Jomolhari Loop Trekking
Jomolhari Loop Trekking is the shortest of the Jomolhari trekking routes, which are the most popular treks in Bhutan. With altitude differences of 2250m and nearly 5000m, it offers a wide range of landscapes and flora and fauna. The highlight of this trek is the spectacular views of Jomolhari from Jomolhari Base Camp (Jangothang). Trekkers who want to avoid high passes and high altitude can choose an easier version of the Jomolhari Loop by retracing their steps from Jangothang (see days 4-6), while still having the majestic impressions of Jomolhari.
Jomolhari Loop Trekking also takes in a visit to the awe inspiring Taktsang Monastery (Tigers Nest) and to visit two other Dzongs in Paro on arrival.
Trek: Jomolhari Loop
Trek starts: Drukgyal Dzong (Paro)
Trek duration: 10 days/14 days including transportation
Grade: Moderate to strenuous
Maximum altitude: 4890m
Minimum altitude: 2250m
Trek ends: Drukgyal Dzong (Paro)
Day 1: Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and a representative of Unique Nepal Adventure Trek will welcome and transfer you to your selected hotel by private vehicle.
Day 2: Fly from Kathmandu to Paro (2250m). This flight into Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights to take, as it flies past Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and many more peaks. The flight takes around an hour and a half. We will then go to our hotel and take refreshment and visit Ta Dzong (National Museum) and Paro Rinpung Dzong.
Day 3: After breakfast, we drive to Kyichu Lhakhang. King Songtsän Gampo built the Lhakhang in the 7th century AD. The associated legend is that – this is one of 108 Lhakhang’s built in a single night by the king to tame his kingdom’s borders. Return to stay for lunch, rest and prepare for the trek up to Taktsang Monastery (the “Tiger’s Nest”).
Drive to the start of the trek. Trek (or horse ride) to Taktsang Monastery (trek time is 2-3 hours depending on weather and fitness level).Taktsang is perched on a precipitous 900 meter cliff. The monastery has been restored at painstaking efforts to former glory after a fire in 1998. The legend is that Guru Padmasambhava flew to this holy place on the back of tigress to meditate. More recently, one of the most enlightened abbots in modern Bhutan history, Geshe Gendun Rinchen (1926 – 1997) also known as Draphugpa (Of the Caves), was born in a small cave by the path to the monastery. Tea and refreshments will be taken at Taktsang Café for about an hour’s rest to take photos and view the scenery. We will then descend to road point (horses cannot be ridden) and drive back to Paro to prepare for the trek.
Day 4: Drukgyal Dzong – Sharna Zampa
Distance 17 km, 4-5 hours, 360m ascent, 80m descent, camp altitude 2850m.
We first drive to Drukgyal Dzong (2580m) where the road ends. The next stop is the ancient ruins of Drukgyal Dzong (30 minutes). The Dzong is a monument to the Shabdrung’s victory against an invasion of allied Tibetan-Mongolian forces in 1649. The name “Drukgyal Dzong” thus translates to “Fortress of Victory”. The Dzong was destroyed in a fire in the 1950s. On clear days, Drukgyal is an excellent place to view the glorious mountain Jomolhari. The trek begins with a gradual climb and the trail follows the Paro Chhu passing beautiful meadows, paddy fields and impressive farm houses. After about four hours you will reach the army post at Gunitsawa village. At the army check post your trek permit will be checked and endorsed. The campsite is on the opposite side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa.
Day 5: Sharna Zampa – Thangthangkha
Distance 22 km, 7-8 hours, 770m ascent, 10m descent, camp altitude 3610m.
On this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley, you enter the Jigme Dorje National Park. The valley finally narrows gradually to a mere path, which descends to a meadow where a camp will be set up. From here, if weather permits, you will have the first great views of Jomolhari.
Day 6: Thangthangkha – Jangothang
Distance 19 km, 5-6 hours, 480m ascent, camp altitude 4080m.
If you did not see Jomolhari last evening, you will have a great chance to get a great view this early morning. This morning the trek continues up the Paro Chhu valley, which widens into patches of alpine meadow and sparse growths of forest. Cross an army outpost along the way and enjoy a spectacular view of high mountain ridges and snow-capped peaks. Yaks and the herder’s homes become a regular feature of the landscape. Passing the villages of Soe, Takethang and Dangochang is another asset on this day. Reaching Jangothang has one of the most beautiful campsites of the Himalayas, where you will again have a spectacular view of Jomolhari.
Day 7: Jangothang – Rest day
The rest day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views of lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley. Jangothang is a perfect environment for your acclimatization. You can also trek up to Tosoh or trek around the area. There are good short trekking trails in three directions. Excellent views can be had to Jomolhari and many other peaks to the west, Jichu Drake to the north and there are a number of unclimbed peaks to the east.
Day 8: Jangothang – Soi Yaktsa
Distance 16 km, 6-7 hours, 810m ascent, 1,090m descent, camp altitude 3800m.
The trail leads to a last settlement in the valley and drops to the Paro Chhu. Passing the lake of Tshophu (4380m) you will climb steeply up to Bhonte La pass at 4890m, the highest point of this trek route. Reaching the Dhumzo Chhu River, you will trek downstream passing the few houses of Soi Yaktsa (Dhumzo) to arrive at your camp soon after.
Day 9: Soi Yaktsa – Thombu Shong
Distance 11 km, 4-5 hours, 720m ascent, 340m descent, camp altitude 4180m.
The trail climbs 100m over a ridge to drop to another stream, then after crossing the Takhung La pass (4520m) you descend to Thombu Shong. There are three yak herder huts with your campsite next to them.
Day 10: Thombu Shong – Sharna Zampa
Distance 13 km, 4-5 hours, 200m ascent, 1650m descent, camp altitude 2850m.
After crossing the Thombu La pass (4380m) you will finally reach Gunitsawa where you can be collected or you may decide to stay at the campsite, Sharna Zampa, where you stayed the first night of this trek.
Day 11: Sharna Zampa – Drukgyal Dzong (Paro)
Distance 17 km, 4-6 hours, 80m ascent, 360m descent.
Coming across the primary school and shop the valley opens. From Mitshi Zampa you can see how the Dzong is positioned and where the path takes you finally to Drukgyal Dzong. Stay overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Day 12: Fly back to Kathmandu. Stay overnight at your selected hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 13: Souvenir and sightseeing in Kathmandu.
Day 14: A representative ofUnique Nepal Adventure Trek will drop you off at Tribhuvan International Airport by private vehicle.
- Airport pick-up and drop off by private vehicle.
- Two nights in your selected Kathmandu hotel with breakfast.
- All meals during the trek (lunch, dinner, breakfast and tea or coffee).
- Accommodation in a hotel in Paro.
- Accommodation in twin shared tents with mattress.
- All necessary equipment for camping.
- One English speaking government trained license holder and well informed trekking guide.
- Dependent on group size, cook, kitchen boy and extra horses)
- All expenses for guide and porters – meals, accommodation, salary, equipment, insurance, transportation (bus/flights) etc.
- First Aid kit bag.
- Government and local area taxes where applicable. These include Royalty fees and road permit fees.
- Return transportation from Kathmandu to Paro by flight.
- Return transportation from Paro to the start and at the end of the trek by private vehicle.
- A Bhutanese visa fee, where the cost is dependent on the time of year you visit. See the link for Bhutan Information for prices.
- Nepalese entry visa fee and departure tax. (See the ‘Visa Information’ link under ‘Trekking Info’ for current fees)
- Travel insurance.
- Soft and alcoholic drinks (mineral water, hot water, coke, fanta, beer, spirits, etc).
- Snacks (Chocolate, biscuits etc).
- Hot water, hot shower, heater charge, battery charge, phone calls and laundry service.
- Donation, tips and personal expenses.
- Emergency evacuation and medical equipment.
- In case of natural calamities i.e. political unrest, cancellation of flight due to weather, landslides, etc, the extra charge will be borne by themselves.
- Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu.
- Please note that you cannot hire equipment and other personal items in Bhutan such as (sleeping bag, down jacket, hiking boots, etc). You must either bring these items into the country by yourself, or they can be hired from Kathmandu.