Jomolhari Loop is the shortest of the Jomolhari trekking routes, which are the most popular treks in Bhutan. With altitude differences of 2,500m and nearly 5,000m it offers a wide range of landscapes, fauna and flora. The highlight of this trek is the spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari from Jomolhari Basecamp (Jangothang). Trekkers who want to avoid high passes and high altitude can chose an easier version of the Jomolhari Loop by retracing their steps from Jangothang (see days 1-3), while still having the majestic impressions of Mount Jomolhari.
DETAILED ITINERARY: JOMOLHARI TREK
Bangkok/Delhi/Katmandu – Paro
Highlights: Spectacular views of Mt Everest (8,848 m), Kanchenjunga (8,586m) and Lhotse (8,414 m); and a literal adrenaline-pumping landing on the roof of the world.
Travel by Druk Air, Bhutan’s national airline, to Paro, the country’s only international airport. The flight is exhilarating to say the least, as the route traverses parallel to the mighty Himalayas enabling passengers to see the world’s highest peak, Mt Everest, and many more. The descent affords a panoramic view of Bhutan’s foothills culminating into a thrilling landing at what is considered one of the world’s most challenging airports.
Meet your guide at the airport and head to the hotel for lunch. Devote the afternoon to sightseeing around the Paro valley famed for its natural beauty, historical monuments, agricultural farms and quintessentially Bhutanese village communities. Visit the National Museum, formerly a watchtower, and then the Castle on a Heap of Precious Jewels or RinpungDzong. Wind up the day with a stroll around Paro town. Overnight at the hotel.
Discovering Paro Valley
Highlights: Hike to the Tiger’s Lair, the most famous Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas, built on a sheer rockface.
After breakfast, drive for half an hour and start hiking up to the temple that is renowned in the Himalayan Buddhist world as one of the most popular sites of pilgrimage. The five-hour round trip follows an ancient but oft-trodden footpath flanked by water-driven prayer wheels.
The temple, precariously perched on a hair-raising ravine about 1,000 metres above the valley floor, is considered sacrosanct as it was in a cave within this temple that the eight century tantric saint, Padmasambhava, subdued the evils who obstructed the teachings of the Buddha. The saint is believed to have come to Taktshang in a fiery wrathful form riding a tigress. Over the years, many Buddhist saints have meditated in and around the temple and discovered numerous hidden treasure teachings.
Visit the ruins of DrugyelDzongenroute. The fortress known as the “Castle of the Victorious Drukpa”, is a symbol of Bhutan’s victory over the Tibetan invasions in the 17th and 18th centuries. We can also get a view of the sacred mountain, Jumolhari, along the way. On the way back to our hotel, we will visit the 7th century Kyichu Temple, believed to have been built on a place that resembled a knee of a giant ogress. Overnight at hotel
Paro – Shana – Begin trek to ThongduZam 8km. 3-4 hours trek, ascend 300m
Morning after breakfast, we drive to Shana enroute visit the ruins of DrugyelDzong the fortress known as the “Castle of the Victorious Drukpa”, is a symbol of Bhutan’s victory over the Tibetan invasions in the 17th and 18th centuries. Then continue drive along the new farm road to Shana Zam (2850m), which takes about 2 hrs. After loading the pack animals (ponies) with your luggage and trekking gears/supplies, we begin 3-4 hr trek through the J.DW National Park. Overnight in Tents Camp
Trek to Soi Thangthanka 15Km 6 hours trek, 480m ascent. 50m descent.
Continue up through the valley, following Paro river, which gradually narrows as the trail leads higher, winding up and down through a thick, lush forest of oak, pine, cider and juniper, as we get closer to our c amp for the night.
Overnight in Tents Camp at a round altitude of 3600m
SoiThangthangka– Jangothang19km, 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 views 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 (4040m). From here the views of Chomolhari and Jichu Drake are Superb. Overnight at campsite.
The day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views on lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley. Jangothang is a perfect environment for your acclimatisation. Trek up to Tosoh or hike around the area. There are good short hiking trails in three directions. Jumolhari and it’s subsidiary mountain chains lie directly west, Jichu Drake to the north and a number of unclimbed peaks to the east.
Soi-Yaktsa to ThombuShong
Distance 11km, four to five hours, 720m ascent, 340m descent, camp altitude 4,180m. The trail climbs 100m over a ridge to drop to another stream then. After crossing the Takhung La pass (4,520m) you descent to ThombuShong, three yak herder huts with your campsite next to them.
Jangothang to SoiYaktsa
Distance 16km, six to seven hours, 810m ascent, 1,090m descent, camp altitude 3,800m. The trail leads to a last settlement in the valley and drops to the ParoChhu. Passing the lake of Tshophu (4,380m) you will climb up steeply to Bhonte La pass at 4,890 m, the highest point of this trek route. Reaching the DhumzoChhu river, you trek downstream passing the few houses of SoiYaktsa (Dhumzo) to arrive at your camp soon after.
Thombu Shong to Gunitsawa
Village Distance 13km, four to five hours, 200m ascent, 1,650m descent, camp altitude 2,850m. Crossing Thombu La pass (4,380m) you will finally reach Gunitsawa where you can end the trek. Our driver will received you with the refreshment. Than drive further down to Paro and continue to Thimphu. Overnight at hotel
A Sojourn in Thimphu
Highlights: The power centre and the capital city of the Happy Kingdom. Also the hub of commerce and culture.
In the morning we will drive to Buddha Point which provides a spectacular 360 degree close-quarter view of entire Thimphu and the adjoining areas. This is the site of the world’s tallest statue of Shakyamuni Buddha. Our next destination is the 12th century Changangkha Temple, Takin Zoo and the viewpoint at Sangaygang. On our way back, we stopover at a nunnery, the Folk Heritage Museum.
After lunch, we will proceed to TashichhoDzong, a 17th century castle-fortress which today houses the offices of the King, Chief Abbot and government ministries. We will also take the opportunity to see the nearby parliament complex, the School of Arts and Crafts, vegetable market, and then spend the rest of the day watching an archery match and strolling around the town.
Thimphu – Punakha/Wangdi Distance: 77 kilometers, Time: 3 hours
Highlights: A panoramic view of the snow-capped eastern Himalayas and a multitude of alpine flowers and birds; Bhutan’s ancient capital and Temple of Fertility.
The three to four-hour drive from Thimphu traverses thorough a constantly changing kaleidoscope of vegetation, waterfalls, flowers, mountains and meadows. In about 45 minutes we will reach the famous Dochula pass (3,100m) where on a clear day we can see the entire eastern Himalayan range, teeming with 6,000m to 7,554m snow-capped mountains. The pass also known for its abundant species of extremely beautiful flowers has 108 Buddhist stupas exquisitely built around a mound, adding to the natural splendor of the place.
From the pass we descend to the sub-tropical valley of Punakha. Punakha served as the ancient capital of capital and still possesses the country’s main treasures in the form of Buddhist relics. Resembling a gigantic ship on an ocean floor from afar, and girdled by two (Male and Female) rivers, the castle-fortress also represents the best specimen of Bhutanese architecture.
After lunch in a small nearby village together with a rural farming household, we will walk along a footpath flanked by an endless view of ripening paddy fields to the Temple of Fertility – ChimiLhakhang. This temple, built in the 15th century to honour the “Divine Madman”, a saint iconoclast who is also associated with phallus worship, attracts barren couples from all over to receive fertility blessings from an anointed phallus. Overnight at hotel
Punakha/ Wangdi – Paro
This morning visit the Wanduephodrang it was built in 1638 by the Zhabdrung also visit Wangdue town. Than drive 4hours which is125km to Paro and lunch in the local restaurant in Paro town. After lunch strolls through town and than if you want to wear the Bhutanese gho and kira our guide and driver will arrange for you than play the archery the national sport of Bhutan. Evening visit the farmhouse and experience the way of life how Bhutanese live in their daily life enjoy local dinner with family. Overnight at Hotel
Paro – Bangkok/Kathmandu
After breakfast drive to Paro international Airport and fly out.