Jomolhari Trek in Bhutan is one of the breathtaking trekking experience which takes about one week for complete route. You also have an option to make it in 5 days if you wish to return the same route after being at the base of Mountain Jomolhari. You will pass though stones engraved with “3,000m”, then “3,500m” and the snowy Drake range, then Jomolhari, 7,326m high, comes into view. Icicles forms where the river splashes the rocks. In a forest of silver birch hung with wispy old man’s beard, you will find yaks grazing along the way, and then you will hike higher onto the barren plains beneath the peaks. Each night the camping becomes colder. So, be prepared for the Himalayan climate.
Here are some possible plans which you may choose to plan starting from the arrival in Bhutan.
Day 1: Arrive at the Paro International Airport
On your arrival at Paro airport, and taking some rest at the hotel, you can go to see the Paro Dzong which is the seat of District Administration and the monastic body, and the Paro Ta Dzong which was built back then to serve as a watch tower. But now the Ta Dzong serves as the National Museum of Bhutan. In the evening you can walk by the local market to explore the Bhutanese Handicraft, Thankha paintings, textiles, etc. You may halt the night at your hotel in Paro.
Day 2: Sightseeing of Paro
After breakfast you can hike to Taktshang Monastery. It is located on a high cliff towards the north of Paro town. You can read my experience of hiking to Paro Taktshang at https://travelwake.com/hiking-taktshang-monastery-experience/ .
After Taktshang, you may visit Kyichu Lhakhang which is one of the 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. Then you will head towards the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong. It was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to commemorate his victory over the Tibetans in 1644.
Day 3: Move from Paro to Shana.
On the third day you can start you main trek from Drukgyel Dzong. The path is a short downhill walk on a well maintained wide track by the Tourism Council of Bhutan. This short descend will be followed by a gentle climb through rice and millet fields. Then you will cross some forests and orchards before reaching the Gunitsawa army post. From here it will be a few meters ascend upwards where we will halt the night at our campsite. It will take us approximately about 6 hours for this journey. These days, there is a farm road connection from Drugyel to Gunitsawa. You may wish to go by car till Gunitsawa and start your trek from there. The road is not paved well though.
Day 4: Shana to Soi Thangthangkha
From Shana you will move towards Soi Thangthangkha ascending up following the Pa Chu, the river flowing along Paro valley. The journey is almost 8 hours before to reach the campsite at Soi Thangthankha. You can halt night there in the camp. There is also a shop selling some packed foods, water and essentials. The restroom facilities are available at the camp site. The temperature gets colder and colder as you trek higher towards Himalayan.
Day 5: Forward from Soi Thangthangkha towards Jangothang
In this travel of almost 8 hours you will cross by another army camp. Again you will follow the river and ascend uphill. You will start to see the beautiful Himalayan peaks. The spectacular views of Jomolhari Mountain and Jichu Drake start getting more and more closer and magnificent. The snow capped Himalayan starts appearing closer. You will halt the night at the campsite. The campsite is facilitated with restrooms and water supply. The campsite is located perfectly almost at the base of Mountain Jomolhari. If the day is clear, the view is amazingly breathtaking. From this campsite, after viewing the Mountain Jomolhari, you may wish to return to Paro from the same route. Else, you can follow the following routes to experience inner beauty of Himalayan.
Day 6: Towards Lingshi from Jangothang
Another 8hours walk and you will reach Lingshi where you can see the age old Lingshi Dzong standing majestically over the peaceful valley. From here you can get a breathtaking view of the Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. Overnight halt at the campsite. The campsite is well maintained with restroom facilities and water supply.
Day 7: From Lingshi towards Shodu
Another 8 hours and you will reach Sodhu. You mostly follow the path on the west side of the treeless valley. After a while you will reach a pass named Yeli-La. From this pass, on a clear day Jomolhari, Tserimgang and Masangang can be seen. These are some of the highest Himalayan peaks in Bhutan and also some of the highest un-climbed mountains in the world. You will halt the night at the campsite.
Day 8: Shodu to Barshong
This 7 hours path follows the course taken by Thimphu Chu, the river that flows in Thimphu Valley. You will come across some of the best picturesque view along this path. On reaching Barshong you will see the ruins of Barshong Dzong. Near this Dzong, you can halt the night at the campsite.
Day 9: Barshong to Dolamkencho
As the day passes by, the crazy daily journey gets on reducing, making it easier for your troubled foot. This trail is around 6 hours after which you will set out camp for the night.
Day 10: Dolamkencho to Thimphu via Dodena
Further reduction of your travel time to 3 hours in the tenth day. After 3 hours you will reach the road point. Then you can travel by vehicle to Thimphu and halt the night at the hotel in Thimphu, the capital city.
Day 11: Sightseeing of Thimphu
After breakfast in the morning you can start the tour of Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. You can visit some of the sites like Institute for Arts and Crafts where 13 types of Bhutanese art are taught, the National Library which houses the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to 8th century, the traditional paper factory showing the glimpse of how Bhutanese paper, Deysho is made, Trashichhoedzong, the seat of some of the Ministries, His Majesty’s Secretariat and the central monk body and the Zilukha nunnery.
Then if time favors you can also go to Changangkha monastery which is a 12 century monastery and then continue on to visit the National Memorial Chhorten which was built in loving memory of the Third King of Bhutan. You can also try to visit the Thimphu vegetable market if you happen to be there on weekends. You can then leave Thimphu by evening to Paro and halt the night in Paro.
Day 12: Departure from Paro
After breakfast in the morning you will depart from the airport to your respective destination.
One thought on “Jomolhari Trekking: Experiencing the Himalayas”
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