Nothing in the world can prepare you for an astounding panorama that awaits you when you embark on a Jomolhari trek in Bhutan. Along this Snow Leopard Jhomolhari Trek, you will come upon stretches of spectacular scenery, unending expanse of fields, green hills filled with flowers and quiet hamlets below snowcapped mountain peaks. This is one of Bhutan’s finest treks that offer spectacular views of 7,314m Jomolhari with its companions Jitchu Drake and Tserim Kang. These trio peaks are Bhutan’s highly revered custodians that loom large on the Tibet-Bhutan border close to an ancient trade route from India into Tibet’s Phari Valley.
It is thought by many to be the most beautiful mountain in the whole length of the Himalayas. This trek has high chances of sighting the blue-sheep, Takin, and a wide variety of birds. In the spring, rhododendrons, azaleas, and masses of wildflowers carpet the high meadows, while pear and apple trees blossom in the valleys. In the fall, rice paddies ripen to a golden brown, and yak herders bring their charges down from high summer pastures.
Transfer to the trek’s starting point near Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m), where our pack ponies are loaded up with all the gear for our trek. Accompanying us are crews comprising of a horseman, ponies, a Guide, a Cook and assistants. Your luggage are carried by the ponies or mules and all you have to carry is a day pack containing the requirements for your personal use during the day.
On the trek, there will be a dinning tent, simple pit toilet tents and sleeping tents. We use LPG gas to cook meals, light dinning tent and kitchen. We are also among a very few companies in Bhutan that carry Gamow or PAC bags (Pressurized Altitude Chambers), for emergencies with altitude sickness.
Our first day is an easy trek. While our crews get ready, we begin by walking along the Paro river, following it as it winds along past traditional farmhouses with cultivated fields of red rice, chilies, potatoes, and millet. After about five hours of walking, we arrive at campsite by the river near the village of Shana (2,860m). By this time our crew would have already gone ahead of us and prepared our camping site.
Trekking from Drukgyel Dzong to Shana village
Today is a longer and much tougher day, so start early! You are now entering Jigme Dorji National Park. We continue up through the valley of Paro River, which gradually narrows as the trail leads higher, winding up and down through a thick, lush forest of oak, pine, and juniper. As we get closer to our camp for the night, we begin to see the snowcapped summit of Mt. Jomolhari. Camp at Soi Thangthangkha (3,610m) amidst the woods with one trekker’s hut used for eating and for a fire place. Overnight in tents.
Trekking to Jigme Dorji National Park, overnight at Thangthangkha Campsite
We continue following Paro river as the valley begins to widen, opening to a spectacular area surrounded by high ridges and snowcapped peaks. A few yak-herding villages are based in this area, and we may be lucky to purchase some yak cheese from them or have lunch in one of their simple, traditional homes. Today is not a long day but because of an altitude gain, the pace is slower. Camp at Jangothang (4,080m) below a ruined fortress with Mt. Jomolhari seemingly nearby. There is a nice little trekker hut that provides fire place and dinning.
Today, we trek to Jangothang campsite (4080m)
Jangothang is one of the most spectacular camping places in the entire Himalayas. Chain of snow peaks form the eastern side of Paro river, which just a clear little brook here. , Jangothang has few villages with yak herders and trout filled lakes to visit. The mighty of Jomolhari, Bhutan’s second highest mountain, seems almost close enough to touch from here. This sacred mountain remains unclimbed and off limits to mountaineers. Near it rises Majestic Jichu Drake, which is also unclimbed.
Depending on your interest, you can walk towards Jomolhari glaciers or walk part of the route heading north to Lingshi. You may also opt to stay at the camp, take in the views, visit a village, or rest for the challenging day ahead. You can also get some laundry or cleaning done this morning in a stream nearby.
Overnight in Tents.
Day break at Jangothang campsite
The trek is now more serious today. Our trail starts with a steep hike to Tshopu (4,380m), one of the two trout-filled glacial lakes that we will pass on our way to Bhonte La. From here on, we often see blue sheep, fat marmots, and migrating Himalayan birds, as well as incredible views of Jichu Drake, a beautiful snowcapped peak alongside Jomolhari. The meadows are carpeted with flowers and there are usually some Yak herders in tents. We continue for about one hour to our lunch spot below Bhonte La (4,890m). On a clear day, the views from the Pass are really spectacular in all directions. You can even see Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world to the west. After lunch we cross the Pass and make a long, steep descent to the yak-herding valley of Soi Yaksa. There are only a few families living in this area and they produce some of the best yak-wool cloth we’ll see along this trail. Yak herders and their families will come to our camp as early as 6:00am with items to sell, such as cloth, yak tassels,ropes, jewelry and such. Campsite is at 3,800m.
Trekking through Tshopu (4380m), Bhonte La (4890m)
Our hike starts with a very gentle uphill trail to the top of the eastern ridge of the Soi Yaksa valley. From here we can enjoy an incredible view of the amphitheater of mountains to the north. Gradually Jomolhari and Jichu Drake peaks reappear on the distant horizon as we approach our lunch spot. Cross Takhung La (4,520m). A short descent thereafter leads into wide and grassy Thangbu valleys (4,180m). This area is rich pastureland for yaks, and we’ll usually see nomadic yak herders camped in their traditional woolen tents and stone huts.
Trekking to Thongbu Shong campsite
After a short, steep climb out of camp, we leave the remote mountain area by following a ridge to Thombu La (4,380m) From this vantage point we get a glimpse of the Paro Valley to the south and mountain views all around. Then start steep descent for most of the afternoon and rejoin our route at Shana (2,730m), where we had spent our first night of camping. (5-6 hours hiking.) Your campsite may differ tonight. We may cover more area and camp a bit further down.
Trekking back to Shana campsite (2730m)
After trekking for 4 hours or less, we make it back to the Drugyel Dzong. Bid farewell to our trekking crew and transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, you can join for a tour of Paro Valley.
Trekking Paro Valley
Day 1: Arrive in Paro and transfer to Thimphu (L/D)
Day 2: Thimphu Valley Tour (B/L/D)
Day 3: Drive to Punakha (B/L/D)
Day 4: Punakha & Wangdue Phodrang Tour (B/L/D)
Day 5: Drive to Paro (B/L/D)
Day 6: Begin Trek to Shana (B/L/D)
Day 7: Trek to Soi Thangthanka (B/L/D)
Day 8: Trek to Jangothang (Base Camp) (B/L/D)
Day 9: Rest Day for Exploration (B/L/D)
Day 10: Trek across Bhontela to Dumzo (Yaksa) (B/L/D)
Day 11: Trek to Thongbu Shong (B/L/D)
Day 12: Trek to Shana (B/L/D)
Day 13: Trek end to Paro (B/L/D)
Day 14: Paro Takstang & Ugyen Tsemo (B/L/D)
Day 15: Full day sightseeing tour of Paro (B/L/D)
Day 16: Depart (B)
WHEN TO GO?
MORE TOURS HERE