Another of my to-do items was to see the sunrise from Dochu La, a 3100 metre pass located 23 km up from Thimphu. The view of the Himalayan ranges is supposed to be excellent on a clear day and the best time for a cloudless sky is early morning between November and March. There is a hotel at Dochu La which is a popular spot for tourists to stay in order to wake up at the viewpoint. I decided to treat myself to a mini-break and stay over one night at this hotel. Yesterday at 3pm, I headed over to the regional taxi stand where I loaded myself into a Mahindra 4x4 taxi with eight other passengers. A fun ride!
The hotel was fully booked but I was the first to check in at 4pm. I walked back up the road, dodging trucks and buses, to the place where there are 108 chortens. The sky was quite clear and the mountains had a faint dusky pinkness on their western edges. That's Masang Gang there with the zig-zag summit, 7165 m high. I was looking forward to the sunrise view.
In the evening, I found the rest of the hotel was booked by a huge group from Gap Adventures. I met a number of new people and learned a little more about what it's like to travel Bhutan in a big tour like that. I had brought my laptop and notebooks along with the expectation of getting some work done: who was I kidding? I went to bed early.
At 5:30, I woke up and pulled back the curtains. Cloud. Heavy cloud. No Himalayan visa to behold. Disappointing!
By 8:30, some of the cloud was drifting enough to reveal one peak at a time. It's hard to be let down by any sighting of these mountains but Dochu La was certainly not at its best this morning.
Cultural note: in North America, we all pronounce it 'Hi-ma-LAY-as' but Bhutanese and Indians say 'Hi-MA-lay-as'.