A slightly shortened version of the famous Snowman’s Trek, the trek of treks, one of the most demanding treks in the world, not suitable for all budgets and not for everyone. Despite having fewer stages, this very little frequented itinerary is still a tough and demanding trek, but it will more than reward you for the effort.
17 days trek (+ 1 day to reach Gasa)
Very strong level
Highest altitude 5230m
Highest overnight altitude 5120m
Local guide English-speaking
Accommodation and meals in camping during the trek
Transfers in private vehicle
April, May and October. It can snowfall unexpectedly in any moment
The Snowman Trek is Bhutan’s trek par excellence. With a duration of about 25 days, it covers almost the entire northern part of Bhutan, passing through the foothills of the permanently white Himalayan peaks. However, due to its long duration and very high cost, it is a trek that is not affordable for many hikers.
Here, however, we present a slightly different, shorter and therefore somewhat cheaper option. In this itinerary we eliminate the first nine stages that follow the Laya-Gasa Trek (which includes the first three stages of the Jomolhari Trek) and start the trek at Gasa (the end of the Laya-Gasa Trek), going back up towards Laya and traversing the mountain range to the east. We also vary the finish somewhat, opting for the version that includes the Dur Tshochu hot springs (which your body will appreciate) and ending in the very interesting Bumthang Valley, from where you might even catch a flight back to Paro.
The Snowman is reputed to be one of the most demanding treks in the world, which is why it’s not a very popular trek and not everyone who starts it finishes it, either because of fatigue or because unforeseen snowfalls block the mountain passes. For this reason, the best time of the year to start this trek is much shorter, the ideal time being the beginning of October.
In short, a trek where all possible adjectives and superlatives can be used.
Most of Bhutan is stunning, virtually untouched natural scenery. Permanent white peaks, yak pastures, occasional isolated and traditional villages, wildlife and unique flora. There are durations and landscapes to suit all tastes, from treks in the remote wilderness of the mountains to hikes that take you closer to a more cultural side, through villages and monasteries. Most of the routes can be done in both directions, so it is also possible to do partial round trips.
Overnight stays for most of the treks are in campsites, and yaks or mules are responsible for carrying your equipment and all the stuff for the trek, so, in a way, the old spirit of the pioneer treks is maintained, bridging distances of course. Bear in mind that there is little chance of charging the batteries of your cameras and other electronic devices, so it is advisable to carry spare batteries and perhaps a small solar charger.
Although we are still talking about a very unspoilt, lonely and wild territory, the rough-roads slowly advance following the valleys that enter the mountains to connect isolated villages, where services are very basic and difficult to reach. This naturally affects the route of the treks, especially during the first and last days, and is reducing the days of some itineraries.
Druk-Yul is what the Druk-pa, the people of the ‘land of the thunder dragon’, call Bhutan. It was one of the most isolated countries in the world until tourism was allowed in the 1970s, but there are still restricted areas of the country. This has preserved its traditions and culture from Western influence, while it has become the main attraction for tourists. And Bhutan has been able to capitalise on this with good tourist organisation and fares not suitable for all budgets.
With a very sparse population of about 700,000, Bhutan became famous for its GNH, the Gross National Happiness Index, as opposed to GDP, a concept they developed in the 1970s and included in the constitution.
Lush forests and high Himalayan peaks to the north define a majestic landscape, barely disturbed by the few existing roads, friendly and peaceful people greet the traveller embarking on the way through the so-called last Shangri-la on earth.
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