These are my personal notes from East to West Traverse of Bhutan using the highest trails that tourists are permitted to use as at May 2010. I have edited my diary to give a clear idea of trail notes and places of interest but it’s not meant to be exhaustive. We had some terrible weather and all but one day we had rain or hail or snow. This means I didn’t get clear views of most peaks so excuse any oversights when I describe the view!
We had 6 enforced rest days while waiting for fresh pack animals to arrive, it seems this is a common problem in May to June but less so after monsoon in October to November.
- Place names in Bhutan can be confusing as some are used as regional or district identifiers and other places may have two or three different names. I have used local names as much as possible but please don’t be surprised if you hear alternatives.
- Pack animals are used throughout Bhutan in preference to porterage. This can mean that even slight snowfall of 30 or 40cm can halt your trek or even change your route. It’s wise to have some spare time in any itinerary to allow for snow melt.
- Mud can be thigh or even waist deep, which can also stop your pack animals from proceeding. If the trail is badly affected you may have to turn back.
- There are very few route options to avoid obstacles, but ask locals if you do run into problems because there are ‘other’ trails that the tourism department would rather you didn’t know about.
- On remote treks it is essential to carry a satellite phone, check that your trek leader has one!
- Herder’s Huts are made of stone and have a roof of shingles, planks or stones. Herder’s Shelters do not have a roof and normally only one wall which acts as a windbreak.
Day 01-10 EAST BHUTAN:
road trip from Samdruk Jongkhar to Trashi Yangtse then trek over Dong La and Rhodung La to Bumthang
Day 11-25 CENTRAL BHUTAN:
trek over Gophu La (Snowman Trek) to Laya
Day 26-34 WEST BHUTAN:
trek via Lingshi and Jomolhari to Haa then to Paro airport
- 18 passes (three over 5000m)
- 40,000m of ascent and descent
Drive times and distances
|Haa to Paro over Chele La || 68km||2.5 hours|
|Paro to Thimpu|| 65km|| 45 minutes|
|Thimpu to Punakha||77km||2.5 hours|
|Paro to Taktseng car park||10km||30 minutes|
|Punakha to Bumthang||210km||6.5 hours|
|Bumthang to Trashi Yangtsi|| 288km||10 hours|
|Samdruk Jongkhar to Trashigang||180km||9 hours|
|Trashigang to Trashi Yangtsi ||65km||2.5 hours|