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Snowman Trek

NZD $16,010

Location – Bhutan

Duration – 29 days / 28 nights (24 days trekking)

Highest campsite – 5020m (16470ft)

Best time to go – May, June, September, October

Difficulty – High degree of fitness, hard trekking

Tour Cost – Single: US$10,190 / Group of 2 people: US$9560 / 3+ people: US$8720

The legendary Snowman Trek is one of the most beautiful and scenic treks in Bhutan. It is also an iconic and difficult trek by world standards due to its unforgiving terrain and high altitude. Recommended only for experienced and physically fit trekkers. The trail on this trek is stunning as you escape to a unique and captivating landscape. Trekkers will traverse through several astonishing landscapes with incredible views of the snow-capped Himalayan mountain peaks as a backdrop. The trail flows between 2800m to 5500m you will need to cover a minimum 15km a day, whilst crossing more than 10 high mountain pass. If lucky you may encounter several wild animals including blue sheep, takin, musk deer, snow leopard, red fox, marmot and so many others. The Snowman Trek is a bucket-list adventure you will savour for a lifetime.

Description

Wild Mountain Adventures

Wild Mountain Adventure is a leading adventure tour company in Bhutan, and markets their key trekking products under the Bhutan Trekker brand. Their focus is on delivering excellent customer care as you discover Bhutan and exceeding clients’ expectations through the provision of truly unique and inspirational experiences.
As passionate trekkers themselves, the team at Wild Mountain Adventure pay particular attention to the fundamental aspects and small details of planning a trekking trip. They are acutely aware of how refreshing an adventure away from home and regular routines is, and provide really flexible itineraries to meet individual and group adventurers’ needs. With highly trained and knowledgeable local staff, excellent support structures in place, and a focus on the best hospitality, you can be assured of a memorable and unforgettable experience trekking through Bhutan’s beautiful wilderness.

Detailed Itinerary

DAY 01: ARRIVAL PARO
When you arrive at Paro airport, you will be welcomed by our local tour executive and transferred to your hotel. After a short refreshment you will be led on a short introductory cultural sightseeing trip around Paro. Visit the historical Paro Dzong, an awesome and impressive introductory to the world of dzong. It lies at the head of Paro valley and was built by Zhabdrund in 1646 after the small Hungrel Dzong was presented to him. After the dzong drive uphill to visit the Ta Dzong (watchtower). It was re-established as the National Museum in 1967 and houses fascinating collections of arts, relics, religious antiquity and ancient warrior armor. The evening allows a stroll around the town from your hotel.

DAY 02: HIKE TO TIGER’S NEST I ELEVATION: 2950M I 04KM I 04HRS
An early start sees us hiking to the famous Tiger’s Nest monastery for an arduous but inspiring adventure day. It is quite the uphill task and takes around 3-4 hours. Tigers Nest Monastery is one of the most spectacularly located goemba in all of Bhutan, perched on a cliff face at 3100m above sea level. The site has been recognized as one of the most important pilgrimage sites in all of Himalayas. Upon returning to the vehicle is a drive to visit the historical Kyichu Lhakhang. This temple is one of the first and oldest temples in Bhutan dating back to the 7th century and was built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gyempo to contain the evil spirits that roam the Himalayas.

DAY 03: GUNITSAWA – SHARNA I CAMPSITE: 2860M I 11KM I 05HRS
After breakfast we drive to Gunitsawa village that lies at the northern end of Paro. A quick stop enroute is via the Drukgyel Dzong. This dzong has played a great role in the history of Bhutan since the 17th century. On a clear day you can see the majestic view of Mt. Jomolhari towering in the shape of a pyramid at the far corner of the valley. Drive to Gunitsawa village and then start your trek following the opposite direction of Paro Chhu River to Sharna.

DAY 04: SHARNA – THANGTHANKA I CAMPSITE: 3570M I 16KM I 06 – 07HRS
Today as you begin your trek you will ascend and decend the winding trail, and traverse through meadows of flowers and medicinal plants. As you travel further you will pass through deep forests of oak, fir, birch and rhododendron. Later you will decent down to a long meadow where you will see your basecamp team and find your tent pitched. If the weather is clear you can see the tip of Mt. Jomolhari.

DAY 05: THANGTHANKA – JANGOTHANG I CAMPSITE: 4080M I 15KM I 06HRS
An early wake-up to view the tip of the towering Mt. Jomolhari in its morning light before breakfast and back on the trail to Jangothang, which is considered to be one of the best and finest campsites in the entire Himalayas. On this trail the yak, yak herders and their stone houses scattered throughout the trail become a regular feature. On your arrival at your campsite the towering Mt. Jomolhari is standing in its silent majesty before you.

DAY 06: JANGOTHANG HALT
After walking for three long continuous days, it’s time to rest and relax, acclimatizing and drinking in the magnificent view of Mt. Jomolhari. The rest day provides several possibilities of half-day hikes to take in the breath-taking scenic landscape with towering snow-capped mountain peaks.

DAY 07: JANGOTHANG – LINGSHI I CAMPSITE: 4010M I 18KM I 07-08HRS
After an early start you soon encounter the appearance of the glorious Mt. Jichu Drakey and Mt. Tsherimgang as you ascent to Nyilila Pass (4870m). The uphill push takes around 4 hours and traverses through barren rocky slopes. On this trail you may have the chance to spot the blue sheep grazing on the other side of the mountain slope. Reaching the top, and after spending time admiring the view, you descend all the way down to your campsite with the view of Lingshi Dzong and the Lingshi village.

DAY 08: LINGSHI – CHEBISA I CAMPSITE: 3880M I 10KM I 05HRS
Today in the morning take a short uphill climb to visit the Lingshi Dzong located atop a small hill with commanding views of the surrounding valley. After exploring the dzong the trail leads through to the compact village of Lingshi, where after a short climb you reach a ridge, standing at an altitude of 4140m. From the ridge the trail descends down to the pleasant Goyul village and soon after crossing Goyul with several more ascents and descents before finally reaching the campsite at Chebisa.

DAY 09: CHEBISA – SHOMUTHANG I CAMPSITE: 4220M I 15KM I 07HRS
Make an early start from the wide pasturelands around Chebisa towards Gobula Pass (4510m). This is another tiring climb and takes around 3 hours. Along the trail there are chances of spotting blue sheep grazing just above the trail along with the sights of branded vultures and Himalayan griffons. Yak herders grazing yaks is a common feature on this trail. Soon after crossing Gobula pass you then descent down through rhododendron bushes to a small stream, onward through a cedar forest and then descend down to a large U-shaped valley. From here it is a gradual climb to the campsite at Shomuthang for the night.

DAY 10: SHOMUTHANG – ROBLUTHANG I CAMPSITE: 4160M I 16KM I 07-08HRS
Today’s trail begins with an uphill climb till you reach the top of Jharila Pass (4750m). Upon reaching the top, soak in the magnificent view of Mt. Khangbum. On a clear day you can also enjoy the breathtaking views of Mt. Gangchenta, Mt. Tsherimgang and the tip of Mt. Jomolhari. From here you will gradually descent down to Tseri Jathang – a pastureland knows as the summer grazing ground for Takin. These animals migrate here during summer and remain here for around 4 months. From here you will climb uphill for a short while through rocky meadows and then finally reach your campsite at Robluthang.

DAY 11: ROBLUTHANG – LIMITHANG I CAMPSITE: 4460M I 18KM I 08HRS
Today is another dramatic climb, as the trek up to Sinchela Pass (5005m) is quite long and tiring. It is one of the highest passes on this trek and takes around 5 hours to reach the top. From the pass you will gradually descent down with a glimpses of terminal moraine and glacial lakes at the foot of the valley. Crossing the rocky trail and glacier valley you then reach a small stream. From here a short climb through a rhododendron forest interspersed with small meadows leads you to finally land at your campsite with Mt. Gangchenta as your backdrop view.

DAY 12: LIMITHANG – LAYA I CAMPSITE: 3840M I 11KM I 05HRS
Today you will have a pleasant gentle walk. Your trek starts with a downhill walk through a narrow and winding river valley and then through densely wooded forest with moss and the sound of singing birds. Along the way you will enjoy the spectacular view of Mt. Gangchenta and Mt. Masagang. As you continue you then finally reach Laya, one of the most unique settlements in Bhutan, and the second highest in the country.

DAY 13: LAYA HALT
After making a long continuous walk, its time now to rest and relax, acclimatizing and enjoying your camp. You may also choose to go out and explore the village. The semi-nomadic people of this region - especially the women - are completely different from others in the country, particularly in terms of the dress code. Their great love of coral and turquoise jewellery, colorful clothing, and their conical bamboo hats immediately set them apart in any crowd.

DAY 14: LAYA – RHODOPHU I CAMPSITE: 4120M I 19KM I 08HRS
From Laya you gradually descend down to an army camp and following the river you soon turn off your trail to Rhodophu. After lunch the trail takes you through rhododendron bushes and meadows until you reach your campsite at Rhodophu.

DAY 15: RHODOPHU – NARETHANG I CAMPSITE: 4900M I 17KM I 06-07HRS
The trail today follows the river for an hour, then soon climbs a steady slope to a high open valley at 4600m and then up to Tsomola (4900m). From the pass you will have a superb view of the Lunaka valley along with the back-drop view of mountain peaks. Heading down from the pass you then traverse through a flat and barren plateau at about 5000m and then finally reach your campsite at Narethang with the view of Mt. Ganglakarchung.

DAY 16: NARETHANG – TARINA I CAMPSITE: 3900M I 18KM I 07-08HRS
Your trek starts with an uphill climb for an hour to the Ganglakarchung pass (5,120m). From here you will have an immense view of the surrounding mountain peaks including Mt. Jekangphugang, Tsendagang, and Terigang. As you descent down to a large moraine field, you will have a stunning view of the glacier falling down from Mt. Terigang to a deep turquoise lake at its foot. Soon you then have a long descent through thick forest of rhododendron to your campsite.

DAY 17: TARINA – WOCHE I CAMPSITE: 4150M I 17KM I 06-07HRS
Today your walk takes you downhill through conifer forest as you follow the upper ridge of Phochhu River with the view of an impressive waterfall. Crossing over the ridge you then descent down to a small settlement of Woche, the first village of Lunana.

DAY 18: WOCHE – LHEDI I CAMPSITE: 3700M I 17KM I 06-07HRS
Your trail leads you through rich forest of fir, juniper, and rhododendron bushes. When you reach the top of Kechela pass (4650m), you will have another great view of the surrounding mountain peaks. After the pass you gradually descend down to the river taking you through a village with stunning view of Table Mountain and then finally reach Lhedi village.

DAY 19: LHEDI – THANZA I CAMPSITE: 3970M I 17KM I 07-08HRS
Keeping the view of the Table Mountain you then pass a small village of Chozo (4090m) with a dzong still in use. As you continue you then reach Thanza with a dramatic back-drop high wall of snow and ice behind the village.

DAY 20: REST DAY AT THANZA
It is time now to take a break and indulge your visual senses with some natural beauty and give yourself some time to relax and soak in the atmosphere. You can choose to explore the outlying village or climb up the ridge for fascinating views of the surrounding lakes and high mountains.

DAY 21: THANZA – TSHOCHENA I CAMPSITE: 5000M I 18KM I 07-08HRS
Leaving camp you will climb a ridge towards the south of Thanza. From the top you then gradually descend down to Danje (4500m). Here you may have the chance to see the blue sheep grazing on the adjacent slopes. From Danje the trail takes you across the creek and soon after a long climb you will reach Jazela Pas (5150m). You will have a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape. From the top you then descent down with a view of snow covered peaks and couple of lakes. Your campsite is located on the side of Tshochena Lake.

DAY 23: TSHOCHENA – JICHU DRAMO I CAMPSITE: 5020M I 15KM I 06-07HRS
Today the trail takes you along the shore of the blue green lake and you then ascend a steep rolling slope and a narrow valley with dwarf rhododendron to Lojula Pass (5145m). It is a hard long walk and takes around four hours. Once on the top the view back towards Lunana is spectacular. Winding through several ridges you enter a wide glacial valley and then gradually descend to your campsite wedged between expansive rocks and trickling streams.

DAY 24: JICHU DRAMO – CHUKARPO I CAMPSITE: 4410M I 15KM I 06HRS
Leaving your campsite the trail takes you through a lunar landscape of rocks, lakes, glacier and snowy summit. You will cross Rinchen Zoela Pass (5326m), which will be the highest pass on this trek and takes several hours as you gain the top. The top offers unmatched mountain scenery with breathtaking views of Mt. Gangkar Puensum – the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. You can also experience seeing vast glacial lakes running down from a series of snowy mountains into major glacier lakes. You then descend down and the vegetation begins to thicken, and after a couple of hours you will reach your campsite just beside a moraine and hooping rock.

DAY 25: CHUKARPO – TAMPETSHO I CAMPSITE: 4330M I 18KM I 08-09HRS
Descending down the hill you then cross the river and follow the main valley. The trail weaves in and out of boulders and at the side of the river you then enter a thick tall forest of pine, rhododendron, birch and maple. Soon the trail winds up the forest following a narrow valley to a hanging lake – for a beautiful camp setting.

DAY 26: TAMPETSHO – MAUROTHANG I CAMPSITE: 3630M I 23KM I 06HRS
Today you will cross the Tampela Pass (4665m), which is the last pass on your trek. Your trek begins with downhill walk taking you down through steep winding slopes and past the large turquoise lake. As you descent down you will soon traverse along fairly level terrain through rich forest and yak pastures.

DAY 27: MAUROTHANG – SEPHU – THIMPHU I 20KM I 06-07HRS
Your trail follows the Nikachu River, traversing through lush green forest and finally reaching a large grassy land overlooking the road and Sephu village. Your team waits to see you on the roadside and after some leisurely refreshments you then drive to Thimphu. Your drive takes you past several cultural and historical places of interest. Arrival Thimphu and check in to your hotel.

DAY 28: THIMPHU – PARO I 55KM I 01HR
Today before you depart to Paro explore the cultural sites of Thimphu. The capital city has lot to offer and is known as the cultural hub of Bhutan. Your sightseeing in Thimphu includes a visit to National Memorial Chorten, Changangkha Lhakhang, Giant Buddha Statue and Simtokha Dzong. If you are here during the weekend make a visit to the centenary market located at the bank of Thimphu Chhu River. In the evening drive to Paro.

DAY 29: HOTEL – AIRPORT
After your leisurely breakfast in the hotel, drive to Paro airport and depart to your onward destination. Here you bid adieu to your helpful Bhutanese guide and driver – who will wish you a happy and safe trip back home.

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