ADVENTURE

Jumolhari trek with Mountain Festival

About this trek

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Duration

13Days/12Nights

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Scheduled Time

9 - 21 October 2024

Mar-June & Sept-Nov

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Highest Altitude

4942 m

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Difficulty Level

Moderate - Hard

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Highest Walking dist

20 km

Mar-June & Sept-Nov

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Highest Walking Time

7 hrs

Trip highlight

Jumolhari Trek in Bhutan is one of the most enchanting adventure treks in Bhutan. After an acclimatization hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery, you will start the trek from the historic Drugyel Dzong ruins north of Paro valley. The first three days of this trek follow the Pachhu or Paro river valley to Jangothang base camp from where you will have a stunning view of 7315m Mount Jumolhari, the second-highest unclimbed peak in the world. You will have a day of acclimatization here in preparation for the next few days. Day will be engaged in exploring nearby ridges and optionally to a twin lakes.

Next day, you will trek up through high pasturelands, loose stony trail to arrive at Neyle La Pass 4700m, which is marked by stone cairns and few prayer flags. Descend from the pass with a view of Lingzhi Dzong fortress. The next high pass after Lingzhi is the Yaklayla pass at 4942m. The pass offers astonishing views of Mount Jichu Drake (6989m) and Tsherim Gang (6789m). We then descend gradually along the downstream of Thimphu Chu river till you end your trek. Last two days will be spent in exploring cultural sights of Thimphu and Punakha valleys before your flight back home.

Includes & Excludes

Itinerary

The flight to Paro from Delhi or Kathmandu crosses the Himalayan mountains affording spectacular views. Flight from later offers more views of the Himalayas than former. Eighty two kilometers flight from Kathmandu, you will be greeted with the world’s tallest Mount Everest at 8849m, Lhotse 8515m, Makalu 8481m and Kanchenjunga 8586m of Sikkim among other mountains. Fifteen minutes prior to landing at Paro international airport, you will see sacred Mount Jumolhari 7326m and Jichu Drake 6662m north of the valley. On arrival you will be greeted by your guide and transferred to a local restaurant for a lunch. After lunch, if time permits, you have four sightseeing in Paro — Rinpung Dzong or fortress, which was built in 1646 now houses government offices and district monk body; a traditional wooden bridge; 8 th century old Kichu Monastery and the Drukgyal Dzong ruins, which was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. In the evening you can stroll through the Paro town. Overnight at a hotel in Paro 

After a breakfast, you embark on an acclimatization hike to Taktsang or the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery. Start by driving to the base for 20 minutes and then hiking all the up to the monastery which is at 3100m. Hiking through forests of pine, fir and hemlock with the amazing views of Paro valley below, you will reach at flat portion of the trail where there is a line of small prayer wheels. Leaving the trail junction leading to the Cafeteria, we take right to continue further up till the look-out point from where you can see the whole monastery – it’s a good opportunity for a photography. Walk from the look-out point is down through the stony steps to the small water fall and then finally to the monastery. After paying visit, you will return to the cafeteria for a lunch. Then walk to the base where your car will be waiting for you to take you to hotel. Looking back to the monastery from inside your car gives you a sense of jubilation for having made a day by visiting it. On the way to hotel, you can stroll Paro town for some time. Overnight at hotel in Paro. 

17KM | 5-6 HOURS | 300M ASCENT | DESCENT 60M | CAMP ALT 2870M

You will drive 12km north of Paro valley from your hotel to the trek start point at the historic Drugyel Dzong ruins (2580m). Your trekking crew will be waiting here for you. After a brief meeting, you will walk downhill on a wide trail following the Pachhu (river), which then climbs gently traversing through well-maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. Soon the valley widens and the route enters an area of apple orchards, traditional farmhouses and the tiny settlements of Mitshi Zampa and Sangatan. You reach the army post of Gunitsawa at 2,810 after walking for a while through blue pine forest. Here your trekking permit will be checked and stamped. This is the last stop before Tibet and border close to it. You will then cross Pachu River on a wooden bridge and then climb to Sharna Zampa at 2,870m. Just beyond Sharna Zampa, there are several meadows surrounded by trees where you will camp for tonight.

22KM | 8-9 HOURS | 900M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 3750M

The trail again follows Pachhu (Paro river), ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. After 2 hours of continuous hiking and crossing several streams, you will reach at Shingkharap, a stone house at 3110m. This is a popular rest stops for the commuters and people
from highland. A hot lunch will be served after crossing the bridge towards the left side of the river. Little ahead is the trail junction – left an old trade route and invasion from Tibet and right leading to the wooden bridge (we follow the right). After climbing up through rhododendron forests and finally crossing the bridge again, we reach our camp at 3750m, which is amidst beautiful meadows.

19KM | 4-5 HOURS | 290M ASCENT | CAMP ALT 4040M

Today you will go above the tree line at 3700m. From the camp, your path ascends for a while till you reach the army camp. Then follow the river above the tree line enjoying the stunning view of surrounding peaks. We walk through a very muddy section of trail, pass a mani wall and enter yak
country. Hot lunch will be served inside a yak herder’s camp. After lunch, hike past yak herder settlements of Soe and Takethang. We walk our final leg of the trek across a plateau and up a stream bed and Dangochang village to the awesome campsite of Jangothang at an altitude of 4,040m. From here, the views of Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake are superb.

Every year, the Jumolhari Mountain Festival celebrates the Snow Leopard, while raising awareness and promoting its conservation. Highlanders from four communities – Soe, Yaksa, Nubri, and Lingshi – travel to the event and proudly display their unique traditional costumes and dances. There is also a school play focusing on Snow Leopard Conservation, and a variety of local games and stalls selling handicrafts and tasty local delicacies. It is a great opportunity to experience the culture of the Jumolhari Communities. Overnight camp at an altitude of 4050m.

Today, you will tackle a four-hour acclimatization hike to the north of your camp. There is practically no trail but you will climb on an open and endless slope till you see the view of Mount Jichu Drakye (6989m). You can scramble further up till 4895m (higher than Mount Blanc) to see amazing view of Mount Jumolhari. You are likely to spot rare blue sheep, Himalayan rhubarb, griffon vultures, golden eagles and the remarkable blue poppy. Jangothang base is a flat grassy land with an old ruined fortress on a hillock in the foreground, beneath the colossal Mount Jumolhari and Jichu Drake. The other viable option is to go on two hours excursion to the twin Tshophu Lakes on the way to Bongtela Pass. Most people show signs of mountain sickness at this altitude and it is recommended that all trekkers halt here. If you do not wish to hike then simply relax in camp, either way it will be a memorable day.

18KM | 6-7 HOURS | 810M ASCENT | 730M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4010M

The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right side. Start the climb up to the first ridge with a breath-taking view of Jumolhari (7314m), Jichu Drake (6989m) and Tsherim Gang (6789m). Then walk towards the valley, almost flat for a while, until you climb to the Ngye La pass at an altitude of 4,700m. After the pass, it is a gradual descent to the camp, enjoying the panoramic view of the surrounding peaks and Lingshi Dzong. If time permits, you can have a detour to this tiny fortress, which is sitting on a hilltop overlooking Lingzhi village below. For centuries, Lingzhi Dzong was a way station for weary Buddhist pilgrims and defence fort against Tibetan and Mongol invaders. Camp at an altitude of 4010m.

22KM | 7-8 HOURS | 940M ASCENT | 920M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 4100M

The Laya-Gasa route leaves the Jumolhari trek here. The trek route climbs towards a small white Chorten on a ridge above the camp, then turns south up the deep Mo Chhu valley. The trail stays on the west side of the largely treeless valley, climbing steadily a short distance above Mo Chhu. It then crosses the river, and climbs steeply for two hours to Yeli La pass (4820m). From the pass, on a clear day, you can see Jumolhari, Gangchen Ta, Tsherim Gang and Masang Gang. Descend alongside a stream to a shelter, and then further downstream to a camp at Shodu (4100m), a meadow with a Chorten.

22KM | 7-8 HOURS | 250M ASCENT | 670M DESCENT | CAMP ALT 3400M

At this place, one comes back to the tree line. The path follows Thimphu River, descending through rhododendron, juniper and other alpine forests. The view of the cliff facing rocks and waterfalls is stunning. Hot lunch will be served by the riverside. After lunch the trail gradually ascends to the ruins of Barshong Dzong. This is a base from where it used to be supplying essentials to Lingzhi Dzong in olden days. From the Dzong, you will continue downhill through thick vegetation till you reach at the campsite which is near a river, Domshisa at an altitude of 3400m.

17KM | 4-5 HOURS | 200M ASCENT | 280M DESCENT

After a breakfast at the camp, you will start your hike first through the gradual ascent till you reach at the farm road. Walk through the farm road and make a detour descending gently through a dense forest of rhododendron, birch and conifers, and then drops steeply to meet Thimphu Chhu river. The trail stays on the left side of river, climbing over ridges and descending to side streams. Following which it traverses a steep cliff to Dolam Kencho, at 3600m. Then the trail goes in and out steeply to the river and follows it southward to the road head at Dodena, elevation 2600m where you will be picked up by Bhutan Travelers transport and drive to Thimphu.

After breakfast, embark on a journey to the National Memorial Chorten, an exquisite stupa. Followed by a drive to Kuenselphodrang, where the giant 169ft Buddha statue commands a panoramic view of Thimphu. Next, head to the National Institute of Zorig Chusum, also known as the School of 13 Arts and Crafts. Continue your exploration with a visit to the Bhutan Post Office, showcasing an extensive collection of postal stamps spanning from the early days of runners to the contemporary era. Enjoy a leisurely lunch break, and afterward, explore the Craft Bazar, where small bamboo houses showcase an array of locally crafted arts and crafts. A brief 15-minute walk will lead you to the Weekend Market, the country’s largest vegetable market. Here, you will see a diverse array of Bhutanese food, from fiery chilies to fresh cheese and fruits. Conclude your day by either relaxing at the hotel or exploring the charming town of Thimphu. Spend the night at a hotel in Thimphu.

Drive to the airport for departure. Have a pleasant flight back home. Goodbye!

Accommodations

Five nights at three star hotels during city tour and seven nights in tented camps.

Meals

Bhutan has choices of meals from Indian, Bhutanese and Chinese to continental. While on trek, you will also be provided with these choices of meals. Breakfast will consists of bread, egg, butter, jam and honey, biscuits, tea and coffee, juices, hot chocolate, oats, corn flakes, ham and sausages. You will be provided a hot pack lunches. Lunch and dinner menu will consists of rice, soup, nodules, vegetables, chicken, beef, pork, fish, dal and fruits.

Trekking crew

You may well be felt that you are pampered on our treks – right from sumptuous meals and large entourage. Your trekking crew will compose of a guide, trek chef, assistants and horses and the member would grow with size of a group. For instance, in a group of two people, you will have around five people – a guide, trek chef, assistant and two horsemen and six horses. Team will grow – for a group of four people your crew will consists of – a guide, a trek chef, 2 assistants, 2 horsemen and 16 horses.

Luggage and Horses

We deploy horses to carry your luggage, food supplies and trek equipment. Each horse will carry 30kg and each trekker is encouraged to bring in 15kg, so that luggage of two trekkers will make a load of one horse. A day before trek, you will separate your clothes those are required for trekking. Your city clothes would be left behind in company office and you will have them back at the end of your trek.

When to book? Flights and Join-in

This trip is join-in at Paro. Drukair and Bhutan Airlines services to and from Bangkok, Delhi, Kathmandu, Dhaka, Singapore, Kolkata, Guwahati and Bagdora. You are encouraged to book this trip well in advance as we have limited flights and hotels – that is at least 6 months before the trek departure date to secure your place.

Things to pack

You will require different clothes for trekking and city tour. You may need more formal clothes for city tour while you will need specific clothes designed for trekking. 

Please visit the link to download our Packing List.

SDF

US $100

per day

**Have a question or need some travel advice? Get in touch – our team of experts are ready to help.

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Customer reviews

Mocham
4/5

During my almost month long trip, I hiked through Jomolhari, which included amazing local cuisine and helpers. Chef Leki taught me some tricks to cooking spicy dishes (Bhutanese love their chilis!) It was snowy and cold during the trek but my guides made sure I had a hot water bottle to sleep with every night. To that end, they also helped me recover when I experienced a touch of altitude sickness– Karma had medication sent immediately when he heard I wasn’t feeling well.

Martin & Carol
4.9/5

My wife and I recently visited Bhutan for an eight day cultural tour followed by a six day trek. I don’t ordinarily write reviews, but our experience with Bhutan Travelers was deeply gratifying and inspiring.
Both of us felt consistently attended to in a variety of ways, and our needs were always considered. I had not done much research about Bhutan Travelers, but a good friend gave the company a glowing recommendation and he suggested that we request Karma Tashi as our guide. Although all of the guides have excellent reputations, Karma is the company founder and most experienced. Fortunately he was available, and was waiting at the airport upon our arrival.
His warmth, wit and capabilities were immediately apparent. We didn’t really know what to expect in terms of pacing(our itinerary was written out), but what we found was that Karma had arranged a variety of activities and places to visit that were fascinating. We also had time to rest as needed and the accommodations were extremely comfortable. We were able to meet many locals and have interesting interactions quite off the beaten track. Karma is an expert in local history and was always willing to engage in conversation about his beloved country and culture. We never felt overwhelmed by the amount of information or cultural stories that were shared with us.
There was always another interesting place to visit or eat at if we so desired. Also, Karma and our driver were simply fun to be with.
At the end of the cultural part of our tour, we felt satiated with the wonders of Bhutanese religion, architecture, arts and cuisine.
Although nervous, we were ready for our trek. Karma introduced us to our chef, assistant and two horsemen.
It became quickly apparent how capable and warm the rest of the staff were. They were obviously committed to doing everything they could to support us and have our wilderness experience be as enjoyable and as comfortable as possible.
Their English was not as clear as Karma’s, but their warmth, caring and professionalism was palpable.
Treks are demanding (at least for us) and we were encouraged every step of the way. The beauty that we experienced on this part of our adventure was unforgettable. We always felt safe and safeguarded by the staff.
Bhutan was an amazing place to visit and we will always feel grateful to Karma and the staff at Bhutan Travelers for their generosity of spirit and kindness. I highly, highly recommend this company and these dedicated people for your journey to Bhutan.

Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.5/5

4.5/5