Snowman Trek Bhutan

The hardest trek in the world!

The Snowman Trek in Bhutan is the ultimate Himalayan trekking challenge. Dubbed the hardest trek in the world, the Snowman Trek is designed for experienced hikers who have already completed other high altitude treks.

This spectacular 30-day Journey incorporates a 24 night trek, crossing thirteen high Himalayan passes, taking trekkers deep into central Bhutanese Himalayas.

The Snowman Trek is an extension of the beautiful Laya Gasa Trek offering two possible routes, one ending in Bumthang and the other in Punakha.


US$8,445*

29 - 30 NIGHT tour
DEPARTS: paro, bhutan

Availability: late September - mid-October, April - May
Minimum group size: 1 (subject to surcharges)

* Price based on twin-share accommodation. Single-room supplement available for US$65 per night, subject to availability. Please note that groups of two people will also need to pay a two-person supplement.
Find out approximate trip price in your own currency here.

TRIP EXCLUSIONS

  • International airfare to Bhutan. (This can be arranged for you. Please contact us for details)

  • Stopover hotel if needed

  • Comprehensive travel insurance. Click here for an insurance quote

  • Additional activities (e.g. massage, hot stone bath)

  • Alcoholic or soft drinks

  • Laundry

  • Tips for guide or driver

Trip Inclusions

  • Transport by private mini bus

  • All meals, mineral water, tea and coffee

  • 4 nights handpicked hotel accommodation (5 nights if via Bumthang)

  • 24 nights fully serviced camping trek

  • All entrance fees at monasteries and museums

  • Bhutan visa, Bhutan government tourism royalties and local taxes

  • English-speaking Bhutanese guide

 

ITINERARY

 

DAY 1

Arrive in Paro, Bhutan: Your journey begins in the beautiful Paro Valley, where you’ll stay in a charming Bhutanese-style hotel located on the edge of a forest. You will be met at the airport by your guide. Visit the charming town centre of Paro and the famous wooden Nyamai Zam Bridge. Visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang temple, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan in the afternoon.
Overnight: Paro
Altitude: 2,200 m

DAY 2

Paro to Sharna Zampa: Tiger's Nest excursion. An unforgettable hike to the Taktshang Gomba (Tiger’s Nest Monastery). The hike is 3-4 hours, and reaches 3,120 metres altitude. The monastery clings to the side of a steep cliff 300 meters above the Paro Valley. The trek to Tiger’s Nest is spectacular and not quite as hard as you may expect. This is the perfect acclimatisation hike before the start of your trek. Drive to the start of the trek at Gunitsawa. From here it’s a short 1 hour walk to reach Sharna Zampa, where you’ll camp for the night.
Driving time: 3 hrs
Walking time: 1 hrs       
Overnight: Sharna Zampa Camp
Altitude: 2,850 m

DAY 3

Trek from Sharna Zampa  to Thangthangkha: Today is going to be a big day of hiking as the trail passes over lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley, the valley finally narrows gradually to a path which descends to a meadow where a camp will be set up. From here, if weather permits, you will have the first great view of Mt. Jomolhari .
Walking time: 8-9 hrs  
Overnight: Thangthankgka Camp
Altitude:  3,610 m

DAY 4

Trek from Thangthangkha to Jangothang: You are now entering "yak country”. Yaks are utilized for pack animals as well as supplying cheese, milk, tea, meat and yak hair for weaving of huts, blankets, clothes, backpacks and hats. Burley and huge, the yak plays a significant role in Bhutanese history. Remote villages are dotted throughout this area. A stone and log bridge provides access to Jangothang. There are unparalleled views of snowy peaks from the eastern side of the valley.
Walking time: 5-6 hrs
Overnight: Jangothang Camp
Altitude: 4,080 m

DAY 5

Jangothang: Rest day with day hike. It’s very important at the higher altitudes to keep acclimatizing and giving your body time to adjust.
Overnight: Jangothang Camp
Altitude: 4,080 m

DAY 6

Trek from Jangothang to Lingshi: The trail climbs gradually to Nyili La Pass (4680m). Broad yak pastures can be seen along the length of the route. If the weather is clear, there is an excellent view of Lingshi Dzong as we descend into the Lingshi basin. Tserim Kang and its descending glaciers can be seen at the north end of the valley.
Walking time: 7-8 hrs
Overnight: Lingshi Camp
Altitude: 3,800 m

DAY 7

Trek from Lingshi to Chebisa: This is the shortest trekking day. Once we have reached our camp at Chebisa, it is possible to visit some village houses and a waterfall just behind the village.
Walking time: 5 hrs
Overnight: Chebisa Camp
Altitude: 3,910 m

DAY 8

Trek from Chebisa to Shomuthang: The trail goes through wild pastures where yaks graze. We cross the Gobu La Pass (4350m) before carrying on over undulating fields and rhododendron forest to reach Shomuthang. The camp is near a tributary to the Mo Chhu which emerges below the Gasa Tsachu (Hot Spring).
Walking time: 6-7 hrs
Overnight: Shomuthang Camp
Altitude: 4,220 m  

DAY 9

Trek from Shomuthang to Robkuthang: We start with a climb to Jhari La (4600 m) where we are rewarded with stunning views, then descend again through forest to Tsharithang, the valley where herds of takin can normally be seen. Today’s scenery is absolutely breath-taking. Cross the river and clamber up the hillside for an hour or so to camp at Robkuthang.
Walking time: 6-7 hrs
Overnight: Robkuthang Camp
Altitude 4,160 m 

DAY 10

Trek from Robkuthang to Limithang: After reaching the Shinge La Pass (4870m, the highest point of the trek), the path descends and goes through the valley. Limithang is in the Laya district where the locals will be seen wearing unique regional dress. Our camp is at Kang Che Da beneath Gang Chen Ta, the Great Tiger Mountain, at an altitude of 4,090m.
Walking time: 8 hrs
Overnight: Limithang
Altitude: 4,090 m

DAY 11

Trek from Limithang to Laya: The path goes downhill through a winding river valley and enters the eastern end of Laya village. You may even get the opportunity to make a phone call or check email from here as the village is well linked up with telecommunications!
Walking time: 4-5 hrs
Overnight: Laya Camp
Altitude: 3,820 m

DAY 12

Laya: Rest day to enjoy the village, and get to know the local lifestyle of the mountain people in this remote corner of the world.
Overnight: Laya Camp
Altitude: 3,820 m

DAY 13

Trek from Laya to Rodophu: 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 just next to the Rhodu Chhu.
Walking time: 6-8hrs
Overnight: Roduphu Camp
Altitude: 4,160m

Day 14

Trek from Rhodophu to 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 Drake, and the Tibetan border. The route then crosses a flat, barren plateau at about 5,000m. The campsite at Narethang is towered by the peak of Gangla Karchung (6,395m).
Walking time: 5-6hrs
Overnight: Narethang Camp
Altitude: 4,900m 

DAY 15

Trek from 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 (7,300m) can be seen. The pass descends along a large moraine. Again one has great views: a massive glacier descends from Teri Kang to a deep turquoise lake at its foot. Up here a glacial lake burst through its dam in the early 1960s, causing widespread damage and partially destroying Punakha Dzong. Finally, it is a very long descent through thick rhododendron to Tarina valley, where you will find several good campsites along the Tang Chhu.
Walking time: 5-6hrs
Overnight: Tarina Camp
Altitude: 3,970m 

Day 16

Trek from 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, the first village in the Lunana region.
Walking time: 6-7hrs
Overnight: Woche Camp
Altitude: 3,910m

Day 17

Trek from Woche - Lhedi: The trek starts 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. After the pass, descend to the riverside walking through a village with a stunning view of Table Mountain and others. Follow up the river till Lhedi Village. Lhedi has a basic health unit, a school and a wireless telephone connection.
Walking time: 6-7hrs
Overnight: Lhedi Village Camp
Altitude: 3,700m

Day 18

Trek from 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 Table Mountain which forms a 3,000m high wall of snow and ice behind the village. Although there are possibilities to camp directly at Thanza, most groups prefer to camp in Thoencha.
Walking time: 7-8hrs
Overnight: Thoencha Camp
Altitude: 4,150m

Day 19

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. This day is also needed to arrange new yaks for the remainder of the trek (the yaks which accompanied you from Laya will not go further than Thanza).
Overnight: Thoencha Camp
Altitude: 4,150m

At this point there are two options to complete the Snowman Trek. The first route continues to the Phobjikha Valley where you will visit Punakha and Thimpu after the trek is complete. The second route finishes at Bumthang in Central Bhutan. After the trek is complete you will explore the beautiful Bumthang Valley before flying to Paro. Both route options are outlined below.

Snowman Trek Route One, ending in Phobjikha

Day 20:

Trek from Thanza - Danji: From Thoencha, the trail climbs up to a large boulder from where you will have excellent views of Thanza, Toencha and Choso village and the surrounding mountains. After a few hours of relatively flat and easy walking, you will reach a yak meadow with some yak herders’ huts. It is an excellent campsite with a great chance to spot some blue sheep on the hills above. A trail junction near the campsite gives you the choice between the routes up to Gangkhar Puensum base camp, and further on to Bumthang or to Sephu village which is near Phobjika.
Walking time: 4hrs
Overnight: Danji Camp
Altitude: 4540m

Day 21

Trek from Danji - Tsho Chena: Having chosen the route to Sephu (which is near Phobjikha), the trek crosses the creek and after a long climb, you will reach Jaze La (5,150m) with spectacular panoramic mountain views. The path then descends between snow covered peaks and a couple of small lakes to the campsite near the Shore of Tsho Chena Lake.
Walking time: 5hrs
Overnight: Tsho Chena Lake Camp
Altitude: 4960m

Day 22

Trek from Tsho Chena - Jichu Dramo: You follow the bank of the blue green lake before arriving at a ridge at 5,100m, where there is another spectacular view in all directions. After going up and down over small hills to reach a glacial lake, the route descends first before climbing again up the next pass, the Loju La (5,140m). Finally after crossing a small saddle (5,100m) you will enter a wide glacial valley from where the trail descends gradually to the campsite at Jichu Dramo.
Walking time: 7 – 8hrs
Overnight: Jichu Dramo Camp
Altitude: 5060m 

Day 23

Trek from Jichu Dramo - Chukarpo: Right after leaving the camp you will climb through a moraine to Rinchen Zoe La (5,320m). Spectacular mountain scenery with Gangkhar Puensum amongst the impressive mountains is the reward for climbing the highest pass on this trek route and Rinchen Zoe Peak (5,650) towers above the pass the west. Descending from the pass, the route leads into a wide valley with several lakes and goes steeply down along a moraine to the Thamphe Chhu. Here the vegetation begins to thicken again and you will see the first real trees since Lhedi. After a couple of hours you reach the campsite at Chukarpo.
Walking time: 8hrs
Overnight: Chukarpo Camp
Altitude: 4850m

Day 24

Trek from Chukarpo - Thampoe Tsho: The descent continues along the river till you reach the yak herder huts at Gala Pang Chhu (4010m). From here the trail climbs steeply towards Thampe Tsho, a beautiful clear turquoise lake, with the campsite next to it.
Walking time: 5–6hrs
Overnight: Thampe Tsho Lake Camp
Altitude: 4355m

Day 25

Trek from Thampoe Tsho - Maurothang: From the lake you climb steeply to the last pass on your trek, the Thampe La (4,600m) with a good chance to spot some blue sheep on the way. Then the path descends to the sacred lake Om Thso. Passing a waterfall you will reach another, smaller lake 100m below to descend steeply to the Nikka Chhu. The path finally leads through mixed forest to large clearing on the banks of the river with a few yak herder huts, Maurothang.
Walking time: 5–6hrs
Overnight: Maurothang Camp
Altitude: 3698m

Day 26

Trek Ends. Trek from Maurothang - Phobjikha: On the last day of this extraordinary trek the path follows the Nikka Chhu to reach a large grassy area overlooking the road and the village of Sephu. You finally reach the road at the Nikka Chhu Bridge at Sephu where you will find several stores and small restaurants. Here, your vehicle will drive you to Phobjikha. Check into your hotel and relax for the rest of the day.
Walking time: 5–6hrs
Overnight: Hotel, Phobjikha
Altitude: 1,242m

DAY 27

Punakha: After breakfast, visit the impressive Gangtay Monastery dating from the early 17th century, one of the two main centres of the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism in Bhutan. Continue towards the fertile Punakha valley, visiting the Temple of Fertility at Chimi Lhakhang and the beautiful Punakha Dzong.
Driving time: 3hrs
Overnight: Punakha
Altitude: 1,242 m

Day 28

Thimphu: Drive via the Dochu La Pass (3,140 m) into Thimpu, the charming little capital of Bhutan. Sight-seeing in Thimpu can include a visit to the School of Traditional Arts and Crafts, the best place to see traditional arts being created or the colourful Textile Museum.
Driving time: 3 hrs
Overnight: Thimpu
Altitude: 2,320 m

DAY 29 

Paro: Sight-seeing in Thimpu can include a visit to the Great Buddha Dordenma, an immense golden Buddha statue housing a monastery. Explore the Folk Heritage Museum displaying traditional Bhutanese life or see Bhutan’s unique national animal, the Takin, at the Takin reserve. Drive to Paro in the afternoon.
Driving time: 1.5hrs
Overnight: Paro
Altitude: 2,200 m

DAY 30

Depart Paro

Snowman Trek Route Two, ending in Bumthang

Day 20:

Trek from 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. After lunch, hike up hill towards the left side of the bridge to enjoy the view of snow-capped mountains. You reach the campsite of Tshorim after climbing more ridges.
Walking time: 8-9hrs
Overnight: Tshorim Camp
Altitude: 5,120m 

Day 21

Tshorim – Gangkhar Puensum Base Camp: This is one of the highlights of the trek 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. After the pass descend to the base camp, walking along the ridge to enjoy a great view of Gangkhar Puensum. If interested, one can divert to the left side to climb up the Pyramid Peak for a better view or you can go down to the base camp nearby Sha Chhu.
Walking time: 6-7hrs
Overnight: Gangkhar Puensum Base Camp
Altitude: 4,970m  

Day 22

Gangkar Puensum Base Camp – Geshe Woma: The trail further follows the Sha Chhu and descends gradually to Geshe Woma.
Walking time: 6–7hrs
Overnight: Geshe Woma Camp
Altitude: 4,200m  

Day 23

Geshe Woma – 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. After having lunch nearby a yak herders’ camp you climb up to Saka La (4,800m). The path then descends to a couple of lakes and another short ascent is stunning. Scenery once again is beautiful with small lakes and the mountain peaks.
Walking time: 8-9hrs
Overnight: Warathang Camp
Altitude: 4,000m

Day 24

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. These hot springs, where Guru Padmasambhava is supposed to have taken bath, might be the most stunningly beautiful hot springs of the Himalayas. You might want to spend an extra day at Duer Tsachu.
Walking time: 5hrs
Overnight: Duer Tsachu
Altitude: 3,590m

Day 25

Duer Tsachu - Tshochenchen: From the hot springs it is a long and steady climb again with great views of mountains in Lunana. You will also come across blue lakes and yak herder huts.
Walking time: 8–9hrs
Overnight: Tshochenchen
Altitude: 3,850m  

Day 26

Trek Ends: Tshochenchen – Duer Village - Bumthang
This is the last day of this extraordinary trek and your porters change from yaks to horses. The trek ends when you arrive at Duer village.

After farewell to the trekking crew, you will be picked up by your vehicle from Duar village and driven to a comfortable resort in Bumthang. Relax for the rest of the day.
Overnight: Hotel, Bumthang
Altitude: 2,800 m

Day 27

Bumthang: Sightseeing in one of the most beautiful and sacred valleys in Bhutan. Visit Jambay Lhakhang built in the 7th century and Kurje Lhakhang, a large, active temple complex. Leisurely explore charming Bumthang town.
Overnight: Hotel, Bumthang
Altitude: 2,800 m

Day 28

Paro: Take the short flight to Paro. Visit the Dzong and the National Museum. In the afternoon enjoy a game of archery with your guide or explore the town.
Overnight: Hotel, Paro
Altitude: 2,200 m

Day 29

Depart Paro

 

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