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Through yak farms, ancient villages and high alpine meadows bursting with wildflowers, this journey will take you deep into the heart of Bhutan’s rich history and culture. Trek to Bhontela Pass at over 16,000 ft. and hang prayer flags at the summit with your Buddhist crew. Be prepared to be amazed while stepping back in time!
George Leigh Mallory, on the 1921 British Everest Expedition, described Chomolhari as “astounding and magnificent”. It is a sacred mountain revered by the Bhutanese. This trek will allow you to experience rural Bhutan. The thick forests, the remote villages, the high pastures and interaction with Bhutan’s villagers are aspects only trekkers are able to experience.
The trip begins in Paro. Get introduced to Bhutan with handicrafts, costumes and ancient weapons in the National Museum near Paro. Hike to the legendary Taktshang Monastery, also called Tiger’s Nest, on a trail through pine trees festooned with Spanish moss and occasional fluttering prayer flags.
Trek to Jangothang, the highest camp on this trek at 13,400 ft, for awe-inspiring views of Mt. Chomolhari and Jichu Drake. After your return to Paro, continue to Thimpu and Punakha. The tranquil kingdom of Bhutan is often called the “last Shangri-La.” Come see why Bhutan is one of the most intriguing and unique of the world’s destinations.
It is also possible to start the trek in Paro and end in Thimpu following a circuitous trail through Lingshi, Shodu and Barshong. This will add another two days to the trip. Let us know if you wish to do this instead.
|Day 1||Arrival in Paro||Paro||7,475 ft|
|Day 2||Paro: Tiger’s Nest hike||Paro||7,475 ft|
|Day 3||Trek begin at Drukgyal Dzong. Trek to Shana||Shana||9,350 ft|
|Day 4||Trek to Thangthangka
|Day 5||Trek to Jangothang||Jangothang||13,400 ft|
|Day 6||Exploration day||Jangothang||13,400 ft|
|Day 7||Trek to Chora||Chora||12,400 ft|
|Day 8||Trek to Thombu Shong||Thombu Shong||13,700 ft|
|Day 9||Trek to Shana||Shana||9,350 ft|
|Day 10||Drive to Paro.||Paro||7,475 ft|
|Day 11||Drive to Thimpu||Thimpu||7,700 ft|
|Day 12||Drive to Punakha||Punakha||4,430 ft|
|Day 13||Drive to Paro||Paro||7,475 ft|
|Day 14||Final departure|
Depart early from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. The flight leaves at 5:40 a.m. or 6:50 a.m. Bangkok time, depending on the day of departure. You will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel upon arrival in Bhutan, before 10 a.m. Rejuvenate with refreshments at the hotel.
Drive to nearby Ta-Dzong, where you’ll be introduced to Bhutan with a visit to the National Museum which houses art, handicrafts, costumes and ancient weapons displays. Stroll the streets of Paro in the evening.
Overnight at Hotel. (All meals)
Begin the day with breakfast before a short drive to Taktshang Monastery. The trail to the monastery climbs through pine trees festooned with Spanish moss and occasional fluttering prayer flags. Hike at your own pace for about two to four hours.
Built in 1600s, the monastery clings to the edge of a sheer-rock cliff that plunges 2,952 feet into the valley below. It is believed that, in the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress to subdue a demon. Guru Rimpoche is believed to have meditated here for three months. Packed lunch will be served.
Drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, the fortress of the victorious Drukpas. From Drukgyel Dzong, the Tibet border is only a two-day hike away.
Overnight at Hotel. (All meals)
Drive to Drukgyal Dzong. Begin trek. Trek through first Chang Zampa and then Mitshi Zampa, both small villages. Climb gently through terraced fields before entering blue pine and fir forests. Be prepared for rock-hopping for the first two days of the trek to avoid the mud holes. Trek to Guntisawa where your permits will be checked before arriving at camp at Shana. Overnight Tents. (All meals)
10.5 miles, hiking time 4 to 6 hours approximately
Today you enter the Jigme Dorji National Park. Trek through rhododendron and oak forests to a clearing with a stone hut. This is Shing Karap where lunch will be served. Today’s trek involves numerous short ups and downs. Thangthangka, today’s camp, is a meadow with great views of Chomolhari. Overnight Tents. (All meals)
13.6 miles, hiking time 7 to 8 hours approximately
Today you will trek through meadows which serve as grazing grounds for yaks. These belong to the villagers from Soe who you may meet on the trail herding their yaks. Continue past the villages of Takethang and Dangochang to your camp at Jangothang. Overnight Tents. (All meals)
11.8 miles, hiking time 5 to 6 hours approximately
You have a few options for day hikes including a hike to the ridge at 15,600ft. for views of Jichu Drake and Chomolhari. Overnight Tents. (All meals)
Today’s challenge is the steep climb to Bhonte La pass (16,000ft.) before you descend over scree and switch backs to Paro Chuu (river) to camp at Chora Overnight Tents. (All meals)
9.9 miles, hiking time 6 to 7 hours approximately
Today hike over Takhung La pass (14,900ft.) to Thombu Shong. Overnight Tents. (All meals)
6.8 miles, hiking time 4 to 5 hours approximately
Hike over Thombu La pass (14,400 ft.) and then descend gradually at first and then steeply to Guntisawa or Shana. Overnight Tents. (All meals)
8 miles, hiking time 4 to 5 hours approximately
Drive back to Paro. The day is free to catch up on laundry or just wander the streets of Paro. Overnight Hotel. (All meals)
Depart Paro for Thimphu (two-hour drive) after breakfast. Thimphu, the Bhutanese capital (7,609 feet), is situated in a valley surrounded by terraced rice fields. The main street in Thimphu, Norzim Lam, is lined with shops. Visit Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Drive to Drubthop Lhakhang, the nunnery temple. Learn more about the culture through visits to the Bhutanese Indigenous Hospital and Traditional Painting School. Overnight at Hotel. (All meals)
Drive to Punakha after breakfast at the hotel. The road climbs steeply through a scenic forest of pine and cedar trees, to Dochula pass (10,000 feet). The pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges, on the descent to the fertile valley of Punakha (4,430 feet).
Before proceeding further to the town of Punakha, hike about 30 minutes to the Chimi Lhakhang (temple) on a small hilltop. The temple was dedicated to the great Yogi in the 14th century, known as Drukpa Kuenley, as well as the “Divine madman.” He dramatized Buddhist teachings using songs and outrageous sexual humor. Bold phallus symbols and paintings on the houses and temples are a result of his influence. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility.
After lunch, continue to Punakha Dzong (fortress) situated between the two rivers, Pho Chu and Mochu (male and female river). The fortress is now used as the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the spiritual head of Bhutan). The Dzong served as the capital seat of the Kingdom for more than 300 years. The intricate Buddhist paintings inside the monastery are spectacular. Overnight at hotel. (All meals)
Enjoy a relaxing breakfast before making the return drive to the journey’s beginning in Paro (approximately five hours). Overnight at hotel. (All meals)
Transfer to airport for flight home. (Breakfast)
Per person Price – valid till Dec 31, 2019
2 persons: $ 3,700 USD per person
3 or more persons: $ 3,145 USD per person
Single Supplement: $ 650 USD
Prices above are based on the best 3 star accommodations available. Upgrades to 4 or 5 star accommodations would be upwards of US$500 depending on hotels selected. Please contact us for details of options available.
Extra – Airfare into Paro (subject to change):
Bangkok–Paro–Bangkok: USD 974.6 (Economy Class) and USD 1092 (Business Class).
Kathmandu–Paro–Kathmandu: USD 412.6 (Economy Class) and USD 476.6 (Business Class).
Kolkotta–Paro–Kolkotta: USD 412.6 (Economy Class) and USD 476.6 (Business Class).
Delhi–Paro–Delhi: USD 625.4 (Economy Class) and USD 778.4 (Business Class).
All International tourists wishing to enter Bhutan require a visa which must be pre-arranged through a license Bhutanese Tour Operator or one of their international partners. We will obtain a Bhutan permit for you prior to you trip begin date. You must carry this permit with you in person and present it prior to boarding the plane to Paro (either in Kathmandu, Delhi or Bangkok). You will be required to present it again at the immigration in Paro.
Thimpu and Paro in Bhutan offers multiple culinary options. But they may limited in other regions of Bhutan. The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chillies are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that is not spicy.
Rice forms staple Bhutanese diet. It is accompanied by one or two side dishes consisting of meat or vegetables. Pork, beef and chicken are consumed most often.
On the trek, in general, expect porridge (Oatmeal), toast, eggs (any style), muesli, hash browns, sausages etc for breakfast. And sandwich, pizzas, momos, noodles (dry and with soup), rolls, fried rice, Indian bread with vegetables etc for lunch and dinner. And expect dal-bhat (rice-lentils with vegetables and/or meat) at all the lodges.
There are two preferred seasons for the Chomolhari Trek: Spring (Late March through May) and Fall (October through November). Day time temperatures range in the 50’s and 60’s (10 to 15 Centigrade) while night-time temperatures are in the 30’s and 40’s (0 to 5 Centigrade). Expect night time temperatures of near or below Freezing near Jhomolhari. Expect some late-afternoon showers in the Spring which is the season for rhododendrons and magnolias. October is historically regarded as the best month to trek with clear skies and better views of the mountains.
Anyone who is reasonably fit and can hike 10-12 miles a day can sign up for the Jhomolhari trek. Allowing for optimal acclimatization is the key. Most of the trek involves ascents and descents. That said, the better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy the trek. It is advised that anyone with a pre-existing condition consult their doctor before signing up for a trek.
We rate the Jhomolhari Trek a 5 on a scale of 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging).
The more physically fit you are, the more you will enjoy the trip. There are three aspects to training for any trek. 1) Cardiovascular Training will make your body more efficient in using oxygen. Running, walking, swimming or biking, or any combination of these are great for cardiovascular conditioning. 2) Strength Training by either using free weights or machines at the gym will build hiking strength. Walking stairs, especially with a pack will simulate the hiking environment. We also recommend practicing squats. Trekkers will encounter low hanging obstacles to duck under, and many toilets are at ground level, which requires a low squat.
3) Endurance Training is where you build endurance in the months leading up to your trek, slowly increase your length of training sessions. By the time you are 2 weeks from the scheduled trek date you should be able to ascend 3,000 ft. in a 3-4 hour period.
In the end, the more your training simulates a trek, the better off you will be. So hiking 4-5 hours outdoors, uphill and downhill, about once or twice a week in addition to other cardio vascular training at the gym or at home will greatly benefit and prepare you for the trek.
Layering is key. And it’s always recommended to trek with good branded gear. A good pair of hiking boots that’s been broken in is very important. Good top and bottom base layers, a mid layer (fleece or capilene), and an outer layer (Gore-tex or other material). If you tend to get cold quickly, bring a down parka especially for the evening at the lodge. On most days, you’d be hiking in a convertible hiking pant that can be converted into shorts and one or two top layers.