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Chomolhari Trek

12 days/11 nights

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Even the most privileged travelers consider Bhutan a special destination. Its secluded location, limited accessibility, and preservation efforts have shielded many from visiting this jewel in the Himalayas. On this active program, tour the monasteries, temples, and ancient artisan sites in Paro and Thimphu. Then, trek through scattered hamlets and villages to reach high alpine pastureland. We invite you to interact with the gracious people of Bhutan and experience some of the most spectacular views in the world.

Level: Expert *

Season: April—June and September—November

Highlights

Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest)

Spectacular views of Mt. Chomolhari

Traditional Bhutanese Villages

Thimphu Valley

 

Not quite ready to pack your bags? Download our free Bhutan Destination Guide.

         

Itinerary

Itinerary Details: 12 days/11 nights

Day 1: Bhutan Arrival

Your flight to Bhutan is one of the most spectacular in the entire Himalayas - a mesmerizing aeronautical feat offering an exciting descent into the Kingdom. On arrival at Paro airport, after immigration and custom formalities, meet our representative and transfer to the hotel.

In Bhutan, the sights of colorful prayer flags are very common. Prayer flags are hoisted for happiness, long life, prosperity, luck, and merit. The colors used in the prayer flags follow the concept of ‘Kham’ which are five characteristic birth elements that determines an individual’s dominant personality. A Buddhist Monk and friend of Sodha Travel will accompany you to a shop that sells prayer flags, where you will gain insight to and an interpretation of your birth element. Then, buy a prayer flag with the colors corresponding to your birth element and head out to a designated place in Paro. The Monk will chant the consecration prayers once you finish the hoisting of your flag. Evening at leisure and overnight.

Day 2: Paro

In the morning, drive up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong (built in 1646), which once defended this valley from Tibetan invasion. Though largely destroyed by fire in 1951, its towering outer walls are still an imposing sight. On a fine day, there is a grand view of Mt. Chomolhari.

Then, take an excursion to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest). Legends say that Guru Padmasambhava flew here on the back of tigress and landed at the spot where monastery was later built. The monastery was severely damaged by fire in year 1998 and now has been fully restored in its original grandeur. The excursion to Tiger's Nest takes about 5 hours.

In the evening, visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan's oldest and most sacred shrines. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 3: Paro—Shana, 6 hours

The trek starts from Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) with a short downhill walk on a wide trail. The trail then climbs gently through well maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. Later you come to apple orchards and forests. Soon the valley widens and you reach the army post of Gunyitsawa. This is the last stop before Tibet. Continue upwards to just beyond Sharma Zampa (2,870m) where there are several good camping places in meadows surrounded by trees.

Day 4: Shana—Soi Thangthangkha, 7 hours

The trail again follows the Pa Chhu (Paro river), ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. After crossing a bridge to the left bank of the river, stop for a hot lunch. Then, continue along the river, climbing upwards through rhododendron forests and crossing the river once more before reaching your campsite (3,750m).

Day 5: Soi Thangthangkha—Jangothang, 8 hours

The path ascends until you reach the army camp. You then follow the river above the tree line, enjoying the stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch is served at a yak herder's camp. A short walk from here into the valley will takes you to your campsite at Jangothang (4,040m). From here, the views of Mount. Chomolhari and Jichu Drake are superb. Overnight at camp.

Day 6: Jangothang—Lingshi, 8 hours

The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right bank. You now start your climb up to the first ridge, enjoying breathtaking view of Mt. Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsrim Khang. The trail then takes you across a fairly level valley floor until the climb to the Nyele-la (4,700m). Then, descend gradually from the pass to your campsite at Lingshi, enjoying the panoramic view of the mountain peaks and Lingshi Dzong.

Day 7: Lingshi—Shodu, 8 hours

The Laya – Gasa route leaves the Chomolhari trek route here. Your trail climbs up towards a small white chorten on a ridge above the camp, then turns south up the deep Mo Chu valley. The trail stays on the west side of this largely treeless valley, climbing steeply a short distance above the Mo Chu. It then crosses the river and climbs steeply for two hours to Yeli-la pass. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Chomolhari, Gangchhenta, Tserim Khang and Masang Gang from this pass. Descend alongside a stream to a rock shelter in the cliff face, and then continue on downstream till reaching Shodu (4,100m) where you will camp in a meadow with a chorten.

Day 8: Shodu—Barshong, 6-7 hours

You are now back at the tree line and your path follows the course of the Thimphu Chu descending through rhododendron, juniper and mixed alpine forests. There are stunning views of rocky cliff faces and waterfalls along the way. Stop at the riverside for a hot lunch. Then the trail takes you gradually upwards to the ruins of Barshong Dzong (3,600m) where you camp for the night.

Day 9: Barshong—Dolam Kencho, 5-6 hours

The trail descends gently through a dense forest of rhododendron, birch and conifers, then drops steeply to meet Thimphu Chu. The trail runs along the left bank of the river, climbing over ridges and descending into gullies where side streams runs down into the river. The final stage of the trail climbs around a cliff face high above the Thimphu Chu River, coming out onto pastureland where you camp for the night at 3,600m.

Day 10: Dolam Kencho—Dodena—Thimphu, 3 hours

The trail winds in and out of side valleys above Thimphu Chu, making a long ascent through a forest of conifers and high altitude broadleaf species to a pass at 3,510m. The trail then drops steeply to the river and following it southward to the road head at Dodena, (2,600m). The transport meets you here and you will be driven to Thimphu. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 11: Thimphu 

Full day of sightseeing in Thimphu Valley, as time permits. Visit the National Memorial Chorten, Trashichhodzong (the fortress of the glorious religion), National Library, Institute for Zorig Chusum (Bhutanese Arts and Crafts School), National Institute of Traditional Medicine and Handicrafts Emporium. Evening at leisure and overnight.

Day 12: Departure

After breakfast, drive to Paro airport for your onward flight. Bon Voyage!

Inclusions and Exclusions

Inclusions

  • 2 nights of hotel accommodations in Paro with daily meals
  • 2 nights of hotel accommodations in Thimphu with daily meals
  • 7 nights of a fully catered guided trek with tented accommodations and daily meals
  • Trekking permits
  • Vehicle and driver, per the itinerary
  • Comprehensive touring with a private guide
  • Entrance fees to the monuments
  • Airport transfers with assistance
  • Bhutan Visa Fee
  • Bhutan Government Royalty and Taxes
  • Road/interstate taxes, fuel surcharges, and parking fees

Exclusions

  • International Airfare
  • Any items of a personal nature
  • Additional meals
  • India Visa Fees

Supplemental Information

Supplemental Information

  • A visa is required to visit Bhutan. Sodha Travel will arrange for the clearance, and the final visa will then be sent to you via email.
  • To protect your travel investment, Sodha Travel strongly recommends Travel Insurance.
  • Visit our FAQ page for additional information on traveling to Bhutan.

Please note that some of the sights/itinerary may change due to season, weather, national holidays, and special events. We maintain the rights to alter the itinerary since tours are made in advance and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve your overall travel experience in Bhutan.

Map

Chomolhari Trek Map