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Chomolhari Trek II

Duration: 13 nights / 14 days

Day 1: Arrive Paro

Arrive in Paro by Druk air, the only national carrier. The flight offers you beautiful views of mountain and landscape. On arrival at Paro airport and after immigration and custom formalities, you will be received by our representative and transferred to the hotel.

Next, we will visit the Ta Dzong (watch tower) which houses the National Museum. The museum has an interesting collections of different costumes and thangkas from various parts of Bhutan. After Museum visit, we drive towards the north to see the Drukgyel Dzong. On clear weather, we can see Mt. Jomolhari from the Drukgyal Dzong and the Tiger’s Nest on our way back to Paro. En-route, visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the two oldest monasteries built in Bhutan by the King of Tibet, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. Evening take a stroll around town’s main street. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.

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Day 2: Paro

Paro is a valley of religion and myth. The most famous landmark, the Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest), stands on a granite cliff about 3,000 m above the valley. The hike to Taktsang would take us around two and half hours. To reach a cafeteria, a point from where one can enjoy a great view of the monastery is more than an hour walk from the roadhead uphill. Those interested can walk further 45 minutes uphill to get a closer view of the monastery and return to the cafeteria for lunch. The journey downward to the roadhead would take us less than one and a half hours.

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Day 3: Paro to Shana

Starting elevation: 8,200 ft
Ending elevation: 9,400 ft
Distance: 11 miles

Our trail will follow Paro river. It is a gentle trial and we pass through farm houses and open fields. We stop for lunch by the side of chorten. Then, we walk for three hours to reach the army camp. Our campsite is located around twenty minutes from the army camp by the Paro river side.

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Day 4: Shana to Thangthangkha

Elevation gain: 2,500 ft
Distance: 12 miles

A part of this trek, will take us through some of the most beautiful natural sceneries. We need to travel about 12 miles today; thus early start is recommended. The route crosses through farms, cliffs, and forests of rhododendrons and primula and the rocky trail makes footing challenging. After crossing a small pass at around 300 ft, we will cross a cantilever bridge from where we take the left hand trail that winds towards the mountain. We camp in a stone shelter located over a meadow in Thangthangkha. On clear weather, we will be able to see the view of Mt. Chomolhari.

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Day 5: Thangkhangkha to Jangothang

Elevation gain: 1,600 ft
Distance: 10 miles

We will come across a small army checkpoint. The trail gently slopes and we stop for a hot lunch at a meadow. Now we are above the tree line. Around us, are the beautiful valleys with snow peaks and water falls. Before reaching our camp, we will pass by a small village of Jangothang. Our camp is over an hour’s walk from here and located at the base camp of Mount Chomolhari near a ruined fortress.

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Day 6: Jangothang (Chomolari base camp)

Today we will either rest or explore part of the base camp. You can take day hikes in three directions: Chomolhari to the west, Jichu Drake to the north, and virgin mountains to the east.

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Day 7: Jangothang to Tshophu

Starting elevation: 13,100 ft
Ending elevation: 14,000 ft
Distance: 6 miles

The walk is short and it is possible to enjoy another day hike. We will camp by a crater lake rich in trout; however, we will not be able to fish as the area falls under a protected national park.

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Day 8: Tshophu to Soi Yaksa

Elevation gain: 1,576 ft
Elevation loss: 3,215 ft

Today we cross over the Bangtue La (Pass 15,600′), the highest point of the trek. Late morning can be windy, thus we will make an early start to cross over the pass before it is windy.
We will be walking over the valley floor and making gentle climbs over a pass and crossing over a small glacial stream. The trail takes us to an upper valley with snow-clad mountains as a background. We cross over a couple of small streams and a small lake before making a final climb to the Pass. It is possible to spot Blue Sheep on the hillsides above the valley: they number sometimes over 300 or more. If we are lucky, we might even spot Snow Leopard. After crossing the pass, the trail drops down to a grass-covered plateau. Our campsite is beside a rushing river.

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Day 9: Soi Yaksa to Thangbue / Chorapang

Elevation gain: 2,132 ft
Elevation loss: 1,312 ft
Distance: 7 miles

Ascend about 600 ft before the trail levels out and winds around the ridge. Next cross a stream and climb over a small pass dotted by stupas located over the tree line. Then, cross over a snow-fed river and climb over the Takalung La (14,400f’). From the pass, we can see the beautiful valley of Thangbue, where we camp for tonight.

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Day 10: Thangbue to Shana / Drukyel Dzong

Eleven gain: 722 ft
Elevation loss: 5,742 ft
Distance: 16 miles

From campsite, make a short steep climb to a pass covered with dwarf rhododendrons. After crossing it, we walk through a ridge trail. If the weather is clear, we can see the view of distant mountains and valleys. Then, pass through a rocky area and descend to a valley floor, a drop of more than five thousand feet. The trail is rocky and we need to be careful with our footing. We can experience a gradual change in vegetation from dwarf rhododendrons to pine forest and than to oak. Stop for lunch near the army camp; then, we take a leisurely walk to Drukgyal, where Gawaling Tours & Treks’s staff will meet us for a post trek celebration. Check into a hotel at Paro for the night.

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Day 11: Paro to Thimphu

After breakfast, visit the National Museum and take a walk to Rinpung Dzong (‘the fortress of a heap of jewels”). After lunch, drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan located an hour and a half from Paro towards east.

Thimphu, has a blend of modern and farming communities and a population over 90,000. It is the seat of the government and the center for international offices. En-route, stop at Chuzomsa (confluence) where the Paro River and Thimphu River meet. This river provides the headwater for the hydropower plant below that generates 336 mega watts of electricity, Bhutan’s main export. Check into a hotel for night stay.

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Day 12: Thimphu to Punakha to Thimphu

Morning, we drive for two and a half hours to Punakha, to see the old capital of Bhutan. The Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by Shadrung Ngawang Namgyal, both spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, is located at the confluence of the “male and female” rivers. The fortress serves as the winter home for the Central Monastic Body as the place provides warmer temperature. The monk body usually moves in November and stay there till April. We return to Thimphu in the afternoon. After lunch, visit the Folk Art Heritage Museum, opened in 2001. The Museum has a collection of utensils and objects of religious rituals depicting the daily life of the Bhutanese. The Textile Museum nearby has a wonderful collection of unique Bhutan’s textiles and it is here where we will be introduced to Bhutan’s exquisite weaving tradition. The fabrics are intricately designed and are used as clothing, blanket, and ceremonial wear and put to many other uses.

We will visit the Handmade Paper Factory, National Painting School, and Handicraft Emporium, attend the Weekend Market, where wide assortments of goods are sold, and Tradional Medicine Institute, where traditional medicine is made and dispensed to cure diseases. If the monk body is in Punakha, we can visit Tashichhodzong which accommodates the offices of the King of Bhutan and Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot), the leader of the Drukpa Sect of Buddhism, the main school in Bhutan.

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Day 13: Thimphu to Paro

Visit some of the handicraft shops in thimphu in the morning and after lunch drive towards Paro. On reaching Paro,we can walk at our leisure.

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Day 14: Departure

Transfer to airport for departure.

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These Minimum Daily rates are inclusive of the following services :

.  All private transfer & transportation during the tour in 4×4 deluxe vehicle.
.  Proficient English speaking guide.
.  Tours & excursions as mentioned in the program.
.  All entrance fees for museums & monuments.
.  Accommodations with full board.
.  Riding ponies & pack animals on treks.
.  Government Royalty, which is US$ 65 per night/person.
.  All our government taxes.

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