Chele La Nature Trek


Chele La Nature Trek offers both natural and cultural beauty. During spring, forest is filled with many species of Primula and shades of red and orange rhododendrons. From the pass, the panoramic view of the Paro & Haa Valley and, of course, the beautiful Himalayan ranges of Bhutan is marvelous.

 

Outline Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrive Paro and sightseeing
Day 02: Morning Tiger’s Nest Hike and Afternoon Paro sightseeing
Day 03: Paro – Chonana: Trek starts. (Distance 14 km, 4-5 hrs, camp altitude 3,500m)
Day 04: Chonana – Jebkarpo (Distance 16 km, 5-6 hrs, camp altitude 3,500m)
Day 05: Jebkarpo - Lower Mingula (Distance 15 km, 5-6 hrs, Camp altitude 3,850m)
Day 06: Lower Mingula - Thong (Distance 16 km, 5-6 hrs, camp altitude 3950m)
Day 07: Thong –Drukgyal Dzong - Thimphu (Trek ends)
Day 08: Thimphu Sightseeing
Day 09: Thimphu - Wangdue Phodrang / Punakha - Thimphu
Day 10: Thimpu - Paro
Day 11: Depart Paro


Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Paro and sightseeing
During the flight, one will experience breathtaking views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga (if flying from Kathmandu or Delhi) and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Chomolhari and Mount Jitchu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, meet our representative and escorted to the hotel. After lunch visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars which now house the nation’s heritage, Bhutan’s National Museum. Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, the massive fortress is located on a small hill just above the Paro River (Pachu). The Dzong houses the district administration office and the District Monk body. It was built in 1645 A.D. Back to hotel. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 02: Morning Tiger’s Nest Hike and Afternoon Paro sightseeing
In the morning hike to Taktsang Monastery. Taktsang meaning "Tiger's Nest”, is built around a cave in which Guru Rimpoche (also known as Guru Padmasambhava) meditated. The eighth-century monastery is perched on a rock overlooking a sheer drop and clings seemingly impossible to a cliff of rock at 2,950 m above the sea level.

After lunch visit Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fortress, which was once, defended this valley from Tibetan invasions.  After then proceed towards Kyichu Lhakhang (Monastery). One of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan was built in 659 A.D by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet as one of the 108 such monasteries he built in across the Himalayas to spread Buddhism. Evening is free. Overnight at hotel.

Day 03: Paro – Chonana: Trek starts. (Distance 14 km, 4-5 hrs, camp altitude 3,500m)
Start the trek from Olathang 1.5 km from Paro town. Most of the days walk is a gradual climb through the pine forests. Along the trail, pass through some beautiful farmhouses built in a typical Bhutanese architect. The view of the Paro valley from the trail is also excellent. Overnight in camp.

Day 4: Chonana – Jebkarpo (Distance 16 km, 5-6 hrs, camp altitude 3,500m)
Today trek uphill most of the day with plenty of rests on the way to the Chele La pass Alt. 3700m. The trail goes through the forest filled with Primula, rhododendron and many other species of plants and trees. After crossing the pass, the trail goes along the ridge of Chele La with a clear view of the Himalayan mountain ranges. Overnight in camp.

Day 5: Jebkarpo - Lower Mingula (Distance 15 km, 5-6 hrs, Camp altitude 3,850m)
Today is a day to be up early. Early morning view from the campsite of Mount Jumolhari Tserim Gang and the famous mountain Jichu Drake are absolutely breathtaking. The trail follows the ridge valley offering great mountain scenery and a bird eyes view of Paro and Haa Valley. Overnight in camp.

Day 6: Lower Mingula - Thong (Distance 16 km, 5-6 hrs, camp altitude 3950m)
This day will also offer excellent views of the mountains and valleys, sometimes come across a Yak herder’s camp. We can visit one of the camps and enjoy their company. As a tradition, they will offer butter tea or Chang (local wine). Overnight in camp.

Day 7: Thong –Drukgyal Dzong - Thimphu (Trek ends)
A short descend through pine and rhododendron forest up to Drukgyal Dzong and from there drive to Paro. Lunch at Paro and drive on to Thimphu. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 8: Thimphu Sightseeing
After breakfast, proceed for sightseeing of Thimphu Valley. Visit the Tashichho Dzong, the beautiful medieval fortress/monastery which houses most of the Government's office and King's Throne room it is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot. Handicrafts Emporium where Bhutanese textiles and other arts are displayed and can be purchased. Painting and Woodcraft school where the traditional art and painting kept alive. Memorial Chorten (a huge Stupa) built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned the Kingdom from 1952-1972. Visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. Visit Simtokha Dzong (6 km from Thimphu) the oldest Dzong in Bhutan built in 1629 AD. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 9: Thimphu - Wangdue Phodrang / Punakha - Thimphu
A full day excursion to Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang. Punakha was the former Capital of Bhutan which is about 77 km from Thimphu. Visit Punakha dzong, the winter residence of the Je khempo (chief abbot).   Punakha Dzong is the most Magnificent and Largest Dzong in Bhutan located beautifully in between the two largest rivers Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River), it is an outstanding structure with intense artwork. Wangdue Dzong, built in 1638. It is believed to be built on the back of the giant Elephants back and is considered one of the most important Dzongs of the 17th century as it controlled west - East and to the South. Lunch at Punakha or Wangdue Phodrang and return to Thimphu. Evening is free and can stroll around the town. Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

Day 10: Thimpu - Paro
Morning, take a leisurely walk in Thimphu town to do some shopping. After lunch, drive to Paro and en route visit Simtokha Dzong (the oldest Dzong in Bhutan built in 1629 AD). Evening visit a traditional farm house which offers an opportunity to mingle with local and to get an idea on their lifestyle. Overnight at the hotel in Paro..

Day 11: Depart Paro
After breakfast free till departure time. Drive to Paro Airport for onward journey.

We make arrange the departure as per your convenient date.

 

Price Includes:

  • Necessary airport, hotel and airport transfers
  • Bhutan Visa Fee
  • Hotel Accommodation on twin sharing basis in city and camping during trekking
  • Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan.
  • Kathmandu-Paro-Kathmandu airfare
  • Airport tax
  • Entrance fees and permit
  • Overland transportation within Bhutan
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary
  • English speaking local guide
  • Trekking and Tour arrangement (fully organized trek with tents, thermal pads, blow pillow, hot-water bag, pack animals to carry luggage and additional riding pony for emergency, basic medical kit, support staff, trekking guide, cook and assistants, horseman)
  • Drinking water
  • Government royalty, tax and Fees
  • Service Charge

Price Excludes:

  • Travel Insurance
  • Beverages
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Personal trekking gears such as the sleeping bag, clothing, shoes etc.
  • Excess baggage
  • Tips to guides and drivers
  • Expenses occurred due to unavoidable Events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.

Trekking in Bhutan Vs Nepal
Trekking in Bhutan is different than in Nepal.  In Nepal, most of the trekking trails run through spaced villages, encountering diversified ethnic groups.  You can also do an independent trek – arranging porters and guide yourself by not being part of large trekking groups.  On the way, you can find lodges or small tea house for your shelter if you do not wish to be in camps.  While trekking in Bhutan is a complete wilderness experience.  You will be on a guided trek sleeping at tents on designated place where there is water supply for your camp meals.  Your equipment and supplies will be carried by horses and by yaks on higher altitudes.

The Trekking Group and staff arrangements
A trekking party typically will consist of a guide, a trek chef, a helper and a horseman with his animals. The guide plays an important role in arranging and coordinating the trek by teaming up with trek chef and other members.  A trek group of two persons will have a guide, a chef, a helper, two horsemen with 16 horses to carry supplies and equipment. We can run the trek for group of any size, but we include maximum of twelve people as we have found this to be the optimum size for a successful trip. However, if you’d like to make a group booking for more than twelve people together, we can arrange this too.

Health and Experience Required
Trekking in Bhutan is challenging.   Walking in higher altitude is physically demanding than walking in the lower altitudes; however, if you are in excellent health with average physical fitness and have positive attitude, self confidence and strong determination, you can accomplish the trek successfully. People wishing to do a trek in Bhutan should not worry about altitude and potential heart problems. There is no evidence that altitude is likely to bring on previously undiagnosed heart diseases.

You must train intensively before head for a trek in Bhutan.  Walk up and down hills or inclines as much as possible with a backpack weighing 4-5kg to increase the strength.  If you do not have time take walks over weekends, try riding a bicycle, jogging or training intensively with exercise machine.  It is vital that you consult with your doctor before you decide and set up for the Trek. Participants with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart, lung, and blood disease should inform Black Diamond before booking the trek.

Travel Insurance
It would be best for you to make a travel insurance before the trips that will be protected against comprehensive expenses potential to incur due to medical issues or accidents (to include air ambulance, helicopter rescue, and treatment costs). Please be noted that we don't arrange or sell insurance.

Accommodation
Hotels in Bhutan are approved and classified by the government as grade A, B and C. These government approved hotels are equivalent to 3-4 star hotels elsewhere. Based on availability at the time of your booking, we provide grade A hotels in Paro and Thimphu.

Trekking in Bhutan is arranged as camping trips.  Trekkers will sleep in a tent with foam pads placed on rubber mats acting as an insulator.  We provide the best quality Nepal made A-shaped or North Face dome tents.  Your guides and helpers have their own tents as well.  Your campsites will be at a designated place where there is water to cook your meals.

In some places, there is a stone building where staff can use for cooking and trekkers can also use it for dining and shelter in emergency.

Why Us?

Black Diamond  is primarily dedicated to satisfying our travelers from around the globe. We give our best in this field because we are committed to providing you with the best services possible from our side.

Meals
During the trek, you can enjoy the large assortment of food items and our trek chef can cook pampering meals at any height and weather.  All pour trekking chefs are trained and certified by Bhutan tourism bureau and they can prepare the variety of western and Asian dishes, and they often add interesting local touches.  All food supplies are carried from the start of the trek, and food is cooked over stoves fuelled by LPG.

Equipments & Packing List
You must bring all your personal equipment with you as trekking gear is not widely available in Bhutan.  While packing for the trek, limit your baggage to 15kg. Each pack animal carries 30kg, and it’s expected that one animal will carry the luggage of two trekkers.

We provide 2-men tents, foam mattresses, eating utensils, kitchen equipment, a kitchen tent, dining tent and a toilet tent. Sleeping bags are not provided.  So bring your own because it is difficult to find sleeping bags of your specification in Bhutan.

It is best if you pack the following for your trek:

Head:
- Sun hat or scarf
- Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
- Sunglasses with UV protection

Lower Body:
- Under Garments
- Hiking shorts
- Lightweight cotton long pants
- Light and expedition weight thermal bottoms
- Fleece or wool pants (seasonal)
- Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell pants

Feet:
- Thin, lightweight inner socks
- Thick, warm wool hiking socks
- Hiking boots with spare laces
- Camp shoes (sneakers and/or sandals) Gaiters for hiking in winter to the base camp

Upper Body:
- T-shirts
- Light and expedition weight thermal tops
- Fleece jacket or pullover
- Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional)
- Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket
- Down vest and/or jacket

Hands:
- Lightweight gloves
- Heavyweight gloves or mittens with a waterproof shell outer (seasonal)

Accessories:
- Sleeping bag rated to zero degrees F
- Headlamp (e.g. Petzl Zoom) with spare bulbs and batteries
- Trekking Bags/Duffel bag
- Basic First Aid Kit
- Large plastic bags - for keeping items dry inside trek bag
- Daypack (approximately 2500 to 3000 cubic inches)
- Trekking Poles
- Water bottles
- Toiletries (Small wash towel, Toilet papers etc)
- Ear Plug (who know some people on a group are snoring)

Toiletries
- 1 medium sized quick drying towel
- Toothbrush/paste (preferably biodegradable)
- Multipurpose soap (preferably biodegradable)
- Deodorants
- Nail clippers
- Face and body moisturizer
- Feminine hygiene products
- Small mirror

Personal Hygiene
- Wet wipes (baby wipes)
- Tissue /toilet roll
- Anti bacterial hands wash

Extras/Luxuries
- Binoculars
- Reading book
- Trail Map/Guide book
- Journal & Pen
- Walkman
- Pencils and small notebooks
- Travel game i.e. chess, backgammon, scrabble
- Swimming customs 

Acclimatization
The effects of high altitude on humans are considerable. The percentage saturation of hemoglobin with oxygen determines the content of oxygen in our blood. After the human body reaches around 2,100 m (7,000 feet) above sea level, the saturation of oxyhemoglobin begins to plummet. However, the human body has both short-term and long-term adaptations to altitude that allow it to partially compensate for the lack of oxygen. Athletes use these adaptations to help their performance. There is a limit to the level of adaptation: mountaineers refer to the altitudes above 8,000 meters (26,000 ft) as the "death zone", where no human body can acclimatize.

Unforeseen events
Be prepared to take any disappointments in your end.  Despite your advance trekking plan, sometimes itineraries can be disrupted due to unforeseen factors such as blockage of route due to heavy snow or breakage of bridges due to unexpected heavy showers or sometimes trails become too icy for the horses due to rapid temperature fall.

Trail conditions
Trekking in Bhutan is physically demanding as it involves a vigorous long walk up the hillside and through mountains with harsh terrain with drastic changes in elevation.  The average height gain is  about 500m daily spread over 8km to 12km, with an odd 1000m ascent.

Campsites are sometimes spaced out over long distance, requiring you to walk seven to nine hours in a day.  However sometimes, it may be just three or four hours of brisk walking. You will often come across rocky terrain and long stretches of round river rocks, which is hard on your feet. Trails could also be muddy, and diversions are quite common.  On high passes, it’s always possible to encounter snow.

Pack animals
You will not find porters in Bhutan.  Instead of porters, horses and yaks (at higher elevations) are used in while trekking in Bhutan. They are used for carrying all food supplies, trekking gears and equipment leaving you only with a day pack.  Your day pack will consist of items you require daily such as cameras and batteries, toiletries, energy bars, and water bottles.

Losing your way
Although you are escorted by an experienced guide familiar with the route you must walk with caution for in the past, some trekkers have lost their way.  Never stray from your group and keep an eye out for signs while you trek.  Always watch for fresh lug-sole footprints of other trekkers or for arrows drawn on the trails or rocks by guides.  Dung and hoof-prints of horses can tell you that you are on the right track.  All major trekking routes have well defined trails except only a few confusing shorts cuts.  Walk through bigger trails and if your trails vanishes slowly, or find yourself ahead of rest of the trekkers, or find yourself descending when the trail should be going up, stop walking and make an attempt to call your guide or friends.

Rescue
In Bhutan, there were only a few incidences (once in a year or so) where people had to be rescued because of altitude. There are horses and men to carry back to the lower place but on higher passes, evacuation has to be done by helicopter as land evacuation will not be possible. Rescue helicopter come from Indian Air Force bases in Hasimara or Bagdogra airport, after a request sent out by a guide to the tour operator reaches the Indian forces through TBC and the Royal Bhutan Army. Fortunately, communication between the trekkers and base office has been made quicker due to the introduction of mobile networks.

Environmental Concerns
The Trekking Region in Bhutan is stunningly beautiful but equally fragile. Future generations have just as much of a right to appreciate it as we do and so the tourism industry has an obligation to protect and preserve it. We employ a 'zero impact' policy on the natural environment and the traditional communities that live there. We enforce a number of do's and don'ts, and our experienced staffs can advise you on how to minimize your impact.

Best Season
Autumn (mid Sept to mid November) and spring (March to May) are the best seasons for the trekking in Bhutan. The weather is sunny and warm, with outstanding views, but the nights are cold and can fall to freezing. Winter (Dec, Jan, Feb) is also good for trekking in Bhutan, only colder (obviously).

Additional Information
Our website contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you wish to discuss any aspect of this trip or your suitability for it please contact us by email. If you want to talk to us directly feel free to call us.

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