P.O 1242, Thimphu, Bhutan +975-17640379, +975-17605753

Gangkar Phuensum South East Face


Day 1 Arrive Paro ( by Druk Air) Thimphu

On arrival at the Paro Airport, you will be received by the representative of Bhutan Exodus who will then drive to Paro town for lunch. Visit Ta Dzong ( National Museum ) and Paro Rinpung Dzong, built in 1646 and now houses Paro’s monk body and the offices of the civil administration. In the late afternoon drive to Bhutan ‘s capital, Thimphu (1¹/2 hour drive). Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu .

Day 2 Thimphu – Trongsa (71/2 hour drive)

After early breakfast, drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,050m/ 10,130 ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chortens, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If weather is clear, the eastern Himalayan peaks can be seen from this pass. Continue onwards, reaching Wangdue in time for lunch. Following lunch continue on to Trongsa across Pele-la pass (3,300m/10,830 ft), the traditional boundary between east and west. There is an abrupt change in vegetation at this point, with mountain forest replaced by high altitude dwarf bamboo. Arrive at Trongsa late afternoon and check into the hotel.

Day 3 Trongsa – Bumthang (21/2 hour drive)

Morning visit the impressive Trongsa Dzong, ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. In olden days the dzong commanded the passage between East and west Bhutan . We then continue on to Bumthang across the Yotongla pass (3,400m/ 11,155 ft). Tales of the great teacher Guru Padmasambhava dominate this holy valley.  After lunch visit Tamshing Monastery (one of the oldest monastic schools built by Terton Pema Lingpa) and Kurjey Lhakhang (where the Guru Rinpoche subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock). We also visit Jambay Lhakhang (one of the oldest temple in Bhutan built in 7th century). Overnight at the guest house in Bumthang.

Day 4 Bumthang – Khakthang (star trek)

Distance – 16 Kms/10 miles; Time 5-6 hours

Drive north from Jakar to the starting point at Tokto Zampa. The trail follows the Chamkhar Chu, a river known for its trout and through meadows, forests of blue pine a nd scrub bamboo. We also pass by many villages and temples. After leaving Damphey village we walk past the local primary school and the army barracks of Khagthang, built in a wonderful large meadow.  Looking down from Khagthang we see the village of Nasphey , with temples and meditation houses nestling in the forests above. After one an hour walk we arrive our campsite. Altitude: 2,898 m/9,505 ft.

Day 5Khakthang – Gophu

Distance – 15 Kms/10 miles; Time 5- 6 hours

The trail continues through dense mixed bamboo forest. Several small side streams and a couple of log bridges are on the menu today. After about 3 hours of hiking we reach Pesa or Petso, open swampy field, below some rockface. There are also impressive cliffs on the other side of the river at Bomsang. I another 3 hours following up along the through forests leads to Gophu, our campsite. Altitude: 3,269m/10,722 ft.

Day 6 Gophu – Tsawu

Distance – 15 kms/9.5 miles; Time 5-6 hours

The trail continues through mix of rhododendrons, firs, birch and spruce forests. After 3 hour we reach a clearing in the forest, where we stop for lunch. From a narrow valley the trail hits an open valley with a big mountain directly ahead and the confluence of the Mela Chu and Bumthang Chu. The army camp at Tsampa is also near the confluence. From the army camp cross the bridge over the Mela Chu. There are also several yak herders camp in this area. After one hour we arrive Tsawu at 3,780 m/12,333 ft.

Day 7 Tsawu –Bamurpa

In the morning the trail is all gradual uphill, an easier day. We’re now at the very gateway to the great peaks, near the timber line but amid lush forests and looming, rocky ramparts. Depending on the season, we find yak herders grazing their yaks in this valley. As we follow the trail, coursing its rocky way along the right bank of the river, and as we steadily gain altitude, the impressive spruce forests give way to weather-beaten junipers and rhododendron bushes growing above the treeline, clinging to rocks and ridges. As space opens up, the icy wall of the siblings, Gangkar Puensum (7,541m/24,735ft), appears majestically.  Our camp is at Bumarpa, set in a meadow with huge boulders strewn everywhere. Altitude: 4,430m/14,530 ft.

Day 8 Bamurpa

There are a number of day-hiking possibilities. Walk up to the southeast ridge, passing Buurtsam (end of glacier) – a new yak herders camp, which has been erected in the last couple of years as a result of the glacier retreating further.  Or climb steeply up to the ridge crossing a stream. As we go up the ridge the view of Gangkar Puensum gets more impressive with every metre. There are also great views of the valley below.

Day 9 Bamurpa – Tsampa

Distance – 22.5 kms/14 miles; Time 7-8 hours

We take the same route back to Tsawu, but a little onger to reach the meadow at Tsampa. Altitude: 3675m/12,054ft.

Day 10 Tsampa – Solanga Chu

Distance – 14 kms/8.7 miles; Time 6 hours

The day begins with a steep climb into an opening in the forest with several yak herders’ camp. After passing through a dense forest with junipers, fir, spruce, birch and rhododendrons we reach Nagar, where we can see the valley leading up to Monla Karchung La, an ancient trade route to Tibet .  Before arriving our camp there is a great view towards Gangkar Puensum and other snowy peaks. Altitude of Solang Chu: 4,420m/14,480ft.

Day 11 Solanga Chu – Lambrang

Distance – 14.5 kms/9 miles; Time 5-6 hours

In the morning we climb one hour to Tholey La Pass (4,732m/15,520ft), along the rocky trail past Teyja, a yak camp at the head of a small alpine lake. The pass is decorated with prayer flags and cairns . From the pass descend steeply to a magnificent valley protected by rocky cliffs. You may see yak herders around your campsite. Altitude of Lambrang: 4,070m/13,350ft.

Day 12 Lambrang – Lungsum

Distance – 14 kms/8.7 miles; Time 4-5 hours

Continue down the valley to the confluence of Durbichha Chu where you also hit the trail between Bumthang and Dur Hot Springs. The trail follows the wild Gorzam Chhu which is fast becoming a foamy-white, swift torrent, correspondingly increases its pace of descent. The forest also is changing: the juniper, fir, rhododendron trees are replaced with the thick bamboo undergrowth. After several ups and downs we arrive Lungsum at 3,170m/10,400ft.

Day 13 Lungsum – Dur (finish trek), Bumthang

Distance – 12 kms/7.5 miles; Time 4 hours

This is the last day of the trek. Descend down to the bank of the river Gorzam Chu and climb the rocky trail until we reach Chochokmey, a small clearing in the woods. The trail continues through thickets of bamboo into a pleasant meadow below Gorsum, The path then follows the Gorzam Chu descending gradually with few small climbs. The trek ends when you arrive at Dur village where transport will pick you up and drive to Bumthang. Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang.

Day 14 Bumthang – Wangdue

The drive to Wangdue is about 7 hours via Trongsa. Picnic will be served at convenient spot. Overnight in Wangdue.

Day 15 Wangdue – Paro

Morning drive to Paro across Dochula Pass. After lunch and sightseeing in Thimphu depart to Paro. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 16 Depart Paro (by Druk Air)

After early breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.

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