Jomolhari Trek is one of most popular treks in Bhutan, famous for awesome views of Jomolhari, 7326m, Bhutan’s holy mountain which lies on the border of Bhutan and Tibet. The trail passes through deep and rich forests, scattered hamlets and farmland and climbs to high alpine pastures. Unlike the well-worn paths to Everest Base Camp and many other parts of the Himalaya, the hiking trails in Bhutan are refreshingly new and at times hard to distinguish. There are rocks, boulders and fallen trees to hurdle. It requires a good level physical fitness as the altitude varies from 2500m to 4930m, reaching the barren plains beneath the peaks where nights are cold.
We meet up with our crew at Drukgyel Dzong. The crew consists of a guide, one cook, an odd-job man, a horseman and several horses.
For the first two days of the Jomolhari Trek, our caravan travels up the Par Chhu valley following a twisting trail alongside the rushing waters of the Par Chhu or Paro river, which is born glaciers of Jomalhari and flows all the way down to and past the town of Paro.
Our second campsite is in a meadow at 3600m below the awesomely perfect summit of Jomolhari, the 7326m third-highest peak in Bhutan. Its staggering height over the valley makes you feel very small. Great slabs of snow and ice hang precariously from its southern flanks.
Emerging beyond the tree line we see more of the majesty of the Bhutanese Himalaya. The green valley opens out into a dramatic corridor with scree slopes that appear to have slipped down from the ragged rock cliffs above.
The trail swings westward to reveal Jomolhari’s near neighbour, Mt. Jitchu Drake, 6989m. Its spectacular ridgelines of snow and ice fused with rock are of such divine symmetry, it seems they have been hewn by the gods. Jomolhari Base Camp is at Jangothang, 4080m, a flat grassy space near an old ruined dzong where we can look right up to the eastern flank of Jomolhari. A two hour hike up a nearby peak offers a 360-degree panorama of the whole range including Jomolhari, Jomolhari II, 6942m, Jitchu Drakye, and Tserim Kang, 6789m.
We continue from Jangothang climbing eastward out of the Par Chhu valley and into the valley of the Tsophu Lakes. The Jomolhari range reflected in the clear blue water of the lakes is like a postcard, but we can’t afford to dawdle as we must push on toward the highest point of the trek, the Bhonte La pass, 4890m. From the wind-battered summit we drop down into a yak pasture well known by shepherds to be the hunting ground of the snow leopard. The snow leopard mostly keeps out of sight, but it is common to see footprints, or evidence such as the half-eaten carcasses of yaks or other unlucky prey.
The trail heads steeply down into the Dhumzo Chhu valley to a meadow beside a tranquil river and then climbs up the other side of the valley and over the Takhung La pass, 4520m, where prayer flags flutter at the rocky crest. We descend to a sprawling grassy plateau, which is our next campsite. There is a final climb to a pass which offers views of Kangchenjunga, the world’s 3rd-highest mountain, and then a knee-crunching descent of 1600m into the Par Chhu valley, which completes the circuit of the Jomolhari Trek.
Day 1 : Arrival in Paro
Day 2 : Paro- Taktsang Palphug Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)
Day 3 : Trek Day 01: By car from Paro to Drukgyel Dzong, 2580m, trek to Shana Yekha 2890m
Day 4 : Trek Day 02: Shana, 2890m to Soi Thangthanka, 3575m
Day 5 : Trek Day 03: Soi Thangthanka, 3575m to Jomolhari Base Camp4044m
Day 6 : Trek Day 04: Chomolhari Base Camp, 4044m to Lingshi, 4010m, via Nyele La, 4890m
Day 7 : Trek Day 05: Rest Day at Lingshi to acclimatize and explore
Day 8 : Trek Day 06: Lingshi, 4010m to Shodu, 4080m via Yale La, 4950m
Day 9 : Trek Day 07: Shodu, 4080m, to Barshong, 3720m
Day 10 : Trek Day 08: Barshong, 3720m, to Dolam Kencho, 3290m
Day 11 : Trek Day 09: Dolam Kencho, 3290m, to Dodena, 2615m, By Road to Thimpu (45 min)
Day 12 : Thimphu Sightseeing and drive to Paro
Day 13 : Depart Paro
Tourism in Bhutan
The government of Bhutan imposes a tourist tariff, currently set at $250 a day, as an effort to keep the country from being overrun by tourists. Although tourists are very welcome, limiting the number is important to preserve their unique environment and culture. Guests are treated royally, and you all the comforts you require including a guide, excellent accommodation and all meals. A trekking crew consists of a guide, one cook, an odd-job man, a horseman and several horses.
However, Bhutan cuts no corners when it comes to tourism. The daily tariff is included in the price of your package tour: it is the minimum amount a tourist must spend per day in Bhutan. That sum covers the cost of your visa, 3-star lodging, meals, tax, guide, and travel within the country. Annapurna Foothills Treks and Expeditions will help you arrange visas. (Although you can't spend less than that rate per person, you can spend more, especially if you opt for luxury accommodation.)
Most tours concentrate on the western midsection probably because the rest of the country lacks necessary infrastructure. Arriving at the international airport in Paro, most tourists visit Thimphu, the capital, and, if possible, the Punakha valley.
At the time of booking you must provide a scanned copy of your passport. We also require your flight details to finalize the visa process, including arrival and departure flight numbers, times and point of origin.
We will send you the scanned copy of your Bhutan group visa prior to your tour. In some cases this may only be issued close to your date of arrival into Bhutan. You must show the copy of your Bhutan Group visa when you check-in for your flight to Bhutan and on arrival at immigration in Paro, Bhutan where you will have your visa stamped into your passport.
Destination : Nepal
Duration : 13 Days
Price : US $3500 p/p
Trip Grade : Challenging
Group Size:2 - 12 Persons
Was really impressed with the speed at which they organised a tour for me, and the quality of the tour itself. The director - Ngima - was very responsive and really helpful, meeting me the day before my tour and introducing me to my guide the day of the tour.…Phillippa
Just got back from an awesome trip to Nepal, kindly arranged by Ngima Sherpa from Annapurna Foothills Treks. The organisation of the trip was absolutely flawless, and I can't remember having any problems during my whole month long stay. My Sherpa Dendi (as featured in the new Everest movie),is a…Neil Murphy
My boyfriend and I wanted to trek in Nepal so I found Annapurna Foothills details online - they were amazing from start to finish. Ngima, the Managing Director was really helpful over email in planning the trip and flexible to help us fit in everything we wanted to. Our guide…Meriel Flint