Elevation 2,280 m
Start early for the drive to Chele La Pass which, at 3,988m (12,499ft), is the highest road pass in Bhutan, snaking upwards through blue pine and rhododendron (Etho Metho) forests for 35 kilometres. On a clear day the view sweeps away to the snow-dome of Bhutan’s second highest peak, Mt Jhomolhari (7314m or 23,996ft), and down to the Haa Valley, which only opened to foreigners in 2002 due to its proximity to the border with Sikkim and Tibet. This unspoiled valley harks back to a simpler, more traditional time. Striding out along the Edelweiss-covered ridge (Edelweiss flowers during the summer months only), we pass a sky burial site. Descend for the two-hour hike through dense rhododendron forest, possibly sighting shaggy yaks, to Kila Goemba, an ancient nunnery nestled in a craggy patch on the mountainside.