Bhutan's Chomolhari Trek and the Thimpu Festival
Bhutan, Trek & Walk, 14 days - from £2,495 (land only) - from €3,120 (land only) - from $3,980 (land only)
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Complimentary airport transfers are provided. KE Land Only package services begin with the evening meal.
Day 2: Transfer to the airport and take the short flight to Bhutan's only airport, at Paro. Views of Everest en route. On arrival, we transfer (1 hour) to Thimpu and after checking in to our hotel, we can look around this small and remarkable Himalayan capital city.
Day 3: The whole day is free to enjoy the Thimpu festival, which begins today. The festival takes place in the courtyard of the Tashichoedzong Palace and consist of a paradea and various ceremonies interspersed with plays and dances by elaborately masked monks and laymen. Overnight hotel.
Day 4: Today we make an excursion to the picturesque Punka Dzong, the one time Winter seat of government for Bhutan. To reach Punaka we make a spectacular journey across the Dochu La. After the visit we return to Thimpu. Total driving time: approximately 5 - 6 hours. For those who wish to see more of the festival, it is also possible to spend this day in Thimpu.
Day 5: We drive back to Paro and continue for a few miles beyond the town to the west to reach the ruined Drugyel Dzong. From here we follow a jeep road beside the Paro river in 4X4 vehicles for around 2 hours to the road-head at Shana. Beginning the Chomolhari trek, we walk for 3 hours to our first campsite at Thongo Samba (3200m)
Day 6: We follow the river through lovely mixed forest on an undulating trail. At a junction of 2 valleys, we turn north towards Chomolhari which is now visible and in a further 30 minutes, we reach our camp at Soi Thangka. (3610m) 3 - 4 hours.
Day 7: We continue our trek towards Chomolhari, passing a small herding camp and entering more open country with grazing yaks. Camp at the meadow of Jangothang (4040m) which is the base camp area for Chomolhari. 5 - 6 hours.
Day 8: A day for exploration above our camp at Jangothang. There are various options for walks to gain classic views above this camp. Alternatively this may be used as a rest day.
Day 9: We begin with a steady climb through high pastures to reach the stunning Tsho Phu lakes. Beyond the lakes we begin a climb which is steep at first across scree slopes and then more gently to the Bonte La (4890m) with sensational views of Chomolhari and Jichu Drake . We now descend to the less-trekked valley of Yaksa and our camp near the river at 3800m. 6-7 hours.
Day 10: We climb through rhododendron forest to the Tagun La (4520m) where we gain yet more spectacular views of the Himalaya, before making a short descent to Thongbu. Located in yak pastures at 4180m., this has got to be one of the most beautiful campsites in Bhutan. 5-6 hours trekking.
Day 11: A spectacular day of trekking beginning with a gradual climb to the Thombu La (4270m). We follow a high ridge with sensational views of snow capped peaks for almost an hour before dropping steeply for 2 - 3 hours to reach Shana and our waiting vehicles. Return to Paro and our hotel. 5 - 6 hours trekking. 2 hours drive.
Day 12: A day of sightseeing in the Paro which will certainly include a visit to the Tigers Nest monastery of Taktsang perched on a cliff. The monastery can only be reached on foot by a stiff climb but we will be well acclimatised and conditioned from our trek to make the ascent. Overnight Paro.
Day 13: We take the morning flight to Kathmandu and transfer to the group hotel. We have a guided sightseeing tour of the city in the afternoon.
Day 14: KE Land Only package services end with breakfast at the hotel. Complimentary airport transfers are provided.
This holiday involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night above 4000 metres and/or trekking to 5000 metres or above. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude.