Mount Chomolhari & Lingshi Bhutan Tour -17 Days

Accommodation Types : Hotels, Camping
Trip Duration : 17 Days
Maximum Group Size : 12
Difficulty : Strenuous
Duration on trek : 9

Trip Overview

This magnificent circuit trek, takes you deep into the heart of some of Bhutan’s most spectacular Himalayan scenery, to the foot of the second highest mountain in the Thunder Dragon Kingdom and far beyond. The trek in to Mount Chomolhari’s base camp at Jangothang traverses beautiful and varied country, starting in the cultivated fields and villages of the upper Paro valley, and climbing through the pristine, indigenous forest of the Paro Chu Valley to the remote high mountain landscapes inhabited only by yak herders. You will have a full day at Chomolhari Base Camp with time to acclimatise and explore the mountain’s glacier and the scenic area above the camp.


You then trek further into the mountains, along pristine trails to cross the Nyelela Pass and reach the remote village of Lingshi. From Lingshi you trek out via the Yale La Pass, the highest point of your trek and through more wild and beautiful countryside to reach the road head, before driving to Thimphu.


As well as fabulous scenery along your trek there are good opportunities to see wildlife, large herds of blue sheep, eagles soaring on the thermals and, if you are extremely lucky, that the most elusive of mountain creatures, the snow leopard, or at least its footprints! You may also visit local farmhouses or the tents of yak herders for a privileged glimpse into rural Bhutanese life.


In addition to some superb trekking you will also enjoy some of Bhutan’s key cultural sights, including the walk up to the iconic Taktsang Monastery, known as the Tiger’s Nest, and a day of sightseeing in the capital Thimphu, famed for its many artisan workshops.


The autumn departures also visit the Chomolhari Mountain Festival which celebrates the culture, wildlife and natural beauty of the region.


Leader: Local leader, Bhutan

You will have an English speaking Bhutanese guide. Smart mountain Adventure have been working with the same partner in Bhutan. Their guides are some of the best in the Smart. They speak fluent English, as this is taught in all Bhutanese schools, and are fully qualified guides. The Tourism Authority of Bhutan insists that a Bhutanese trek or tour leader must pass his/her guiding exams in Thimphu.



  • October departures attend the Chomolhari Mountain Festival.
  • Meal arrangements: Bed and Breakfast in Kathmandu and all meals in Bhutan.



  • A fully supported, well-paced trek with excellent acclimatisation.
  •  Trek to the Base Camp of Mount Chomolhari and return via the high pass of the Yeli La.
  • Join the celebrations at the Chomolhari Mountain Festival (October departure)
  • Walk to Taktsang Monastery and sightseeing in Thimphu.
  • Enjoy first-rate camping facilities on trek and good quality hotels in Bhutan and Kathmandu.

Short Itinerary

Day 01-03:

Arrive Kathmandu. Fly to Paro in Bhutan.

Day 04:

Sightseeing Paro Valley. Trek to Taktsang - 5-6 hours.

Day 05:

Trek and drive from Paro to Shana.

Day 06-07:

Trek to Soi Thangthanka. Trek to Chomolhari Base Camp (Jangothang).

Day 08:

Rest and acclimatisation day. October departures attend the Chomolhari Mountain Festival.

Day 09:

Trek to Lingshi

Day 10:

Trek to Jimthang just before reaching the Yeli La.

Day 11:

Cross Yeli La and trek to Shodu

Day 12:

Trek to Barshong Gompa and continue to Domshesha.

Day 13:

Trek to road head and drive to Thimphu. At leisure in Thimphu.

Day 14:

Sightseeing in Thimphu. Drive to Paro.

Day 15-17:

Fly to Kathmandu. At leisure. Overnight flight to your home.


Day 01 Fly your Home to Kathmandu
Overnight: In flight

Depart from your Homeon your overnight flight to Kathmandu.

Day 02 Arrive Kathmandu.
Overnight: Hotel Shanker Or Shangri La, Kathmandu

You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. You might like to venture out to Thamel for your evening meal, or eat in the restaurant if you are tired from your journey.

Day 03 Fly to Paro.
Overnight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar, Paro

Transfer to the airport for the flight to Paro. On a clear day the panoramic views of the Himalaya are sensational, including Everest, but particularly exciting is the approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns, to land at the tiny airstrip at Paro. You are at the mercy of the Druk air-ticketing computer, but if there is an option, try to sit on the left-hand side of the plane. In Paro you will be transferred to your hotel. There may be time for a wander around the streets of the small township of Paro, take a look at the Queen Mother’s Winter Palace and go for a walk up to look at the Dzong.

Day 04 Sightseeing Paro Valley. Trek to Taktsang - 5-6 hours.
Overnight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar, Paro

Today you visit the Paro Valley, site of the famous Tiger’s nest, the Taktsang Monastery, which is perched some 600m/2,000ft up on a cliff overlooking the valley. Taktsang was said to be where the legendary Indian saint Guru Padma Sambhava flew from Tibet on the back of a tiger to defeat five demons who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. There may also be time today to see some of the treasures from Bhutan’s National Museum that has been fully renovated. There will also be a chance to wander around the small township of Paro itself and to visit the market.

Day 05 Trek and drive from Paro to Shana, 2,788m/9,148ft - 5-6 hours.
Overnight: Camp

You leave the hotel and walk up a hill to a village. You continue trekking along forested ridges until you reach Kyichu. You will visit the ancient temple of Kyichu Lhakang, one of the oldest in Bhutan, which was one of 108 temples built by Songtsen Gampo, an important early Tibetan king, to pin down the Bon demon that was thought to hover over the whole of Tibet.

From here it’s an hour’s drive to Gunitsawa from where it is a short walk through the small army checkpoint to cross the river on a small bridge and walk upstream to camp at Shana.

Day 06 Shana to Soi Thangthanka, 3,519m/11,545ft - 7-8 hours.
Overnight: Camp

Still following the river in heavily forested country, the route is dotted with isolated farmhouses and plenty of bird life. You may be advised by your Bhutanese guide to walk in pairs on this section as there are still bears in this area. You pass a junction en route, where another trail leads north over the Tremo La to Tibet. Spencer Chapman crossed the Tremo La in 1937 on his way to climb Chomolhari from Tibet.

Day 07 Trek to Chomolhari Base Camp (Jangothang), 4,090m/13,416ft - 5-6 hours.
Overnight: Camp

It is worth getting up early to photograph the dawn colours on Bhutan’s second highest mountain, Chomolhari, which is framed at the end of the valley. After about an hour’s walk you slowly leave the forest line and gradually climb into a beautiful valley, passing Tengethang, a winter home of yak herdsmen. You should see lots of yaks today before you arrive at a row of small chortens and stone huts, which is the base camp for the mountain. At 7,314m/ 23,997ft Chomolhari overlooks the camp and nearby there are ruins of the old fortress which used to guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasion.

Day 08 Rest and acclimatisation day. Attend Chomolhari Mountain Festival (October departures).
Overnight: Camp

It is highly advisable that you do some sort of walk today involving height gain in order to help with acclimatisation. There are several excellent walks to choose from today. You may walk up to the Chomolhari glacier, climb the grassy ridge just north of the base camp to reach a small peak at 4,760m/15,617ft for great views, or for an easier option walk up the valley towards Jitchu Drake base camp.

If travelling on our autumn departures, you may have the opportunity to join the celebrations at the Chomolhari Mountain Festival. This festival celebrates the culture of the high mountain communities living in this area and the natural wonders that surround them – the mountains and the wild life, especially the snow leopard.

Day 09 Trek,to,Lingshi,4,149m/13,612ft,via,the,Nyelela,Pass, 4,890m/16,043ft - 6-7 hours.
Overnight: Camp

You will have a good day’s walking today with spectacular views of several stunning Himalayan peaks, including Jitchu Drake, 6,850m/22,470ft, and Tsering Kang, 6,994m/22,946ft. You start climbing straight away and after some 3-4 hours reach the windy Nyelela Pass, 4,890m/16,043ft. Along the way you may well pass yak herders’ ‘jhas’ (tents) where you may be invited in to sample tea, yoghurt or cheese – all three are acquired tastes! It is a very special experience to meet these lovely people. Coming down from the pass to Lingshi you will have your first views of its mystical 17th century dzong, atop a 600ft high hill. The dzong is (just) standing despite being badly damaged by an earthquake, and renovation may be ongoing. Depending on its current state of repair you may be able to visit the dzong. In addition to a very special atmosphere of mystic tranquillity, Lingshi Dzong offers a great view over the valley. Your camp will be in the valley below.

Day 10 Trek to Jimthang (just below the Yeli La) - 4-5 hours.
Overnight: Camp

Before setting off for today’s walk you have time to explore the village and perhaps walk up to the dzong if you have not already done so. The school here serves several local villages.

Leaving Lingshi behind you climb towards a white chorten on a ridge above the camp, then turn south up the deep Mo Chhu valley. The trail stays on the west side of this largely treeless valley, crossing numerous side streams and climbing steeply to Jimthang, situated just below the Yeli La (Trekking Lingshi to Shodu with the crossing the Yeli La Pass would make a very long day, so we split this day into two, camping before the pass crossing).

Day 11 Cross the Yele La Pass 4,930m/16,175ft and trek to Shodu, 3,900m/12,795ft - 4-5 hours.
Overnight: Camp

From camp you climb for about two hours, finally zigzagging through rocks to a large cairn at the Yele La Pass. This pass is the highest and most remote point on your trek. The views from the top are breath taking – on a clear day you may see among others Chomolhari, Tserim Gang and Masagang.

From the pass it is a long, steep descent down the valley alongside a stream to a rock shelter in the cliff face, and then continuing on downstream to your camp at Shodu. Look out for Blue sheep as you descend.

Day 12 Tre to Barshong Gompa and on to Domshesha, 3,449m/11,316ft - 6-7 hours.
Overnight: Camp

This is quite a long day. The path follows the Thimphu Chu River down through rhododendron, juniper, blue pine and mixed alpine forests with tremendous views of rocky cliff faces and waterfalls along the way. You descend a steep stone staircase to the river, possibly stopping at the riverside for lunch. You descend further alongside the river, crossing it several times, and then finally climb in one hour to regain 300m to reach the ruined gompa at Barshong, 3,710m. Your trail now descends gradually through dense forest of rhododendron, birch and conifers (Langur monkeys may be seen along the way) and then drops steeply to on a rocky trail to join the river. Thirty further minutes of walking through larch forest leads to a clearing at 3,370m and then in 15 minutes to Domshesha. This will be your last night of camping.

Day 13 Trek to the road head and drive to Thimphu, 2,334m/7,657ft.
Overnight: Phuntso Pelri Hotel or Similar, Thimphu

After breakfast you trek just a short way to reach a forest road where you will meet your transport. Here you will say farewell to your trek team and drive to Thimphu (1 hour), the capital of Bhutan.

Thimphu has an attractive valley location and is relatively small for a capital city although it has expanded greatly in recent years. You’ll have the afternoon to relax and enjoy the comforts of your hotel with a shower and a beer.

Day 14 Sightseeing in Thimphu. Drive to Paro.
Overnight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar, Paro

Thimphu has been the permanent capital since 1955 and has two cinemas and a radio station. This is the least visited of all the Himalayan capitals with a population of around 100,000, has wide streets and a rather relaxed air. Its sights include the Late King’s Memorial Chorten, the Textile Museum, the Heritage Museum, the silversmiths and pottery workshops, the indigenous hospital specialising in herbal medicine, the thangkha painting school, the Bhutanese paper factory, the recently built Changlingmithang Lhakhang temple, and the National Library. After a day’s sightseeing, you will be driven back to Paro.

Day 15 Fly to Kathmandu.
Overnight: Hotel Shanker Or Shangri La, Kathmandu

This is normally an early morning flight which takes you out and over the Bhutanese Mountains and past Kangchenjunga, Makalu and Everest, finally dropping down into the Kathmandu Valley. You will be met and transferred to your hotel, after which there will be plenty of time to relax and gather your thoughts.

Day 16 At leisure. Afternoon transfer to airport. Depart Kathmandu.
Overnight: In flight

You will have time at leisure in Kathmandu today when you may do some sightseeing or shopping, or simply relax at your hotel. Later there will be a group transfer to the airport for your overnight flight to your Home.

Day 17 Arrive at Home.


  • Arrival & Departure Transport By private Car/Van/Bus.
  • Three meals a day during the Trekking (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
  • Accommodation in Tea House during the Trekking.
  • Trekking Guide with Insurance
  • Kathmandu city and trekking maps.
  • Free use Company's duffel bag.
  • Day sightseeing around Kathmandu Valley, car/van/bus and tour guide
  • All needed Government fees.
  • Food in Kathmandu(City) lunch and dinner.
  • Tips for Guide and Porters
  • Extra night accommodation in Kathmandu (late departure or early arrival from the mountains.
  • Donation Items of personal expenses like hot shower, battery charge, telephone etc.




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