Tour Overview

We have a breathtaking trip planned for Bhutan in 2018. Soak in the cultural gems on this off-the-beaten path trek!

Maximum group size: 12 ladies

Price: £2249 pp / US$2924 pp

Available Date:

  • Saturday 21 October 2018 - Wednesday 31 October 2018

Route: via the Tiger Monastery and the sites of Paro and the capital, Thimphu.

Trip Length: 10 Days (6 Days Trekking + 4 pre- and post-trek hotel nights, excursions and picturesque drives)

Trekking Partner: Kandoo Adventures

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What's Included

  • Meet and greet on arrival by your Kandoo Adventures representative at Paro International Airport and transport to your hotel
  • Hotel accommodation for the night before and night after your climb (B&B basis)
  • Prices are based on 2 people sharing accommodation
  • One time monument and monastery entrance fees
  • Sightseeing and excursions, as specified in the itinerary
  • Services of our qualified mountain guides, assistant guides, porters and cooks
  • Full support team with guide, porters / ponies to carry the luggage and equipment
  • All meals in hotels (some lunches en-route). Meals are on fixed menu basis
  • All trekking and camping arrangements on full board basis
  • Government royalty fee and applicable taxes
  • Transfer to Paro airport
  • International airfares and departure taxes
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips for crew
  • Visas
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal hiking / trekking gear
  • Personal medicine
  • Meals, snacks and drinks not specified in the itinerary
  • Single tent and hotel occupancy costs. This must be requested at time of booking

Route

Chomolhari trek is a perfect blend of the cultural and wildness experiences of Bhutan.

It is a great off-the-beaten path, high altitude experience, which is also relatively short. On route you will get enough time to soak in the cultural gems of the Tiger Monastery and the sites of Paro and the capital, Thimphu.

Throughout the trek you will be making your way through gorgeous rhododendron forests, which look more like wild gardens, and over fairy-tail-like glacial streams.

On the trek you will enjoy unforgettable scenery that ranges from the stunning valleys of Paro and Thimphu, to the amazing mountain vistas of Chomolhari (7314m), Jichu Drake (6794m) and Tshrim Khang.

However, to enjoy surrounding peaks and valleys you will have to challenge yourself to a crossing of the Yale Pass (4950m). It will be more than worth it!

Detailed Itinerary

Arrive at any time at Paro Airport (IATA code: PBH). A Kandoo Adventures representative will be there to collect and transfer you to your hotel.

Your timing permitting, you can join an afternoon tour of the city. Ta Dzong was inaugurated as Bhutan's National Museum in 1968. Built as a watchtower to defend Rinpung Dzong during the inter-valley wars of the seventeenth century, it is now home to a great collection of art, relics, religious 'thangkha' paintings and Bhutan's exquisite postage stamps. Afterwards, you will walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, 'The Fortress of the Heap of Jewels'. Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong now houses the offices of the district administration and the monastic body of Paro. The approach to the Dzong is through a covered wooden bridge typical of Bhutan called Nemi Zam, which offers a great view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong.

Later you will attend a pre-trek briefing with your Lead Guide to prepare you for the journey ahead.

Morning

In the morning you will join an excursion to Taktshang Lhakhang, commonly known as 'The Tiger’s Nest Monastery', the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, and one of the most breath-taking temples in the world. Dating back to 1692, this Buddhist place of worship nestles on the side of a cliff at around 3,100m (10,000ft) above sea level. You will also learn why it has got its mysterious nickname!

Afternoon

After lunch you will visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. You will then visit the ruined fortress at Drukgyel Dzong, where Bhutanese warriors fought against Tibetan invaders centuries ago. It is now listed in Bhutan's Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion. In 2016, to celebrate the birth of His Royal Highness, The Gyalsey, the Prime Minister announced that the Dzong will be rebuilt and reinstated to its former glory. From the approach road to the Dzong, you will have a clear view of the snowy dome of Chomolhari (7326m) - ‘the Bride of Kangchenjunga' - the sacred mountain that is the focus of your trek.

Then you will return to your hotel in Paro.

Approx. hiking time: 7-8 hours

Following a 2-hour drive through rice terraces, fields of millet and apple orchards, you will reach Shana Zampa from where you will start your trek. Weather permitting, you will have your first views of the summit of Chomolhari at the head of the valley. Then the valley widens and you reach the army post of Gunyitsawa (2,810m). This is the last stop before Tibet, with a fork in the path leading across the Tremo La (Forbidden Pass) into Tibet.

The trail follows the Pa Chhu (Paro River), ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. You enter the Jigme Dorje National Park, the largest protected area in Bhutan, which extends to Lunana in the east and all the territory to the south. After crossing a bridge to the left bank of the river, you stop for lunch. You then continue along the river, and as you climb higher into the mountains, the forests are replaced with rhododendron, bamboo and ferns. You cross the river once more before reaching our campsite.

Approx. hiking time: 6 hours

The path ascends, passing a small army camp and chorten. You leave the forest behind and can fully experience the huge mountain vistas. You then follow the river above the tree line, enjoying the stunning views of the surrounding peaks - from here, the views of Mount Chomolhari (7326m) and Jichu Drake (6794m) are simply superb.

Lunch is served at a yak herder’s camp, followed by a short walk into the valley which takes you to our campsite at Jangothang (Chomolhari Base Camp), situated below the ice-covered east face of Chomolhari at 4040m.

Approx. hiking time: 8 hours

The trail follows the stream for half an hour before we cross a bridge to the right bank. Now the climb starts up to the first ridge, where you can enjoy breath-taking views of Mount Chomolhari, Mount Jichu Drake and Tsrim Khang. The trail then takes you across a fairly level valley floor until the climb to the Nyele La pass (4850m).

From the pass you descend gradually through rhododendron forest to our campsite at Lingshi, allowing you to take in the panoramic view of the mountain peaks and Lingshi Dzong . The Dzong was built in 1668 to protect villages in this region from Tibetan invasion, and continues to be used as an administrative centre.

Approx. hiking time: 9 hours

This is the toughest day of the trek, as you cross your highest pass. You begin the trek with a climb up towards a small white chorten on a ridge above the camp, then turn south into the deep Mo Chhu valley. Climbing rather steeply, the trail stays on the west side of this largely treeless valley. It then crosses the river, and continues to climb steeply for two hours to Yale La pass (4950m).

Weather permitting, you can see Mtount Chomolhari, Gangchhenta, Tserim Khang and Masang Gang. You then descend alongside a stream to a rock shelter in the cliff face, and then continue on downstream until you reach Shodu (4080m), where you will camp in a meadow with a chorten in it.

Approx. hiking time: 7 hours

Back below the tree line, this path follows the course of the Thimphu Chhu river, descending through rhododendron, juniper and mixed alpine forests. There are stunning views of rocky cliffs and waterfalls along the way before you descend a steep stone staircase to the river and stop at the riverside for lunch. Then the trail takes you gradually upwards to the ruins of Barshong Dzong (3710m), where you camp for the night.

Approx. hiking time: 6 hours

The trail descends gently through a dense forest of rhododendron, birch and conifers, then starts to drop to the Thimphu Chhu river. The trail runs along the left bank of the river, climbing over ridges and descending into gullies, where streams power down into the river. The final stage of the trail climbs around a cliff face high above the Thimphu Chhu river, coming out onto pastureland at Dolam Kencho at 3,320m. Your transport will meet you here and you will drive (approx 1 hour) to your hotel in Thimphu.

This morning begins in Bhutan’s capital city, Thimphu, with a visit to the National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years. You will also visit the nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum, an Arts & Crafts School where you may see the students being taught the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.

You will follow on to the Textile Museum, providing a fascinating insight into Bhutanese material culture and way of life, followed by a visit to Simply Bhutan, a living Museum and Studio encapsulating the cultural heritage of the Bhutanese people.

The infrastructure portrays ancient Bhutanese architecture which is being lost to modernization, and the preservation and promotion of culture being one of the four pillars of Gross National Happiness (GNH).

You finish your tour with a sightseeing visit to 'The Fortress of the Glorious Religion' or Trashichhoe Dzong. This impressive monastery and fortress has housed the seat of Bhutan's government since 1968, the throne room of His Majesty the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of the Chief Abbot and central monk body. Late in the afternoon we will drive to Paro, where you will spend the night in a hotel.

IMPORTANT: Please note, both the National Library and the Institute for Zorig Chusum are closed at weekends and government holidays, and the Textile Museum in closed on Sundays and government holidays.

Kandoo Adventures' representative will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to Paro Airport for your morning flight to Kathmandu or Delhi.

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