Snowman Trek I

The Snowman Trek is one of the most beautiful treks in the whole Himalayas and it is the extension of beautiful Laya Gasa Trek into high altitudes of the Bhutanese Himalayas. The Snowman trek leads through the most remote areas up to very high altitudes above 5000m depending on the seasonal temperature, the camps are sometimes on snow. The Snowman trek offers outstanding sceneries of Bhutanese Himalayan ranges, glacier lakes and the valleys.

The Snowman Trek is one of the most difficult treks in the world and many trekkers fail this trek due to high altitude and harsh climate or snow blocked passes and trails. The best time for Snowman Trek is in the March and April, and in late August to September.

29 Nights 30 Days | From $6960 USD

DAY 1: Arrive Paro

On your flight to Paro, if the weather permits, you will be able to spot snowcapped Himalayas including mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake in Bhutan. Our guide will be waiting to receive you. You will be driven to your hotel. Later in the day you will visit Ta Dzong, originally a watch tower now converted into a museum. This 17th century old fortress holds varies display of antique collections. Next stop is the Rinpung Dzong literal translation –“fortress of heap of jewels.” Another Lhakhang you will visit is the Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most divine temple of Bhutan. Overnight hotel in Paro.

DAY 2: Acclimatization hike to Tiger’s Nest

Today you will hike to the famous Taktsang Goemba. The monastery has a remarkable history and even looks quite extraordinary perched on a hill side. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava flew here to meditate on the back of a tigress. The hike is about 5 to 6 hours journey through pine forest and rhododendrons, ascending 900 meters above Paro Valley. In the evening, you can explore Paro town. Overnight hotel in Paro.

DAY 3: Paro – Shana (Trek begins)

In the morning you will drive to Drukgyel Dzong, the trek start point. You will trek along the Paro Chhu River, occasionally crossing it and passing through fields, rice paddies, apple orchards, blue pine and fir forests. Soon at 2810m you reach army post of Gunitsawa where the valley widens and few settlements are visible. Finally you will climb up to 2850m to Shana Zampa and camp here amid meadows surrounded by trees.

Day 4: Shana – Soe Thangthangka

Today you will begin your journey by climbing up and down through conifers and rhododendrons and crossing several streams. You shall reach a clearing called Shingkharap at 3100m where you can take a rest for a while or you can have your lunch and you will find house with small store. After lunch or after resting, you will continue to ascend another 1 ½ hours to reach the place called Thongdu Zam at 3250m. continue another 3 to 4 hours of ascends and descends through forests of birch, fir, blue pine and maple trees and will  finally reach a valley above which is the beautiful view of mount Jumolhari. At 3600m is your campsite.

Day 4: Shana – Soe Thangthangka

Today you will begin your journey by climbing up and down through conifers and rhododendrons and crossing several streams. You shall reach a clearing called Shingkharap at 3100m where you can take a rest for a while or you can have your lunch and you will find house with small store. After lunch or after resting, you will continue to ascend another 1 ½ hours to reach the place called Thongdu Zam at 3250m. continue another 3 to 4 hours of ascends and descends through forests of birch, fir, blue pine and maple trees and will  finally reach a valley above which is the beautiful view of mount Jumolhari. At 3600m is your campsite.

Day 5: Soe Thangthangka – Jangothang

Today you will elevate to a high altitude, treading through muddy trails, meadows, plateaus and bridges. After 1 hour walk from the camp with few gradual ascends and descends you will reach the place with both Indian and Bhutanese army base. You will pass few settlements where villagers grow barley, potatoes, turnips and radishes. As you move from the village of Soe to Takethang and Dangochang it is common to see people herding yaks near the river banks. At 4100m, you finally reach camp at Jangothang. You can enjoy the stunning views of Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake from here.

Day 6: Exploration of Jangothang

This is a rest day at Jangothang for acclimatization. From your campsite you can trek on an open slope towards north for four hours to get an awesome view of Jichu Drake. Ascend higher at 4750m for an exquisite view of Jumolhari. There are other options for day excursions to nearby places and lakes. You may also choose to laze around, either way be you will have a terrific time here.

DAY 7: Jangothang – Lingzhi

Leaving behind the last settlements, you will now ascend a trail following the stream. At 4470m you will traverse through moraines and might encounter blue sheep and marmots. Soon you will reach Ngye La pass at an altitude of 4,700m. After the pass, you will descend till Lingzhi camp (4000m) and traverse back into the forest of rhododendrons and birches. You will spot yaks and yak herders along the way. On the way down to the campsite you will get a good view of the Lingzhi Dzong.

DAY 8: Lingzhi – Chebisa

Visit the historic Lingzhi (Yugyal) Dzong. For centuries, it controlled the border between Tibet and Bhutan and was one of the main defence fortresses in the north. It sits on the hilltop overlooking the vast green hills and the meandering rivers accented by the beautiful peaks. It is a short and charming walk through villages and yak herders camp. After lunch, a short walk leads you to the beautiful Chebisa valley. It has a spectacular frozen waterfall at its head. The camp is located on the meadow opposite Chebisa at 3,850m.

DAY 9: Chebisa – Shomuthang

Start out by tackling a steep ascent towards Gogu La pass lying at an altitude of 4500m. These 4 hours will be a pleasant wildlife safari with sights of rare blue sheep on the rocks above and even rare sights of bearded vultures. After the pass, descend through the rhododendron bushes to a lunch stop. With sporadic ascents and descents along the trail, cross the stream and walk through rhododendron bushes and yak herders camp. We arrive to Shakshepasa (3980m) and then climb up a steep trail to the northern side of the valley. We arrive at our campsite Shomuthang, beside a stream at 4,250m above the sea level.

DAY 10: Shomuthang – Robluthang

We trek up the valley crossing rivers and traverse through trails with Edelweiss aplenty. The snow peak called the Kang Bum is visible in the Southeast, which lies at an altitude of 6526m. We climb to Jari La pass at an altitude of 4,700m. We descend to the valley Tsheri Jathang, a camp by the river where herds of rare Himalayan Takins (the national animal of Bhutan) migrate to in the summer. We cross a stream as the footbridge is washed away often. After crossing the stream, we climb towards Robluthang; a rocky meadow camp at an altitude of 4,200m.

DAY 11: Robluthang – Lingmithang

Climb past the ruins of a burned forest and up through boggy patches. Following the stream for some while, crossing the river and then climbing through moraine and marmot holes, you will reach at the top of Sinche La pass (5005m). You will view the astonishing panorama of the snow-capped Gangchhenta or the Tiger Mountain (6,840m) over the northern horizon. The trek then descends through rough, rocky trail following moraine into a glacial valley. Eventually we arrive at the Kango Chhu River. The path is narrow and you might have to cross a stream again. After a short walk through cedar forests with small meadows we arrive at our campsite, Lingmithang by a river (4140m). The grand Tiger Mountain towers over the campsite in the distance.

DAY 12: Lingmithang – Laya

In the morning you wake up with a superb view of Gangchhenta peak towering your camp. The walk to Laya is spotted with very beautiful views making the walk a pleasant one. You will pass a damp forest and will also view the change of vegetation as the trek progresses. You will arrive at Laya village, the second highest settlement in the country, at an altitude of 3,800m. So you will be early to the village explore around the Laya village. This will be a wonderful opportunity for you to visit any of the houses around. Traditional Bhutanese hospitality is a pleasant experience. Even to a perfect stranger a cup of tea and Chang (local wine) is always offered. The inhabitants of this valley are very interesting especially the Women. They wear conical bamboo hats ornamented with turquoise and silver.

DAY 13: Exploration day in Laya

If you have trekked from Paro valley you have to spend exploring around the village and preparing yourself for the rest of this challenging but spectacular trek. If you have started from Gasa you have to spend a day halt at Laya to acclimatize and explore this beautiful high altitude village and the 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 Rhoduphu just next to the Rhodu Chhu.

DAY 15: Rhoduphu – Narethang

After following the river for about half an hour you will have a steady climb to a high open valley at 4600m and then further up to Tsomo la (4900m). Tsomo La offers a superb view of Lunana, Mount Jomolhari,  Jichu Drake and and the Tibetan border. The route then crosses a flat, barren plateau at about 5000m. The campsite at Narethang is towered by the peak of Gangla Karchung (6395m).

DAY 16: Narethang – Tarina

From the camp you will climb for about an hour to Gangla Karchung La (5120m). The view from the pass is breathtaking and the whole range of mountains including Jekangphu Gang (7100m), Tsenda Gang and Teri Gang (7300m) can be seen. From the pass will descend along large moraines and have a amazing views of glacier lake from Teri Gang. The glacier lake burst through the dam in early 1960s, causing widespread damage and partially destroying Punakha Dzong. Finally, it is a long long descend through thick rhododendron to Tarina valley and you will find several good campsites along the Tang Chhu.

DAY17: 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.

DAY 18: Woche – Lhedi

The trek starts through juniper and fir forests and further ahead, through rhododendron bushes. Climb up to Keche La pass (4650m) where one can have the great view of surrounding mountains again. After the pass, descend to the riverside through the village with a stunning view of Table Mountain and others. Follow up the river till Lhedi village. The village has a basic health unit, a school and a wireless telephone connection.

DAY 19: Lhedi – Thanza

In clear weather, you will have great views of Table Mountain (7100m). Around lunchtime you will pass small village of Chozo (4090m) which has a Dzong still in use. After reaching Thanza you will have a great view of Table Mountain which towers the village. There are possibilities to camp at Thanza but most groups prefer to camp at Thoencha.

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 will have to rest after long tiring walks before proceeding further.

DAY 21: Thanza – Danji

From Toencha, the trail climbs up to a large boulder from where you will have excellent views of Thanza, Toencha and Chozo village and the other great mountains. After a few hours of relatively flat and easy walking, you will reach a yak meadow with some yak herders huts. An amazing campsite with great chance to spot some blue sheeps on the hill above. A trail junction near the campsite will give you the choice between the route up to Gangkar Puensum base camp, further on to Bumthang (Snowman trek II) or to Sephu, Trongsa (Snowman trek I).

DAY 22: Danji – Tshochena

Having chosen the route to Sephu, the trek crosses the creek and after a long climb, you will reach Jazela pass (5150m) with spectacular views of snowcapped mountains. The path then descends between the snow covered peaks and a couple of small lakes to the campsite near the Shore of Tshochena Lake.

DAY 23: Tshochena – Jichu Dramo

You follow the bank of the blue green lake before arriving at a ridge at 5100m, where there is another spectacular view in all directions. After going up and down over small hills to reach a glacier lake, the route descends first before climbing again up to the next pass, the Loju La pass (5140m). Finally after crossing small a small saddle (5100m) you will enter a wide glacial valley from where the trail descends gradually to the campsite at Jichu Dramo.

DAY24: Jichu Dramo – Chukarpo

You will have to climb through the moraines to Rinchen Zoe La (5320m) right after leaving the campsite. This is the highest pass on this trek route with impressive views of mighty Gangkar Puensum and the surrounding mountains. Rinchen Zoe peak (5650m) towers above the pass. After the pass we descends to the wide valley with several lakes and goes steeply down along a moraine to the Tampe Chhu. Here the vegetation begins to thicken again and you will see the first real trees since Lhedi. After a couple of hours you will reach the campsite at Chukarpo.

DAY 25: Chukarpo – Tampe Tsho

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

DAY 26: Tampe Tsho – Maurothang

From the campsite, you will climb steeply to the last pass on this trek, the Tampe La (4600m). then trial descends to the sacred lake Om Tsho. Passing a waterfall you will reach another smaller lake and descend steeply about 100m to Nikka Chhu. The path finally leads through mixed forest to large clearing on the banks of the river with few yak herders huts at Maurothang.

DAY 27: Maurothang – Sephu (Trek ends here)

This is our 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 Nikka Chhu to a large grassy area overlooking the road and the village of Sephu. You will reach at the Nikka Chhu bridge at Sephu where you will find several stores and small restaurants. Your vehicle will be waiting here for you and you will be transferred to hotel at Gangtey.

DAY 28: Gangtey - Punakha

In the morning, visit crane information center and enjoy nature hike through villages and the beautiful glacier valley which takes about 1 hour. And then visit Gangtey Monastery and stop for lunch at lobding restaurant. After lunch drive to Punakha which takes about 1 ½ hours and visit Punakha Dzong (ancient capital), one of the most beautiful dzong in the country with intricate metal and wood carvings situated between male and female rivers like an anchored ship built in 1637 by Zhabdrung and then visit one of the longest suspension bridge. Overnight in the hotel.

DAY 29: Punakha - Thimphu

After breakfast hike up to Chimi Lhakhang through rice paddy fields and through metsina village with colourful painted Phallus on the walls to bless the household with fertility and to ward off evil spirits. The temple is dedicated to the accomplished master in the 15th century known as Drukpa Kuenley or the “Divine Madman,” who is believed to bless women who seek fertility. Then continue your drive to the capital city, Thimphu which takes about 2 hours and stop at Dochula Pass(3100m) adorned with 108 Druk Wangyel chortens and colourful  prayer flags surrounded by spectacular views of Himalayan ranges on clear weather. Stop for cup of tea and coffee at the cafeteria. After lunch visit National Memorial stupa (built in the memory of the third king of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), the giant Buddha statue overlooking Thimphu valley with 169 feet/51.5 meters and its tallest of its kind, Institute of thirteen arts and crafts and visit the farmers market and interact with locals. Stroll in the town and overnight in the hotel.

DAY 30: Thimphu – Paro airport for departure

Our representative will drive you to the airport for departure.