Bhutan Snowman Trek – The longest and the most strenuous Trek in the world
Bhutan Snowman Trek is the longest trekking trail in Bhutan and the most difficult trek in the entire Himalayas because of the longer duration, high altitude and harsh weather. A twenty four days strenuous Bhutan Snowman Trek route was created by the Yak herders which extends from Laya to the High Himalayas in Bhutan near to the border with Tibet.
Snowman Trek in Bhutan take you through eleven passes over 5000m and passes through Himalayan villages of yak herders and farmers who have adapted to these harsh conditions. Bhutan Snowman Trek takes the same route as Jhomolhari Base Camp Trek but it extends further to Laya and through the most remote part of Northern Bhutan Himalayas seen by very few outsiders.
Bhutan Snowman Trek starts from Paro valley goes further up to Gangkar Puensum and ends at Nikachu near Trongsa in central Bhutan. Bhutan snowman trek passes through rough paths and through some of the most difficult places to reach in the Bhutan Himalaya. The Snowman Trek in Bhutan takes you as high as 5000m above mean sea level. But it also takes you through the most picturesque part of Bhutan with views of the highest mountains in the Kingdom of Bhutan like Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake, Gangkar Puensum, Tiger Mountain etc. The twenty four days that you spend on the trail that goes through eleven passes above 5000m is definitely not for the faint hearted.
TRIP FACTS :
- Style of Trek: Camping
- Trek Grade: Strenous.
- Duration: 30 Days.
- No. of Days on the Trek: 24 Days.
- Highest Trekking Altitude: Rinchenzoe pass (5115 m).
- Highest Sleeping Altitude: Jichu Dramo(4840m)
- Starting Point: Paro
- Ending Point: Nikachu Zam (near Trongsa)
- Minimum No.of Participants: Two Persons.
- Best Season: April-June and September – October.
- Trek Availibility: Only Private Treks for a minimum Two Pax.
- Climate: Days are normally warm. Nights can at times be (general) very cold and in winter even below the freezing point. Monsoon showers in summer (heaviest in July, August) and sometimes even in spring and autumn.
- Customized private Treks can also be arranged for a minimum of two persons on request on a date of your choice.
BHUTAN SNOWMAN TREK ITINERARY
Day 1: Arrive at Paro. Receive and Drive to Hotel (B,L,D).
The flight into Paro on Druk Air, is a befitting
introduction to the spectacular beauty of our Bhutan. In clear
weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks, give way to
the lush green Paro valley as you land. Your Bhutanese Guide will greet you on arrival, then drive you to the Hotel. O/N Hotel (B,L,D).
Day 2: Paro – Sight seeing. Overnight Hotel (B,L,D).
Your journey into the Thunder Dragon kingdom will truly begin with a
drive in the morning to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the
valley. Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father
and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the dzong was destroyed by accidental
fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories
it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day
experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jumolhari (7,314 m). Our next
visit is Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which now houses the
National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong, the
centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. A short walk
takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional
cantilevered, covered bridge. A short distance further is one of the
innumerable archery grounds. ( Archery is the national sport of
Bhutan). If we are lucky, we may catch a match in action. The evening
ends with a walk through Paro’s main shopping district.
O/N Hotel (B,L,D).
Day 3: Excursion to Taktshang Monastery. Overnight Hotel (B,L,D).
A very special day, with an excursion to view the spectacular Taktsang
(Tiger’s Nest) monastery – After breakfast a short drive takes us to
Satsam Chorten, from there a 2 hour horse ride till the viewpoint
point of the monastery. The trail climbs through beautiful pine
forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an
occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and
light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a
short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach,
Taktsang monastery. Built in the 1600s, this incredible monastery
clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 m into the
valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric
mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a
flying tiger. Looking at the monastery flying tigers doesn’t seem so
impossible after all. Lunch will be served at the cafeteria, followed
by a short walk to Satsam Chorten for the drive to the hotel.
O/N Hotel (B,L,D).
Day 4: Bhutan Snowman Trek Starts. Trek Paro – Shana(2820m/14Km/6Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
Our trek to Shana starts at Drukgyal Dzong following the Paro river.
We pass cultivated fields and tiny picturesque villages. The
forests are alive with numerous birds and brightly coloured
butterflies. Overnight at camp Shana.
Day 5: Shana-Thangthangka(3610m/21Km/8Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
The trail follows the river through a heavily forested area with a few
isolated farmhouses. It narrows and closes in and the trail winds up
and down along the drainage. We pass a junction enroute, where another
path leads north over the Tremo La to Tibet. Camp is in a meadow with
a stone shelter.
Day 6: Thangthangka-Jangothang (4240m/15Km/6Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
In the morning after passing a small army post, the trail slowly
leaves the forest line and gradually climbs into a beautiful valley,
passing Tegethang, a winter home of yak herdsmen. Lunch will be served
in one of these huts. Lots of yaks will be seen today before we
arrive at the Jumolhari base camp (4,115 m). High mountains overlook
the camp and visible nearby are the ruins of an old fortress used to
guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasions
Day 7: Rest Day at Jangothang .Side Trek to Jhomolhari Glacier/Lakes. Camp.
Day 8: Jangothang via the Nyelela pass (4700 m) to Lingshi(4000m/17Km/7Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
A good day’s walk today with spectacular views of the Jumolhari, Jichu
Drake and the Tserim Gang. We start climbing straight away and after
some 3 to 4 hours reach the Nyelela pass (4,700 m) . After the pass we
descend to a circular hut just below Lingshi, where we camp. Coming
down from Lingshi we obtain our first views of the truly mystical
Dzong atop a high hill.
Day 9: Lingshi – Chebisa(3780m/12Km/5Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
This is a magical day. Leaving Lingshi behind we gently climb gently
to reach another delightful village, Gom Yu, which is set right below
a 300 m cliff. Another hours walk brings us to a lovely little valley
with a huge waterfall at one end of the Shangri La village of Chebisa,
where we camp by the side of the river. The walk is very leisurely
with plenty of reasons and opportunities to linger.
Day 10: Chebisa cross the Gokula pass (4320 ) to Shomuthang(3890m/17Km/7Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
We start with quite a stiff climb through high pastures up the Gokula
pass (4320 m) before we drop through forests of dwarf rhododendron.
We climb gradually and head down to the camp near a riverbed.
Day 11: Shomuthang over the Jarela pass (4640m) to Robluthang(4100m/22Km/8Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
A long haul over the Jarela pass at 4,640 m where we once again get
stunning views of the Himalayan mountains above us. We drop steeply
down a forest trail to the Tsarithang valley, where herds of takin
roam, then cross a knee deep river before climbing up Robluthang where
Day 12: Robluthang cross the Shinchela pass (4870) to Lemithang(4040m/7Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
Today is one of the strenuous trekking days in the Snowman Trek. We climb slowly up to Shinchela pass at 4870 m. and are rewarded with stunning views of mountains, including the spectacular Gang Chen Ta at the head of the
valley. On a clear day practically all the mountains on the northern
border are visible. Eagles, griffin vultures, blue sheep and yaks
abound in this area. We descend down to camp on a lovely spot by the
Day 13: Lemithang – Laya(3880m/10Km/5Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
We walk along the river, one of the tributaries of the Mochu and
through a forest of rhododendron and silver fir and then enter the
village of Laya. The people of Laya are famous for they’re vertical
stripe yak hair clothing and their strange conical bamboo hats. The
women wear their hair long and with great deal of turquoise and jade
jewellery. The features of the people are even more Tibetan/ Mongolian
than the Bhutanese who live in the central valleys The rest of the
day is spent at leisure or visiting village houses and mixing with the
villagers. Good views of the Masagang and the other peaks.
Altitude 3,880m; Distance 10 kms; Time 4 – 5 hours
Day 14: Rest day at Laya. Camp (B,L,D).
Day 15: Laya – Rodophu(4100m/17Km/7Hrs). Camp.
We descend down to Tashi Makhang (army camp) and climb stiffly for an
hour and then follow the river until we reach Rodophu. If weather is
clear we should have great views of the Tsendey Gang group.
Day 16: Rodophu trek over the Tsomola Pass(4720m) to Narithang(4150m/10Km/5Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
The climb to the Tsomala pass (4,720 m) is quite tough. From the pass
we may lucky to see the spectacular Gang Chen Ta at the head of the
valley. We then descend and finally climb to Narithang where we camp.
Day 17: Narithang through the Ganglakarchung La pass(5100m) to Tarina(3900m/24Km/9Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
The Days Trek is one of the hardest days of the Snowman Trek in Bhutan. We climb slowly up to the Ganglakarchung La pass(5,100-m) which takes 3 to 4 hours and are rewarded with stunning views of Ganglakarchung, Tsendey Gang, Jejekangphu and Terigang. Finally we drop steeply down to the Tarina
valley where herds of takin roam. Great views of the surrounding
mountains and lakes.
Day 18: Tarina – Woche(3830m/12Km/5Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
For 3 to 4 hours we follow the river, a tributary of the Pho Chu,
pass through a forest of silver pine and juniper and with a stiff
climb reach Woche – the Lunana region begins from this village.
Day 19: Woche trek over the Keche La pass (4490-m) to Lhedi(3640m/15Km/6Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
We climb gradually through juniper forests and then cross a river from
where we have great views of Jejekangphu. A stiff climb takes us past
the Yumtso and Setso lakes and up to the Keche La pass (4,490-m). We
descend to Thraga village and finally reach Lhedi.
Day 20: Lhedi – Thanza(4060m/15Km/6Hrs).Camp (B,L,D).
We follow the Pho Chu river through the village of Lhedi and to Chotsi
dzong, which was built in the 17th century. After 3 to 4 hours we
reach the beautiful village of Dhotey and Thanza where we set camp in
a beautiful meadow with stunning views of Table mountain right in
front of us.
Day 21: Thanza (Halt). Camp (B,L,D).
Day 22: Thanza – cross over the Jazela pass (5100m) to Tshochena(4840m/24Km/9Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
This is a difficult trek. After crossing the Pho Chu river we climb
stiffly up for 6 hours to Jazela pass (5,100m) before dropping down to
Tsochena. We pass many lakes and on a clear day can see splendid views
of many un-named Himalayan peaks.
Day 23: Tshochena – Lajula Pass (5000m) to Jichu Dramo(4840m/10Km/5Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
A gradual climb to Lajula pass (5,000 m) and finally we reach Jichu Dramo.
Day 24: Jichu Dramo –Rinchenzoe Pass(5115m) to Chukarpo (4450m/18Km/7Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
We climb gradually to the Rinchenzoe pass (5115 m), the highest along
the trek with spectacular views of mountains and turquoise coloured
lakes. After the pass a 5 hour hike brings us to Chukarpo where we set
Day 25: Churkarpo – Tempetso(4190m/18Km/8Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
Today the trail gradually descends to the river and after a stiff
climb through rhododendron, silver fir and juniper forests we reach
Tempetso lake where we set camp.
Day 26: Tampetso –Maorothang(4190m) via the Tampela pass (4500m/18Km/8Hrs). Camp (B,L,D).
We walk along the lake, climb up to Tampela pass (4500 m) and finally
descend to Umtso lake and Maorothang where we set camp.
Day 27: Maorothang – Nikachu(2670m/19Km/8Hrs). End of Bhutan Snowman Trek). Camp (B,L,D).
We follow the Nikachu through dense forests of rhododendron, silver
fir and bamboo and emerge at Nikachu bridge.
Day 28: Drive Nikachu – Thimphu. Hotel (B,L,D).
Early morning drive to Thimphu. We stop for lunch at Wangdue
guesthouse. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.Day 29: Thimpu Sight Seeing . Hotel
After breakfast we visit the National Library, stocked with ancient
manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still
kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas
(sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). In the afternoon we visit the
Dupthop Lakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan and then
the Tashichho Dzong seat of the national government and the Central
Monastic Body including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief
Abbot of Bhutan). The Tashichho Dzong is open to visitors only in
winter when the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body move to Punakha, the
ancient winter capital of Bhutan. Other highlights include a visit to
the National Memorial Chorten built in honour of our late King Jigme
Dorji Wangchuk and the Handicrafts Emporium.
Day 29: Drive to Paro Airport for Final Departure.
Extension can be made to Sikkim, Darjeeling or Nepal.
- Bhutan Snowman Trek Cost : US$8400/Person
ADDITIONAL COSTS :
AIRPORT TAX : USD13 per PERSON.
VISA FEES : USD20 per PERSON.THE COST INCLUDES :
:Transport (Where applicable) on Jeeps / Vans / Cars.
:Airport Pick Up and Drop.
:Trekking support with an English Speaking Guide,Cook,Yaks,
:Twin Share Accomodation in Tents while Trekking.
:Twin Share Rooms in Hotel in Thimpu and Paro.
:Fixed Three Meals a day for the Entire Period of Stay in Bhutan.
:Fees for :- a).Trekking Permit.
b). National Park
c).National Monuments etc.
THE COST DOES NOT INCLUDE:-
:Any Evacuation Cost in Case Of Emergency.
:we do not provide Bottled Mineral water during the Trek,however we
do provide Boiled drinking water.
: Sleeping Bags.
Recommendation : The Trek is relatively strenuous and demands top physical form.A physical fitness check-up is a must.Even the experienced trekker should prepare for 2-3 months prior to the Trek.
Note: The above itinerary is a sample, intended to give you a general idea of the likely trip schedule. Numerous factors such as weather, road conditions, the physical ability of the participants,etc., may dictate itinerary changes either before departure or while on the trail. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of the trip participants’ safety, comfort and general well being.
Read our Blog for Druk Airfare & Bhutan Visa Formalities
(All relevant Terms & Conditions apply).