Trek to Sacred Chomolhari

Hiking the ancient trail to Bhutan's holiest mountain
Overview

overview

This trek through the Kingdom of Bhutan is wholly within a national park and leads you  to the glacial base of the most beautiful and renowned eastern Himalayan peaks.  Warm up with a hike to the famous Taktsang Monastery – built into a sheer mountain face 3,000 feet above Paro – before beginning your trek at Drugyel Dzong, site of the Bhutanese victory over the Tibetans. Follow the monk warriors' trail toward Tibet. In the shadow of majestic Mount Chomolhari, note how juniper and pine forests give way to heath and dwarf rhododendron as you gain altitude. Savor the unrelenting scenic beauty of the mountains. From deep valleys to vast glaciers, you will explore every facet of the Himalayan terrain.  All wildlife is protected here, and you may see musk deer, goat antelope, and many of Bhutan's more than 600 species of birds.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive in Paro
    Savor the imposing Himalayas on your flight to Paro

    Fly to Paro from Bangkok, Delhi, or Kathmandu (arrival dates into Paro may vary according to city of origin). During this flight, you will experience breathtaking views of the Himalayas. After your arrival in Paro, you will be welcomed by your guide at the airport and then transferred to your hotel. You will have the afternoon and evening free to rest or walk around Paro (7,380 ft.) and savor the feeling of a country that seems to exist in an earlier century. From the dress of the people to the traditional architecture, you know you are in a different kind of place than exists anywhere else on earth. You will be amazed at the fresh, clean air and peaceful environment.

    Meals
    Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Bhutanese style lodge
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Paro
    Make the hike up to Tatksang Monastery

    Your trek begins with a warm-up hike to the famous Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) monastery, elevation 10,240 ft. This will no doubt be one of the highlights of your stay in Bhutan. Legend says that "the Precious Teacher," Guru Rimpoche, came from Tibet on the back of a flying tigress and landed at what is now Taktsang Monastery. Clinging to the cliff side, the monastery is a pilgrimage site that all Bhutanese try to visit at least once in their lifetimes. The actual monastery is closed to visitors, but you can approach it to a point from which you can appreciate this extraordinary building. After lunch at Taktsang Jakhang, in the afternoon, visit one of the holiest "Lhakhang" of Bhutan, the Kyichyu. Built in the seventh century A.D., this temple dates back to the time of the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. If time permits, visit Ta-Dzong Museum and the Paro Rimpung Dzong, very unique and beautiful structures. The museum houses an exceptional collection of art and ceremonial objects including some of the most exquisite Thangka paintings you will ever see. Return to Paro for your overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Bhutanese style lodge
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Begin Trek
    See the Drugyel Dzong ruins

    After breakfast, drive to Drugyel Dzong, a fortress 11 miles from the hotel. Although now in ruins, this Dzong is of great historical importance. It was here that the Bhutanese finally defeated the Tibetans and drove them back. From here, the peak of Chomolhari, "Mountain of the Goddess," can be seen (on clear days). Trek onwards to Shana along the Pahcu Paro River. Alt. 9,184 ft. Dist. 10.5 mi., 5-6 hours.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camping
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Shana/Soi Thangthanka
    Relax in camp after a full day of trekking

    Still following the Pachu through forests of pine and juniper, you watch the vegetation change as you advance to higher, drier regions. Some of the most resilient Bhutanese live in these valleys, as they were the survivors and defenders of the Kingdom during repeated Tibetan invasion. Camp at 11,545'. Dist. 14 mi., 7-8 hours.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camping
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Soi Thangthanka/Jangothang (Base Camp)
    You'll see the summer homes of yak herders high in the mountains

    Stop at Tengethang to visit the summer homes of yak herdsmen. There are close views of Mount Chomolhari and Jichu Dage from Base Camp. You may feel a shortness of breath from the high altitude and will probably appreciate the warmth of your down clothing, but the views are well worth it. Alt. 13,251 ft. Dist. 12 mi., 6-7 hours.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camping
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Jangothang/Lingshi
    Admire view of mountains and glaciers

    The trail takes you on a gradual climb across Nyelela pass with views of the Lingshi Dzong and Tserin Kang with its descending glaciers and lakes. Continue on to your campsite near the stream at Lingshi. Alt. 13,612 ft. Dist. 12 mi., 5-6 hours.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camping
  • Day 7: Lingshi/Shodu
    Enjoy the beautiful mountain views on your drive from Punakha to Paro

    Trek through the deep valley and ascend to Yalila pass where Mt. Chomolhari, Tserim Gang, and Masang Gang can all be seen on a clear day. Camp in a meadow at Shodu. Alt. 15,800 ft. Dist. 14 mi., 7-8 hours.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camping
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Shodu/Barshong
    Hike through colorful rhododendron forests

    Follow the Thi-Chu River through forests of rhododendrons. Enroute you will pass the ruins of Barshong Dzong and camp just below its ruins. Alt. 12,919 ft. Dist. 15 mi., 7-8 hours.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camping
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Barshong/Thimphu
    Witness the meditative lives of Thimphu's monks

    Stop at Dodina to visit Chenri, the first monastery built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Many of the monks of Thimphu who decide to lead a life of meditation start their practices here. Guests are requested to move in silence. Your driver will meet you at Pangrizam and take you to your lodging in Thimphu. Alt 7,600 ft. Dist. 9 mi., 4-5 hours.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Bhutanese style lodge
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: Thimphu/Paro
    Return to Paro for your last night in Bhutan

    Embark on a morning visit to Handicrafts Emporium and Thimphu Memorial Chorten. After lunch, visit the great Tashichho-Dzong (administrative and religious center). Return to Paro for your overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Bhutanese style lodge
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: Paro/Depart
    Bid farewell to this enchanting land

    Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Privately on request Apr-Jun & Oct-Nov
Oct 13-23, 2015
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$3,750
- $4,050
Group size 2-3 cost: $4050 Group size 4+ cost: $3750 Druk Air fares to/from Paro add $550-1,000 (estimate)
Single Supplement:
$350
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
11 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
1
Bhutanese guest houses & camping
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
5
Bhutanese guest houses & camping

Resources

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