Overview The Merak and Sakteng Trek is an exhilarating adventure that takes you through the unexplored realms of Bhutan, offering breathtaking landscapes and a glimpse into the unique culture and traditions of the Brokpas, an indigenous community residing in the region. This trek spans across the easternmost part of Bhutan, encompassing the remote villages of Merak and Sakteng. Starting from Chaling, the trail winds its way through dense forests, cascading waterfalls, and picturesque valleys, providing a perfect blend of natural beauty and challenging terrains. As you ascend higher, you'll get greetings by panoramic views of snow-capped mountains and pristine alpine…
The Merak and Sakteng Trek is an exhilarating adventure that takes you through the unexplored realms of Bhutan, offering breathtaking landscapes and a glimpse into the unique culture and traditions of the Brokpas, an indigenous community residing in the region. This trek spans across the easternmost part of Bhutan, encompassing the remote villages of Merak and Sakteng.
Starting from Chaling, the trail winds its way through dense forests, cascading waterfalls, and picturesque valleys, providing a perfect blend of natural beauty and challenging terrains. As you ascend higher, you’ll get greetings by panoramic views of snow-capped mountains and pristine alpine meadows. The region’s rich biodiversity adds to the charm, with opportunities to spot rare and endemic species such as the elusive snow leopard and the black-necked crane.
The Merak and Sakteng Trek is not just about the scenic splendor; it also offers an immersive cultural experience. The Brokpas, known for their distinctive attire and ancient traditions, warmly welcome trekkers into their villages. You’ll have the chance to interact with the locals, learn about their way of life, and witness their colorful festivals and rituals.
The trek typically lasts around 9-10 days, covering a distance of approximately 80 kilometers. It requires a moderate level of fitness and a spirit of adventure. The route well-marked but less frequented, offering a sense of solitude and serenity. Basic camping facilities are available along the trail, adding to the wilderness experience.
To embark on the Merak and Sakteng Trek, it is recommended to engage the services of a local trekking agency or guide who can ensure your safety and provide insights into the local culture. They will also arrange the necessary permits, as the region falls under the protected area category.
In conclusion, the Merak and Sakteng Trek is a remarkable journey that combines awe-inspiring natural beauty with cultural immersion. It is an opportunity to explore the untouched eastern region of Bhutan, discover hidden treasures, and forge a deep connection with both the environment and the local community.
Arrive in Guwahati airport in Assam, India. Meet our representative and drive to Samdrup Jongkhar, a trade hub for eastern Bhutan. In the evening stroll around the town. Overnight at Hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar.
After an early breakfast, drive north to Trashigang. En-route we visit to a local weaving center in Khaling. Later in the afternoon, we visit Trashigang Dzong, administrative center for the valley. Overnight at Hotel in Trashigang.
Drive to Trashiyangtse, visit Gomkora temple, Doksum village along the way. In Trashiyantse, visit Traditional Art School, Chorten Kora and stroll around the village and its small town. Return to Trashigang for overnight. Overnight at Hotel in Trashigang.
From Trashigang drive for about 2 hours to the road end at Chaling at 2135m. Then begin trekking with gradual climb towards Shaktimi meadow, with yaks and sheep grazing with some yak herders’ huts scattered on the hillside. Continue the climb to reach Mendula Pass at 3345m. After the pass it is all downhill through the rhododendron forests till campsite at a beautiful meadow known as Donmong chu by the river at 3145m. Overnight in camp.
Today we trek along the Donmong Chu River through the rhododendron forests and shrubs. Today’s trail skips steep climbs and follows the river bends, gradually gaining the height. The first village we come across is Gangu (3430m) and after another 45 minutes, we arrive at a large Merak village at an elevation of 3520m. Overnight in Camp.
We start early from the camp, towards the east with a gradual climb to the first pass at 3900m. Today we cross the highest pass along with some smaller passes and ridges so it might be toughest day this trek. We continue along the tree line till we reach Nachungla Pass at 4150m. Catch a glimpse of 360 views of Bhutan peaks, Arunachal and Tibet. From the pass, it is a long descent to Miksateng village campsite at 3060m. Overnight in camp.
After breakfast, we descend down to the river and then climb gradually towards a small pass with a small chorten (stupa) on the hill overlooking the Sakteng valley. From the ridge, we descend down to the valley, cross the river into Sakten village at an altitude of 2950m.
Overnight in camp.
Today we rest at Sakteng exploring its beauty. In the morning, we visit the village, local homes, temple, meet with people and witness the lifestyle and unique living culture of this ethnic group. In the afternoon, we watch the cultural show performed by locals. Brokpas have a unique yak and ache lhamo dances. We can also try the local liquor with a special ceremony. Overnight in Sakteng.
Today we trek for about 6-7 hours with a gradual descent. As the journey is seems long so we start early from the camp. Leaving Sakteng, we march forward for the Joenkhar Teng and camp right next to the river at an altitude of 1750m. Overnight in camp
Our last day of the trek begins with short climb through Joenkhar Teng and a long descent crossing suspension bridges and short climb to reach Phongmay (1770m). Afterwards, drive to Mongar town, which takes about 5hrs via Trashigang. Overnight at Hotel in Monger.
After breakfast, we begin a long and spectacular drive west to Bumthang, across Thrumshingla National park, witnessing the drastic vegetation and landscapes, rich in bird and other wildlife. We also pass through many small hamlets and villages along the way before arriving in Jakar in the evening. Overnight at Hotel in Jakar.
In the morning visit Kurje Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom as Bhutan’s “patron saint”, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) meditated here. From Kurje monastery, a tarmac road heads south along the right bank of the river to Jambey Lhakhang. This temple, erected by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, is one of the two oldest in Bhutan (the other being Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro). After lunch, hike to Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Later, visit Jakar Dzong, “the castle of the white bird”, and then take a stroll through Bumthang’s market area before returning to the hotel. Overnight at Hotel.
After breakfast take a long drive to Punakha. From Jakar, cross into Chumey valley, then across Yontongla pass, we arrive in Trongsa, where we stop to peek at the Tower of Trongsa museum and also see the impressive Trongsa Dzong. Trongsa Dzong is one of the largest fortress in Bhutan. Traverse Pele la pass (through Black mountain national park) and descend into semi-tropical Punakha-Wangdue valley, where we arrive in the evening. Overnight at Punakha.
After breakfast, visit Punakha Dzong crossing the bridge. It’s the ancient capital of Bhutan connecting the Mo Chu & Pho Chu Rivers. It is also the winter capital for the monks and the Je Khenpo (chief abbot). Afterwards, drive to Lobeysa for lunch. After lunch hike another 20 minutes to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the “Divine Madman” built in 1499 and today mostly visited by the women who couldn’t bear Children, thus also known as the temple of fertility. Afterwards, drive to Thimphu. Overnight at Hotel in Thimphu.
Full day at Thimphu for touring, it has many monuments, attractions such as Textile Academy, Farmer’s Market, Changlimithang, Handicrafts workshops, Giant Buddha statue and others if time permits. In the evening, drive short distance to Paro (1 1/2 hr)
Overnight at Paro in Hotel
Spend the full day around charming Paro valley, where we will visit National Museum, Rinphung Dzong and beautiful 7th century Kichu Lhakhang temple, Dumtse Lhakhang, Dzondrakha cave temples and local farm houses by short walks and drives.
Overnight at Paro in Hotel
Early in the morning, make an excursion to Taktsang Monastery – this has to be the monastery with the most outstanding setting in Bhutan. Set on a vertical cliff face at 2950m above sea level, it defies all engineering logic. For the energetic, hike 2 hours up to get a more dramatic view of the monastery. (The hike demands a certain level of fitness and a pony ride to the monastery can be arranged at additional cost). Just on the outskirts of Paro town, visit Kyichu Lhakang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan and have the opportunity to meet the local villages in a local farm house. Overnight at Hotel in Paro.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch the onward flight. Bid farewell to the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappearing again behind its guardian mountains.
Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
• 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium).
• Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing
• Route Permit
• Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan
• A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
• All land transportation by private vehicle
• Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
• Sightseeing as per itinerary
• Monuments entrance fees where applicable
• Drinking water
• All internal taxes and charges
• A sustainable development fee of $65. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)
Airfare & Travel Insurance
• Expenses of personal nature, Tips to guides and drivers
• Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc