JHOMOLHARI (CHOMOLHARI) TREK is the most popular trek in Bhutan. The trek answers the question; Why Bhutan is known as Last Shangri-La? The trail from Paro valley until Jangothang was an ancient trial used between Parop (people from paro) and Tibetian for batter trade and the stretch between Thimphu and Jangothang was used for same purpose. The reason why this trek reminds you, Bhutan as Shangri-la is because of enchanting views of Jhomolhari and Jichu Drake. The other reason why locals like this trek the most is because of stunning view from most of the passes on the trail. This trek also offers a wide range of flora, fauna and also wild life. Jhomolhari trek is a combination pristine environment and nomadic culture as the trek offers trail leading through different vegetation and yak herders. Trip factsTrek duration: 9 days with 8 Nights in tent camp Advisable duration of trip: minimum of 11 Nights and 12 days. Difficulty: Moderate Season: Off season. (June, July, and august)(December, January and February) The best time for this trek- spring (March till May) and autumn (September, October, November) Altitude range of trek: 2200m- nearly 5000m
Paro International Airport
2 Hours before departure
.Bhutan Visa Fee
.Tourism development fee
.All Permits – Entry Fee to all sights
.Standard Room in 3 Star Hotels – Upgrade to 4 and 5 Star can be arranged on Additional Cost.
.Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner with Evening Tea
.Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) Licensed Professional Driver
.SUV for FIT and Toyota Van from 3 – 8 Passenger and Toyota Coaster Coach from 8 – 20 Passenger
The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering amazing scenic view of some of the world’s highest snow peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will sweep past forested hills and over the silvery Pa Chu (Paro River) twisty down the valley below. Our representative will meet you at the airport and after completion of arrival formalities proceed to hotel at paro.
If times visit Rinpung Dzong (fortress on heap of jewels) located at a ridge overlooking paro valley. The Dzong has a long and fascinating history from 1600s. The first National Assembly of Bhutan was held here. The Dzong offers the sight of 100s of monks wondering in the courtyard of Dzong. After Paro Dzong take a short walk down for 15-20mins till you reach a beautiful traditional cantilevered bridge (photo opportunity as you walk down the way).
Leisure time in Paro town.
Recommended free activity:
Walk along old Paro Street.
Visit stamp shop and Bhutanese traditional music CD shop at old market.
Day 02 : Paro toTigernest, Paro
Early start is recommended (summer 7am, winter7:30)
After an early breakfast drive north of Paro valley and take a 5-6 hours excursion to Taktsang Monastery, the most famous of all Bhutanese monasteries. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress from Tibet. He meditated in the cave and emerged in eight incarnated forms and thus, the site became holy. Subsequently, the place came to be known as the “Tiger’s Nest”. (Your guide will decide on lunch place depending on time).
In the afternoon, visit Kyichu Lhakhang. Built by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, it is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of Bhutan and also visit a traditional Bhutanese farm house nearby where you get the opportunity see interior part of a farm house and also to sit with local family and know about real story translated by your guide or directly from family(depends if someone from family speaks English).As you hear the story, you also get to try local tea(salted cow butter tea) and local alcohol(Ara from fermented rice or wheat).The main goal of this visit is to see traditional house and hear on Bhutanese way of life as farmer
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
PREPARE FOR NEXT DAY TREK ALONG WITH GUIDE ADVICE.
Day 03 : Paro to Shana
Altitude: highest 2900m(campsite)
Trekking time: 5-6hr.
Your trek starts from Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) with a short downhill walk on a wide farm road through pine forest. Your trekking crews will greet you at Drugyal. The trail then climbs gently through rice terraces, fields of millet and potatoes. Continue trekking through the valley offering you with few old houses located by the side of road. Later on you come to apple orchards and forests. Soon the valley broadens, and we reach the army post of Gunitsawa (2,810m). This is the official check point before Tibet. You continue upwards until you see a suspension bridge with prayer flags on it. Beyond Shana Zampa (bridge), there are several good camping places in meadows surrounded by trees. Your camp site for today will be in pine forest with few houses around.
Free time after reaching the camp: Explore the houses around and look for birds and nature around.
Day 04 : Shana to Soi Thangthangkha
Altitude: highest 3700mtrs.
Trekking time: 7-8hrs.
After breakfast from camp start your trek by a dirt farm road goes through beautiful pine forest however awkwardly you will see forest being cleared in some stretch of trail for electrification. The trail again follows the Pa Chu (Paro river), with gradual ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. After crossing a bridge to the left bank of the river, you will be stopping for a hot lunch in an open space. Then we continue along the river, climbing upwards through rhododendron forests and crossing the bridge once again before reaching our campsite (3,750m).
Day 05 : Soi Thangthangka – Jangothang
Altitude: 4000mtrs (basecamp)
Trekking time: 6-7hrs.
The path ascends by the side of Paro chu (river) for a while until we reach the army camp. You then again follow the river above the tree line, enjoying stunning view of the surrounding Himalayan peaks. Hot lunch is served at a yak herder’s camp. (having lunch with yak herders depends on their availability) A short walk from here into the valley on a rugged trail takes us to our campsite at Jangothang (4,040 m). Once you reach the camp site the view of Jhomolhari and Jichu Drake are superb and majestic.
Evening at leisure and I bet you can’t stop taking pictures.
Day 06 : Jangothang to Lingshi
Altitude: highest 4700m(Nyili la pass).
Trekking time: 7-8hrs.
The trail to Lingshi follows a small stream towards north for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right. You now start your gradual climb up to the first ridge, enjoying incredible view of Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tserimgang. The rugged trail then takes you across a fairly level valley floor until the climb up to Nyele-la pass (4,700m). The pass is beautifully decorated with prayer flags as a sign of safe trek. You then descend gradually from the pass to your peaceful camp site at Lingshi (4,000m), on a clear day you also enjoy a panoramic view of the mountain peaks and Lingshi Dzong as we walk.
Day 07 : Lingshi-Lingshi(halt and rest day)
A day excursion to Tsekha (Lahe), the base camp of Jichu Darke Mountain where you might see blue sheep and musk deer.
Explore the village to understand their way of life and also an opportunity to intermingle with nomads.
The Lingshi Dzong may not be accessible as the Dzong was damaged by earthquake however a visit will be possible if the renovation is completed.
Day 08 : Lingshi to Shodu.
Altitude: highest 4800m(yeli la pass)
Trekking time: 8-9hrs.
The Laya-Gasa route leaves the Jhomolhari trek route here. Your trail climbs up on a rocky ridge towards a small white chorten on a rocky hill 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 (Female River). It then crosses the river, and climbs steeply for two and half hours to Yeli-la (4,820m). The pass offers stunning view of ridges around and on a clear day you can sight the majestic view of Jhomolhari, 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 you reach Shodu (4,100m), where we camp in a meadow with a beautiful ancient chorten (stupa).
Day 09 : Shodu – Barshong
Altitude: highest 3600m.
Trekking time: 6-7hrs.
You are now back at the tree line, and you path for today follows the downstream of the Thimphu Chu (thimphu river), descending through rhododendron, juniper and mixed alpine bushes. There are stunning views of rocky cliff faces and waterfalls along the way. You will be stopping by riverside for a hot lunch. Then the trail takes us gradually upwards to the ruins of Barshong Dzong (3,600m), your camp for today will be near the ruins of Barshong Dzong.
Day 10 : Barshong to Dolam Kencho
Altitude: 3600m (camp site).
Trekking time: 5-6hrs.
The trail descends gently through a dense forest of rhododendron bushes, 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 phase 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 11 : Dolam Kencho to Dodena to Thimphu.
Trekking time: 3-4hrs.
Early departure from campsite is recommended to cover some sightseeing at Thimphu city.(7am departure) The trail goes 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). Farewell to trekking crews. Tea/coffee with local snacks will be arranged as a sign of appreciation by Bhutan Travelcations for completing trek. Drive to city.
Optional sightseeing at Thimphu: Visit to National memorial chorten (stupa) built in memory of 3rd king of Bhutan. This sight will give travelers the opportunity to take pictures senior citizen and to intermingle with locals circumambulating around the stupa.
Visit Buddha point. A gigantic statue of Buddha erected on a mountain overlooking Thimphu city. The statue is made of bronze and is gilded in gold. 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha statue- 100,000 statues of 8 inches and 25,000 statues of 12 inches. Each of these figure have also been casted in bronze and gilded. The throne that the Buddha sits upon is a large meditation hall.
Evening at leisure.
Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 12 : Thimphu to Paro (1 ½ hours’ drive)
After early breakfast drive to Paro international for final departure.
Recommendation: Check out 4hrs before flight departure time from hotel atThimphu