Snowman Trek

Trek duration: 24 days

The Snowman Trek is the longest and most difficult Bhutan Trekking route which is an extension of the beautiful Laya Gasa Trek and leads from Laya into high altitudes of the Bhutanese Himalayas. IT IS ONE OF THE TOP 10 TOUGHEST TREKS IN THE WORLD. The Trek duration is 24 days, starts from Shana in Paro and ends in Nikachu, Trongsa.

The highest point of snowman trek is 5290 meters at Rinchen Zoe La pass. 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 5,000 Meters more than once and depending on the seasonal temperatures, the camps are sometimes on snow.

Sketch Itinerary for Snowman Trek:

Day 01. Arrive Paro and sightseeing (2280 m):

Rinpung-Dzong

Rinpung Dzong.

Our guide will receive you at the airport and drive to the hotel.

In the afternoon, visit to:

  • Tower of Paro, Ta Dzong built in 1656. This monument is now converted to the National Museum.
  • Rinpung Dzong built in 1646 by Shabdrung Rimpoche.

In the evening, free to stroll in the town.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 02. Hike to the Tiger’s Nest monastery:

In the morning, drive to the base of the Tiger’s Nest monastery and hike for 2 hours.

Tiger’s-Nest-(Taktsang)-Monastery

Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang) Monastery.

After Lunch, visit to:

  • Drukgyal Dzong built in 1647 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
  • Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in Bhutan built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan King Srongsen Gampo.

In the evening, drive to Shana camp (22 km. 2 hour drive).

Dinner and overnight at the camp.

Day 03. Shana – Thangthangka:

The route follows the river through a forest area. We cross a junction on the way, where another path leads north to Tremo La Pass and then to Tibet. Camp is in a meadow with a stone shelter.

Distance 22 Km, Time 7 – 8 hours, Altitude: 3610 m, 770 m ascent, 10 m descent.

Dinner and overnight in camp.

Day 04. Thangthangka – Jangothang:

Snowman Trek-7-Days-Hiking-in-Bhutan-Jangothang

Jhomolhari base camp.

Walk past a small army post, the trail passes Tegethang, the Yak herders’ camp. You can see Yaks as we arrive at the Jhomolhari base camp (4,115 m). There is a ruined fortress nearby that used to guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasions.

Distance 19 Km; Time 5 – 6 hours, 480 m ascent, Altitude 4080 m.

Dinner and over night in Camp.

Day 05. Halt at Jangothang:

Acclimatization day. Enjoy the beautiful views all around.

Three optional activities on this day:

  1. Hike to Jichu Drake Glacier which is around 3 hours (Back and Forth).
  2. Walk up the mountain between Jumolhari and Jichu Drake, the summit (5200 m) with a great view of both the mountains. This is 8 hours (Back and forth).
  3. Hike to Jumolhari Glacier which is around 4 ½ hours (Back and forth).

Dinner and overnight in camp.

Day 06. Jangothang – Lingshi:

Snowman Trek-The-Queen-Pony-leading-the-pack-on-the-trek

The Queen Pony leading the pack on the trek.

Walk across the bridge and start the climb up the ridge to view Jichu Drake, Tsherimgang and Jumolhari. We cross the Nyeley La Pass at an altitude of 4,700 m. Then descend down to the Lingshi camp.  Enjoy the scenic view of the mountains and the Dzong of Lingshi. Camp altitude is 4010 m.

Distance: 18 km, Walking time: 6-7 hours, Ascent 840 m, Descent: 870 m.

Dinner and overnight in camp.

Day 07. Lingshi – Chebisa:

The trail climbs to reach Gom Yu village and cross a huge waterfall to reach Chebisa village and camp near the river.

Campsite at an altitude of 3880 m; Distance 10 km; Time 5 – 6 hours, Ascent: 280 m, Descent: 410 m.

Dinner and overnight in camp.

Day 08. Chebisa – Shomuthang:

Shomuthang-snowman-trek

Camp at Shomuthang.

The trail passes through the Gokula pass (4,320 m) and forest of dwarf Rhododendron to reach Shomuthang near the river.

Distance17 km; walking Time 6-7 hours, Ascent 890 m, Descent 540 m. Campsite at Altitude 4220 m.

Dinner and overnight in camp.

Day 09. Shomuthang – Robluthang:

Today we cross Jare La Pass at 4,640 m and you can see the beautiful views of the Himalayas. We walk downhill and cross Tsarigathang valley and a river before climbing up Robluthang.

Distance 18 km; Time 6 – 7 hours, Ascent 700 m. Descent 760 m. Campsite at Altitude: 4,160 m;

Dinner and overnight in camp.

Day 10. Robluthang – Lemithang:

Snowman-Trek-Laya

On the way to Laya.

Today is the most difficult part of Laya Gasa Trek. Climb uphill to Shinche La Pass at 4,870 m with stunning view of Spectacular Gangchen Ta. We walk downhill and camp near the river.

Walking Distance: 19 km; Time 6-7 hours. Ascent 850 m, Descent 870 m. Campsite at Altitude 4,140 m.

Day 11. Lemithang – Laya:

Walk along the river, passing through a forest of rhododendron and silver fir and we enter the Laya village. Explore the beautiful village of Laya.

Distance 10 km; Time 4-5 hours, Ascent 60 m. Descent 340 m. Camp at Altitude 3840 m.

Day 12. Laya (Halt):

Layaps-Snowman-Trek

The beautiful Layap women.

Rest day at Laya and explore the village and meet the Layaps.

Day 13. Laya to Rodufu

(Snowman trek starts)

:

The trail leads gradually downhill then a gradual climb to through a forest of Maple, Conifers and Rhododendrons.

Campsite at Rodufu near the stream at 4160 m. Distance: 19 km – 6 to 7 hours.

Day 14. Rodufu to Narethang:

Hike to the Tsimo La Pass at 4950 m and descend to Narethang. We hike past the shadow of Gangla Karchung peak (6395 m).

We camp at 4900 m. Distance: 16 km – 8 to 9 hours

Day 15. Narethang – Tarina:

ganglakarchung-pass

Gangla Karchung pass.

The trail leads to Karchung La pass at 5240 m and to the glacial lakes. Above the lakes are the mighty peaks of Jejekangphu Gang (7300 m) and Tsenda Kang (7100 m).

We camp at Tarina, 4020 m. Distance 18 km – 5 to 6 hours

Day 16. Tarina – Woche:

The walk leads down through conifer forests, following the upper reaches of the Pho Chu 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. Distance: 15 km – 5 to 6 hours.

Day 17. Woche – Lhedi:

It’s an uphill trek from Woche to the Keche La pass at 4580 m, then downhill to Thega village. The hike continues to Lhedi village where we camp at 3600 m. Distance: 19 km – 7 to 8 hours

Day 18. Lhedi – Thanza (Half way of Snowman Trek):

We walk following the the Pho Chhu to Chozo village and reach Thanza village near the Table Mountain at 7100 m.

Camp at Thanza, 4080 m. Distance: 19 km – 6 to 7 hours

Day 19. Rest day at Thanza:

Acclimatization and explore Thanza village.

Day 20. Thanja – Danji:

A short walk to Danji on the way to Jaze la pass. The campsite is at 4600 m, with beautiful views of snow-capped mountains. Distance: 8 km – 4 hours.

Day 21. Danji – Tsho Chena:

Tshophu-Snowman-trek

Tshophu Lake.

Climb up to Jaze La pass at 5050 m and then a short downhill trek to the campsite at the lake of Tso Chena at 4800 m. Distance: 12 km – 5 hours.

Day 22. Tsho Chena – Jichu Dramo:

The trail leads across the Loju La pass at 4940 m and descend to the campsite at Jichu Dramo at 4880 m. Distance: 14km – 4 to 5 hours

Day 23. Jichu Dramo – Chukarpo:

We climb uphill to Rinchen Zoe La pass at 5290 m, the highest elevation on the trek. Then descend down to Chukarpo above the tree line at 4950 m. Distance: 18 km – 5 to 6 hours

Day 24. Chukarpo – Thampe Tsho:

It is downhill walk followed by a climb up to the Um So Lake at 4230 m. In this lake Pema Lingpa found a number of religious treasures. Continuing downhill, we camp by the lake of Thampe Tso at 4200 m. Distance: 18 km – 5 to 6 hours.

Day 25. Thampe Tsho – Maurothang:

The trail leads to the base of Thampe La and a steep climb to the pass at 4580 m. We walk past the Rhododendron forest to Maurothang. We camp at 3550 m. Distance: 14 km – 5 hours.

Day 26. Maurothang – Nikachu ( Snowman Trek Ends) – Gangtey:

The last day of snowman trek and the trail passes through the village of Sephu and end at Nikachu Chazam. Distance: 23 km – 7 to 8 hours.

Then drive to Punakha. We stop at the top of the Pele La pass (3400 m) to take pictures.

While in Gangtey, visit to:

  • Gangtey Gompa Monastery founded in 1613 Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa.
  • Explore Phobjikha valley, the roosting ground of the Rare Black- necked Cranes in winter.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 27. Gangtey – Punakha: (75 km – 1 ½ hours):

Wangdiphodrang-Dzong

Wangdiphodrang Dzong.

After breakfast, visit to:

  • Crane information center.

We then drive to Punakha, visit to:

  • Wangdiphodrang Dzong built in 1638 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
  • Chimi Lhakhangalso called the “Temple of Fertility” built in 1499 by Lama Drukpa Kuenley also popularly known as “Devine Mad man”.

After lunch, visit to:

  • The Punakha Dzong was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

In the evening, hike to:

  • Khamsung Yulley Namgyal Choling Monastery built by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 28. Punakha – Thimphu: (76 kms – 3 hours):

5-days-Bhutan-Tour

Dochu La pass (3100 m).

In the morning, drive to Thimphu.

  • We stop at Dochu La pass (3100 meters) with 108 stupas and enjoy the view of the Himalayas.
  • National Memorial Chorten built in honor of the Late His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

After Lunch at Simply Bhutan Museum restaurant where you can enjoy typical Bhutanese dishes, Ara (Local wine), witness Folk dances, visit to the Folk Museum and many more.

In the afternoon, visit to:

  • Tallest Statue of sitting Buddha (51.5 meters) at Kuenselphodrang.
  • Craft Bazaar where you can buy Bhutanese Handicrafts and Art works.
  • Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body.

In the evening, free to stroll in the town for shopping and photography.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 29. Thimphu – Paro (Departure):

After breakfast, drive to the airport and farewell.