Snowman Trek with Gangtey Festival

Snowman Trek with Gangtey Festival (10th – 12th Oct 2019)

Fixed Departure Date: 15th Sep  – 15th Oct 2019

SNOWMAN TREK

4.5/5: snowman trek rating

Best Time

April – May

September – October

SNOWMAN TREK – TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • DURATION: 30 Nights | 31 Days.
  • DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Difficult.
  • HIGHEST ALTITUDE: 5320 m.
  • AVG. WALKING DISTANCE: 16 km.
  • AVG. WALKING TIME: 7 hrs.

FROM $6,830

  • 2 Pax in a group: USD 7730 per person.
  • 3 Pax and Above: USD 6830 per person.

snowman-trek-map

15 SEP 2019: Arrive Paro Bhutan by Druk Air

Upon arrival at Paro airport, received by the Representative from Yak Holidays and transfer to the hotel.

After lunch, drive to the ruins of Drukgyel dzong, now in ruins was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders in 1644; the dzong name’s means indeed “The Victorious Druk”. The Dzong was used as an administrative center until 1951 when a fire caused by butter lamp destroyed it. Then visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most sacred monasteries dating from the introduction of Buddhism in the 8th century. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

16 SEP 2019: DAY HIKE TO TAKTSANG MONASTERY

After breakfast, visit the Ta dzong, an ancient watchtower, which has been since 1967, the National Museum of Bhutan followed by visit Rimpung Dzong (Paro Dzong) built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The Dzong presently houses administrative offices.

Day hike to Taktsang monastery, the famous “Tiger’s Nest”. The hike which is all uphill takes about 2 /3 hours through villages and pine forests. The monastery which clings to a huge granite cliff 800 meters above the Paro valley was devastated by fire in 1998 but the Royal Government has taken immediate steps to restore the monastery to its original structure. It is believed that the Buddhist saint Padmasambhava came in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in a cave for 3 months. The demons were subdued who were trying to stop the spread of Buddhism and converted the Paro valley to Buddhism. During the end of the 17 century, a monastery was built on the spot where the saint meditated and it is a pilgrimage site for every Bhutanese to visit once in their life time.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

17 SEP 2019: DRUKGYEL DZONG TO SHARNA - THANGKTHANKA (START OF TREK)

Distance: 22 km: Hiking time: 7 to 8 hours.

Leaving Sharna the trail continues upriver and the route winds in and out of rhododendron and blue pine forests. When we enter Jigme Dorji National Park keep your eyes open for wildlife and changes in vegetation as we continue to climb in elevation. Tonight we camp in Thangkthanka (3520 m).

18 SEP 2019: THANGTHANKA TO JANGOTHANG

Distance: 19 km: Hiking time: 5 to 6 hours.

An hour out of camp this morning we leave the tree line and head into the high mountains. At the halfway point of our hike, we cross Tengethang, a winter home of the migratory yak herders. Arriving at Jangothang (4040 m / 13,250 ft), we can watch the sun set on Mt. Jhomolhari (7314 m) and Mt. Jichu Drake (6989 m).

19 SEP 2019: REST DAY IN JANGOTHANG

The first of our acclimatization days, we have many day-hiking options. The first is a three to four hour excursion up the ridge to the north for great views of Jichu Drake. The second is to hike up towards the head of the valley in the direction of Jhomolhari. The third is a trek up the main valley towards the last house and onward toward Jichu Drake, this gives a great view of where we will be going in the next few days. The final alternative is a fishing expedition to Tshophu, a high-altitude lake about a two hour hike away.

20 SEP 2019: JANGOTHANG TO LINGSHI

Distance: 20 km: Hiking time: 6 to 7 hours.

Heading uphill from Jangothang we cross the first of many major passes. The Nyile La pass at 4890 m (16,135 ft) is about a four hour ascent. Descending the other side we will encounter sparce juniper and rhododendron and pass many yak herder camps. From this area on we start to see herds of blue sheep. Arriving in Lingshi we set up camp at 4150 m.

21 SEP 2019: LINGSHI TO CHEBISA

Distance: 14 km: Hiking time: 4 to 5 hours.

This morning we will visit Lingshi Dzong, also known as Yugyel Dzong in the 17th century, it was used in the past to control travel between Tibet and Bhutan. Since today’s hike will not be as long, the pace will be more relaxed. Upon reaching the camp at Chebisa (3850 m / 12,600 ft), we will have time to visit Chebisa village and see a slice of Bhutanese village life.

22 SEP 2019: CHEBISA TO SHAKSHEPASA

Distance: 13 km: Hiking time: 4 hours.

Crossing the Gombu La pass at 4350 m (14,300 ft), we descend into a rhododendron filled valley, and continue past some yak herder camps to Shakshepasa where we camp at 3980 m (13,100 ft).

23 SEP 2019: SHAKSHEPASA TO ROBLUTHANG

Distance: 18 km: Hiking time: 7 to 8 hours.

An early morning start will get us on the way to Jhari La pass at 4747 m (15,600 ft). Decending to Tsharijathang, the valley where herds of Takin (the national animal of Bhutan) are normally seen. From here we climb to our camp at Robluthang at 4160 m.

24 SEP 2019: ROBLUTHANG TO LIMITHANG

Distance: 19 km: Hiking time: 7 to 8 hours.

Starting early a strenuous hike leads to the Shinge La pass at 5005 m (16,650 ft). Descending to Lemithang we’ll see Mt. Gangchenta (6840 m) and the glacially carved Gangchhenta valley. Gangchhenta means Great Tiger Mountain. We camp at 4140 m.

25 SEP 2019: LIMITHANG TO LAYA.

Distance: 10 km: Hiking time: 4 to 5 hours.

A shorter hike follows a trail in and out of a heavily wooded, uninhabited valley. Climbing up out of the forests we will be rewarded with some great views of Gangchhenta and Masang Gang (7165 m) mountains. We camp at Laya at 3840 m.

26 SEP 2019: REST DAY IN LAYA

Staying in Laya for the day we will get a chance to see the village with its community school, hospital, archery field and the first shop since the Paro Valley. Laya is a unique village of about 800 people with their own language, customs and distinct dress. The women keep their hair long and wear peculiar conical bamboo hats with a bamboo spike at the top. They wear a lot of silver jewellery on their backs; on many women this display includes an array of teaspoons.

27 SEP 2019: LAYA TO RODUFU

Distance: 19 km: Hiking time: 6 to 7 hours.

The trek leads gradually downhill to the Lunana trail junction, and then makes a gradual climb to the camp through a forest of conifers, maple and rhododendron. The trail improves and becomes wider as we climb out of the river valley. We camp at Rodufu near a small stream at 4160 m.

28 SEP 2019: RODUFU TO NARETHANG

Distance: 16 km: Hiking time: 8 to 9 hours.

It is a long hike, first crossing the Tsimo La pass at 4950 m (16,200 ft). Descending to Narethang we pass some dwarf rhododendron and hike in the shadow of Gangla Karchung peak (6395 m). We camp at 4900 m.

29 SEP 2019: NARETHANG TO TARINA

Distance 18 km: Hiking time: 5 to 6 hours.

Climb to Karchung La pass at 5240 m (17,187 ft) and down to the glacial lakes that are the source of the Tang Chhu river. Above the lakes are the mighty peaks of Jejekangphu Gang (7300 m) and Tsenda Kang (7100 m). We camp at Tarina, 4020 m.

30 SEP 2019: TARINA TO WOCHE

Distance: 15 km: Hiking time: 5 to 6 hours.

The walk leads down through conifer forests, following the upper reaches of the Pho Chhu river. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to the village of Woche at 3940 m. The trek has now entered the Lunana region.

1 OCT 2019: WOCHE TO LHEDI

Distance: 19 km: Hiking time: 7 to 8 hours.

It’s a gradual climb from Woche to the Keche La pass at 4580 m (15,100 ft), then downhill to Thega village. The hike continues to Lhedi village where we camp at 3600 m.

2 OCT 2019: LHEDI TO THANZA

Distance: 19 km: Hiking time: 6 to 7 hours.

The trail climbs gradually following the main source of the Pho Chhu to Chozo village. At the small Chozo Dzong there are some lay monks. Above Chozo the valley opens as we approach Thanza village near the foot of 7100 m Zogophu Gamp, which is also know as Table Mountain. We camp at Thanza, 4080 m.

3 OCT 2019: REST DAY IN THANZA, 4080 M (13,300 FT).

This day is a fantastic opportunity to interact with the hospitable local villagers, and explore the beautiful surrounding area, our farthest point in the Lunana valley. Alternatively you can relax around camp and rest up for some of the tough days ahead. As Thanza is a transfer point for horses and yaks, it is important to have a day here for our staff to ensure all the necessary yaks are rounded up by the local herders.

4 OCT 2019: THANZA TO DANJI

Distance: 8 km: Hiking time: 4 hours.

Today is a relatively short, although somewhat steep, climb to a campsite called Danji, part way up to the Jaze la pass. It will allow us to have some extra time in the morning and make a later start. The camp is around 4600 m, with spectacular views of snow-capped peaks! It is an important acclimatization spot.

5 OCT 2019: DANJI TO TSO CHENA

Distance: 12 km: Hiking time: 5 hour.

The first part of the day involves a climb up over three false summits to Jaze La pass at 5050 m (16,570ft). From the pass it is a short downhill trek to the campsite at the lake of Tso Chena at 4800 m. Keep your eyes open for blue sheep during the hike.

6 OCT 2019: TSO CHENA TO JICHU DRAMO

Distance: 14 km: Hiking time: 4 to 5 hours.

The trail has a series of gradual ups and downs between the snow-capped peaks and across the Loju La pass at 4940 m (16,300 ft) before descending to camp at Jichu Dramo at 4880 m.

7 OCT 2019: JICHU DRAMO TO CHUKARPO

Distance: 18 km: Hiking time: 5 to 6 hours.

We start with a hard climb to Rinchen Zoe La pass at 5290 m (17,350 ft), the highest on the trek. It is then all downhill to Chukarpo, which is just above the tree line at 4950 m (16335 ft).

8 OCT 2019: CHUKARPO TO THAMPE TSO

Distance: 18 km: Hiking time: 5 to 6 hours.

It is a long mostly downhill walk along the river, followed by a climb up to the Um So lake at 4230 m (13,950 ft). In this lake Pema Lingpa found a number of religious treasures. Continuing downhill we camp by the lake of Thampe Tso at 4200 m (13,860 ft).

9 OCT 2019: THAMPE TSO TO MAUROTHANG

Distance: 14 km: Hiking time: 5 hours.

It is a short walk to the base of Thampe La and a steep climb to the pass at 4580 m (15,100 ft). The trek is then all downhill through rhododendron bushes to the yak pasture of Maurothang where we camp at 3550 m.

10 OCT 2019: MAUROTHANG TO NIKACHU CHAZAM / DRIVE TO GANGTEY.

Distance: 23km – 7 to 8 hours.

A long final day of trekking will descend through the lovely village of Sephu to finish at Nikachu Chazam, the road head. The vehicle will pick you up here and drive to Gangtey. We may also stop at the top of the Pele La pass (3400 m). Lunch will be served on the way. In the evening, explore Phobjikha valley famous for the rare Black necked Cranes in winter. Dinner and overnight in Camp.

11 OCT 2019: GANGTEY FESTIVAL – PUNAKHA

After breakfast, witness the Gangtey festival at Gangtey Gompa. After lunch witness the festival and drive to Punakha. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

12 OCT 2019: PUNAKHA SIGHTSEEING

After breakfast, visit Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (Popularly known as “The Divine Madman”, in the year 1499. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder bolt” and built the temple on top of a hillock. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”.

  • Lama Drukpa Kuenley (1455 – 1529) was one of the Bhutan’s Favorite Saints who was born in Tibet, trained at Ralung Monastery and was a contemporary and a disciple of Pema Lingpa. He Travelled throughout Bhutan and Tibet as a “Neljorpa” (Yogi) using songs, humor and outrageous behavior to dramatise his teachings of Salvation through sex.

Then drive to the valley of Wangdiphodrang and visit to Wangdiphodrang Dzong (from outside) built in 1638. Legend relates that as the people were searching for the site of the Dzong; four ravens were seen flying away in four directions. This was considered auspicious sign, representing the spread of religion to the four points of the compass. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers.

After lunch, hike to Khamsung Yulley Namgyal Choling Monastery (short hike 45 minutes).

  • Drive to Yabesa village and hike to through rice fields and up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Chorten, built by her majesty the queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions.

In the evening, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping; the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the First National Assembly here in 1952.

In the evening, visit to the longest suspension bridge across Pho chu River. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

13 OCT 2019: DRIVE PUNAKHA TO THIMPHU

After breakfast, drive to Thimphu. On the way, visit the Royal Botanical Garden at Lamperi.

  • The Royal Botanical park, also known as the Rhododendron Garden at Lamperi is about half and hour drive towards Punakha/Wangdue. With your spirits still high from the visit to the awesome sites of Dochula Pass with its 108 stupas and the beautifully arranged Himalayan mountain ranges, you will descend down to Rhododendron Botanical Garden, a nature reserve rich in flora and fauna and beautiful in itself. The recorded species are the monal pheasants, blood pheasants, musk deer, tiger, leopard, red panda and the leopard cat. A Rhododendron garden with 46 species of the plant is the theme of the botanical garden. Located 30 KMS from capital, the park has numerous view points, a lake and a canteen. At this park, you can indulge yourself amongst these rich biodiversity.

After lunch, Lungchutse hike (Short hike – 3 hours): This is one of the most rejuvenating and picturesque hikes in the Thimphu region. It can be done as a loop starting from Dochula and finishing at Hongtsho village with Lungchutse gomba and Trashigang gomba visit. At Lungchutse one can enjoy 360° view of the Himalayan mountain range. You will start your hike from the large chorten in the middle of Dochula, the pass between Thimphu and Punakha at 3140 meters (10300 feet) above sea level. From here the trail slowly climbs a ridge through a forest of hemlock, birch and rhododendrons until reaching an open meadow. Again, you will enter into forest of moss-covered rhododendrons, gigantic hemlocks, junipers, and bamboo undergrowth. A small trail leads you the last 50 meters past a row of fluttering prayer flags up to Lungchutse temple. YOU CAN SEE 360 DEGREE OF THE HIMALAYAS.

You vehicle will pick you up at Hongtsho and drive to Thimphu. In the evening, free to stroll in the town. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

14 OCT 2019: THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING

The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls).

After lunch, visit to the Tallest Statue of Buddha in the world, witness Archery Match. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). The Tashichho Dzong is open to visitors only in winter when the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body move to Punakha the ancient winter capital of Bhutan and finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

15 OCT 2019: DEPARTURE

After breakfast, drive to the airport and farewell.

Bhutan Tour cost is inclusive of:

* All Meals [Breakfast /Lunch/Dinner]
* Accommodation [Twin Sharing] Single Room Supplement Extra US $: 50 per room per night.
* All transportation within the country including airport transfers.
* Royalty & Govt. Taxes
* Entrance fees for Museums and Monuments only
* Visa Fee.
* Guide.
* Sightseeing

Bhutan Tour cost is exclusive of:

* Druk Air fares.
* Insurance Premiums,
* Payments for service provided on a personal basis.
* Cost for any services not mentioned in the “Cost Include head”.
* Cost incurred due to mishaps, strikes, political unrest etc.
* Personal expense in items such as laundry, soft drinks, Camera Charges, Bottle water, incidentals, Portage, Bellboy charges tips or any other services

Bhutan Trekking cost covers:

Nature Recreation and Ecotourism Division (NRED) Nu.1000
* One guide.
* Cook.
* Helpers.
* Ponies and Yaks.
* Tents (Sleeping tent, mess tent, kitchen tent, toilet tent and shower tent).
* 3 meals.
* Mattresses and all other trekking accessories.
Note: For trekking a load of 25 kg is allowed.

Things to bring for trekking in Bhutan

Personal clothing: strong normal clothing (according to season). Preferably cotton, even for summer, woolen clothing for the evening and winter.

* Strong comfortable trekking boots – water-resistant for the rainy period-June-August.
* Sunscreen
* Flash light
* Rain coat (especially for rainy period –June-August)
* Head gear/hat/cap; sun and rain protection
* Water pills – for extra caution in purifying stream; (boiled water is provided at all times during the trek)
* Aspirin – in case of altitude sickness
* Lots of socks
* Warm clothes

Optional items to bring for trek to Bhutan:

* Sunglasses
* Head gear
* Folding umbrella (only for wet months — July and August)
* One towel
* Pillow case
* Wet-packed tissue paper.
* Pillow.

COST EXCLUDE

  • Air fares
  • Sleeping bags (on trek)
  • Tips
  • Insurance
  • Drinks and beverages
  • Laundry
  • Phone / internet
  • Other personal bills