Program Merak – Sakten Trek with cultural tour across the land of dragon quer
Price on request
Transport, Trekking-Crew, english speaking tourguide, 3 meals per day, overnight stay, admission to places of interest according program, visa
Flight, drinks, tips for driver, tourguide, trekking-crew
Duration 21 days, therefrom 7 days trek
Difficulty level: medium
Overnight stay: During trek in tents, otherwise in traditional and comfortable hotels
Recommended visting seasons: March to May, August to October
Arrival: via Flughafen Guwahati (India) or domestic flight from Paro to Bumthang (price on request)
- Exceptional Trek Merak-Sakten
- Ride across the whole land of thunderdragon
- Dzong in Trongsa and Punakha
- Phobjikha Valley with blacknecked cranes (only in winter months)
- Tiger's Nest
The native of Merak and Sakten are known as Brokpas, meaning ‘people from the highlands.’ This group of people is mainly yak headers but they also rear sheep, goats and few other animals and live a life of semi-nomadic or nomadic.
During summer months they go up to the colder places looking for a pasture land with their herds of yak and live in semi-permanent small huts made out of stones and bamboos. Likewise, during winter months they travel down to lower altitude regions. During this period they barter their goods- Cheese, butter, and dried meat with the other items available in the places they visit. So during such times is not a viable option as there would be only children and old people living in the villages.
Arrive Samdrup Jongkhar
Our guide will receive you at Gauwhati Ariport in India and transfer you to Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan. Samdrup Jongkhar is bordering town to India and commercial hub of eastern Bhutanese, it is located at 170m above sea level and is 150km away from the Airport. Overnight Hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar.
Samdrup Jongkhar- Trashigang
Driving Time: 6hr / Distance : 180km
The drive to Trashigang would be tiring one because of the road widening work. En-route visit National weaving center in Khaling and drive further on to Trashigang. Overnight Hotel in Trashigang.
Day 3 - Start Trekking
Trashigang - Chaling – Wangothang
Estimated walking time: 6-7hr / Altitude gain: 500m / Altitude loss: 400m
Drive from your hotel in Trashigang to Ranjung to Chaling over a dirty road, the starting point of the trek. In chaling your trekking crew will be waiting for your arrival. From here you have a steady climb of about 2hr through forest of rhododendron to Bub La (3250m) pass. There is a continue descent through juniper forest till you reach the campsite at Wangothang(3060m).
Day 4 - Trekking
Estimated walking time: 5hr
Today is a comfortable walk along the river bank of Nyera Amo Chu till you reach Gengou village. Gengou will be your first interaction point with Brokpas, pushing further on you will be at Merak (3400m).
Merak is a beautiful village perched on a hill side overlooking snow-capped mountains. The houses are built in traditional stone style with thatched roofs and people have their own traditional dress.
Day 5 - Rest day
Rest Day in Merak- or – Day Excursion to Jomo Kumkhar.
Today we will be going around village and see their living style. A hike to Jomo Kumkhar mostly involves steep climb so do not recommend unless you are a very good trekkers.
Day 6 - Trekking
Merak – Sakten
Estimated walking time: 7-8hr
The trek to Sakten is moderate one where you will have a steady climb of about 2-2.5hr to Nakchung La Pass (4100m). The pass offers a great view of the Merak valley and if weather permits you will also have a great view of never ending mountain ranges of Bhutan. From the pass the trail descends for about 2-3hr down to a pasture land for yaks, which is a pleasant lunch spot. After lunch follow the river for 1hr and a steep climb of another 1hr to the pass marked by Chorten, from where it is 30min down to Sakteng(2900m), located in a big open space surrounded by heavily forested ridges.
Day 7 - Rest day in Sakteng
Today is a day to explore village of Skteng and the surrounding area. You will encounter many yaks and sheep grazing around the village. Though Sakteng do not share the thatched roof like Merak but the village is equally beautiful. Walking around the village will give the glimpse of their way of life. You can also visit the local monastery perched high above the village. Evening, you will have a cultural show by community there.
Day 8 - Trekking
Sakteng – Jyongkhar
Estimated walking time: 7-8hr
Today the trail mostly involves a gradual descend through the lush river valley. However there is a gradual climb to Nazor La pass (2930m). From the pass the trail drops down through rain-forest, and after crossing several streams you come to Thrag thre village (2350m). From this village its around 3-4hr walk to campsite Jyonkhar Teng(1770m).
Day 9 - Trekking
Jyongkhar Teng – Phongme- Trashigang
Estimated walking time: 4-5hr till road point
The day starts with a 30min climb to Jyonkhar Village from where the trail makes steep descend down to Mubri viallge and again an hour’s climb to Yongba Zor(2220m). Yongba Zor marks the boundry between Sakteng and Phongme geog. From here it is a pleasant walk through Oak forest and several villages in vicinity till road point where the car would be waiting for your arrival. Drive to Trashigang. Overnight hotel in Trashigang.
Trashigang – Mongar via Dramtse
Driving Time: 3hr
Your first 1.5hr will be drive along the Dangme Chu river. Dangme Chu is the largest river in Bhutan whose source is from Tibetan plateau and finally submerges in river Brahmaputra in India. On the way you can divert to Dremtise for a short sightseeing. Dremtse is perched on a hill top opposite of Kanglung College. The feeder road to Dramtse is 18km long but it’s worth a visit as it is one of the oldest monastery in the entire eastern region. Today the monastery is headed by Speech reincarnation of Terton Pema Lingpa(Treasure Discoverer). You will also have enchanting view of the surrounding valley.
Retrace your route back to the main road and carry on with your drive to Monggar. Today Monggar stands as biggest town in eastern Bhutan and functions as administrative hub for entire east. Overnight hotel in Mongar.
Mongar – Bumthang
Driving Time: 6-8hr
The drive to Bumthang crosses two passes from where you can have enchanting view of Mt. Gangkar Puensum, the highest peak of Bhutan. The drive is also counted as one of the most spectacular drive in the country. The journey takes you across the forest with varieties of birds as most of the journey takes inside Jigme Singye National park. You would be also able to see Capped Languor, Monkeys and beautiful settlement like Sengor and Ura resting peacefully on a pastureland. Overnight hotel in Jakar, Bumthang.
Bumthang is composed of four major valleys: Tang, Chokhor, Ura and Chhumey. The name name Bumthang is originated from the shape of which shaped like a Bumpa, the vassel of holy water and thang means field.
Bumtahng is also known as heartland of Buddhism because the place was visited by Guru Padmasambvha in 746AD. Thereafter the teaching of Buddhism spread in Bhutan. Today you will be visiting Jakar Tshechu(Mask Dance Festival) which will be held in the courtyard of Jakar Dzong. Tshechu means 10th day in Bhutanese calendar and is performed to honor Guru Padmasambhava who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in the eighth century. We also believe that Obstacles and ill fortune will be removed in this life if we attend the tshechu. Dance performances take place with swirling incense, streaming costumes, masks and sacred rites and are performed by monks from Dzong. Every dance has its own significant. Overnight hotel in Jakar.
Today make a beautiful hike around valley. Visit Jambay Lhakhang, the oldest temple built in Bhutan followed by Kurjey Lhakhang. Kurjey is the temple where guru did his meditation and has left his body imprint in the cliff inside the temple. From Kurjey you will also have good view over the other side of the valley.
Walk down to river and cross the bridge to Tamshing Monastery. Tamshing monastery gives the glimpse of oldest painting ever recorded in the history of Bhutan. Today Tamshing houses few 50-60 monks who are studying Ningma sect of Buddhism. Your car will pick you up from here and drive you to town for Lunch. After lunch give a short visit to the Tshechu or make scroll of the town. Overnight hotel in Jakar.
Bumthang - Trongsa
After breakfast begin your journey to Trongsa via Yotong La pass which is 3400m. Buy some wind horse flag so that you can flung it on the Yotong La top in order to bring good luck. On a clear day the pass offers you with the view of Mt. Gangkar Puensum and Black Mountain 4800m. Now the road drops continually down to Trongsa at 2200m. If time permits visit Museum and Trongsa Dzong otherwise leave it for next day. Overnight hotel in Trongsa.
Trongsa - Gangtey
If you are interested make a hike form Trongsa Dzong to the view point which roughly takes around 2hr at leisure pace to reach the view point on the other side of the Dzong. Your car will pick you up from here to precede your onward journey to Gangtey via Pele La pass which at 3420m. On a clear day the pass offers the view of Jhomolhari (7300m), Jichu Drake (7200m) and Tshendagang(6700m). Few kilometers down Pele La your road diverts to Gangtey via Lawa La pass. The valley is located at an elevation of 2900m. Overnight hotel in Gangtey.
Gangtey – Punakha
Gangtey is a roosting ground for seasonal blacked necked crane that flies to Bhutan every winter from Tibetan plateau. The crane information center in the valley gives you the more detailed information regarding the crane. You will also have a 15min documentary show on cranes. The center has binoculars installed in it to watch the bird.
Having visited the crane center now it’s the time to make a hike around Gangtey Nature Trail or if you want you can also make a tougher Shashi La nature Trail which is a half day hike and comes out on the other side of the valley. Car will pick you up from here and in 3hr it will take you to Punakha.
Punakha – Thimphu
Visit Punakha Dzong which seats in the confluence of two river (Male and Female) surrounded by Jacaranda Trees, Dzong is one of the most impressive of all. The Dzong is also named as “Palace of Great Happiness” and was built in 1637; today it functions as winter residence for Central monastic body.
Retrace your route back to Lobesa and make a beautiful 30min hike to Chimmi Lhakhang, the temple of Fertility. The temple is built in honor of Lama Drukpa Kuenley, ‘the Divine Madman’ in 1499. Back in the car the road now climbs continuously to Dochu La pass (3140m). Dochu La is marked by array of Chortens, which is named as Drukwang Gyel Chortens literally which means Chorten of Victorious Drukpa. This marks the victory of Bhutanese over Indian insurgents ULFA in 2003. On a clear day the pass offers you breathtaking view of eastern Himalayas. Now drop down to Thimphu which takes around 45min drive and is located at 2380m. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Visit Memorial Chorten which was built in 1974 in memory of 3rd king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, visit the school of Traditional arts and crafts, Takin (National Animal) preserve are in Mothithang, and then finally drive to view point at Sangaygang. Evening visit Tashichoe Dzong and after that leisure in the Town.
Thimphu – Paro
First half-hour drive on a new express way takes you to south of Thimphu along the left bank of Wang Chu river. After a 30min of comfortable drive you will be in Chhu Zom meaning river confluence and is marked by major road junction, with the road leading south to border town of Phunthsholing, southwest to Haa and North West to Paro. Following the northwest make a visit to Traditional Iron Bridge which was reconstructed in 2005 using some Thangthong’s original chain links from Duksum in eastern Bhutan. In the afternoon vist Paro Dzong, ‘Fortress on a heap of jewel’, was built in 1644 to defend the Paro valley and Paro Dungtse Lhakhang the temple which was built by Thangthong Gyelpo the iron bridge builder in 1433. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Paro – Day Excursion to Taktshang
The only possibility to reach tigers nest is to hike or ride on the back of flying tigress. The way up and down nearly takes around four hours. The monastery is hanging on a cliff and it has been visited by many great Buddhist Masters spent some time mediating here. In the afternoon visit National Museum which is hosted inside the watch Tower (Ta-Dzong), with this take one last scroll of the Paro Town. Overnight in Paro.
Departure from Paro
Flying on Druk Air to continue your onwards journey - Tashi Delek.
(Subject to change without prior notice.)