Bhutan Best Inbound Tours
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Snowman Trek II


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 Gangkar 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.

The Lonely Planet describes the Snowman Trek as one of the most difficult treks of the world. The best time for Snowman Trek is summer – unlike many other high altitude treks of Bhutan. Many groups that attempt this tough trek do not finish due to problems with the high altitude or snow blocked passes. However, those who make it will remember this trek as an outstanding, beautiful and as one of the most rewarding trek of their life. In this version of the Snowman Trek, one has the possibility of spending a day or two at perhaps one of the most beautiful hot springs of the Himalayas.

 

 

Duration: 25 days

Max. Elevation: 5,320m

Highest Camp: 5,120m 

Standard: Hard

Best Seasons: Mid June to Mid October

Start: Gunitsawa Village, Paro Valley

Finish: Duer Village, Bumthang

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 – Tshorim- Gangkar Puensum Basecamp – Geshe Woma – Warathang – Duer Tsachu – Tshochenchen- Bumthang – Gangtey- Thimphu .

Day 01: Arrive at 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 make 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 Ta Dzong, which in the past served as a 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: Hotel in Paro 

Day 02: Acclimatization Hike to Taktsang Monastery

Taktsang Monastery, 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 a signature spot for the tourist. It is a Gem of a Paro Valley. Nestled up in a cliff, it is considered one of the twelve wonders of the world.

After breakfast, drive to Ramthangka to hike up to the viewpoint 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 Buddhists.

Visit the ancient Kichu Lhakhang which dates back to the 7th century. 

Overnight: Hotel in Paro 

Day 03: Gunitsawa Village – Shana Zampa

This trek begins at Gunitsawa Village where you pass the army post. At the army check post, your trek permit (provided by your tour operator) will be checked and endorsed. The campsite is on the opposite side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa.

 

Distance

40 mins

Time

40 mins

Ascent

descent 80 m

Camp Altitude

2,850 m

Day 04: Shana Zampa - 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. 

Distance

22 km

Time

7-8 hours

Ascent

Ascent 770 m, descent 10 m

Camp Altitude

3,610 m

Day 05: Thangthangka – Jangothang

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.

Distance

19 km

Time

5-6 hours

Ascent

Ascent 480 m

Camp Altitude

4,080 m

 

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

This is one of the longest days of the trek. A short distance from the camp the trail begins climbing rapidly for about half an hour and then becomes a gradual ascent to the Nyilila pass at 4,870m. While on the climb enjoy the surroundings. You might see herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes of the mountains. From the pass you will have spectacular views of Mt. Jomolhari, Jichu Drake, and Tsherimgang, all of them rising above 7,000m. It's a gradual descent to the camp where you will pass by some of the yak herder’s tents, made from yak wool. The herders use these tents while traveling to various pastures for their yaks. As you come down into the Lingshi basin, a beautiful U-shaped valley, you get a wonderful view of Lingshi Dzong on clear days. Tsherimgang and its glaciers rise up at the north end of the valley. The campsite is next to a stone hut you reach just before Lingshi Dzong.

Distance

18 km

Time

6-7 hours

Ascent

Ascent 840 m, descent 870 m

Camp Altitude

4,010 m

Day 08: Lingshi – Chebisa

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 that 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.

Distance

10 km

Time

5-6 hours

Ascent

Ascent 280 m, descent 410 m

Camp Altitude

3,880 m

Day 09: Chebisa – Shomuthang

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.

 

Distance

17 km

Time

6-7 hours

Ascent

Ascent 890 m, descent 540 m

Camp Altitude

4,220 m

 

Day 10: Shomuthang – Robluthang

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 the 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.

Distance

18 km

Time

6-7 hours

Ascent

Ascent 700 m, descent 760 m

Camp Altitude

4,160 m

 

Day 11: Robluthang – Limithang

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 pass you 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.

 

Distance

19 km

Time

6-7 hours

Ascent

Ascent 850 m, descent 870 m

Camp Altitude

4,140 m

Day 12: Limithang – Laya

Today, you walk downhill all the way along a narrow, winding river valley. After a long time, the trail takes you through a densely forested region. The trail leads you to the west side of Laya village. From the west of the village, you will have spectacular views of Mt. Gangchhenta and Mt. Masagang. In the village center are a community school and a basic health unit with a telephone connection.

Distance

10 km

Time

4-5 hours

Ascent

Ascent 60 m, descent 340 m

Camp Altitude

3,840 m

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 extraordinary inhabitants.

 

Day 14: Laya – Rhoduphu

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.

Distance

19 km

Time

6-8 hours

Ascent

Ascent 1,030 m, descent 750 m

Camp Altitude

4,160 m

Day 15: Rhodophu – Narethang

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).

Distance

17 km

Time

5-6 hours

Ascent

Ascent 740 m

Camp Altitude

4,900 m

Day 16: Narethang – Tarina

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.

Distance

18 km

Time

5-6 hours

Ascent

Ascent 270 m, descent 1,200 m

Camp Altitude

3,970 m

Day 17: Tarina – Woche

The walk leads down through conifer forests following the upper ridges of the Pho Chhu, passing some impressive waterfalls. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to Woche, a settlement of a few houses, the first village in the Lunana region.

Distance

17 km

Time

6-7 hours

Ascent

Ascent 270 m, descent 330 m

Camp Altitude

3,910 m

Day 18: Woche - Lhedi

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 a great view of the 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.

Distance

17

Time

6-7 hours

Ascent

Ascent 980 m, descent 1,190 m

Camp Altitude

3,700 m

Day 19: Lhedi - Thanza

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.

Distance

17 km

Time

7-8 hours

Ascent

Ascent 450 m

Camp Altitude

4,150 m

Day 20: Rest day at Thanza

In Thanza walk around and experience some village life or climb up the ridge for fascinating views of lakes and mountains. But as it takes time to arrange new yaks (the yaks from Laya will not go further than Thanza) you might have to spend one day at Thanza anyway.

Day 21: Thanza - Tshorim

Having chosen the route to Bumthang the trek starts by climbing a ridge with a great view of Table Mountain and Thanza valley below. The ridge altitude is 4,500m and it rises gradually up to 4,650m. After lunch, walk upwards towards the left side of the bridge to enjoy the view of snow-capped mountains. You reach the campsite of Tshorim after climbing more ridges.

Distance

8-9 hours

Time

8-9 hours

Ascent

........... m

Camp Altitude

5,120 m

Day 22: Tshorim – Gangkhar Puensum Base Camp

This is one of the highlights of the trek and the day starts with a short climb to the Tshorim Thso. You walk on the side of the lake enjoying a panoramic view of the Gophu La ranges. The last climb to the Gophu La pass (5,230m) 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.

Distance

6-7 hours

Time

6-7 hours

Ascent

........... m

Camp Altitude

4,970 m

Day 23: Gangkar Puensum Base Camp – Geshe Woma

The trail further follows the Sha Chhu and descends gradually to Geshe Woma.

Distance

6-7 hours

Time

6-7 hours

Ascent

........... m

Camp Altitude

4,200 m

Day 24: Geshe Woma – Warathang

The path continues following Sha Chhu for two and a half hours until the stiff climb to Saka La begins. Visibility along the Saka La trail is poor so one must see the top of the ridge for guidance. After having lunch nearby a yak herders’ camp you climb up to Saka La (4,800m). The path then descends to a couple of lakes and another short ascent is stunning. The scenery once again is beautiful with small lakes and mountain peaks.

Distance

8-9 hours

Time

8-9 hours

Ascent

........... m

Camp Altitude

4,000 m

Day 25: Warathang - Duer Tsachu

A one-hour climb leads to Juli La (4,700m). After the pass, you descend to the riverside through dense rhododendron, juniper, and conifer forests. After the bridge, a short climb leads to Duer Tsachu. These hot springs, where Guru Padmasambhava is supposed to have taken bath, might be the most stunningly beautiful hot springs of the Himalayas. You might want to spend an extra day at Duer Tsachu.

Distance

5 hours

Time

5 hours

Ascent

........... m

Camp Altitude

3,590 m

Day 26: Duer Tsachu - Tshochenchen

From the hot springs, it is a long and steady climb again with great views of mountains in Lunana. You will also come across blue lakes and yak herder huts.

Distance

8-9 hours

Time

8-9 hours

Ascent

........... m

Camp Altitude

3,850 m

Day 27: Tshochenchen – Duer Village

This is the last day of the trek and your porters change from yaks to horses. The path follows the Chamkhar Chhu, descending gradually with a few climbs in between. The trek ends here when you arrive at Duer village.

From here you drive to Jakar (Bumthang).

Snowman Trek II- FInish 

Day 28: Bumthang to Gangtey (188Kms/6 Hours)

Drive to Gangtey at 2,900 meters.  Enjoy the views of the immense and remote Phobjikha valley and the black mountain ranges. 

Stop for lunch at Trongsa and visit the Trongsa Dzong and Chendebji Chorten on the way. Climb up to Pele La Pass (3,350 meters) before reaching Gangtey valley.

On arrival visit the Gangtey Monastery overlooking the glacial valley of the valley. Gangtey is the site where black-necked cranes visit in their hundreds in November each year after spending the summer in Tibet.

 

Overnight: Hotel in Gangtey

 

Day 29: Gangtey to Thimphu (154Kms/6 Hours)

Today you will drive to Thimphu via Dochula Pass. On the way stop at Chimi Lhakhang- take a walk through the rice paddy field and visit the temple of the Divine Madman.

Continue to Thimphu.

In the evening explore Thimphu city the only city in the world without a single traffic light.

 

Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu.

 

Day 30: Thimphu to Paro (54Kms/1 Hours)

After breakfast, you will drive to the airport. Our representative will 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.