Snowman Trek I

Snowman Trek I

Snowman Trek is one of the toughest treks in the world. The trek begins in Paro and cuts across the entire base of the Himalayas and ends in Sephu (Trongsa). If you are looking for recreational trek, this is certainly not the one. The trekking trail passes through high altitudes and only the toughest and the bravest can take up this trek. So brace up! 

Trip Overview

The Snowman Trek is considered as one of the most difficult and daunting treks in the world owing to having to trudge on rugged trails across high altitudes of the Bhutanese Himalayas. Often regarded as an extension of the Gasa Laya Trek, the Snowman Trek, however, takes visitors further into the upper Himalayas - to Lunana region, Gangkhar Puensum, and to central Bhutan in Bumthang and down to Sephu in Trongsa - depending upon the route. The trek, ideal in summer and albeit very difficult, offers trekkers a lifetime experience to hike through the Himalayas, across breathtaking landscapes, untouched greenery, and remote highland settlements of the country. Trekkers are mostly gripped by an intense feeling of conquest and joy at the end of this trek. 

Tour Highlights

  • Enjoy the hike to Tiger’s Nest, a gentle three-hours uphill hike and the mesmerizing vistas of the valley
  • Immerse in the endless, unfathomable beauty of the rugged landscape of the Himalayas
  • Spot various endangered wildlife species thriving in the upper Himalayas
  •  Experience nature in its most pristine form

What to bring

  • Personal sleeping bag 
  • Good trekking boots and rain proof jacket 
  • Walking stick 
  • Hat and sunglasses 
  • Insect repellent and sun guard 
  • Flashlight 
  • Personal camera 

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Paro

Day 2 Tiger Nest hike (for acclimatization)

Day 3 Drukgyel Dzong/Shana (trek commences)

Day 4 Shana/Soi Thangthangkha

Day 5 Soi Thangthangkha/Jangothang

Day 6 Day rest at Jangothang

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 Day rest at Laya

Day 14 Laya/Rodophu

Day 15 Rodophu /Narethang

Day 16 Narethang/Tarina

Day 17 Tarina / Woche

Day 18 Woche/ Lhedi

Day 19 Lhedi /Thanza

Day 20 Rest at Thanza

Day 21 Thanza/Danji

Day 22 Danji/ Tshochena

Day 23 Tshochena/ Jichu Dramo

Day 24 Jichu Dramo/ Chukarpo

Day 25: Chukarpo / Thampe Tsho

Day 26: Thampe Tsho/ Maurothang

Day 27: Maurothang/Sephu/Wangdue (trek ends)

Day 28: Wangdue/Thimphu

Day 29: Thimphu sightseeing

Day 30: Exit

Detailed Itenerary

Day 1 - Arrival in Paro

As soon as you arrive at Paro Airport, our representatives would be there to receive and escort you to the hotel for check in.

Afterward take a stroll in town, observing shops that concentrate mostly on selling handicrafts and wood products, or even visit some of the cafes and restaurants in town. Next, visit Drukgyel Dzong, now in ruins, and Kyichu Lhakhang on the way back whose origin dates back to as early as the 7th century.

Day 2 –Tiger’s Nest hike

The program on this day includes a hike to Taktshang or the Tiger’s Nest, which is usually an uphill walk of about three hours.

This is expected to accustom trekkers to the trails and mountain altitudes of the Himalayas. The Tiger’s Nest, precariously perched on a cliff, also offer a spectacular view of the Upper Paro valley. The hike also includes a visit to the inner sanctum of the temple, considered as one of the most religious and scared sites in the country.

Day 3 -Drukgyel Dzong/Shana

  • Distance: 17km
  • Time: Four to five hours
  • Ascent: 360m
  • Descent: 80m
  • Camp altitude: 2,850m

The trek starts from the road point at Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m), usually a gentle climb along the Parochhu. Trekkers can get glimpses of green meadows, paddy fields and traditional Bhutanese farm houses as they trudge on this trail. After about four hours of hiking comes the army outpost at Gunitsawa village, where our representatives would submit all the mandatory permits for the trek.  Continue walking to the other side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa, to the campsite.

Day 4 Shana/Soi Thangthangkha

  • Distance: 22km
  • Time: Seven to eight hours
  • Ascent: 770m
  • Descent: 10m
  • Camp altitude: 3,610m

The trek from Shana to Soi Thangthangkha would be a long one, involving uphill and downhill hikes intermittently. After an ascending hike through the river valley is the Jigme Dorji National Park. The valley narrows down to a single path and descends to a meadow. This will be the place where the camp would be set as it’s an ideal spot to see Mount Jomolhari on a clear day.

Day 5 Soi Thangthangkha/Jangothang

  • Distance: 19km
  • Time: Five to six hours
  • Ascent: 480m
  • Camp altitude: 4,080m

Continue trek early in the morning, across alpine meadow and stunted vegetation, on the uphill trail. Trekkers will also be able to view Mount Jomolhari along the trail. After an army outpost on the way, homes of yak herders and a panoramic view of beautiful snow clad mountain peaks and ridges are other attractions on today’s hike.

The trail will take trekkers through the highland villages of Soe, Takethang and Dangochang, where they would be able to experience the typical lifestyle, culture and traditions of the highlanders. Continue hike till Jangothang, the campsite at the base of the majestic Mount Jhomolhari (the abode of the protective deity Jomo).

Day 6 Day rest at Jangothang

Instead of continuing the trek, a day rest is scheduled at Jangothang. A short hike from this place offers a befitting opportunity to see lakes and various other mountain peaks like Jomolhari and Jyichu Drakey. Trekkers could also take up short hike along trails in the three directions - west for Jumolhari and its subsidiary mountain chains, north for Jyichu Drakey, and east for a number of unclimbed peaks. There are also possibilities of sighting blue sheep Jangothang.  

Day 7 Jangothang/Lingshi

  • Distance: 18km
  • Time: Six to seven hours
  • Ascent: 840m ascent
  • Descent: 870m descent
  • Camp altitude: 4,010m

Continue the trek today. The trail from the camp ascends through a steep ridge for about half an hour, followed by a gradual downhill walk to the Nyilila pass at 4,870m. Watch the Mount Jomolhari, Mount Jyichu Drakey and Tsherimgang, all above 7,000m from here. Also try to get the sights of herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes along the trail.

Afterward continue the downhill trek to Lingshi basin, coming across yaks, yak herders and their houses. Trekkers would also be able to see Lingshi Dzong on a clear day. Halt at the campsite before reaching Lingshi Dzong.

Day 8 Lingshi/Chebisa

  • Distance: 10km
  • Time: Five to six hours
  • Ascent: 280m
  • Descent: 410m
  • Camp altitude: 3,880m

Today is going to be an easy day of walking. So trekkers need not worry. After reaching the Chorten below Lingshi Dzong, there are two choices – either to stay on the main trail or take the diversion that leads to Lingshi Dzong (4,220m).

The Dzong sits right on top of a ridge and offers a serene view of the valley. Continue the trek, passing through the villages of Lingshi and Goyul. Juxtaposed to the Chebisa village and a beautiful waterfall, the campsite at this place offers trekkers ample time to visit the village and interact with the communities.

Day 9 Chebisa/Shomuthang

  • Distance: 17km
  • Time: Six to seven hours
  • Ascent: 890m
  • Descent: 540m
  • Camp altitude: 4,220m

The trail goes through a wide pastureland toward Gobu La pass at 4,410m. Descend to the valley after crossing the pass, and then climb again a little further till the trail descends to Shakshepasa (3,980m), where a helipad has also been built. Continue ascending hike till the campsite at Shomuthang which is located above a river (a tributary of the Nochu River).

Day 10 Shomuthang/Robluthang

  • Distance 18km
  • Time: Six to seven hours
  • Ascent: 700m
  • Descent: 760m
  • Camp altitude: 4,160m

Begin early as hiking would be quite tough along this trail. Hike up from the valley for almost two hours until reaching Jhari La at 4,750m.  From here, trying getting glimpse of Sinche La, the pass you that needs to be crossed in the following days of the trek.

View the Mount Gangchhenta (6,840m), also known as the Great Tiger Mountain. Tserimgang and the peak of Mount Jumolhari are also visually apparent on a clear day.

Walk down to Tsheri Jathang valley, considered as the summer habitat of Takin and rightly declared as the Takin sanctuary. Continue ascending hike from here to the campsite at Robluthang.

Day 11 Robluthang/Lemithang

  • Distance: 19km
  • Time: Six to seven hours
  • Ascent: 850m
  • Descent: 870m
  • Camp altitude: 4,140m

After crossing Sinche La (5,005m), the highest pass on the route, head toward Laya.  Trekkers will spot Laya women, clad in their traditional attire woven by themselves, en route to this place. Catch the view of a glacial lake at the foot of the valley and a terminal moraine from here. Continue the descending hike, cross Kango Chhu, and reach the campsite at Lemithang where the peak of Gangchhenta is visible from this spot.

Day 12 Lemithang/Laya

  • Distance: 10km
  • Time: Four to five hours
  • Ascent:  60m
  • Descent: 340m
  • Camp altitude 3,840m

The descending trail continues along a narrow river valley and then leads to a dense forest. It continues again on the west side of the Laya village where one can view Gangchhenta and Masagang. Camp at the site below the school in Laya.

Day 13 Day rest at Laya

It’s another day off and rest during the trek in Laya. Try to engage in short hikes, making visits to the community school, and meeting Layaps. The interaction would enrich your understanding and knowledge of lifestyle, culture and traditions of these people.

Day 14 Laya /Rodophu

  • Distance: 19km
  • Time: Six to eight hours
  • Ascent: 1,030m
  • Descent: 750m descent
  • Camp altitude: 4,160m

Continue trudging the descending trail from Laya to an army camp and follow the river until the turnoff to Rodophu. After lunch, continue ascending through rhododendron bushes till reaching the camp at Roduphu, next to the Rhodu Chhu.

Day 15 Rodophu /Narethang

  • Distance: 17km
  • Time: Five to six hours
  • Ascent: 740m ascent
  • Camp altitude: 4,900m

The trail follows the river for about half an hour and it’s an ascending climb after that to an open valley at 4,600m, and then to Tsomo La at 4,900m. Enjoy the spectacular view of Lunana, Mount Jomolhari and Jyichu Drakey, and the Tibetan border on the other side from here.

Continue hike by crossing a flat, barren plateau at about 5,000m. Camp at Narethang, towered by the peak of Gangla Karchung (6,395m).

Day 16 Narethang/Tarina

  • Distance: 18km,
  • Time: Five to six hours
  • Ascent: 270m
  • Descent: 1,200m
  • Camp altitude: 3,970m

Begin an ascending hike from the campsite for about an hour to Gangla Karchung La. Enjoy the magnificent view of the Jekangphu Gang (7,100m), Tsenda Kang and Teri Gang (7,300m) from this pass which is at an elevation of 5,120m.

The trail then descends along a large moraine, and continues downward through thick rhododendron vegetation to Tarina valley. Camp along the Tang Chhu.

Day 17 Tarina / Woche

  • Distance: 17km,
  • Time: Six to seven hours
  • Ascent: 270m
  • Descent: 330m
  • Camp altitude: 3,910m

Continue hike on the trail that runs through conifer forest on the upper ridges of the Pho Chhu. View the beautiful waterfalls along the way. Follow the ascending trail over a ridge and then descend to Woche, the first village in Lunana region.

Day 18 Woche/ Lhedi

  • Distance: 17km
  • Time: Six to seven hours
  • Ascent: 980m
  • Descent: 1,190m
  • Camp altitude: 3,700m

Continue the hike through juniper and fir forests, and then through rhododendron bushes. The route ascends to Keche La pass at 4,650m and get a spectacular view of the mountain ranges. Continue descending to the riverside and then to a village from where the table mountain is viewable. Trudge up the riverside till Lhedi village.

Day 19 Lhedi/Thanza

Continue walking a few hours to reach Thanza village and take the day off.

Day 20 Day rest at Thanza

Walk around the village, interact with the local people and experience the highland culture and customs.

Day 21 Thanza /Danji

  • Distance 8km
  • Time: Three to four hours
  • Ascent: 80m ascent
  • Camp altitude: 4,230m

Follow the ascending trail to a large boulder from where you get an excellent view of Thanza, Toencha and Choso villages and the mountains. Hiking on this trail is relatively easier. Continue walking for a few hours of through almost flat area before reaching a meadow with a few yak herders’ huts.

Note the trail junction near the campsite - one route leads to the basecamp of Gangkhar Puensum, the other to Bumthang or to Sephu in Trongsa.

Day 22 Danji / Tshochena

  • Distance: 12km
  • Time: Five to six hours
  • Ascent: 980m
  • Descent: 240m descent
  • Camp altitude: 4,970m

Continue the trek following the route to Sephu. The trail crosses through a creek and reaches Jaze La at 5,150m after a long ascending climb. Continue the descending trail from the pass to the campsite near Tshochena Lake after getting view of several lakes on the way here.

Day 23 Tshochena/ Jichu Dramo

  • Distance: 14km
  • Time: Four to five hours
  • Ascent: 230m
  • Descent: 150m descent
  • Camp altitude: 5,050m

Follow the trail that goes along the banks of the blue green lake before arriving at a ridge at 5,100m. Enjoy a spectacular view of the mountain ranges from here.

Continue hiking the ascending and descending trail over small hills until reaching a glacial lake. Trudge downward and ascend again after the glacial lake to Loju La at 5,140m. Cross a small saddle (5,100m) and enter a wide glacial valley from where the trail descends gradually to the campsite at Jichu Dramo.

Day 24 Jichu Dramo/Chukarpo

  • Distance: 18km
  • Time: Five to six hours
  • Ascent: 320m
  • Descent: 730m
  • Camp altitude: 4,600m

Follow the ascending trail through a moraine to the highest pass on the trek, Rinchen Zoe La at 5,320m. Enjoy the panoramic view of Gangkhar Puensum from here. Follow the descending route after the pass into a wide valley with several lakes, and then along a moraine to Thamphe Chhu. Continue walking a  few hours until reaching the campsite at Chukarpo.

Day 25: Chukarpo/Thampe Tsho

  • Distance: 18km
  • Time: Five to six hours
  • Ascent: 400m
  • Descent: 700m
  • Camp altitude: 4,300m

Follow the descending route along the river until reaching the yak herders’ huts at Gala Pang Chhu at 4010m. Continue the steeply ascending hike from here to Thampe Tsho.

Day 26: Thampe Tsho/ Maurothang

  • Distance: 14km
  • Time: Five hours
  • Ascent: 330m
  • Descent: 1020m
  • Camp altitude: 3,610m

Continue trudging on the steeply ascending route to the last pass on the trek, Thampe La at 4,600m.  Observe the herds of blue sheep along the way. Follow the descending trail from the pass to the sacred lake, Om Tso. After crossing a waterfall and another smaller lake about 100m below, continue the steep descend to Nikka Chhu. The trail leads through mixed forest to large clearing on the banks of the river with a few yak herders’ huts in Maurothang.

Day 27: Maurothang/Sephu/Wangdue

  • Distance: 18km
  • Time: Five to six hours
  • Descent: 990m descent

This is the ultimate hike or last part of this trek. Follow Nikka Chhu, and walk to Sephu village and then to the road point at Nikka Chhu bridge.

Day 28: Sephu/Thimphu

Drive to Thimphu early in the morning. En route visit the Wangduephodrang Dzong.

Day 29: Day rest in Thimphu

This day off has been scheduled to rest after the laborious trek. Depending on the choice, however, one can visit certain historical or religious sites in Thimphu, or stroll in the city for shopping or relaxation. 

Day 30: Exit

After check out from the hotel, our representatives would escort you to Paro Airport for flight to onward destination.  

Total Tour Cost

High Season (March, April, May, September, October & November)

  •   1 Pax: US $ 7725
  •   2 Pax: US $ 7435 per person
  •   3 Pax & above: US 6565 per person

Low Season (June, July, August, December, January & February)

  •   1 Pax: US $ 6420
  •   2 Pax: US $ 6130 per person
  •   3 Pax & above: US $ 5260 per person

Inclusion

  • Sightseeing seeing as per the itinerary
  • Government Royalty
  • All meals during the trek and tour
  • Campaign accommodation on trek and hotel accommodation
  • Potters and ponies
  • Transportation by foreign vehicle
  • Full time guided tour by certified trekking guide
  • One time visa processing fee, US $40 per person 

Not Included

  • Air ticket, both domestic and international
  • Travel and health Insurance
  • Laundry, telephone, mobile, fax and Internet bills
  • Tips and gratuities for guide and driver
  • Shopping and Entertainment
  • Donations

Complementary

  • Arrival refreshment
  • Free mineral water during tours
  • Museum and park fees
  • Free ticketing service for Bhutan Airlines, no commission levied
  • One time cultural program for a group comprising 5 and above people.

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