The High Passes of Lunana
Bhutan, Trek & Walk, 26 days - from £4,395 (land only) - from €5,275 (land only) - from $7,690 (land only)
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Complimentary airport transfers are provided. KE Land Only package services begin with the evening meal.
Day 2: After the short and spectacular flight to Bhutan's only airport at Paro, we meet our Bhutanese guide and transfer to the group hotel in the tiny capital of Thimpu.
Day 3: We drive across the Dochu La to Punakha, the ancient winter capital of Bhutan where ther is an importat monastery at the junction of the Mo and Po rivers. Here we check into a hotel and can make our final preparations for the trek.
Day 4: We transfer to the roadhead where we begin a day of beautiful walking through forest, festooned with Spanish moss. Passing the hot springs at Gasa, we climb for approximately 2 hours to the village of Gasa where there is an important monastery. After settling up camp there will be time to look around the village.
Day 5: We make time to look around Gasa Dzong, then it's a long climb to the Bale La (3710m.), the high point on the way to Laya. Our camp is at Chempsa in a clearing in the forest. 7 hours.
Day 6: We descend to the banks of the Mo Chu, which we follow on an undulating trail to reach an army camp. From here, a steady ascent takes us to the village of Laya (3800m.). 8 - 9 hours walking.
Day 7: We spend the day at Laya, which not only helps with our acclimatisation but also gives us a chance to look around this unique and fascinating village.
Day 8: Returning to the army camp, we follow the Mo Chu downstream and take a side trail to the yak herders hut at Rodophu, just above the tree line at approximately 4160 metres. 6 to 7 hours walking.
Day 9: We make a steady climb to the Tsome La.(4900m.) where we have superb views of Chomolhari and Jichu Drake, and the peaks of the Tibetan border. Our route crosses a high barren plateau to a camp at Narethang (4900m). This is quite a high camp at this stage of our trek but it is the only site available before the Karakachu La. 6 to 7 hours walking.
Day 10: We make an early start for a big day across the Karakachu La (5080m). We are treated to more fantastic mountain views from the summit and then we make a long descent to the valley and follow the stream to the campsite known as Tarina (3980m/13,050ft). 7 - 8 hours walking.
Day 11: Trekking down valley, we take lunch beside the river at the turn off to Woche Village. A modest climb in the afternoon leads to this rarely visited settlement. Camp at 3970m. 6 hours walking.
Day 12: Trek through forest and fine open country to the Keche La (4650m.) then descend via several settlements to Lhedi (3700m), a string of houses above the Po Chu. 7 hours walking.
Day 13: Riverside trekking leads to the ancient Chotse Dzong, which we can visit, before continuing across a low pass to the village of Thanza (4150m.). 6 hours walking.
Day 14: A rest day at Thanza, with lots of scope for photography and exploration. Hike up to the lakes above Thanza, for impressive views of Table Mountain.
Day 15: A steep climb away from Thanza, with good views back the way we have come. We make camp at Danji (4230m.) where there are some Yak herders huts in a meadow. 3 - 4 hours walking.
Day 16: There is an opportunity to make and optional ascent to the Gophu La (5230m), for sensational views of Gangkar Puensum (7570m.), the world's highest unclimbed peak. We spend a second night at Danji. 9 - 10 hours walking.
Day 17: Beginning our walk out from Lunana we climb to the Jaze La (5150m.) for more panoramic mountain views before descending past two small blue lakes to the larger Tsochena Lake where we camp (5050m). 5 - 6 hours walking.
Day 18: A simply stunning day of walking crossing several small passes (c. 5100m.) and passing more glacial lakes to reach our campsite at Jichu Dramo (5050m). 5 - 6 hours.
Day 19: Today we cross the highest pass of our route, the Rinchen Zoe La (5320m). From the top we are treated to a superb Himalayan Panorama. We now descend a wide lake-filled valley and below the last lake we enter the tree line for the first time since Lhedi. In another couple of hours we arrive at our camp at Chukarpo (4600m). 7 - 8 hours.
Day 20: We continue our descent, following the river to yak herder huts at Gala Pang Chhu (4010m). From here we climb steeply to Tampe Tsho, a beautiful clear turquoise lake where we make camp (4300m). 7 - 8 hours.
Day 21: Today we cross the last pass of the trek, the Thampe La (4,600m) and descend to the sacred lake Om Thso. A waterfall leads to a second lake and we then descend steeply through mixed forest to a camp on the banks of the Nikka Chu known as Maurothang (3610m). 4 - 5 hours walking.
Day 22: On our final day of trekking we will need to swap from Yaks to horses as we will now be dropping down below 3000 metres. The trail follows the river to Sephu where we meet the road and our waiting vehicles. After saying goodbye to our crew we drive for approximately one hour across the Pele La to the Phobjikha valley where we check into a hotel. 5 - 6 hours walking.
Day 23: We drive via Punakha Dzong and across the Dochu La to Thimpu, where we check in at a hotel.
Day 24: We drive to our hotel in the Paro Valley, then have time for sightseeing, including the hike up to the cliff side Taktang Monastery.
Day 25: We take the flight to Kathmandu and transfer to the group hotel. We have a guided sightseeing tour of the city in the afternoon.
Day 26: KE Land Only package services end with breakfast at the hotel. Complimentary airport transfers are provided.
This holiday involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night above 4000 metres and/or trekking to 5000 metres or above. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude.