• Altitude: 1720 - 4160 mts
  • Best Season: March to May and September to November

The Wild Rodung La Trek route was once an important trade route but now it is only used as a hiking trail. The trail passes through alpine and bamboo forests, meadows and mountain passes, through villages and temples offering hikers an incredible array of biodiversity to appreciate. The Hike typically takes 10 days to complete and is best carried out in winter between October-Early November or in spring between April-Early May.

While the Rodung La Trek does not ascend to very high altitudes, it is still fairly challenging as the trail covers some fairly steep climbs and descents. The trail takes you from Bumthang in Central Bhutan to Trashiyangtse in the far eastern reaches of the kingdom.

THE 9 DAY WILD RODUNG LA TREK

Day 1: Jakar – Ngang Lhakhang

Distance 20km, 6-7 hours, camp altitude 2,800 m

One day 1, the trail takes you around Chamkhar Chhu, a river rich in trout. After passing Thangbi Lhakhang, a temple built by the first Karma Shamar in 13th century you will enter Ngang Yul or ‘Swan Land” named for the swans that were once common in this part of the valley. Near the center of this area you will find Ngang Lhakhang, the “Swan Temple”. The Ngang Lhakhang was erected by the Lama Namkha Samdrup in the spot where his arrow landed. The design of the lhakhang inspired by a vision he had.

Day 2: Ngang Lhakhang – Ogyen Choling

Camp altitude 3,850 m

Today, you will begin with a gradual climb to Phephe La pass (3,353m). Follow the trail until the pass takes you through a picturesque forested region. It is recommended that you allow for stops along the way to enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings. You will stop for the night at Ogyen Choling Manor. This manor houses one of the most interesting museums of Bhutan and visitors will gain a better understanding of the lives of the landed gentry in traditional Bhutanese society.

Day 3: Ugyen Choling – Phokphey

Distance 17kms, 5-6 hours, 920mts accent, camp altitude 3680 m

Today’s walk is through bamboos, hemlock and finally up to an alpine forest. The camp is in a meadow at the head of the valley.

Day 4: Phokphey – Pemi

Distance 20kms, 6-7 hours, 480mts accent, 1160mts decent, camp altitude 2950 m

Rodung La (4,160m) is about three hours climb from the camp. From the pass you then continue downhill through a gorge, overlooking scenic mountain valleys covered in lush pine forests. The region is rich in folk lore concerning spirits and yetis. Near the camp you can see a ruined stone building that once acted as a grain storehouse during the reigns of the first and second king.

Day 5: Pemi – Khaine Lakhang

Distance 21kms, 7-8 hours, 350mts accent, 1340mts decent, camp altitude 2010 m

This trail winds through the villages of Ungaar, Bulay, Kulaypang and Gomda before bringing you to Drula village and Khaine Lhakhang. One of the oldest temples in the country, it was built in the mid 7th century by the King Songtshen Gampo of Tibet to subdue demons.

Day 6: Khaine Lakhang – Tangmachu

Distance 18kms, 6-7 hours, 520mts accent, 810mts decent, camp altitude 1720 m

From your camp, the trail goes down to a stream and back up to a basic health unit and a community school in Gorsam. Further on, you pass a Tibetan-style Umling Mani, built by a lama from Tibet, and a chorten on Zerim La (1,940m). Before reaching the next pass, Tage La (1,760m) you will see Menjabi, a beautiful Bhutanese village with large white houses. The campsite for the night is located South-east of Tage La near Tangmachu High School. Another possibility is to organize transport and drive to Lhuentse, the capital of Lhuentse district. Lhuntese Dzong is considered to be one of the most impressive dzongs in Bhutan.

Day 7: Tangmachu – Menji

Distance 16kms, 4-5 hours, 690mts accent, 620mts decent, camp altitude 1830 m

After arriving at Kuri Zampa the trek begins to gradually climb up through paddy fields and villages before bringing you to Chusa.

Day 8: Menji – Pemi

Distance 20kms, 5-6 hours, 620mts accent, camp altitude 2450 m

Today’s trail will have you continue uphill through thick forests overlooking spectacular mountains. The camp is located in a forested area at an altitude of 2,400m.

Day 10: Taupang – Trashi Yangtse

Distance 24kms, 8-9 hours, 720mts decent

Today you will do the longest hike day of the trek. It is a gradual descent to Trashi Yangtse. As you descend the chirpine and hardwood forests are slowly replaced by oak trees. The final camp of the trek is located in a subtropical forested region.


Trekking Rates For Bhutan

The government of Bhutan requires that a minimum standard needs to be maintained while trekking in Bhutan. You will be accompanied by your own trekking staff consisting of a professional trekking guide, cook, camping assistant and a few horsemen and horses to carry your gear; regardless of whether you’re a solo trekker or you are a part of a bigger group. All food supplies must be carried in and prepared in camp. Trekking in Bhutan can therefore be a little expensive for solo travelers and those traveling in smaller groups.

TREKKING SURCHAGE PER PERSON ON TOP OF SDF, GUIDE & VEHICLE CHARGES:

1 Pax: USD 250 Per Person Per Day
2 Pax: USD 200 Per Person Per Day
3 Pax: USD 180 Per Person Per Day
4 Pax or More: USD 160 Per Person Per Day

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 4 season mountaineering tents. (Mountain Hardware Trango ll).
    • Freshly prepared meals with tea and snacks throughout the trek.
    • All trekking logistics like dinning tent with utensils, chairs and tables, toilet tent, etc.
    • Fully seasoned support team.
    • Portage charges.
    • Filtered/boiled drinking water throughout the trek.
    • Hot washing water in the mornings and evenings.
    • Hot water bags for the night.
    • Individual footprint foam mattress.
    • Communal first aid kit (We always carry multiple oxygen canisters for emergency scenarios).

DOES NOT INCLUDE:

  • Sleep system (Sleeping bag, mat and pillow). We suggest bringing an inflatable or a roll mattress that can be packed inside your duffle bag or strapped on your duffle bag. Sleep is of the highest importance!
    • Guide services.
    • Personal snacks, drinks and equipments.
    • Insurance.
    • Camp fees if any.
    • Gratuity for staff.

A TYPICAL DAY ON THE TREK:

The day starts off with a wake up call, around 6-6:30 am, if you are not already awake by then. A staff will come with a bowl of warm water to wash up along with tea/coffee brought to your tent. Before heading over to the dinning tent for breakfast, usually around 7-8, we suggest you pack your overnight gear into your duffel bag and prepare for the day. During breakfast the staff will pack away the tents and ready the horses.

After breakfast, usually between 8:30-9 am, we start walking.  The pace of the trek is leisurely with plenty of time to enjoy the scenery, take photos and explore the local settlements, if any. Lunch will be around noon at a favourable spot by the side of the trail. Lunch is carried by the staff.

There is usually more walking after lunch, we will always plan to cover big ascents/passes before lunch but this does not always pan out as expected. Normally we will get into camp by mid afternoon with the tents already set up by the support team. Once you arrive at camp, you will be able to wash up, change to get into your comfy camp clothes and try and get comfortable.

Tea and snacks will be served. Followed by dinner later in the evening around 7pm.

FOOD:

All meals are freshly prepared by our cook and kitchen team. Breakfast with fried rice, toast/pancakes with various condiments, omelettes and a range of hot drinks. Hot lunch is prepared by the kitchen crew during breakfast and packed into containers carried by the staff to be eaten on the trail. On arrival at the campsite, there will be tea and other hot drinks in the dining tent with biscuits and snacks, help yourselves. Dinner will follow with soup, meal and dessert.

ACUTE MOUNTAIN SICKNESS (AMS).

This happens due to the body’s reaction to the low air pressure (less oxygen) at high altitudes and each individual responds to this situation differently. So please ascent at your own steady pace so that you allow your body to acclimate as you gain elevation.

This is a problem for some people, especially when hiking and sleeping above 3500 meters. The onset of symptoms has no logic in the sense that you never know who will get it regardless of your previous climbs and high ascents. There is no natural way to avoid getting AMS. However, acclimatization before the trek (we recommend day hikes, climbing high and sleeping low) and staying hydrated, eating and sleeping (rest) well on the trek goes a long to keeping yourself fit and feeling good.

Usually a steady and throbbing headache at the back of your head is a telltale sign of the onset of AMS. But this is not a major concern if it does not develop further and persists. Other symptoms include: fatigue, shortness of breathe, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and vomiting. There is no treatment to this sickness other than letting the body rest, acclimate and cure itself. If the symptoms do not get better, we will descend in altitude.

SMALL ACTS THAT WILL GO A LONG WAY, “PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN TRASH”.

This is a personal request and I do not mean to be condescending.

I just want to bring to surface something that is close to my being and I know it is to you too.

This is something we are all aware about and love to change about our society.

We will have a sack at every campsite where you can dump your trash from the day. We carry out everything that we carry in. We can not clean up after others, but we can take care of our own.

PACKING LIST AND TIPS:

They say we pack our fears when we travel and thus all of us pack different and are each their own creatures of comfort. But the rule of thumb on treks is to keep it to the essentials and be organized.

Less things to pack in the morning means, being swift and at ease which translates to a few more cups of coffee while enjoying the morning sun.

Therefore only listing the essentials here.

THE ESSENTIALS

  • DAS BOOT: Your favourite hiking boot or shoe. One that is broken in and kept you on the trail, blister free, while hitting the gnarly stuff. A pair with good ankle support that breathes well and to a certain extent is water resistant, keeps your feet happy!
  • THE FART SACK: I mean the sleeping bag. Check where and when you are going and take something that is rated lower by 5ºC than the expected temperature, just be on the warmer and safer side. Women typical tend to sleep colder than men.
  • MATTRESS: A foldable and comfortable mat, ideally an inflatable mattress. After a long day, you just want some good sleep. One that can be packed away inside your duffle bag or secured on the outside with the straps (easier for us to stow away and load it onto the horses). We will provide a footprint foam mat.
  • DAY PACK: Just like your boots, a backpack is something you wear almost throughout the day and the entirety of your trek. So take a pack that you are comfortable with. A 20-30 L pack is ideal, depending on the gear you carrying.
  • CLOTHING: Apart from the clothes you are comfortable with, a rain jacket or a poncho that can double up as a windbreaker, is indispensable. Micro climates in the mountains are an enigma. So its always nice to be prepared, that way the rain doesn’t feel so bad and you can slog on with a grin on your face. Another essential is a down jacket, to throw over yourself while at camp after the sun goes down.
  • MEDICATION: Please don’t forget you personal medication. Also a small personal first aid kit. You may never need them, but it can prove to be crucial for your wellbeing incase you do while on the trail. We will also have a common first aid with only the essential medicine and kit.
  • HEADLAMPS/TORCH:
  • GLOVES & BEANIES
  • SUNSCREEN, SUN GLASSES AND HAT
  • WATER BOTTLES
  • A PACKABLE PILLOW

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If you have any special interest or specific needs and constraints, we are happy to discuss and offer a personalized service to suit your needs. Call us at (WhatsApp) +975 77430698 / 17110975 or email us at breathebhutan@gmail.com

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