Chelela Pass in Paro
Chele La (Chele Pass, la means pass in Dzongkha) is the highest motorable point in Bhutan, sitting 3,988 meters (13,083 ft) above sea level, between the Haa and Paro valleys. The pass is located 35 km from Paro and 26 km from Haa on the Bondey-Haa Highway. Built-in the 1990s, the asphalt road is narrow and steep, with sharp turns and sheer drops. It may be dangerous in winter due to snow and ice and the risk of avalanches.
An area just below the pass was used as the location for Agay’s Hut in Khyentse Norbu’s film Travellers & Magicians. The film crew rebuilt an abandoned camp once used by the Bhutan Logging Corporation, as their headquarters during filming, fortifying the buildings with corrugated steel sheets
The Best time to Visit Chelela Pass
May to September is known to be the best time to visit Chele La Pass since the weather is pleasant and perfect for a one-day picnic. Although, these are also the months of monsoon and therefore, before planning a trek here, you should definitely check with the locals about the weather beforehand. July, in particular, is a good time to visit here because of the Haa Summer Festival that takes place. It involves the display of traditional Bhutanese performances, food stalls, sports, and other cultural celebrations where the locals, known as the nomadic Haaps, and some tourists come together. It takes place every year, spread over two days in the month of July.
How to Reach Chelela Pass?
You can take a car or a motorbike from Paro or Thimphu to get to Chele La Pass. If you go from Paro, it would take you approximately one and a half hours, and from Thimpu, it would take you approximately two and a half hours to reach. Both ways, the scenic surroundings while on the way to Chele La are breathtaking. Many tour companies in Paro and Thimpu offer cars and motorbikes for rent. While visiting Haa valley you come across Chelela Pass.