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Chomolhari Trek - Bhutan

12 Days / 11 Nights (Tour Code: PI-0184)
Paro-Shana-Soi Thangthangkha-Jangothang-Lingshi-Shodu-Barshong-Dolam Kencho-Dolamkencho-Dodena-Thimphu-Paro
Starting at Drukgyel Dzong, Paro, this beautiful trek passes through scattered hamlets and farmland into deep and richly forested valleys, which leads to a high alpine pastureland where yak herders graze their animals. The trek offers a taste of great variety of Bhutanese landscape in addition to the beautiful view of Mount Chomolhari also known as the ‘Matterhorn of Himalayas’.

Day 1: Paro

Druk Airways flight to Bhutan is one of the most spectacular in entire Himalayas. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkatta, each flight is a mesmerizing aeronautical feat and offers an exciting descent into the Kingdom.

Day 2: Paro

Morning visit to Ta Dzong, built in 1651 as a watch tower and in 1968 inaugurated as Bhutan-s National Museum. The collection includes art, relics, religious thangkha paintings, postage stamps, coins and handicrafts as well as a small natural history collection. Below the Ta Dzong, is Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong), - the fortress of the heap of jewels-, built in 1646, and now housing the offices of the district administration and Paro-s monk body.

Day 3: Paro - Shana

The trek starts from Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) with a short downhill walk on a wide trail. The trail then climbs gently through well maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. Later on we come to apple orchards and forests. Soon the valley widens and we reach the army post of Gunyitsawa (2,810m). This is the last stop before Tibet. WE continue upwards to just beyond Sharma Zampa (2,870m), where there are several good camping places in meadows surrounded by trees.

Day 4: Shana

The trail again follows the Pa Chhu (Paro river), ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. After crossing a bridge to the left bank of the river, we stop for a hot lunch. Then we continue along the river, climbing upwards through rhododendron forests and crossing the river once more before reaching our campsite (3,750m).

Day 5: Shana

The path ascends for a while till you reach the army camp. We then follow the river above the tree line, enjoying the stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch is served at a yak herder-s camp. A short walk from here into the valley will takes us to our campsite at Jangothang (4,040m). From here, the views of Mount. Chomolhari and Jichu Drake are superb.

Day 6: Soi Thangthangkha

The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right bank. We now start our climb up to the first ridge, enjoying breathtaking view of Mt. Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsrim Khang. The trail then takes us across a fairly level valley floor until the climb to the Nyele-la (4,700m). We descend gradually from the pass to our campsite at Lingshi (4,000m), enjoying the panoramic view of the mountain peaks and Lingshi Dzong as we walk.

Day 7: Soi Thangthangkha

The Laya - Gasa route leaves the Chomolhari trek route here. Our trail climbs up towards a small white chorten on a ridge above the camp, then turns south up the deep Mo Chu valley. The trail stays on the west side of this largely treeless valley, climbing steeply a short distance above the Mo Chu. It then crosses the river, and climbs steeply for two hours to Yeli-la pass (4,820m). On a clear day, you can see Mt. Chomolhari, Gangchhenta, Tserim Khang and Masang Gang from this pass. Descend alongside a stream to a rock shelter in the cliff face, and then continue on downstream till reaching Shodu (4,100m), where we will camp in a meadow with a chorten in it.

Day 8: Jangothang

We are now back at the tree line, and out path follows the course of the Thimphu Chu (river), descending through rhododendron, juniper and mixed alpine forests. There are stunning views of rocky cliff faces and waterfalls along the way is stunning. We stop at the riverside for a hot lunch. Then the trail takes us gradually upwards to the ruins of Barshong Dzong (3,600m), near which we camp for the night.

Day 9: Jangothang

The trail descends gently through a dense forest of rhododendron, birch and conifers, then drops steeply to meet Thimphu Chh (river). The trail runs along the left bank of the river, climbing over ridges and descending into gullies where side streams runs down into the river. The final stage of the trail climbs around a cliff face high above the Thimphu Chu river, coming out onto pastureland where we camp for the night at 3,600m.

Day 10: Lingshi

The trail winds in and out of side valleys above Thimphu Chhu, making a long ascent through a forest of conifers and high altitude broadleaf species to a pass at 3,510m. The trail then drops steeply to the river and following it southward to the roadhead at Dodena, (2,600m). The transport meets us here, and we drive to Thimphu. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 11: Lingshi

Full day of sightseeing in Thimphu valley visiting the following, as time permits: National Memorial Chhorten, Trashichhodzong (-the fortress of the glorius religion-), National Library, Institute for Zorig Chusum (Bhutanese arts and Crafts school), National Institute of Traditional Medicine (outside only), Handicrafts Emporium.Evening drive to Paro. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 12: Shodu

After breakfast, drive to Paro airport for flight to onward destination.

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