Trip Highlights: Trekking/cultural tours
Trip duration: 9 Days/ 8Nights
On trek duration: 4 days
Max. Elevation: 1,980m
Highest Camp: 1,500m
Physical grade: easy
Best time: April and September to October
The Samtengang Winter Trek is a short trek that offers the opportunity to experience the culture and traditional lifestyle of people of Shar. The trek goes through idyllic villages and terraced paddy fields. Although the trek is possible throughout winter, the ideal season is from March to April and October to November.
Day 1 Arrival Paro
After you touchdown at the Paro International Airport, your local tour executive will welcome and escort you to the hotel. Thereafter, you will be taken for a tour to the historic ruins of Drukgyel Dzong followed by the visit to Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the country. After lunch, your guide will take you to Rinpung dzong and the Ta Dzong, the National Museum. We call it a day after dinner.
Day 2 Tiger nest Hike
You will be taken for a hike to Taktshang or Tiger’s nest, an uphill walk of about three hours. This hike is basically done to accustom trekkers to the mountain altitude of the Himalaya. The Tiger nest, precariously perched on a cliff, will also offer a spectacular view of the Paro valley besides visiting the inner sanctum of one of the most religious sites of the country.
Day 3 Paro/Thimphu
The journey between Paro and Thimphu takes a little more than an hour. It is a smooth drive along the Parochhu and later the Thimphuchhu after crossing Chuzom. Along the road, you will be able to see village settlements, farmlands, temples and chortens. On the way, you will visit Tagcho Lhakhang (temple) on the other side of the river. In Thimphu, you will be taken for a cultural tour to Changangkha Lhakhang, Folk heritage museum, National Memorial Chorten, and Kuenselphodrang or popularly known as Buddha point.
Day 4 Thimphu/Punakha
You will leave early to Punakha and experience the sun rise at Dochula with a cup of tea or coffee at the cafeteria. When you reach Lobesa, you will walk a few minutes through a village to Chimmi Lhakhang perched on a hillock. This is the famous temple of fertility. After lunch, you will hike to Khamsum Yueley Namgyel Chorten in the north of Punakha.
Day 5 Punakha/Limukha
Time: four hours
Camp altitude: 1,980m
After passing the spectacular Punakha Dzong you cross the footbridge over the Pho Chhu and walk up to Shengana. You will climb uphill gradually before reaching Limukha. The trail is dry so trekkers are advised to carry enough drinking water. You will halt for the night at Limukha.
Day 6 Limukha/Chhungsakha
Time: Five hours
Camp altitude: 1,550m
You will continue the trek that will take you through a vegetation of rhododendron and oak trees until you reach the village of Chhungsakha. Ten houses compromise this small village. In the village, there is a holy stone and a cypress tree that was left by the divine madman, Lam Drukpa Kuenley.
Day 7 Chhungsakha/Samtengang
Time: five hours
Camp altitude: 1,830m
The trail descends till Pe Chhu. After crossing this river, you will climb uphill and pass the village of Sha on the way to Samtengang. Along the way, you will be able to see beautiful villages and paddy fields, and a rustic way of life. Samtengang is a beautiful place on top of a hill. There is a small lake near the school. You will camp for the night near the lake.
Day 8 Samtengang /Chhuzomsa/Thimphu
Time: five to six hours
The trail to Chuzomsa is a steep downhill till you reach the road head. The car will pick you and drive you back to Thimphu. On the way back, you will visit Wangduephodrang Dzong.
Day 9 Thimphu Hike
You will be driven to north of Thimphu. The uphill hike to Cheri is a gentle one that takes around two hours. Cheri Monastery was the seat of Zhabdrung from where he started the first monastic body. After you visit Cheri, you will walk down till the road head from where you will be driven to the road head toward Tango, on the opposite ridge. You will be served lunch by the riverside. The uphill hike to Tango is a gentle one too and takes around roughly two hours. Tango is the leading Buddhist University in the country.
Day 10: Exit
You tour guide will see you off at the airport.