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Bhutan: The Chomolhari Trek

Bhutan, Asia

from $5,295* per person 13 Days April, October
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 4
Operator: Wilderness Travel 15 people max
  • Paro, bhutan
  • Active & Adventure trips
Chomolhari (23,997'), sacred abode of the goddess Chomo, stands as a mighty sentinel on Bhutan’s frontier with Tibet, reigning over deep forests where snow leopards and Himalayan blue sheep roam. Our fantastic 9-day trek brings us through traditional hamlets, wild rhododendron forests, and into a grand alpine realm to Jangothang (13,250'), right at the base of Chomolhari, with a return route through the remote Yaksa Valley (“Valley of Yaks”). The Bhutanese are fiercely protective of their natural heritage, and their mountains are truly pristine, preserving a wealth of flora and fauna unrivaled in the Himalaya. With Wilderness Travel’s famous full-service camping, this is a chance to experience superb Himalayan trekking in a magical realm.

Locations visited/nearby

Bhutan, Asia

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Special information

  • May accommodate certain types of disabilities. Contact the operator for more information.

Itinerary

Days 1-2
Paro / Taktsang

We arrive in Bhutan’s emerald-green Paro Valley, where graceful willow trees grow along the edge of the Paro River as it winds through fields and farmlands. Our warm-up hike brings us through pine forests and up to the famed monastic retreat of Taktsang, the “Tiger’s Nest,” built into a sheer cliff face 2,700 feet above the Paro Valley. We also explore Paro Dzong, the religious and secular center of the Paro Valley and an architectural wonder.

Days 3-11
Chomolhari Trek / Jangothang / Yaksa Valley

Few travelers ever have the privilege of visiting Bhutan, let alone trekking in its pure mountain realm. With our Bhutanese camp staff and horsemen, we ascend a beautiful river valley and hike along rushing streams through deep forests of rhododendron, pine, and oak, then head up into high country where herdsmen graze their yaks in lush alpine meadows. Reaching Jangothang (13,250') at the base of Chomolhari, the mighty ramparts of this sacred mountain seem almost close enough to touch, and we enjoy an Exploration Day to savor the Himalayan grandeur surrounding us. Sacred Chomolhari remains unclimbed from the Bhutanese side, off limits to mountaineers. Near it rises the sharp peak of Jichu Drake (22,700'), another Himalayan giant. On an optional day hike, we can ascend to a high viewpoint between two glaciers that flow from the Chomolhari massif. The ruins of a medieval fortress, built to guard Bhutan against invasion from Tibet, add to the mystique of the setting at Jangothang, and we may be able to spot wildlife including musk deer and blue sheep. Our return trek takes us over the 16,039-foot Bhongte La Pass and into valleys where, on another Exploration Day, we can visit the yak herding families that reside in this incredibly remote enclave. Our last morning of hiking brings us to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, where we bid farewell to our camp staff and head to Thimphu, Bhutan’s bucolic capital.

Days 12-13
Thimphu / Paro

Our explorations in Thimphu include the National Memorial Chorten, the Folk Heritage Museum, and Bhutan’s School for Arts, where children are trained in traditional Bhutanese painting, sculpture, and woodcarving. Depart from Paro on Day 13.

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