Chomolhari Trek is one of the most popular high altitude treks of Bhutan. The trek begins and ends in Paro where we also visit the famous Taktsang(Tiger’s Nest) Monastery. While trekking in the beautiful Bhutanese countryside, we get to enjoy the amazing Bhutanese landscape and get acquainted with its rich culture. During our trek, we also cross a few passes and are rewarded with amazing views of the Himalayas including Jichu Drake (6,989m) and Chomolhari (7,513m). Finally, we tour Thimphu, the capital city and end our trip with a drive to Paro.
1-2 people: USD 4070 per person
3-12 people: USD 3520 per person
(Note: Above price valid until end of 2015)
Hotels in Bhutan are approved and classified by the government as grade A, B and C. These government approved hotels are equivalent to 3-4 star hotels elsewhere. Based on availability at the time of booking, A grade hotels will be provided in Paro and Thimphu. We use Hotel Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro , Hotel Migmar in Thimphu and tent/camping during the trekking. All accommodations are on a twin-shared basis. Single supplement will be served on request and will cost USD 210.
As our flight nears Bhutan, we can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to our hotel. Today, we will visit Rinpung Dzong which was built in 1646 and now houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. We will also visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country and Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower but has now been changed into the National Museum. The museum has a wide assortment of ancient paintings, armors, philatelic displays and a “field of Buddhas”, which helps one visualize while meditating. Overnight in Paro.
After breakfast, we hike for around 2 hours to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan's most famous monastery. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. After having explored the monastery, we hike down to the valley floor. Overnight in paro.
The trek starts from Drugyal Dzong at 2,580m with a downhill walk on a wide trail. We then climb gently through well-maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. The route later enters an area of apple orchards and forests. Soon the valley widens and we reach the army post of Gunitsawa at 2,810m. This is the last stop before Tibet. At 2,870m, just beyond Shana Zampa, there are several good camping places in meadows surrounded by trees. Camp at an altitude of 2,850m.
The trail follows Pa Chhu (Paro River), ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. Hot lunch will be served after crossing a bridge towards the left side of the river. After lunch, we follow the river, climb up through rhododendron forests and finally cross another bridge and reach our campsite at an altitude of 3,750m.
Our path ascends for a while until the army camp. Then, it follows the river above the tree line where we get to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch will be served inside a yak herder's camp. A short walk into the valley will take us to the camp at Jangothang at an altitude of 4,040m. From here, the views of Mt. Chomolhari and Jichu Drake are superb.
Today, we rest and acclimatize for next day's trek. After breakfast, we take a 4-hour trip to the northern side of our camp from where we get beautiful view of the Jichu Drake Peak. We have a picnic lunch on the way. This trip will help us with acclimatization and if we are lucky we may even encounter grazing yaks and blue sheeps which makes this trip all the more amazing.
The trail follows a stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right. We ascend a ridge and acquire breathtaking views of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tshering Gang from the top. Then we walk towards the valley, almost flat for a while, until the climb to the Ngye La pass (4,870m/15,970ft). After crossing the pass, it is a gradual descent to the Lingshi camp. Along the way, we enjoy panoramic view of the peaks and Lingshi Dzong. Camp at an altitude of 4,000m.
The Laya Gasa route leaves the Chomolhari trek here. Instead, the route climbs towards a small white Chorten on a ridge above the camp, then turns south up the deep Mo Chhu valley. The trail stays on the west side of the largely treeless valley, climbing steadily a short distance above Mo Chhu. It then crosses the river, and climbs steeply for two hours to Yeli La pass (4,820m/15,810ft). From the pass, we see Chomolhari, Gangchen Ta, Tshering Gang and Masang Gang. We then descend alongside a stream to a shelter, and then further downstream to camp at Shodu (4,100m).
Our trail follows the Thimphu River, descending through rhododendron, juniper and other alpine forests. The view of the cliff-facing rocks and waterfalls is stunning. Hot lunches will be served by the riverside. After lunch we continue with our walk as the trail gradually ascends to the ruins of Barshong Dzong. Finally, we end today’s walk by camping at an altitude of 3,600m.
The trail descends gently through dense rhododendron, birch and conifer forests. We then descend on a steep trail to meet Thimphu Chhu River. Our trail stays on the left side of the river, climbing over ridges and descending to side streams. We then cross a steep cliff to Dolam Kencho, a camp located beautifully amidst pasturelands at an altitude of 3,600m.
We walk from Dolam Kencho to Dodena then drive to Thimphu. Today, we ascend around 500m and descend around 930m. Our trail passes through forests, winding up and down through a small pass. After continuing in the southern direction we reach Dodena. From here we drive to Thimphu. In the evening, we may stroll through the streets of the capital city and get acquainted with the local lifestyle. Overnight in Thimphu.
Today we bid farewell to the tiny Himalayan kingdom and her friendly people. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, we will be driven to the airport in Paro after breakfast.
Trekking in Bhutan is physically demanding because of the distance and abrupt changes in elevation. Depending on the day of the trek, you will have to walk for an average of 3-5 hours covering a distance of around 10-15 kilometers daily to reach the campsites. Most of the climbs run through deep forests on rocky trails and sometimes the trails traverses through wet mud where you need agility to hop between round river stones. But if you have experience walking long distances with a back pack and you do not have history of knee pains on descents, it should not be difficult for you.