Discover the intricacies of the 7-day Jomolhari Trek, encompassing key details such as cost, walking distances, difficulty level, and altitudes. Renowned as one of Bhutan’s premier high-altitude treks, this journey commences at Shana in Paro and culminates at Dodena, Thimphu. The route traverses through the camps of Yak Herders, surmounting two challenging high passes from Jangothang. A highlight of this trek is the breathtaking view of Jomolhari Mountain (7314 meters) as seen from the vantage point of Jangothang. Embarking on the Jomolhari trek requires a certain level of stamina, as it is classified as strenuous. The pinnacle of the journey reaches an impressive altitude of 4700 meters, promising an exhilarating high-altitude experience. The optimal periods for undertaking the Jomolhari Trek are March to May and September to November, when weather conditions are most favorable, enhancing your overall trekking experience.
Customizable Itinerary Sample:
As you fly into the enchanting Paro valley via the country’s sole airport, you’ll be immediately struck by the pristine mountain air, verdant ridges, impressive monasteries, and the warm hospitality of the Bhutanese people adorned in their distinctive national attire. This initial view is nothing short of breathtaking.
The Paro valley is a treasure trove of attractions, and your afternoon itinerary encompasses visits to two significant sites. The first is Ta Dzong, a historic watchtower that was originally constructed as a defense stronghold for Rinpung Dzong during the valley conflicts of the 17th century. In 1968, Ta Dzong was reimagined as Bhutan’s National Museum, showcasing its rich heritage. Our next destination is Rinpung Dzong, a majestic fortress constructed in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the inaugural spiritual and temporal leader of Bhutan. This Dzong continues to serve as the seat of district administration, the district court, and the monastic community. As you approach the southern side of the Dzong, you’ll encounter the Nemi Zam, a traditional cantilever bridge with a roof. Crossing this bridge provides a sweeping view of the Dzong’s architectural grandeur and a chance to tread the same path as the warriors of old.
In the evening, take a leisurely stroll down the main street, exploring local handicraft shops and perhaps indulging in refreshments at a charming café or inviting bar. This marks the beginning of your remarkable journey through Bhutan’s cultural and natural wonders. Please note that this sample itinerary is subject to customization based on your preferences and specific travel arrangements.
Embarking on the hike to Taktsang, a site revered in the Buddhist sphere as the Tiger’s Nest, opens a doorway to profound spirituality. This revered location is steeped in legend – it’s said that Guru Rinpoche, astride a tigress, arrived at Taktsang and his meditation within a cave catalyzed the transformation of the entire Paro valley into a bastion of Buddhism. Today, a collection of temples clings delicately to the face of a dark cliff, elevated high above the Paro valley.
The journey commences with a 2-3 hours ascent along a steep footpath that weaves its way through captivating pine forests adorned with Spanish moss and intermittent clusters of fluttering prayer flags. The effort invested in this ascent yields a visual reward of panoramic vistas that more than justifies the climb. The visit to the monastery serves as a serene interlude, inviting introspection, before our descent to the road below.
Altitude: 2,820m/3,580m (Total Alitude Gain: 760m), Duration 8 hours, Distance 16 Km. Level of Difficulty: Moderate, characterized by a lengthy route with uneven and occasionally muddy terrain.
Following an early morning meal, we prepare for an invigorating journey ahead. A drive of approximately one and a half hours transports us to Shana, where our memorable trekking adventure begins.
Today’s trek marks the longest of our expedition, spanning eight hours as we make our way to the Soi Thangthangka campsite. The trail weaves beside the river, gradually ascending through a diverse mix of blue pine and oak trees. Later in the day, as the sun begins its descent, we find ourselves surrounded by majestic rhododendron, birch, fir, and maple trees. While the path may be bumpy and rocky, it doesn’t pose a strenuous challenge. However, rainy conditions can transform parts of the trail into a muddy passage. Throughout our journey, we’ll encounter several simple wooden bridges and occasionally the river itself will flow alongside the trail.
Around the four-hour mark of walking through a narrowing valley, we pause for a much-needed lunch break. Shing Karap and Thombuzam, resting spots at approximately 3305m, offer a perfect setting to rejuvenate. While various trails branch off in different directions, including the path leading to Tremo La—an ancient salt-trading route to Tibet—our course remains focused. As we approach the campsite, the trail ascends a ridge adorned with a chorten. Gazing beyond, the Jomolhari Mountain, standing majestically at a height of 7326m, emerges at the valley’s end. After a fulfilling eight-hour trek, we arrive at the campsite nestled in a spacious clearing, directly facing the awe-inspiring Mount Jomolhari. Witnessing the morning sun illuminate the peak of Jumolhari is a sight that truly captures the essence of nature’s beauty.
Altitude: 3,580m/4000m (Total Altitude Gain: 420m), Duration 4 hours, Distance 11 Km. Level of Difficulty: Short and easy.
Journeying from Soi Thangthangka to Jangothang unveils a captivating ascent towards the Jomolhari Base Camp, situated at an elevation of 13,260 feet (4044m). With an altitude gain of 420 meters, this leg of the trek spans 11 kilometers and lasts about 4 hours. The level of difficulty is rated as short and easy, allowing you to relish the route’s offerings at a leisurely pace.
The trail leads you past an army outpost, a point of significance where you’re required to pause and register your entry permits, a formality efficiently managed by your guide. Meandering alongside the Pachu River, the trail passes through quaint, diminutive villages. The journey culminates at the Base Camp, Jangothang, sitting at an elevation of 4,000 meters. Gazing towards the Northeast, the commanding, rounded presence of the Jumolhari Mountain dominates the view. As the sun dips below the horizon, the silhouette of the ruined Jangothang Dzong, inhabited by majestic ravens, casts an air of mystique. This area boasts a vibrant array of birdlife. Along the way, you might spot the Fire-tailed Sunbird, Ibisbill, White-throated Dipper, Yellow-billed Chough, Rosy Pipit, Snow Pigeon, Blue-fronted Redstart, Plumbeous Water Redstart, Blood Pheasant, Snow Partridge, and many more species.
Today marks a well-deserved break to acclimate to the altitude, as well as the cooling temperatures, particularly during the night. This day presents an opportunity to explore the valley, marvel at breathtaking mountain views, and embrace the tranquil surroundings. A leisurely two-hour hike will lead you to the twin lakes of Tshophu, offering a serene interlude. For those pursuing the Lingshi variation of the trek, this day’s hike holds particular significance. The presence of the cone-shaped Jichu Drakey against the backdrop of the clear blue sky is a sight reminiscent of the Matterhorn, an awe-inspiring view that leaves an indelible impression. Many consider Jichu Drakey to be the most beautiful mountain in Bhutan.
Altitude: 4000m/3915m (Total Altitude loss: 85m), Duration 5 hours, Distance 12 Km. Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
Embarking from our campsite, we initiate our journey with an ascent that leads us across undulating grasslands and patches of small brush. Our path guides us steadily towards the Nyile La, situated at an altitude of 4850 meters. This leg of the journey is notably extensive, so for those experiencing their first Himalayan pass, it’s advised to proceed at a comfortable pace. This is especially crucial during the final phases, where the trail becomes steeper just before the pass itself. Here, the verdant grasses transition into scree and sand, underscoring the need for caution.
As you ascend, the vistas that unfold on your way to Jichu Drake are bound to be a wellspring of inspiration. Upon conquering the Nyile La, we bid adieu to the towering presence of Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. Our descent takes on a more pronounced incline as we navigate through a dwarf rhododendron shrub landscape, directing us toward Lingshi village.
On the horizon, the silhouette of Lingshi Dzong comes into view. This imposing structure was erected as a bulwark to safeguard not only Lingshi but also the neighboring Bhutanese villages from intermittent incursions from Tibet. Prior to reaching the village and the Dzong, our path veers off. We begin a descent that brings us across a stream, followed by a brief yet challenging ascent, culminating in another descent into a serene valley where our campsite awaits beside a gently flowing stream.
Today Jomolhari trek difficulty is most strenuous. Distance: 22 km, 8-9 hours walk. (Ascent 940 m, Descent 920 m).
Today marks the most challenging phase of our journey, underscoring the importance of an early commencement. Our expedition kicks off as we embark on a gradual ascent through the valley, culminating in a demanding climb to reach the summit of Yale La pass, towering at an elevation of 4950 meters – the zenith of our entire adventure. While the final push to conquer this peak demands significant effort, the rewards are unquestionably gratifying. Atop the pass, a panoramic spectacle unfolds, treating us to awe-inspiring vistas of Jomolhari (7314m), Jichu Drake (6794m), and Tshrim Gang, etching an indelible memory in our minds.
Having surmounted the pass, our journey transitions into a lengthy descent, leading us to our campsite nestled in Shodu (3950m).
Distance: 16 km. walking time 5-6 hours, Ascent 250 m, Descent: 670 m. Camp at Altitude: 3710 m.
The path follows the Thimchu River descending through rhododendron, Juniper and pine forests. The view of the cliff facing rocks and water falls are stunning. The trail gradually ascends after 3 to 4 hours to the ruins of Barshong Dzong and our camp for the night.
Camp at altitude 3320 m. 15 km. walking time 4-6 hours, Ascent 290 m, Descent 640 m.
The expedition begins by descending and briefly converging with the Thimchu river. This is followed by a gradual sequence of ascents and descents, winding its way through the verdant bamboo and pine forests. After approximately 2 hours of walking, we’ll find ourselves at the familiar campsite of Domshesha. Continuing from there, the trail stretches onward for another 3-4 hours, eventually leading us to Dolam Kencho, which serves as the roadhead for our journey. Subsequently, a transfer to Thimphu has been arranged.
Following the demanding trek, you might consider indulging in a rejuvenating massage or experiencing a relaxing Herbal Medicinal Bath at the National Traditional facility. This can provide a well-deserved respite for your body and mind after the day’s exertions.
Embark on a day of exploration as you uncover the cultural gems of Thimphu.We commence at Kuensel Phodrang, renowned as Buddha Point, a location that invites you to capture breathtaking photographs and immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere of this iconic landmark. Behold the grandeur of the Buddha Dordenma statue, soaring to an impressive height of 169 feet (51 meters), offering a panoramic vista that leaves you awestruck. Delve into the intricacies of the statue’s design and bask in the tranquil surroundings that envelope it.
The next destination is the Motithang Takin Preserve, an essential wildlife sanctuary safeguarding the takin, Bhutan’s esteemed national animal. Gain insight into the creature’s cultural significance and the legend that narrates its origin.
We then venture to Dechen Phrodrang, an ancient monastery teeming with historical artifacts and treasures, offering a captivating glimpse into Bhutan’s rich heritage and cultural lineage. Engage with the spiritual sanctity of Zilukha Nunnery and interact with the devoted nuns, granting you deeper insights into the principles of Buddhism.
Our exploration leads us to the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, a school dedicated to traditional arts and crafts. Here, observe students honing their skills in disciplines such as woodworking, painting, and ceramics, carrying forward these age-old traditions.
Visit the National Post Office, a venue where you can fashion a personalized stamp adorned with your own photograph, creating a unique memento of your journey.
Conclude the day with a special dinner at Babesa Village Restaurant, surrounded by the Discovery Bhutan team. This evening serves as an opportunity to review your enriching experiences in Bhutan, reflecting on the memories you’ve made.
It’s time to say goodbye to Bhutan. Your Discovery Bhutan escort will accompany you to the airport for your onward flight. Take a moment to cherish the awe-inspiring natural beauty surrounding you and reflect upon the incredible memories and experiences you have gathered during your stay.
Bid farewell to this enchanting land, holding it dear in your heart, with the aspiration that Tashi Delek will guide you back to this extraordinary place in the future.