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    Chele La Pass

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    13.5 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    1,100 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
    Overall Rating
    This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
    Physical Difficulty
    This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
    Advanced (Diamond)
    Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
    Technical Difficulty
    This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
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    Directions to Trailhead
    Chele La Pass

    Exploding with an unspoiled, hushed ambience, the scenery blanketing Chele La Pass envelops any trekker. Depending on what time of year you hike, you’ll notice the enchanting blue poppies dotting the valley. The end of the hike will take you to the nunnery, which is set along the mountain face.

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    Route Description for Chele La Pass

    Chele La Pass is the highest mountain pass in Bhutan, and it’s about a 2-hour drive from Thimphu and a 1-hour drive from Paro. The dramatic pass offers views of the Paro valley to the right and Haa valley to the left. There are a few different tracks from the pass, so the one you choose will depend on how much time you have as well as how much walking you want to do. The endpoint for two of the treks is the nunnery, which you’ll see balancing on the hillside on the drive up. Alternatively, you can go up and back any of the trails leading away from the pass.

    Start at the pass and with your back to where you just came from, head right up the ridge. Pass through the prayer flags. Try to go under them instead of over them. Keep in mind that it’s a nice show of respect to rehang flags that have fallen to the ground. Amid the breathtaking views, you’ll encounter a sprinkle of spirituality.

    Eventually, you’ll come to a chorten, a religious monument, where there may be people making offerings or saying prayers for the dead. From here, you’ll have a couple of choices: head down to the right to go straight to the nunnery (around 2 hours), or head up further along the ridge to see an inactive sky burial site (hence the prayers). To get to the nunnery, simply head back to the chorten and turn left, or follow the path back to the road (around 1.5 hours).

    There’s also the option of heading further along the ridge to a second sky burial, however this one is active. If you can see birds of prey circling the site, please don’t climb up to it, for obvious reasons.

    The path is obvious and follows the ridge. You will see a house on the second hill between you and the second burial site. Head down from the house. It makes the climb up to the burial site a little steeper than if you follow the ridge, but it’s worth it. From the burial site you can see a picnic area. Opt to go down here or hike along the path to the right, which will take you towards the nunnery.
    Meander through rainforest until the scenery unfolds into a field that encompasses a ruin of a hut and an overgrown path. Head to the right to find the path again. Eventually, you’ll come across a powerline tower and some chortens, indicating that you have arrived at the nunnery.

    From the nunnery return the way you came. Note that you should have asked your driver to meet you, as it can be tough to find transportation from here, so it’s best to ask your driver to meet you.
    If you’re trekking in the right season, you may get the chance to see the ever-so enchanting blue poppy sweeping the region. Do note that poppies only grow between 3,800 m and 4,000 m.

    Insider Hints for Chele La Pass

    • The earlier the start the better, especially if it's during monsoon.
    • From Chelela, it is possible to spend the night in either Haa or Paro, or head back to Thimphu.

    Getting to the Chele La Pass Trailhead

    The trailhead can be found right where the highest point of Bondey-Haa Highway is. This location is marked with a big yellow sign.

    Route Information

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    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Chele La Pass Elevation Graph

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    Chele La Pass Reviews

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