Saga La Trek


Saga La Trek 7Days/6Nights

TB 20060906 Saga La

This trip is a combination of visits to religious monuments, fortresses (dzongs), sacred pilgrimage sites and a short trek.

Trek information: Duration: 2-3 Days. Total Distance: 23kms/14.3miles. Maximum Altitude: 3720m. Grade: Easy. This 2-3 day trek is also called “the Haa Planter’s Trail, harking back to the time when it was used by rice planters from Haa on their way to help people in Paro who relied heavily on their labour/workforce during the planting season ( May- June). In return, the people of Haa received red rice after the autumn harvest. The trek is easy, starting in the Upper reaches of the Haa Valley and ending near Drukgyal Dzong in Paro.

Day1: Arrive in Bhutan

The flight into Bhutan takes you over the Himalayas, offering glimpse of the highest glacial peaks. On arrival at the airport, after immigration and custom formalities, your local guide-for the whole trip, will receive and transfer you to the hotel.

After check-in and refreshments/lunch, explore the Paro province by visiting the National Museum housed in a 17th century watch tower which will serve as a great introduction to Bhutan.

Then visit the Rinpund dzong the medieval provincial capital fortress the watch tower protected for three hundred years of civil strife. After the visit to the dzong, take a short walk down to Nyemi Zampa (cantilever bridge) that connects the valley to the dzong.

Stroll around the Paro town in the evening.

O/N at Hotel in Paro. Elevation: 2,300m.

Day2: Paro Halt

After breakfast, before the sun gets too hot, hike to Taktsang (literally translated as Tiger’s Nest). Built in the 1600’s, this incredible monastery/temple clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. History states that Guru Rinpoche, the Tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan arrived here on the back of a flying tigress. Looking at the monastery/temple flying tigress doesn’t seem so impossible after all. The trail to the monastery/temple climbs through pine and rhododendron forest, lichens overhanging fromtrees above notifies that you are walking along pristine forest surrounded with clean, fresh air without pollution. It takes 5 hours in total to hike and visit the shrines inside.

After the hike, visit the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong at the north corner of the valley, on a clear day there is a great view of the Jumolhari (7,315m), in the distant north.

On the way back to the hotel visit the Kyichu Lhakhang, founded by the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo to overcome a giant ogress who was lying over the Himalayas preventing the spread of Buddhism.

O/N at Hotel in Paro. Elevation: 2,300m.

Day3: Paro-Haa,

Today, we drive to the Haa valley over the Chelela Pass (3,890m), Haa valley, though being very near to Paro is one of the less frequented districts by tourist in the country.

En route visit the Kila Goemba (nunnery, about 35 female Buddhist practitioners), The Lhakhang Karpo/ Lhakhang Nagpo, both dating back from the 7th century.

O/N at Hotel in Haa. Elevation: 2,700m.

Day 4: Yangtong-Khadey Gom. 8kms, 4-5 hours, 500m ascent

After breakfast, drive to Yangtong 12kms away from our hotel, there we meet the camp crew and the horsemen waiting for us to start the trek. The start point at Yatong is a big meadow next to the Haa Chhu with a chorten and some prayer flags dedicated to the local deity, “ The Powerful Chundu”. The trail climbs steeply to Yangtong Goemba, dedicated to ‘Guru Rinpoche and his Eight Manifestations’, after the goemba, the trail is gradual back to the main trail below the Saga La. The Makhang Chhu flows through Talung and the three villages, Chenka Gom, Chenka Wom, and Lango. The trail then winds through the fields fenced with stone walls to keep away the wild animals, climbing to Chagdo Zam (named after the Iron Bridge Builder), and then to a rock with twin eyes and a distorted mouth. This is the camp of Khadey Gom 3235m.O/N in camp/tent.

Day 5: Khadey Gom to Dongney Tsho. 8kms, 485m ascent, 520m descent.

A gradual hike of an hour through meadows and coniferous forest, followed by two hours of climb to the Saga La pass 3720m with a small chorten. From the pass, on a clear day there is a fantastic view on both sides, towards Paro (east), includes the sacred Mt. Jumolhari (7315m/23,993ft), Chaterake (5570m/18,270ft), and down below the Drukgyal Dzong and the Taktsang. To the west the peaks of Haa forming the border with Tibet can be seen. A two hour of descend through mix forest of conifers and rhododendron brings you to the campsite of Dongney Tsho 3200m. O/N in camp/tent.

Day 06: Dongney Tsho to Drukgyal Dzong. 7kms, 620m descent.

The first part of the trail is steep downhill for hour and a half till Genchu Zam, and then through a small beautiful village with eight households and a templeon the left side of the trail; Chodeyphu, set picturesquely at the base of the Laumpa Bjara (Foggy Mountain), inhabited by mountain goats. Another hour from this village will take you to Balakha Chhu where the ancient Haa Planters Trail ends, your driver and the car will be waitng for you to drive you to the hotel.

O/N at Hotel in Paro. Elevation: 2,300m.

Day7: Departure

After breakfast drive to the airport for your onward destination.