Merak-Sakteng Trek

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Duration:  7 days

Start:  Chaling

End:  Phongmey
Difficulty rating:  Moderate
Maximum elevation:  3480m

Summary: Recently opened for visitors, this trek goes to secluded nomadic villages of Merak and Sakten in north east of Bhutan bordering Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh India.
Season:  Mid March – May, September – October

Day 1: Trashigang-Chaling-Donmang Chu (Trek starts)

19KM / 6-7 HOURS / 2000M ASCENT 230M DESCENT
From Trashigang, you will take scenic drive for one and half hours to Chaling passing through Rangjung town and Radhi village.  Your trekking crew and pack animals will be waiting here for you.  Trek starts with gradual climb towards Shaktimi meadow. You will see yaks and sheep grazing with yak herders’ huts dotted on the hills side. Climb further to reach Mendula Pass at 3354m. From this pass, you will descend through rhododendron forests till Donmong Chu at 3124m.  Overnight in camp.

Day 2: Donmong Chu-Merak 
14KM / 4-5 HOURS / 396M ASCENT
The trail from Domong Chu to Merak mostly follows the river bends. The final stretch has gentle ascend before you Gangu village.  After another 45 minutes walk from this village, you will arrive at Merak located at an altitude of 3520m. The campsite located before the village has spectacular views of nearby mountains and village. Visit the local village and meet with the people. Overnight in camp.

Day 3: Merak-Miksateng 
16KM / 5-6 HOURS / 633M ASCENT 1074M DESCENT
Today is the toughest journey of the trek crossing the highest Nachungla pass at 4153m. From the campsite climb gradually to the first pass at 3900m from where you can make last glimpse of Merak valley. Continue the trek along the tree line of juniper and rhododendron forests and conquer the Nachungla pass.  Then you will descend to Miksateng at 3079m.  Overnight in camp.

Day 4: Miksateng-Sakten 
14KM / 4-5 HOURS / 80M ASCENT 310M DESCENT
First, you will descend to the river, cross it and then follow the river bank for few hours.  Then climb gradually to a hill adorned by small Chorten (Stupa) overlooking the Sakten valley. If you are lucky, you can spot red panda among the trees. Drop down from the ridge and camp on the outskirts of the Sakten village at 2950m. Overnight in camp.

Day 5: Explore Sakten
You will visit Sakten village and explore the lifestyle and unique culture of this ethnic group.

Day 6: Sakten-Joenkhar Teng
17KM / 6-7 HOURS / 75M ASCENT 130M DESCENT
Today’s journey will be a longer and so we will start early from the camp. Leaving Sakten, start with short climb to the small hill towards the west end of the village. Then descend down to the river and walk alongside it through the broad leaf forests. We camp in a beautiful meadow near the river by Joenkhar Teng village (1733m). Joenkhar Teng is situated on the hillside and its population comprises of Brokpa and Sharchopa with a community school and an outreach clinic.
Overnight in camp.

Day 7: Joenkhar Teng-Phongmey-Trashigang (Trek ends)
12KM / 5-6 HOURS / 350M ASCENT 950M DESCENT
The last day of the trek begins with short climb through the Joenkhar Teng. Cross few of suspension bridges and short climbs to reach Phongmay. Meet your transport and drive to Trashigang. On the way, stop at Rangjung and visit the Rangjung Monastery, which is founded by His Eminence Garab Rinpoche. Overnight hotel in Trashigang.


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