Chelela Pass is the highest motorable point in Bhutan, situated 3,989 meters above sea level. It lies 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. Chele La Pass is among the popular places to see in Bhutan.
The drive to Chele La is through dense spruce and larch forests. Depending on season you will encounter various sites such as frozen river, waterfall, rhododendron forest and yaks grazing peacefully. In the months of Nov to March, birds like Blood pheasant, Magpie, Kalij pheasant, Nutcracker etc. can be found. On a clear day Mount Jomolhari can be seen from here along with Jichu Drake and adjoining peaks to the North West, as well as the view of both the Paro and Haa Valley. In peak snowfall times, Chelela Pass remains closed for tourist, due to snow and ice and the risk of avalanche.
View from Chelela Pass
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.
DzongdrakhaGoemba, just two km away it is famous for its large white Nepali style Chorten perched stunningly on a cliff ledge. The site is where Guru Rinpoche suppressed local demons and is definitely worth a detour.
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