7 days tour with 3-day Chele La Nature Trek

Ana & Alex

On trek

After three years hiatus due to Covid-19 pandemic Ana and Axel were our first guests for 2023. After a long email communications Ana and Axel signed up with Bhutan Travelers for 6 days tour that consisted of cultural sightseeing and three days Chela La trek. The first day was spent in exploring Paro including quite little town. The second day, they were on a hike to Tiger’s Nest monastery, which is considered Bhutan’s must-see and famous sight. They then continued drive to Haa valley for three days trek that started from Haa. Usually our guests stay in Paro as Tiger’s Nest hike is a full day programme. Ana and Axel had to move the same evening to Haa as they had a 3-day Chele La trek starting tomorrow. This trek starts from Haa, goes along the ridges and mountains in between Haa and Paro climbing the last day to Kungkarpo at 4200m and ending at Chele La pass.

Meet with a host

Karma with Guest

As gesture of goodwill CEO Karma Tashi always find time to meet our guests for a while. The group was met at the Swiss Restaurant in Thimphu for a lunch. This is the time when elaborate talks would go on for a while. The time is also being used for gathering valuable feedbacks and conjure up damage control measure if anything might have gone wrong during the trip. Ana and Axel went on saying that they specially liked the trek foods as rightly briefed by their guides during trek briefing. Sometimes we call – 3 star on mountains – because we supply large assortment of foods which are cooked to palatable tastes by our trained trekking chefs.

Rhododendron, yaks & hot stone bath

Trekking between Rhododendrons

Other highlights on this trip was, on the second day the group encountered a small snowfall at Ningula stretch and it was really fun walking on snow, rhododendron trail, yaks were other add on. The trail from the second and the third days is blessed with rhododendron tress – and in April and May trails will be decorated with red, white and pink rhododendron flowers. Our trekkers have also encountered yaks on the trek. Cow herders and yak herders have been living through a congenial traditions through years. That is, while in summer, when cow herders from the lower valleys migrate up, yak herders migrate higher up. And in winter when the yak herders descend, cow herders also migrate to lower valleys. Ana and Axel could spot few herds who were moving up to high mountains. The last leg of the trek was heightened by traditional hot stone bath – somewhere at the end of trail, guests had an opportunity to immerse into hot stone bath, which was a treat to
their ached bodies after a long trek.

Water crisis

Lunchtime rest for the guest

Tents are pitched in a designated site where water is available. Surprisingly, water at the second camp Ningula was dried up and the staff had to melt lumps of ice blocks to cook meals for the group. This was the only water source yak herders and trekkers depend on and one can guesswork for several reasons – either sources are drying up due to ecological disturbances at the nearby water source or water table have dried up due to long dry summer months last year. 

Guides & Horses

Guest with Trekking staffs

The success of a trek depends on team work. The trek was led by Yeshi Tshrultrim, a company’s cultural and trekking guide. Yeshi is among few guides who have passed the certification examination conducted by the government as a part of tourism transformation process. He was accompanied by Dorji, a trek chef, assistant Tshering and horseman Namgay with his six horses. Unlike Nepal, we use horses to carry food supplies and trek equipment. Namgay is a local from Paro who ferries luggage for trek companies using his horses that he has inherited from his family as his share.

Yes, finally the trek was a successful one. However the team or the outfitter have to look at different ways to engage the trekkers during free time – for example, when trekker not have to walk long or trekkers walk fast to reach the campsite there would be ample time between trekkers check- into tents and before supper. To counter this, trekkers are initially briefed to bring in any books to read during free time or alternately they can be engaged in some simple games.