Bhutan Chomolahari trek explores the retained fascinating culture of Bhutan, still poorly known by the West. The Chomolhari trek is truly an excellent alpine trek to the far northwestern corner of Bhutan, near the Tibetan border. Chomolhari Trek in Bhutan embraces an amazing opportunity to trek the hotspots of Bhutan but also get to feast on an incredible diversity of mountains and ecosystems. The wonderful rewards of this trek you can explore snow-capped peaks, Turquoise-tinted lakes, high altitude wildlife, nomadic yak herders and ancient religious sites. The Laya-Ghasa trekking route passes through diverse geographical and cultural regions: from farmland to forests and to alpine highlands.
After arriving at Paro you will have full day sightseeing. Next day our Bhutan Chomolahari trek begins with the trek to Shana. The trek passes through a wide, rich, cultivated valley, beneath forest-covered mountains, following the Paro River and encountering herds of Yaks. The Laya trail follows the Pachu River ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forest to Soi Thangthangkha. We approach Jangothang, Chomolhari Base Camp at 4100m that welcomes you with a full frontal view of the huge bulk of Mt. Chomolhari. Crossing very windy pass of this trek, the Nyelela Pass “sleepy pass” (4890m), would be a wonderful experience for you. Climb up the ridge and enjoy stunning views of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake, and Tshrim Khang mountains and descend to a valley of Lingshi.
The trail climbs up to the Yalila Pass at an altitude of 4,820m offering views of the snowy mountains around Lingshi and the Basingthang Peaks to Shodu. We descend through rhododendron, juniper and mixed alpine forests along Thimpu River and ascend to Barshong Dzong. The final stage of the Chomolahari trail climbs around a cliff face high above the Thimphu Chu, coming out onto pastureland Dolam Kencho and back to Thimpu via Dodina next day. Enjoy the full day visit of capital city Thimpu, its historical and religious attributes. The Bhutan Chomolahari trekking offers a taste of a great variety of Bhutanese landscape.
Duration: 12 Days
Best Travel Time: Late September to Mid November & late March to mid-May.
Transportation: Private Car/Van.
You will have spectacular scenic flight of Himalayas including Everest and Bhutanese foothills and the landscapes to the Paro Airport of Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by our representative and transfer to hotel. After lunch enjoy afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past. Visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong, Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. In the evening visit Paro town, stroll through its quaint two streets and browse through the shops.
Today the trek begins from Drukgyel Dzong with a short downhill walk on a wide train. The trek pass through a wide, rich, cultivated valley, beneath forest-covered mountains, following the Paro River. We climb gently through well maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. It goes upstream of the Paro River, through villages, gradually ascending. You’ll also encounter local people who live a simple lifestyle herding yaks, gathering and drying herbs, making fresh cheese and butter, and weaving beautiful textiles. We continue upwards to Shana, where there are several good camping places in meadows surrounded by trees. Night in a camp.
We continue up through the valley of the Paro River. Today is a long day with occasional glimpses of the peaks along the Tibetan border, which we are steadily approaching. The trail again follows the Pachu River ascending through pine, oak and spruce forest. The trail makes a short steep climb and descent followed by a big bridge at 3250m; crossing to the east side of the river is Thongo Zam, a possible lunch spot. After lunch follow the river climbing up through rhododendron forests and finally crossing the bridge again, and reaching to the camp.
After enjoying the view to Chomolhari and breakfast we ascend for a while till you reach the army camp. We ascend a beautiful river valley and hike along rushing streams through deep forests of rhododendron, pine, and oak. A few yak-herding families are based in this area, and we may be lucky to pay them a visit and try some of their dried yak cheese. The valley levels out as we approach Jangothang, Chomolhari Base Camp at 4100m, with a full frontal view of the huge bulk of Chomolhari. The view of Chomolhari (7320m) and Jichu Drake (6900m) is superb.
Today is our rest day and also a day for the excursion of the Jangothang area. You can hike to an open area where you can sit and watch the grazing blue sheep. You can explore the surrounding areas of Tshophu Lake. Have close up views of Chomolhari (7314m) and Jichudrake (6974m) – a spectacular peak only recently climbed.
Leaving the valley by a short steep trail we ascend through a broad open landscape. It is a long climb about 3-4 hours to reach the first high and very windy pass of this trek, the Nyelela Pass “sleepy pass” (4890m). Climb up the ridge and enjoy stunning views of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tshrim Khang mountains. We descend gradually from the pass to our campsite at Lingshi. Enjoy the panoramic view of the peaks and Lingshi Dzong. Overnight in Camp.
The path follows the stream up towards the valley opposite the Dzong, gradually ascending through the valley for 4 hours. The trail stays on the west side of this largely treeless valley, climbing steadily for a short distance above the Mo Chu. The trail climbs up to the Yalila Pass at an altitude of (15, 810 ft) 4,820m. It offers with views of the snowy mountains around Lingshi and the Basingthang Peaks. Once over the pass there is a long descent to our camp at Shodu.
This is the place where one comes back to the tree line and out path follows the course of the Thimphu Chhu (river). We descend through rhododendron, juniper and mixed alpine forests. There are stunning views of rocky cliff faces and waterfalls along the way. The trail gradually ascends 130 m to the Barshong Dzong ruins. Spend your night in a camp.
The path descends for a while joining the Thimchu river and then a steep ascent brings us to a ridge at 3330m. We are walking through dense bamboo and pine forest. The final stage of the trail climbs around a cliff face high above the Thimphu Chu, coming out onto pastureland where we camp for the night.
From Dolemkencho the trail descends all the way to Dodina. The trail continues up to 3450 m and descends to a side stream and several switchbacks. Our transport meets us at Dodina and we drive to Thimphu where we spend our overnight.
Today we have full day sightseeing in Thimpu. Visit Pangri Zampa Monastery, situated just beyond Dechencholing Palace (5kms from Thimpu). This temple was the first residence of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal when he arrived in Bhutan in 1616 A.D. visit National Textile Museum which is a good place to see the art of traditional weaving being kept alive and preserved through exhibition. The Memorial Chorten which was constructed in 1974 as a memorial for the third King of the country, King Jigme Dorji Wang chuck. Visit the radio tower (for a great view of Thimpu Valley and the Thimpu Dzong), and the zoo, which contains the national animal of Bhutan. After lunch, visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, a traditional paper factory, the majestic Tashichodzong, the Simtokha Dzong (the oldest fortress in the kingdom), and the Folk Heritage Museum.
After breakfast, we will bid you farewell at the Paro International Airport for your flight to your onward destinations.
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