Trip Highlights: Trekking/cultural tours
Trip duration: 15 Days/14 Nights
On trek duration: 10 days
Max. Elevation: 4,930m
Highest Camp: 4,080m
Physical grade: Medium
Best time: March to June & October to November
Start: Drukgyel Dzong (Paro)
Finish: Dodena (Thimphu)
One of the most popular treks in Bhutan, Jomolhari Trek I is the longer among the two routes. The trek covers an altitude of 2,500m to about 5,000m. This trek offers spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari from the base camp at Jangothang. Almost the whole of the trek cuts through a part of the Jigme Singye National Park, offering trekkers the opportunity to experience the rich fauna and flora at the backdrop of a beautiful landscape. Along the trail, you will also come across Yak herder’s settlements. As the trek is quite tough, trekkers should be physically fit.
Day 1 Arrival Paro
You local tour guide will receive you at the Paro International Airport, and straightaway take you to your hotel, for freshening up. Then, it will be followed by a cultural trip to Paro Dzong and the National Museum. After lunch, you will visit the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong and the Kyichu Lhakhang, a sixth century temple.
Day 2 Tiger Nest hike
In the early hours of the day, the gentle hike to Paro Taktshang or Tiger’s Nest is all you would wish for. The three-hour hike offers a spectacular view of the valley and breathtaking sights of one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the Kingdom.
Day 3 Drukgyel Dzong/Shana
Time: four to five hours
Camp altitude 2,850m
The trek begins from the Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) road point. It is a gentle climb along the Parochhu. The trail passes through green meadows, paddy fields and traditional Bhutanese farm houses. After about four hours trekking, you will reach the army outpost at Gunitsawa village where your guide will provide permits. You will have to walk to the other side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa, to the campsite.
Day 4 Shana/Soi Thangthangkha
Time: seven to eight hours
Descent: 10 m
Camp altitude: 3,610m
This is a long trek that involves walking uphill and downhill at short intervals. After climbing uphill through the river valley, you will enter the Jigme Dorji National Park. The valley narrows down to a single path that descends to a meadow. The camp will be set up here. This is a right spot for the camp as you will be able to see Mount Jomolhari on a clear day.
Day 5 Soi Thangthangkha/Jangothang
Time: five to six hours
Camp altitude: 4,080m
You resume the trek early in the morning. The trail continues uphill across alpine meadow and stunted vegetation. Along the trail, you will be able to view Mount Jomolhari. You will come across an army outpost on the way, yak herders homes, and will enjoy the view of beautiful snow clad mountain peaks and ridges. The trail passes through the highland villages of Soe, Takethang and Dangochang. Here you will be able to experience the typical lifestyle and culture of highlanders. You will continue till Jangothang, the campsite at the base of the majestic Mount Jhomolhari, the abode of the protective deity Jomo.
Day 6 Rest day at Jangothang
A day will be spent at Jangothang. Short hikes offer the opportunity to see lakes and various other mountain peaks like Mount Jomolhari and Jyichu Drakey. There are also possibilities of sighting blue sheep. There are good short hiking trails in three directions. Jumolhari and it’s subsidiary mountain chains lie directly west, Jyichu Drakey to the north and a number of unclimbed peaks to the east.
Day 7 Jangothang/Lingshi
Time: six to seven hours
Ascent: 840m ascent
Descent: 870m descent
Camp altitude: 4,010m
After the day’s halt, you will resume the trek. The trail from the camp ascends through a steep ridge for about half an hour. After that it is a gradual downhill walk to the Nyilila pass at 4,870m. From here, you will be able to view Mount Jomolhari, Mount Jyichu Drakey and Tsherimgang, all above 7,000m. Along the trail, you may also sight herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes. The downhill trek will take you to Lingshi basin. Along this trail you will also come across yak, yak herders and their homes. You will also see Lingshi dzong on a clear day. You will halt at the campsite before you reach Lingshi dzong.
Day 8 Lingshi halt
After the rigorous trekking, you will take a day off at Lingshi. This highland village offers insight into traditional lifestyle of the highlanders. You can interact with local residents and take a hike around the vicinity of their village.
Day 9 Lingshi/Shodu
Time: eight to nine hours
Descent: 920m descent
Camp altitude: 4,080m
Brace yourself up for a long day of trekking. The trail climbs up to Yelila pass at an altitude of 4,930m. From here, if the weather is clear, you can have a spectacular view of Mount Jumolhari, Tserimgang and Masanggang. The trail continues downhill until you reach the campsite at Shodu.
Day 10 Shodu /Barshong
Time: five to six hours
Ascent: 250m ascent
Camp altitude: 3,710m
The trail goes along the Thimphu Chhu. The surrounding is a rich rhododendron forests. Along the way, you will see beautiful waterfalls. The trail gradually ascends to the ruins of Barshong Dzong.
Day 11 Barshong/Domlam Kencho
Time: Four to six hours
Descent: 640m descent
Camp altitude: 3,320m
You resume the trek early morning. The trail descends to the Thimphu Chhu river valley. Along this trail, you will pass across dense forests of rhododendron, birch, conifer, maples and bamboos. The trail gradually climbs up to a pasture land where the camp is.
Day12 Domlam Kencho/Dodenaodena
Time: three to four hours
Ascent: 500m ascent
Descent: 930m descent
You will continue trekking through dense forest and cross a small pass. Along the trail, you can sight lot of langurs. Dodena marks the end of Jigme Dorji National Park. From there you will reach the road point.
Day 13 Thimphu sightseeing
In Thimphu you will be taken for a tour. You will visit the folk heritage museum, the painting school, the national library and the memorial chorten.
Day 14 Thimphu
You will hike to Tango monastery in the north of Thimphu. After lunch, you will visit Changangkha monastery, Takin zoo, Sangaygang view point and the Kuenselphodrang where one of the tallest statues of Lord Buddha is constructed. Towards the end of the day, you will visit Tashichhodzong, the seat of the King and central monastic body.
Your tour guide will see you off at the airport.