The Chomolhari Trek in Bhutan

Starting From

$6,295/person

Number of days

14

Start Location

Bangkok, Thailand

End Location

Bangkok, Thailand

Group Size

4-15

Operated by

MT Sobek

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This memorable trek is a must-do for every serious trekker who wants to experience the Himalaya from the path less traveled! Immerse yourself in the magical kingdom of Bhutan's Buddhist culture by visiting its famous dzongs (citadels) and monasteries. Meet traditional Bhutanese monks and yak herders while trekking through pristine forests, river valleys, and farmland, and over snowy ridgelines and mountain passes — all with our experienced guides and trekking team helping every step of the way! Join MTS, trekking pioneers in this enchanted country, on this rare adventure around sacred Chomolhari.

Operated by:

MT Sobek

MT Sobek, the originators, innovators and leaders in adventure travel for more than five decades, crafts journeys to the world's most memorable places.

Itinerary

Arrive in Bangkok

Welcome to Bangkok! Transfer to the hotel via a free 24-hour shuttle bus. Note that most airlines arrive late at night into Bangkok, and your MT Sobek flight from Bangkok to Paro departs very early the next morning. If your flight into Bangkok is delayed by even just a few hours, you may miss the group departure flight to Paro. Therefore we encourage you to arrive a day or two early in Bangkok to explore this fascinating city, or to help overcome jet lag before the tour actually starts.

Enter the Kingdom of Bhutan

Our representative will meet you in the hotel lobby this morning to help you transfer back to the airport and check in for your early morning flight to Paro, Bhutan. Vie for a seat on the left side of the plane. Weather permitting, you'll have spectacular views of the eastern Himalaya, including Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Kanchenjunga — five of the highest peaks in the world! Also see peaks in Bhutan such as Chomolhari, Jichu Drake, and Tsering Kang. After clearing customs, drive into Paro for lunch, then on to Thimphu (7,725'), the capital of Bhutan, set in the Wang Chu Valley. The remainder of the day is free to rest and relax.

Day Hike to “Buddha Point”


After breakfast, drive to the Kuensel Phodrang trailhead. The path leads through sparsely populated blue pines, with excellent views of the Thimphu Valley, then the forest gets denser with oaks and bamboo shrubs. The trail then heads along gentle slopes as well as steep, rugged mountain paths. After 2.5 hours, catch your first glimpse of a giant Buddha Dordenma — at 169 feet, the biggest sitting Buddha in the world! Time permitting, visit Tashichho Dzong — the seat of the royal government and central monastic body in Bhutan — upon return to Thimphu.

Explore Thimphu & Paro

Begin the day at the School of Arts and Crafts (or "painting school"), where Bhutanese children follow a six-year program in traditional arts, such as drawing, painting, woodcarving, and sculpture. Also visit the Textile Museum, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, and Folk Heritage Museum. In the afternoon, drive back to Paro and visit the National Museum, housed in an old watchtower above the Paro Dzong. The museum's collections include spectacular thangkas (religious scroll paintings), bronze statues, and Bhutan's beautiful stamps. Time permitting, also visit the Paro Dzong itself, built in 1644.

Hike to Taktsang Monastery

Today it's a steep hike to a traditional teahouse for a great view of Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 2,700 feet above the Paro Valley floor. Taktsang, meaning "tiger's nest," is Bhutan's most spiritual place and a major pilgrimage spot. Partly destroyed by fire in 1998, Taktsang has been completely rebuilt. After a tea break, you can sit outside and admire the monastery and its beautiful surroundings or, if you feel energetic, continue another hour to a closer viewpoint. Enjoy free afternoon time to explore Paro on your own.

Begin Trek at Shana

Your epic Chomolhari trek begins today with a drive past Drukgyel Dzong (8,500'), built in 1649 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over the Tibetan armies and to guard the Paro Valley against further aggressions. In 1951 the dzong caught fire; the only repair was the shingled roof erected in 1985. Today it's an empty shell — a place to meditate on the past. Continue just past Shana Zampa (bridge), where pack ponies are loaded up with trekking gear. And you're off! After a few hours, arrive at your first campsite by the river.

Behold Chomolhari

This is a long, hard day with lots of ups, downs, and rock-hopping; it can be very muddy. But it's worth it! Continue up through the Paro River valley, which gradually narrows as the trail leads higher, winding up and down through thick, lush forest of oak, pine, and juniper. The trail becomes rocky, muddy, and strenuous, climbing up and down while slowly gaining altitude. As you approach your camp at Soi Thangthangkha (11,840'), weather permitting you begin to see the snowcapped summit of Chomolhari (24,035') — a mountain sacred to the Bhutanese.

Ascend to Jangothang

Continue following the Paro River on a demanding, rocky trail until the valley widens again, opening to a spectacular area surrounded by high, snowcapped ridges. A few yak-herding families are based in this area, and you may be lucky enough to pay them a visit and try some of their dried yak cheese. Tonight you camp at Jangothang (13,382') below a ruined fortress near the base of Chomolhari.

Rest and Explore at Camp

Today is a free day to rest and explore the area. You can hike to an open area and simply sit and watch the grazing blue sheep (known locally as bharal), or you can walk to a nearby glacier at the foot of Chomolhari. Of course, you can also opt to stay at camp, take in the views, and rest for the challenging day ahead.

Cross Bhonte La

Start out with a short, steep hike to Tshopu (14,300'), one of two trout-filled glacial lakes you'll pass en route to Bhonte La (Bhonte Pass, 16,000'). See blue sheep, fat marmots, and migrating Himalayan birds, plus incredible views of Jichu Drake (21,857'). After lunch cross Bhonte La and make a long, steep descent to the yak-herding valley of Soi Yaksa (12,450'). The few families who live in this area produce some of the best yak-wool cloth around. Yak herders may come to camp selling cloth, yak tassels and ropes, and jewelry.

Pass Over Thombu La

Ease into today with a very gentle uphill hike to the top of the Soi Yaksa valley's eastern ridge. From here, enjoy an incredible view of the mountainous amphitheater to the north. Slowly the very top of Chomolhari and Jichu Drake reappear on the horizon. After lunch, cross Thombu La (14,800'), enjoy panoramic views of the eastern Himalaya (if it's clear, you can even see Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain!), then descend to camp (13,700'). This area is yak pastureland, and you'll probably see nomadic yak herders camping in traditional woolen tents.

End Trek in Shana

After a short, steep climb out of camp, leave the remote mountain area by following a ridge. From this vantage point you get a glimpse of the Paro Valley to the south before you start the steep descent (4,500' of elevation drop) for most of the afternoon and return to the area where you camped on the first night of the trek. Here, bid farewell to the staff and ponies before taking the van back to Paro. After check-in at the hotel, enjoy some free time to shop or relax before a festive farewell dinner.

Return to Bangkok

Bid a fond farewell to the "happiest country in the world" as you take an early morning transfer to the Paro airport for departure to Bangkok. Upon arrival, take the shuttle to the hotel. The remainder of the day is free to shop, sightsee, and enjoy lunch and dinner on your own.

Depart for Home

Take the hotel shuttle to the international terminal and depart on your homeward-bound flight. Or if you'd prefer to spend a bit more time in Asia, join one of our exciting extensions in India, Vietnam, or Cambodia. Ask our Regional Specialist for details!

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