The Brokpas, semi-nomadic inhabitants of the region, migrate through the seasons with their yaks: moving between the highlands in summer and the lowlands in winter. The Brokpas still engage in the barter system, trading cheese, butter and dried meat for grains and other goods that are not readily available to them. During the colder months, they also travel down south to the villages like Radhi, Phongmay, Kanglung, Trashigang town, and other areas to barter their goods. So during such times tourism is not really a viable option as the active population is out with their cattle. However, there are few residents who do not own animals and they stay back in the villages.
The following is the proposed itinerary which is mainly used by the residents of Merak and Sakteng. The proposed itinerary starts from the end of road point. It is recommended to start from Chaling entering Merak first because of the steep climb to Nagchungla pass if it starts from Sakteng.
Day 1 : Trashigang – Chaling (7050ft) – 7hrs – Damnongchu (10131ft)
The trek to Merak will start from Chaling and the feeder road goes up to Chaling from Rangjung. The feeder road from Rangjung to Chaling is about 15 kms which takes about 1 hour by car. The first halt will be at Damnongchu. Damnongchu camping area is located after Mindrula which lies about 10,880ft above sea level.
Day 2 : Damnongchu – 5 hrs – Merak (11480ft)
The trail from Damnongchu to Merak goes along the river bank with gradual ups and downs. The final stretch is a very gentle incline after which you enter Merak village. The campsite, located before the village, has spectacular views of the nearby mountains and the village. There is also a guesthouse where tourists can stay if they choose not to camp.
Day 3 : Merak – 7.5 hrs – Miksa Teng (9400ft)
The trek from Merak to Miksa Teng is of medium difficulty. It will pass through the beautiful Nagchungla pass. Right after the Nagchungla pass descend, the trek is mostly along the river and there is a small climb before reaching the village of Sakteng. The campsite is located in a clearing surrounded by rhododendron trees. It is beautiful when the flowers are in full bloom.
Day 4 : Miksa Teng – 3.5 hrs – Sakteng (9850ft)
Trek to Sakteng from Miksa Teng is easy making your way through beautiful woods with a short climb before reaching Sakteng but it is not very difficult. If lucky, trekkers may be able to spot a red panda among the trees. The Sakteng campsite is located on the outskirts of the village. Sakteng also offers trekkers the option of spending the night in a guesthouse instead of camping.
Day 5 : Sakteng – 6.5hrs – JyonkharTeng (6100ft)
Sakteng to Jyonkhar Teng trek is an easy trek compared to the previous treks. It is mostly downhill and walking on a plain path. Some trekkers can also make it to Phongmay or Radhi but a halt in Jyonkhar Teng is recommended. Jyonkhar village is located few minutes walk from the campsite. Jyonkhar also has a community school. Jyonkhar Teng campsite is located near a river.
Day 6 : Jyonkhar – 5hrs – Phongmay/Radhi (6500ft)/Trashigang
The trekkers are highly recommended to either stay in Phongmay or Radhi. This is because of many attractions and beautiful villages in these two places. Radhi, popularly known as the ‘Rice Bowl” of the east is also popular for wool textiles called Bura weaving.
One day in Merak:
A day in Merak recommended as a relaxation day. This will give visitors an opportunity to visit attractions of Merak village. There are many interesting local sites that the visitors can explore in Merak and Ganggu (a neighbouring village).
One day in Sakteng:
Also a day is recommended to explore Sakteng village. Just like in Merak, Sakteng also has interesting myths surrounding its village. The Sakteng valley is little bigger than that of Merak and it has more adjacent villages then Merak.