DAY 01 : DRUGYEL DZONG - SHATNA ZAMPA
The trek starts from Drugyel Dzong at 2580m with a short down hill walk on a wide trail. The trail climbs very gently, traversing through well maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. Soon the valley widens and you reach the army post of Gunyitsawa. Just below the shop at Gunitsawa the trail crosses the Paro chu to river right on a wooden cantilever bridge. It then climbs a little to the village of Sharna Zampa. At 2870m, just beyond Sharna Zampa, are several good camping places in meadows surrounded by trees.
DAY 02 : SHARNA ZAMPA - THANGTHANGKHA
The trail continues its gradual climb through conifers and rhododendrons. About 2 hrs from camp is Shing Karap, a stone house and clearing at 3110m. Lunch can be served here. Tree species along the trail are blue pine, maple and larch. Finally there is a bridge back to river right of Paro chu at 3560m. A short walk from the bridge is a lovely meadow with Jomolhari looming at the head of the valley. This is Thangthangkha, elevation 3630m. Camp here.
DAY 03 : THANTHANGKHA - JANGOTHANG
This is not a long day, but there is a 450m elevation gain, and you will be comfortably worn out when you reach camp. At 3770m, about an hour from camp, the trail turns sharply at a white-washed wall you are now entering yak country and you will see these huge beasts numbering across the hill site and lazing about in meadows alongside the trail, it is slow going uphill beside a side stream to the camp at Jangothang, 4090m and a spectacular view of Jomolhari.
DAY 04 : JANGOTHANG - HALT
This is a very good place for views and there are lots of day hikes that you can make or you can go on a fishing expedition to Tshophu, a high altitude lake.
DAY 05 : JANGOTHANG - LINGSHI
The remainder of this trek crosses two high passes. At 4470m the trail traverses under big rocks and leads to the left and enters a large east-west glacial valley with numerous moraines. The trees have been left far behind, only a few gentians, but otherwise its just grass, tundra and small juniper bushes. As the trail approaches the bridge you can see the snow peak of Tserim kang, elevation 678m, to the north. The camp is at 4010m, near a large stone community hall used by both Bhutanese travelers and trekking groups.
DAY 06 : LINGSHI - CHEBISA
Cross the stream below camp on a wooden bridge and climbs up the opposite to a chorten just below Lingshi Dzong. The name of Lingshi’s small Dzong is Drugyel Dzong built in the 17th century and played a role in controlling travel over Lingshi La between Bhutan and Tibet. Then you make a long gradual descent to the pleasant settlement of Goyak, 3870m. Leaving Goyak, the trail climbs then traverses for an hour to a chorten that overlooks another side valley. A short descent leads into the spectacular Chebisa valley, with a frozen waterfall at its head. The campsite is on a meadow just opposite Chebisa village, 3880m.
DAY 07 : CHEBISA - SHOMUTHANG
The route climbs the ridge behind Chebisa. You can spot several blue sheep living in the rocks and also watch out for bearded vultures and griffons flying overhead. The camp is at Shomuthang (4220m).
DAY 08 : SHOMUTHANG - ROBLUTHANG
The trail climbs out of the valley through pretty desolate country upto Jhari La(4747m), about 2hrs from camp. The big snow peak to the north is 6840m Gangchhenta (Great Tiger Mountain). Soon the vegetation changes to big rhododendrons, birch and firs. There is a camp by the river called Tsheri Jathang which has been declared a takin sanctuary, since takin migrate here in the summer. The trail climbs steeply on the northern side to a crest at about 4150m. Camp is at Robluthang at 4160m.
DAY 09 : ROBUTHANG - LIMITHANG
This is a long, hard day, crossing Sinche La, the last and highest pass on the trek. It’s a tough climb to the pass Sinche la(5005m) about 5hrs from camp. The snow covered peak of Gangchhenta fills the horizon to the north. The camp at Limithang (4140m) is a lovely camp site in a big meadow by the river.
DAY10 : LIMITHANG - LAYA
It is all the way down hill today along a winding river valley with quite a closed in feeling. The trail splits, one going down with the river to the campsite used by the army. The other stays high and brings you into the West Side of Laya village. You can camp on a high flat bench above the East End of Laya village. Over night at camp (3840m).
DAY 11 : LAYA - HALT
You should spend a day recuperating from the trek to laya and preparing for the rest of this rigorous trek.
DAY 12 : LAYA - RODOPHU
The trek leads gradually downhill to the Lunana junction, then makes a gradual climb through a forest of conifers, maple and rhododendron. The trail improves and becomes wider as you climb out of the river valley. The campsite is in a pasture near a small stream at an altitude of 4160m.
DAY 13 : RODOPHU - NARETHANG
The trail leads uphill through dwarf rhododendrons bushes and a barren area with ups and downs across great boulders to Tshomo La(4780m). Descend through more boulders to a camp at Narethang, a yak pasture used by Laya people. It’s at about 4500m on a small plateau beneath the 6395m peak of Gangla Karchung.
DAY 14 : NARETHANG - TARINA
Climb to Karchung La(5120m) then down to glacial lakes that are the source of the Tang Chu. Above the lakes tower the mighty peaks of Jejekhangphu Gang (7300m) and Tsenda Kang(7100m). The trail descends a rough moraine, then makes a further steep descent into rhododendrons on a notoriously dreadful trail with lots of rhododendron roots and slippery mud. Camp at Tarina, 4020m.
DAY 15 : TARINA - WOCHE
The walk leads down through conifer forest, following the upper reaches of the Pho chu. The trail then climbs over a ridge and drops to Woche at 3940m, the first village since Gasa.. The trek has now entered the Lunana region.
DAY 16 : WOCHE - LHEDI
Make a gradual climb to Kheche La(4580m), then downhill to Thega village. The walk continues to Lhedi village(3700m), where there is another wireless station.
DAY 17 : LHEDI - THANZA
The trail climb gradually following the main source of the Pho Chu to Chozo village. At the small Chozo Dzong there are some lay monks. Above Chozo the Valley opens as you approach Thanza village, near the foot of 7100m Zongophu Gang, which is also know as table mountain. Camp at Thanza, 4090m, the main village of Lunana district.
DAY 18 : THANZA - TSHOCHENA
Today is a long trek and should start as early as possible. It’s a long climb over three false summits to Jaze La(5050m). Its then less than an hour down to the camp site at the lake of Tshochena. You may see blue sheep during the hike.
DAY 19 : TSHOCHENA - JICHU DRAMO
The trail is gradual ups and downs between snow capped peaks and across Loju La(4940m). Camp at Jichu Dramo(4880m).
DAY 20 : JICHU DRAMO - CHUKARPO
The trek is a climb of Rinchen Zoe La(5140m), the highest point on the trek. It is then a long downhill to Chukarpo, which is just above the treeline at 4950m.
DAY 21 : CHUKARPO - THAMPE TSHO
It’s a long, mostly downhill, walk along the river, then a climb back to Um Tsho at 4230m. In this Lake Pema Lingpa found a number of religious treasures. A bit further is the camp by the lake of Thampe Tsho.
DAY 22 : THANPE TSHO - MAUROTHANG
It’s a 2 hour walk to the base of Thampe La and then a steep climb to the pass at 4580m. The trek is then all downhill through rhododendron bushes to the yak pasture of Maurothanbg at 4000m.
DAY 23 : MAUROTHANG - SEPHU
The trail follows the Nikka Chu through bamboo thickets and fields to the road at the village of Sephu at 2500m.