Merak-Sakteng Trek:Witness the Distinct Culture of the Brokpas

16 days


Day 01: Arrive Paro

Day 02: Paro. Taktsang Hike

Day 03: Paro � Thimphu

Day 04: Thimphu � Punakha

Day 05: Punakha to Bumthang via Gangtey/Phobjikha

Day 06: Bumthang

Day 07: Bumthang to Mongar

Day 08: Mongar to Trashigang

Day 09: Trashigang to Chaling and trek to Damnongchu

Day 10: Trek to Merak

Day 11: Trek to Miksa teng

Day 12: Trek to Sakteng

Day 13: Trek to Jyonkharteng

Day 14: End trek and drive to Trashigang

Day 15: Trashigang to Samdrupjongkhar

Day 16: Exit to Guwahati

Merak and Sakteng are two of the most remote and far off villages located in the east of Bhutan. They have been recently opened i.e. in the year 2010 for trekking as compared to other places of the country. This place stands out because it is a very exclusive attraction in Bhutan. The inhabitants of this area are semi-nomadic and are known as �Brokpas�. The Brokpas herd yaks and have a distinct culture and dialect of their own. Houses here are mainly one-storied and built with very small windows. So, visitors can see and experience a semi-nomadic life style and culture which they cannot find anywhere else in Bhutan. The Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) located in Trashigang Dzongkhag in Eastern Bhutan is an idyllic valley and is one of the most newly protected areas of the country. It is like a treasure trove of biodiversity waiting to be discovered. The local here believe that the migoi or a Yeti haunts the place though it has not been scientifically proved.

Passing through the semi-nomadic villages of Gengu (3400m), Thakthi (2200m), Merak (3500m), Joenkhar (1700m) and Sakteng (2800m) the trek is a moderate one ranging from 1,500m to 4,100m. The use of a particular trail is not allowed to tour operators though the most used common trail by and large begins from Chaling and ends in Phongmey. The Geogs of Merak and Sakteng are major cut-off points for the rivers Ngere Ama chu and Gamri chu respectively.

In terms of aesthetics, the campsites are built and designed in such a way that it blends with the local architecture and environment. The campsite is enclosed by a stonewall with a gate from where the ponies carrying the trekking paraphernalia can enter. It has all facilities ranging from water supply, tenting sheds, kitchens (present in some), dining area and toilets. Each campsite has a signage that informs the visitor about the altitude, location, forest type, fauna, distance and time to next campsite and additional hiking trails in the locality.

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary

The trek to the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) lies within it. The sanctuary was built in April 2003. It was built with a sound agenda to conserve and protect the unique assembly of biological and cultural diversity that exists in the region. The Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary has an area of 650 km2 and is bordered in the north and east by the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh (Tawang). The sanctuary is connected with the Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary through a biological corridor which is also a part of the Bhutan Biological Conservation Complex.