MERAK-SAKTEN TREK CULTURAL TOUR
Hig. Walking Distance
Hig. Walking Time
You will be received by your guide at the Guwahati airport. After a lunch at local Indian restaurant, you will be driving through the Indian plains comming across small townships and vibrant villages of Assam. While driving, you can also see tea gardens from where famous Indian tea is made. After driving almost for three hours and covering 120 km, you arrive at the Bhutan border. You will then check into your hotel after completing Bhutan immigration formalities at the entry gate. If you have time, you can explore this small township of Samdrup Jongkhar. It is the most improtant commercial hub of eastern Bhutan as it is the place where main trade between eastern Bhutan and Indian state of Assam takes place. Overnight hotel at Samdrup Jongkhar.
Have your breakfast at the hotel and prepare for the 6-hour long exhilarating journey to Trashigang, the largest district in Bhutan. From foothills of the border, you will gradually ascend from 145m to 1070m at Trashigang through different vegetations, villages and towns. This is the main highway in eastern Bhutan and also served as very important route during the Indo-China war in 1962. Check into the hotel on arrival. Overnight hotel in Trashigang.
Today is arelaxed day as we do not have many things to do. After breakfast at the hotel, you will visit Trashigang Dzong, the civil and monastic administration ofTrsahigang, which in early years have served as the main head quarter of whole eastern region. After a lunch in the town, you will drive to Rangjung, a small town north of Trashigang. While in Rangjung, you will vist the Ranjung Monastery, founded by the HH Garab Rimpoche. You will also explore nearby villages of Radhi. Overnight at the Guest House.
From Rangjung, you will take scenic drive to Chaling passing through Radhi village. Your trekking crew and pack animals will be waiting here for you. Trek starts with gradual climb towards Shaktimi meadow. You will see yaks and sheep grazing with yak herders’ huts dotted on the hills side. Climb further to reach Mendula Pass at 3354m. From this pass, you will descend through rhododendron forests till Donmong Chu at 3124m. Overnight in camp.
The trail from Domong Chu to Merak mostly follows the river bends. The final stretch has gentle ascend before you Gangu village. After another 45 minutes walk from this village, you will arrive at Merak located at an altitude of 3520m. The campsite located before the village has spectacular views of nearby mountains and village. Visit the local village and meet with the people. Overnight in camp.
Today is the toughest journey of the trek crossing the highest Nachungla pass at 4153m. From the campsite climb gradually to the first pass at 3900m from where you can make last glimpse of Merak valley. Continue the trek along the tree line of juniper and rhododendron forests and conquer the Nachungla pass. Then you will descend to Miksateng at 3079m. Overnight in camp.
First, you will descend to the river, cross it and then follow the river bank for few hours. Then climb gradually to a hill adorned by small Chorten (Stupa) overlooking the Sakten valley. If you are lucky, you can spot red panda among the trees. Drop down from the ridge and camp on the outskirts of the Sakten village at 2950m. Overnight in camp.
You will visit Sakten village and explore the lifestyle and unique culture of this ethnic group.
Today’s journey will be a longer and so we will start early from the camp. Leaving Sakten, start with short climb to the small hill towards the west end of the village. Then descend down to the river and walk alongside it through the broad leaf forests. We camp in a beautiful meadow near the river by Joenkhar Teng village (1733m). Joenkhar Teng is situated on the hillside and its population comprises of Brokpa and Sharchopa with a community school and an outreach clinic. Overnight in camp.
The last day of the trek begins with short climb through the Joenkhar Teng. Cross few of suspension bridges and short climbs to reach Phongmay. Meet your transport and drive to Trashigang. Overnight hotel in Trashigang.
After breakfast, commence your journey to Mongar. You will drive through many small townships, villages and rivers and finally arrive Mongar. Overnight hotel in Mongar.
After breakfast this morning, enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at Dochu La (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, drive downhill through the forests of rhododendron, fir and hemlock. You will arrive at Punakha after traversing through rice field and along the bank of Punakha River. On the way, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to the Devine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. If you wish, receive the blessing from the Lama’s wooden phallus! After lunch, visit the Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
Today’s sightseeing in Bumthang includes Jakar Dzong, the administrative center of the valley; Jambay Lhakhang, one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan, dating from the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan; and Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places, because Guru Rinpoche, a great spiritual Indian master left his body imprint on the cave when he was meditating. After lunch, you will visit Tamshing Monastery, which is founded by the great treasure discoverer. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.
You’ll begin the day at the Bumthang market, and then drive to Wangduephodrang, where you can stroll through the town and visit the shops. The nearby villages are known for their slate and stone carvings and bamboo work. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
In the morning, you will visit Punakha Dzong, the most beautiful dzongs and the ancient capital of Bhutan. On the way to Thimphu, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple, where you may receive a special fertility blessing from the wooden Phallus if you wish. Continue driving to Thimphu via Dochula Pass (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Sightseeing in Thimphu includes: King’s Memorial Chorten; the radio tower (for a great view of Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong); the zoo, which contains the national animal of Bhutan: the takin; Folk Heritage Museum; School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school); the National Institute of Traditional Medicine and traditional paper factory. In the afternoon, you can visit the intesreting weekend market where nearby villagers come here to sell their farm produce and it is good place for the photography. If you are lucky, you can also catch some archery match taking place next to the market. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at 3180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up the mountain. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. Explore the monastery complex. Later in the evening, you will hike down to the Paro. Visit the local family and if you wish, you can experience traditional hot-stone bath and sit down for a traditional dinner. Overnight hotel in Paro.
Drive to the airport for departure.
18 days | 17 nights
28 Oct - 14 Nov
What trekking is like?
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) & Precaution
Temperature of trek
During the day it will be warmer with temperature ranging from 12-18 degree celcius. While during the night the temperature will fall below zero degree celcius. In Oct and November, the night temperature will be negative 5-6 degree celcius. You must carry warm sleeping bags.
Trekking guide & handling emergency
Our trekking guides are trained and certified by the government to handle AMS and other emergencies on treks. You have access to mobile networks on some point of trails and a daily contact is being maintained with the office back in city.
Meals on trek
Littering is not allowed on all trek routes. Hand over your wastes to your trekking staff. They will put in a garbage bag and carry along with them to city to be thrown into proper bins.
When to book?
Visa and Passport
Tourist’s visas need to be arranged in advance through local tour operators. No foreign missions abroad grant tourists visa. You will have to make an advance payment to approve your visa. Once your visa is been approved, visa clearance letter (VCL) will be sent to you. You must carry this letter to be shown at the check-in counter from where you board your flights to Bhutan. Actual Bhutanese visa will be stamped on your passport on arrival at Paro international airport. Your passport should have minimum six months validity from the date on entry into Bhutan and at least one full blank page for visa. You will not need to carry passport size photos for visa.
Tips and Gratitude