Samtengang Winter Trek: 8 days and 7 nights

In contrast to rest of the trek routes in Bhutan, the altitude only ranges between 1000 m to 2000 m hence making it a best trek route for winter season (December to February). Another best time to trek on this trails are spring (March – May) and autumn seasons (September – November).

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OverView

Places covered: Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Wangduephodrang.

Number of days: 8 days and 7 nights (4 days & 3 nights trekking)

Difficulty grading: Easy

Best Season: January, February, March, April, May, September, October, November and December.

Departure dates: Everyday (during season)

Nature of Tour: Trekking and cultural sightseeing.

Entry: Paro

Exit: Paro

Base Price: $1450

 

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival at Paro – Thimphu (cultural sightseeing)

Welcome to Bhutan. Your guide and driver will be waiting for you at Paro International airport. The drive from Paro to Thimphu will take around one hour. After reaching Thimphu, check into your hotel, enjoy your lunch and set out for exploring Thimphu city and places around it. Towards evening visit to National Memorial Chorten, mingle with elderly people, circumambulate the stupa and get blessed.

National Memorial Chorten: Located in the heart of Thimphu city, it was built in 1974 by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Phuntsho Choden in memory of her son, Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The three-storey choeten houses several relics such as Phurba Lhatshog, Kagay, Khrowo Nampur Gyalwa, Guru Tshengye, and Khenlop Chesum. The choeten is today the spiritual nerve centre of the city.

Overnight: At hotel in Thimphu

Day 02: Thimphu excursion – Punakha (cultural sightseeing)

In the morning visit to Buddha statue located at Kuenselphodrang.

Buddha Statue: Located at Kuenselphodrang, facing Thimphu valley down bellow is the worlds’ largest and tallest Buddha statue standing at the height of 169 feet (52m). The statue houses one hundred thousand of smaller Buddha statues, the exact replica of the outer Buddha statue. From here one can have a 360 degree view of Thimphu valley.

From here we will drive towards Punakha via Dochula Pass. After descending down from Dochula pass for about an hour, we will reach Khemae Lhakhang. Pay visit to the Lhakhang and head further up towards Punakha. Check into your hotel and towards evening visit Punakha Dzong.

Dochula Pass: Located 23 km east of Thimphu city, Dochula pass at the height of 3100 m above sea level is Bhutan’s most decorated and beautiful pass. On this pass is 108 stupas called Druk Wangyal Chortens, built by Queen mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. There is also a temple called Druk Wangyal Lhakhang built in the honour of fourth king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck for his service to his subjects. The front yard of this temple is a venue for Druk Wangyal festival which is conducted annually in the month of December. On the backdrop of this pass is the stunning view of snow capped mountain ranges and amongst which is Bhutan’s tallest mountain Mt. Gangkar Puensum(7570m).

Khemae Lhakhang: Located on a hillock in Lobesa (Punakha), the temple was built in 1499 by Lam Ngawang Chogyal, the cousin of Lam Drukpa Kunley, on the spot where the latter subdued a demon who was running away in the form of a dog. Lam Drukpa Kunley buried the demon and said there was no dog now (khe – dog; mae – no). Hence, the temple came to be known as the “temple of no dog”. Today however it is pronounced as Chimi Lhakhang. The temple contains the bow and arrows of Lam Drukpa Kunley and a phallus to bless the visitor.

Punakha Dzong: The dzong is situated on a stretch of a land where two rivers – Phochu and Mochu – meet. The dzong was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1937 and named it Pungthang Dewa Chenpai Phodrang, the palace of great bliss. Later it became the final retreat palace for him. The first monarch, King Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned there and it served as the capital of the country until 1955. Today it serves as the winter residence of the Central Monastic Body. The sacred relic Rangjung Kharsapani is also kept in the Machen Temple inside the Dzong.

Overnight: At hotel in Punakha

Day 03: Punakha – Limukha (trekking)

Walking distance: 12 km

Time taken: 4 hours

Campsite altitude: 1980 m

The trek begins from Punakha Dzong. We will cross Bhutan’s longest suspension bridge over Pho Chhu River and ascend towards our next stop over, Limukha via Shengana village.

Day 04: Limukha – Chhungsakha (trekking)

Walking distance: 14 km

Time taken: 5 hours

Campsite altitude: 1550 m

Today after trekking for around 5 hours, we will spend our night at campsite located next to Chhungsakha, a small village of around 10 households.

Day 05: Chhungsakha – Samtengang (trekking)

Walking Distance: 13 km

Time taken: 5 hours

Campsite altitude: 1830 m

Today at the end of the day, we will camp near a small lake at Samtengang village.

Day 06: Samtengang – Chuzomsa- Wangduephodrang (trekking)

Walking distance: 15 km

Time taken: 5 hours

After trekking for about 5 hours from Samtengang campsite, we will finally reach at Chuzomsa, our extraction point. From here we will drive to Wangduephodrang where we will spend our night.

Overnight: At hotel in Wangduephodrang.

Day 07: Wangduephodrang – Paro (cultural sightseeing) (135km)

Today after breakfast, we will drive back to Paro via Dochula pass. After reaching Paro, we will visit to following places:

Paro Rinpung Dzong: Located on the bank of Pachu River, Paro Dzong, formally known as Rinchen Pung Dzong (shortened to Rinpung Dzong), was built in 1644 under the command of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is one of the most beautiful and historically important dzongs in the country. Today, it houses both district administration and monastic body.

Paro Ta Dzong (national museum): Located on a spur above Rinpung Dzong, five and a half kilometres’ drive from Tshongdu town, the dzong was built in the mid-17th century as a watchtower overlooking Rinpung Dzong by Lanyongpa Tenzin Drukdra and Chogyal Migyur Tenpa. The circular dzong houses the National Museum of Bhutan.

Kichu Lhakhang: Located about 10 minutes’ drive from Paro town, the temple is one of the two among 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century to subdue a demon that lay supine across Tibet and Bhutan. The temple contains sacred relics dating back to the 7th century like a statue of Lord Buddha and four statues of Chagtong Chentong. It also contains the statues of Guru Nangsi Zilnon, Dolma Kukuli (a manifestation of Tara), Zhabdrung, the bone relic of his Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

Overnight: At hotel in Paro

Day 08: Departure

After your breakfast, guide and driver will see you off at Paro international airport for your onward destination.

Prices

When visiting Bhutan, one should be aware of Peak and Lean tourist season. March, April, May, September, October and November is considered as peak tourist season and December, January, February, June, July and August is considered as lean tourist season in Bhutan.

There is a difference in cost to visit Bhutan during peak and lean tourist season. The reason behind this is; all the tourists visiting Bhutan have to pay a minimum mandatory fee (daily tariff) of US dollar 250 per person per night stay in Bhutan during Peak tourist season and $200 during Lean tourist season.

Surcharges

On top of minimum daily tariff, by virtue of smaller group; solo travelers have to bear a surcharge of $40 per night stay in Bhutan and Dual travelers (two) have to bear a surcharges of $30 per person per night stay in Bhutan (both peak and lean tourist season).

Surcharges are not applicable if the traveling group consists of 3 or more travelers.

Visa Fee

All the tourists visiting Bhutan have to bear a onetime payment of $40 as Bhutan Visa fee on top of mandatory minimum daily tariff and surcharges.

The total tour cost, minimum daily tariff, surcharges and Bhutan visa fees for booking “Samtengang Winter Trek: 8 days and 7 nights” are as follows:

Single Traveller: $2510
Dual travelers/2pax: $1900 Per Person
3 travelers: $1700 Per Person
4 Travelers: $1550 Per Person
5 - 6 Travelers: $1530 Per Person
7 and above Travelers: $1450 Per Person

Due to nature of Tour and man force required, cost for trekking may be slightly more expensive compared to Cultural and festival tours.

More Info

Trekking in Bhutan

With the likes of trail that takes you right at the foot of worlds’ tallest unconquered mountain (Gangkar Puensum 7550m), trekking in Bhutan will give you a new experience never like before. With more than 70 percent of the country covered by undisturbed wilderness, trekking in Bhutan will take you ever closer to the nature. These trekking trails once used by famous Buddhist saints like Guru Rinpoche (who introduced Buddhism in Bhutan) in 746 AD while visiting Bhutan from Nepal and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (the unifier of modern Bhutan) in 1616 while fleeing Tibet for a political dispute, this routes are the genuine routes where Bhutanese people still use it today. What makes trekking in Bhutan unique is its calmness and natural feeling; credit to less numbers of trekkers visiting Bhutan and its natural unpaved trails unlike other countries around the world. With more than 20 trekking trials to choose from, Bhutan offers trekking services to both beginners and pros.

Trekking Permits

No specific trekking permits are required to trek in Bhutan. You can trek in Bhutan with normal tourist visa for international tourist and normal entry permit for regional tourist (Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivians).

Best season for trekking in Bhutan

The best season to trek in Bhutan depends on which trekking trail you choose to but in general, March, April, May, September, October and November are the best months to trek in Bhutan. In the month of June, July and August Bhutan receives heavy rainfall and in December, January and February, the high mountain passes along the trekking trails are covered with snow, making it difficult for trekkers.

The details regarding the best season to trek on different trails in Bhutan are mentioned below:
  • Bumdra Trek- February, March, April, May, September, October, November and December. However one can trek year round despite any season on this trail.
  • Gangtey Trek- March, April, May, September, October, November and December.
  • Samtengang Trek- January, February, March, April, May, September, October, November and December. It’s doable all year round despite any season.
  • Bumthang Owl Trek- March, April, May, September, October, November and December.
  • Bumthang Cultural Trek- March, April, May, September, October, November and December.
  • Sagala Trek - March, April, May, September, October, November and December.
  • Sinchula Trek- March, April, May, September, October, November and December.
  • Druk Path Trek- March, April, May, September, October, November and December. It’s Doable all year round despite its best seasons.
  • Dagala Lake view Trek- March, April, May, September, October, November and December. Despite the best season, one can trek year round on this trail.
  • Jomolhari Trek- March, April, May, September, October and November.
  • Laya Gasa Trek- March, April, May, September, October and November.
  • Gangkar Puensum base camp trek- One can trek on this route from mid June to October but the best recommended month for this trek is October.
  • Snowmen Trek I- One can trek on this route from mid June to October but the best recommended month for this trek is October.
  • Snowmen Trek II- One can trek on this route from mid June to October but the best recommended month for this trek is October.

Difficulty Grading

Trekking in Bhutan can be of 2 days or a month long. Depending on the number of days taken to trek, gain in altitude and nature of terrains, trekking routes in Bhutan can be graded into four categories; easy, moderate, difficult and very difficult.

    A. Easy
  • Bumdra Trek
  • Gantey Trek
  • Samtengang Trek
  • Bumthang owl Trek
  • Bumthang Cultural Trek
  • Sagala Trek
  • Sinchula trek
  • B. Moderate
  • Druk Path Trek
  • Dagala Lake view Trek
  • C. Difficult
  • Jomolhari Trek
  • Laya Gasa Trek
  • D. Very Difficult
  • Gangkar Puensum base camp Trek
  • Snowmen Trek I
  • Snowmen Trek II

Trekking experience and physical fitness required to trek in Bhutan

At 10,760 feet above sea level, Bhutan is ranked highest country in the world, in terms of average land elevations. As a result most of its trekking trails are located on higher altitude, averaging over 12,000 feet above sea level, requiring certain level of physical fitness and trekking experience.

However with varieties of trails to choose from, both beginners and pro can enjoy trekking in Bhutan. Be it 2 days or grueling 25 days trekking, Bhutan has it all for you to choose from.

For those who are attempting to go for Snowmen trek (25 days trek), it will be asset if you have certain level of trekking experience and physically fit enough, since snowmen trek is referred to as amongst the world’s most toughest trekking route involving climbs over 5000 m.

Safety measures

  • Altitude Sickness

    Do not ignore any kind of symptoms related to altitude sickness; difficulty in breathing, headache, giddiness and numbness in limbs. If you experience any of the mentioned symptoms, inform your guide immediately.

    Though portable oxygen supplies and first aid kits are always carried along with by the crew members but if possible carry some diamox (acetazolamide) pills, which can be bought from pharmacies across Bhutan.

    The best tactics, if you suffer from altitude sickness is to stop ascending and if the symptoms do not go away or get worse, then descend down. It is advisable that you drink large amount of water every day while you are trekking.

  • Food and water contamination

    Meals while trekking in Bhutan are prepared every day by cooking crews and no left over foods are served. Lunch are prepared in the morning along with breakfast and carried as a packed lunch. Dinners are prepared at campsite at the end of every trekking day. Hence chances of getting food contaminated while trekking in Bhutan are very slim.

    Bottled water is carried by trekking crew members but however it is not sufficient for longer duration treks and hence the crew member boils water in the morning for you to carry for the day.

    It is advisable that you bring your own water bottle and if possible carry some water purifier solutions as well. Refrain yourself from drinking directly from the streams nearby.

  • Criminal activity

    No trekking trails in Bhutan will meet you with any kind of criminal activities. In fact if you are in need, everyone you encounter will be very much happy to help you whatever way they can.

  • Safety considerations

    Consult with your guide in regards to dos and don’ts and stick together with your group (if trekking on group). Carry essential items such as head torch, portable cell phone chargers and your mobile phone along with you.

Trekking gears required while trekking in Bhutan

    Trekking gears and manpower provided by See Bhutan Travels are as follows:
  • Horses/ potters and ponies
  • Toilet tents with toilet pots and toilet papers.
  • Shower tents with hot water shower bag (only for longer duration treks)
  • Sleeping tents (A-shaped) with pillows and mattress
  • Dinning tents with tables and chairs
  • Kitchen tents with whole set of kitchen items to prepare meals.
  • Trekking/camping cooks
  • Trekking/camping staffs
  • Hot water bags in bed.
  • Some of the items that you need to bring along while trekking in Bhutan are; Sleeping bag, sturdy and comfortable trekking boots, few changes of cloths, gloves, neck warmers, wind proof/water proof jackets, warm jackets and hiking pants.

Accommodations during trekking in Bhutan

With no hotels or home stays along the trekking trails, all the trekkers must spend their nights in the tent (camping). Camping crew member arranges your tents. They travel ahead of you and put everything on place before you reach your campsite.

Meals while trekking in Bhutan

All the meals are prepared by trekking cooks who will trek alongside you throughout the entire tour. Lunch are prepared in the morning and carried by trekking staffs. Breakfast and dinners are prepared and served at the campsite.

Since there are no grocery stores or shops along the trekking trails, all the food items are bought and carried along by the crew members, their horses and yaks. As and when available, our crew members will try to buy fresh vegetables from local communities and include in your menu.

Trekking alone in Bhutan

Since trekking in Bhutan is a guided tour by the law of country, lone trekkers should not worry because he or she will be followed by trekking guide and crew members for the entire trekking tour.

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Mobile number: +975 77374799 (24/7)

Office Number: +975 2 339170 (9am – 5 pm Bhutan Standard Time)

We organize Cultural sightseeing tour, Trekking, Mountain biking tour, Festival tour, Luxury tour and White water rafting tour within Bhutan.

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info@seebhutantravels.com (975)77374799/17514347

What's Included

All three meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Accommodations in 3 star rated hotels in twin sharing basis. (4 Stars and 5 Star available on paying extra premium)
Licensed English speaking guide
Transportation in a comfortable SUV cars, Mini Bus and Medium size Buses depending on the number of travelers
Experienced driver.
Sustainable Development Fee of $65 per person, per night stay in Bhutan, which goes for infrastructure development, free education, free medical services and reducing poverty
All government taxes
Bhutan visa fee
Entry fee to all the tourist visiting sites and museums
Tea and snacks throughout entire tour
Bottled water during the day
Trekking Equipments as follows:
Horses/ potters and ponies
Toilet tents with toilet pots and toilet papers
Sleeping tents (A-shaped) with pillows and mattress
Dinning tents with tables and chairs
Kitchen tents with whole set of kitchen items to prepare meals
Trekking/camping cooks
Trekking/camping staffs
Hot water bags in bed

The above mentioned cost does not cover the following:

Flight tickets (both international & domestic)
Beverages & personal shopping
Travel insurances
Laundry
Tips and gratuity for guide and driver
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