DAY 1: BAGDOGRA – PHUENTSHOLING Drive/4 hrs
We will depart from Bagdogra by 4:00 pm for Phuentsholing, the border town of Bhutan and India. You do not need a permit to enter Phuentsholing where the Indian side is called Jaigaon (West Bengal). Check in to your hotel and you are free to explore Phuentsholing.
DAY 2: PHUENTSHOLING – PARO (2300m) Drive/170 kms/6 hrs
The first order of the day would be to get our permits made. Post this we begin our drive to Paro during which we would cross the towns of Gedu, Tshimham and various villages. You pass through some beautiful Bhutanese scenery all along and the highest altitude you would get to today would be 2800m. Enroute, we will stop for our first taste of some piping hot delicious Bhutanese food in one of the eateries that line this highway. We get to Paro and check into our hotel for the night.
DAY 3: PARO (2300m) – TAKTSANG MONASTERY (3100m) – PARO Trek/5-6 hrs both ways
Today, we take an acclimatisation hike up to one of the most spectacularly located and famous monasteries of Bhutan, the Taktsang monastery or Tiger's Nest, that lies at an altitude of 3000m. It takes about 2-3 hours of slightly strenuous walk to get to the monastery but the whole effort is rewarding and all the tiredness is forgotten in an instant. We spend some time at the monastery and then head back, stopping at one of the teahouses along the way for a steaming cup of tea and glorious views of the monastery. We return back to Paro for a late lunch and then you are free to explore the town. A must visit would be the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang (Monastery) built by the Tibetan Emperor, Songsten Genpo. Overnight in the hotel.
DAY 4: PARO (2300m) – SHARNA ZAMPA – THANGTHANGKA (3600m) Drive/1 hr & Trek/7-8 hrs
We begin early with a drive from Paro to Sharna Zampa from where you set off on the trail. This is a long trekking day covering about 22 kms with a lot of ascents and descents and some rock hopping. The initial couple of hours are spent walking through conifer and rhododendron along the Paro Chu during which you would enter the Jigme Dorji National park. After this and crossing several streams you pass the diversion to the Tremo La, that leads to Tibet and was the route used earlier by invading Tibetan warlords and was later used by Spencer Chapman on his way from Tibet to scale Chomolhari in 1937. Ahead, you cross the river and then walk through forests of birch and fir followed by blue pine and maple. We follow the river and then take a bend to reach the lovely meadow at Thangthangka from where, depending on clear weather, we would get our first view of the majestic Chomolhari peak. Overnight in tents.
DAY 5: THANGTHANKA (3600m) – JANGOTHANG (4100m) Trek/5-6 hours
Rise early to capture the Chomolhari peak with the early rays of the sun. We then set off on the trail and after a couple of hours you enter yak country and will see these large animal grazing and lazing on the meadows. You pass a number of villages along the way with rich farmlands of barley, potatoes, turnips and a succulent plant called kashaykoni, which is fed to the yaks in winter. The last section of the day’s walk is an uphill one at the end of which you come to the campsite at Jangothang. You are welcomed by a spectacular view of Chomolhari and we set up camp her for the day. Overnight in tents.
DAY 6: REST DAY & ACCLIMATISATION
There will be a rest day today, to get used to the altitude and explore the area. The views do not get any better than this and we spend the day exploring this beautiful area. There are many possibilities for exploration but the best one would be to head up from the camp along a ridge for spectacular views of Jichu Drakye and further up of Chomolhari. We can continue to walk further up from the ridge, which is the trail for the longer and tougher version of this trek to Lingzhi and ahead. Overnight in tents.
DAY 7: JANGOTHANG (4100m) – BONTE LA (4890m) – SOI YAKSA (3800m) Trek/8-9 hrs
Today we begin the walk to the last settlement in the valley before climbing down to the river and crossing it. From here there is a climb along which you will continue to get splendid views of the peaks till you reach the lakes at Tsho Phu. These lakes are home to brown trout and after spending some time here we continue on the trail. We then climb to the highest point on the trek when we cross the pass, Bhonte La at 4890m. From here we descend on a scree slope down to the beautiful campsite in the Soi Yaksa valley. There are chances of spotting the local wildlife including bharal (blue sheep), marmots and for the very lucky, the elusive snow leopard. Overnight in tents.
DAY 8: SOI YAKSA (3800m) – TAKHUNG LA (4520m) – THOMBU SHONG (4180m) Trek/4-5 hrs
We begin the trek for the day through fields of azalea and rhododendron before clearing the treeline. From here we scale up to another pass, Thombu La (4520m), from where there spectacular views of Chomolhari, Jichu Drakye and Tserim Kang. On a very clear day, you will be rewarded with a view of Kanchenjunga (8586m). From here, we trek down to the pasture at Thombu Shang for overnight stay. Overnight in tents.
DAY 9: THOMBU SHONG (4180m) – THOMBU LA (4380m) – SHARNA ZAMPA (2890m) – THIMPHU Trek/6 hrs & Drive/2 hrs
We start the day with a relatively flat walk and then gain altitude as we trek up to the last pass on the trek, Thombu La (4380m). You get a good and last view of the big peaks before a long descent Paro Chu valley. Here you will cross the river and then further upstream you will arrive at Sharna Zampa from where we had started the trek. From here we will drive to Thimphu that is about 2 hrs away. Here check into your hotel for a well-earned hot shower. Depending on the energy levels, you can spend the rest of the evening exploring Thimpu, the capital and the largest city of Bhutan. Memorial Chorten, a stupa built in 1974 in memory of Bhutan's third King, His Late Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, the National Library, the Folk Heritage Museu), National Textile Museum, National Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as Arts & Crafts School or Painting School), Trashi Chhoe Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion), the assortment of handicraft shops, the Weekend Market, Simply Bhutan Museum (an exclusive project under Bhutan Youth Development Fund), Coronation Park located on the banks of the river and Takin (National Animal of Bhutan) Reserve are some of the choices you have. Overnight in a hotel.
DAY 10: THIMPHU – PHUENTSHOLING Drive/5-6 hrs
You continue your sightseeing for the first half of the day and post late lunch, we depart for Phuentsholing. Overnight in a hotel.
DAY 11: PHUENTSHOLING – BAGDOGRA Drive/4 hrs
Early morning, we drive to Bagdogra and from here depart for your onward destination.
Trip Ends With Sweet Memories !!!
List of Essentials
Mountain/adventure travel requires one to be adequately equipped with the right kind of personal gear. Since one is travelling in the wilderness there will be hardly any opportunity to buy anything once you hit the trail so we urge you to carefully pack everything into your bags. Also please keep in mind you can rent out or purchase equipment from our Gear Store, if required.
Shirts / T-shirts – 2/3
Jeans / Trekking Pants - 2
Windproof jacket of decent quality (no flimsy wind cheaters please!) preferably with a hood
Warm and thick Fleece / Full-sleeve Woollen sweater
Thermal inner wear (upper & lower)
Woollen socks & regular socks (3-4 pairs)
Comfortable Trekking/Hiking shoes (shoes with a thick sole are recommended)
Raincoat / Poncho
Small light weight towel
Water bottle (sturdy ones, no empty Bisleri bottles!!)
Cap / Hat to keep the strong sun away from your face
Walking stick / Trekking pole
Torch / Flashlight (with extra batteries)
Medicines, if requiring any specific medication
Books, if you like reading
Day pack/small bag which you will carry on your back every day and keep your essentials in it
Keep a few poly bags or waterproof bags in your bag in which if required you can put your belongings in case of heavy rain
Camera if you like (with fully charged batteries)
…LOADS OF ENTHUSIASM!! AND A PLEDGE TO LEAVE NO TRACE
Carry your stuff in a duffel bag, soft shoulder bag or a rucksack. Avoid suitcases, trolleys or any other hard luggage. As you will be walking long distances carrying a rucksack, avoid bringing unnecessary items on the trek. Please avoid carrying expensive watches, jewellery and electronic items on the trek.
For Departure Dates just call 7350530009 / 7350540009 / 7350550009
Transport Options (Arrival & Departure from Bagdogra)
For travel to Bagdogra & back one can choose between air and rail. For air travel, Bagdogra is well connected to Delhi and other parts of the country by Indigo, Air India, Jet Airways and other commercial airlines. Train travel is also recommended with a number of options available with the closest railway station being New Jalpaiguri.
The climate in Bhutan varies widely depending on the elevation. In the southern border areas it is tropical; at the other extreme, in the high Himalayan regions, there is perpetual snow. Temperatures in the far south range from 15°C in winter (December to February) to 30°C in summer (June to August). In Paro the range is from -5°C in January to 30°C in July, with 800mm of rain. In the high mountain regions the average temperature is 0°C in winter and may reach 10°C in summer, with an average of 350mm of rain. Rain occurs primarily during the southwest monsoon season from June to September.
Please keep in mind that the above information is not exact and does not account for sudden changes. Whatever the temperatures and conditions rest assured we will be prepared to handle it with ease as we use equipment of very high specifications.
Duration: 11 Days
Season: Apr-Jun, Sep-Nov
Grade: Moderate +
Bhutan is a landlocked kingdom country in South Asia located at the eastern end of the Himalayas just adjacent to West Bengal in India. It is bordered to the north by China and to the south, east and west by India. To the west, it is separated from Nepal by the Indian state of Sikkim, while further south it is separated from Bangladesh by the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal. Bhutan's capital and largest city is Thimphu.
Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms until the early 17th century, when the lama and military leader Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, fleeing religious persecution in Tibet, unified the area and cultivated a distinct Bhutanese identity. Later, in the early 20th century, Bhutan came into contact with the British Empire and retained strong bilateral relations with India upon its independence. Bhutan is the only country to have officially adopted Gross National Happiness instead of the Gross Domestic Product as the main development indicator. In 2006, based on a global survey, Business Week rated Bhutan as the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world.
Bhutan's landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan heights in the north, where some peaks exceed 7000m. Bhutan's state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism and Hinduism is the second-largest religion. In 2008, Bhutan made the transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy and held its first general election.
Bhutan consists mostly of steep and high mountains crisscrossed by a network of swift rivers, which form deep valleys before draining into the Indian plains. Elevation rises from 200m in the southern foothills to more than 7000m. This great geographical diversity combined with equally diverse climate conditions contributes to Bhutan's outstanding range of biodiversity and ecosystems.
The Chomolhari Trek is amongst the most popular treks in Bhutan with altitude gains of 2500m during the trek. This is Bhutans equivalent of the Everest base camp trek in Nepal and is extremely popular in the trekking circuit. The highlight of this trek is the spectacular view of the Chomolhari Peak (7314m), especially from Jangothang, which is enroute to the base for Chomolhari peak climbing expeditions, and Jichu Drakye peak (6989m). One should be reasonably physically fit to enjoy the long trekking days, majestic mountain views, serenity & the wilderness of the landscape while on the trek. Also added on in this trip are the two most popular tourist attractions in Bhutan Paro and Thimphu.
We begin our trip with a fantastic drive from Phuentsholing (the border of Indian and Bhutan) through beautiful scenery to Paro. We have time in Paro in the evening and the next day to savour the local delights. The next day we take an acclimatization hike to the spectacularly located Taktsang Monastery (Tigers Nest) with the evening free to explore Paro.
The next day we set off on the Chomolhari trail. This is a superb trek that starts along the fertile Paro valley along the Paro Chu (river) and then through unspoilt villages in beautiful valleys which retain their ancient Tibetan Buddhist culture, then climbs through ravishing virgin forest before emerging to high summer pastures at the foot of magnificent and sacred Chomolhari peak. The route then crosses three high passes Bhonte La (4890m), Takhung La (4520m) & Thombu La (4380m), before passing two lone Dzongs (forts) in wild desolate landscape and then dropping back to the gentler delights of the cultivated valleys. During the trek, we get ample time for acclimatization and exploration with a days halt at Jangothang, at the base of the majestic Chomolhari peak.