Traversing through the foothills of snow capped mountains to remote district of Lunana, snow leopard territory, this is the most famous and also the most difficult trek in Bhutan, if not the world. It is a strenuous endeavor and requires that you be healthy, physically fit, and experienced in trekking. The combination of distance, altitude, remoteness and weather makes this a tough journey. Only about fifty percent of people who have attempted this trek have managed to complete it. Their failures were typically either because of altitude sickness or unexpected snowfall. Another obstacle that can hamper this trek is that the bridges in this remote region frequently get washed away. Your efforts will be rewarded not only by your own feeling of accomplishment but also by having the opportunity to see the rare Takin, our national animal, and other unique flora and fauna.
Day 1: Arrive at Paro, clear immigration and customs, I will meet as you exit the airport, and take you to the hotel. hotel. Orientation. Visit the National Museum of Bhutan and Paro Dzong. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Sightseeing in Paro Valley. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Walk/hike to Tiger’s Nest, Taktshang Monastery. Lunch at Taktshang tea house with its spectacular view of the famous monastery. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Paro to Shana. The trek begins with a low altitude 17 km walk.
Day 5: Shana to Thangtahankha. Gradually gaining altitude to 3750m during a 9-10hrs hike of 22 km, the trail follows the Paro River and then goes through evergreens and rhododendron and at last entering into Jigme Dorji National Park.
Day 6: Thangtahankha to Jangothang. This 19 km trail crosses up to 4000 m. Our night will be spend at the Chomolhari Mountain base camp.
Day 7: Jangothang to Lingshi.19 km trail, alt. 4150m. Going through Wide Yak pastures on the way up and down the pass, we will have great views of Lingshi Dzong as we come down into the Lingshi basin. If the weather is clear Mt. Tserim Kang and its descending glaciers at the north end of the valley can be vividly seen. Today, the highest point we cross is the Nyile La Pass at almost 5000 but our camp is somewhat lower at 4010 m / 13,153 ft.
Day 8: Recovery day and a chance to wander around Lingshi and see the Lingshi Dzong.
Day 9: Lingshi to Chebisa, 19 kms walk, alt. 3850m.
Day 10: Chebisa to Shomutang, 17 km walk, alt. 4250m. The walk is through wild pastures where we will probably see a few nomads and yaks. Our highest point will be when we cross Gobula Pass (4440m / 14564ft).
Day 11: Shomutang to Robluthang, 18 km trail, alt. 4400m. The trail climbs out of the valley through pretty desolate country up to Jhari La (4747 m /15,807 ft), about two hours from camp. During clear weather you can see the Mt. Gangchentag, Mt. Tserim Kang and Chomolhari. Herds of Takin are typically grazing on the slopes of the nearby hills.
Day 12: Robluthang to Lemithang, 19 km walk, alt. 4100m. This will be a long, hard day, crossing Sinchu La, the highest pass on the trek. It’s a tough climb from there to the Sinchu La Pass (5005m / 16,417ft), about five hours from camp. The snow covered peak of Gangchentag fills the horizon to the north. It’s then a short walk on a good trail through a cedar forest interspersed with small meadows to Limithang (4140m /13,786ft), a lovely camp site in a big meadow by the river. The peak of Gangchentag dominates the campsite, even though it’s quite a distance away.
Day 13: Lemithang to Laya, 10 km trail, alt. 3800m. Today its mostly downhill along a winding river.
Day 14: Recover day at the remote village of Laya. Typically, a cultural performance in the evening.
Day 15: Laya to Roduphu, 19 km trail, alt. 4160m. The trek leads gradually downhill to the Lunana trail junction, then makes a gradual climb to the camp through a forest of conifers, maple and rhododendron. The campsite is in a pasture near a small stream at an altitude of 4160m / 13,853ft.
Day 16: Roduphu to Narethang, 17 km walk, alt. 4500m. The trail leads uphill through dwarf rhododendron bushes and a barren area with ups and downs across boulders to Tsomo La (4780m / 15,917ft). Descend through more boulders to a camp at Narethang, a yak pasture used by Laya people.
Day 17: Narethang to Tarina. Climb up to Karchung Pass (5120m/17,050 ft), then down to the glacial lakes that are the source of the Tang River. These lakes are dominated by Jejekangphu Gang (7300m / 24,309ft) and Tsenda Gang (7100m / 23,643ft). Camp at Tarina, 4020m / 13,387ft.
Day 18: Tarina to Woche, 17 km walk leads down through conifer forest, following the upper reaches of the Pho River. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to Woche at 3940m/13,120ft, the first village since Laya. The trek has now entered the Lunana region or territory of snow leopard.
Day 19: Woche to Lhedi. Our 17 km walk makes a gradual climb through juniper forests and then cross a river from where we have great views of Jejegangphu (7100m /23,643ft). A stiff climb takes us past the Yumtso and Setso lakes and up to the Keche Pass (4580m /15,251ft.), we then descend to Thraga village and finally reach Lhedi village (3700m / 12,321ft).
Day 20: Lhedi to Thanza, Tje17 kms trail climbs through 4000 m, gradually following the main source of the Pho River to Chozo village. At the small Chozo Dzong there are some lay monks.
Day 21: Recovery day at Thanza. Possible short walks to some spectacular views. This is as far as the Laya horses go! It will take some time to round up enough yaks for the rest of the trek which will give you time to experience the life of the people who live in this remote area.
Day 22: Thanza to Tshochena, Today is a long 20 km trek. Yak drivers willing, and all other things being equal, we will start early. It’s a long climb over three false summits to Jaze la (5050m / 16816ft). It’s then less than an hour down to the campsite at the lake of Tsochena.
Day 23: Tshochena to Jichu Dramo, The 14 km trail has gradual ups and downs between the snowcapped peaks and across Laju Pass (4940m / 16,450 ft). Our campe is slightly lower at Jichu Dramo (4880m / 16,250ft).
Day 24: Jichu Dramo to Chukarpo, 18 km walk, alt. 4950ml. Ascending to Rinchen Zoe Pass(5140m / 17,116ft), the highest point on our trek, we will arrive at Chukarpo, (4950m / 16,483ft).
Day 25: Chukarpo to Thampetsho, It’s a long, mostly downhill, 18 km walk along the river, then a short climb back to Um Tsho lake at 4230m / 14,086ft.
Day 26: Thampetsho to Maurothang, About 14 km to go, today. It’s a two hour walk to the base of Tempe La and then a steep climb to the pass at 4580m / 15,251ft. The trek is then all downhill through rhododendron bushes to the yak pastures of Maurothang (4000m/13,320ft).
Day 27: Maurothang to Shepu, The trek ends with an 18 km decent to 2500m The trail follows the Nikka Rover through bamboo thickets and fields to the road at the Nikachu bridge (2670m / 8,891).
Day 28: Drive from Shepu to Thimphu. Overnight at hotel.
Day 29: Sightseeing of the Thimphu valley and visit a couple of handicraft schools and possibly do some souvenir shopping. Overnight at hotel.
Day 30: In the afternoon, visit Bhutan’s oldest Dzong, Simtokha, and then drive to Paro. Farewell dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 31: Drive to airport to check in for your early morning departure.