Snow Leopard Trek
The land locked Kingdom of Bhutan comprises mountains, forests and rivers and offers all that the Himalayas has to offer. For centuries the Bhutanese have travelled through their country on foot and the trails they used then have today been developed as trekking trails. Trekking in Bhutan is very different from trekking in other regions of Asia with still very few westerners visiting these areas in a country that has a forest cover of approx 70 % and provides an enormously rich flora and fauna.
This trip presents the opportunity to visit a part of Bhutan that has only ever been experienced by a handful of outsiders. A vast, pure and untouched wilderness, significantly detached from all that lies below. You start you’re your journey from Paro in the western part of Bhutan where you also have the opportunity to bike and raft in this stunning valley, and it is from within this exceptionally picturesque and spiritual setting that your expedition truly begins.
The Chomlhari Lingshi trek is one of the finest treks Bhutan has to offer. The route starts from Drukgyel Dzong in Paro and continues onwards to Chomolhari base camp and cuts back via Soi Yaksa and Thongbu back to Paro. This territory is home to the rare and endangered Snow Leopard, Blue Sheep and other Himalayan wildlife and, if lucky, you may just get a view of ever elusive Snow Leopard in the wild.
The trek follows a traditional route favored by migratory yak herders. The information provided in the detailed itinerary is as accurate as humanly possible. It is based on an independent survey done by a few of us and the details (like names of places) have been derived from local people and information passed on to us by the Department of Tourism. Walking times have been based on an average westerners ability to walk the rough terrains of the Himalayas and due time given to acclimatise on the way up.
Day 1 – Arrive Paro and drive to Thimphu the capital of Bhutan. Drive time is about 1 hour. Afternoon sightseeing around Thimphu – visit weekend farmers market, folk heritage museum and the Takin Reserve. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2 – Morning drive/bike over the Dochula Pass towards Punakha. Enroute stop at the top of Dochula pass and visit the Druk Wangyal Lhakang (temple) and the 108 Stupas (Bhuddhist commemorative monuments). Once you reach the Punakha/Wangdue valley visit the Chhimi Lhakang also known as “the Temple of the Divine Madman”. On a clear day, you can see majestic views of the Eastern Himalayas from the top of the Dochula Pass. Overnight at a hotel in Punakha.
Day 3 – Punakha. Morning short hike or bike through forests and small villages to the put in of the Lower Pho Chhu at Samdenkha. Raft the lower Pho Chhu (Class II/III). Afternoon/Evening visit the Punakha Dzong or do a short hike to Khamsum Yulley Monastery perched on a hill overlooking the Punakha valley. Overnight at lodge/camp in Punakha.
Day 4 – Punakha to Paro. After breakfast head back over the Dochula Pass for lunch at Thimphu. Spend sometime after lunch in Thimphu and drive to Paro for the night. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Day 5 – Taktsang Day Excursion Paro. Drive 9 miles north of Paro town to the trailhead where you start a 1½ hr hike to the viewpoint of Taktsang Monastery (aka Tiger’s Nest) perched on a cliff 2,700 feet above the valley floor. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche arrived here on the back of one of his consorts who was in the guise of a flying Tigress sometime in the 7th century. Evening, relax at the hotel, sort kit etc. to commence our trek the following morning.
Day 6 – Gunitsawa to Shingkharap. Approx 9 to 10 km, 3 hours. Camp at 2,850 metres above sea level.
The trek begins at Gunitsawa village where you pass the army outpost and the trail continues with lots of ups and downs following the Paro Chhu until you reach a small meadow and settlement at Shingkharap, where we camp for the night at 2,850 metres above sea level.
Day 7 – Shingkhaprap to Thangthangkha. Approx 11 km, 4 hours.
The trail for the days keeps following the Paro Chhu with several ups and downs through prestine alpine forests until you reach an opening with a small chorten where on a clear day you get your first glimpse of Mount Chomolhari. A mountain in the Himalayas, straddling the border between Tibet, China and the Thimphu district of Bhutan. Camp for the night is a little further up, at 3,610 metres.
Day 8 – Thangthangkha to Jangothang (Chomolhari Base Camp). Approx 19 km, 5 hours.
If you did not see Mt.Chomolhari the previous evening, you will have a chance to get a great view early this morning. 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 Mount Chomolhari. Camp at 4,080 metres above sea level.
Day 9 – Rest day and excursion around Chomolhari Base camp. Spend the day enjoying the sights around Jumolhari base camp or do a day trip up towards the base of Mt. Jiichu Drake. Night at base camp.
Day 10 – Jangothang to Yaksa: Approx 15 km, 6 to 7 hrs. Camp at 3800 metres above sea level.
The trail leads to one of the last settlements in the valley and drops to the Paro Chhu. Passing the lake of Tshophu (4,380m) you will climb up steeply to Bhonte La pass at 4,890 metres, the highest point of our trek route. Reaching the Dhumzo Chhu river, you will trek downstream passing the few houses of Soi Yaktsa to arrive at our camp soon after.
Day 11 – Yaksa to Thongbu. Approx 11 km, 4 to 5 hours. Camp at 4,180 metres above sea level.
The trail climbs 100m over a ridge to drop to another stream then after crossing the Takhung La pass (4,520m) where you descend to Thombu Shong and camp for the night.
Day 12 – Thongbu to Gunitsawa. Approx 12 km, 5 hours
Crossing Thombu La pass (4,380m) descend down towards Gunitsawa, where we come to the end of our trek. Vehicles will pick up the group and drive back to Paro for the night. A nice hot shower and relax for the night awaits you at a beautiful hotel in Paro.
Day 13 – Morning drive to Airport for departure flight out of Bhutan.
Your passport must have at least six months valid duration at the time of travel. We will also need a copy of your passport for our files in the UK. We also advise you carry photo copies of your passport whilst travelling.
Your visa for entry into Bhutan will be arranged by ‘Live the Adventure’ Worldwide Travel. We will send you a copy of the visa form for you to fill out and return to us and we will then arrange your visa for you. Dependant on your travel arrangements and your itinerary, you may be required to apply for an Indian visa if you are entering India at any time in transit. This can be done via the Indian embassy.
For all up-to-date medical information please visit: http://www.masta-travel-health.com. This website will inform you which inoculations to you need for the countries you are travelling to, and all advice on medical kit you may want to take with you. Inoculations must be done at least 6 weeks prior to your trip departure.
Live the Adventure has a dedicated flight account manager at STA Travel who understands the intricacies of our travel itineraries. If you complete the form on our Check Flights page it will be sent to STA Travel and also to Live the Adventure. If you would prefer to talk through any details with Live the Adventure first i.e. before completing the STA Travel Flight Enquiry Form below, please call us on 01746 718 436. We are very happy to talk through and recommend arrival and departure scenarios to fit in with your choosen travel itineraries, as well as different flight options and stop overs before you confirm or book your international flights and help make your flight booking process as smooth and as hassle free as possible.
Once your flights are booked, we will also need a copy of all your flight information. Bhutan Entry Flight options: all entry into Bhutan is through Paro (PBH) airport. These flights are not included in the listed price and upon confirmation of your connecting international flights we will book these for you and in doing so arrange your entry visas into Bhutan. Current flight options fly in from Delhi, Bangkok, Kathmandu and Mumbai.
We have worked with many companies that supply insurance for our trips. Should you need any assistance with this we can put you in contact with them. We advise that you take your insurance out straight away so that if anything was to happen from now to the trip departure date then you will be able to claim. Your insurance must cover you for the whole of the trip and all the activities listed in your Trip Itinerary. We will need you to send us a full copy of your insurance policy before your trip departs.
18-30 October 2016: $5500.00 per person for 2016 (£3964.00 as of 29.02.16)
Prices are quoted in US Dollars. When paying for your holiday you will be charged in Pounds Sterling (GBP) based on the rate of exchange on the day of purchase.
The cost of this Bhutan Adventure Holiday expedition includes:
All accommodation on twin/double occupany basis and meals
Private land transport
Permits, fees and taxes for all itinerary destinations
All mountain bike and rafting equipment – if listed in itinerary
Fully experienced and qualified cultural and activity guide
The above costs do not include the following:
Costs for consumption of alcoholic beverages, sodas and bottled drinks which will have to be paid for individually
Hot stone bath option
Single room supplement charge of $400 per person.
Privately Guided Closed Trips: This trip can be privately guided for a minimum of 4 people with dates can be chosen to suit you.
Please contact us to check availability before completing this booking form. A 25% deposit is required with all bookings. Once we have received your completed booking form and deposit you will receive a full set of joining instructions including kit list.
Snow Leopard Trek
18-30 October 2016
This trip can be arranged as a private itinerary, dates to suit you, for a minimum of 4 people.
$5500.00 per person for 2016 (£3964.00 as of 29.02.16)
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