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Snowman Trek

Destination : Gunitsawa Village, Paro Valley (5/5) | 5 Reviews
  • temple
  • guide
  • meals
  • driver
  • walking
  • hikes
  • camping

Description

The Snowman Trek is an extension of the beautiful Laya Gasa Trek, and leads from Laya into high altitudes of the Bhutanese Himalayas. It takes tough and enduring trekkers into the Lunana region and further on to Gangkhar Puensum and Bumthang or down to Sephu in Trongsa district, depending on which route you choose.

The Snowman trek leads through the most remote areas up to very high altitudes. Trekkers have to camp in altitudes above 5,000m more than once, and depending on the seasonal temperatures, the camps are sometimes on snow.


Outline Itinerary

DAY 1 – Arrive Paro

DAY 2 – Paro Sightseeing

DAY 3 – Drukgyel Dzong – Sharna (trek starts)

DAY 5 – Thangthangka – Jangothang

DAY 6 – Jangothang – Halt

DAY 7 – Jangothang – Lingshi

DAY 8 – Lingshi – Chebisa

DAY 9 – Chebisa – Shomuthang

DAY 10 – Shomuthang – Robluthang

DAY 11 – Robluthang – Lemithang

DAY 12 – Lemithang – Laya

DAY 13 – Laya – Halt

DAY 14 – Laya – Rhodophu

DAY 15 – Rodophu – Narethang

DAY 16 – Narethang – Tarina

DAY 17 – Tarina – Woche

DAY 18 – Woche – Lhedi

DAY 19 – Lhedi – Thanza

DAY 20 – Thanza – halt

DAY 21 – Thanza – Tshochenchen

DAY 22 – Tshotshena- Jichhu Dramo

DAY 23 – Jichhu Dramo- Chhukarpo

DAY 24 – Chhu Karpo – Thampe Tsho

DAY 25 – Thampe Tsho – Maurothang

DAY 26 -.Maurothang – Sephu (trek end) – Punakha

DAY 27 – Punakha – Thimphu

DAY 28 – Thimphu Sightseeing

DAY 29 – Thimphu – Paro

DAY 30 – Departure


Detailed Itinerary

Altitude of Paro: 2250 M

On your journey to Paro, the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including the Everest and other famous Himalayan Peaks. The approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro becomes more exciting as you enter Bhutan. Many travelers have termed the landing very much adventurous.

On arrival you will be welcomed by your Bhutanese guide from Find Bhutan with “Tashi Khadar”, and a small welcome note by your Bhutanese host.

Drive to Hotel.

After lunch, explore the Paro Valley and town.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Altitude of Paro: 2250 M

Start your day with a hike to the abode of gods and monks would be a pretty good start. It shall be taken care of that the time shall be yours for the hike, no hurries and no worries. Reaching the top shall be worth the climb; the touch of the Himalayan breeze and views of the valley below and temple on the rocky cliff shall be fascinating and shall let you feel the real freedom of mind and happiness.

After breakfast, excursion to Taktshang Monastery.

Taktshang Monastery; The primary lhakhang was built surrounding Guru Rimpoche’s Meditation cave in the 1684 by Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay.  This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer Rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava flew here on the back of a tigress. It is a two to three hours excursion uphill; however, one feels truly blessed reaching the monastery.

After lunch, visit,

Drukgyel Dzong: This dzong is in ruins now. The Dzong was destroyed by fire in 1951 and is now preserved as heritage site. The Dzong is situated in Drukgyal, overlooking the beautiful village with Mount Chomolhari in the background. The dzong was built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal to commemorate victory over the Tibetan invaders led by Mongolion warlord, Gushri Khan.

Kyichu Lhakhang: This temple is one of the oldest buddhist temple in Bhutan. The Tibetan King, Songtsen Gompo, to consecrate the entire region of Himalaya, in the 7th century miraculously built 108 temples. Kyichu Lhakhang is considered to be one of them.

Then, drive to a Bhutanese farm house and relax in traditional hot stone bath.

Hot stone bath: The traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Many Bhutanese believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxing and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Altitude of campsite: 2,820 m, Distance 14 Km, Time: 5 – 6 hours

After breakfast, drive to Drukgyel dzong and then start to trek. Our trek to Shana starts at Drukgyal Dzong following the Paro River and we pass cultivated fields and tiny picturesque villages. The forests are alive with numerous birds and brightly colored butterflies.

Overnight at camp Shana.

Altitude of campsite: 3610 m, Distance: 21 Km, Time:  7 – 8 hour.

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.

Altitude of campsite: 4,115 m, Distance: 15 Km, Time: 5 – 6 hour.

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 Jhomolhari 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.

Today is a rest and acclimatization for the next day’s highest climb on this trek.  You will hike to explore nearby mountains and lakes. And then take rest at the camp in the afternoon. 

Altitude of campsite: 4000 meter, Walking time 7-8 hour.

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, JichuDrakey and Tsrim Ghang. Then walk towards the valley, almost flat for a while, until the climb to the Nyeley la pass at an altitude of 4,700 meters. After the pass it’s a gradual descent to the Lingshi camp, enjoying the panorama view of the peaks and Lingshi dzong.

Altitude of campsite: 3,850 meter, Walking time 5-6 hour.

Walk past the Lingshi dzong, perched on the hilltop with a commanding view of green hill, the Winding River and magnificent peaks. This is a very easy day and a pleasant walk, through villages and yak herders camps. Lunch will be at scenic Goyuna village. After lunch, a short walk will reach you to Chebisa village. We camp here by the side of stream.

Walking time 7-8 hours

Today begins with a stiff climb up a ridge to Gubula pass at an altitude of 4,500 meters, taking nearly 4 hours to the top. After the pass descend to a lunch spot, through rhododendron bushes. Afternoon continue along the up and down path, after crossing the stream, through rhododendron forests and yak herders camps. You may see herds of Blue sheep now and then.

Overnight in camp.

Altitude of campsite: 4400 meters, Walking time 8-9 hours.

The trek starts with a climb to Jari la pass at the altitude of 4,600 meters. Then descend to Tsharijathang valley, the summer residence of the rare Himalayan Takin (national animal of Bhutan). From here we may have to cross the stream and get wet, as most of the time the foot bridge is washed away, After crossing the stream towards the left the trail ascends till you reach Robluthang.

Overnight in camp.

Altitude of campsite: 4100 M

A long climb up to the shinje la pass (altitude 4900 meters). The views of the mountains from the pass are breathtaking. After the pass descend to Lemithang. The path is quit narrow and you may have to cross the stream and get wet again. The last part of the trek is very interesting, with the view of Mount Gangchey Ta peak.

Overnight in camp.


Altitude of campsite: 3,800 meter, Walking time 5-6 hours.

In the morning you wake up with a superb view of Gangchey Ta 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 an altitude of 3,800 meter.

Overnight in camp.

Accordion Sample Description

Altitude of campsite: 4,350m, Walking time 8-9 hours.

From Laya descend to army camp and continue following the river till the turn off point to Rhodophu. After lunch continue the climb through rhododendron bushes until the camp.

Altitude of campsite:4900m

The trail follows the river through rhododendron and shrubs. The camp is at Narethang below the  Gangla Karchung Peak.

Overnight in Camp.

We cross the Gangla Karchung la ( Pass) (5120 m). From here the mountain views are excellent on the northern horizon. To name a few: Kang Bum ( 6526m), Teri Gang ( 7300) Jejekangphu Gang ( 7100m).

Overnight in camp in Tarina.

Altitude 3,800m, Walking time 6-7 hours.

The day is much easier as the path follows the river down valley. Lunch at the lowest point (3500m). After lunch climb up about 300 meters to the village of Woche.


Altitude of campsite: 3,650 m.

The Trek starts through juniper and fir forests and then through rhododendron bushes. We climb up to Keche la pass (4,480m) where one can have a great view of the mountains. After the pass, descend to the river walking through the village with stunning views of Table Mountain and others. Follow the river, one of the main source of Phochu, till Lhedi village.

Altitude of campsite: 4,000 m, Walking time 7/8 hours

The trek continues following the river, rising gradually to Choejong village. After lunch visit the Choejong dzong and continue towards the wide valley. Cross the bridge to reach Thanza campsite.

Spend the day visiting village houses and meeting the local people. Short hikes can be taken around the camp area.

Overnight at camp.

Altitude of campsite: 3,850m.

The trek continues through the mountains. One comes across blue lakes and yak herders camps to arrive at the Thochechen campsite.

Altitude of campsite: 5050 m

The trail follows the shore of a lake before climbing a ridge at 5100 m. On the top, you are surrounded by snowy peaks. Far below you can see the pho chhu desending down towards Punakha. The trek continues through mountains.

Overnight in camp in Jichu Dramo, a small pasture on the east side of the valley

Altitude of campsite: 4600m.

The trail climbs to Rinchen Zoe la ( 5320m). Then continue through breath taking scenery.After a couple of hours we reach Chhukarpo.

Overnight in camp.

Altitude of campsite: 4300 m

The trail continues to descend along the right bank of the river until it reaches a yak pasture at Gala Pang Chhu (4010m). From here the path climbs quite steeply through Junipers and Silver Firs towards Thampe Tsho. The path follows a strem to the beautiful lake, surrounded by steep mountain walls.

Overnight in Thampe tsho.

Altitude of campsite: 3610 m

From the camp the trail climbs steeply to Thampe la at 4600m. Along the way, you may see blue sheep on the high slopes above the trail.The path descends to Om tsho. It is said that Pema Lingpa found a number of Terma here.You will then pass a water fall. From the second lake the path descends steeply to the head waters of the Nikka chhu. Then the path follows through a mixed forest to Maurothang.

Overnight in camp at Maurothang.

After walking for about four hours you will reach a large grassy area overlooking the village of Sephu.

You will find our vehicle waiting for you. Drive to Punakha at an altitude of 1310 mts.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Driving Distance: 76 km, Driving Time: 2.5 – 3 hr, Altitude of Thimphu: 2350 m

After breakfast, visit;

Punakha Dzong: This Dzong was built by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637. It is built at the junction the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers. The annual Punakha Tshechhu (Festival) is held here. The monk body resides in this dzong in winter.

Then take a short excursion to visit the Chimi lhakhang.

Chhimi Lhakhang: This temple is located on the way to Punakha. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility and was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in the 15 century. Lama drukpa Kuenley is also known as the Devine Madman.

Drive further to Thimphu. On the way, stop at Dochula Pass.

Dochula pass: The most known pass in Bhutan, about 30 km drive from the Capital City Thimphu on the way to Wangduephodrang. It is at around 3150 mt  height. On a clear day, spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges can be seen. The pass also has 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens which  is believed brings multi fold merit to all sentient beings and which make the pass a must visit place.

In the evening, free time to walk around Thimphu town and valley.

Over night in Hotel.

Altitude of Thimphu: 2350 m

After a leisure breakfast, sightseeing in Thimphu, includes;

National Memorial Chorten: This Chorten was built in the honour of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, also known as “The Father of Modern Bhutan”. This Chorten was built in 1974 in a typical Tibetan style. This Chorten is also a center of worship for the people living in Thimphu and contains many religious paintings and tantric statues.

Kuenselphodrang: A place for refreshing with a huge statue of Buddha on the top of the Kuenselphodrang. The area also gives a very good view of the Thimphu valley from the west.

Folk Heritage Museum: Founded by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck the museum is one of a kind that portrays the lifestyle of a family in the Thimphu valley in the olden days. This is a three storied, 19th century traditional house giving an insight to the Bhutanese lifestyle, and artifacts from the rural households. The museum contains typical Bhutanese household objects, tools and equipments.

Typical Bhutanese lunch at folk Heritage Restaurant could be a great experience.

After lunch, visit;

The Institute for Zorig Chusum: Students are taught the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan in this institute.

The Institute of Traditional medicine: Here Medicines are prepared according to the Tradition practices.

Sangaygang view point (2685 meters): to have view of whole Thimphu valley and walk through hundreds of colorful prayer flags that dot the hill overlooking the Thimphu valley.

Takin Reserve Centre: The takin, the national animal of Bhutan can be seen here. This particular animal is found only in the Himalayan region.

In the evening, visit;

Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion): A Doom (Blue Stone) Dzong was built on the hill above Thimphu  in 1216 the lama Gyalwa Lhanampa. A few years later Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who brought the Drukpa Kagyu lineage to Bhutan, took over Dohon Dzong. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (The one who unified the country) acquired the Dzong in 1641 from the descendants of lama Phajo and renamed it as Trashi Chhoe Dzong. The Dzong is the seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan) at present.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel in Thimphu.

Driving Distance: 65 km, Driving Time: 1.5 – 2 hr, Altitude of Paro: 2280 m

After breakfast, drive to Paro. On the way, visit Tamchog Lhakhang.

You shall enjoy one of the oldest iron bridge built by Tangtong Gyalpo to reach the temple. The cool breeze of the river is enchanting.

Tamchog lhakhang; built in the 13th century by Thangthong Gyalpo. He is also known as the Iron bridge builder. Situated on a hill top, we have to cross an ancient style bridge to reach the temple. It is owned by the descendants of Thangthong Gyalpo

Drive further to Paro.

After lunch visit;

Ta Dzong: An ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan.

Paro Rinpung Dzong:  literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646. Some of the scenes in the film Little Buddha (1993) were filmed in this Dzong.

Overnight in Hotel.

After breakfast, drive to Paro Airport and farewell.


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