Samtengang Trekking is a short and pleasant journey from Punakha to Wangdue Phodrang Dzongkhag. It is a fairly easy trek as the altitude only ranges between 1100 and 1900m and the climate is warm throughout the trek.
Samtengang Trekking path takes you through forests of rhododendron and oak, through the villages of Sha and Chungsakha and across the longest foot bridge in Bhutan. While this trek is available throughout the winter the best times to embark on it are between March and April and September and October. The trail is approximately 54 km in length.
Samtengang Trekking takes in a visit to the awe inspiring Taktsang Monastery (Tigers Nest) and to visit a Lhakhang and three other Dzongs in Paro on arrival.
The trek also takes in sightseeing in the capital Thimphu and the ancient capital Punakha. This trek can be customised to suit your needs.
Trek starts: Punakha
Trek duration: 5 days/14 days including transportation
Maximum altitude: 2250m
Minimum altitude: 1980m
Trek ends: Chuzomsa
Day 1: Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and a representative of Unique Nepal Adventure Trek will welcome and transfer you to your selected hotel by private vehicle.
Day 2: Fly from Kathmandu to Paro (2250m). This flight into Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights to take, as it flies past Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and many more peaks. The flight takes around an hour and a half. We will then go to our hotel and take refreshment and visit Ta Dzong (National Museum) and Paro Rinpung Dzong.
Day 3: After breakfast, we drive to Kyichu Lhakhang. King Songtsän Gampo built the Lhakhang in the 7th century AD. The associated legend is that – this is one of 108 Lhakhang’s built in a single night by the king to tame his kingdom’s borders. The next stop is the ancient ruins of Drukgyal Dzong (30 minutes). The Dzong is a monument to the Shabdrung’s victory against an invasion of allied Tibetan-Mongolian forces in 1649. The name “Drukgyal Dzong” thus translates to “Fortress of Victory”. The Dzong was destroyed in a fire in the 1950s. On clear days, Drukgyal is an excellent place to view the glorious mountain Jomolhari. Return to stay for lunch, rest and prepare for the trek up to Taktsang Monastery (the “Tiger’s Nest”).
Drive to the start of the trek. Trek (or horse ride) to Taktsang Monastery (trek time is 2-3 hours depending on weather and fitness level).Taktsang is perched on a precipitous 900 meter cliff. The monastery has been restored at painstaking efforts to former glory after a fire in 1998. The legend is that Guru Padmasambhava flew to this holy place on the back of tigress to meditate. More recently, one of the most enlightened abbots in modern Bhutan history, Geshe Gendun Rinchen (1926 – 1997) also known as Draphugpa (Of the Caves), was born in a small cave by the path to the monastery. Tea and refreshments will be taken at Taktsang Café for about an hour’s rest to take photos and view the scenery. We will then descend to road point (horses cannot be ridden) and drive back to Paro to prepare for the trek.
Day 4: Paro – Punakha
After breakfast we drive to Punakha and on the way we stop off at the Dochu La pass and on a clear day enjoy the breathtaking scenery. We then drive on and visit Chimi Lhakhang, which was built in 15th Century (dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley also known as “The Divine Madman”). It is a pilgrim site especially for childless couples and it is a half an hour walk across a local village and rice field. Everyone in this kingdom believes that the Lama’s blessings will help a woman conceive.
Day 5: Punakha sightseeing
Visit Punakha Dzong, which was the ancient capital until 1955. The remains of the Shabdrung (also known as Zhabdrung) the saint who unified Bhutan in the 17th century are interred here. The Je Khenpo, head abbot of the monk body of Bhutan, resides here with the monk body from Thimphu during the winter because it is warmer at this altitude. Spend the rest of the day sightseeing and souvenir shopping. Stay overnight at a hotel.
Day 6: Punakha – Limukha
Distance 12 km, 4 hours, 880m ascent, camp altitude 1980m.
After passing the majestic Punakha Dzong, you cross a footbridge over the Pho Chhu and walk up to Shengana. This is the longest bridge in Bhutan. You then climb gradually through the forest until you reach Limukha. Make sure you are carrying enough water, as you will not find any on the way to Limukha.
Day 7: Limukha – Chungsakha
Distance 14 km, 5 hours, 430m descent, camp altitude 1550m.
The path leads through rhododendron and oak forests to Chungsakha. Chungsakha is a small village of about 10 houses. You will find a holy stone and an impressive Cyprus tree here that are reminders of Drukpa Kuenley, “The Divine Madman”.
Day 8: Chungsakha – Samtengang
Distance 13 km, 5 hours, 650m ascent, 270m descent, camp altitude 1830m.
You walk downhill until you cross Pe Chhu before climbing again through the village of Sha on your way to Samtengang. Near the school in Samtengang you will see a small lake and your campsite is right next to it.
Day 9: Samtengang – Chuzomsa
Distance 15 km, 5-6 hours, 730m descent.
The trail leads steeply downhill on a treeless slope to the road head at Chuzomsa. Your car will be waiting to transfer you to Thimphu, which will take about three hours. Cross the Dochu La pass (3116m) and if the weather is clear, you will have beautiful views of the snow-capped mountains. Stay overnight at a hotel.
Day 10: Thimphu sightseeing
After breakfast we will visit the following places: Memorial Chorten (a huge Stupa) built in memory of the third King who reigned the Kingdom from 1952 – 1972. The National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. Visit Tashichho Dzong. This is the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses part of the government ministries, office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and senior monks.
After lunch we will visit Simtokha Dzong. This is one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan, which was built in 1629 AD by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Visit the woodcraft and painting school where traditional art and crafts are still kept alive. Visit the handicrafts emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts are displayed and can be purchased. If time permits, we drive 14 km to the north of Thimphu to visit Tango Cheri Monastery. Stay overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.
Day 11: Thimphu – Paro
Drive back to Paro for two hours and do some sightseeing and shopping for some souvenirs. Stay overnight at a hotel.
Day 12: Fly back to Kathmandu. Stay overnight at your selected hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 13: Souvenir and sightseeing in Kathmandu.
Day 14: A representative ofUnique Nepal Adventure Trek will drop you off at Tribhuvan International Airport by private vehicle.
- Airport pick-up and drop off by private vehicle.
- Two nights in your selected Kathmandu hotel with breakfast.
- All meals during the trek (lunch, dinner, breakfast and tea or coffee).
- Accommodation in a hotel in Paro, Thimphu and Punakha.
- Accommodation in twin shared tents with mattress.
- All necessary equipment for camping.
- One English speaking government trained license holder and well informed trekking guide.
- Dependent on group size, cook, kitchen boy and extra horses)
- All expenses for guide and porters – meals, accommodation, salary, equipment, insurance, transportation (bus/flights) etc.
- First Aid kit bag.
- Government and local area taxes where applicable. These include Royalty fees and road permit fees.
- Return transportation from Kathmandu to Paro by flight.
- Return transportation from Paro to Thimphu and Punakha by private vehicle.
- A Bhutanese visa fee, where the cost is dependent on the time of year you visit. See the link for Bhutan Information for prices.
- Nepalese entry visa fee and departure tax. (See the ‘Visa Information’ link under ‘Trekking Info’ for current fees)
- Travel insurance.
- Soft and alcoholic drinks (mineral water, hot water, coke, fanta, beer, spirits, etc).
- Snacks (Chocolate, biscuits etc).
- Hot water, hot shower, heater charge, battery charge, phone calls and laundry service.
- Donation, tips and personal expenses.
- Emergency evacuation and medical equipment.
- In case of natural calamities i.e. political unrest, cancellation of flight due to weather, landslides, etc, the extra charge will be borne by themselves.
- Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu.
- Please note that you cannot hire equipment and other personal items in Bhutan such as (sleeping bag, down jacket, hiking boots, etc). You must either bring these items into the country by yourself, or they can be hired from Kathmandu.