Bhutan Best Inbound Tours
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Snowman Trek


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.

Duration : 25 days, Max. Elevation: 5,320m
Highest Camp : 5,050m
Standard: Hard
Best Seasons: Mid June to Mid October
Start: Gunitsawa Village, Paro Valley
Finish: Sephu (Trongsa)

Package Details :

Duration : 29 Nights / 30 Days .

Destination Covered : Paro - Gunitsawa Village - Sharna Zampa - Thangthangkha - Jangothang - Lingshi - Chebisa - Shomuthang - Robluthang - Limithang - Laya - Rhodophu - Narethang - Tarina - Woche - Lhedi - Thanza - Danji - Tshochena - Jichu Dramo - Chukarpo - Thampe Tsho -Maurothang - Maurothang - Sephu - Punakha. .

Day 01 : Arrive at Paro

Altitude at Paro 2,300 meters

Paro is a beautiful valley located in Western Bhutan with an area of 2800 Square kilometers. Breathtaking Lhakhangs and monasteries are perched on mountain hills. Two sacred rivers with its respective source at Jumolhari and Chumo Phug mountains, makes their way through Paro valley enhancing its beauty and grandeur

 

  • Visit “Paro Dzong” also known as Paro Rinpung Dzong – “the fortress of the heap of jewels”. This structure serves as the house for the district monastic body and government administrative office of Paro.

  • Visit to Ta Dzong, which in the past served as watchtower for Paro Dzong for protection from invaders. Now, it is the National Museum of Bhutan and houses artifacts dating back to 4000 BCE.

  • Take a stroll through Paro town, a street of typical Bhutanese traditional buildings.

Overnight at hotel in Paro 

Day 02: Hike to the Legendary Taktsang Monastery

Taktsang Monastery : The Taktsang, popularly known as the “Tiger’s Nest” is perched on the side of a cliff at a height of 900m above the Paro valley. It is considered as a signature spot for the tourist. It is a Gem of a Paro Valley. Nestled up in a cliff, it is considered as one of the twelve wonders of the world.

  • After breakfast, drive to Ramthangka to hike up to the view point of Taktsang (Tiger’s nest) (2950m). The round trip will take about two to three hours. The legend says that in the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche visited and meditated here for some time. The place now is one of the holiest pilgrim sites for the Mahayana Buddhist.
  • Visit the ancient Kichu Lhakhang whihch dates back to the 7th century. 

Overnight at hotel in Paro 

Day 03: Gunitsawa Village – Shana Zampa

On this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley the valley finally narrows gradually to a mere path which descends to a meadow where a camp will be set up. From here, if weather permits, you will have the first great view of Mt. Jomolhari.

Overnight: Camp at Shana 

Distance 22 km, 7-8 hours, 770 m ascent, 10 m descent, camp altitude 3,610 m.

Day 04: Shanazampa- Thangthangka

On this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley the valley finally narrows gradually to a mere path which descends to a meadow where a camp will be set up. From here, if weather permits, you will have the first great view of Mt. Jomolhari.

Overnight: Camp at Thangthangka

Elevation at Campsite: 3,610 meters/ 22Kms/ Time: 7-8hours

 

Day 05 : Thangthangkha – Jangothang 

Distance 19 km, 5-6 hours, 480 m ascent, camp altitude 4,080 m. If you did not see Mt. Jomolhari the previous evening, you will still have a chance to get a great view early this morning. This morning the trek continues up the Paro Chhu valley which widens into patches of alpine meadow and scanty growths of forest. You will cross an army checkpoint along the way and enjoy a spectacular view of high mountain ridges and snow-capped peaks. In this area yaks and their herder’s homes become a regular feature of the landscape. Passing the villages Soe, Takethang and Dangochang is another asset on this day. After reaching Jangothang, one of the most beautiful campsites of the Himalayas, you will again have a spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari.

Day 06 : Jangothang Halt

The rest day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views of lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley. Jangothang is a perfect environment for your acclimatization. You can also trek up to Tosoh or hike around the area. There are good short hiking trails in three directions. Jomolhari and its subsidiary mountain chains lie directly west, Jichu Drake to the north and there are a number of unclimbed peaks to the east.

Day 07 : Jangothang – Lingshi

Day 08 : Lingshi – Chebisa

Distance 10 km, 5-6 hours, 280 m ascent, 410 m descent, camp altitude 3,880 m.

Today is the shortest walking day, and you can really take it easy. Shortly after starting you will reach a chorten below Lingshi Dzong. Here, you have the choice of staying on the main trail or taking a detour up to the Lingshi Dzong (4,220m), which sits right atop a high ridge. This Dzong is under reconstruction from a 2011 earthquake which damaged its central building. In addition to a very special atmosphere of mystic tranquility, Lingshi Dzong provides a great view over the valley. After Lingshi Dzong you will be passing the villages of Lingshi and Goyul. In Goyul, the stone houses are clustered together to form a small compact village that is unusual in Bhutan where settlements are usually scattered. On reaching the campsite at Chebisa you will have plenty of time to visit the village houses if you feel up to it. There is also a beautiful waterfall located behind the village that is worth visiting.

Day 09 : Chebisa – Shomuthang

Distance 17 km, 6-7 hours, 890 m ascent, 540 m descent, camp altitude 4,220 m.

The morning starts with a long ascent behind Chebisa Village (2-3 hours) through a wide pastureland towards Gobu La (pass). On the way, you will see a few people herding yaks. There is also a great chance to spot large herds of blue sheep above the trail. After crossing Gobu La (4,410m), you descend into the valley, then climb again a little bit, before descending again to Shakshepasa (3,980), a large U-shaped valley. Climbing from here you will finally reach the campsite at Shomuthang, above a river, which is a tributary of the Nochu river.

Day 10 : Shomuthang – Robluthang

Distance 18 km, 6-7 hours, 700 m ascent, 760 m descent, camp altitude 4,160 m.

You begin by climbing up the valley to view Kang Bum (6,526 m) and some edelweiss. After two hours of climbing you will reach Jhari La (4,750m), from where you catch the first glimpse of Sinche La, the pass you will have to cross the day after. The big snow peak in the north is Gangchhenta 6,840 m, better known as the Great Tiger Mountain. If weather is clear, Tserim Kang and the top of Jomolhari will be visible. The camp by the river is called Tsheri Jathang located in a beautiful wide and remote valley. Herds of takin, the Bhutanese National Animal, migrate to this valley in summer and remain for about four months. The valley has been declared a takin sanctuary. Climb up a little bit and you will reach the campsite at Robluthang in a rocky meadow.

Day 11 : Robluthang – Limithang

Distance 19 km, 6-7 hours, 850 m ascent, 870 m descent, camp altitude 4,140 m.

The trek starts out with an initial 40-60mins ascent before gradually raising for another 1.5 hours through a boulder field. It is then a 1 hour steep ascent before reaching Sinche La (5,005m) – the final and highest pass on the trek if you don’t intend to continue the Snowman trek from Laya onwards. As you descend the far side of the passyou will see an impressive terminal moraine and a glacial lake at the foot of the valley. You can see classic examples of lateral moraines where the glacier has pushed rocks up both sides of the valley. Below the moraine, you cross the Kango Chhu and soon reach the Limithang campsite. The peak of Gangchhenta towers over the campsite even though it’s quite a distance away.

Day 12 : Limithang – Laya (3,840M/5-6 HOURS)

It will be a bit shorter today and particularly a beautiful walk through the forests of pine and juniper to reach Laya renowned for their pointed hat and turquoise jewelry and their welcoming nature. In the village center is a community school and a basic health unit with telephone connection. We will be camping below the school.

Day 13 : Rest / Acclimatization Day In Laya 

If you have trekked from Paro Valley you should spend a day recuperating from the trek to Laya and preparing yourself for the rest of this challenging but spectacular trek. If you have started from Gasa (Punakha) you should also walk up to Laya to acclimatize, and not just stay at the trail junction to Lunana. It’s worthwhile to spend one day in Laya just for the great views from Laya and its extroadinary inhabitants.

Day 14 : Laya – Rhoduphu

Distance 19km, six to eight hours, 1,030m ascent, 750m descent, camp altitude 4,160m.

From Laya we descend to an army camp and continue following the river till the turn off point to Rhoduphu. After lunch the climb continues through rhododendron bushes till you reach the camp at Roduphu just next to the Rhodu Chhu.

Day 15 : Rhodophu – Narethang 

Distance 17km, five to six hours, 740m ascent, camp altitude 4,900m.

After following the river for about half an hour you will have a steady climb to a high open valley at 4,600m and then further up to Tsomo La (4,900m). Tsomo La offers a superb view of Lunana, Mount Jomolhari and Jichu Drake, and the Tibetan border. The route then crosses a flat, barren plateau at about 5,000m. The campsite at Narethang is towered by the peak of Gangla Karchung (6,395m).

Day 16 : Narethang – Tarina

Distance 18km, five to six hours, 270m ascent, 1,200m descent, camp altitude 3,970m.

From the camp you will climb for about an hour to Gangla Karchung La (5,120m). The view from the pass is breathtaking and the whole range of mountains including Jekangphu Gang (7,100m), Tsenda Kang and Teri Gang (7,300m) can be seen. The pass descends along a large moraine. Again one has great views: a massive glacier descends from Teri Kang to a deep turquoise lake at its foot. Up here a glacial lake burst through its dam in the early 1960s, causing widespread damage and partially destroying Punakha Dzong. Finally, it is a very long descent through thick rhododendron to Tarina valley, where you will find several good campsites along the Tang Chhu.

Day 17 : Tarina – Woche

Woche village

Day 18 : Woche - Lhedi 

Distance 17km, six to seven hours, 980m ascent, 1,190m descent, camp altitude 3,700m.

The trek starts through juniper and fir forests, and further ahead, through rhododendron bushes. Climb up to Keche La pass (4,650m) where one can have the great view of surrounding mountains again. After the pass, descend to the riverside walking through a village with a stunning view of Table Mountain and others. Follow up the river till Lhedi Village. Lhedi has a basic health unit, a school and a wireless telephone connection.

Day 19 : Lhedi - Thanza 

Distance 17km, seven to eight hours, 450m ascent, camp altitude 4,150m.

In clear weather, you will have great views of Table Mountain (7,100m). Around lunchtime you will pass the small village of Chozo (4,090m) which has a dzong still in use. Reaching Thanza again you will have a great view of Table Mountain which forms a 3,000m high wall of snow and ice behind the village. Although there are possibilities to camp directly at Thanza, most groups prefer to camp in Thoencha.

Day 20 : Rest Day At Thanza

Distance 17km, seven to eight hours, 450m ascent, camp altitude 4,150m.

In clear weather, you will have great views of Table Mountain (7,100m). Around lunchtime you will pass the small village of Chozo (4,090m) which has a dzong still in use. Reaching Thanza again you will have a great view of Table Mountain which forms a 3,000m high wall of snow and ice behind the village. Although there are possibilities to camp directly at Thanza, most groups prefer to camp in Thoencha.

Day 21 : Thanza – Danji 

Distance 8km, three to four hours, 80m ascent, camp altitude 4,230m.

From Thoencha, the trail climbs up to a large boulder from where you will have excellent views of Thanza, Toencha and Choso village and the surrounding mountains. After a few hours of relatively flat and easy walking, you will reach a yak meadow with some yak herders’ huts. An excellent campsite with a great chance to spot some blue sheep on the hills above. A trail junction near the campsite will give you the choice between the route up to Gangkhar Puensum base camp, and further on to Bumthang or to Sephu (Trongsa)

Day 22 : Danji – Tshochena

 Distance 12km, five to six hours, 980m ascent, 240m descent, camp altitude 4,970m.

Having chosen the route to Sephu, the trek crosses the creek and after a long climb, you will reach Jaze La (5,150m) with spectacular panoramic mountain views . The path then descends between snow covered peaks and a couple of small lakes to the campsite near the shore of Tshochena lake.

Day 23 : Tshochena – Jichu Dramo

Distance 14km, four to five hours, 230m ascent, 150m descent, camp altitude 5,050m.

You follow the bank of the blue green lake before arriving at a ridge at 5,100m, where there is another spectacular view in all directions. After going up and down over small hills to reach a glacial lake, the route descends first before climbing again up the next pass, the Loju La (5,140m). Finally after crossing a small saddle (5,100m) you will enter a wide glacial valley from where the trail descends gradually to the campsite at Jichu Dramo.

Day 24 : Jichu Dramo – Chukarpo

Distance 18km, five to six hours, 320m ascent, 730m descent, camp altitude 4,600m.

Right after leaving the camp you will climb through a moraine to Rinchen Zoe La (5,320m). Spectacular mountain scenery with Gangkhar Puensum amongst the impressive mountains is the reward for climbing the highest pass on this trek route. Rinchen Zoe Peak (5,650) towers above the pass the west. Descending from the pass, the route leads into a wide valley with several lakes and goes steeply down along a moraine to the Thamphe Chhu. Here the vegetation begins to thicken again and you will see the first real trees since Lhedi. After a couple of hours you reach the campsite at Chukarpo.

Day 25 : Chukarpo – Thampe Tsho

Distance 18km, five to six hours, 400m ascent, 700m descent, camp altitude 4,300m.

The descent continues along the river till you reach the yak herder huts at Gala Pang Chhu (4010m). From here the trail climbs steeply towards Thampe Tsho, a beautiful clear turquoise lake, with the campsite next to it.

Day 26 : Thampe Tsho – Maurothang

Distance 14km, five hours, 330m ascent, 1020m descent, camp altitude 3,610m.

From the lake you climb steeply to the last pass on your trek, the Thampe La (4,600m) with a good chance to spot some blue sheep on the way. Then the path descends to the sacred lake Om Thso. Passing a waterfall you will reach another, smaller lake 100m below to descend steeply to the Nikka Chhu. The path finally leads through mixed forest to large clearing on the banks of the river with a few yak herder huts, Maurothang.

Day 27 : Maurothang – Sephu

Distance 18km, five to six hours, 990m descent.

On the last day of this extraordinary trek your porters will have to change from yaks to horses as the yaks will not be willing to go further down. The path follows the Nikka Chhu to reach a large grassy area overlooking the road and the village of Sephu. You finally reach the road at the Nikka Chhu bridge at Sephu where you will find several stores (mainly selling bamboo products) and small restaurants

Snowman Trek I - Finish
Sephu

Day 28 : Sephu To Punakha

Take a drive back to Punakha or you can have a choice to visit Bumthang. It is one of the most beautiful valley in Bhutan. (Night halt at Bumthang and next day we can drive back to Punakha.)

Day 29 : Punakha To Paro

Visit Punakha Dzong is just as striking inside as outside and it is arguably the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan. Located magnificently between Pho Chhu (Male River) and Mo Chhu (Female River) confluence, the intricate carving and amazing architecture of the Dzong is a great source of inspiration. This famous structure built in the 1637 has lot to tell about the historical background and various Tibetan invasion won from this strategically located Dzong. It also houses the kingdom’s most sacred relic the “Rangjung Karsa-pani”.

Take a scenic drive from Punakha to Paro. Paro is a beautiful valley located in Western Bhutan with an area of 2800 Square kilometers. Breathtaking Lhakhangs and monasteries are perched on mountain hills. Two sacred rivers with its respective source at Jumolhari and Chumo Phug mountains, makes their way through Paro valley enhancing its beauty and grandeur

 

  • Take a stroll through Paro town, a street of typical Bhutanese traditional buildings.

Overnight at hotel in Paro

Day 30 : Departure

Our team will drop you to the airport and bid you farewell.

Read Customer Reviews

5.0 / 1 Reviews

Thomas
New York

This was my second attempt to complete the Snowman Trek.

The first time I had booked my tour with the agent based in our country who was also organizing Bhutan Tour. But unfortunately due to the weather condition I could not complete and it was very expensive as well.

So this time I chose to directly book with the local agents in Bhutan. The tour cost was cheaper comparatively. 

The trek is tough. I nearly gave up on half way . But my guide Mr. Sangay was very encouraging and did not allow me to give up. He had done the Snowma Trek several times and he was very comfortable with the route.

It was one of the most difficult trek that I have done so far but I pride myself in completing it.

I would specially like to thank Mr.Sangay without whose help this trek would not be possible.