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     BHUTAN TREKKING  
Chomolhari Trekking Bhutan - 12 Days
Tour code: CTB-BT-004
Chomolhari Trekking BhutanStarting at Drukgyel Dzong, Paro this trek passes through scattered hamlets and formland, into a deep and richly forested valleys, which leads to a high alpine pastureland where yak headers graze their animals. The trek offers a taste of great variety of Bhutanese landscape.

Towering to the northwest, the stark and dramatic mountains of the Chomolhari Range form the frontier with Tibet. Very few visitors have entered this tiny Himalayan kingdom and even fewer have been privileged to trek into her high mountains. Of the few areas open to trekkers and climbers the route to the base camp of Chomolhari (7314m), the sacred mountain of Bhutan, is probably the most aesthetically beautiful. Bhutan is not just about scenery and unbelievable mountains; it is also about friendly people and an enduring and living Buddhist faith with magnificent monasteries, rich religious traditions and about a turbulent past. The great fortresses or 'dzongs' found throughout the country are mute testimony to the wars, sieges and attempted invasions in times gone by.

Chomolhari Trekking in BhutanToday the country is a stable and peaceful kingdom where the king is revered and the economy is measured in 'Gross National Happiness'! Trekking through the dense forests, walking above the tree line with the nomadic yak herders, enjoying rare sightings of musk deer and blue sheep, and standing beneath the dramatic ice peaks of Chomolhari - these all make this one of the most rewarding treks in the entire Himalaya.

Mount Chomolhari (23,997'), sacred abode of the goddess Chomo, stands as a mighty sentinel on Bhutan’s Tibetan frontier, reigning over countless icy summits and deep, magical forests where snow leopards and Himalayan blue sheep roam. Our fantastic 9-day trek brings us through traditional hamlets, wild rhododendron forests, and alpine meadows carpeted with wildflowers 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 conservative of their natural heritage, and their mountains are truly pristine, preserving a wealth of flora and fauna unrivaled in the Himalaya.

Season : The ideal time for this trek is April to June and September to November.
 
OUTLINE ITINERARY
 
Day 01: Arrive Paro
Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to the hotel. Evening visit to Paro market and town. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 02: Paro
Morning visit to Ta Dzong, built in 17th century, as watch tower to defend Paro Dzong and valley. This fortress was later converted into the National Museum in 1967 and is filled with antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and Bhutan's renowned postage stamps. Below Ta Dzong, is fascinating Rinpung Dzong meaning "fortress of the heap of jewels" which has interesting history. Afternoon, see Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of Bhutan. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 03: Paro - Shana [17 Km, 5/6 Hours]
The trek starts from Drukgyel Dzong at 2580m with a short downhill walk on a wide train. The trail climbs gently traversing through well maintained rice terrace and fields of millet. The route later enters an area of apple orchards and forests. Soon the valley widens and you reach the army post of Gunyitsawa at 2810m. This is the last stop before Tibet. At 2870m, just beyond Sharma Zampa, there are several good camping places in meadows surrounded by trees.

Day 04: Shana - Soi Thangthangkha [20 Km, 7/8 Hours]
The trail again follows Pa Chu (Paro River), ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. Hot lunch will be served after crossing the bridge towards the left side of the river. After lunch follow the river climbing up through rhododendron forests and finally crossing the bridge again, reaching to the campsite at the altitude of 3.750m.

Day 05: Soi Thangthangkha - Jangothang [19 Km, 7/8 Hours]
The path ascends for a while till you reach the army camp. Then follow the river above the tree line enjoying the stunning view of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch will be served inside a yak herder's camp. A short walk into the valley will take you to the camp at Jangothang at an altitude of 4,040m. From here, the view of Mount. Chomolhari and Jichu Drake is superb.

Day 06: Jangothang - Lingshi [ 18 Km, 7/8 Hours]
The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the rightside. Start the climb upto the first ridge with a breathtaking view of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsrim Khang. Then walk towards the valley, almost flat for a while, until the climb to the Nyele la pass at an altitude of 4,700m. After the pass it's a gradual descent to the Lingshi camp, enjoying the panormic view of the peaks and Lingshi Dzong. Camp at the altitude of 4000m.

Day 07: Lingshi - Shodu [22 Km, 8/9 Hours]
The Laya Gasa route leaves the Chomolhari trek here. The trek route climbs towards a small white chorten on a ridge above the camp, then turns south up tee deep Mo Chu valley. The trail stays on the west side of the largely treeless valley, climbing steadily a short distance above Mo Chu. In then crosses the river, and climbs steeply for two hours to Yeli la (4820m). From the pass, on a clear day, you can see Chomolhari, Ganghhenta, Tserim Khang and Masang Gang. Descend alongside a stream to a shelter, then further fownstream to a camp at Shodu (4,100m), a meadow with a chorten.

Day 08: Shodu - Barshong [16 Km, 6/7 Hours]
At this place, one comes back to treeline. The path follows Thimphu river, descending through rhododendron, juniper and other alpine forests. The view of the cliff facing rocks and waterfalls is stunning. Hot lunch will be served by the riverside. After lunch the trail gradually ascends to the ruins of Barshong Dzong, reaching the camp at the altitude of 3,600m.

Day 09: Barshong - Dolam Kencho [15 Kms, 5/6 Hours]
The trail descends gently through a dense forest of rhododendron, birch and conifers, then drops steeply to meet Thimphu Chu. It says on river left, climbing over ridges and descending to side streams. Then traverses steep cliff to Dolam Kencho, a camp among pastureland at 3,600m

Day 10: Dalakencho - Dodena - Thimphu [8 Kms, 3 Hours]
The trail goes in and out side valleys above Thimphu Chu, 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 follow it southward to the roadhead at Dodena, elevation 2600m where you will be picked up by Connecting Horizons Adventures transport to drive to Thimphu. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.

Day 11: Thimphu - Paro
Full day of sight seeing in Thimphu valley visiting Memorial Chorten, Tashichhodzong, National Library, Painting School, Traditional Medicine Institute, Handicrafts Emporium. Evening drive to Paro. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Day 12: Paro Depart
After breakfast, drive to Paro airport for flight to onward destination.
 
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