Formidable Snowman Trek (Bhutan 30 days)
Billed as one of the most difficult treks in the world due to altitude, terrain and duration, passes through remote Lunana region along Bhutan-Tibet border. A great combination of Trekking and Culture Tour of Bhutan. The tour starts from Paro, a picturesque valley dotted with farmhouses and turquoise colored Pachu River meandering through the valley. We then explore Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan, and proceed to Punakha across 3150 meters Dochula pass. While in Punakha, we will visit the Devine Madman Temple and Punakha Dzong, the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan. On this tour, we also explore well-preserved Bhutanese cultures, old fortresses, temples and hike to a famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
Like all our Temples of Nirvana Tours and Treks, they start and end in Kathmandu and include a comprehensive itinerary of sightseeing in the Kathmandu Valley.
Day 1 – Kathmandu Arrival
On your arrival at Kathmandu, Tribhuvan Airport, you will be met by a representative of Temples of Nirvana and taken to your hotel in the Thamel district of Kathmandu.
Day 2 – Swayambhunath Temple – Kathmandu Durbar Square
This will be the first of your sightseeing days in Kathmandu. In the morning we will head for Swayambhunath (Monkey) Temple. Swayambhunath is a UNESCO, World Heritage and one of the must see sights of the Valley. We will walk the 365 steps up to the Stupa. There is much to see, not least the three large Buddha statues of Shakyamuni Buddha, Chenrezig and Guru Rinpoche. in the park to the rear. In the afternoon we visit the Durbar square in Kathmandu
Day 3 – Kopan Monastery – Bouddhanath Stupa – Pashupatinath Temple
Our second sightseeing day in Kathmandu starts at Kopan Monastery perched majestically overlooking the Kathmandu Valley. Kopan is a little haven of serenity amongst the chaos of the Valley. We will then head for Bouddhanath, the Tibetan area of Kathmandu where the mightily impressive Bouddhanath Stupa is situated. The Stupa is the second largest Stupa in the world. In the afternoon we will make our way to Pashupatinath Hindu Temple.
Day 4 – Kathmandu – Paro (2280m)
You will be taken back to Tribhuvan airport where we will take the flight to Paro. This flight is one of the most spectacular flights you could undertake. The route takes you right by Mount Everest and includes four of the five highest Mountains in the world. After Everest (1) we see next to it Lhotse (4), next is Makalu (5) and to the east of Nepal Kangchenjunga. On arrival you will be greeted by our Bhutanese representatives who will transfer you to the hotel. In the evening, you can stroll freely in Paro town. Walking around the market and meeting with the people will be an enjoyable experience. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 5 – Acclimatization hike to Tiger’s Nest
After breakfast hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at 3180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. After having explored the monastery, you will hike down to Paro valley. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Day 6 – Paro – Shana (Trek starts)
17km / 5-6 hours / 360m ascent 80m descent
Drive up to Drukgyal Dzong where the road ends and start the trek by following the river gently uphill through a narrowing valley of paddy fields. You will find plenty of traditional farmhouses in a purely rural setting. The campsite is just beyond an army outpost.
Day 7 – Shana-Soe Thangthangkha
22km / 7-8 hours / 770 ascent 10m descent
Distance: 17km. Trek time: 6 – 7 hrs. Altitude of camp: 3400m
Continue uphill through the river valley, which narrows and closes in after some distance. The trail then winds up and down along the drainage. Most of the trail actually is downhill after the initial climb. The campsite is located in a meadow with stone shelter
Day 8 – Soi Thangthangkha-Jangothang
19km / 5-6 hours / 480m ascent
Walk up along the Pachu (Paro River), pass a small army outpost where the valley begins to widen again. You can now clearly view the high ridges and the snow-capped mountains all around and also see the yaks and the yak herder’s winter homes. Camp beneath a ruined fortress at the base of the Jumolhari Mountain. Overnight Camp.
Day 9 – Rest day in Jangothang (Base Camp)
Today is a rest and acclimatization for the next day’s highest climb on this trek. You will hike to explore nearby mountains and lakes.
Day 10 – Jangothang–Lingshi
18km / 6-7 hours / 840m ascent 870m descent
Walk up toward the pass through a wide pastureland. Depending on the season you are there, you might find some yak herders in their camping tents along the way. As you come down after the pass to the Lingshi basin, you will see some beautiful views of the Lingshi Dzong, valley, Tserim Kang (mountain) and its descending glaciers at the north end of the valley. Camp in a stone shelter with a built-in fire pit or in the tent.
Day 11 – Lingshi–Chebisa
10km / 5-6 hours/ 280m ascent 410m descent
Today is the shortest walking day and you can really take it easy. On reaching the campsite at Chebisa, you can visit the village houses if you feel up to it. Overnight camp.
Day 12 – Chebisa-Shomuthang
17km / 6-7 hours / 890m ascent 540m descent
You will walk through a wide pastureland towards Gobu-la (pass). On the way, you will see few people herding the yaks. After crossing the Gobu -la (Alt. 4350m) descend down to the valley. The campsite is on a bench above a river, which is a tributary of the Nochu river.
Day 13 – Shomuthang–Robluthang
18km / 5-7 hours / 700m ascent 760m descent
As the walk is little strenuous, it is advisable to start little early. After crossing the Jerela (pass) alt. 4600m you come down to Tsharijathang valley where you can normally see herds of Takins. Camp at Tsharijathang.
Day 14 – Robluthang–Lingmithang
19km / 6-7 hours / 850m ascent 870m descent
After crossing the Shingela pass, alt. 4900m, you come down and follow the valley. Lingmithang is under the Laya District and you will see people dressed in typical Laya costume with long pointed bamboo hats on their head. Camp at Lingmethang.
Day 15 – Lingmithang–Laya
10km / 4-5 hours / 60m ascent 340m descent
Today, you walk all the way downhill along a narrow winding river valley. The trail leads you to the west side of Laya village. Campsite is on a high flat bench above the Laya village.
Day 16 – Rest day in Laya
A day of rest and relaxation. One can take a leisurely walk through the village or hike to the monastery above the village. Overnight in camp.
Day 17 – Laya-Rodophu
19km / 7-8 hours / 3010m ascent 70m descent
The trail today follows the ancient trade route and leads one through pasture for yaks. Overnight in camp.
Day 18 – Rodophu-Narithang
17km / 5-6 hours / 720m ascent
The trail today also follows the alpine grassland where yaks bound in plenty. The views of the surrounding mountains are absolutely breathtaking. Overnight in camp.
Day 19 – Narithang-Tarina
18km / 7-8 hours / 270m ascent 1200m descent
Distance: 18km. Trek Time: 6-7 hours. Altitude of camp: 4300m.
Today you will be crossing the highest point of your trek at the Ganglakarchung Pass at an altitude of 5100m. This is considered the highest pass in the country. Overnight in camp.
Day 20 – Tarina-Woche
17km / 6-7 hours / 275m ascent 330m descent
The camp site marks the beginning of the Lunana region, a land known for it’s glacial lakes which brought the heavy flood in Punakha a few years ago. If you are not too tired, visit a village house.
Day 21 – Woche-Lhedi
17km / 6-7 hours / 980Mm ascent 950m descent
The trail today consists of crossing the Kechela Pass at 4550m. Stop at the Thega village for rest and lunch, then continue to camp.
Day 22 – Lhedi-Thanza
17km / 4-5 hours / 400m ascentt
The trek is slightly easy today. Enroute visit the Chezo Dzong.
Day 23 – Rest day in Thanza
Rest day explore village and glacial lakes up the valley. The closest is the Raphstreng Tsho which caused a flood in 1994. Overnight in camp.
Day 24 – Thanza-Tshochena
12km /5-6 hours/ 490m ascent 240m descent
Another beautiful pass to cross today, namely, the Jezela pass at an altitude of 5050m.
Day 25 – Tshochena-Jichu Dramo
14km / 4-5 hours/ 230m ascent 140m descent
A relatively shorter walking day, after crossing the Lojula Pass at 4940m, the trek is easy.
Day 26 – Jichu Dramo-Chukarpo
18km / 5-6 hours / 320m ascent 730m descent
The trail crosses the Rinchen Zoe pass at 4950m. The demarcation between the forests and the barren high altitude areas are remarkably seen from here.
Day 27 – Chhukarpo-Tampetsho
18km / 5-6 hours / 400m ascent 640m descent
The trail crosses the Tampela Pass (4550m) and the Umtsho Lake famous for the miraculous treasure discovery by Terton Pema Lingpa in the 15th century.
Day 28 – Tampetsho-Maraothang
14km / 5 hours / 280m ascent 1020m descent
The trail today is downhill till the camp which is beside the Nika Chhu river.
Day 29 – Maraothang-Nika Chhu Zam (Trek ends)
18km / 5-6 hours / 990m descent
The last day of the trek takes you through the agricultural lands and the village of Sephu. Overnight camp.
Day 30 – Nikachu-Punakha
After breakfast, you will drive to Punakha. Along the way visit the typical Bhutanese town of Wangdue with its dramatic Dzong perched on a ridge at the bend of a river. The nearby villages are known for their slate and stone carvings. Overnight Hotel in Punakha.
Day 31 – Punakha-Thimphu
In the morning, you will visit Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. Then drive to Thimphu via Dochula pass. On the way, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to the Devine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. If you wish, receive the blessing from the Lama’s wooden phallus! Check into hotel on arrival. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 32 – Thimphu
After breakfast, you will visit Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Changgangkha Monastery, nunnery temple, traditional paper factory and the majestic Tashichodzong. After a relaxing lunch, you will catch a busy weekend market at the bank of Thimphu River where people from nearby villages come here to sell their farm products. You can stroll through the market to see the variety of food of the country, including basket upon basket of fiery chilies, fresh cheese, and mangoes. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. It’s fun to wander the aisle, taking in the bustling atmosphere of the market. Perhaps this market scene offers wonderful opportunity for photographs and to mingle with local people. In the evening, you can stroll through Thimphu town and absorb the life style of the people. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Day 33 – Paro – Kathmandu
After breakfast we will drive you to the airport for your departure, where our Bhutanese representatives will bid you farewell. You will take the spectacular flight back to Kathmandu. The rest of your day can be spent at leisure. In the evening we will take you for a farewell Dinner, to an excellent traditional Nepalese restaurant where we will enjoy a Nepalese cultural program as well as a fine meal.
Day 34 – Depart Kathmandu
Depending on the time of your flight departure, you may have time for a lttle more sightseeing or shopping in Kathmandu. We will then take you to Tibhuvan airport 3 hours before the departure time of your flight home and see you to your departure terminal where we will say goodbye and hope very much, that you will have enjoyed your time with Temples of Nirvana.
Cost of the Trip
The exact price of your trip depends on the date of travel and the number of travellers. The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing a twin/double room at a standard hotel in Kathmandu and 3/4 Star Hotels in Bhutan. If you require a single room or superior or deluxe accommodation please let us know. All prices quotes are starting from and ending in Kathmandu. The cost we quote includes Paro – Kathmandu flight(s) and for your Bhutan Visa. Please see our pages on Visas and Flights. If you travel in a group of less than three people, you are liable for a surcharge – US $40 per night for one traveller, US $30 for 2 travellers. There is no surcharge for three travellers and above.
Airport pick up to hotel, hotel accommodation in Kathmandu, including breakfast, but excluding lunch and dinner, Farewell Dinner and Nepalese cultural program, all entry fees to Kathmandu places of interest, all transportation to places of interest.
The cost include meals, government taxes, hotels, tour or trekking guide, driver, land transport within Bhutan, necessary entrance fees and sightseeing
What’s not Included
does not include your personal expenses such as drinks and beverages, bottled water, phone calls, laundry, tips and insurance of any kind.
Create your own Itinerary
If the trip or itinerary you are looking for is not here, you would like to make modifications, or you have your own itinerary please let us know and we will quote you a price based on your own personalised specifications.