Merak Sakteng trek is a moderate trek traversing through the semi-nomadic villages of Gengu, Merak, Sakteng, Thakthi, and Joenkhar. The trail usually begins from the village of Chaling, near the town of Trashigang Districts and terminates at the village of Phongmay near the regional weaving village of Radhi. Both Chaling and Phongmay of Merak and Sakteng are an important watershed for Ngere Ama chu and Gamri chu rivers respectively.
The campsites have been designed aesthetically to blend with local architecture and ambiance. Enclosed by a stonewall (with a gate to bring in the ponies to unpack trekking paraphernalia), the campsite is equipped with facilities such as tenting sheds, toilets, kitchens (in some), dining area and water supply. A signage describing the location, altitude, forest type, fauna, and additional hiking trails in the locality, distance and time to next camp welcomes a visitor to each campsite.
DAY 01: GUWAHATI - SAMDRUP JONGKHAR VIS DELHI
Fly to Guwahati, the largest city of Assam in northeastern state of India. Upon arrival, you will be welcome by our company representative and then drive to Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan for a distance of 110-km. The rest of the day is free to explore this fantastic town and all of the fun attractions, sightseeing and shopping. Overnight in Samdrup Jongkhar.
DAY 02: SAMDRUP JONGKHAR - TRASHIGANG
Today after early breakfast, you will drive a distance of 180-km for about 6 hours to Trashigang. Admire the diverse flora and fauna and stops for photo session along the highway. Your today's lunch will be at Warmrong. After Lunch you will continue to drive through Kharung La pass to khaling. Visit the khaling Handloom supported by the National Women's Association of Bhutan, where you will witness the traditional style of weaving. En route you will see the Bhutan's first and premier Sherubtse College in Kanglung. Descending down the road will take you to Trashigang. Overnight in Trashigang.
DAY 03: CHALING - DAMNONGCHU
The trek to Merak will start from Chaling reached by following an unsealed road from Rangjung. Damnongchu camping area is located after Mindrula which lies at about 3,316m / 10,880ft.
DAY 04: DAMNONGCHU - MERAK
The trail from Damnongchu to Merak goes along the river bank with gradual ups and downs. Over night at Damnongchu Camp.
DAY 05: MERAK - MIKSA TENG
The trek from Merak to Miksa Teng is long and of medium difficulty. It will pass through the beautiful Nagchungla pass (approx 4,100m / 13,451ft). The campsite is located in a clearing surrounded by rhododendron trees.
DAY 06: MIKSA TENG - SAKTENG
Trek to Sakteng from Miksa Teng is easy making your way through beautiful woods with a short climb before reaching Sakteng. Overnight at Camp.
DAY 07: SAKTENG DAY HALT
Time to explore this remote Himalayan village.
DAY 08: SAKTENG - JYONKHARTENG
Sakteng to Jyonkhar Teng trek is an easy trek comparing to previous days. It is mostly downhill to Jyonkhar Teng camp.
DAY 09: JYONKHAR TENG - PHONGMAY
The final day. This day is full with ups and down until you reach the road the head at Phongmay. Drive to Tashigang.
DAY 10: TRASHIGANG - TRASHIYANGTSE
In the morning, visit Trashigang Dzong and head to Trashiyangtse at altitude of 1,850m. En route visit the Gomkora Lhakhang which is 23-km away from Trashigang. Later, visit the Trashiyangtse Dzong and the dazzling white stupa of Chorten Kora on the riverbank below the town. Overnight in Trashiyangtse.
DAY 11: TRASHIYANGTSE - MONGAR
Today you will return from Trashiyangtse and head to Mongar for a distance of 146-km. En route you will see the Drametse Monastery on top of the steep hill and it is believe that this is the home to the origin of the famous Drametse Nga Chham, a masked dance with drums. Afterwards, road ascents and passes through the famous turn of Yadi and then take you to Kori La Pass at an altitude of 2,40m. Overnight in Mongar.
DAY 12: MONGAR - BUMTHANG
This morning takes you through a scenic journey for a distance of 198-km for about 7-8 hours journey to Bumthang. En route stop at Namling and Sengor village, where you can view the breathtaking landscapes of the cascading waterfalls. Before climbing up the highest point on Bhutan's lateral road via Thrumsing La Pass you will admire the diverse flora and fauna. From the viewpoint of Ura Shelthang La, you will enjoy a mangnificent view of the Bhutan's highest peak, Mt Gangkar Puenseum. Overnight at Bumthang.
DAY 13: BUMTHANG SIGHTSEEING
In the morning visit Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom where Bhutan's patron saint Guru Rimpoche meditated and 7th century Jambay Lhakhang. It dates back to the origins of Buddhism in Bhutan and is one of the Kingdoms oldest temples. After lunch, visit Jakar Dzong and Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pemalingpa and containing interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Afterwards enjoy exploring the village of Jakar, Bumthang's main township. Overnight at your lodge in Jakar, Bumthang.
DAY 14: BUMTHANG - GANGTEY
This morning we will travel a distance of 188-km to Gangtey via Trongsa and Yotong La Pass. Farmhouses and temples dot the landscape and you will see local farmers wearing the traditional woven bamboo hats of central Bhutan. The wide and picturesque Phobjikha valley is one of Bhutan's few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes (November - March) migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Visit Gangtey Goempa (Monastery), the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan and explore Phobjika Valley with time to view the Black-Necked Cranes. Overnight at your hotel in Phobjikha.
DAY 15: GANGTEY - PUNAKHA
Start early today for Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan via Wangdue Phodrang. On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, the "Palace of Great Happiness" built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the 'Unifier of Bhutan'. After Lunch, enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of Drukpa Kuenly. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it's not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha.
DAY 16: PUNAKHA - THIMPHU
Start today for Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan via Dochu La Pass. Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into Thimphu valley.
On arrival you will start sightseeing tour visiting Memorial Chorten built in memory of the 3rd King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who reigned the Kingdom from 1952-1972. Visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. Further, we will visit the Zorig Chusum - 13 Arts & Crafts Institute where traditional arts and crafts are still kept alive. The visitors can see students of different trades at work like: Sculpting, Thanka Painting, Wood Carving and other skills. Afternoon we will drive Paro. In the evening free for a leisure walk to explore Paro districts to experience the Bhutanese way of life.
DAY 17: PARO
Hike to Tiger's Nest, one of the most sacred Taktshang monasteries in Bhutan. It is perched on the cliff where Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He subsequently meditated here for three months. You can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery.
In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument built by the Zhabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Overnight at Paro.
DAY 18: DEPART PARO
The guests will be Seen Off by a Representative of our company and the Tour Guide at the Exit Gate. Wish Bon Voyage!!!