Chele La

Chele La

Chele La is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.796m (12,454ft) above the sea level, located in the Paro District of Bhutan. It’s one of the highest mountain roads of the country.

The road to the summit is asphalted and pretty steep, with hundreds of turns. It’s called Bondey-Haa Highway. The road was built in the 1990’s. There are sheer drops virtually along the entire route and enough hairpins to make a whirling dervish dizzy. About an hour's drive from Paro, the road passes through lush valleys, pine and rhododendron forest. Very beautiful route almost entirely in the forest. The climb is very even with hardly more than 5%.
The road is very narrow. It is not recommended if your passengers are prone to car sickness. A quick glance at the map at its sheer drops and serpentine twists and turns, confirms that this is no hype. The pass connects Paro to the lesser known valley of Bhutan, known as the Haa Valley. The journey offers superb views. It’s definitely worth it. A drive not to be missed! If the weather permits, on a clear day there are spectacular views of Mt. Jumolhari, Jichu Drake and adjoining peaks to the North West, as well as the view of Haa and Paro valley. Notorius lack of oxygen that tests the organisms and a high degree of steepness. Most people feel altitude sickness at around 2,500-2,800 meters. A major hazard of altitude is the sickness that can indiscriminately affect anyone regardless of age or fitness. Climbing too high, too fast increases the risk of altitude sickness. Extremely low oxygen for engine combustion.

The wind is usually quite strong at mountain areas. High winds blow here all year long. Protect yourself from heavy cold with warm clothes, cap and glouse. Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime, being extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. The pass usually welcomes you with chilly rain, strong winds and flattering prayer flags. Drive to the pass is through dense spruce and larch forests along the gorgreous mountain slope.

 

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