Snowman trek in Bhutan
25-day adventure

The Snowman Trek

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Code: BHST

25 days

our UK team

Our local team

In Bhutan it is required that all trekking parties are accompanied by a guide and support team. This is to protect the remote nature of Bhutan's landscape, which we definitely appreciate! So to provide a trek with full board catering to a high standard and comfort level requires a team that know exactly what they are doing. Out in the deep valleys of the Bhutanese Himalaya it can feel like you are the last people on earth. Our team in Bhutan are...
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Kandoo's view

Often referred to as the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’, this tiny Himalayan Kingdom, nestled between India and the People’s Republic of China in the Eastern Himalayas, is one of the most isolated nations on earth. Each part of Bhutan has its own historical, geographical, cultural and religious significance, and any visit to this beautiful and largely unspoiled setting will combine spectacular mountain terrain, ancient monasteries, rich flora and fauna, and a vibrant Buddhist culture.

The Snowman trek goes to the remote Lunana district and is considered to be the most difficult trek in Bhutan. The combined attributes of distance, high altitudes, weather conditions and remoteness make this a very tough trek and it should only be considered if you have experience and a good level of fitness. The Snowman trek is subject to closure because of snow and is almost impossible during winter.

In addition to the trek, we will include tours of Thimphu, Punakha, Bumthang and Paro.

Trip highlights

  • Visit the breath-taking Tiger's Nest Monastery
  • Trek through the remote Lunana region
  • Be immersed in the culture of this ancient Himalayan kingdom


  • Kandoo Trekking
    Hikers in Thorong, during the Annapurnas Tour
    Our core collection of treks and hikes, through some of the world's most outstanding landscapes



  • Day 1


    The flight to Paro on a clear day is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. One can see Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and other peaks in Bhutan such as Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsering Ghang. The Kandoo team will meet you at the airport and transfer you to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. The journey takes around 2 hours and leads through the Paro valley to the confluence of the Paro and Thimphu rivers at Chuzom. If time permits we will visit the King's Memorial Chorten, continuously circumambulated by people, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”). Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the late King and as a monument to peace.

    Later you will attend a pre-trek briefing with your Lead Guide to prepare you for the challenge ahead. We will spend the night at a hotel in Thimphu.

    • Accomodation: Hotel
    • Meals included: Lunch / Dinner
  • Day 2


    Today we will take a tour of Bhutan’s capital city. We begin with a visit to the National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books on Himalayan culture and religion. Next we will visit the nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum, commonly known as the Arts & Crafts School. The Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan and during the visit, we can see students learning the various skills taught at the school. We then take a drive towards city centre to visit the Textile museum and Folk Heritage Museum. These museums, both of which opened in 2001, provide fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life. (Please note both the National Library and the Institute for Zorig Chusum are closed at weekends and government holidays, and the Textile Museum is closed on Sundays and government holidays).

    We finish our tour with a sightseeing visit to Trashichhoe Dzong, “the fortress of the glorious religion”. This impressive monastery and fortress has housed the seat of Bhutan's government since 1968, the throne room of His Majesty the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of the Chief Abbot and central monk body.

    Later in the afternoon we will drive to Punakha via the Dochu La Pass (3,088m), through magnificent forests of rhododendron and magnolia. From the pass, there is a far-reaching view of the eastern Himalayan peaks and the Lunana trekking route.

    • Ascent: 738 m
    • Descent: 1488 m
    • Max. altitude: 3088 m
    • Accomodation: Hotel
    • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
  • Day 3


    This morning we will take a guided tour of Punakha Dzong, the second largest dzong in Bhutan. Built strategically at the junction of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it serves as the religious and administrative centre of the region. After lunch, we will drive up the valley, following the Mo Chhu river to the village of Gasa Tshachu, famous for the curative powers of its hot springs. We will camp overnight here.

    • Ascent: 970 m
    • Max. altitude: 2570 m
    • Accomodation: Camping
    • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
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Trip information


Apart from climbing Aconcagua, this is the toughest trip Kandoo operates. It regularly wins the title of the toughest trek in the world. To give you an idea of how tough it is, there are more Everest summiteers each year than trekkers who complete the Snowman trail. Three things combine to make this an awesome challenge. It is a long trip: 18 days of walking every day is very hard on the body. Staying well by eating properly and staying fully hydrated is critical. Second, although you will be walking not climbing, the paths are very difficult. Finally to add to the difficulty, it crosses eleven passes over 4500m and you are above 4000m for nearly the whole of the trek.

You need to be in excellent physical condition to take on this trek and undergo a rigorous training regime for 3 to 5 months before departure. 

Looking for training advice or a training plan in preparation for this trip? We'd recommend checking out Kate Sielmann and her coaching programs that are specific to mountaineering and trekking training. Find more details here.

Food & drink

On our Bhutan treks meals are provided during your stay at the pre and post trek hotels, and dishes will be prepared for you on your trek. All meals are provided on a fixed menu basis, with enough options for vegetarians. Bhutanese cuisine generally consists of steamed rice (red and white) with a varied choice of spicy curries, both vegetarian and non vegetarian. Most hotels provide meals buffet‐style. There are usually continental, Indian, Chinese and Bhutanese dishes. The food in hotels is often the best in town, but restaurants in the main towns are increasingly becoming popular. All tourist hotels have a good selection of international and Bhutanese beverages. We provide healthy and nutritious cooked meals on your trek for every meal which always include fresh vegetables and meat. Everyday a lunch boy will catch you up on the trail in time to serve you a hot picnic lunch. We cater for a variety of special dietary requirements, whether you're vegetarian or gluten-free just let us know when you book.


In addition to the drinking water we provide on the trek, we will also provide drinking water during your cultural tours. To reduce the use of plastic bottles, we would ask that you bring a re-usable drinks bottle that we can fill for you. If you are planning on using a hydration bag for the trek, this may not be comfortable to use around town, so we recommend you bring a smaller drinks bottle as well.


Hotels in Bhutan are not categorized into stars as in most of the other countries, however, all hotels have to be approved by the Tourism Council of Bhutan. Our standard hotels are all clean and comfortable and are chosen because of their great locations, often in quieter parts of town, to help you get a good nights' sleep.


Kandoo use good quality, spacious tents to ensure you stay warm, dry and comfortable on your Bhutanese trek. They are designed to sleep three people, but we only ever sleep 2 to a tent, to ensure you have plenty of space for you and your gear. Keep in mind, these are proper mountain tents, designed to cope with extreme conditions so don’t expect to be able to stand up and walk around inside! Your meals will be taken in a separate mess tent where you will be able to sit comfortably, while you relax and chat to your team mates and enjoy some of the delicious food that our cook has freshly prepared for you. Inside, you’ll be pleased to find a table (of course) and a proper, comfortable chair with arms. With a full 2 metres of headroom, even the tallest climbers will be able to stretch a bit, and move about without hunching over. 

In Bhutan, all the hotels will have western flushing toilets. On the trek, the remote nature of the trip means the toilets will be less luxurious, however we do everything we can to make them private and as comfortable as possible in such extreme conditions. At camp, you will have a toilet tent that provides a little privacy and will simply cover a hole in the ground upon which a portable seat has been set up. If you need to use the toilet whilst trekking then this will be a case of finding somewhere hidden, off the path and going wild. We can guarantee it will be the most scenic toilet break you've ever had!


We insist on using a high standard of vehicle and driver for all of our transfers. In Bhutan it is not a legal requirement to have seatbelts fitted in the back of vehicles, and while we try to use vehicles that do have rear seatbelts fitted, this cannot always be guaranteed. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the vehicle or the standard of driving, please speak to the driver or our local office immediately.


Bag weight: 15kg 

We operate a strict limit of 15kg for your main equipment bag. This is more than sufficient for your needs on the trek. Your bag will be weighed before you leave the hotel to start the trek and if it is overweight you will have to take items out and leave them at the hotel.
Your main equipment bag will be carried by mules for the trek. You should also bring a small day pack to carry water, snacks and anything else you may need whilst trekking.  This could be used as your hand luggage on your flight. On the trek all items must be packed in your main equipment bag or daypack. They should not be attached to the outside, as we are not responsible if items fall off when the bags are being carried by the mules. 

How do I get there?

Currently there are only two airline operators that fly to Bhutan, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. The main airport is in Paro (2,225m) and currently receives flights from Bangkok, Dhaka, Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandu, Doha, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. This means that you need to get to one of these hubs to catch a connecting flight to Paro.

The flight into Paro is pretty exciting as the position of the airport requires the plane to get much closer to the mountain tops than most other flights in the world. If you are lucky enough to fly from Kathmandu to Paro and the weather is clear you will fly over 4 of the 5 highest mountains in the world - Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kangchenjunga.

If you are changing airlines or re-checking your luggage at an airport on route to Paro, please ensure you leave a minimum of 3 hours between flights. This will account for any delays on arrival, travel time across airports (this can take longer than you think) and time taken to re-check baggage.

Budget & change

The Bhutanese Ngultrum (Nu) is the local currency of Bhutan and equal in value to the Indian Rupee. It is a closed currency so you will not be able to buy this before you arrive. All major currencies, such as US Dollars, Sterling Pounds and Euros, and traveller’s cheques can be exchanged at Paro Airport, banks and hotels. Hotels in the towns will accept foreign currency but we recommend that you take local currency on the actual trek with you for incidentals and souvenirs. Top tip:$50 bills/travellers’ checks (and larger) get a better exchange rate than smaller bills. 

Bhutan is a cash economy and credit cards are not commonly accepted. Mastercard may be accepted in larger shops and hotels, but Amex is rarely accepted. If you are relying on a credit or debit card for emergency funds while you travel, make sure you tell your card issuer that you will be using it abroad, or you may find that it won't work when you really need it.

A meal out for 2 people in Bhutan will cost ~$18, however this is included in the cost of your trip so, unless you wish to eat at a different restaurant, the only money you need is for tips and souvenirs. The most common souvenir purchases are Bhutanese wall hangings. These can be expensive, ranging from $20-$1000. Prepare for this if you plan on bringing one home. There are, however, plenty of inexpensive souvenirs you can pick up as well. Our recommended guidance for spending budget in Bhutan would be between $50-150 on top of your tips, give you ample souvenir spending money. 


Tipping is not approved by the Bhutanese tourist board. However, it has become customary practice to tip the guides, cooks and other members of the support team who have assisted you throughout your trek. The decision on how much to tip should be determined by how well the team served you while you were on the trek. Tips can be made in US dollars or Bhutanese Ngultrum. It is very important that US bills be new (less than 10 years old), crisp and untorn.

As this trip is sold on a private basis only, crew members will depend on the requirements of the group. Tip recommendations for this trip will be sent out to participants 3 weeks before departure. 

Formalities & health


Please double check that your passport is valid for 6 months beyond the date of arrival in Bhutan. We recommend that you take a photocopy of your passport and keep it separate from the original, as this will be useful if the original is lost while you are traveling.


Visa requirements:
Visas can only be arranged by travel companies and are issued on arrival to those on a prepaid all-inclusive tour. In order to process your Bhutan visa we require a clear readable colour copy of your passport containing the passport number and photograph in JPEG or PDF format.

Transit visas:
Your domestic flight into Bhutan is likely to be on a separate ticket to your international flight. As a result, your luggage will not be checked right through to your final destination and you will need to clear immigration at your transit airport in order to collect your bag and check it back in for your international connection. Double check with your airline what the immigration and visa requirements are for the airport you are to transit through, and whether they are able to re-check your bags for you. Otherwise, you may need to arrange transit visas prior to travel. This is especially important if you are planning on travelling via India, as a transit visa is required and it must be arranged in advance.


The following vaccination guide is an information resource only. You should not rely on it for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. You should always speak with your GP or other health care professional about any vaccinations or other medicines you are considering taking. They will have more information about your specific health needs, and can make much more specific, reliable recommendations for you. In general, we recommend the following vaccinations

- Hepatitis A and B
- Everyone Typhoid
- Everyone Polio - We recommend a booster shot for adult travellers
- Yellow Fever - Necessary for all travellers who will arrive via areas prone to yellow fever
- Rabies - Not necessary unless visiting lowland areas
- Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) - We recommend a double dose for anyone born after 1956, unless they have already been given this vaccination
- Tetanus & Diphtheria - This vaccination should be renewed every 10 years


Before you can join any Kandoo Adventures trek, you will need to insure yourself against accident, injury, and illness.

Your insurance must cover the cost of helicopter evacuation and repatriation if necessary. Make sure your insurer knows of your travel plans, and verify that your policy fully covers your trek, climb, and any other activities you will participate in. Specifically, treks to Chomolhari and the Druk Path require insurance coverage up to 5000m and the Snowman Trek up to 6000m.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully and adequately insured for the duration of your trip. Please ensure that all activities, excursions and destinations in your itinerary are included in your travel insurance policy, in addition to your regular cover for cancellation and medical expenses.

We ask that you keep a copy of your policy summary (containing policy number and the emergency contact number for your insurer) in your day sack at all times, so that we can access this information should we need to contact the insurer on your behalf.

We recommend the global supplier of travel insurance, World Nomads. Make sure to add 'hiking up to 6,000m' on check out and be sure to read the small print carefully for any policy you are considering. Different policies provide different levels of cover, so make sure you understand what is and isn't included in your policy.



There is little risk of malaria on the majority of Bhutanese treks that we operate, due to the altitude, particularly in Bumthang, Gasa, Paro and Thimphu. However, there is a risk of malaria in areas below 1,500m so we recommend you take advice if traveling outside the areas in which we operate.

In addition to any medication, we would recommend you take every precaution to prevent mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved trousers and shirts at dusk and dawn when the mosquitos are active, and by using a DEET based mosquito repellent.

Other information

Animal welfare:
In the Bhutanese mountains the use of mules and muleteers is very common.  The strong and sure footed mules have spent their lives up here in the mountains and they can transport your gear from A to B with ease.  Mules are a big source of income for the local people, as a result they are generally treated with great respect and consideration for their well being.  However there are always exceptions and in some cases mules have experienced terrible neglect and cruelty.

The main problems that cause suffering for mules are: traditional bits, overloading, inadequate feeding, wounds, poor footcare and working unfit mules (lame, sick or injured).

Kandoo Adventures are committed to ensuring that the mules we use on our treks receive only the very best treatment. 

To ensure the animals are never overloaded we have placed restrictions on the weight of the luggage you can bring with you.  Your main bag must always be flexible and not weigh more than 15kg.  The maximum load a mule can carry is 80kg, this will ensure the health and comfort of the mule as well as a sustainable working life.  We will not start trekking with mules who are obviously lame, sick or wounded.  We will never condone the use of traditional bits which can cause terrible pain for the animals.  We only work with a select number of horsemen who we know and trust to provide the very best level of care to their animals. 

Equipment & clothing

Clothing to bring

  • Warm beanie style hat – knitted or fleece
  • Neck gaiter or scarf. It can get dusty in Bhutan and the air very cold. A scarf or balaclava comes in useful for keeping dust out and can double as a warm layer for your neck / face!
  • Sun hat – preferably wide-brimmed for protection
  • Sunglasses – high UV protection
  • Headlamp (plus extra batteries)



  • Thermal or fleece base layer (x1)
  • Long sleeve shirt/tshirt – light or medium weight, moisture wicking (x1)
  • Short sleeved shirt/tshirt – lightweight, moisture wicking (x2)
  • Fleece or soft shell jacket (x1)
  • Insulated jacket – down or primaloft
  • Lightweight water/windproof hard shell outer jacket
  • Gloves – lightweight, fleece or quick drying fabric
  • Gloves or mittens – heavyweight, insulated, preferably water resistant



  • Leggings – thermal or fleece base layer (x1)
  • Trekking trousers – light or medium weight (x2) – convertible trousers work well
  • Waterproof hard shell trousers – ski pants work fine (x1)



  • Trekking boots – mid weight with good ankle support
  • Training shoe or similar – to wear around camp
  • Mid-weight trekking socks (x3 pairs)
  • Breathable, high-wicking liner socks (x2 pairs)
  • Thermal trekking socks for upper reaches of your trek (x1 pair)

Equipment to bring

  • Small Rucksack or Daypack (30-40 litres) to carry water and personal items
  • Waterproof duffle bag (approx 80-100 litres) – max weight when full should be 15kg. This weight restriction includes your sleeping bag. Your duffle will be carried by a porter
  • Sleeping bag (4 season or -10 Deg C) and compression sack
  • Insulated sleeping mat
  • Trekking poles
  • Water bottle or hydration bag – must be able to carry 1.5-2L of water



  • Sunscreen high SPF
  • Toiletries, including wet wipes and hand sanitiser – please carry all rubbish back off the trail
  • Camera and spare batteries
  • Plug adapter, for charging devices in hotels
  • Personal medication and first aid kit
  • Personal snacks and energy bars – dried fruit and nuts are also a good source of energy
  • Isotonic drink powder / energy drink powder to mix in with your water. This improves flavour and helps replace electrolytes
  • Microfibre towel for wiping hands and face each day
  • Ear plugs, if you are a light sleeper
  • Pee bottle, useful for late night toilet needs
  • Dry bag (only required if your main duffle bag is not waterproof)


Ideal travel time:
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • September
  • October
Prices start from £9,499 / $12,345 per person

Want to ask us a question or book a private trip? Don't hesitate to contact us!

Contact us

Price includes

  • Your hotel stay for the 2 nights before and 4 nights after the trek on a full board basis
  • All airport transfers
  • Entry visa to Bhutan
  • Government royalty fee
  • A fully supported trek with a qualified mountain guide
  • All food and drinking water on the trek
  • Internal flight from Bumthang to Paro
  • Monument and monastery entrance fees

Price does not include

  • International airfares and transit visas
  • Tips for your guides and porters
  • Personal items
  • Travel insurance (you must be insured, and specifically for treks up to 6000m)
  • Your personal trekking gear
  • Your personal medicines or prescriptions
  • Beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)