Difficulty Level :
Duration : 33 Days
Maximum Elevation : 5345 m
The Snowman Trek is a demanding trek for very healthy, fit and experienced trekkers. We will be trekking at an altitude between 3000 and 5345 meters for 26 days. Daily trekking times are between 4 and 10 hours. Patience, team spirit and flexibility are required at this trek.
From "Beneath Blossom Rain: Discovering Bhutan on the Toughest Trek in the World" by Kevin Grange: "Why is the Snowman trek considered so tough? Not only are trekkers hiking nearly 10 miles a day, they traverse 11 high-mountain passes, seven of them over 16,000 feet. In addition to the risks inherent on at times precarious trails and from unpredictable weather, the height of the mountain passes makes altitude sickness a very real - and potentially fatal - danger. More people have climbed Mount Everest than have completed the Snowman Trek, Fewer than 120 people a year attempt the trek; less than 50 percent finish. Or, as one of author Kevin Grange’s fellow trekkers put it, "Everybody cries at some point on the Snowman Trek."
We start trekking at Shana at and walk through pine forests and along crystal clear streams and wild rivers, until we reach high pastureland, where we get the first view of the high peaks. During the 26 days we will cross over 11 passes (La), with Gophu La, being the highest with 5345 m. We will trek through uninhabited land, meet the occasional herdsman and spend some time with the friendly people in the settlements of Lingshi, Laya and Lunana.
Our pack animals will be ponies, horses, donkeys and yak depending on our route and altitude. In low altitude we will be using ponies, donkeys and horses, whereas yaks are a must for the high passes. We have to be prepared for cold, heat, wind, snow and rain as well as for the crossing of several streams. The following trekking itinerary is designed to ensure that you will get enough time for the necessary acclimatization during the first days of trekking and a pace, which allows you to fully enjoy your walk through the spectacular mountain scenery of Bhutan.
Day 1 – Bangkok to ParoAfter arrival in Paro, your guide will receive you and bring you to your hotel to refresh. After lunch you visit Paro Dzong, known as Rinchen Pung or Rinpung Dzong, which means ‘fortress on a heap of jewels’. It is one of the most impressive and well-known Dzongs in Bhutan. Ta Dzong was built as a watchtower to Paro Dzong. It was renovated in 1968 and converted into the National Museum.
Day 2 - ParoDrive to Chele La Pass at 3988 m, the highest motorable pass in Bhutan. From here we will have an excellent view on the Bhutan Himalaya. We will have a picnic on the pass and will brief you for the Snowman Trek.
Day 3 - ParoAn early start is necessary today to climb to Taktsang Monastery, known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’, which is one of the most famous and venerated places of pilgrimage in the country. It is perched on the side of a steep cliff about 900 metres above the floor of Paro valley. This day tour will get you into trekking mood for the next day. After Taktsang you will see Drukgyel Dzong. The Dzong was named ‘Druk’ (Bhutan) ‘Gyel’ (victory) to commemorate the victory of Bhutan over Tibetan invaders in 1644. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built Drukgyel Dzong in 1649. Later in the afternoon visit to Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most beautiful monasteries in the country built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. Preparation for our trek.
Day 4: We drive from Paro via Drukyel Dzong to Shana from where our trekking starts. Today we will trek to Soi Thangthanka (3575 m) / 6-7 hrs.
Day 5: Soi Thangthanka to Jangothang (Jhomolhari Camp) (4044 m) / 4-5 hrs.
Day 6: Jangothang to Lingshi (4010 m) via Nyile La (4890 m) / 5-6 hrs.
Day 7: Lingshi to Chebisa (3990 m) / 3-4 hrs.
Day 8: Rest day in Lingshi
Day 9: Chebisa to Shakyapasang (4000 m) via Gombu La (4440 m) / 5 hrs.
Day 10: Shakyapasang to Robluthang (4160 m) via Jare La (4785 m) / 7-8 hrs.
Day 11: Robluthang to Limithang (4160 m) via Sinche La (5000 m) / 6-7 hrs.
Day 12: Limithang to Laya (3800 m) / 4 hrs. / 9 km
Day 13: Rest day in Laya
Day 14: Laya to Rodophu (4215 m) / 7-8 hrs.
Day 15: Rodophu to Narethang (4940 m) via Tsemo La (4905 m) / 7 hrs.
Day 16: Narethang to Tarina (3938 m) via Karakachu La (5020 m) / 7-8 hrs.
Day 17: Tarina to Woche (3905 m) and Kesha La Camp (4163 m) / 5-6 hrs.
Day 18: Kesha La Camp to Lhedi (3900 m) via Keche La (4666 m) / 5 hrs.
Day 19: Lhedi to Thanza (4100 m) / 3-4 hrs.
Day 20: Rest day in Thanza
Day 21: Thanza to Tsorim (4870 m) / 3,5-4 hrs.
Day 22: Tsorim to Saram (4900 m) via Gophu La (5345 m) / 7,5 hrs.
Day 23: Saram to Minchugang (4210 m) / 7 hrs.
Day 24: Minchugang to Uruthang (4455 m) via Phodrang La (4652 m), Sake Le (4820 m) and Uruthang La (4780 m) / 5 hrs.
Day 25: Uruthang to Dur Tsachu (3310 m) via Nephu La (4495 m) / 6 hrs.
Day 26: Dur Tsachu to Tsochenchen (3920 m) via Gongto La (4327 m) and Djule La (4550 m) / 7-8 hrs.
Day 27: Tsochenchen to Chuzombe (3290 m) / 6 hrs.
Day 28: Chuzombe to Dur (2688 m) / 4-5 hrs. You will be received in Dur village by our vehicle and driven to your hotel in Jakar, Bumthang.
Day 29 - Bumthang ValleyJakar, the main town of the Dzongkhag, lies in Chokhor valley at an elevation of 2580 m. Bumthang is an important centre of Buddhism and several significant Lhakhang, Goembas and Monasteries as well as the annual festivals are worth a visit. We will visit several places: Tamshing Goemba is the most important Nyingma Goemba in Bhutan, establishes in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. Kurjey Lhakhang is a large and important temple complex and one of the most sacred monasteries in Bhutan. It was built by the Guru Rinpoche in 1652. Beside the Monastery is a tall cypress tree, which is believed to have sprouted from the walking stick of Guru Rinpoche. Jambay Lhakhang built in 659 by the Tibetan King Sontsen Gampo to pin down a demoness who was obstructing the spread of Buddhism. The Jambay Lhakhang Drup is one of the most colourful festivals in Bhutan, takes place in October. Jakar Dzong is pitched on a high ground overlooking the town. It was built as a monastery in 1549 by the great-grandfather of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Ngagi Wangchuck. The Cheese and Beer Factory was established by a Swiss development project.
Day 30 - Bumthang to ThimphuOn our drive to Thimphu, we will have several stops to see some of the sites along the road.
Day 31 - ThimphuOne day sightseeing in Thimphu will allow us to see several places. The National Institute for Zorig Chusum, which means the “13 traditional arts” of Bhutan, is commonly known as the Painting School. The students follow a comprehensive course that starts with drawing, painting, woodcarving, embroidery and statue making. The Royal Textile Academy is worth a visit to experience Bhutan’s living national art of weaving. Techniques and styles of the local costumes and textiles made by man and women across Bhutan are on display. Changangkha Lhakhang is located in Motithang above Thimphu town. It was established in the 12th century and the central statue is Chenresig in an 11-headed, thousand-armed manifestation. Visit to the 51.5 meter high Buddha Dordenma Statue. For the remaining day you can explore Thimphu town, shop some souvenirs and mingle with the people. You will enjoy the evening with a visit and traditional dinner at the Folk Heritage Museum. The museum replicates a traditional farmhouse and is designed and furnished how many rural Bhutanese still live today.
Day 32 - Departure from ParoEarly drive from Thimphu to Paro and departure to your next destination.
- 7 nights in double or single room occupancy in minimum 3 star hotels in Bhutan. If you would like to stay in 4 or 5 star hotel, please let us know.
- 24 nights in comfortable dome tents.
- All group camping equipment.
- All meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes lunch will be pack lunch or a picnic.
- Full time English speaking licensed Bhutanese trekking guide during your travel in Bhutan.
- All internal road transport in comfortable vehicle.
- All entry fees.
- Group medical kit.
- All park entrance fees and trekking permits.
- Animals to carry 20kgs personal equipment.
- Return flight from Bangkok to Paro/Bhutan in economy class. There are also flights to Bhutan from Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Guwahati and Singapore. The trip cost will change accordingly.
- Visa fee and services for Bhutan.
- All internal taxes.
- A sustainable tourism Royalty of US$ 65 per person per night. This Royalty goes towards free education and free healthcare and poverty alleviation.
- Alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, tips, laundry
- International flights from your home destination to Bangkok and back. We are happy to assist you in arranging this flight.
- Insurances, Travel insurance, health insurance.