Bhutan: Chomolhari Trek
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Destination for this trip:
Bhutan; Paro, Bhutan; Punakha, Bhutan; Thimphu, Bhutan
Length of trip:
Approximate price of this trip per person:
from $ 3000 to $ 4000
Best travel dates to go:
Detailed Description of this trip:
Bhutan, a tiny Himalayan kingdom sandwiched uncomfortably between its giant neighbors China and India, clings fiercely to its individuality and cultural traditions. Enjoy 8 days of trekking through the beautiful, almost untouched countryside. A minimum of 15 days with trek and cultural tours is recommended. Add a day to this tour and attend a Tshechu Festival.
This Trip is Recommended for:
Day 1 - Paro
Arrive and overnight Paro.
Upon arrival at the airport and after necessary immigration formalities your Bhutanese escort will greet you and guide you to your hotel in Paro.
You can spend the rest of the evening exploring Paro soaking in the Bhutanese way of life.
Day 2 - Paro
Full day in Paro, Hike to Taktsang Monastery.
Visit Ta Dzong, the national museum housed in an ancient watchtower, which has superb antiquities on display. You can see a fine collection of thankas, paintings, textiles and artifacts. The museum is located on a headland that overlooks the Paro Valley in all its glory
Hike to Taktsang viewpoint, a superb vantage point that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding granite cliffs and valley. On a clear day, the white dome of the sacred Chomolhari ( Mountain of Goddess) can be seen. The Taktsang Monastery also known as the Tiger's Nest monastery clings to a sheer cliff. Severely damaged in a fire in 1998, the monastery is currently being restored.
Day 3 - Paro
8-day Chomolhari Trek begins.
Drive to road end at Drugyel Dzong, where the trek begins. We will drive about a 1/2 hour to Drugyel Dzong at 8,465 ft (2580 m) where our trek begins, and our staff will be sorting our gear and loading our ponies for our trek. The path goes upstream along the Paro Chhu river through villages, rice terraces and fields of millet. We cross a new Swiss-built suspension bridge at 8,333 ft (2540 m) gradually ascending to 9,350 ft. (2850 m) where we will pass Shana Camp. 5/6 hours of hiking.
We will camp by the river in a beautiful meadow.
Day 4 - Bhutan
Today we have a long day ahead of us, with lots of ups and downs. We will leave Shana Camp early in the morning and our goal is Soi Thangthangkha. The trail again follows the Pachu River ascending through pine, oak and spruce forests. Lunch will be served near a wooden bridge. The camp is at an altitude of 12,467 ft (3800 m) near a stone shelter. Depending on the weather you will have the first clear view of Chomolhari, looming ahead of the valley. 8/9 hours of hiking
Day 5 - Bhutan
In the morning light you will have another chance to photograph Chomolhari. We will hike today to Jangothang. We will climb slowly to help in our acclimatization process, following the river above tree line with stunning views of the surrounding peaks. 4/5 hours of hiking.
Lunch will be served at a yak herder’s camp; we might even try some yak cheese. An easy walk will take us to our next camp, Jangothang at an altitude of 13,288 ft (4050 m). Again the views of Chomolhari and Jichu Drake (22,638 ft / 6900 m) are superb. Today we will also see the Chomolhari Base Camp at 13,426 ft (4090 m). Both mountains remain unclimbed from the Bhutan side.
Day 6 - Paro
Today is an acclimatization day. We will spend a second night in Jangothang camp where we will explore the surrounding areas. You may wish to scramble the ridge to the north of the camp where you will have a great view of Jichu Drake.
You can also do a fishing expedition to Tshophu, a high altitude lake near by, visit yak herders or simply relax and catch up on your diary.
Day 7 - Bhutan
We will leave Jangothang Camp early in the morning to Lingshi. The trail follows the stream for a half hour and crosses the bridge to the right side. Once we climb up the ridge we will see stunning views of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tshrim Khang mountains.
We will walk through the wide open valley and if we are lucky we will come across herds of blue sheep or even a snow leopard! The climb up to the Nyele La Pass 15,420 ft (4700 m) is not too difficult but it can be windy, our walks are more measured and slow, due to thin air but the view is breathtaking. After the pass, the descent is gradual through the valley with beautiful views all around. Close to reaching the camp you will see the Lingshi Dzong perched on top of a hill with a commanding view of the valley. 7/8 hours of hiking.
We will camp at 13,452 ft (4100 m) near a stone shelter.
Day 8 - Bhutan
We have a long day ahead of us, our goal is to reach Shodu . We will ascend over 3000 ft (914 m). Beginning opposite the Dzong, we climb gradually through the valley until we reach the steep trail that will take us to the Yale La pass at 16,175 ft (4930 m). This is the highest point of our trek! The panoramic view of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tshrim Gang is breathtaking. 8/9 hours of hiking.
It is a long descent after the pass towards our next campsite at Shodu, 13,386 ft (4080 m).
Day 9 - Bhutan
Today our goal is Barshong at 12,172 ft (3710 m). Our trail follows the Thimchu River, winding through rhododendron, juniper and pine forests. There are stunning views of waterfalls along the way. The trail gradually ascends to the ruins of Barshong Dzong where we will camp for the night. 5/6 hours of hiking.
Day 10 - Thimphu
From the Barshong ruins we hike out to our vehicles.
Private Car Service
Then take a short drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan where hot showers are waiting for us at our hotel.
Day 11 - Thimphu
Tour of Thimphu.
Sightseeing in Thimphu includes the visit to the National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts, the School of Thanka Paintings and the traditional Medicine Institute, where centuries old healing art are still practiced. Then, visit the Handicrafts Emporium, to see the exquisite artistry of traditional crafts and textile and take a stroll through the streets for a little shopping. After lunch, visit the memorial Chorten to His late Majesty (King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk), who reigned from 1952-1972. Later take 15 minutes drive to Dechenchohhling to witness the gold and silversmiths at work. Then visit the Tashichho Dzong (fortress of the Glorious Region) built in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and reconstructed in 1961, using traditional method, without the use of any nails or plans or paper, under the Late King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, regarded as the Father of Modern Bhutan.
Day 12 - Punakha
Drive to Punakha and enjoy full day tour.
Punakha dzong is Bhutan's second oldest, and is arguably the country's most attractive. The erstwhile capital of Bhutan stands at the confluence of Mo Chhu and Po Chhu rivers. The Punakha dzong is one of the most beautiful landmarks in the Himalayan kingdom.
Construction of the dzong began in 1637, and was completed the following year. It is more properly called the Pungthang Dechen Phodrang or the Palace of Great Happiness.
Day 13 - Punakha
Tour Punakha and drive to Paro.
Visit Wangdiphodrang Dzong. It was built in 1638 and it is located on the headlnad 13kms away from Punakha.
Private Car Service
Drive back to Paro.
You can spend the rest of the evening walking around Paro Town. Enjoy the walk, you may want to do a little shopping in the town
Day 14 - Paro
Tour Paro - sightseeing.
Drive to Drugyal Dzong (a ruined fortress - 16 km. away from Paro town). Tour Drukgyal Dzong, whose massive ruins offer insight into the unique construction of Bhutan's famous dzongs. The Dzong is also of great historical importance as it was from its ramparts that the Bhutanese repelled Tibetan invaders. The name stands for "victorious Bhutanese". This spot also offers a magnificent panorama of Mount Chomolhari.
Day 15 - Paro
Transfer to airport for departure flight.
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