Package #3 – Jhomolhari Round Trek – 13 days
This is a classic 9-day Trek starting from (Drugyal Dzong) Paro and end at Dodena near Thimphu. This trek passes through scattered hamlets and farmland into a deep and richly forested valley, which leads to a high alpine pastureland where yak herders graze their animals. It is one of the most popular treks offering fantastic views of 7314m high Mountain. Chomolhari (Mountain of Goddess), Bhutan’s deeply venerated guardian peak. The view of JumolhariMountain (7314 M) from Jangothang is spectacular. The route traverses through little-visited villages, alpine meadows, trout-filled stream, rhododendron forests & masses of wildflowers carpeting the high meadows and also provides an opportunity to see blue sheep, along with various species of birds. The trek offers a taste of the great variety of Bhutanese landscape.
Season: The trek is possible from late March until mid-June and from September to November however the ideal time is either in Spring months of April & May or in late Autumn from late September to early November. This trek can be graded as moderately strenuous.
- Day 1: Arrive Paro International Airport
- Day 2: Paro sightseeing tour
- Day 3: Paro – Shana 17Km, 5-6hrs (Start of Trek).
- Day 4: Shana – Soi Thangthankha. (20Km, 7-8hrs)
- Day 5: Soi Thangthankha – Jangothang (19Km, 7-8hrs).
- Day 6: Excursion day hike at Jangothang (4,040m.)
- Day 7: Jangothang – Lingzhi. (18km, 7-8hrs)
- Day 8: Lingzhi – Shodu (22Km, 8-9hrs)
- Day 9: Shodu – Barshong (16Km, 6-7hrs)
- Day 10: Barshong – Dolam Kencho (15Km, 5-6hrs) and transfer to Thimphu Hotel
- Day 11: Thimphu sightseeing tour
- Day 12: Travel to Paro International Airport for onward destination
Day 01: Arrive at Paro International airport and Transfer to Thimphu (Capital city of Bhutan)
The only two international flight (Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines) to Paro is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkatta, the journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom. Soon after you leave the Indian low lying plains and the great view of The Mount Everest from your window, you will be flying over densely forested areas and will see the far-flung Bhutanese Temples and Monasteries built on the steep terrain-mountains and cliffs. Before you cease your imagination and wondering how people are going to get there on foot, you will be informed by flight attendant to fasten your seat belt to prepare for landing at Paro International Airport, the airport which has only one strip runway lying between a local community of Traditional Bhutanese Houses on one side and a high way motor road on the other side. Then as you descend towards the Paro Valley, you will be flying very close overhead the Paro Villages. The valley of Paro contains a wealth of attractions, with cover of green paddy fields, crystal clear Pa Chu river, the Paro Dzong (Fortress) and then slowly but spine chillingly (for the First timer into Bhutan), you will land at the airstrip and on landing, you are sure to wonder, “wow!!! the Pilot is really good…Thank God we have landed”. And usually, the First Timers flying into Bhutan, clap in unison and then there is a guffaw of laughter and giggles….Truly an instant awakening of happiness from the moment you land. Bhutan’s first gift, as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air.
On arrival at Paro international airport, You will be then ushered to immigration counter and baggage claim areas by very astonishing and helpful airport staffs. After then, your tour guide will be waiting for you at the exit door with full of excitement expression on his/her face with Khadhar (a white scarf on his/her hand to offer you as tradition culture). The reason for offering a white Khadar is; traditionally we believe white colour symbolising a purity, hence to show you, you are now encircled by pure-hearted people, you are welcome and be loved as our guest and you will be taken full care. The good-humoured drivers and his cheerful assistant will be happy to gently pack your luggage in SUV cars and head towards Hotel in Paro.
Depending upon your arrival time, we will do the following sightseeing in Paro after your brief rest at Hotel.
Visit Paro Rinpung Dzong: One of the main attractions in Paro is the Paro Rinpung Dzong (fortress), which was built in 1646. The Dzong now houses for the office of the district Administration and district monastic body of Bhutan. On the way to Dzong, you can able to see Bhutanese traditional wooden bridge built in ancient style. Along the wooden galleries lining the courtyard of the Rinpung Dzong are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount. Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala.
Visit The National Museum (Ta-Dzong) is located just above the Paro Rinpung Dzong, which was built to be used as the watchtower for the Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century. The Ta Dzong is now serving as National Museum. The Museum has got a collection of all kinds of traditional Masks, extinct wildlife animals skin cover, Stamps, Photos, Statues, Pottery, Arms and Ammunition, ancient costumes, relics, religious paintings, handicrafts, and hangs the Biggest mask in Bhutan. The collection at the National Museum preserves a snap-shot of the rich cultural traditions of the country.
Visit Drugyal Dzong (Victorious Fortress), Another site worth visiting in Paro is Drugyel Dzong or The Fortress of the Victorious Bhutanese. It was constructed by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 to commemorate his victory over marauding Tibetan armies. On a clear day, one can get a spectacular view of Mountain Jhomolhari, the third -highest mountain in Bhutan at 7,326 meters. The fortress was destroyed by fire in 1951 but the ruins remain an impressive and imposing sight.
Visit Kyichu Lhakhang, (Lhakhang means temple) en-route to Drugyal Dzong, The Kyichu Lhakhang is the oldest temple in the country, built in the 659 AD, by the King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. It is believed that king had built 108 temples in the various place he visited on earth to spread Buddhism and Kyichu Lhakhang is included as one. The Lhakhang is located in between Paro Town and Drugyal Dzong. In Bhutan, people believe that the place where Lhakhang is built is considered one of the holiest place in the country, as it marks the advent of Buddhism in the country.
Day 2: Paro Sightseeing tour
After breakfast, sightseeing for the day includes:
Visit Taktshang Monastery. (Taktshang means tiger nest) This short hike is meant to train and prepare for your fives days long trek which will commence from tomorrow. The Taktshang Monastery’ is one of the Himalaya’s most incredible sites, miraculously perched on the side of a sheer cliff 900m above the floor of Paro valley. The Monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff drop of nearly 4000 ft and overlooks the Paro valley and the river. It’s the goal of every visitor to Bhutan and while getting there involves a bit of uphill legwork, it’s well worth the effort. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava known as the second Buddha in Bhutan meditated on this spot where the Monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress and now this site is a sacred shrine for Bhutanese pilgrims.
Visit Kila Goenpa: This nunnery perched on a vertical hill is great to go for hiking because the place is well known for its serenity and beauty of looking down at the Bonday Valley. It’s only a half day hike, which we recommend you to take chance.
Visit Chelela Pass – Located at 3810m (13,000ft), between the valley of Paro and Haa, Chele La pass is the highest road pass in the country. It is popular for short excursion for maybe two and half hours. You will see many tourists visiting this vantage point. Some prefer driving, some hiking and many wheels down either to Haa or Paro valley in their mountain bikes. The drive to Chele La is through dense spruce and larch forests. Depending on the season you will encounter various sights such as a frozen river, waterfall, Rhododendron forest and yaks grazing peacefully. On a clear day, you can view Mt. Jumolhari (the third -highest mountain in Bhutan at 7,326 meters) along with other sacred mountains Jichu Drake and adjoining peaks to the North West, as well as the view of both the valley (Paro and Haa).
Visit Paro international Airport viewpoint: En-route to Chellela Pass, we will visit a great Paro international Airport viewpoint, which is fully opened to the area, there is no restriction wall built making viewers enjoy the full view.
Before closing the program for a day, we will stroll through Paro main town.
Day 3: Paro – Shana 17Km, 5-6hrs (Start of Trek).
Right after early breakfast; your tour guide may give you a briefing and he/she will ask you to participate in short pray and Trek opening ceremony. We pray and make a wish for successive Trek. The trek then starts from Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) following the Paro river and we pass cultivated fields and tiny picturesque villages. The trail then climbs gently through well-maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. Later on, we come to apple orchards and forests. The forests are alive with numerous birds and brightly coloured butterflies. Soon the valley widens, and we reach the army post of Gunitsawa (2,810m). This is the last stop before Tibet. We continue upwards to just beyond Shana Zampa (2,870), where there are several good camping places in meadows surrounded by trees.
Overnight camp at Shana 2,870m.
Day 4: Shana – Soi Thangthankha. (20Km, 7-8hrs)
The trail again follows the Pa Chu (Paro river), ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests with a few isolated farmhouses. We’ll continue up through the Pa Chhu (Paro river) which gradually narrows as the trail leads higher, winding up and down through pine, oak and spruce forests. We pass a junction en route, where another path leads north over the Tremo La to Tibet. After crossing a bridge to the left bank of the river, we stop for a hot lunch. Then we continue along the river, climbing upwards through rhododendron forests, and crossing the river once more before reaching our campsite (3,750m).
The camp is in a meadow with a stone shelter.
Day 5: Soi Thangthankha – Jangothang (19Km, 7-8hrs).
The path ascends for a while until you reach a small army camp and chorten. The trail slowly leaves the forest line and gradually climbs into a beautiful valley, passing Tegethang, a winter home of yak herdsmen. We then follow the river above the tree line, enjoying the stunning views of Mount. Chomolhari and Jichu Drake and other surrounding peaks. Hot lunch is served at a yak herder’s camp. Lots of yaks will be seen today before we arrive at the Jhomolhari base camp. A short walk from here into the valley takes us to our campsite at Jangothang (4,040 m) (Chomolhari Base Camp), situated below the ice-covered east face of Chomolhari. From here, the view of Chomolhari and Jichu Drake are superb. High mountains overlook the camp and visible nearby are the ruins of an old fortress used to guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasions.
Overnight camp at Chomolhari Base Camp 4,040m.
Day 6: Excursion day hike at Jangothang (4,040m.)
Rest day at Jangothang, enjoy the superb view all around.
For Day hikes, you have 3 options on this day at Jangothang.
- Hike to Jumolhari Glacier which is around 4 ½ hours (Back and forth)
- Hike to Jichu Drake Glacier which is around 3 hours (Back and Forth).
- Walk up the mountain between Jumolhari and Jichu Drake, the summit is at 5200 meters with a great view of both the mountains. This is 8 hours (Back and forth).
Day 7: Jangothang – Lingzhi. (18km, 7-8hrs)
The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right bank. Start the climb up to the first ridge with a breathtaking view of Jumolhari, JichuDrakey and Tsrim Ghang. We now start our climb up to the first ridge, enjoying a breathtaking view of Mt. Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsrim Khang. The trail then takes us across a fairly level valley floor until the climb to the Nyele-la (4,700m). We descend gradually from the pass to our campsite at Lingshi (4,000m), enjoying the panoramic view of the mountain peaks and Lingshi Dzong as we walk. The Dzong was built in 1668 to protect villages in this region from Tibetan invasion and it continues to be the administrative centre of the region.
Overnight camp at Linngzhi 4000m.
Day 8: Lingzhi – Shodu (22Km, 8-9hrs)
Today is the toughest day of our trek. The Laya – Gasa route leaves the Chomolhari trek route here. Our trail climbs up towards a small white chorten on a ridge 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 steeply a short distance above the Mo Chu. It then crosses the river and climbs steeply for two hours to Yeli-la pass (4,820m). On a clear day, you can see Mount. Chomolhari, Gangchhenta, Tserim Khang and Masang Gang from this pass. Descend alongside a stream to a rock shelter in the cliff face, and then continue on downstream until reaching Shodu (4,100m), where we will camp in a meadow with a chorten in it.
Overnight camp at Shodu 4,100m.
Day 9: Shodu – Barshong (16Km, 6-7hrs)
This is the place where one comes back to the tree line and out path follows the course of the Thimphu Chhu (river), descending through rhododendron, juniper and mixed alpine forests. There are stunning views of rocky cliff faces and waterfalls along the way equally amazing. Hot lunch will be served by the riverside. Then the trail takes us gradually upwards to the ruins of Barshong Dzong, near which we camp for the night.
Overnight camp at Barshong 3,600m.
Day 10: Barshong – Dolam Kencho (15Km, 5-6hrs) and transfer to Thimphu Hotel
The trail descends gently through a dense forest of rhododendron, birch and conifers, then drops steeply to meet Thimphu Chhu (river). 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 stage of the trail climbs around a cliff face high above the Thimphu Chu river, coming out onto pastureland at Dolam Kencho at 3,300m. Our transport will meet us here and we’ll drive for approx one hour to reach our hotel in Thimphu.
This successfully concludes the whole trekking tour package. Your tour guide will still ask you to join him/her in the short prayer to thank God for this mission accomplishment along with little traditional celebration. Our office staff will be at the trail junction to receive you, serve you tea/coffee and snack while you enjoy sharing your trip experience and challenges with us. Later transfer to Hotel in Thimphu for relaxation.
If you prefer to relax your mood by going into the local clubs and Pubs, taste a local beer you can visit some of the most famous restaurant, club and pubs for relaxation and jam-session. There are heaps of both international and local fine restaurant in the town as well.
Day 10: Thimphu Sightseeing tour.
After breakfast, sightseeing of Thimphu valley includes the following;
Visit Tashichho Dzong; the Dzong has been the seat for Bhutan’s government since 1968. It presently houses the throne room and offices for the king, the cabinet secretariat and the Ministry for home & cultural affairs. It also houses the Central Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and the senior monks.
Visit Textile Museum (http://www.rtabhutan.org), you will see the Royal Collection, of Bhutanese antique textile artefacts, warp pattern weaves, and weft pattern weaves including crowns of Bhutan’s kings, Namzas (dresses) and other accessories are worn by the Royal Family, The ground floor of the Textile Museum has displays demonstrating the skills of spinning, colouring fibres, preparing a loom, and manipulating two sets of yarns. Decorative fabrics and textile arts and crafts are categorically displayed in the galleries situated on the first floor of the Textile Museum. There are displays showing the traditional regional garments produced by women and men in Bhutan, and those garments used for special religious occasions.
Visit Folk Heritage Museum https://www.bhutan.travel/attractions/folk-heritage-museum. This museum lets you experience the traditional way of lifestyle at Bhutanese home. The museum also displays an impressive collection of typical household objects, tools and equipment. The Folk Heritage Museum is set inside a three-storied, 19th-century traditional house. The museum also organizes regular demonstrations of rural traditions, skills, habits and customs as well as hosting educational programs for children.
Visit The National Library; was established in 1967 for the purpose of preservation and promotion of the rich cultural and religious heritage of Bhutan. It holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts and contains arguably the best collection of religious and historical literature in the Himalayas.
Visit National Institute for Zorig Chusum. Zorig Chusum refers to the thirteen traditional visual arts and crafts that Bhutanese have practised for generations. The thirteen arts and crafts include; painting, carving, sculpture, calligraphy, carpentry, gold- silversmithing, bamboo work, wood turning, weaving and embroidery, pottery, blacksmithing, masonry and incense-stick making. You can have an interview or conversations with the students and instructors to know more. The showroom sells good-value pieces made by students.
Visit Centenary Farmer Market is a must, The Centenary Farmer’s Market in Thimphu is an explosion of colours and scents. Thimphu residents throng the market on the weekends, to buy the freshest local produce (pure organic) from across the country, as well as a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and other products imported from India. You’ll see the variety of food in the country, including basket fiery chillies, fresh cheese, and fruits and the seasonal vegetables are eaten by the Bhutanese, including various types of Orchids and Ferns. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. It’s fun to meander the aisles, taking in the lively atmosphere of the market.
Visit The TAKIN Preserve: Located in Motithang about 3km away from the heart of Thimphu city is a wildlife reserve area for Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. The reason for declaring takin as a national animal of Bhutan on 25 November 2005 is attributed to a legend of the animal’s creation in Bhutan in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kuenley. When a small number of Takin were confined in a “mini-zoo” in Thimphu, the Fourth King of Bhutan felt that it was improper for a Buddhist country to confine animals for religious and environmental reasons. He, therefore, ordered the release of the animals and the closure of the mini-zoo. To everyone’s surprise, the takin, known for their docile behaviour, refused to leave the immediate area and stayed in the streets of Thimphu in search of food for weeks.
Visit National Memorial Chorten (Stupa): This stupa one of the most visible religious structures in heart of Thimphu city, The building of this landmark was originally envisaged by Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who has wished to erect monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace. Visitors will find elderly
Bhutanese people circumambulating the Chorten throughout the day. Chorten literally means ‘Seat of Faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments, the ‘Mind of Buddha’.
Visit Buddha Dordenma Statue: This massive statue of Shakyamuni measures at a height of 51.5m, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. The statue is made of bronze and is gilded in gold. 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue; 100,000 statues of which are 8-inches-tall and 25,000 statues of which are 12 inches tall. Each of these thousands of Buddhas has also been cast in bronze and gilded. The throne that the Buddha Dordenma sits upon is a large meditation hall.
Visit Tarayana Rural Products
Bhutan’s Queen Mother Dorje Wangmo (the fourth king’s wife) established this NGO to support rural communities across Bhutan through the marketing and sale of traditional crafts. Crafts here include paper products from Samtse, handwoven scarves, bags and nettle place mats, and the quality is generally high.
Visit Changlimithang Archery Ground
On weekends it’s worth checking to see if there’s an archery tournament going on at this ground near the Changlimithang Stadium: whether it’s traditional bamboo or high-tech carbon-fibre bows, the skill, camaraderie and good-humoured ribbing are always entertaining. Traditional songs and victory dances are all part of the fun. Archers often practise here in the mornings.
Visit BBS Tower
There’s a wonderful view of Thimphu valley from the hillside below the Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) tower (2685m), high above the town at the end of a road that branches off from the approach to the youth centre. Don’t photograph the telecommunications installation, but the valley is worth a few snaps particularly in the afternoon. The area is known as Sangaygang and the access road attracts fitness fanatics after work and becomes a lover’s lane after dark.
Visit National Institute of Traditional Medicine where centuries old healing arts such as acupuncture and herbal remedies are still practised. Established in 1978, this institute collects medicinal plants from remote corners of the Bhutanese Himalaya, such as Lingzhi, Laya and Lunana, and then distributes pills, tablets, ointments and medicinal teas to regional health-care units around the country. The small museum details some of the 300 herbs, minerals and animal parts that Bhutanese doctors have to choose from.Of particular interest is yartsa goenbub (cordyceps) – the high-altitude cure-all ‘Himalayan Viagra’, which is actually a caterpillar that has been mummified by a fungus. The curious ‘worm-root’ sells for up to US$25,000 per kilogram in China.
Visit Royal Botanical Garden
A road leads uphill from Babesa to the Royal Botanical Garden, which might be of interest to horticultural enthusiasts. The centre was inaugurated in 1999 and has a weedy collection of 500 species of plants. It’s a favourite weekend picnic spot of Thimphu residents.
This concludes your whole Trekking tour package with serving you traditional farewell dinner.
Day 11: Travel to Paro International Airport for onward destination
After breakfast drive to the airport for flight to onward destination. Our sincere service doesn’t end here. While you and tour guide exchange thanksgiving and bids farewell, our good-humoured drivers and his cheerful assistant gently stack your valuable luggage on the trolley, helps you to push till check-in counter and waits until you get through to board gate.
We only part to meet again. ~John Gay
THINGS TO BRING FOR A TREK IN BHUTAN
Personal clothing: strong normal clothing (according to season), preferably cotton and woollen even for summer, because evening and early morning are always chill.
For Trekking, one must bring:
- Strong comfortable trekking boots – water-resistant for the rainy period-June-August.
- Raincoat (especially for the rainy period –June-August)
- Headgear/hat/cap; sun and rain protection
- Water pills – for extra caution in purifying stream; (boiled water is provided at all times during the trek)
- Aspirin – in case of altitude sickness
- Lots of socks
- Warm clothes
OPTIONAL ITEMS TO BRING FOR TREKKING IN BHUTAN
- Folding umbrella (only for wet months — July and August)
- One towel
- Wet-packed tissue paper.
Click here to Book this package
- Airport Transfers
- Stay in hotels as indicated in the itinerary
- All three meals, tea and coffee
- Dedicated SUV vehicle with a driver and
- English Speaking Guide throughout the Trip
- Short hikes, Packed lunches and snacks wherever required
- Monumental Fees
- Bhutan Tourism Development Fee
- VISA processing Fee
Package Does Not Include:
- International Airfare
- Refreshments and bottled drinks and alcoholics/gratuities
- Cost arising out of Flight Cancellation/road blockades/ landslides and events beyond our control
- Expenses of personal nature and any other expenses not mentioned in the above cost