Merak Sakten Trek

Trek overview

The legendary Merak and Sakten, is being opened after three decades of inception of tourism in Bhutan. The twin village of Merak and Sakten lying above 3000m above the sea level is semi-nomadic yak herders with a unique and fascinating culture in the world.

Itinerary

Fly in from Bangkok and drive via Guwahati to Samdrup Jongkhar
You will be received by your guide at the airport. After a lunch at local Indian restaurant, you will be driving through the Indian plains coming 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 important 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 in Samdrup Jongkhar.

Samdrup Jongkhar to Trashigang
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. At Khaling visit the National Handloom Development Project, were you can women weaving tapestry of textiles and you can also witness the techniques of Bhutanese dyes. Check into the hotel on arrival. Overnight hotel in Trashigang.

Excursion to Trashiyangtse
Today you will take an excursion to Trashiyangtse. From the Chazam Bridge, you will take a diversion road which leads to Trashiyangtse. You will stop at the Gom Kora temple, behind which is a large black rock. It is said that Guru Rinpoche meditated in a cave in the rock and that you can see the impression of his thumb, his hat, and his body on the rock. You can also meditate her for some time. After this, continue your journey. En route, you will stop at Duksum, a small town located on the Drangmechu River and its tributary. Afterwards you will arrive Trashiyangtse which is a small and quiet town bordering the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. The people here are known for making wooden bowls and containers, which are said to be the best in Bhutan. You can visit few houses to see how people make the bowls and containers. Later in the evening, you will drive back to Trashigang. Overnight hotel in Trashigang.

Trashigang via Chaling village to Donmang Chu
19KM | 7-8 HOURS | 2217M ASCENT | 230M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3124M
From Trashigang, you will take scenic drive for one and half hours to Chaling passing through Rangjung town and 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.

Donmong Chu to Merak village
14KM | 5 HOURS | 396M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 3520M
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.

Merak to Miksateng
16KM | 5-6 HOURS | 633M ASCENT | 1074M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3079M
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.

Miksateng to Sakten village
14KM | 5-6 HOURS | 81M ASCENT | 310M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 2950M
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.

Explore Sakten village
You will visit Sakten village and explore the lifestyle and unique culture of this ethnic group.

Sakten to Joenkhar Teng
17KM | 6-7 HOURS | 74M ASCENT | 1291DESCENT | CAMP ALT 1733
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.

Joenkhar Teng via Phongmey to Trashigang
12KM | 5-6 HOURS | 346M ASCENT | 942M DESCENT
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. On the way, stop at Rangjung and visit the Rangjung Monastery, which is founded by His Eminence Garab Rinpoche. Overnight hotel in Trashigang.

Trashigang to Mongar
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.

Mongar to Bumthang
You will begin your journey to central Bhutan, which is different from eastern Bhutan in terms of development and lifestyle. The drive on this day is an exhilarating 6 hours, particularly the Thrumshing La (pass), which peaks at 3,750 meters. Stop for your picnic lunch at the Pass enjoying the great sceneries around. You can walk on the certain stretches of road to relax your muscles while your car will be following behind you. You’ll make a stop in Ura village and have a chance to explore the village. Ura Village has a medieval look to it because of the cobblestone streets, and the typical clothing of the women includes a sheepskin shawl. Continue drive to Bumthang. Check into the hotel on arrival. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.

Bumthang
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.

Bumthang to Punakha
You’ll begin the day at the Bumthang market, and then drive to Punakha. En route, visit the Trongsa Dzong, the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. Continue drive to Punakha. You will stop at Chendebji Chorten for your lunch. Chendebji Chorten was built in 18th century by Lama Shida in Nepalese style with eyes painted at four cardinal points. You will also pass through the dramatic Wangdue Dzong perched on a ridge at the bend of a river. Overnight hotel in Punakha.

Punakha to Thimphu
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.

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; National Textile Museum; Folk Heritage Museum; School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school) and the National Institute of Traditional Medicine. After lunch, you can visit Nado Poi Zokhang, traditional paper factory, giant Buddha Statue at Kuenselphodrang and the majestic Tashichhodzong, seat of the national government. You can also visit book stores (to buy maps). Few minutes walk south of Thimphu city is the Changlingmithang Archery Field and you can catch some archery match taking place. In the evening, you can stroll through Thimphu town and absorb the lifestyle of the people. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.

Thimphu to Paro
Morning, you will drive to Paro and then 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. You may spend some time meditating in the altar room of the monastery. 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.

Paro to Bangkok
After breakfast, drive to the airport for departure. Our representative will bid you farewell.

From  US $4240
13 Days12 Nights

Dates: 1-12 April 2017 & 24 Sept-5 Oct 2017

Group Size: 2-12 People

Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate

Merak Sakteng Trek

Inclusions

All meals, tea and snacks, complementary bottled water, hotels, transport, guide, government levy, special permits, park permits and sightseeing. On trek includes – sleeping tents, dinning tents, toilet and shower tents, toilet seats, mats, duffle bags, cooking utensils, all meals, guide, trek chef assistants and horses.

Exclusion

Flight tickets, visa fee, insurance, tips, drinks and beverages, laundry, internet, phone and other bills of personal nature.

Accommodation

Tented camps during trek, Bhutanese type 3-4* star hotels during city tour.

Meals

Breakfast: Toasts, eggs, fruit juice, tea and coffee, some additional proteins such as sausages and hams. Oatmeal, drinking chocolates, baked means, peanut butter are also served.

Lunch: Rice, nodules, vegetables, meat, fruits, boiled egg or potatoes, juices, hot tea and coffee.

Dinner: Rice, chicken, fish, pork or beef, soup, tea and coffee. Local dishes such as momos, noodle thukpa, and emadatse (chilly-cheese) is served.

Water: Boiled water is supplied on trek.

Insurance

Package does not include insurance of any kinds. Must be obtained from your home country before your trip begins.