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7. LUNANA SNOWMAN TREK (27 days/26 nights with 3 rest days)

LUNANA SNOWMAN TREK

The Lonely Planet describes the Snowman Trek as one of the most difficult treks in the world. This is an extension trip of the beautiful Laya-Lingshi-Gasa Trek passing through the most magnificent scenery, culturally and ecologically pristine environment treks. Besides the stunning views of Mount Jomolhari, the trek also offers spectacular views of Jichu Drake and Gangchhenta (Great Tiger Mountain). Between Jangothang and Laya the trail hardly goes below 4,000m. Trekkers will get a marvellous opportunity to spot blue sheep and takin passing through some beautiful Bhutanese mountain villages, the unique culture and appearance of the nomads of Laya. Horses and yaks carry our camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours through snow capped mountains, crystal lakes, alpine forests and remotest villages in this mystical nomad’s land. Arrive in Gasa and soak in at its hot spring to your trekking experience.

Duration of Trek: 19 days

Grade of Trek: Most Difficult

Best Time to Go: Mid June to Early October

Day 1: Arrive in Paro

On arrival, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan for two nights. We will drive a distance of 65-km for about one hour journey along to Thimphu. Spend rest of the day at leisure to allow for acclimatisation.

Day 2: Sightseeing in Thimphu

Today explore a fascinating full day tour to see the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,350 m. First stop is at the National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Next, visit the Changgangkha Monastery, the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artefacts used in rural households, the National Library, which houses ancient manuscripts or the Painting School. Afterwards, visit the Tashichhodzong, which houses some ministries, the office and throne room of His Majesty the King and the central monk body, then head out of town to explore the Simtokha Dzong built in 1629, which is the oldest fortress in Bhutan. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 3: Thimphu – Tashithang via Punakha

Travel this morning to Punakha and en route stop off at Dochula Pass at an altitude of 3,050 m. On a clear day, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the snow capped eastern Himalaya ranges and also a magnificent distant view of the Gasa Dzong from this spot. Stop for lunch in Punakha, and then continue your journey to Tashithang at an altitude of 1,600m along the Mo Chhu River. Overnight Camp in Tashithang at the end of the road.

Day 4: Tashithang – Damji [Start of Trek]

Today’s trek distance is 5-6km for about 5-6 hours starts by the riverside and follows a well-made path through semi tropical forest. This part of the area is for flower lovers with an abundant of wild orchids. The day’s walk is fairly gentle climbing up to Damji village at 2,250m where we camp for an overnight.

Day 5: Damji – Gasa

Your trek distance is 15-km for 6-7 hours continues through sub-tropical forests and villages up to Gasa Hot Spring (Tshachu). There are stunning views of the Gasa Dzong on the way. Due to their well known curative powers the hot springs are very popular amongst the Bhutanese from all walks of life including tourists. The place might be quite crowded especially in December. Later, push up for 2 hours stiff climb to the ancient, remote and medieval Gasa Dzong. Campsite is just below the Dzong at an altitude of 2,900m.

Day 6: Gasa – Chamsa

This morning visit the Gasa Dzong, which was built in 17th century to protect the valley against Tibetan invaders. Then it’s off to the trek for a distance of 13-km for 6-7 hours with a stiff climb up to Bele La Pass at 3,700m through bamboo, rhododendron, juniper and fir forests. Arrive in Chamsa Campsite at an altitude of 3,650m after descending for about half an hour.

Day 7: Chamsa – Laya

Begin your day for a distance of 22-km for about 8-9 hours with a descent to the bank of Mo Chhu River. Stop for lunch by the bridge and continue your path with a gradual ascent to Laya crossing the army camp. Overnight in camp at an altitude of 3,800m.

Day 8: Rest Day at Laya

Today is your leisure day to explore the local lifestyle, culture and traditions of the Laya community. Stroll through the villages, perhaps visit to houses and meet the people, who are friendly and will happily pose for photographs. Women of Laya wear special dress and typical bamboo hats, decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments. In the evening, a cultural programme with dances performed by the local women and girls can be arranged.

Day 9: Laya – Rhoduphu

From Laya, our trail distance of 19-km for about 8-9 hours descends to army camp and continues following the river until the turn off point to Rhoduphu. After lunch resume the climb through rhododendron bushes until we reach the camp at an attitude of 4,350m.

Day 10: Rhoduphu – Tarina

Today is the longest day of the trek for a distance of 25-km for about 10-11 hours and rise early at 5am with the climb to Tsimo La Pass at 4,700m. After crossing the pass and a little summit, enjoy a panoramic view of Lunana, Mt Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. Next, the path is flat for another 4 hours until before climbing to Ganglapachung Pass at 5,080m. The view from the path is breathtaking with a whole range of mountains visible including Masanggang, Tsendegang and Teri Gang. Continue on to a long descent to Tarina valley for an overnight camp at 3,980m

Day 11: Tarina – Woche

Begin the day for a distance of 17-km for about 6-7 hours by walking down through conifer forests following the upper ridges of the Pho Chhu. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops down to Woche at an altitude of 3,800m. Overnight in camp.

Day 12: Woche – Lhedi

Your day begins for a distance of 17-km for about 6-7 hours through juniper and fir forests leading to the path upward to the Keche La Pass at 4,480m. After the pass, descend to the riverside and walk through a village with a stunning view of Table Mountain. The river to Lhedi village is one of the main sources of Pho Chhu River. Overnight in camp at an altitude of 3,650m.

Day 13: Lhedi – Thanza

Today’s trek distance is 17-km for about 7-8 hours continues along the river and rises gradually to Choejong village. We then cross a bridge to Thanza for an overnight camp at 4,000m.

Day 14: Rest Day at Thanza

Today is at leisure. If you are feeling really energetic, why not walk around, climb the ridge and marvel at the fascinating views of lakes and mountains?

Day 15: Thanza – Tshorim

The trek starts for a distance of 19-km for about 8-9 hours with an ascent of the ridge with a great view of Table Mountain and the Thanza valley below. The altitude of the ridge rises gradually from 4,500m to 4,650m. We ascend further ridges leading to the campsite of Tshorim at 5,125m.

Day 16: Tshorim – Gangkar Puensum Base Camp

Our day starts for a distance of 16-km for about 6-7 hours with a short climb to Tshorim Lake, one of the main highlights of the trek with a panoramic view of the Gophu La ranges. The final climb to the Gophu La Pass at 5,230 m is very short. After the pass, walk downhill along the ridge to the base camp and enjoy breathtaking views of Gangkar Puensum. Furthermore, take in a detour to the left side to climb the pyramid peak for the better views or alternatively descend straight to the base camp near Sha Chhu River at an altitude of 4,970m.

Day 17: Rest Day at Gangkar Puensum Base Camp

Spend the day at the base camp and enjoy the great view of Gangkar Puensum, the highest unclimbed mountain in Bhutan.

Day 18: Gangkar Puensum Base Camp – Geshe Woma

Resume the trail for a distance of 14-km for about 6-7 hours along the Sha Chhu and descends gradually to Geshe Woma at an altitude of 4,200m.

Day 19: Geshe Woma – Warathang

Today’s walking distance is 18-km for about 8-9 hours. The trail continues along the Shachhu River for two and a half hours until the stiff climb to Saka La begins. Visibility along the Saka La trail is poor and advised to look out for the top of the ridge for guidance. A stop is made for lunch near a yak herder’s camp. We ascend to the Saka La Pass at 4,800m and then descend to the lakes followed by another stunning but short ascent with views of small lakes and mountain peaks. Overnight in camp at an altitude of 4,000m.

Day 20: Warathang – Dur Tshachu

Begin the day by walking for a distance of 14-km for about of 5 hours. In the next first half hour takes us to Juli La Pass at 4,400m. After the pass, descend to the riverside through dense rhododendron, juniper and conifer forests. Next, cross the bridge and a short ascent leads to Dur Hot Spring (Tshachu) where Guru Padmasambhava bathed in the 8th century.

Day 21: Dur Tshachu – Tshochenchen

From the spring, it is a long and steady climb for a distance for about of 8-9 hours with stunning views of the mountains in Lunana. Eventually the ground levels out, and you’ll see the blue lakes and yak herder’s camp at an altitude of 3,850m.

Day 22: Tshochenchen – Dur (Motor Road) – Bumthang [End of Trek]

Today is the last day of the trek for a distance of 21-km for about 13 hours. Set off very early in order to reach Bumthang before dark. The path follows along the Chamkhar Chhu, descending gradually with few ascents. Arrive in Dur village, and your trek ends here where our transport will meet us and drive to your hotel in Bumthang for two nights.

Day 23: Sightseeing in Bumthang

After breakfast, enjoy a sightseeing tour of this spiritual heartland of Bhutan. You will visit the following legendary monasteries, temples and dzong: the Jakar Dzong, the Jambay Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the King Songsen Gampo of Tibet, the Kurjey Lhakhang, built in 1652 and named after the body imprint of Guru Rinpoche who introduced the Buddhism in Bhutan, the Tamshing Lhakhang, built in 1501 which is the most important Nyingma temple in Bhutan. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 24: Bumthang – Trongsa

This morning we travel to Trongsa, the ancestral home of the present Royal Family of Bbutan. Sightseeing today includes a visit to the magnificent Trongsa Dzong where the first two Kings ruled from this dzong and also visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower). The evening is at leisure to relax, enjoy & explore the delightful surroundings of Trongsa town at an altitude of 2,200 m. Spend the night in Trongsa.

Day 25: Trongsa – Paro

After breakfast, we head back to Paro for two nights via Wangdue Phodrang. The journey passes through the awe-inspiring mountains and lush vegetation along the highway and will photo stops during the journey. Enjoy some leisure time in Paro town in the evening.

Day 26: Sightseeing in Paro

Today is dedicated to take you on a hike to Paro Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). No visit to Bhutan would be complete without a trip to Taktshang. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 m above the Paro valley and takes about a 2-hour climb on a well-maintained trail through beautiful pine forest, trees festooned with Spanish Moss and fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche flew to Paro Taktshang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on a flaming tigress in the 8th century. Afterwards, there may also be time to visit the ruined Drugyal Dzong (fortress), built in 1647 to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders or visit the Kichu Lhakhang, which is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan (7th century). Your overnight is in Paro.

Day 27: End of Tour

Your tour ends today morning after breakfast in Paro. You will be transferred to Paro Airport accompanied by your guide from Bhutan Green Travel to depart for home with countless fond memories to share with your family and friends. Goodbye and Good luck!

Services Included

  • Transfers to and from the airport
  • Twin-sharing accommodation in 3-star hotels
  • Upgrades to 5-star luxury accommodation available on request
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
  • Licensed Bhutanese English-speaking guided tours
  • All entrance fees to museums and other attractions
  • Comfortable transport within Bhutan
  • All applicable internal taxes and service fees (including royalty)
  • Mineral water
  • Visa fees

Services Not Included

  • International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
  • Travel insurance
  • Discretionary gratuities to guides and driver (we provide suggested guidelines)
  • Single room supplement
  • Other personal expenses such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls, etc.

Prices and Dates

ON REQUEST

Pricing Policy

Prices are quoted and payable only in (US$ dollars). All prices published on our websites, brochures and marketing materials are set as low as possible. The guide prices may vary at any time subject to government actions, changes in exchange rates, increase in transportation costs or fuel prices before we have accepted your booking, however, we guarantee our prices who have already signed up for your tour.

Departure Dates

Mid-June, July, August, September and Early October

[It’s always advisable to contact us 4 or 5 months in advance. You decide dates depending on your plan of travel, however, plan your trekking tour during the best months indicated above]

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