Lunana Snowman Trekking - 30 Days
Lunana snowman trekking goes up to the remote Lunana district in northern Bhutan and is considered as the toughest trek in the country of distances, altitudes and its solitude. Bhutan for a long time the "Forbidden Kingdom", still limits the number of tourists visiting the country, to protect the cultural heritage and preservation of natural wealth and beauty is still the number one priority of the country. The snowman trek is considered to be the most challenging trek and of the longest duration in Bhutan. This trek provides an in depth look of the unspoiled and old traditional lifestyle of the Bhutanese; not only the grandiose mountain views and alleys of the Himalya region but also the lifestyle of the mountain people living in harmony with nature and gods.
For the snowman trek one must be in top physical condition to be able to make Lunana snowman trekking. Flexibility and patiente is required at times especially when one confronts logistic problems arising with yaks and horses. While on trek one is expected not to distributed sweets, pen/pencil etc to children and villagers also.
Trek Level: Most Challenging
Season : May to June and September to October
Day 1 Arrive Paro:
The flight into Paro brings breathtaking views of the Himalayan Mountains. If the weather permits you will be able to see Mountain Everest (8848 meters) and other Himalayan mountains. The landing, flying through the Paro valley between the 4000 meters high mountains, starts your day in an unforgettable way! Our representative welcome to you in Bhutan and drive you through the beautiful valley of Paro to the hotel you will be staying. This beautiful valley is home to many Bhutan's oldest monasteries and temples. The country's only airport is in Paro. The valley is also home to Mountain Chomolhari(7,300 meters) situated at the northern end of the valley whose glacier water forms the Pachu flowing through the valley. Afternoon you will visit Ta Dzong (watch tower) it served as a watch tower during the 17th century to guard the region from the Tibetan invasion. It was converted to the National Museum in 1968. It houses a fine collection of Bhutanese art, relics, religious thankas, Kichu Lhakhang(Monastery) it is one of the two most sacred and the oldest temples in Bhutan. It was built in 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo, Rimpung Dzong (fortress of the heap of jewels) it was built during the time of Zhabdrung (deeply revered to this day as dynamic political and spiritual leader) in 1644. It houses both administrative and monastic bodies. Overnight Paro Hotel.
Day 2 In Paro:
Morning take an acclimatization hike to the famous Taktshang Monastery (Tiger's nest), this is Bhutan?s most recognizable cultural icon perched 800 meters up a seemingly sheer cliff. Although it was tragically and mysteriously consumed by fire in April 1998 it has now been restored to its former glory, Visit Farmhouse Bhutan is justly not famous for its cuisine, which is somewhat predictable. Eating at a local farmhouse at least gives a slightly different variation. Overnight Paro Hote
Day 3 Trek start Paro to Shana:
Drive to the end of the motor road at Drukgyel Dzong to begin the trek. Todays trail follows the river uphill through a narrow agricultural valley as far as the border army camp at about 2890 meters. (15 kilometers, 5 hours walk).
Day 4 Shana to Soi Thangthangkha:
The path from Shana ascends through the river valley with pine and rhododendron forests. On the way, there is a fantastic view of Mount Jomolhari. We will camp in a meadow with a stone shelter at an altitude of about 3575 meters. (22 kilometers, 6 to 7 hours walk)
Day 5 Soi Thangthangkha to Jangothang:
The trail continues to follow the river and passes a small army post where the valley begins to widen again. Views of high ridges and snow-capped peaks can be seen on all sides. At this altitude (about 4040 meters) it is possible to see yaks and yak herders. Camp is beneath a ruined fortress at the base of Mountain Jomolhari. (Altitude: 4044 meters 17 kilometers, 5 hours walk)
Day 6 Jangothang - Halt:
It's possible to walk to Tsophu and fish or hike in various directions: towards Mountain Jomolhari and its subsidiary to the west, Jichu Drake to the north and unclaimed summits and ridges to the east.
Day 7 Jangothang to Lingshi:
The trail climbs gradually to Nyili La Pass (4680 meters). 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. The Lingshi area has 118 households and about 300-400 people, some of whom live a great distance from Lingshi. There also used to be some Tibetan refugees. (5 to 6 hours walk, distance 21 kilometers, camp at an altitude 4010 meters).
Day 8 Lingshi to Chebisa:
Leaving Lingshi village behind, the most pleasant walk of the whole trek starts on a wide trail located high above the valley floor. The hill sides are partly covered by the medicinal plants. The track descends into a side valley to a village called Goyok. Take time to study the yak people when they take the luggage and saddles off their animals. The yaks are then chased up the hill so that they graze their way down to camp during the night. (Altitude 3990 meters, 3 to 4 hours walk)
Day 9 Chebisa to Shakyapasang:
Beware of the dogs while crossing the village. After the village a stiff, steep climb of about 450 meters up a grassy slope leads to a peak called Inela. During the climb you might see herds of blue sheep, bearded vulture. Later, the hike descends through a forest on a wet trail and we will approach by the river. (Altitude 4000 meters, 14 kilometers, 5 hours walk).
Day 10 Shakyapasang to Robluthang:
The day starts with a climb of about 200 meters, after which the trail levels and changes from a southerly to an easterly direction. The area is full of Yak herder huts. You will come across a swampy area where there is a big river, where the bridge will be hopefully found in place. The herders have to rebuild the bridge almost every year, so be prepared to cross the river, which can be cold and powerful depending on the time of the year. A steep 40 minutes climb will lead to a nice campsite. (Altitude:4160 meters, 16 kilometers, 7 hours walk).
Day 11 Robluthang to Limithang:
Start early so as to enjoy the best possible view from the pass. The trail crosses some small streams and you will come across a platform with lots of prayer flags. From here a large glacial valley opens up leading to the east and finally to today?s pass. When we follow the trail you will hear shrill noises which are of marmots, whose holes can be seen everywhere, the hill sides here are covered with medicinal plants. The campsite is through a beautiful cedar forest, with Great Tiger Mountain looming over camp. (Altitude: 4160 meters above sea level, 16 kilometers, 7 hours walk).
Day 12 Limithang to Laya:
You will follow the valley down parallel to the Timuchang Chhu through a cedar and then fir forest. Yak people from Laya might overtake with their yaks carrying loads of smuggled goods. About 30 minutes before reaching Laya, there is a clear split in the trail. The left fork is better, after some small ups and downs and crossing a ridge you reach a chorten and a prosperous Laya village appears before you. (Altitude: 3800 meters above sea level, 9 kilometers, 4 hours walk).
Day 13 Rest Day in Laya:
It's a rest day whereby you can check your supplies and final arrangements will be made between the guide and a yak/horse contractor. Laya village is worth a visit. There are numerous temples and lakes which you can visit. Laya people regard and highly respect lakes as their deities' therefore it strictly prohibited to swim or throw stones into the lakes. You will also come across people playing archery with traditional bows. Laya women unlike other women in the country have a very unique way of dressing themselves.
Day 14 Laya to Rodophu:
Since you have reigned your strength, enjoyed village dwellings and a dancing show by Laya ladies, today?s trail follows through fields and clusters of houses. Later you will climb steeply through the forest on a muddy trail whereby Bhutanese/Austrian project are underway to control the glacial lakes. Leave the Mo Chhu behind and move into a narrow valley to the East. The trail continues through the forest finally coming to the campsite after crossing a small bridge. From the camp so many snow capped peaks can be seen. (Altitude: 4215 meters above sea level, 14.5 kilometers, 7 hours walk).
Day 15 Rodophu to Narethang:
Today you will cross the Rodophu Chhu climbing steeply upward for about 45 minutes. You will then come across open valley where vegetation is mainly alpine herbs, grasses, moss and lichen. The trail continues for 3 to 4 hours between 4900 meters and 5000 meters along a big, generally flat, barren plateau with a few ups and downs. You will camp next to spectacular Gangla Karchung Mountain and at this altitude one feels almost like an alpine bivouac. (Altitude: 4940 meters, distance: 16 kilometers, 7 hours walk).
Day 16 Narethang to Tarina:
Today's trail is a climb towards Karkachu La. Staff will be carrying warm pack lunches for you. After crossing the pass you will be into Lunana area. This pass gets closes in winter for months due to snow and even in monsoon. You will then be rewarded with a spectacular view of three lakes and mountains. You will also come across long and sometimes steep descent and you will reach a stream known as Kephu. From here, a leisurely 2 hours walk follows the flat bottom of the valley to the campsite in Tarina. (Altitude: 3938 meters, distance: 16 kilometers, 7 hours walk).
Day 17 Tarina to Woche:
Today you will walk for around 1 hour parallel to the Tarina Chhu, surrounded by some beautiful water falls. Later the trail becomes muddy through the forest and after 30 minutes starts climbing steeply, crossing landslide areas. You might reach Woche village bit early and perhaps early for lunch also. Therefore we will move ahead to a good campsite which is around 1 hour 30 minutes. (Altitude: 4163 meters, distance: 14 kilometers, 6 hours walk).
Day 18 Woche to Lhedi:
Todays path is wide and sandy, with many small flowers and herbs, and a good view of Woche Chhu. Across the places there are several glacial lakes which brought disaster causing several damage downstream in 1090.With this glacial outburst Punakha Dzong (Fortress) was also partly destroyed. Later a 20 to 30 minutes short, steep climb leads to Lhedi. It is a small village with schools, BHU(Basic Health Unit) and radio wireless stations. (Altitude: 3900 meters, distance: 13 kilometers, 5 hours walk).
Day 19 Lhedi to Thanza:
Today's path follows through the last forest encountered for the next couple of days (fir and juniper). After a short walk a deep shaped valley in the north. There are numerous settlements that can be seen in the left, opposite and below. The path continues following the left bank of the Pho Chhu, crossing excellent view of Table Mountain. After some time you will come across a campsite in Thanza. These regions are abandoned during the harsh winter months. (Altitude: 4100 meters, distance: 17 kilometers, 6 hours walk).
Day 20 Rest Day in Thanza:
One day rest day in Thanza, a day to refresh, stretch and relax with some spectacular beauty of the nature has to offer. Guides and staff will arrange yaks to carry luggages as Yaks from Laya will return
Day 21 Thanza to Djundje via Tsho Chena:
Today's path follows a climb towards sparsely vegetated hill to the east, to a large square- looking boulder on a hill south of the village. There are some excellent views of mountains and Lunana. Later the path turns to south which is generally gentle and easy. The campsite is at 4960 meters besides one of the larger blue green lakes. (Altitude: 4540 meters, distance: 16 kilometers, 7 hours walk).
Day 22 Tsho Chena to Jichu Dramo:
Today's path follows a climb and you will climb the first of three passes at about 5100 meters. You will come across panoramic views of snow capes peaks. Watch out for snow partridges. You will now go through several trails leading to a next big lake whereby you will also see a carpet of blue and violet alpine flowers in full bloom. After the third pass you will come to the campsite and the vegetation around includes all kinds of herbal plants. (Altitude: 5060 meters, distance: 19.5 kilometers, 6 hours walk).
Day 23 Jichu Dramo to Tsho Tsho Tshang:
After crossing some moraines and a small stream, today?s path will be visible. Its a challenging climb to the highest pass of the trek (5326 meters). This starts with a gentle climb along two lakes. You will come across excellent views and mountains. Later a long descent starts into the broad, sometimes marshy valley. The trail will now flatten and there are several camps on the way finally reaching to the campsite. (Altitude: 4450 meters, distance: 19.5 kilometers, 8 hours walk).
Day 24 Tsho Tsho Tshang to Tampoe Tsho:
Today there are many stones to cross by hoping from stone to stone. The trail is very muddy and slippery at first, and later it is covered with boulders. Later there will be a steep climb through a forest of juniper and fir leaves the valley floor behind. A steep climb and a short walk parallel to the valley will lead you to a beautiful lake and next to the lake is your campsite. (Altitude: 4355 meters, distance: 9.5 15 kilometers, 6 hours walk).
Day 25 Tampoe Tsho to Maurothang:
Today it is a reasonable good climb to Tempe La (Pass 4665 meters), marked with usual prayer flags. It's a time to farewell to the high altitude with its fresh crispy air. You will now from the pass descend steeply and there you will come across Lunana people coming with winter supply. You will further descend to a place probably buzzing with activities. You will come across wild flowers and water falls. A good clear path will reach you to the campsite. (Altitude: 3698 meters, distance: 21 kilometers, 5 hours walk)
Day 26 Trek End Maurothang to Nikka Chhu to Trongsa:
Today is the last day of the trek. You will now bid farewell to the yak herders. The trail is easy. Several tributaries have to be crossed on various kinds of bridges, as well as a couple of clearings with some huts. Finally after a long time, the forest/jungle opens up with a view towards agricultural valley. Later you will come across motor road where your driver and car will be waiting to take you to your hotel where you will be staying tonight. (Altitude: 2627 meters, distance: 23.5 kilometers, 5 hours walk). Drive to Trongsa Altitude: 2200 meters above sea level.Trongsa forms the central hub of the kingdom and is historically the place from where attempts at unifying the country where launched. The following are some of the prominent places to visit in Trongsa. Overnight Trongsa Hotel.
Day 26 Trongsa to Punakha:
After breakfast we will start our drive Punakha. From Pele Pass we will take the left hand road to beautiful glacial valley of Phobjikha. This valley is the designated winter home for 100s of endangered black-necked crane that migrate here from the Tibetan plateaus. This valley is also known for produce of best potatoes in Bhutan. From the Phobjikha Pass we will start walking downhill to Gangtey Monastery. If you enjoy the nature then this is a beautiful walk. If lucky you may encounter the precious Red Panda and many bird species. We will visit the magnificent Gangtey Monastery that overlooks the valley. This monastery has recently under gone a major renovation. We will resume our drive to Punakha. It takes approximately 6 hours Overnight at hotel
Day 28 Punakha to Thimphu:
Thimphu is a bustling town on the banks of the Thimphu Chhu and set gloriously in the hills of the Thimphu valley. It is home to the Bhutanese Royal Family, the Royal Government to several foreign missions and development projects. Bhutan's only golf course, a nine-hole circuit, is situated next to the magnificent Tashichoo Dzong. Morning hike to Kham Sum Yule Lhakhang (Monastey),it was built by HRH Azhi (Queen) Tshering Pem Wangchuck for a successful rule during the reign of the present King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, Punakha Dzong (fortress) built in 1637 by Zhabdrung which is remarkably located between the rivers of Mo (Female) Chu (river) and Pho (Male) Chu. Later drive to the capital city Thimphu (2 hours 30 minutes drive. Overnight Thimphu Hotel
Day 29 In Thimphu:
Morning visit weekend market, market days are absolutely central to the lives of the Bhutanese and Morning hike to Cheri Monastery which is about 2hours. Afternoon visit Memorial Chorten this particular chorten was constructed in 1974 as a memorial for the third King of the country, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is regarded as the father of modern Bhutan, Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the glorious religion) houses the throne room of His Majesty the King, the main secretariat building and the central monk body, Mini zoo here we can see Bhutan?s national animal known as Takin. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family, and Sangaygang view point of Thimphu town. Overnight Thimphu Hotel
Day 30 Depart Thimphu to Paro Airport:
Early breakfast at the hotel and then Drive from Thimphu to Paro International airport to fly your onward destination
Note: Designed itinerary is a sample itinerary intended to give you a general idea of trip to Bhutan. We can create an itinerary to suit as your needs and interest one you give your interest and travel timeframe.