flat grassy land with an old ruined fortress on a hillock in the foreground, beneath the colossal Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake. Most people show signs of mountain sickness at this altitude and it is recommended that all trekkers halt here. Whether you explore the hiking options or simply wish relax in camp, it is certainly going to be a memorable day.
18KM | 6-7 HOURS | 660M ASCENT | 660M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4010M
The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right side. Start the climb up to the first ridge with a breathtaking view of Jumolhari (7314m), Jichu Drake (6989m) and Tsherim Gang (6789m). Then walk towards the valley, almost flat for a while, until you climb to the Ngye La pass at an altitude of 4700m. After the pass, it is a gradual descent to the camp, enjoying the panoramic view of the surrounding peaks and Lingshi Dzong. Tomorrow you will have a detour to this tiny fortress, which is sitting on a hilltop overlooking Lingzhi village below. Camp at an altitude of 4010m.
12KM | 4-5 HOURS | 160M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3850M
Visit the Lingshi Dzong, perched on the hilltop with a commanding view of green hills, the winding river and magnificent peaks. For centuries, Lingzhi Dzong was a way station for weary Buddhist pilgrims and defence fort against Tibetan and Mongol invaders. It is an easy day and pleasant walk through villages and yak herders camp. After lunch, a short walk will take you to Chebisa, a charming little village adorned with a beautiful crystal clear waterfall. Camp by the side of stream at an altitude of 3850m.
17KM | 6-7 HOURS | 570M ASCENT | 290M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4250M
Begin your trek with a stiff climb up a ridge to Gogu La pass at 4500m taking nearly four hours. The sights of rare blue sheep is common on the rocks near the top of this pass. After the pass, descend through rhododendron bushes to a lunch stop. Afternoon continue along the trail with intermittent ascents and descents and after crossing the stream, through rhododendron forests and yak herders camp we arrive at Shakepasa at 3980m. Climbing steeply up to the northern side of the valley and passing by a couple of yak herder’s camp, we arrive at our camp, which is beside a stream at an altitude 4250m.
18KM | 6-7 HOURS | 700M ASCENT | 760M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4200M
The trek starts by walking through edelweiss bound trail with a climb to Jari La pass at altitude 4700m. The snow capped peak visible to the south-east is Kangbum at 6526m. Then descend to Tsarijathang valley, the summer residence of rare Himalayan Takins (national animal of Bhutan). From here we cross the stream and you might get wet as most of the time the footbridge is washed away. After crossing the stream towards the left, the trail ascends till you reach Robluthang, a rocky meadow camp at an altitude of 4200m.
19KM | 7-8 HOURS | 850M ASCENT | 870M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4140M
Today, you will cross the highest pass in this trek. Climb all the way up through boggy patches crossing a stream, traversing by marmot holes and moraine, to reach the top of Shingchen La pass at 5005m. The view of snow-covered Gangchenta or the Tiger Mountain (6840m) filling the northern horizon is simply stunning. After the pass, descend through the rough rocky trail following moraine river valley to Kango Chhu River. The path is quite narrow and you may have to cross the stream time and again. After walking through cedar forests we arrive Lingmithang (4140m), which is a beautiful scattered meadow by the river with Tiger Mountain towering behind the campsite.
10KM | 3-4 HOURS | CAMP ALT 3850M
In the morning you wake up with a superb view of Gangchenta 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 altitude of 3800m.
Explore Laya village. You can go and visit any of the houses around. Even to a perfect stranger, traditional Bhutanese hospitality is extended and a cup of tea and Chang (local, wine) is always offered. The people in this valley are very interesting especially the women. They wear conical bamboo hats decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments.
19KM | 7-8 HOURS | 900M ASCENT | 70M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4160M
The trek leads down to the Lunana trail junction and then climbs to a hilltop with good views over the Mo Chhu and the Rhodo Chhu. The trail follows Rhodo Chhu valley, first through mixed conifers and then through rhododendron, above the tree line. From the top of a large rockslide, you get excellent views of the glacial valley and the snow-capped Tsenda Gang (7100m). Our camp is at Rodophu at 4160m just beyond a wooden bridge across the Rhodo Chhu river.
17KM | 5-6 HOURS | 755M ASCENT | 15M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4900M
The trail today also follows the alpine grassland where yaks bound in plenty. The path follows the river through rhododendron shrubs before turning right up the hill. You will then climb to a high open valley through beautiful meadows to Tshomo La Pass (4915m). The views of the Mount Jumolhari and Tibetan borders are absolutely breathtaking. Next you will hike on the barren plateau intersecting several yak trails and after some time you will be arriving at Narithang (4900m), which is your camp for tonight.
18KM | 6-7 HOURS | 220M ASCENT | 770M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4350M
Today you will be climbing Ganglakarchung Pass at an altitude of 5120m. From the pass, the views of Kangbum (6530m), Tsendhen Gang (7100m), Teri Gang (7300m) and Jejegangphu Gang (7120m) are superb. You will descend through massive moraines to the edge of straight cliff with views of glacial hanging from Teri Gang that forms two turquoise-colored lakes at the base. The lake on the left had an outburst in 1961 causing a flood downstream in Punakha destroying the Mochu Bridge. Descend through a steep path to the U-shaped valley following the Tangchu stream towards the right to arrive at your camp at 4350m.
16KM | 5-6 HOURS | 250M ASCENT | 310M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4350M
The trail passes through juniper trees down the Tangchu River on the left passing by amazing waterfalls. After a gentle climb out of the valley for sometime, you will be making a steep ascent to Woche Village, the first settlement in Lunana region at an altitude of 4350m. The Woche village marks the beginning of the Lunana region and above the village, you will see tomorrow’s route to Ledhi.
19KM | 6-7 HOURS | 300M ASCENT | 450M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4200M
Start climbing up the Woche valley and cross a small stream to go over a moraine. You will then descend to a wooden bridge across the Woche Chu River and climb up past a clear glacial lake to reach Keche La pass (4650m) where you get magnificent views of nearby mountains including the three-prong peaks of Jejegangphu Gang mountain. The trail then descends to Pochu Valley and reaches Thaga village at 4050m. In the late afternoons, one can expect bitter cold winds at Thaga Village in autumn. From Thaga village, we descend passing few scattered settlements, rushing waterfalls and reach Lhedi (4200m) after walking along the Phochu River bed. Lhedi village consists of a school, Basic Health Unit and a wireless station.
19KM | 5-6 HOURS | 250M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 4250M
The trek is slightly easy today. We will follow the north bank of Phochu River passing through several small farms and then reach Chuzo Village sometime around lunch at an altitude of 4090m. En route visit the Chezo Dzong. We follow the trail along the riverbed and then ascend a steep hill overlooking Thanza valley at 4250m.
You have two options to spend your day today. You can either visit the Thanza village or explore nearby glacial lakes. Thanza Village is virtually an untouched, medieval-like society. Most people wear clothes they make by hand, weaving and dyeing their own material. They fashion their own unique hats, boots and and jewelry. Their homes are built from stone walls, hand-hewn wood shingles and clay mortar. They survive on grains bartered with yak meat and cheese from the lower valleys. Optionally, you can hike through small moraine rocks to a cluster of lakes Raphstreng Tsho and Thorthormi Tsho. These lakes are the source of Phochu River of Punakha, which caused a flood in 1994 due to moraine outburst. The view of 7100m Table Mountain (locally known as Zongphu Gang) is superb as it forms 3000m high wall of ice and snow behind Thanza Village.
19KM | 8-9 HOURS | 870M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 5120M
After breakfast, you will start climbing the ridge, overlooking the great view of the Table Mountain and the Thanza valley below. The altitude of the ridge is 4500m and it gradually rises to 4650m. After the picnic lunch, trek upwards following the left side of the bridge and enjoying the views of the snow-capped mountains. Upon further ascend on the ridge, you reach the campsite of Tshorim at an altitude of 5,120m.
16KM | 6-7 HOURS | 110M ASCENT | 260M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4970M
The day starts with a short climb to the Tshorim Thso. Walk on the side of the lake enjoying a panoramic view of the Gophu La ranges. The last climb to the Gophu La pass (5230m) is very short. After the pass, descend to the base camp, walking along the ridge to enjoy a great view of Gangkhar Puensum. If interested, one can divert to the left side to climb up the pyramid peak for a better view or you can go down to the base camp nearby Sha Chhu river.
14KM | 6-7 HOURS | 770M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4200M
The trail is fairly easy following the Sha Chhu river which gradually descends towards Geshe Woma which is at an altitude of 4200m.
18KM | 8-9 HOURS | 600M ASCENT | 800M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4000M
After breakfast, the trek continues following the Sha Chhu river again for about two and half hours until we begin the stiff climb towards Saka la pass at 4800m. As the visibility along the Saka la trail is rather poor, it is advised that the trekkers use the top of the ridge to follow the right trail. Picnic lunch will be served close to a yak herder’s camp. After lunch and a little rest, we start the uphill climb to Sakala pass. After the pass, we start to descend toward some lakes enjoying the beauty of this wonderful place. We come across yet another beautiful scene overlooking some small lakes with the gigantic views of the mountain peaks.
14KM | 5-6 HOURS | 400M ASCENT | 810M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3590M
After breakfast, we will start a short climb leading towards Julila pass (4400m). After the pass, descend to the riverside through dense rhododendron shrubs, juniper and conifer forests. A short climb after the bridge leads us towards Dur Tsachu (hot spring) where it is believed that Guru Padmasambhava, the great spiritual master is supposed to have taken bath. These hot springs might be the most stunningly beautiful hot springs of the Himalayas.
18KM | 8-9 HOURS | 1100M ASCENT | 835M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3850M
From the hot springs it is a long and steady climb with of course, splendid views of mountains in Lunana. First we climb the Gutong La Pass (4550m) before coming to several beautiful deep blue lakes with yaks grazing on the surrounding pastures and yak herder’s huts. We then ascend the second pass, Jule La Pass (4685m) before the final descent to our camp at Tshochenchen at 3850m.
27KM | 9-10 HOURS | 660M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3190M
We trek downhill from Tshochenchen, following Yoleng Chhu river through thick forests of cypress, spruce, juniper, maple and hemlock. A short climb brings us to our campsite at Gorsum.
18KM | 6 HOURS | 540M DESCENT
After a nice breakfast, we will follow the Chamkhar Chhu, descending gradually although few climbs is unavoidable. Finally, the long journey on foot ends here at the Dur village. From here, transport will pick you up and drive to the hotel in Bumthang. Overnight at a hotel in Bumthang.
188KM | 6HOUR
Today you will start early to Gangtey valley with stop in Trongsa for lunch and visit the Trongsa Dzong. The road from here descends to Chendebji Chorten and then climbs up to Pele la Pass (3420m). With an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo, the pass is the boundary between West and East Bhutan. During clear weather, you can view the high, snow-capped peaks. After short while, you will leave the highway and cross a small pass blanketed with dwarf bamboos and arrive at Gangtey village. Visit Gangtey Goenpa, the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan. You can spend some time interacting with the monks studying here. The college offers nine-year course in Buddhist studies. Overnight at a hotel in Gangtey.
154KM | 6HOURS
Today you will drive to Thimphu via Dochula Pass. En route, stop at Metsina and hike through rice paddies up to the Chimi Lhakhang Temple. This temple is dedicated to the great Yogi in the 14th century known as Drukpa Kuenley, or the “Divine Madman,” who is believed to bless women who seek fertility. After lunch, you will continue drive to Thimphu. Check into your hotel on arrival. Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.
54KM | 1HOUR
After breakfast, you will drive to the airport. Our representative will bid you farewell.
7days | 6nights
The people living in Merak Sakten area are semi-nomadic yak herders with a unique and fascinating culture in the world…
5days | 4nights
Besides rich local lore, the turquoise colored Nub Tshonapata Lake, verdant and pristine forests remain as the highlight of the trek.
3days | 2nights
The highlight of the trek is the highest Kung Karpo at an altitude of 4350m...