Salt Route Trek
This trek harkens back to the days when eastern Bhutan had no roads. As the border area with India was the only source of salt, the people hiked along this route to the border settlement called Gudama to buy it and carry it back home all the way. We retrace this route. Every stop has a story to tell, every climb and descent bear marks of yesteryears. We tread through farms, numerous villages, lowland to upland forests, and meet hordes of local people with varied lifestyle. In many ways, the route introduces us to two civilizations – India down south and Bhutan up north
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TOUR IN BRIEF
Duration: 8 days
Entry: Gawahati, Assam, India
Exit: Paro, Bhutan
Standard: moderate to hard
Best Seasons: throughout year, best in winter
Place: Indian plains-south-east-east Bhutan
• The border town of Samdrupjongkhar and adjoining areas which carry quaint looks of both Indian and Bhutanese culture and influences.
• We delve into heartland of eastern Bhutan, pretty much unexplored and unknown to outside world.
• We take a firsthand look at how ancient Bhutan is giving way to the new – development and modernization. This region has probably the last remnants of Bhutan’s yesteryears.
Upon arriving at Guwahati International Airport you will start on a three-hour drive to Samdrup Jongkhar. You will halt for the night at Samdrup Jongkhar which is approximately 250m above the sea level. Samdrup Jongkhar is the main trading centre for the population of the six eastern Dzongkhags
On the next day you will have to drive to Nelang, near Deothang from where the trek begins. The visitors can do a little bit of sightseeing in Samdrup Jongkhar and explore the border town. They can also go across the border to the Indian town of Mela Bazar and do some shopping. Like any other border town all essential food items and garments are readily available.
The trek starts downhill for about 45minutes till you reach the Duri river formed as a result of three streams namely Phudungri, Manchuri and Morongri. Once you reach Duri, the trek follows the river on a straight stretch for about two hours and will halt at Duktsiri for lunch. One of the significant aspects of this stretch is trekkers have to criss-cross Duri seven times on traditional log bridges until we reach Dutktseri which is the actual designated lunch Point. After lunch the trek again criss-crosses the river six times before reaching Radingphu which is a perfect site to halt for the night.
Note: It is very important to carry your own water from as there is no water on this stretch.
From the base camp at Radingphu, there is a steep three hour climb to reach Dotak whereyou can halt for lunch. After lunch the trek follows a steep climb for another two hours until we reach Mongling. The trek leads Zermin and to a slow climb for about one hour from where the trail follows a straight stretch until we reach Regonpo on the base of Yonglaphu. From there the trek takes a straight stretch till Mongling on the Tshelingkhor-Pemagatsel highway which is an ideal location to rest for the night.
In the past, Demri Zam was the place where traders stopped to rest for the night. It is recommended that you carry their own water as there is no water on this stretch of the trek. The next day the trek ascends in a slow climb until you reach Tsatshi Danri for lunch. You will camp at Denchung by the side of the Khaling.
From Denchung the trek follows the Khaling River for a little more than two hours where we reach Liza for lunch. After lunch the trek follows a steep ascent through beautiful pine forests until we reach Cheya. The stretch from Denchung to Cheya will probably be the most difficult section of the trek as the path is a steep climb. The campsite at Cheya is very beautiful near the Cheya Tsho from which water is also readily available.
The last day of the trek will be from Cheya to Trashigang. There are two options: visitors can either ride to Trashigang form Cheya via Khengthogmani or they can trek from Cheya to Khengthogmani and take a ride from Khengthogmani. Since the trek follows the farm road it is advisable that the vehicles move to Cheya Tsho for boarding of the visitors.
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