Jomolhari Mountain, which rises to a height of 2,700 metres (8,900 ft), is situated between the border of Tibet & Bhutan. The Jumolhari Trek is one of the most popular Treks in Bhutan. Starting at Drukgyel Dzong in Paro, this trek passes through scattered hamlets and farmland into a deep and richly forested valley, which leads to a high alpine pastureland where yak headers graze their animals. The trek offers a taste of the great variety of Bhutanese landscape.
Trip length: 11 Days
Duration of the trek: 8 days (challenging trek)
Maximum altitude reached: 4820m/15814ft.
Season: April to June, September to November
Day 01: Arrival in Paro
On your arrival at Paro International airport, we greet you in a typical Bhutanese style and take you to your Paro hotel. We take a stroll in Paro town to take in the scenary and atmosphere of this mystical kingdom. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Day 02: Paro Sightseeing
We drive northwest up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Though largely destroyed by fire in 1951, its towering walls are still an imposing sight. On a clear day, there is a splendid view of Mt. Jomolhari from the approach road to Drukgyel Dzong. Then, we visit one of the typical village houses clustered near the dzong. On our way back, we visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of Bhutan. In the afternoon, we pay a visit to Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower and now the National Museum. Then, we walk down the hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong), whose name translates to ‘the fortress of the heap of jewels’. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Day 03: Paro – Shana, 1st day of trek
17km, 5-6 hours
The trek starts from Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) with a short downhill walk on a wide trail. The trail then climbs gently through well maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. Later on, we come to apple orchards and forests. Soon the valley widens, and we reach the army post of Gunitsawa (2,810m). This is the last stop before Tibet. We continue upwards to just beyond Sharma Zampa (2,870), where there are several good camping places in meadows surrounded by trees.
Day 04: Shana – Soi Thangthangkha
20km, 7-8 hours
The trail again follows the Pa Chu (Paro river), ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. After crossing a bridge to the left bank of the river, we stop for lunch. Then we continue along the river, climbing upwards through rhododendron forests, and crossing the river once more before reaching our campsite (3,750m).
Day 05: Soi Thangthangka – Jangothang
19km, 7-8 hours
The path ascends for a while until we reach the army camp. We then follow the river above the tree line, enjoying stunning view of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch is served at a yak herder’s camp. A short walk from here into the valley takes us to our campsite at Jangothang (4,040 m). From here, the view of Jomolhari and Jichu Drake are superb.
Day 06: Jangothang – Lingshi
18km, 7-8 hours
The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right bank. We now start our climb up to the first ridge, enjoying breathtaking view of Jomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tserimgang. The trail then takes us across a fairly level valley floor until the climb up to Nyele-la pass (4,700m). We descend gradually from the pass to our camp site at Lingshi (4,000m), enjoying a panoramic view of the mountain peaks and Lingshi Dzong.
Day 07: Lingshi – Shodu
22km, 8-9 hours
The Laya-Gasa route leaves the Jomolhari trek route here. Our trail climbs up towards a small white chorten on a ridge above the camp, then turns south up the deep Mo Chu valley. The trail stays on the west side of this largely treeless valley, climbing steadily a short distance above the Mo Chu. It then crosses the river, and climbs steeply for two hours to Yeli-la (4,820m). On a clear day you can see Jomolhari, Gangchenta, Tserimgang and Masagang from this pass. Descend alongside a stream to a rock shelter in the cliff face, and then continue on downstream till reaching Shodu (4,100m), where we camp in a meadow with a chorten in it.
Day 08: Shodu – Barshong
16km, 6/-7 hours
We are now back at the tree line, and our path follows the course of the Thimphu Chu, descending through rhododendron, juniper and mixed alpine forests. There are stunning views of rocky cliff faces and waterfalls along the way. We stop at the riverside for a lunch. Then the trail takes us gradually upwards to the ruins of Barshong Dzong (3,600m), near which we camp for the night.
Day 09: Barshong – Dolam Kencho
15km, 5-6 hours
The trail descends gently through a dense forest of rhodendron, birch and conifers, then drops steeply to meet the Thimphu Chu. The trail runs along the left bank of the river, climbing over ridges and descending into gullies where side streams run down into the river. The final stage of the trail climbs around a cliff face high above the Thimphu Chu, coming out onto pastureland where we camp for the night at 3,600m.
Day 10: Dolam Kencho – Dodena – Thimphu
8km, 3 hours
The trail winds in and out of side valleys above the Thimphu Chu, making a long ascent through a forest of conifers and high altitude broadleaf species to a pass at 3,510m. The trail then drops steeply down to the river, following it southward to the road head at Dodena (2,600m). Cama representatives meet us here, and we drive to Thimphu. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 11: Thimphu – Paro
Full day of sightseeing in Thimphu valley visiting the following, as time permits:
National Memorial Chorten; Tashichhodzong (‘the fortress of the glorious religion’); National Library; Institute for Zorig Chusum (Bhutanese arts and crafts school); National Institute of Traditional Medicine (outside only); Handicrafts Emporium; and Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums.
Evening drive to Paro. Farewell dinner & Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 12: Departure from Paro
After breakfast, drive to Paro airport for flight to onward destination. Tashi Delek!