Trek around the sacred and spectacular peak of Chomolhari with the first company to pioneer treks in Bhutan
Having enjoyed eras of splendid isolation from Western culture, the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan is still largely unexplored by tourists. The Bhutanese have a strong connection to their spiritual life; temples are still vibrant hubs of community, monasteries are active centers of learning, the people still incorporate traditional folk arts into their day-to-day lives, and the pace moves more slowly than any other country bordering the Himalaya. As some of the happiest, gentlest people in the world, the Bhutanese exude something quite special. One small taste of this life will make it hard to leave! This once-in-a-lifetime trek is one of our few “ultimate challenge” adventures. MTS has had the longest legacy of any other tour operators trekking through this enchanted country since its doors were first opened to tourists nearly four decades ago. Years of experience and strong relationships have given us a significant edge over our competition. We make sure that you have full support to during your ten days of rigorous trekking. You’ll have the expertise of our professional, local guides who can tell you all there is to know about the culture and landscape, two cooks on hand to prepare delicious meals, and horsemen with a team of pack animals who will carry your belongings as we go. But one doesn’t become the adventure travel leader in the Himalaya without giving back. We invest in their training and well-being, ensuring that this talented team is fairly compensated for their amazing efforts.
We begin our adventure in Paro and drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. We’ll explore the Cheri Goemba (monastery), the main meditation center of the country. We’ll climb to the 15th century Tango Goemba, a Buddhist institute for higher learning. We’ll discover the rich Bhutanese folk arts at a “painting school” where children can learn traditional painting, drawing, woodcarving, and sculpture; and see the spectacular thangkas (religious scroll paintings) in the National Museum in Paro. We’ll spend a day hiking to the famous pilgrimage spot, the “Tiger’s Nest” at Taktsang Monastery, perched high on a cliff above the Paro Valley. And then the real trek begins at the ruins of Drykgyel Dzong (citadel), where we’ll begin walking along the Paro River, past traditional farmhouses and fields of red chilies, potatoes, and millet. We’ll wind through thick forests of oak, pine, and juniper, with the sacred peak of Chomolhari offering us glimpses as we go. As the valley widens, we’ll take in views of the snowy ridgelines and yak herders tending their flocks. We’ll climb to two glacial lakes on our way to the pass at Bhonte La (16,000’), where we’ll see blue sheep, plump marmots, and migrating birds. Our slow descent begins at last into the valley of Soi Yaksa (12,450'), rich in pastureland. We’ll take the gentle route up to the eastern ridge of the valley, with views of Chomolhari and Jichu Drake when we get to the top. We’ll cross Thombu La to see a breathtaking panorama of the Himalaya before descending to our camp at Taybu (13,700'). We’ll continue down to Shana, home of our first night of camping, before finally returning to the trailhead at Drykgyel Dzong, where we bid farewell to our support team and head back to Paro. Let the Himalaya experts introduce you to this magical wilderness on this rare adventure through the kingdom of Bhutan!
NOTE: Ask about our extensions to Angkor Wat and Vietnam!
10 days strenuous hiking at high elevation (max. 16,200')
- Explore the gems of Bhutan with the first travel company to pioneer treks in Bhutan
- Immerse yourself in the richness of the culture visiting museums, dzongs (citadels), and the country’s most famous monasteries—Taktsang and Lhakhang
- Trek over challenging terrain for ten days through the most remote pristine forests and mountains of the Himalaya
- Meet traditional Himalayan highlanders: farmers, yak herders, and monks
Duration: 15 days Start Location: Bangkok End Location: BangkokDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Bangkok (most flights arrive in the evening)
Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand.
Day 2 : Paro - Thimphu (7,725')
Fly to Paro, Bhutan and tansfer to your hotel in Thimphu.
Day 3 : Thimphu
Warm-up hike up to Cheri Monastery, built in 1620 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and established with an original staff of 30 monks.
Day 4 : Thimphu – Paro (7,500')
Morning visit to School of Arts and Crafts and the Textile Museum, National Traditional Medicine, and Folk Heritage Museum. Afternoon drive to Paro and visit National Museum, with its collections of spectacular thangkas (religious scroll paintings), bronze statues, Bhutan's beautiful stamps, and the Tshogshing Lhakhang ("Temple of the Tree of Wisdom").
Day 5 : Paro
Another warm-up hike to Taktsang Monastery (the "Tiger's Nest"), perched on a cliff 2,700 feet above the floor of the Paro Valley.
Day 6 : Begin trek - Shana Zampa (9,450')
On trek, venturing from thick forests of rhododendron and up beyond the treeline to an amazing alpine world of glaciers, rocks, and dazzling snow-covered peaks, including Chomolhari, Jichu Drakye, and Tsering Kang. You may see migratory birds and herds of bharal (blue sheep), and snow leopard tracks are occasionally spotted (but it's rare to catch sight of these elusive big cats themselves). You'll also encounter local people who live a simple lifestyle herding yaks, gathering and drying herbs, making fresh cheese and butter, and weaving beautiful textiles.
Day 7 : Soi Thangthangkha (11,840')
We continue up through the valley of the Paro River, which gradually narrows as the trail leads higher, winding up and down through a thick, lush forest of oak, pine, and juniper. The trail becomes very rocky, muddy, and strenuous, climbing up and down while slowly gaining altitude. As we get closer to our camp for the night, we begin to see the snowcapped summit of Chomolhari (if the weather is clear), a mountain that is sacred to the Bhutanese. This is a long, hard day with lots of ups and downs and rock hopping; it can be very muddy. We camp at Soi Thangthangkha (11,840'). (13½ miles, 9-9½ hours hiking.)
Day 8 : Jangothang (13,382')
We continue following the Paro River on a demanding, rocky trail, and then the valley widens again, opening to a spectacular area surrounded by high snowcapped ridges. A few yak-herding families are based in this area, and we may be lucky to pay them a visit and try some of their dried yak cheese. Camp at Jangothang (13,382') below a ruined fortress near the base of Chomolhari. (11½ miles, 5½-6 hours hiking.)
Day 9 : Rest day (13,382')
Today is a free day to rest and explore the area. You can hike to an open area where you can sit and watch the grazing blue sheep, or you can walk to a nearby glacier at the foot of Chomolhari. Of course, you can also opt to stay at camp, take in the views, and rest for the challenging day ahead.
Day 10 : Soi Yaksa (12,450')
Hike over Bhonte La ("La" means "pass") into the yak-herding valley of Soi Yaksa.
Day 11 : Taybu (13,700')
Continue trek to Taybu (13,700').
Day 12 : Shana (9,413')
Leave the remote mountain area and descend down to Shana (9,413’).
Day 13 : End trek – Paro (7,500')
A four- to five-hour walk brings us back to the trailhead at Drukgyel Dzong. Lunch upon arrival. We bid farewell to our staff and ponies before we board our van for drive to Paro
Day 14 : Bangkok
Fly to Bangkok.
Day 15 : Fly home
Depart Bangkok, or join one of our extensions to India, Vietnam, or Cambodia.
DATES: Best time to go: April, October - November Departures: Oct 12 - 26, 2014 Nov 8 - 22, 2014 Apr 14 - 28, 2015 Apr 21, 2015 - May 5, 2015 Oct 12 - 26, 2015 Nov 2 - 16, 2015
$5,395 (4-12 members)
$1,100 single supplement
$5,595 (4-12 members)
$1,100 single supplement
Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport HotelBangkok
The Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport is a 4 star hotel located 10 min walk from Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok. Boasting 612 comfortable and contemporary rooms, the hotel also offers 2 bars and 4 restaurants. With a 24 hr airport shuttle every 10 min from Gate 4 Level 2 and parking available, there is no better place to stay.
Druk HotelThimphu, Bhutan
Experience the unique and legendary hospitality of the Bhutanese people at this fine accommodation in the midst of the Himalayas. Located in the heart of the capital city, the hotel is close to shopping, culture, and the bubbling Thimphu River.Thim
Zhiwa Ling HotelParo, Bhutan
The Zhiwa Ling combines the sensibilities of a fine Bhutanese guesthouse with the best of modern comforts. Guests can enjoy a traditional outdoor hot-stone bath, a Tea House, a Meditation House, and two restaurants specializing in both contemporary international and classic Bhutanese cuisine.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Namgay Dorji, the senior manager of our Bhutan office, has been leading treks and tours for the past nine years. He is very knowledge about the history, culture, and religion of Bhutan, has many relatives in the monk body, and looks forward to sharing his experience with you. Namgay speaks seven languages: English, Japanese, German, Spanish, Hindi, Nepalese, and Urdu; is a graduate of Bissau College, Meghalaya, India; and received his diploma in Tourism and Travel Management from the Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management in Salzburg, Austria. His many personal interests include bird watching, rock climbing, trekking, and archery.