The Bhutan Snowman Trek.
Owing to its high altitude route, difficulty level, tedious scope, climate and the remoteness, Bhutan Snowman Trek has possibly ranked as one of the longest and most challenging treks in the world. It is for extremely healthy, fit and able trekkers essentially because the trail requires covering a major part of the Greater Himalayas lying in Bhutan. Although difficult, the expedition is likely to be the most beautiful and equally rewarding experiences of all which will treat you with the stunning picturesque views of the mountains, huge glaciers, the un-spoilt fabled villages, turquoise glacial lakes along with a profuse species of flora & fauna.
Highlights of the trek
- Trekking one of most remote and hardest trails of the world.
- You will be traversing through 11 mountain passes, and the highest one you`ll come across is approx. 18,000 ft.
- The rough trekking trails of the expedition will take you to explore some amazing cedar forests, wildlife, green glacial lakes, hot springs, blue sheep and huge mountain glaciers.
Overview of the trek
- Trek duration: 30 days
- Altitude: 5,320m
- Difficulty level: Very hard/challenging
- Best time: Mid-June to October
- Start Point: Shana, Paro.
- Exit Point: Bumthang
Snowman trekking map and detailed itinerary
Day 01: Arrive at Paro
Your flight to Paro will offer you with a wonderful lifetime experience as you pass through the gorgeous Himalayan Mountains. After landing at the Paro airport, a tour guide will receive you and transfer directly to the hotel. Later in the afternoon, you can reach out to Ta Dzong (watchtower), National Museum, Kichu Lhakhang, and Rinpung Dzong.
Day 02: Hike up to Tiger`s Nest at Paro Valley
Day hike to the country`s iconic Taktsang Monastery, popularly known as “Tiger`s Nest” which is strategically built on a cliff of about 3,000m height. The lovely 3 hours hike through the pine forest will serve as an acclimatization trip for your arduous trek next day. Later drive to the hotel for an overnight sojourn.
Day 03: Gunetsawa Army Camp to Shana Camp (15 km)
Drive a short distance from Paro to Drukgyal Dzong so as to begin your trek. Following the old river route, you will come across some authentic farmlands, villages and pine forests until you reach Gunetsawa Army Camp. Opposite of Gunetsawa is your Shana campsite; reaching there requires crossing the suspension bridge.
Day 04: Shana to Thangkthanka (22 km)
Moving out from Shana campsite, the trail will beautifully ascend through the blue pine and rhododendron forests, gradually gaining altitude. It continues on a narrow path which leads to Thangkthanka campsite (3,650 m). If weather permits, then you will get to witness the wonderful view of Mount Jomolhari (second highest peak of Bhutan).
Day 05: Thangkthanka to Jangothang (17 km)
Leaving the tree boundary of Thangkthanka, the trail will now take you to higher mountains opening to an amazing landscape of snow-capped mountains and high ridges on both sides. At halfway of your hike, you will come across Tengetheng, a winter home of the migratory yak herders. Later on, arriving at Janothang, you will again get to witness sunset view on Mt. Jomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake.
Day 06: Jangothang (4044 meters)
As you have come a long way from your expedition, it is better to get yourself some time to relax. Besides, it will give you a sort of acclimatization time for your next day and also a good opportunity to explore the surroundings. For example, you can climb the ridge towards northeast for viewing the Tshophu Lake and Jichu Drake or you may even hike up to Jomolhari. And later in the evening, relax in the tented camp and prepare yourself for the next day.
Day 07: Jangothang to Lingshi (21 km)
Gradually heading towards the uphill, you will cross Nyili La Pass at 4,890m which is first of the 11 passes included in the trek. Towards northeast, you can view Tsherim gang while on the other side, you will encounter some sparse juniper, rhododendrons, and yak herder camps. This is where you can spot herds of blue sheep. Set a camp on arriving at Lingshi for an overnight halt.
Day 08: Lingshi to Chebisa (16 km)
Hike from Lingshi village to Chebisa will not be as long, therefore you can start your morning visiting the Lingshi Dzong (also known as Yugyel Dzong) and exploring the beautiful hillsides carpeted with rich medicinal plants. Also upon reaching Chebsia, you will get time to explore a slice of Bhutanese village life.
Day 09: Chebisa to Shakyapasang (15 km)
As you climb up through a steep slope of grassland, you will observe herds of blue sheep and Large Himalayan griffons. Halfway after you reach Gobula Pass at 4,440m the trail will gradually descend taking you through the fascinating Rhododendron valley of Shakyapasang, which happens to be your campsite at an altitude of 13,100 ft.
Day 10: Shakyapasang to Tsheringyangu (16 km)
You`ll start your morning climbing to Jhari La Pass at 4,747m and then descend to the picturesque rocky valley of Tsharijathang where you can spot Takin, the animal of Bhutan. A small climb from here will take you to the campsite Tsheringyangu.
Day 11: Tsheringyangu to Limithang (14 km)
Starting an early hike will allow you enjoy the best possible views from Sinchey La, probably the highest pass on your entire trek. On following the trail you will come across small streams, a pathway installed with lots of prayer flags. Descending to Limithang, you will encounter the snow-covered Mt. Gangchenta and the glacially covered Gangachenta valley meaning ‘Great Tiger Mountain’.
Day 12: Limithang to Laya (10 km)
After a short hike from the valley down parallel to Timuchang Chhu which takes you through the heavily wooded cedar and fir forests, you might see some yak herders overtaking the trail carrying loads of smuggled goods. And just a little further the trail will traverse into a narrow cobble-stone path leading to the prosperous Laya village.
Day 13: Rest day at Laya
Halting for a day at Laya village will give you the opportunity to check your supplies and arrangements of the pack animals for further continuing your journey. Besides, the village is worth a visit. You will perceive they have their own distinctive culture, language, and a unique way of dressing. Savor the Singchang drink, which is a part of greetings in Laya village. Apart from that, a few walking towards north-east will take you to a viewpoint which offers excellent views of Masagang and Tshendagang.
Day 14: Laya to Rodophu (15 km)
After a day halt at Laya village, it is now time to get back to the second part of your Snowman Trek. Leaving the village, the trail will descend down to the Taksemakhang army camp, another point where you need to produce the second route permit. Then climbing gradually through a thick rhododendron, conifers, and maple forests, you reach the campsite at Rhodophu, near the Rhodu Chhu River.
Day 15: Rodophu to Narithang (17 km)
Today`s hike is gonna be a bit strenuous one, for you need to climb a steep route for about 45 minutes unless the trail opens to a high open valley and furthermore up to Tshomo La at 4,900m. At Tshomo La, you can experience splendid views of Lunana, Mt. Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and the Tibetan border. From the pass, the trail gently descends towards Narithang campsite right in front of Gangla Karchung Peak offering huge glacier views.
Day 16: Narithang to Tarina (16 km)
Start your day climbing up to Gangla KarchungLa Pass at 5,240m for about an hour and then gently descending over small river streams and moraines. But be careful, the trail leading further down can be very difficult due to its steep terrain, rhododendron bush roots and the mud in case if it is raining. On reaching Tarina valley, you will find several campsites along the Tang Chhu River to hike overnight.
Day 17: Tarina to Woche (14 km)
Leaving Tarina Chu campsite, the trail leads down through the thick conifer forests surrounded by beautiful meadows and some gorgeous waterfalls. It then climbs over a ridge following the muddy forest path, crossing landslide areas and finally dropping to the Lunana region at Woche village (3,940m).
Day 18: Woche to Lhedi (14 km)
With a good view of the Woche Chhu, the trail gradually ascends to reach Kechela Pass at 4,666m. Just before some point on reaching the pass, you will come across a long and beautiful green lake flanked by great mountain views. The trail further drops getting more stepper to Thega village, where you can stopover for lunch. In the afternoon, your hike will continue up to Lhedi village where you`re gonna camp at 3,600m.
Day 19: Lhedi to Thanza (13 km)
Today`s trail will pursue through the main source of Pho Chhu, passing fir & juniper forests, glacial drainage thereby offering spectacular views of the Table Mountain. The trail continues back and forth through rubbles of a big riverbed entering Chuzo village. Furthermore, from the Chuzo village, your trail winds through a huge grassland opening to Thanza village which has your campsite located.
Day 20: Halt at Thanza
Because the yaks from Laya will not go further than Thanza, you might have to halt a day here. Besides, the stop will get you close to the hospitable and docile villagers thereby also allowing you to explore the marvelous mountain surroundings and glacial lakes.
Day 21: Thanza to Tsho Chena (17 km)
Although short, the first part of your today`s trek is going to take a steep way ahead leading to a narrow valley which comes in just a few distance before Danjee campsite at 4,540m, a part way up to Jaze La Pass. After crossing the pass at 5,050m, the trail will gently descend to a short downhill trek to the campsite at the lake of Tsho Chena overpassing the impressive view of glaciers. It is also likely to get a glimpse of blue sheep while you camp.
Day 22: Tsho Chena to Jichu Dramo (15 km)
Today, you will have to trek along a series of ups and downs between the snow-capped mountain peaks and small patches of blue & violet alpine carpeted grasslands. As you reach Loju La Pass at 5,145m, assume that you`ve concluded the day hike because Jichu Drake campsite is within the reach.
Day 23: Jichu Dramo to Chu Karpo (19 km)
It is now time for a challenging trek of climbing the highest mountain pass at 5,326m i.e., Rinchen Zoe La Pass. Throughout the journey, you will come across some excellent views of huge glaciers and lakes. Later the trail will ultimately descend towards a broad, marshy valley reaching the Chu Karpo campsite at 4,450m.
Day 24: Chu Karpo to Tampoe Tsho (15 km)
On leaving Chu Karpo campsite, you will be covering many pebbled grounds which is almost muddy and slippery. Followed by a steep climb and short walk parallel to the valley, the route will lead you to the beautiful Um So Lake (Pema Linga found a number of religious treasures in the lake), and just next to the lake is your Tampoe Tsho campsite.
Day 25: Tampoe Tsho to Maurothang (17 km)
Climb the final steep trail to the Tampoe La Pass at 4,665m. It is then only the downhill trek towards the rhododendron bushes and yak pastures of Maruothang campsite. The trek is almost like bidding farewell to high mountains and its fresh crispy air.
Day 26: Maurothang to Trongsa
This is the final day of your month long ‘Snowman Trek’. From this points onwards the trail is going to be quite easy as descending only downhill. You will pass from a beautiful valley to the lovely Sephu village, a couple of bridges, several tributaries, and small huts. And finally, after a long time, the forest route opens up to a motor road where your driver will be waiting for you to escort to the hotel. If time permits, you can still drive east to Trongsa.
Day 27: Trongsa to Punakha (Alt. – 1,350 m)
Since you are at Trongsa, why not go on visiting the famous Trongsa Dzong which used to be the winter capital of Bhutan before Thimphu? It was the seat of power for both first and second kings of Bhutan. Later in the afternoon, you can drive to Punakha valley via Wangdue town which takes nearly 4 and a half hour.
Day 28: Punakha to Thimphu (Alt.- 2,320 m)
Before leaving Punakha, make your Bhutan trip worthwhile by visiting Punakha Dzong which is beautifully situated at the confluence of River Mo Chu and Po Chu. The dzong holds a specific significance of being the country`s second oldest dzong of the country and still the largest of all. Besides, it is also the venue for the Royal Wedding of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and his wife Jetsun Pema. Later you can drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.
Day 29: Thimphu
Before saying goodbye to Thimphu city go on exploring Bhutan to your best. Go for a shopping at the weekend market, hike to the Cheri Monastery, visit Memorial Chorten, Tashichho Dzong, and the Takin Preserve.
Day 30: Thimphu to Paro Airport
Drive a 2-hour ride to Thimphu through the central foothills to Paro directly heading towards the Paro Airport for the Druk Air flight for returning back home from the ever-charming Shangri La.
After the long & tiring expedition, when you finally get back home, something that you take back is profound feeling of accomplishment, glory, and contentment.
You may contact any of the following trekking agencies in Bhutan.
- Bhutan Bokar Travel Agency
- Access Bhutan Tours & Treks
- Bhutan National Adventure Tour & Trek
- Bhutan Yarden Tours and Treks
- Bhutan Himalayan Holidays- Tours & Treks
- Windhorse Tours
Reviews for Snowman Trek in Bhutan
“Once again I carefully chose Kamzang for my exotic, indulgent trip to Bhutan. All praise to Kim and
Lhakpa for making sure this was the best possible trip for our money, A trek in a very expensive/ exclusive part of the Himalayas.
It was tough, it was amazing and it was the best thing I have ever done.
Kim and Lhakpa spun their special magic to make this trek amazing…the Bhutanese guide Tse Tse made sure we had a good run down of what to expect each day.
Our tough trek, mud, rain, snow was everything we expected, however our time in camp, our food and our morale was always boosted by Kim and Lhakpa on even the toughest of days….and this is what we all signed up for….you cannot do the snowman and think it will be easy.
I am so glad I did this trek with Kamzang. I would do the toughest trek with Kamzang anywhere in the world. You will always get safety, dedication and genuine concern from these guys, they will ultimately help you reach your potential, and you will become friends for life. They will help you go forward with your trekking goals. Thanks guys.
I will book again can’t wait.”
“My husband and I have recently completed the Snowman trek in Bhutan led by Wind Horse Tour Company and both felt that we had an amazing experience. One of the best trips we have ever had.
Before the trek we read that things can be slow and somewhat bumpy in Bhutan and contingency days are must. So we were ready for “things to happen”. But we worried for nothing. Wind Horse has organized the trek to the last detail. The crew was very professional and friendly, the service was outstanding, food delicious, tents comfy and everything went as smoothly as it possibly can. We had enough days before the trek to get acclimatized to high elevation. And every one of these days were filled with interesting cultural experiences. Our guide Pema was really knowledgeable about Bhutanese culture, traditions, wild life and terrain. Since we didn’t need the contingency days after the trek they were also used for cultural visits and experience including the very unique hot stones bath in a local house.
We would definitely recommend Wind horse for anyone who would like to experience Bhutan and bring back unforgettable memories.”
“This autumn I was finally able to join a group for the famous Lunana/Snowman trek in Bhutan. With a duration of 35-days and taking the long exit via Bumthang, the so-called Snowman II, it was by far the longest trek I’ve ever done. But the benefit of trekking for this long, is that it also puts you right in the middle of one of the most beautiful and remote places in the Himalayas. Not seeing a car, road, no wifi and other modern comforts for such an extended period was a much needed reset of myself. That said, lots of thought was put into the preparations for this trip and our staff did a magnificent job at keeping us feed and happy, so you could enjoy the scenery and walking and relax and recover at camp. Very quickly you got into a daily routine starting with bed-tea at 6am and no day in itself was particularly difficult with no altitudes above 5400M – but continuously trekking 6-8 hours every day for almost a month is definitely a challenge. In many ways it was both the toughest and most beautiful trip I’ve ever done – Bhutan is truly a magical country with a fascinating culture, wonderful people and stunning nature. And definitely choose the Bumthang exit if you ever consider going – one of the highlights of my trip was the hot-springs at Duer Tsachu, which was just an amazing treat after all the mountain passes.”