Little Snowman Trek, 19 days

Camping at Limithang
Popular
Cultural sightseeing
Trekking Tours
  • Full experience of Bhutan trekking
  • Moderately long and difficult
  • 3 passes, 3 totally different valleys
  • Beautiful views of many peaks
  • Pristine and original village Laya
  • Gasa hot springs at the end of trek
  • Sightseeing in Paro, Thimphu, Wangdue and Punakha
From: 
US$ 3280 / person ?
Dates: 
Flexible
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# Itinerary Program
1 Arrival to Paro Arrival by plane to Paro or crossing border from India in Phuntsholing/Jaigon and drive to Paro. Sightseeing subject to the arrival time.
2 Paro Early morning drive to Chele la pass (3,800 m) from where you will get splendid views of Jomolhari and Kanchenjunga peaks in good weather conditions. For acclimatization, you should hike up the ridge to nearby hill which is 4000 meters high. If you like, you can continue even further. When you’re satisfied with climbing, get back down and take interesting hike through the mixed alpine forest down to the Kila Gompa, the oldest nunnery in Bhutan. Descend back to Paro and visit Dzongdrakha monastery which is located below high cliffs, overlooking Paro valley. Rest of afternoon spent in leisure, getting ready for next day trekking.
3 Drive Paro – Gunitsawa Morning visit of Kyichu lhakhang, the temple built in 8th century by Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Climb to Taktsang gompa (Tiger's Nest), most venerated and holy place in Bhutan overlooking valley from the steep cliff.  After lunch drive to Drukyel dzong. This used to be a place where the trek started before. See ruins of the old dzong (castle) and continue further to military camp of Gunitsawa on the new built road. Possibility to stop at Hedi Gompa. First night camping just above military camp at the elevation of 2,890 m.
4 Trek Gunitsawa – Thangthangkha Distance 16 km, 7-8 hours, 770 m ascent, 10 m descent, camp altitude 3,610 m. On this long day there is a lot of up and downs. After going uphill around the river, the valley finally narrows to a mere path which descends to a meadow where a camp will be set up. From here, if weather permits, you will have the first great view of Jomolhari.
5 Trek Thangthangkha – Jangothang Distance 10 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. The trek continues up the Paro Chhu valley which widens into patches of alpine meadow and scanty growths of forest. You will cross an army checkpoint along the way and enjoy a spectacular view of high mountain ridges and snow-capped peaks. In this area yaks and their herder’s homes become a regular feature of the landscape. Passing the villages Soe, Takethang and Dangochang is another asset on this day. After reaching Jangothang, one of the most beautiful campsites of the Himalayas, you will again have a spectacular view of Jomolhari.
6 Halt in Jangothang Today we will make beautiful acclimatization hike to Tshophu lakes in 4450m altitude. From above the lakes you can see the aerial view of Jomolhari I, Jomolhari II, and Jichu Drakye summits. Herds of blue sheep are also common sight. If you are strong, you can even continue to Bonte-la pass (4850m). After enjoying by the lakes, descend back to Jangothang and have a good rest.
7 Trek Jangothang – Lingshi Distance 13 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 climb enjoy the surroundings. You might see herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes of the mountains. From the pass you will have spectacular views of Mt. Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsherimgang, all of them rising above 7,000m. It's a gradual descent to the camp where you will pass by some of the yak herder’s tents, made from yak wool. The herders use these tents while travelling tovarious pastures for their yaks. As you come down into the Lingshi basin, a beautiful U-shaped valley, you get a wonderful view of Lingshi Dzong on clear days. Tserimgang and its glaciers rise up at the north end of the valley. The campsite is next to a stone hut you reach just before Lingshi Dzong.
8 Trek Lingshi – Chebisa Distance 10 km, 4-5 hours, 280 m ascent, 410 m descent, camp altitude 3,880 m. Today is the very short walking day so if you fee strong enough, you can make morning side trip north of the camp the lake Chhokam Tsho at 4340m near the Jichu Drakye base camp. Side trip will add about 8 kilometers and 450m both up and down and will take about 3 hours. Otherwise start walking from camp and to a junction by the white chorten. Here, you have the choice of staying on the main trail or taking a detour up to the Lingshi Dzong (4,220m), which sits right atop a high ridge. In addition to a very special atmosphere of mystic tranquillity, Lingshi Dzong provides a great view over the valley. After Lingshi Dzong you will be passing the villages of Lingshi and Goyul. In Goyul, the stone houses are clustered together to form a small compact village that is unusual in Bhutan where settlements are usually scattered. On reaching the campsite at Chebisa you will have plenty of time to visit the village houses if you feel up to it. There is also a beautiful waterfall located behind the village that is worth visiting.
9 Trek Chebisa – Shomuthang Distance 17 km, 6 hours, 950 m ascent, 640 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 large herds of blue sheep above the trail. After crossing Gobu La (4,410m), you descend into the valley, then climb again a little bit, before descending again to Shakshepasa (3,980), a large flat valley. This place is possible campsite, but we better continue with some extra climb to Shomuthang (4.220m), which will give us better start for next days pass.
10 Trek Shomuthang – Robluthang Distance 11 km, 4-5 hours, 500 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 three hours of climbing you will reach Jhari La (4,750m), from where you catch the first glimpse of Sinche La, the pass you will have to cross the day after. The big snow peak in the north is Gangchhenta 6,840 m, better known as the Great Tiger Mountain. If weather is clear, Tserim Kang and the top of Jomolhari will be visible. As the day trek is short, you might like to make climb to Jhari Peak adjacent to the pass in elevation of 4935m for better views. Round trip will take you little bit over one hour extra. Descend to the camp by the river which is called Tsheri Jathang, located in a beautiful wide valley. Herds of takin, the Bhutanese National Animal, migrate to this valley in summer and remain for about four months. The valley has been declared a takin sanctuary. Climb up a little bit and you will finally reach the campsite at Robluthang on a rocky meadow.
11 Trek Robluthang – Limithang Distance 13 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 1½ hours through a boulder field. It is then a 1 hour steep ascent before reaching Sinche La (5,005m) – the final and highest pass on the trek if you don’t intend to continue the Snowman trek from Laya onwards. As you descend the far side of the passyou will see an impressive terminal moraine and a glacial lake at the foot of the valley. You can see classic examples of lateral moraines where the glacier has pushed rocks up both sides of the valley. Below the moraine, you cross the Kango Chhu and soon reach the Limithang campsite. The peak of Gangchhenta towers over the campsite even though it’s quite a distance away. 12 Trek Limithang – Laya
12 Trek Limithang – Laya Distance 10 km, 4-5 hours, 60 m ascent, 350 m descent, camp altitude 3,840 m. Today, you walk downhill all the way along a narrow, winding river valley. After a quote few days, the trail takes you through densely forested region finally reaching the west side of Laya village from where you will have spectacular views of Mt. Gangchhenta and Mt. Masagang. In the village centre is a community school and a basic health. The campsite is located below the school. Explore around village and visit of the traditional local farmhouse. Laya women wear original conical bamboo hats decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments. In the evening you can also taste local spirit called “ara”.
13 Halt: Laya Today you can spend day resting, staying in the village and around or make a trip above the Laya to the glacial lakes in 4650 meters. To reach there you need to cross the ridge which has excellent panoramic views of the mountains. The lake is considered to be home of local deity so you should approach it with caution. After descending you can visit local temple in which unifier of Bhutan Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel stayed in 17th century during his flee from Tibet. Some of the belongings of this saint-ruler are kept there.
14 Trek Laya – Koina Distance 24 km, 7-8 hours, 460 m ascent, 1,070 m descent, camp altitude 3,450 m. This will be quite difficult day. The trail winds up and down along the river valley of Mo Chhu avoiding natural obstacles and affording breath-taking views of the raging river, feeder streams and waterfalls. Lots of ups and downs will lead you to Kohi Lapcha at 3.300 m. The trek then drops down to the large stream of Koina Chhu, where you will find the campsite of Koina. In most cases this place is so muddy, but luckily there is also log cabin to which you can resort.
15 Trek Koina – Gasa Tsachu Distance 5 km, 2-3 hours, 500 m ascent. This will be the last short day of hiking up to Chempsa. You will go through ancient forest through which road is being built. Finally you will reach to place where the jeep can go and from here, you'll drive to Gasa village (2,770m). On the way stop to visit Gasa Dzong, the castle which is actually administration centre of the district. Then continue drive down to Gasa Tsachu (hot springs) and relax in the rejuvenating mineral waters. The Gasa Tsachu is one of the most popular hot springs in Bhutan. Sleep in basic guest house near hot springs.
16 Gasa Tsachu – Punakha / Wangdue Visit the Gasa dzong (castle) in the morning. There are good views from there and few interesting chapels. The dzong is just completing reconstruction of the main tower. Then start drive to Punakha. The trekking is over now. Spend time in leisure, get rest or celebrate the trek's success!
17 Punakha / Wangdue – Thimphu Sightseeing in Wangdue. Climb to Khamsum lahkahang with great views. Then visit to Punakha dzong, one of the most beautiful castles in Bhutan. Chimmy lhakhang, temple dedicated to famous divine madman who was spreading buddhism by rampatn sexual behaviour. Transfer to Thimphu over Dochu-la pass (3.015 m). In good weather we can have nice views here. Druk Wangyel lhakhang dedicated to 4th king of Bhutan also makes nice sight.
18 Thimphu – Paro Early morning drive to Buddha Dordenma, the gigantic statue of Buddha overlooking the valley and walk to striking city viewpoint. See Memorial Chorten, always busy with devotees.  Walk in Norzin lam street and see the traffic police signalling in junctions. Thimphu is only capital in the world without the traffic lights. Finish walk in main postal office with shop where beautiful and valuable Bhutanese stamps can be bought. Visit school of traditional arts, where the young men and women learns the arts and craft of their forefathers. Continue with visit to Simply Bhutan Museum with exhibition on traditional village life in Bhutan. Excursion to Takin enclosure, where the national animal, the mysterious takin, is kept. After that Changankha lhakhang, the oldest place of worship in the valley. Visit of Tashicho dzong, the castle, which serves as seat of the king and government. Evening drive to Paro.
19 Departure from Bhutan  
Tour variants, extensions and combinations: 
  • Extend trek to Masagang Base Camp (+2 days): If you're for additional trekking why not to continue from Laya to Masagang BC, another beautiful valley in area with stunning mountain views? See Little Snowman & Masagang BC, 21 days itinerary.
  • Fast & furious trekker? (-4 days): If you're strong and fast trekker, you can consider shorter Crazy Little Snowman, 15 days variant.
  • Skip cultural part (-1 or -2 days): In case you're totally uninterested about the cultural part of the trekking, you can omit one or two days from the program. Anyway please mind that these days are also useful backup in case you get delayed for some reason (snow in the pass or something else).