Jhomolhari Trek

Jhomolhari Trek

This trip allows the travelers to enjoy the taste of the great variety of Bhutanese landscape, and the views from some of the major passes that we come across are breath taking, be it of mountains or the valleys underneath. It gives you a chance to meet people, enjoy the pristine forest with rare glimpse of wildlife and observe the ancient traditional arts and crafts. We will be traveling through the less frequented areas of Bhutan. Our journey starts from Paro Valley where our flight will land and continue by road through the lush valley of Thimphu, the Capital city. After touring through this small city, we will take an excursion to the famous Tiger’s Nest, locally known as Taktshang Gompa. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. We start our 8 days trek to Thimphu via the Base camp at  Mount Chomolhari. This is a medium duration trek that is probably the most trekked route in Bhutan due to its easy access, beautiful terrain and spectacular views of the majestic snowcapped mountains. Locally known as Chomolhari (The Mountain of Goddess Chomo), believed to be the abode of the goddess Chomo, is one of the most beautiful and imposing mountains in the entire Himalayan region. Located at the northwestern border with Tibet, the trek to the base camp of this dome shaped mountain provides an opportunity to experience the panoramic views of some of the world’s highest peaks.

Beginning from Paro valley, your trek starts with gentle ascent through Bhutan’s undisturbed forest of rhododendrons and pines. Passing through the villages with lush fields of rice, wheat, barely and crossing over the tree lines, you arrive in the regions sparsely inhabited by migrant yak herders. The trail continues through an enchanting valley flanked with snowcapped peaks to the base of Mount Chomolhari and its spike shaped companion, Jichu Drake. You spend one entire day exploring the vicinity or just relaxing and enjoying the wonders of nature. You resume your trek to the Thimphu valley by crossing two major passes through the remote wilderness . This area has abundant wildlife, including, blue sheep, Takin and a variety of birds. Perhaps you will pass under the surveillance of the elusive snow leopard! There will be ample of opportunities to interact with the friendly people of Bhutan and learn their philosophy of “GROSS NATIONAL HAPINESS”. After the trek, you have a day to see Bhutan’s tiny Capital city with no traffic light.


Flying into the country’s only airport, in the beautiful Paro valley, the clear mountain air, forested ridges, imposing monasteries and welcoming Bhutanese people in their striking national dress, provides a breath-taking first impression.
Your guide, who is going to be with you throughout your trip, from Bhutan Travel Designers will meet you at the airport. A fifteen minute drive follows the narrow winding road to our hotel which is a traditional Bhutanese building with attractive gardens and an exceptionally peaceful atmosphere. In the afternoon, we will visit the Ta-Dzong which was built in 1651 as a watch tower for the Rinpung Dzong. Since 1967, the watch tower has served as the home of the National Museum and holds a fascinating collection of art, ancient relics and religious artifacts. Next in line is Rinpung Dzong built in 1646 by Shabdrung, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro and its district administration. If there is time, we will walk along the small main street of Paro in the evening with its typically Bhutanese shops and small lodges. Altitude at Paro – 2250 meters. Overnight – Pelri Cottage.


Today as the part of an acclimatization trip, we will hike up to the famous 17th century temple called Taktsang, or the Tigers nest, perched on a rock face 900 meters above Paro valley. In 8th century, Guru Rinpoche; the great Indian saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, is believed to have arrived here flying on the back of a tigress and to have meditated here for about three months. It is revered as one of the most sacred places, every Bhutanese wishes to visit this place at least once in their lifetime. To get there, it takes about two hours of uphill walking. The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We will have lunch at the cafeteria on our way back from the monastery, and then continue our hike down to the bottom. Overnight – Pelri Cottage.


Drive up to Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) where the road ends and the trek begin. With a gradual climb the trail follows the Pachu (Paro river) passing beautiful meadows, paddy fields and impressive farm houses. After about four hours you will reach the army post at Gunitsawa village. At the army check point , 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. Camp – Shana (2850m)


On this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley, you enter the Jigme Dorji National Park. The valley narrows gradually to a mere path which ascends to a meadow where a camp will be set up. From here, if weather permits, you will have the first great view of Mount Jhomolhari. Camp – Thangthangka (3610m)


If you did not see Mount Jhomolhari the previous evening, you will have a  chance to get a great view this early morning. This morning, the trek continues up the Pachu valley which widens into patches of alpine meadow and meager growths of forest. You will cross an army outpost along the way and enjoy a spectacular view of high mountain ridges and snow-capped peaks. Yaks and the herder’s homes become a regular feature of the landscape. Passing the villages Soe, Takethang and Dangochang is another asset on this day. Reaching Jangothang, one of the most beautiful campsites of the Himalayas, you will again have a spectacular view of Mount Jhomolhari. Camp – Base Camp (4080m)


The day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views on lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jhomolhari 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 acclimatization.  You may trek up to Tsophu or hike around the area. There are good short hiking trails in three directions. Jhomolhari and its subsidiary mountain chains lay directly west, Jichu Drake to the north and a number of unclimbed peaks to the east.

DAY 07: BASE CAMP/LINGSHI (6-7 hours)

After 15 min. from the camp, the trail climbs rapidly for about half an hour and then becomes a gradual ascend to the Nyilila pass at 4,870m. While on the climb, enjoy the surroundings, you might see herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes of the mountains. From the pass, you will have spectacular views of Mt. Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsherimgang, all of them rising above 7,000m. On the way down to the camp you will pass by some of the yak herder’s tents, made from yak wool, where the herders take shelter while on the move to various pastures for their yaks. As you come down into the Lingshi basin, you get a wonderful view of Lingshi Dzong on a clear day. Tserimgang and its glaciers rise up at the north end of the valley. The campsite is next to a stone hut you reach just before Lingshi Dzong. Camp – Lingshi (4010m)

DAY 08: LINGSHI/SHODU (8-9 hours)

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 Jhomolhari, Tserimgang and Masanggang. The trek from the pass to the campsite at Shodu is a steep downhill. Camp – Shodu (4080m)

DAY 09: SHODU/BARSHONG (5-6 hours)

The trail follows the Thimphu Chu (river) through fir and hemlock 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. Camp – Barshong (3710m)

DAY 10: BARSHONG/DODENA (7-8 hours)

The trail descends down to the Thimphu Chu (river) valley, through dense forests of rhododendron, birch, conifer, maples and bamboos and then ascends to pasture lands. From here, the trail continues through forested areas winding up and down and if luck favors us, we may see some monkeys. Finally, we reach the road head, which is next to an impressive Bhutanese cantilever bridge, where our car will be waiting to drive us to Thimphu, the capital city, for about half an hour. Overnight: hotel in Thimphu.


Today’s sightseeing of Thimphu valley includes, visits to ; National Library, a treasure trove of priceless Buddhist manuscripts ; the Traditional Medicine Institute, where centuries old healing arts such as acupuncture and herbal remedies are still practiced; the Painting School, where young monks learn the art of Buddhist thangkhas, and the mask maker workshop. There are also workshop for fine metal craft, weaving, ceramics and paper making. Then, visit the Handicrafts Emporium and local shops if you would like to browse through examples of Bhutan’s fine traditional arts. Here you can buy textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, wood carvings, jewelries, and any other interesting items made from local materials.
In the evening, we will take a drive to Paro which is about 2 hours. Tonight we will have a celebratory or farewell dinner. Overnight – Pelri Cottage


After breakfast in the hotel, drive to the airport in time to catch your onward flight. Your escort from Bhutan wilderness Travels will bid you farewell and soon the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappears again behind its guardian mountains.