Jomolhari Round Trek14 Nights 15 Days
Jomolhari Round Trek
This is a strenuous 10 days trek, starting from Drukgyel Dzong, Paro and ending at Dodina, Thimphu. This trek is one of the most popular treks in Bhutan, passing through scattered hamlets and farm land into densely forested valleys. It takes us to high alpine pasture land, where yak herders gaze their animals. The trek offers a great variety of landscape and stunning views of the Himalayan peaks. Along the trek route you will see the Blue sheep and many other examples of our wild life.The trek takes up the Paro Chu (valley) to Jhomolhari base camp over the first three days. The views at the camp are amongst the best in the Himalayas. For those that are carrying on over the 2 high passes we spend a day at base camp to acclimatize and tour the region. Then it is over the first of the high passes - Nyilela pass 4870m (15680ft) an exciting adventure as we continue along a mountain ridge getting fabulous views of the Himalayas upclose. We spend the night near a military camp and next day can either be at rest for exploration of the Linjshi valley and Dzong. Its then over the highest pass of the trek at 4930m (16270ft) Yelila pass frequently snow covered. From there it is a 3 day trek down the valley to Thimpu – climbing up to highs as we go. The scenery is sometimes ragged as we cut through deep gorges and always green.
In Paro valley, we see the castle-fortress at Rinpung, the ruins of the “Victory Fortress at Drugyel”, the National Museum, and the 7th century temple complex at Kurje. The highlight is the hike to Taktshang monastery (Tiger’s Lair), an edifice on a sheer cliff wall 800 meters above the valley floor, worshipped in the entire Himalayan Buddhist world.
In Thimphu, we visit the magnificent castle-fortress at Tashi Chho Dzong, the seat of power which also houses the palace of the King. Then we go to other places of interest like the Memorial Stupa, traditional paper factory, Folk Heritage Museum, Textile Academy, Handicraft Emporium, the site of the world’s biggest Buddha statue.
Stroll around town and see Bhutanese culture by observing people, dress, language, customs, art and craft, etc.
Arrive / Paro
Fly into Bhutan on Druk Airways. If you are lucky, you will have glorious view of the snowcapped Himalayas. The remarkable and steep descent into the Paro valley is an awe-inspiring beginning to an adventure of a lifetime. After visa formalities and collection of baggage, you will meet the Bhutanese representative from Bhutan Journeys, who will receive you and drive through Paro valley to your hotel. After settling down at the hotel, you will have your lunch. Afternoon visit the National Museum (Tak Dzong) (one of the fine museums in Asia that would shed further light to your adventurous trip to Bhutan and Paro Rimpong Dzong, administration center and religious institute of the valley. This Dzong may be familiar to people who watched Burtolucci’s film “The Little Buddha”, followed by walk through Paro town. Dinner and Overnight: Hotel
Paro - Taktsang (Tiger Nest Excursion)
After breakfast we drive to the north of Paro valley to Ramthangkha, from where we start our hike to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest). Visitors are permitted to hike up to the viewpoint from where they can see the monastery hanging on a cliff. We will obtain the special permit to visit the monastery. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche flew from Eastern Bhutan on a tigress, bringing Buddhist teachings and meditated here in this cliff. This is one of the most venerated and sacred of all Buddhist sights around the world. Lunch will be served at Taktsang cafeteria. Walk downhill to the road and enroute visit Drukgyel Dzong (now in ruins), which reveals the reminiscence of ancient architecture and followed by visit to Kyichu Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by Songtsen Gompo, which denotes the spread and emergence of Buddhism in the country. Evening at leisure: Dinner and Overnight: Hotel
Trek Day 1: By car to Drugyel Dzong (8460ft/2580m), trek to Shana (9480ft/2890m)
- Time: 5hr
- Distance: 9.3 miles / 15 Km
- Altitude gain: 1020ft/310m
- Altitude loss: 260ft/80m
Soi Thangthanka (11,730ft/3575m)
Trek Day 2 Shana (9480ft/2890m) to Soi Thangthanka (11,730ft/3575m)
- Time: 6-7hr (add 1hr if trail is muddy)
- Distance: 13.6 mile s/ 22Km
- Altitude gain: 2250ft / 685m
- Altitude loss: 0ft / 0m
Jangothang (Jhomolhari camp) (13,260ft/4044m)
Trek Day 3: Soi Thangthanka (11,730ft/3575m) to Jangothang (Jhomolhari camp) (13,260ft/4044m)
- Time: 4-5hr
- Distance: 10.5 miles / 17Km
- Altitude gain: 1530ft / 469m
- Altitude loss: 0ft / 0m
Rest day at Jhomolhari Camp (13,260ft/4044m)
Trek Day 4: Rest day at Jhomolhari Camp (13,260ft/4044m) Sun reaches camp at 0800hr in fall. Most people will feel the effects of ascending 1800m in three days, so a rest day at Jhomolhari camp will help with acclimatization. There are some good day hikes from Jhomolhari camp, and it is important to hike today so that you will acclimatize. Follow the standard rule: trek high, sleep low. Side trips for the rest day
- An easy day hike up the valley towards the foot of Jhomolhari; there are several yak trails. After nearly 1hr there is an open sandy space, once probably a big lake. Follow a trail that climbs the moraine on the right and go as far as possible on this towards Jhomolhari. The moraine – ridge walk gives a good view down to the glacier. Ahead, the east face of Jhomolhari gets closer and closer. Watch out for a head of Himalayan blue sheep in this valley.
- One of the more beautiful hikes goes eastward up to the twin lakes Tsho Phu (14,270ft/4350m), which are full of trout (2hr to the lakes; 1.5hr back to camp). From the lakes there is a spectacular view back to Jhomolhari and jitchu Drake. Watch out for the yak herders’ dogs: they are sometimes kept half-starved and are trained to drive unwelcome visitors away. Start by going up the valley from camp. At Jangothang, just at the first house, a bridge crosses the river at the start of an obvious steep trail. For more information about the area and a note on fishing, see Trek 4, day 5.
- The most challenging day hike is up the steep, grassy ridge located next to camp to the north. It takes 3-4hr to reach the final rocky summit (15,610ft/4760m). The views get better and better, first of Jitchu Drake (about 22,470ft/6850m) and, at one point, when crossing over a ridge, Jhomolhari (23,995ft/7315m) is just opposite. The last part of the rocky summit can be tricky due to loose rocks and wind; bring a windproof jacket, gloves and hat.
- A very pleasant hike (2-2.5hr up, 1-1.5hr down) goes in the direction of Jitchu Drake. Walk northeast from camp, following the same trail used to cross Nyile La to Lingshi (see day 5). Pass the last house in Jangothang and find a bridge to cross the river (the second bridge at Jangothang). Immediately after crossing the bridge, turn left and follow a less steep trail into the valley that leads to the foot of Jitchu Drake. You could turn around once you reach a major side valley. A little bit higher up there is a big, flat meadow that used to have a memorial plaque for two Italians who were killed on Jitchu Drake in 1948; unfortunately, the plaque was
Lingshi (13,150ft/4010m) via Nyile La (16,040ft/4890m)
Trek Day5: Jangothang (13,260ft/4044m) to Lingshi (13,150ft/4010m) via Nyile La (16,040ft/4890m)
- Time: 6 - 6.5 hr
- Distance: 13 miles / 21 Km
- Altitude gain: 2780ft / 845m
- Altitude loss: 2890ft / 880m
Rest day at Lingshi for exploring
Trek 6: Rest day at Lingshi for exploring You will spend an extra day here to explore the Lingshi surroundings. Looking towards the east from camp are views of Takaphu (21,405ft/6526m) and its glacier. At the end of this valley (1hr walk) are two big old yak herder houses at Guilpho (Jukhuje) and a little gompa called Gyo Gompa. Gyo Gompa was built on a rockface at the beginning of the last century, and can be reached by climbing some stairs. Its setting is dramatic with Jitchu Drake in the background. Another day hike could be to visit the lake Chhokam Tso (14,225ft/4337m) near the base of Jitchu Drake. From here a pass, called Bake La – as difficult as Nyile La-leads to Jitchu Drake base camp on the Jangothang side. The Lingshi tourist bungalow (now totally out of order – 2004) is another big shelter with a shingled roof, built by the former government –run tourism company, BTCL. There are only three tourist bungalows in Bhutan (2002), but there are plans to build new ones and to renovate the three existing ones. There is a separate room for cooking, and a big room where the group can sit, trying to survive the smoke of a welcome fire. The bungalows normally have a caretaker who keeps the campsite in shape, sells firewood, some vegetables and other products. One night in 2001 the bungalow at Lingshi was attacked twice by a Himalayan bear. The bear tried to get in through the roof, but the caretaker scared him away. His wife had died the previous year, and he believed she had taken all the good luck with her!
Shodu (13,380ft/4080m) via Yale La ( 16, 235ft 4950m)
Trek 7: Lingshe (13, 150ft /4010m) to Shodu (13,380ft/4080m) via Yale La ( 16, 235ft 4950m)
- Time: 8 - 9hr
- Distance: 13.6 miles / 22 km
- Altitude gain: 3085ft / 940m
- Altitude Loss: 2855ft /870m
Barshong (12, 200ft / 3720m)
Trek Day 8: Shodu 13,380ft/4080m) to Barshong (12, 200ft / 3720m) Today pass the deserted military camp ad follow the trail to the river through the lime stone valley. Monks use this caves in the rocks for mediation and Shabdrung is said to have mediated there. Cross the Main River, which offer good views of giant rock faces and waterfalls? Towards the end of the today’s trek the trail gradually ascends 130m to Barshong Dzong ruins (12, 200ft/3720m). There is a muddy campsite below the Dzong or you can carry on for 1- 1.5hr to a better campsite. Barshong Village is a very small, consisting less the half a dozen of houses.
Dolam Khencho (10,790ft / 3290m)
Trek Day 9: Barshong (12, 220ft /3720m) to Dolam Khencho (10,790ft / 3290m)
- Time: 4 hr
- Distance: 9.3 miles / 15km
- Altitude gain: 0ft / 0m
- Altitude loss: 1410ft / 430m
Thimphu (45 minutes drive)
Trek Day 10: Dolam Kencho (10,790ft / 3290m) to Dodena (8577ft / 2615m) and Thimphu (45 minutes drive)
- Time: 3 hr
- Distance: 4.3 miles / 7km
- Altitude Gain: 525ft / 160m
- Altitude Loss: 2214ft / 675m
After breakfast, you will be taken to the following places of cultural interest. The folk Heritage Museum: This museum lets you experience the Bhutanese way of life. Art and Craft Institute: This is a vocational training Institute where the art of painting, woodcraft and sculpturing are taught to students with the objective of preserving the rich and pristine heritage. The National Library: This repository houses ancient religious and historical manuscripts. Those of you interested in whetting your intellectual appetite may do so here. Lunch will be served at your Hotel. Afternoon you will visit The Drubthob Gompa Nunnnery: Nuns with sport short hair, who play a vital role in the religious affairs of the local community, are enrolled here. Thereafter you will be taken to have a “Birds Eye view” of Thimphu valley. Enroute, you shall visit the mini zoo to see the National Animal “ Takin”. After seeing this place you will have a free time to explore the Handicraft Emporium and other local Handicrafts shops to experience the beauty of Bhutanese Textiles. Dinner and Overnight: Hotel
Thimphu - Paro
This morning visits The Textile Museum: This museum displays the finest art of weaving from various regions of Bhutan. You will also be able to see the different fabrics and the intricacies of weaving. There will be a brief audiovisual program on textiles of Bhutan. Bhutan Post (Post Office): As the sole postal organization of Bhutan, Bhutan Post offers you the finest collections of stamps and post cards. You can purchase the finest stamps and cards as a souvenir. The Memorial Chorten built in the honor of the late King of Bhutan; this Chorten is centrally located for young and old people to pray. Afternoon you will depart to Paro for your overnight hotel. We will take 2 hours leisurely drive following the Thimphu River till the confluence of Thimphu and Paro River, Chunzom. At the confluences, here your will see three forms of Chorten in different styles i.e. Nepalese, Tibetan and Bhutanese. The drive then follows the Paro River upwards passing through several villages. Enroute you will view Tachogang Monastery, (the monastery of the Excellent horse) built by Thangthong Gyalpo (Iron chain builder in Bhutan) and his Iron chain bridge can be still seen. Drive though village of Shaba and then to you hotel at Paro. Evening at leisure. Farewell Dinner and Overnight: Hotel
Paro – Airport
Depart for Paro airport for your onward flight having experienced the best of Bhutan. Note: This itinerary is a sample, intended to give you a general idea of the likely trip schedule and everything that you will be able to see during your trip. Numerous factors such as weather, the physical ability of the participants, may dictate itinerary changes either before or while on the trip. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of trip participant's safety, comfort and general well being. We have included everything that is feasible for you all to see during the trip.
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