11 Days Jhomolhari Trek
The 11-day Bhutan Jhomolhari Trek is a remarkable Himalayan adventure. It offers breathtaking views of Mount Jhomolhari, pristine landscapes, and encounters with Bhutanese culture. The journey takes you through lush valleys, remote villages, and high mountain passes, providing a profound and unforgettable trekking experience in the heart of Bhutan.
Upon your arrival visit the following places at Paro:
Paro National Museum: The museum provides an excellent overview of Bhutanese history and culture. Shaped like a conch shell, it was completed in 1656. The museum holds the largest collection of artifacts, textiles, and antiques in Bhutan.
Paro Dzong: standing high over the Paro Valley, this fortress is a landmark in Bhutan. In1644 Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal initiated construction of this massive temple-fortress on the foundation of a monastery earlier built by Guru Rinpoche.
Paro Dungtse Lhakhang: Dungtse Lhakhang, the little three storied chorten-shaped temple, was built in 1421 by Thangtong Gyelpo to subdue the ogress on the top of whose head it is said to be built. It was restored in 1841 by the 25th Head Abbot of Bhutan, Sherab Gyeltshen and the names of the Paro donors can still be seen written on the wooden pillars of the ground floor. It is said that on the day of construction, the founder himself appeared in the form of five vultures, and circled the temple showering his blessings before taking flight to Tibet. One can also see the central tower (utse), the pinnacle of the temple, chained from four directions to the roof of the temple. It is believed that while the consecration was being performed the central tower moved, attempting to fly to Tibet. Thus to stop it from its flight the central tower was chained down.This temple is unique in Bhutan as its paintings show the progressive stages of Tantric Buddhist philosophy as well as the most important deities and figures of the Drukpa Kagyudpa School.
Overnight stay in Paro.
It is a short drive of approx 20 minutes up the Paro valley to Drukyel Dzong, which was originally built as a fortress in 1647 to guard against Tibetans invading the Paro Valley. We continue the drive to Shana (1-1.5h drive) from where our trek commences.
On this scenic drive we pass through farm country made up of fields of rice, wheat, barley, mustard, potato, and radish as well as herds of cows. The traditional Bhutanese two storey, timber and stone houses can be seen here. We also gain our first views of the summit of Chomolhari (7314m) at the head of the valley. We get under way and take a break for packed lunch. Initially the trail is wide and flat, as it meanders steadily through lightly forested fields, which in recent years have been the site of the ongoing large-scale Bhutan Government project to bring electricity to the isolated villages further up the valley. It is a reasonable day’s walk today, our first day’s trek, taking us past.
Overnight camp Thongo Zampa.
We now trek within Jigme Dorje National Park, the largest protected area in the country (4350 sq kms.), which extends beyond Laya to Lunana in the east and all the territory to the south.
Whilst it is a protected wilderness, the park management, which is based at Gasa, has to cope with the needs of lowland farmers and semi-nomadic yak herders. There is an amazing variety of species of plants and animals in the park at both high and low altitudes. The forests are tall and thick, comprising a variety of oaks, maple, birch, larch pine and alders that will be replaced by more and more rhododendron and pines as we trek higher. There are different varieties of the flora, and depending on the onset of warmer temperatures after winter, flowers will be in bloom, or past bloom, as the lower altitudes flower earliest. As we climb higher the rhododendron species change from the common rhododendron arboreum (Nepal’s national flower) to griffithianum and cinnabarinum.
Many of the camps we stop at are not settlements as might be implied by them having a place name. Most are merely clearings beside a water source, which are also suitable camping sites for seasonal yak herders and workers who are involved in the large-scale electrification project that will bring electricity to this region of Bhutan.
Overnight camp at Jangothang.
An important day is set aside for acclimatization. A side trip up the small valley towards Jhomolhari takes us to a dramatic viewpoint towards the glacier and imposing face of this 7314m mountain. Alternatively we may make a scenic excursion up to Tshophu Lake lake set adjacent to Nye La pass, both will be worthy photo excursions. As far as mountaineering is concerned, these two peaks, like the rest of Bhutan, have seen little expedition activity from outsiders. Doug Scott successfully climbed Jichu Drake in 1988 on his third attempt, demonstrating that conditions are not so easy on this Far East location of the Himalaya being first in line geographically for monsoonal influences.
Overnight camp at Jangothang.
From camp we commence our ascent over rolling slopes of grassland and small brush to the Nye La (4850 metres). This is a relatively long day on the trail, so if this is your first Himalayan pass just take your time, particularly on the final steeper stages just below the pass, where grasses give way to scree and sand. The views enroute to Jichu Drake will inspire you. From the Nye La we leave Jhomolhari and Jichu Drake behind and make a steep descent through stands of pure rhododendron to Lingshi village. Of particular note is the Lingshi Dzong, built to protect this and the other outlying villages of Bhutan from the periodic raids from Tibet.
Overnight at Campsite.
Today is the most difficult day so an early start is essential. We begin our walk opposite the dzong and ascend gradually through the valley until the stiff climb to Yale La pass at 4950 metres the highest point of the trip. The final push to the top of the pass is hard work, but certainly worthwhile! The panoramic view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7314m), Jichu Drake (6794m) and Tshrim Gang is breathtaking. After the pass it is a long descent to our camp at Shodu (3950m).
Overnight at Campsite.
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.
Overnight at Campsite.
The path descends for a while joining the Thimphu river and gradually ascending and descending through thick bamboo and pine forests. We walk for around 2 hours to reach our old campsite at Dom- she -sha before continuing for another 3-4 hours to Dolam- Kencho and the road head.
Overnight at Hotel.
After breakfast, you can have the options to visit the following places in Thimphu.
Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan. Thimphu is the commercial hub and also where all the central government agencies are located.
1. Changgangkha Monastery:
The temple is one of the oldest in Thimphu, built in the 12th century. The site was chosen by Lam Phajo Drugom Zhipo. After the death of his son Nyima, his descendants took care of the monastery. Its silhouette, perched high on a spur, is a landmark of Thimphu.The monastery houses Chenrizig (Avolokitesawara), an 11-headed, thousand-armed manifestation as the central statue. The prayer books in this monastery are larger than the usual Buddhist texts. There are large prayer wheels inside the monastery and small wheels on the walls outside the monastery. The main guardian deity is named Dom-Tshang.
2: Buddha Dordenma:
Great Buddha Dordenma is a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue in the mountains of Bhutan celebrating the 60th anniversary of fourth king Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The statue houses over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues, each of which, like the Great Buddha Dordenma itself, will be made of bronze and gilded in gold. The Great Buddha Dordenma is sited amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of Sherab Wangchuck, the thirteenth Desi Druk, overlooking the southern approach to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Construction began in 2006 and was planned to finish in October 2010, however construction did not conclude until 25 September 2015. The completed work is one of the largest Buddha rupas in the world, at 169 feet (52 m) and contains 100,000 8-inch-tall and 25,000 12-inch-tall gilded bronze Buddhas.
If you prefer, spend some quiet moment and pray for the wellbeing of the entire sentient beings.
3. Thimphu Chhodzong
4. Bhutan Postal Museum:
The Bhutan Postal Museum, Evolution of Communications Systems in Bhutan, was established in November 2015 to celebrate the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The main objective of the museum is to tell the story of Bhutan’s progress and development through the lens of the evolution of communications and postal system in the country. The story is told through anecdotes, artifacts and the rich assortment of stamps the country has produced over the years.
5. Visit craft Baazar and Centenary Farmers Market:
Located below the main town, near the Wangchhu River, Thimphu’s weekend market is by far the largest domestic market for the farmers in Bhutan. Farmers come from all over the country to sell their farm products in the market. With its wide assortment of fresh, organic produce, the Farmer’s Market has become a favorite spot for tourists and a recreational place for people from all walks of life.
Nearby, across a cantilever footbridge, Kuendeyling Bazaam, to the west bank is a collection of stalls selling clothing, textiles and handicrafts.
Later in the evening, the CEO of Bhutan Gateway Travels will meet you all. He makes sure to meet with his valuable clients to share their joy of visiting Bhutan and also seek valuable feedback and comments. A special cake will be ordered and enjoy the evening with wine (if the guest so desires).
Overnight in Thimphu.
After breakfast drive from Thimphu to Taktsang base. Taktsang Lhakhang is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark and religious site. The name Taktsang translates to “The Tiger’s Nest”. This temple is one of the most holy sites in the kingdom and clings impossibly to a sheer cliff face 900 hundred meters above the Paro Valley. It was first built in 1692 at a cave where Guru Rimpoche meditated in the 7th century A.D. Legend states that Guru Rimpoche flew to the site atop the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it. The cave has been considered a sacred site ever since and many famous saints have travelled to meditate in it.
Taktsang Lhakhang is located approximately 10 km north of Paro town at an altitude of 3.120 meters. In order to arrive at the temple visitors must trek for around 2-3 hours through beautiful, shady pine forests. No trip to Bhutan would be complete without a visit to this remarkable heritage site. .
Upon return from Taktsang, visit Paro Kichu Lhakhang: Kichu Lhakhang: This temple was built in 659 by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. It holds down the left foot of an ogress whose body covers Bhutan and most of Eastern Tibet. This temple is one of the most spiritual places in Bhutan.
In the evening you can explore Paro town.
Overnight stay in Paro.
All that starts well must end well. In the morning your guide will accompany you to the Paro International Airport to see you off onto your flight and wish you Tashi Delek (Goodbye and Good luck).
FAQ related to visa
Your visa will be taken care by Bhutan Gateway Travel. You are requested to email us a clear valid passport with validity of six months or more prior to your visit to Bhutan.
Once approved, Bhutan Gateway Travel will email you the electronic visa (e-visa) approved by the Department of Immigration. You will print and hand carry a copy of the approved e-visa.
In case of emergency, based on the merit of the case, we will pursue with the relevant authority and get it extended. However, under normal circumstances, it is not possible to get the visa extended.
Three to five government working days.
FAQ related to SDF
The new SDF of US$100 per person per day will become effective from 1 September 2023.
The new SDF shall remain effective for four years until 31 August 2027.
Any guest who already paid the SDF for their upcoming visit to Bhutan is eligible for a refund of the excess SDF amounts paid.
When applying for a visa to enter Bhutan, you will need to pay the SDF. Visas can be applied for at the Department of Tourism’s website.
No, the incentives introduced in June 2023 have been revoked and are no longer applicable. However, the 24-hour SDF waiver for border towns in Bhutan remains valid.