Day 1 – Paro - Soe Thangthangkha
Trek begins: Drive to Shana via Drukgyel Dzong, the starting point of the trek. While the team prepares the pack animals visit the ruins of the Drugyel. It was built as a monument of victory over Tibetan and Mongolian invaders in the 17th century. From here you can, as a preview, see the crown of Mount Jumolhari (24,029ft.), the base of which will make our camp in few days. The trail follows Paro River gently uphill through a narrowing valley of paddy fields. You will pass many traditional farmhouses along the way.
Continue uphill following the river and through the 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.
Camp altitude 3,400m., distance/walking time - 15 km/4-5 hours. Overnight camping.
Day 2 – Soe Thangthangkha - Jangothang
Gradual climb as the vegetation turns rapidly alpine, past an army outpost until the landscape opens up into wide valley. The view around is surrounded by high ridges and the snow-capped mountains all the way to Jangothang. You will also come across yaks and yak herder camps.
Camp altitude 4,040m, distance/walking time - 19 kms/5-6 hours.
Day 3 – Jangothang Halt
Spend the day in rest or explore the valley. There are many options for exploration including climbing the ridge behind the camp for better view Jumolhari and Jichu Drake or walk to the glacial basin of Jumolhari or to glacial lakes of Tsophu. A stop here does good for acclimatization since the route here on goes higher.
Day 4 – Jangothang - Lingshi
The trail enters more serious climb today starting with a climb to a higher basin, from where it level for a while, until the start for a long climb to Nyile La pass at 4,890m. After the pass it is a long descent into Lingshi basin. The vegetation is sparse and as you approach Lingshi you will see great view of the frontier fortress, Mount Tserim Kang and its glaciers to the north.
Camp altitude 4,150m., distance/walking time - 19 kms/ 5-6 hours.
Day 5 – Lingshi (13150ft/4010m) to Camp Chebisa (13090ft/3990m)
Today is the shortest walking day, take it easy. Much of the trail is level and leads along the ridge of the river valley, which is known for its aromatic medicinal herbs, and down into a side valley were Goyak settlement is located. This is a typical cluster of stone houses, surrounded by fields of highland barley. Pass through the village of Goyak thecamp is in the valley of Chebisa , a pretty highland village.
Camp Altitude 3990m. Overnight camping.
Distance 16kms 3-4 hours
Day 6 – Chebisa (13090ft/3990m) to Camp Shomuthang (13120ft/4000m) via Gombu La (14560ft/4440m)
Leaving all settlements and villages behind, the trail again climbs through high-altitude pastures, frequented by the blue sheep and grazing yaks. Crossing Gombula pass at Alt, 4350m, the trail descends to ford a stream and then climbs a further ridge (4230m) to reach the forested valley of the Jolethang-chu, where Shakshepasa helipad is located. From here the trail winds uphill to the yak pastures of Jachim (4260m) before dropping down to the meadow camp at Shomuthang alongside a tributary of the Mo-Chhu.
Camp Altitude 4000m. Overnight camping.
Distance 15kms 5-6 hours
Day 7 – Shomuthang (13120ft/4000m) to Camp Robluthang (13645ft/4160m) via Jarela (15695ft/4785m)
An early start today criss-crossing the river, with the peak of Mount Gang Bum (6840m) in the distance to the south east, the trail gradually ascends Jari La Pass at 4600m. There are fine views of the snow peak of Mount Gangchentak (6840)m to the north, and more distant views of Mount Tserim Gang and Mount Jomolhari . The switchback trail now zigzags downhill to meet a stream. Rhododendrons grow thickly in these parts, as the trail meanders down to cross a small bridge over the Jolethang-Chu, and reach the meadow clearing at Tseri Jathang, a summertime sanctuary for the takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Climbing again, it than bypasses a small lake to reach the rock-strewn meadow camp at Robluthang.
Camp Altitude: 4160m. Overnight camping.
Distance 16kms 7-8 hours
Day 8 – Robluthang (13645ft/4160m) to Camp Lemithang (13645ft/4160m) Via Sinche La (16400ft/5000m)
This is one of the most difficult days on the route, as the trail zigzags up the hillside through burnt-out forest and marshy terrain, to reach a glacial valley. Fording a stream and climbing through pastures potholed with marmot burrows, Shnche La pass (5000m) comes into view. This is the highest point on the trek, and as it is crossed, the snow massif of Mount Gangchentak can be seen to the north. A long winding descent through boulder- and moraine- strewn valleys follows, as the trail crosses the Gang Chhu twice, and climbs through rhododendron and cedar forests to a meadow campsite at Lemithang alongside the Zamdo Nangi-Chut with the Great Tiger Mountain looming over camp.
Camp Altitude: 4160m
Distance 19km 6-7 hours
Day 9 – Lemithang (13645ft/4160m) to Camp Laya (12465ft/3800m)
Lemithang is in the Laya region of Gasa district, and here women still wear the distinctive Laya dress. The trail criss-crosses the winding course of the Zamdo Nagi-Chhu, passing through an uninhabited forest on the long descent. Soon the trail forks, one branch leading down to a military campsite by the river bank and the other climbing slightly to reach the western side of Laya village. We camp on a high flat bench above the east end of Laya Village for the night.
Camp Altitude: 3800m.
Distance 9 km 3-4 hours
Day 10 – Explore Laya
Going around the villages visiting houses and the people. Laya people are friendly and will happily pose for photographs. Women of Laya wear special dress and typical bamboo hats, decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments. Cultural show in the evening will be performed by the local girls, if you want. Laya (12465ft/3800m)
Day 11 – Laya-Rhoduphu
From Laya we descend to army base camp and continue following the river till the turn off point to Rhoduphu. After lunch continue the climb through rhododendron bushes till we reach the camp at attitude of 4,350m. It takes 8 to 9 hours till Camp, Rodophu (13825ft/4215m)
Day 12 – Rhodophu - Nharithang
Following the Rodo-chu upstream over undulating terrain covered in dwarf rhododendrons and arid scrubland, the trail reaches an open valley and ascends gradually to cross Tsemo La (4905m), from where the fascinating mount Jumolhari can be seen in the distance. Now level, the trail crosses a small, exposed plateau frequented by yak caravans, to reach the campsite at Narethang which is situated beneath Mount Gangla Karchung (6301m). Settle in for the first really high camp. Camp Altitude: (4940m/16200 ft) Overnight camping.
Day 13 – Nharithang-Tarina
The trail ascends slowly about 1-1.5 hr climb to cross the base of Gangla Karchung La (5020m) is not too hard- about 80m, with a steep section at the end. Crossing the pass leads into the Lunana area. An overwhelming view rewards all the hard labour of the last two days. In front and far below three beautiful, the dark green, turquoise lakes are visible, and above the mountain Teri Kang (about 7300m) with some side peaks. A long and sometimes steep descent (1055m, 3 hrs) follows on a good trail through rhododendron buses to reach the submit and the campsite at Tarina.
Camp Altitude: (3938m/12915 ft) Overnight camping.
Day 14 – Tarina- Woche
The walk leads down through conifer forests following the upper ridges of the Pho Chhu. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to Woche at altitude of 3,800m, the first village scene Gasa. Over all it takes 6/7 hours.Camp at altitude 3,800m. Overnight camping.
Day 15 – Woche-Lhedi
The trek starts through juniper and fir forests and further ahead through rhododendron bushes. Climb up to Keche La pass (4480m) where one can have the great view of mountains. After the pass, descend to the riverside walking through the village with a stunning view of Table Mountains and others. Follow up the river till Lhedi Village, which is one of the main sources of Pho Chhu. Camp at altitude of 3,650m. Overnight camping.
Day 16 – Lhedi-Thanza
The trek continues following the rivers and rising gradually to Choejong village. Cross the bridge to reach Thanza. Camp will be at an altitude of 41000m. This takes 7/8 hours.
Day 17 – Rest day at Thanza
Catch your breath make a walk around or climb up the ridge for fascinating view of lakes and mountains. Overnight camping.
Day 18 – Thanza-Danje
The trek strats by climbing the ridge and if the weather permits the view of mountains is very beautifully seen. Today walking distance is very short because Danje is the junction for Nickhachu trek end point and Bhumthang were we are going. Walking distance is only 3/4hrs.
Day 19 – Danje to Tshorim
The trek starts by climbing the ridge, with great view of Table Mountain and Thanza valley below. The ridge altitude is 4,500m and it rises gradually up to 4,650m. After lunch, walk upwards the left side of the bridge enjoying the view of snow-capped mountains. Further climbing ridges, you reach the campsite of Tshorim at altitude 5,125m. It takes 8/9 hours.
Day 20 – Tshorim- Zanam.(Gangkar phuensum base camp)
This is one of the highlights of the trip and day starts with a short climb to the Tshorim Lake. Walk on the side of the Lake enjoying the panoramic view of Gophula ranges. The last climb to the Gophula pass (5,230m) is very short. After the pass descend to the base camp, walking along the ridge and enjoying the great view of Gangkar Puensum. If interested, one can divert to the left side to climb up the Pyramid Peak for a better view or you can go down to the base camp nearby Sha Chhu at the altitude of 4,970m. This takes 6/7 hours.
Day 21 – Zanam - Geshe Woma
The trek is not yet over. The trail further follows the Sha Chhu and descends gradually to Geshe Woma at an altitude of 4,200m. This takes approximately 6/7 hours.
Day 22 – Geshe Woma – Warathang
The path continues following Sha Chhu for 2 and half hours until the stiff climb to Sakala begins. Visibility along the Sakala trail is poor so one must see top of the ridge for guidance. Lunch near by a yak herder’s camp. After that, climb up to Sakala pass at an altitude of 4,800m. Later descend to the lakes and another short ascent is stunning, scenery once again it is beautiful with small lakes and the mountain peaks. Camp will be at an altitude of 4,000m. Time taken 8/9 hours. Overnight camping.
Day 23 – Warathang –Dur Tsachu
A short half hour climb leads to Julila pass (4,400m). After the pass, descend to the riverside through dense rhododendron, juniper and conifer forests. After the bridge a short climb leads to Dur Tsachu hot spring where Guru Padmasambhava(believed to be the saint who brought Ningmapa sect in 8th century) is supposed to have taken bath in 8th hot spring. It takes approx. 5 hours. Overnight camping.
Day 24 – Dur Tsachu Halt
Halt at Dur Tsachu. After a relaxing breakfast relax in the hot springs or explore Dur today on foot.
Day 25 – Dur Tsachu – Tshochenche
From the spring, it is a long and steady climb again with great views of mountains in Lunana.
You also come across the blue lakes and yak herder’s camp at an altitude 3,850m. It takes 8/9 hours walking. Overnight camping.
Day 26 – Tshochenchen- Gorsum
This is second last day for our trek. Today Walking distance is (12km, aprox) its all river side road. Overnight camping.
Day 27 – Gorsum - Dur-Minchugang Bumthang (Jakar)
This is the last day of the trek where you change from yaks to pack ponies to truck. The path follows the Chamkhar Chhu, descending gradually with few climbs. The trek ends here at Dur village where White Lake transport will pick you up and drive to the lodge in Bumthang (Jakar).
Day 28 – Bumthang Sightseeing and rest
Day 29 – Bumthang to Thimphu Drive
Day 30 – Thimphu Sightseeing
Day 31 – Departure from Paro Airport