Jomolhari Trek is longer than the Jomolhari Loop – the most popular trekking routes 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).
DAY 1: 10th July: Arrival at Paro and some sightseeing at Paro.
DAY 2: 11th July: PARO TO SHARNA ZAMPA
DAY 3: 12th July: GUNITSAWA VILLAGE – SHARNA ZAMPA 40mins, 80 m descent, camp altitude 2,850 m. This trek begins at Gunitsawa Village were you pass the army post. At the army checkpost your trek permit (provided by your tour operator) will be checked and endorsed. The campsite is on the opposite side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa.
DAY 2: 13th July: SHARNA ZAMPA – THANGTHANGKHA Distance 22 km, 7-8 hours, 770 m ascent, 10 m descent, camp altitude 3,610 m. On this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley the valley finally narrows gradually to a mere path which descends to a meadow where a camp will be set up
DAY 3: 14th July: THANGTHANGKHA – JANGOTHANG Distance 19 km, 5-6 hours, 480 m ascent, camp altitude 4,080 m. If you did not see Mt. Jomolhari the previous evening, you will still have a chance to get a great view early this morning. This morning the trek continues up the Paro Chhu valley which widens into patches of alpine meadow.
DAY 4: 14th July : JANGOTHANG HALT The rest day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views of 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.
DAY 5: 15th July: JANGOTHANG – LINGSHI 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 Paro Chhu. 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.
DAY 6: 16th July: LINGSHI – SHODU Distance 22km, eight to nine hours, 940m ascent, 920m descent, camp altitude 4,080m. The trail climbs up to the Yelila pass at an altitude of 4,930m. From the pass, on a clear day you will get an excellent view of Jumolhari, Tserimgang and Masanggang.
DAY 7: 17th July: SHODU – BARSHONG istance 16km, five to six hours, 250m ascent, 670m descent, camp altitude 3,710m. The trail follows the Thimphu Chhu through rhododendron forests, past beautiful waterfalls along the way. The valley narrows till the path takes to the slopes and gradually ascends to the ruins of Barshong Dzong.
DAY 8: 18th July: BARSHONG – DOLAM KENCHOI Distance 15km, four to six hours, 290m ascent, 640m descent, camp altitude 3,320m. The trail descends down to the Thimphu Chhu river valley, through dense forests of rhododendron, birch, conifer, maples and bamboos and then ascends to pasture lands. The camp is in a meadow.
DAY 9: 19th July: DOLAM KENCHO – DODENA Distance 8km, three to four hours, 500m ascent, 930m descent. The trail continues through forested areas winding up and down and through a small pass. Langurs (monkeys) can be seen along the way. In Dodena, you will exit the Jigme Dorji National Park and reach the road head.
DAY 10: 20th July: Back to Thimphu and Sightseeing The Kingdom’s capital city is home to approximately 100,000 inhabitants including the Royal family. This bustling little city is the main centre of commerce, religion and government in the country.
Sightseeing in Thimphu includes:
Memorial Chorten, built in 1974 in loving memory of the Third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, where a multi-storied Stupa and numerous paintings are exhibited providing an insight into Buddhist philosophy. Tashichho Dzong (the fortress of the glorious religion). It houses His Majesty’s Secretariat and the Central Monk Body. Built by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Zhabdrung Ngwang Namgyal in 1641, it was reconstructed in 1916 in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans. Simply Bhutan: Simply Bhutan is an interactive ‘living’ museum developed for and by the youth of Bhutan through the Bhutan Youth Development Fund. Visit before the lunch break for the ‘magic moment’ live performance. Visitors learn about Bhutanese traditions, get to dress up in traditional clothes and be photographed in front of painted backdrops. There are also craft displays and a souvenir shop.
DAY 11: 21st July: Thimphu to Paro via Chelela Chele La Pass at over 13,000 ft to the west above the Paro Valley, is the highest road pass in the country and has amazing views of the Himilaya and most significantly the magnificent Jhomolari, Bhutan’s most sacred peak at over 22,000 feet. It is a one and a half hour drive from the valley floor in Paro to the pass. It can be ridden on a mountain bike but the climb is a long one. It is great fun to free wheel down either into the Haa Valley on the other side of back to Paro.
DAY 12: 22nd July: Taktshang Hike Taktsang Monastery: Taktsang meaning “Tiger’s Nest”, is built around a cave in which Guru Rimpoche (also known as Guru Padmasambhava) meditated. The monastery clings seemingly impossible to a cliff of rock at 914m above the valley floor. For the local people it is a place of pilgrimage, but for a tourist, a hike up to the viewpoint opposite the monastery is exhausting, thrilling and mystical. The legend has it that Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown to the site of the monastery on the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave.
DAY 13: 23rd July Departure