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We have shown the itinerary on the basis of a complete holiday purely for illustrative purposes. Naturally as tailor-made Bhutan holiday specialists we would be happy to discuss additional options, whether it be other activities, more/less sightseeing, alternative/upgraded accommodation etc dependent upon your interests, preferences and time available. We even tailor-make a suggested 'what to pack' list for you based upon your ultimately chosen Bhutan tailor-made holiday too.
Day 1 - Arrive Paro. Transfer to Paro Hotel
It’s usually a private vehicle transfer of just under 2hrs to reach the trailhead at Shana (2860m). From here you walk up through forest to a clearing, which is the site of tonight’s camp. Walking time approx. 3hrs.
Following the course of a river upstream you walk up through pine forests, with the occassional stream crossing. There are both ascents and descents during today’s walk, but more in the way of ascent. Reaching a bridge at around 3560m the trail becomes quite steep as you climb up to where two valleys meet. Passing a chorten and over another bridge camp (3575m) is by the Paro Chu River and is reached in a further 30 mins. Walking time approx. 4-5hrs.
It’s around 5-6hrs of hiking today to reach Jangothang, sometimes referred to as Chomolhari Base Camp. It’s mostly gradual ascent with some steeper sections to eventually emerge above the trees line and into open yak pastures. Camp (4104m) beneath Chomolhari is the most spectacular location so far. But, there will be more. Walking time approx. 5-6hrs.
Before moving on an acclimatisation day is essential. There are several walking options to aid with the acclimatisation process possible today, all with the aim of “climb up to descend and sleep low”.
A hard, long day. It’s a stiff climb out of camp and this continues most of the way to reach the Nyela La (4850m). There are good views of Chomolhari and Jitchu Drake to occupy your mind during this ascent. The descent is also steep to begin with, but eases a little as you head along a ridge and then drop down into forest once more to camp (4150m) by a river. Walking time approx.6-7hrs.
Walking up to Linsghi Dzong you follow a path that contours the mountain side to reach the impressively located village of Gang Yul with a 300m cliff hanging over it. There are views of the peaks of Basingthang and particularly Tserim Kang before descending to Gang Yul. From this village of just 10-15 homes a further hour leads you into a very scenic valley and to pass an impressive waterfall. Camp at Chebisa (3850m) is by a river and from here you could walk into Tibet in just a matter of a few hours. Walking time approx.5-6hrs.
At 4405m, the Gobu La is your next pass to negotiate. It’s ascent all the way and takes around 4hrs to reach the pass. Needless to say there are some great mountain views from the pass from where you descend into rhododendron forests and to the Shagipasa River. Here the trail then heads along the hill side before rising sharply into a small, side valley to camp at Somothang (3985m). Walking time approx.6-7hrs.
Although this is a long and challenging day it is arguably one of the most stunning walking days too. It’s a long ascent all the way up to the Jhari La (4725m). From the pass you’ll see tomorrows objective the Shinge La, which looks a long way away. Dropping down steeply from the pas it’s back into forest once more and after wading across a small river, camp (4210m) is about 40mins further. A tough 7-8hrs walking.
Another tough day. It’s a slog of around 5hrs to reach the Shinge La (4900m) initially following an obvious yak trail and the final climb to the pass is rather a challenge. But, there are good views of Gangchentak as compensation. Crossing the prayer flagged pass, what goes up must come down (eventually) and you descend into the Laya region, all the way down into a valley and past a glacial moraine lake to camp by a river at around 4100m. Walking time approx. 6-8hrs.
A bit shorter today and a particularly beautiful walk through forests of pine and juniper to reach Laya (3800m), the largest village you’ll encounter on the Snowman trek. Renowned for their pointed headwear and turquoise jewellery, as well as their welcoming nature you should be able to explore this fascinating village in the afternoon. Walking time approx.4-5hrs.
Beginning to now head south, today is quote a longish trekking day. Although most of today is generally downhill and losing elevation, there are sections of uphill too as you make your way through the Mo Chu Gorge mostly through dense forests and generally following the course of the Mo Chu River to camp at Koena (3250m). Walking time is around 7-8hrs.
There’s one final pass to cross, the 3910m Bale La. It’s mostly gradual climbing, but there are some steeper sections and at times it may well be rather muddy underfoot. But, from the pass it’s virtually downhill all the way and you may see the Dzong above Ghasa on the way down. The hot springs just below the town of Ghasa may well be worth a visit to soak your now Laya trekked body. If possible you’ll camp by the springs (about an hours walk from Ghasa). It’s also worth mentioning that these final two days of trekking may be affected by road building between Laya and Ghasa. Tonight’s final camp is at around 2750m and the walking today is around 7hrs.
You can’t really come to Bhutan without seeing the Tigers Nest. It’s actually a stiff 2hr walk up through woodland and a rather steep climb of around 350m ascent it is too. Thankfully there’s a teahouse at one of the classic Taktsang Monastery view points where you can rest and refresh before a further 30 minutes of climbing brings you to Takstang (3110m) itself. On the final climb you pass what is probably the most famous view point that looks directly across to the monastery. It’s usually possible to enter the monastery, but if there’s something going on at the monastery (religious/VIP visit) then it may not be possible. Heading steeply down a descent of around 100m leads into a gorge before climbing back up to the main monastery gate, from which it’s down to the valley floor and your ride “home”. Walking time is around 4-5hrs with around 750m of ascent and descent.
Detailed Example Itinerary