Snowman Trek I

Trip Overview

The Snowman Trek is an extension of the beautiful Laya Gasa Trek, and leads from Laya into high altitudes of the Bhutanese Himalayas. It takes tough and enduring trekkers into the Lunana region and further on to Gangkhar Puensum and Bumthang or down to Sephu in Trongsa district, depending on which route you choose. The Snowman trek leads through the most remote areas up to very high altitudes. Trekkers have to camp in altitudes above 5,000m more than once, and depending on the seasonal temperatures, the camps are sometimes on snow.

Duration: 25 days, Max. Elevation: 5,320m
Highest Camp: 5,050m
Standard: Hard
Best Seasons: Mid June to Mid October
Start: Gunitsawa Village, Paro Valley
Finish: Sephu (Trongsa)

Outline Itinerary

Day 1: Gunitsawa Village – Sharna Zampa

40mins, 80 m descent, camp altitude 2,850 m. This trek begins at Gunitsawa Village were you pass the army post. At the army checkpost your trek permit (provided by your tour operator) will be checked and endorsed. The campsite is on the opposite side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa.

Day 2: Sharna Zampa - Thangthangkha

Distance 22 km, 7-8 hours,  770 m ascent, 10 m descent, camp altitude 3,610 m. On this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley the valley finally narrows gradually to a mere path which descends to a meadow where a camp will b...

Day 3: Thangthangkha – Jangothang

Distance 19 km, 5-6 hours, 480 m ascent, camp altitude 4,080 m. If you did not see Mt. Jomolhari the previous evening, you will still have a chance to get a great view early this morning. This morning the trek continues up the Paro Chhu valley which widens into patches of alpine meadow and sc...

Day 4: Jangothang Halt

The rest day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views of lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley. Jangothang is a perfect environment for your acclimati...

Day 5: Jangothang – Lingshi

Distance 18 km, 6-7 hours, 840 m ascent, 870 m descent, camp altitude 4,010 m. This is one of the longest days of the trek.  A short distance from the camp the trail begins climbing rapidly for about half an hour and then becomes a gradual ascent to the Nyilila pass at 4,870m. While on the cl...

Day 6: Lingshi – Chebisa

Distance 10 km, 5-6 hours, 280 m ascent, 410 m descent, camp altitude 3,880 m. Today is the shortest walking day, and you can really take it easy. Shortly after starting you will reach a chorten below Lingshi Dzong. Here, you have the choice of staying on the main trail or taking a detour up ...

Day 7: Chebisa – Shomuthang

Distance 17 km, 6-7 hours, 890 m ascent, 540 m descent, camp altitude 4,220 m. The morning starts with a long ascent behind Chebisa Village (2-3 hours) through a wide pastureland towards Gobu La (pass). On the way, you will see a few people herding yaks. There is also a great chance to spot l...

Day 8: Shomuthang – Robluthang

Distance 18 km, 6-7 hours, 700 m ascent, 760 m descent, camp altitude 4,160 m. You begin by climbing up the valley to view Kang Bum (6,526 m) and some edelweiss. After two hours of climbing you will reach Jhari La (4,750m), from where you catch the first glimpse of Sinche La, the pass you wil...

Day 9: Robluthang – Limithang

Distance 19 km, 6-7 hours, 850 m ascent, 870 m descent, camp altitude 4,140 m. The trek starts out with an initial 40-60mins ascent before gradually raising for another 1.5 hours through a boulder field.  It is then a 1 hour steep ascent before reaching Sinche La (5,005m) – the final and high...

Day 11: Rest / Acclimatisation day in Laya

If you have trekked from Paro Valley you should spend a day recuperating from the trek to Laya and preparing yourself for the rest of this challenging but spectacular trek. If you have started from Gasa (Punakha) you should also walk up to Laya to acclimatize, and not just stay at the trail junct...

Day 12: Laya – Rhoduphu

  Distance 19km, six to eight hours, 1,030m ascent, 750m descent, camp altitude 4,160m. 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...

Day 13: Rhodophu – Narethang

  Distance 17km, five to six hours, 740m ascent, camp altitude 4,900m.   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 Jic...

Day 14: Narethang – Tarina

  Distance 18km, five to six hours, 270m ascent, 1,200m descent, camp altitude 3,970m.   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 an...

Day 15: Tarina – Woche

  Distance 17km, six to seven hours, 270m ascent, 330m descent, camp altitude 3,910m.   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 ...

Day 16: Woche - Lhedi

  Distance 17km, six to seven hours, 980m ascent, 1,190m descent, camp altitude 3,700m.   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. A...

Day 17: Lhedi - Thanza

  Distance 17km, seven to eight hours, 450m ascent, camp altitude 4,150m.   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 gre...

Day 18: 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. But as it takes time to arrange new yaks (the yaks from Laya will not go further than Thanza) you might have to spend one day at Thanza anyway.

Day 19: Thanza – Danji

Distance 8km, three to four hours, 80m ascent, camp altitude 4,230m.   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 ...

Day 20: Danji – Tshochena

Distance 12km, five to six hours, 980m ascent, 240m descent, camp altitude 4,970m.   Having chosen the route to Sephu, 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 pea...

Day 21: Tshochena – Jichu Dramo

Distance 14km, four to five hours, 230m ascent, 150m descent, camp altitude 5,050m. 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, th...

Day 22: Jichu Dramo – Chukarpo

Distance 18km, five to six hours, 320m ascent, 730m descent, camp altitude 4,600m.   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 hig...

Day 23: Chukarpo – Thampe Tsho

Distance 18km, five to six hours, 400m ascent, 700m descent, camp altitude 4,300m.   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 ...

Day 24: Thampe Tsho – Maurothang

Distance 14km, five hours, 330m ascent, 1020m descent, camp altitude 3,610m.   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 yo...

Day 25: Maurothang – Sephu

Distance 18km, five to six hours, 990m descent.   On the last day of this extraordinary trek your porters will have to change from yaks to horses as the yaks will not be willing to go further down. The path follows the Nikka Chhu to reach a large grassy area overlooking the road and the villa...

Snowman Trek I - Finish

Sephu

Begore you go

Accommodations and facilities:
There are limited choices of accommodations in Bhutan. With a few exceptions of highly over priced international chain properties, hotels in Bhutan are small with 15 to 20 rooms. The hotels have been categorized by local authorities as Star 1, 2 and 3, with 3 Star being on the top level 1Star at the bottom and naturally we have pick the 3 Star category hotels and resorts which are local architecture with Bhutanese décor, well maintained and staffed with the friendly locals. There is disparity in the rooms in most of the hotels and travelers of the same group may end up in two different types of rooms although you have paid the same amount. You will have private bathroom with 24 hour running cold and hot water. They provide some fundamental toiletry supplies but hair dryers, iron and ironing board etc may not be available. Hotels in Paro and Thimphu do have internet access in office or reception areas. There are some new deluxe properties and international chain resorts which are above the traditional classification criteria and in the higher side in terms of price and can be booked with supplemental cost. Hotel listed on the itinerary are suggestions only and during peak season and tours timed with festival, we may not get the same hotels and in that case, we will book you in the similar property or upgrade you to the higher level.

Guide and Escorts:
Our Tour Guides are local individuals with college degree, government certification, experienced and with knowledge on the destination, history, culture and religion and most importantly they are easy going, detailed oriented, patient and high level of customer service skills. They will uncover the wonders of the destinations for you which you would never find on your own. They ensure that everything goes well with your tour without a hitch.

Vehicle:
We use good condition Toyota SUV and Toyota Coaches for all transfers and tours. Driver and guide is not the same person. Driver may speak little or no English but they know the road and are skillful to fix the problem in case of mechanical breakdowns. Depending on group size, we will use Japanese made Sedan cars, SUVs or minivan for entire transfers and tours.

International and Internal Flights:
All internal flights are part of travel plan and are locally booked by us. You will be emailed e-ticket receipts once the reservation is booked and tickets issued. But you have liberty to book your international airfare on your own. We can certainly help you book international flight if that originates from the city that you live in. Once you receive itinerary, it's your responsibility to verify the itinerary and reconfirm the schedules.

Visa and Permits:
Passport should be valid for 6 months or more at the time of travel. We will take care of Bhutan Visa and permits. Bhutan Visa Fees of USD 20 which will be collected with the Tour Payment in advance. You will need to provide a copy of your passport which should be sent to us by email for Bhutan Visa Processing. Bhutan visa is preprocessed by us and we will provide you a copy the Visa Approval Letter before your trip which you will need to present at Druk Air counter at the time you check in for flight to Bhutan. You will get actual visa seal on your passport upon arrival at Paro airport.

Trip Activity Level:
This trip is basically motor vehicle based sightseeing with some short hikes and village visits and suitable for all travelers with regular health conditions. When we are driving from one city to another, we will be driving from 3-6 hours with occasional stops for photography and for refreshments. Roads are narrow and some portions may be rough and damaged. The itinerary allows enough acclimatization for you and it's advisable that you should keep physically fit and start mild exercises like jogging, swimming, cycling or practice some aerobics about 2-3 months ahead of the trip. It's your responsibility to determine that you are fit for this trip and if you have any health conditions, please consult with your physician before you sign up for this trip.

Note on Itinerary:
We do our best to adhere to the itinerary but it should be taken as a generic guideline in terms of what you expect to do or see during the tour and may differ in the practical ground from exact sequence or order of the sights to the overnight places depending on the local conditions.

Booking:
When you are sure you are traveling, please don't delay in booking so that we can confirm you in preferred hotels and flights. A 100% of both the Tour and Airfare is requested along with a completed trip application form plus copy of the photo page of your passport.

Cancellation:
100% Refund if tour canceled within 60 Days from the start of the tour.
50% Refund if tour canceled within 45 Days from the start of the tour.
25% Refund if tour canceled within 30 Days from the start of the tour.
No Refund if tour canceled less than 30 Days from the start of the tour.

Final Trip Dossier:
A final trip dossier with local contacts, hotel lists, check lists, travel notes and relevant information will be sent about a month ahead of the trip.

Tour Cost

The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB), Tourism Business regulating agency of the Royal Government of Bhutan, fixes the Tourist Tariff rate. This rate is valid for all the inclusive tour packages. The tariffs for tourists visiting in a group of 3 persons or more are as follows:

Peak Season Rate: (March, April, May, September, October and November) Cultural Tour /Trekking – US$ 250/per person per night halt.

Low Season Rate:(January, February, June, July, August and December) Cultural Tour /Trekking- US$ 200/per person per night halt.

What's Included
  • Bhutan Royalty ($65 per person per day).
  • Visa Fees ($40 per person).
  • All necessary permit fees.
  • All transfers and sightseeing with entrance fees.
  • All meals including evening tea.
  • All accommodation in our partner hotels, which are some of the best in the country on twin sharing basis.
  • All trekking equipments and logistics including cooks, camp personnel, horsemen and ponies.
  • English-speaking tour leader, guide and driver.
  • Trekking Insurance (Our value-added service).
  • Cultural Performance (our value-added service).

What's Not Included
  • Airfare for flights into and out of Bhutan.
  • All personal expenses like laundry, telephone, tips, shopping expenses.
  • Meals and Beverages other than the ones mentioned above (see inclusions).
  • Spa Charges.
  • Travel and Medical insurance.

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Trip Facts

Length : 25 Days
Start : Paro
Finish : Paro
Trip Style : Trekking Tour
Discounts : Applicable on this trip
Group Size : Maximum 12, Avg 5
Group Leader : Certified Tour Leader from The DQA
Transport : New Model Toyota Hiace /Coaster bus/Land Cruiser not more than 3 years old
Trip Rating by Popularity
  :
Physical Demand Rating
  :
Can it be Customized?
  : Yes

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