Day 01: Arrival at Paro
Situated in the western part of Bhutan, Paro is largely unexplored, and is one of the fascinating destination blessed by nature with a long and beautiful valley dotted with beautiful traditional village, terrace of rice fields and golden roofed historical monasteries and temple. On arrival at the Paro airport, you will be greeted and welcomed by our local tour executive and transfer you to your hotel. After a short, break drive to visit Dzongdrakha Ney: this site is the supreme sacred place of Ugyen Rinpoche. Drubthob Gonpo Dorji discovered the treasures of crystal stupa and a relics of Kasyapa Buddha, in the fourteenth century. This sacred place has four temples. Visit Rinpung Dzong: it houses the administrative office of Paro Dzongkhag and the district monastery body. According to the local account, Paro Dzong was initially built as Tak-Gung-Khar Dzong, in the middle of a cliff, to the right of the sacred place called Gonkhar Ugyendra. Visit Ruined Drukgyel Dzong: this dzong was built to commemorate the victory over Tibet by Tenzin Drukdra, the son of the consort of Tempai Nyima, while he was second Paro Penlop and was named “ Drukgyal Dzong”.
Day 02: Hike to the Famous Tiger’s Nest
We suggest making an early start because the walk up to the Tiger’s Nest is more a uphill climb and it takes around 3-4 hours at an average speed. Drive up to Satsam Chorten (10 km from Paro town) and from there walk up to Taktsang Monasterywich lies at an altitude of 3000ft/915m from the base of the valley. The name Taktsang means “Tiger’s Nest ". The Monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff drop of nearly 4000 ft. and overlooks the Paro valley and the river. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava known as the second Buddha in Bhutan meditated on this spot where the Monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress. Picnic lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria. The round hike takes about 04-05 hr. Turn back the same downhill trail till you reach the parking lot, from there drive to visit the historical Paro Kyechu Lhakhang, which is said to be one of the 108 temple built by the Dharma King Songtsen Gampo within a single day in the year 643. Ugyen Guru also came to this sight in the eight century and hid many treasures of the Dharma, precious things and sacred substances. Returning back visit Jangsa Dumtse Lhakhang, which lies just out of town, across the river en route National Museum. This temple in the form of stupa, was built by Drubthob Thongtong Gyalpo in the fifteenth century on the nose of a hill that looks like a frog in order to counteract Earth-owing spirit and the powerful naga spirit. It is said that the hill, by which the temple is built, is a black vicious snake moving down words.
Day 03: Guinitsawa Village – Sharna Zampa
After your breakfast in the hotel, you will be driving further 16 Km away from the town to Drukgyel Dzong, make a short visit to the ruined Drukgyel Dzong, though the dzong lies in ruin it has a great historical significant that goes back to 17th century. In this dzong the Bhutanese repelled many Tibetain. The name means the victorious fort. From here the majestic view of Mt. Jomolhari can be visible,towering at 24,00ft/7314m pyramid shape, snow-clad that lies far end of the border of Tibet and it is revered as the abode of goddess Jomo. Drive further north of Drukgyel Dzong to Guinitsawa village where your expedition begins. Your campsite will be somewhere close to Guinitsawa which is on the other side of the river (Paa Chhu).
Day 04: Sharna Zampa – Thangthanka
Today your trail lead you to Soi Thangthanka. As the trail continues you will be making numerous ascend and descent as you traverse through meadow laden flowers, juniper and some medicinal plants. The journey takes you through deep forest filled with oak, rhododendron, fir and birch. Heading further you will gradually descend to a meadow where a camp will be set up. If the weather is appealing this camp site provides you with another best spot for the great view of Mt. Jomolhari.
Day 05: Thangthanka – Jangothang
Today after your breakfast you will be heading to one of the finest and beautiful campsite in the Himalaya the “ Jomolhari Base Camp”. Your journey brings you up the Paa Chu valley leading you through alpine meadow with scanty growth of forest, yak pastures with nomadic herders and their stone houses scattered throughout, Buddhist prayer flags held high in its glory and a remnant of a fortress which lies in ruin was used to fend the valley from Tibetan invasion and a spectacular backdrop of Mt. Jomolhari looming at the valley head.
Day 06: Jangothang Halt
After a long continuous 03 days walk, the rest day in Jangothang usually spent time in camp, acclimatizing and drinking in the magnificent view of Mt. Jomolhari. This rest day provides several possibility of half-day walk with breathtaking views of snowcapped mountains like - Mt. Jomolhari (7326m) along with Mt. Jichu Drakey ( 6794m), and also the high altitude lakes. The region here also provide a great chance to spot some of the blue sheep. If you have a fishing license, you can even choose to go for fishing in the high altitude lakes, Tshophu.
Day 07: Jangothang – Lingshi
Jangothang to Lingshi is considered as the longest journey and we recommend you to make an early start today. As you head further, just after ten minutes from the campsite the magnificent Mt. Jichu Drakey (6989m) and Mt. Tserim Gang (6789m), appears their presence. As the trail begins rapidly, the final pull begins a gradual ascent to Nyilila Pass (4870m) which usually takes four hours from the base camp till the top of the pass. Enjoy the surrounding while climbing the pass and en-route you might encounter a herds of Blue Sheep grazing around the mountain slope. Once you reached the top of the pass, there you will have a spectacular view of Mt.Jomolhari(7326m), Mt. Jichu Drakey(6989m), Mt. Therim Gang(6789m). From here your journey descent downhill till you reached your campsite opposite of Lingshi Village. As you continue you will pass by some yak herders tent which is made from yak hair. This unique tents were usually pitched along the region by yak herders while traveling towards their pastures along with their herds of yaks for grazing. Reaching the campsite, you will have a wonderful view of Lingshi Dzong on a clear weather along with Mt. Tserim Gang raising its presence at the north end of the valley.
Day 08: Lingshi – Chebisa
As you begins your journey just after few minutes, you will reach a chorten (stupa) and then the Lingshi Dzong, kindly make a short visit to the dzong. This magnificent dzong perched on the top of the hill provides a commanding view of the surrounding green hills with winding river that flows through the valley and magnificent peaks surrounds. The dzong was built in 17th century. After your visit of Lingshi Dzong the trail pass through a small compact village of Lingshi and then reaching a ridge at 4140m, the trail gradually descent downhill to a pleasant settlement of Goyul village at an altitude of 3870m. Crossing the village of Goyul, your trail leads you through small ascent and descent and the route finally reaches to a Chebesa where you will be holding your night camp. Depending upon your interest once reaching the campsite , you have plenty of time to explore the village house of Chebesa and also there is a waterfall behind the village which will give you a new look and worth your visit.
Day 09: Chebesa – Shomuthang
We recommend you to make an early start because from the village of Chebesa through a wide pastureland towards the Gobu-La Pass (4510m) will take you uphill around 3 hours. On this day you will also have an opportunity to spot the Blue Sheep above the trail, Branded Vultures, Himalayan Griffons and also chances of encountering with nomadic people raising their yaks and several yak herders hut en-route. After crossing the pass you will descent down to the valley through rhododendron bushes and a stream at about 4170m. The trail from here again ascent a short uphill through a cedar forest and then descent downhill through deep forest of fir and birch and then finally reaches to the village of Shakshepase (3980m), a large U-shape valley. There are several yak herders camps en-route and climbing from here you will finally reach the campsite at Shomuthang (4200m), in a cluster of brush beside the river. The river below your camp is a tributary of Nochu River.
Day 10: Shomuthang – Robluthang
Today your journey begins by ascending up the valley to Jhari-La Pass (4750m) with a view of Mt. Khang Bum(6539m) and also un-route you will encounter Edelweiss (the national flower of Austria). As your journey further continues, you can catch the first glimpse of Sinche La Pass and on the northern side the view of the giant Mt. Gangchen Ta (6840m). Depending upon the clarity of the weather, you will also have the opportunity to view Mt. Tserim Gang and the tip of Mt. Jomolhari. From here you will descent downhill to Tseri Jathang valley, a campsite by the river. This place is known for the summer residence of the rare Himalayan Takin which is the national animal of Bhutan “Takin”, the animal migrate here in the summer and remain for nearly 4 months. This valley has also been declared as the “Takin Sanctuary”. From here you will climb up a bit through rocky meadows and finally reaches to the campsite at Robluthang.
Day 11: Robluthang – Limithang
Today you will have to climb one of the highest pass, the Sinche La Pass (5005m). This pass is one of the final and high pass on this trek and takes around five hours. Crossing the pass you will gradually descent downhill and as to the far site of the pass you will have a glimpse of impressive terminal moraine and glacier lakes at the foot of the valley. Below this moraine you will pass through rough, rocky trail into a glacial valley, you will reach eventually to Kongo Chhu (stream) and from here a short climb takes you through rhododendron trail and cedar forest interspersed small meadow and soon reach to Limithang campsite with a towering peak Mt. GangchenTa (6840m)over the campsite though it lies quite a distance away from your campsite. The campsite of Limithang is at 2140m, and is one of the lovely with wide meadow.
Day 12: Limithang – Laya
A lovely and pleasant walk takes you all the way downhill through narrow and winding river valley. This extremely pleasant walk takes you through densely forested region with moss and singing birds, you will also have a spectacular view of – Mt. Gangchen Ta(6840m) and Mt. Masagang (7165m). Finally, you will reach Laya, the village of Laya is one of the second highest village / settlement in the country at an altitude of 3,800m. Your campsite is just below the school.
Day 13: Laya Halt
Today, either you will rest in the camp or you will go around visiting the village houses on short hike.
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.
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 Drakey.
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.
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.
Day 18: Woche - Lhedi
Today the trail begins 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.
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 the peaks.
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.
Day 22: Tshorim – Gangkhar Puensum Base Camp
This is one of the highlights of the journey 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.
Day 23: Gangkar Puensum Base Camp – Minchugang
The trail further follows the Sha Chhu and descends gradually to Menchugang.
Day 24: Minchgang – 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 top of the ridge for guidance.
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.
Day 26: Duer Tsachu - Tshochenchen
From the hot springs, it is a long and steady climb again with great views of mountains of Lunana. You will also come across blue lakes and yak herder huts.
Day 27: Tshochenchen – Duer Village
Today will be the last day of your adventurous Snowman Trek and your porters change from yaks to horses. The path follows the Chamkhar Chhu, descending gradually with a few climbs in between. Your long adventurous journey ends here when you arrive at Duer village. From here, you drive to Jakar (Bumthang).
Day 28: Bumthang – Punakha
Early morning checkout drive to Punakha the ancient capital of Bhutan. The drive takes you through passing Kiki La Pass (9300ft/2835m) which is 4 km drive from Chamkhar town and after crossing several settlements you will rich the highest pass between Bumthang and Trongsa the Yotong La Pass(11000ft/3354m). Fronm the pass your drive takes you downhill till you reached the small township of Trongsa which lies at an elevation of 6800ft/2070m. Visit the impressive Trongsa Dzong which is possibly the most impressive dzong in the country. As prophesized by Pelden Lhamo, Lam Ngagi Wangchuk meditated above the palace where Trongsa Dzong now stands. While meditating he saw butter lamp burning on a ridge and taking this place as a sacred he built a small temple in 1543, which still stands today at the southern gate of Trongsa Dzong. In 1647, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel ordered to built a goenkhar on the same sport and later many ruling leader enlarged the small temples into a large dzong. From Trongsa your drive takes you pass the Pelela Pass (11070ft/3375m) and then finally leads you downhill toll you reached the fertile valley of Punakha which lies at an altitude of 4430ft/1351m.
Day 29: Punakha – Thimphu
Today before you depart to Thimphu, drive to visit the Punakha Dzong saddled on the confluence of two river, the Pho Chhu(Male River) and the Mo Chhu (Female River), Its full name is “Pungthang Dechen Phodrang” which means the Palace of Great Happiness. This impressive fortress is built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel.It was the second of the mightiest dzong built by Zhabdring. The drive of 12 km from the dzong en route to Thimphu the drive takes you to Chemi Lhakhang(No Dogs Temple) located on the hilltop above Sobsokha village. It is one of the notable temple in the country with hundreds of visitors flock to the temple to receive blessing for their children. It was built by Lam Ngawang Chogyel in the year 1499 in honor and memory of his brighter Lam Drukpa Kuenley locally known as the “Divine Mad Man”. From the temple the route takes you uphill through scattered settlement and broad-leaved forest till you reach the top of Dochu La Pass. The pass lies at an elevation of 10150ft/3100m an it is unlike that of any other pass you will encounter here for that matter anywhere in the world. The park always remain busy and is populated by 108 Chortens(stupas) built by the Queen Mother in honor to the fourth king of Bhutan and its people who went for war in southern Bhutan in the 2003, and in victory the Druk Wangyel Chorten was built in 2004. The pass also offers the magnificent view of the Himalayan snow-capped mountain peaks and can be seen on a clear day like - Mt. Masa Gang(235012ft/7165m), Mt. Thsneden Gang(23288ft/7100m), Mt. Teri Gang(23944ft/7300m), Mt. Jejegangphu Gang, Mt. Khangphu Gang, Table Mountain “Mt. Zongaphu Gang(all above 23288ft/7100m), Mt Gangkar Puensum(24735ft/7541m). Your drive from the pass takes you downhill until you reach Thimphu which lies at an elevation of 7700ft/2350m.
Day 30: Thimphu – Airport (Fly-Off)