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Jomolhari Trek is one of the popular long treks in Bhutan to experience the untouched Himalayan beauty in the vicinity. It is a high altitude trek that takes us to an altitude of over 4,000m.
Bhutan is highly concerned about saving the environment to fight climate change and it can be clearly seen in their actions and laws. Their constitution demands at least 60% of the land of Bhutan to be forested. Interestingly, 71% of the land is covered by forest.
Bhutan also holds a record for planting 50,000 trees in just one hour. No wonder, Bhutan is one of the global biodiversity hotspots in the world. In a carbon threatened world, Bhutan is the only carbon negative country in the world. It means carbon dioxide is absorbed more than it is produced.
Their law prohibits burning woods and fuels as a result, Bhutan provides free electricity to the entire people. Their law also prohibits climbing mountains. Bhutan has kept the beautiful mother nature pristine.
Spring season can be the best season for the Bhutan tour. March to May is the best time for a trip to Bhutan when the rhododendron forest is dense. You will get to experience the surroundings enhanced by the beauty of blossoming rhododendron. If you are lucky you might also get to see rare black-necked cranes.
October to December is the best time to visit Bhutan as well since the weather is calm and the sky is clear during this time of the year. The weather is neither hot nor too cold.
January and February are not considered as the best time of the year to visit Bhutan since the weather is too cold. It is difficult to tour Bhutan during winter. Visiting Bhutan is not recommended in winter.
From June to September, heavy rainfall is encountered in Bhutan so your Bhutan tour might not be quite fruitful during Monsoon.
Max. Elevation: 4,850m
Duration: 12 days
Trek Difficulty: Strenuous
Physical fitness: High
Type of trek: Long trek
After a short briefing and required arrangements, we will be taking a direct flight from Kathmandu to Paro. It is going to be an air trip of around 1 hour and 45 minutes. Get awestruck with the beautiful landscape and high mountains of Bhutan from the flight. Stay overnight in a nice hotel in Paro valley.
After an appetizing breakfast, we will pave our way towards Taktsang Monastery, which is popularly known as Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Get ready for a strenuous walk to the top of a hill where Tiger’s nest monastery resides at the edge of the cliff. Your Bhutan trip will not be complete without the Paro Taktsang visit. It is an ancient monastery that dates back to the 16th century. It will take 6 to 7 hours to reach the monastery. The monastery houses some temples and is also a shelter for monks. The monastery is artistically rich and houses some ancient sculptures and paintings. After exploring the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, descend to Paro valley.
Driving for around 25 minutes from Paro, we reach Drukgyel Dzong fortress. It was constructed in 1647 to protect against Tibetans invading the Paro Valley. The raw view of the fortress takes you back to ancient times.
Then, drive to Shana from where we will begin our trek to Thongo Zampa. On this scenic drive we pass through meadows and fields of wheat, barley, mustard, potato, and also see yak herding. As we gain some elevation, the views of the summit of Jomolhari (7314m) starts appearing at the head of the valley. Cross a wooden bridge that takes us from Shana to Thongp Zampa. We will be walking through some dense forests and muddy trail Thongo Zampa. As we ascend deep into nature, we will experience the true hidden beauty of the nature of Bhutan.
Today we will explore the Jigme Dorji National Park, the largest guarded area in the country (4350 sq km). Jigme Dorji National Park shelters some dense forests with an amazing variety of species of plants and animals at both high and low altitudes. Walk through a variety of oaks, rhododendron, maple, larch, birch, and pine forests. You should embark on the Bhutan trip during the best time of the year to enjoy the wilderness of the forests.
The trekking trail to Thanthangkha is winding and difficult. We pass a path that leads over the Tremo La to Tibet. This route used to be a trading route for Bhutanese people to Tibet.
We will cross several wooden bridges and rivers. After walking for 4 to 5 hours, we will reach Thanthangka. There are several spots suitable for camping.
As we start gaining elevation, the landscape opens up to green meadows and leads us to Jangothang. From Jangothang, Mount Jomolhari seems in the reach of a hand. Cross the high passes of Nyile La (4700m) and Yale Pass (4950m) to finally reach the Jomolhari Base camp, also known as Chomolhari Base Camp.
This day can be utilized for acclimatization. We are at a high altitude at Jomolhari Base Camp so acclimatization is very important. We can stroll around a small valley around Jomolhari. We can take an alternative excursion tour to Sopu lake, located adjacent to Nye La pass.
From Jomolhari Base camp, we make our way over rolling slopes of grassland and a small brush to the Nyile La (4850m). The trekking trail is quite long so you have to be ready to walk for 8 to 9 hours today. The trekking routes as you ascend can be steep. From the Nyile La pass, we leave Jomolhari and Jichu Drake behind and make a steep descent towards Lingshi village. Witness the Lingshi Dzong monastery at an altitude of 4,150m on a clear day. It was built in the 16th century by Chogyal Minjur Tenpa.
We will be attaining an altitude of 4,955m today. It is going to be a difficult day as we will be passing Yale La pass, the highest point of the trip. Crossing the highest pass of this trek demands a whole day so we must get an early start. The weather tends to be most settled in the early morning giving us a chance to have a spectacular view of the surroundings.
The pain and tiredness will just disappear as soon as you catch sight of the stunning panoramic view of Jomolhari (7314m), Jichu Drake (6794m), and Tshrim Gang. On a clear day, the view of the mountain range is breathtaking.
We have to walk around 6 to 7hrs to reach Shodu village. The trekking trail climbs steeply after crossing two bridges and then ascend about 300m.
You can see several structures made by piling of stones and prayer flags flattering by continuous breeze exhibiting Buddhist influence. Delve into the heavenly moment for a while and you can also put up some prayer flags at the pass. After capturing the Himalayan beauty into your memory, we will descend back to Shodu where we will call it a day.
Follow a path along the Thimchu River and walk while penetrating through rhododendron, Juniper, and pine forests. There are huge rocks and stunning waterfalls on the way. After a gradual descent of 3 to 4 hours, we reach the ruins of Barshong Dzong and our shelter for the night.
We will descend to Dolam Khencho, which takes around 3 to 4 hours. We will keep the pace slow. We don’t need to hurry. From Dolam Khencho, we will drive to Thimphu. We will spend the night at Thimphu.
We will spend this day exploring the city of Thimphu. Thimphu has some major tourist attractions like National Memorial Chorten. This chorten carries special beliefs of pilgrims. They can be seen circumambulating the stupa with golden spires and bells. Next is Tashichho Dzong. It is a Buddhist monastery, built in 1907. It houses some giant sculptures, paintings, and statues painted artistically. Visit the huge vegetable market in Thimphu where locals can be seen selling vegetables, grown by themselves on their farm. Finally, pay a visit to a small handicraft market in Thimphu where you can buy some local souvenirs.
On this day, the trip concludes. We will take a direct flight from Paro to Kathmandu. Then, you will be escorted to the Kathmandu Airport from where you will leave for your hometown.
The general flight fee for Kathmandu to Paro to Kathmandu is nearly around the following price.
Economy Class: USD 437
Business Class: USD 476
Bhutan has some strict rules and procedures for tourists. It is difficult to obtain a visa for Bhutan. Visas are generally granted for two weeks for a one-time fee of USD 20 per person in Bhutan. For visa extension, you need to pay USD 15 per person to add two additional weeks. A one-time fee of USD 10 per person is also needed to be paid to the tourism development board charged by the government.