Bhutan Snow Leopard Trek

An expedition to Chomolhari, Laya, and Gasa

  • A high-elevation Himalayan trek with unrivaled rewards: a hiker's heaven, a botanist's paradise
  • Authentic encounters with the Laya people, semi-nomadic yak-herders
  • Chance sightings of bharal (blue sheep) and possibly the elusive snow leopard
Cheli Pass Bhutan with GeoEx
Trip Type: Scheduled Departure
Trip Length: 19 Days
Activity type(s): Trekking, Cultural Tour
Trip Extensions: Angkor Extension
Laos Extension

This Himalayan adventure is unique, rigorous, and extraordinarily rewarding. We journey along Bhutan’s northwestern border with Tibet, reaching a high-elevation area ventured to by fewer than 300 visitors each year. During our 14-day, pack-animal supported trek, there are crystalline streams, stunning alpine landscapes, old-growth rhododendron forests, and chance sightings of bharal (blue sheep) and elusive snow leopards.

After acclimatizing with a hike to Taktsang Lhakhang, the cliff-clinging monastery, we embark on our trek from Drukgyel Dzong in the Paro Valley. Shadowing the Tibet border, we hike to Bhutan’s revered Chomolhari peak on a path described by the trip leader as having “precipitous towering ridges on each side, bonsai pines adorning the riverbanks, and thick carpets of moss laid to the skies.” We take a couple of rest days to appreciate the glorious summit and to visit with Laya people, the semi-nomadic yak herders of the region. Upon concluding the trek in Goem Damji, just north of Punakha, we’re rewarded with a soothing dip in Gasa Tsachum hot springs. Finally, in thrilling contrast to our last fortnight’s surroundings, we explore the small city of Thimphu, a jostling jubilee of Bhutanese treasures such as traditional weavings, silverwork and the thangka paintings, before returning to Paro.

Chomolhari Bhutan Tibet trek map

Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: arrive in Paro
  • Day 2: hike to Taktsang Lhakhang
  • Day 3: start trekking, camp in Shana
  • Days 4 & 5: on to Soi Thangthanka and Chomolhari base camp
  • Day 6: rest day in Jangothang
  • Days 7–12: trek to Lingshi, Chebisa, Shomuthang, Robluthang, Limithang, and Laya
  • Day 13: rest day in Laya village
  • Days 14 & 15: hike to Chamsa and Gasa hot springs
  • Day 16: end trek in Goem Damji, drive to Punakha
  • Day 17: by road to Thimphu, visit Chimi Lhakhang
  • Day 18: drive to Paro, explore
  • Day 19: depart.