Merak & Sakteng Trek – 11 days
For this trek, you can either enter from paro and travel all the way to eastern Bhutan or enter from the Indian city of Guwahati, Assam’s capital and exit from there. You can decide to enter from Guwahati and exit from paro.
This is a new trekking route recently opened for tourists. It takes you to the nomadic villages of Merak and Sakteng, bordering Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh,India, in eastern Bhutan.
Apart from the beautiful landscapes, lakes and peaks of north eastern Bhutan, you can interact with nomads and learn their way of life. Moreover, this trek offers you the opportunity to visit Eastern Bhutan, where tourism is not as brisk as the Western part of Bhutan. You further avail the opportunity to visit almost all districts of Bhutan, except some in Southern Bhutan, if u decide to exit from Paro.
Day 01: Gawahati (India)-Samdrup Jongkhar
On arrival at Gawahati, you will be greeted by our representative. You will then be driven to the border town of Samdrup Jongkhar, eastern Bhutan’s commercial hub, which is about 100kms from the airport.
Night halt at hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar.
Day 02: Samdrup Jongkhar-Trashigang
After breakfast, our journey into the wilderness of eastern Bhutan begins. Trashigang is 180 kms from Samdrup Jongkhar and the road traverses through tropical and subtropical trees. En-route, we will visit the hand loom (weaving centre) in Khaling and the Institute of the disabled. The road also passes through the Kharungla National Park, thus offering a diversity of flora and fauna.
Upon arrival at Trashigang we will visit the Trashigang Dzong (Fortress), built in the mid-17th century. Like most Dzongs, it serves as the Administrative seat for the district and houses the monastic body.
Overnight at hotel in Trashigang.
Day 03: Rangjung-Chaling/Damnongchu 19KM / 6-7 HOURS / 2000M ASCENT 230M DESCENT
This is the first day of the trek and you will take a scenic drive through Rangjung town and Radhi village from Trashigang for about ninety minutes to Chaling. Your trekking crew and pack animals will join you at Chaling.
The trek begins with a gradual climb towards Shaktimi meadow. Along the trail, you will see huts of yak herders dotted along the hill side and yaks and sheep grazing. As you ascent further, you will reach Mendula Pass, at an elevation of 3354m. After you cross this pass, the trek for the rest of the day is a gradual descend through forest filled with rhododendron trees till Donmong Chu (river), your camp for the night at 3124m.
Day 04: Damnongchu-Merak 14KM / 4-5 HOURS / 396M ASCENT
Your destination is Merak, and the trail follows the river. Apart from the final leg of the trek, it is a fairly easy hike along flat landmass. Right after you ascend, you will reach Gangu village. In another 45 minutes you reach Merak, located at an altitude of 3520m. From your campsite located before the village, you can have a spectacular view of the nearby mountains and village. You have sufficient time to visit the village and interact with the people.
Day 05: Merak-Halt
Explore Merak and Bongmang village, apart from others. Night halt will be in the camp.
The people from Merak and Sakteng, who are known for their exceptional features and for their costume made of Sheep skin and Yak wool. The hat they wear is unusual but has a significance of its own. You can interact with the people.
Day 06: Merak-MiksaTeng 16KM / 5-6 HOURS / 633M ASCENT 1074M DESCENT
In what is the toughest day of the trek, you will need to ascend until you cross the Nachungla pass, the highest of the trek at 4153m. The trek begins with a gradual uphill climb as you move from Merak, until the first pass at 3900m. A spectacular view of the entire Merak valley can be seen from here. It is also the pass from where you see Merak for the last time. Having crossed the pass, you will be trekking through outgrowths of juniper and rhododendron forests, finally reaching Nachungla pass. You will then descend to Miksateng at 3079m, your camp for the night.
Day 07: MiksaTeng- Sakteng 14KM / 4-5 HOURS / 80M ASCENT 310M DESCENT
The trek starts with a gradual descend till a river. You cross the river and follow its banks for a few hours, before gradually climbing to a hill adorned by a small Chorten (Stupa) overlooking Sakteng valley. From this ridge, you will be descending and camp on the outskirts of Sakteng village, at an elevation of 2950m. You may spot red pandas along the trek, if you are lucky.
Day 08: Sakteng – Teng Jyonkhar 17KM / 6-7 HOURS / 75M ASCENT 130M DESCENT
It is a slightly longer journey today and thus, you will be leaving the camp early. You climb up to a small hill at the western end of the village and then descend to the river, after which you will be walking alongside the river through forests filled with broad leaf trees. We will arrive at our camp for the night at Joenkhar Teng village (1733m), situated on a hillside. The village comprises of people belonging to the Brokpa tribe as well as people of eastern Bhutan (Sharchopas). It also has a community school and an outreach clinic.
Day 09: Jyonkhar-Rangjung 12KM / 5-6 HOURS / 350M ASCENT 950M DESCENT
The last day of the trek begins with a short climb through Joenkhar Teng. You will need to cross few suspension bridges and take short up-hill walks, until you reach Phongmay. On the way, you will visit the Rangjung Monastery, founded by His Eminence Garab Rinpoche.
Halt at Rangjung.
Day 10: Rangjung-Samdrup Jongkhar
After breakfast we drive to Samdrup Jongkhar, and halt the night at a hotel.
Day 11: Samdrup Jongkhar – Gawahati
After breakfast, you will be driven from Samdrup Jongkhar to Guwahati airport for your onward flight. Our representative will see you off.