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Jhomolhari-The Mother Goddess Mountain Trek of Bhutan


15 days 14 nights

Code BTT36

Category Bhutan Trekking

  • Group Size 2-10 Person
  • Difficulty Level 3
  • Rating Popular
  • Highest Altitude 15,810ft ( 4,820m)
  • Trip Starts From Paro
  • Trip Ends At Thimphu
  • Type Trekking
  • Destination Paro Shana Jangothang Lingzhi Jhomolhari Barshong Thimpu
Dates & Prices

Overview

Actual trekking 10 days. 9 nights camping and 4 nights at hotel in the town.  Although a high altitude, Mount Jhumolhari is a high altitude trekking but of a moderate grade. Compared with the Everest Base Camp trekking of Nepal, Mount Jhumolhari is the most celebrated trekking of Bhutan.

Mount Jhumolhari, also spelt as Chomolhari, (Altitude 23,996 ft./ 7,316m) means the Goddess Mountain and it reigns in glory with its five sister peaks which are the sources of Paro Chu (River) that nourishes the lush rice fields, apple and peach orchards of Paro Valley. The sacred mountain is a great object of respect and veneration to Bhutanese people and has one of the most popular trekking routes in the eastern Himalayas.

The trail begins at the Drugyel Dzong and follows the ancient caravan route, heading towards the base camp of Mount Jhumolhari, passing through scattered hamlets and farmland, into deep and richly forested valleys, which leads to a high alpine pastureland where yak herders graze their animals. The trek offers a taste of great variety of Bhutanese landscape.

Despite being a high altitude trek, it's a moderate graded trekking and anyone with some preparation and spirit of adventures, can partake in this trip. You hike on the remote highlands of the Lingshi, witnessing the nomadic lifestyles of these high altitude gypsies. Sights of Yaks and the wild blue sheep on the mountains are awesome. 

Himalayan poppies, primulas, gentianas, and the spectacular rheum nobile filling the mountain side in the summer. You follow the trial to Thimphu along the Wangchu River and through rhododendron and pine forest and the ruins of the Barshong Fortress before reaching the upper Thimphu valley at Dodena.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Flight to Paro, Bhutan

Flights to Paro, Bhutan arrive from Bangkok, New Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandu, Mumbai, Singapore and Dhaka but flights from Bangkok are more frequent than from other cities. After clearing immigration and custom, meet your guide and driver at the arrival gate and then you are transferred to your hotel.

You will have time to settle in and after lunch, your guide and driver will take you for an introductory trip of Bhutan. You begin from the impressive Paro Dzong fortress, built in the 17th century, that now houses the district headquarter and the district monk body. Right above on a ridge is the Ta Dzong fortress that houses the National Museum. Ta Dzong previously served as the watchtower. The museum has collection of fine arts, paintings, thangkas, statues, and antiques. Time permitting you will also visit the Kyichu Lhkhang which is one of the oldest temple in the country.

Late afternoon, take a relaxing stroll through the sleepy town of Paro. 

 

Overnight at Khangkhu Resort or Drukchen Hotel.

 

Meals : Lunch, Dinner
Day 02~Paro – Warm up hike to the Tiger's Nest Monastery

The Taktsang Monastery – the legendary Tiger's Nest – is perched some 2,000 feet up a sheer cliff overlooking the valley. It is an unforgettable hiking destination. This is a holy site where it is said that legendary Guru Padmasambhava arrived from Tibet on the back of a tigress to defeat five anti-Buddhist demons. The hike takes about two hours to the Takstang Cafeteria, a stop for tea, snacks, and beautiful views of the monastery. With pre-arrangements, that portion of the trip also can be done aboard a pony. But for the return hike down and further ahead to the monastery itself, you will need to be able to hike on your own. The hike from Takstang to get a closer look at the monastery takes 45 minutes to an hour; retracing the hike down takes about half the time coming up.

Before you return to the hotel, visit a typical Bhutanese village home to gain an insight on living style of Bhutanese villagers. 

Overnight at Khangkhu Resort or Drukchen Hotel.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 03~Trek Begins. Paro - Shana

The trail head at Drugyel Dzong is about 15 minutes' drive out of the town. Your crews will load up the pack animals with supplies and gears and we begin our adventure. The trail follows the winding Paro River as it passes through the traditional farmhouses, and cultivated fields of red rice, chilies, potatoes, and millet. 

Today's camp site is near the village of Shana by the Army post. (Altitude 9348 ft.). We hike the distance little more than 10 miles in about 5 hours.  We ascend 1181 ft. and decent 262 ft.

Overnight camping by Shana Village.

 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 04~Trek from Shana to Soi Thangthangkha

The trail continues to gradually climb along the side of the Paro, River. The valley narrows and closes, and the path then winds along the stream. This day's trek is not so hard, but it is long, and there are many short but frequent ups and downs. From the lunch stopping point, you can see the route to Tremo La which is paved in stone and served as the main trade route to the Phari Dzong in Tibet. It was also the main invasion route of the Tibetans ages ago. You camp in a meadow with a stone shelter. On a clear day, you will see the Jumolhari Mountain.

Today, we hike 13.75 miles in 6-7 hours. We camp at Soi Thangthangka at an altitude of 11,90 ft.

 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 05~An Additional Day in Soi Thangthangka for Acclimatization

As you are already at an altitude of 3630m/11, 906 ft., it's important to have an additional day here for acclimatization. You just take it easy today and do not overly exert yourself in any physical hardships. Drink of plenty of water and take acclimatization hike around.

Overnight camp at Soi Thangthangka.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 06~Trek from Soi Thangthangkha to Jangothang

Today is a not a long day but we have a significant altitude gain 1476 ft. The trail continues to follow the Paro River up, past a small army post, where the valley begins to widen again and you are also rewarded with the view of high ridges and snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas.

We may see some yaks grazing and also the winter homes of the yak herders. Take chance to visit the yak herders and share a cup of yak butter tea with them. Also, you will possibly get to buy dried yak cheese-"chugo" from them. We set up camp below the ruined fortress at the base of Mount Jumolhari that has the reputation as the most beautiful camp site in Bhutan.

 

Today, we cover the distance of 12 miles in 6 hours. We camp at an altitude of 13, 415 ft.!

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 07~An additional day in Jangothang

We have an additional day in Jangothang which is necessary for acclimatization. We will have several hiking options today: 3 to 4 hours up to a ridge that will give you a good view of Jichu Drake or to the head of the valley toward Jumolhari, or trekking up the main valley toward Jichu Drake, or to Tsophu for fishing.

Or simply relax at the camp, read novels or write journals, as you wish.

 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 08~Trek from Jangothang to Lingshi

Today's trek takes us over the Nyile La (pass), which is at 4,890m (16.039 ft.). It's likely to be windy on the pass. We will see the yak pastures on the way and may encounter some nomads, depending on the time of the year.

We will enjoy a great view of Lingshi Dzong further along the trail. We will be always on the look out of some wild animals such as blue sheep and musk deer. The Tserim Gang Mountain and glaciers are at the north end of the Lingshi valley.

Today, we cover the distance of 5904 ft. in about 6 hours. We camp at an altitude of 13,152 ft.

 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 09~An Additional Day in Lingshi.

Explore the Lingshi valley and relax after the previous day's vigorous trek and also prepare for another challenging day.

Overnight camping.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10~ Cross Yeli Pass

Another challenging day! Today, we climb the Yeli La pass at 4,820m (15 809 ft.). Enjoy the stunning views of Mount Jhumolhari, Tserim Gang, and the Masagang Mountains. After the pass, the trail descends, following a stream.

Today, we hike 14 miles in 8-9 hours! We camp at an altitude of 13, 480 ft.

 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11~Shodu - Barshong

The trail crosses the Thimphu River several times and winds gently up and down alongside the river. At one section of the trail, you will notice a massive steep canyon on one side and a cypress forest on the other. We will then ascend up to the ruins of the Barshong Dzong.

We set up camp today just below the ruins at an altitude of 12070 ft. We walk 10 miles in about 6 hours.

 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12~Trek from Barshong to Dolam Kencho

The trail gradually descends through conifers and rhododendron forests and then a steep descent brings us to the Thimphu River. Now, the trail and ascends to a meadow, where we set up camp today.

Today we hike little less than 9 miles in 6 hours. We camp at an altitude of 11.250 ft.

 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13~Finish the trek and transfer to Thimpu

Today is the final day of trekking and it's an easy day. The trail winds in and out of valleys above the Thimpu River and then makes a long climb through a forest of conifers and high-altitude broadleaf species up to a 3,510m (11,513 ft.). The trail then begins a steep descent to the river, following it southward to the road in the town of Dodina. We will meet our transport at Dodina and we transfer to our hotel in the town

Today, we hike about 5 miles in 3 hours.

Time permitting, you will take a stroll through the town.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14~Thimphu Sightseeing

After breakfast, with our guide and driver, the adventures begin as we get a feel for the city. In the weekend, it's worth visiting the weekend market. Archery is the Bhutanese the national sport, and we’ll hope for matches while we’re there. We’ll visit a small handmade paper factory across the river to see the traditional Bhutanese paper making method that uses “daphne” or mulberry plants.

We return to the town and visit the National Institute Zorig Chusum that offers a six years course on Bhutan's traditional arts and crafts that include painting, wood carving, embroidery, and statue making. Then we head to the Folk Heritage Museum, a three-story mud and timber building that replicates a century-old traditional farmhouse that gives us a glimpse of not only the lives of ancient Bhutanese people, but also many rural people even today.

Next stop – the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, dispensary of traditional Bhutanese herbal and other medicines; then the Trasichoe Dzong that houses the Royal Throne, National Assembly, and the seat of Chief Abbot of the central monastic body.

Late afternoon will bring us to a grand panoramic view of the valley, followed by a short 10-minute hike through the forest to visit the Takin Sanctuary. Takins – a kind of sheep by way of antelope, are the National animals of Bhutan and believed to exist only in Bhutan Himalaya. On the way back to our hotel, we’ll stop at the Zilukha Nunnery in Drubthob Goemba, home to 40-60 Buddhist nuns.

Late afternoon, we transfer to Paro (1 hr.).

Overnight at Khangkhu Resort or Drukchen Hotel.

 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15~Depart Paro

You are transferred to the airport in time for your flight to next destination.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trip Includes

  • Best available of the regular hotel accommodation in Paro and Thimphu.
  • All camping gears that includes-2 person sleeping tents with floors and fly sheet, dining tent, kitchen tent, toilet tents, dining tables, chairs, pillows and mattresses.
  • English speaking Guide.
  • Cook and kitchen aides.
  • All intercity transfers and sightseeing by a private vehicle.
  • Pack animals and animal drivers during trekking.
  • All necessary supplies.
  • 3 meals a day.
  • Bhutan visa.
  • Entrance fees.

Trip Does Not Include

  • All airfares and airport taxes.
  • Travel Insurance and emergency evacuation.
  • Expenses of personal nature such as drinks, tip, telephone, laundry etc.
  • Extra expenses due to nature or unforeseen events such as flight cancellation, road blockade, no show etc.

Trek Difficulty and Preparation

This is a moderate graded trek with maximum altitude of 4, 930 m (16,170 ft.). We camp between 2800m (8185 ft.) and 4150m (13,615 ft.) and take optional hike to 4500m (14,760 ft.). In average, we will walk 6 to 7 hrs. but some days are longer. Trail conditions are varied with frequent ups and downs. The trails become muddy and pretty miserable when it rains and passes are closed by snows around end of November. Trekkers are likely to experience mild symptoms of altitude sickness above 3000m (9840 ft.); so we allow enough time for acclimatization and the symptoms should go away in two or three days. Although previous experience is not a mandatory but some training and preparation would help a lot to build stamina and confidence. Participants should start jogging, cycling and some hill hiking etc. about a couple of months ahead of the trip. If you are buying new boots for the trek, please do wear them to get used to your feet.

What a typical trekking in Bhutan is like?

A trekking day in Bhutan usually consists of five to seven hours of walking. Pack animals, ponies or yaks are provided to porter provisions, baggage and equipment. All necessary camping and kitchen equipment are provided and included in the trip cost. Camping gears include 2 person sleeping tents, toilet tent, kitchen tent, dining tables and chairs and foam mattress. You should bring your own sleeping bag.

All trekking parties are accompanied by a trained guide, a cook, and a couple of aides and pack animals with their driver. At least one riding pony is always taken along just in case it is needed. The support crew walks ahead of the trekking party each day and pitches camp before the trekkers arrive. A warm cup of tea or coffee waiting in the dinning tent is a most welcome treat after days' trek. All meals are carefully planned and prepared. Breakfast and dinner are served freshly prepared at camp and includes a choice of, at least, four dishes. During the day a picnic lunch is served at a pleasant and scenic place. All cooking and cleaning chores are taken care of by our trek staff so you can enjoy the trek fully.

A trekking day normally begins with an early cup of tea or coffee in our tent. A jug of hot water will be provided for washing and you are expected in the breakfast table by 7 am. Breakfast is usually cereals, toasts, eggs, juice and tea or Nescafe Coffee. By 8 am, we find ourselves on the trail. Trekkers can walk on their own pace but we should still try to maintain some close proximity with others. We stop to explore the villages and temples and exchange greeting with the locals. Lunch stop is around noon to 1 pm. We are served hot fried rice or noodles or bread or boiled potatoes brought in an insulated container, unlike in Nepal where the crews take time to cook hot meal while you nap. Lunch is usually accompanied by tea from a large flask. Some days, they serve cold lunch which is simply sandwiches, fruits and cookies. Usually the day concludes between 4 to 5 pm. As we reach our campsite, we find our tents already set up and steaming cup of tea or coffee with biscuits or cookies waiting. We will have some time to write journals, or read novels or engage ourselves on photography while the crews fix dinner for us. Dinner is usually served around 7 pm. Meals usually include a rice dish, a potato dish or frequently both. The cook is trained to produce a reasonable variety of Western and Asian dishes. They often add interesting Bhutanese touches, such as cheese sauces.

Clothing and Equipment

Druk Air has only 20 kg of checked in baggage allowance and we expect to provide one pony for each two trekkers. Each pony carries 30kg or less. So, these things should be taken under consideration when.

Essentials Items/Not to forget

Down Jacket: We recommend down jacket as it has the advantage of being light and compressible and it can serve many functions on the trek. We can use it as pillow at night and long car trips and wear it to bed inside our sleeping bags when it's very cold. Artificial-fiber jackets filled with Polar-guard Thinsulate or Fiberfill are a good substitute for down and price wise, much cheaper.

For day walking, we recommend Jumper or Pile Jacket. Two or three light layers of clothing, which could be jumpers, shirts or polypropylene, are better than a single heavy layer. Pile jackets with polyester fleece are light, warm and easy to clean.

Sleeping Bag is a must. Choose the one for 4 seasons. We can rent them in Bhutan but cannot guarantee the quality.

Duffel Bags and Backpack: As suitcases are fragile and cannot be carried by ponies, please bring strong duffel bags which are water proof, also a spare lockable kit bag or suitcase for the city stuff that you want to leave behind in the hotel and a back pack for your personal items such as camera, wallet etc.

Mountain Trekking Boots: Bring a pair of good quality of trekking boots with ankle support. If you are buying a new pair, make sure you use them enough to make it comfortable to your feet. Another pair of tennis or camp shoes or thongs is also recommended.

Torch lights with spare batteries and bulbs.

Water bottle and water purifying pills.

Other clothing

  • Jumper or sweaters.
  • Waterproof jacket, poncho or umbrella.
  • Hiking shorts (for men) and skirts (for women).
  • Nylon windbreaker (for altitude above 4000m/13,120 ft.).
  • Nylon wind pants (for altitude above 4000m/13,120 ft.).
  • Insulated pants (for altitude above 4000m/13,120 ft.).
  • Long sleeved shirt.
  • Long Underwear.
  • Sun hat.
  • Gloves ((for altitude above 4000m/13,120 ft.).
  • Gaiters (for altitude above 4000m/13,120 ft.).
  • Woolen socks and some cotton socks to wear under wool socks.

Miscellaneous Items

  • Toiletries.
  • Cigarette lighter.
  • Small knife.
  • Sunscreen (SPF 15+).
  • Towel.
  • Laundry soap.
  • Medical and first aid kit.
  • Sewing kit.
  • Bandana.
  • Goggles or sun glasses.
  • Lip guards.
  • Insect repellents.

Optional

  • Reading materials.
  • Pen and diaries.
  • Play cards.

How we dress during the day

This is one of the high altitude treks and it is cool even during the day and so most people are comfortable on long pants but women are recommended skirts; the most obvious reason is the ease in relieving yourself along the trail. There are long stretches where there is little chance to hide and a skirt solves the problem.

Best Trekking Season

Late September to mid-November is generally recognized as the best trekking season in the Himalayas and so it is in Bhutan. The second best period is March to April. Winter is snowy and summer is rainy and so we tend to avoid these seasons but no matter when we trek, we expect some rain at some time. During fall, nights are cold in the mountains, but the bright sun makes the day pleasant, with temperatures-in the high 20?Cs,(68? F+) falling to 4-5?C ( 40? F +) at night, in the elevation below 3500m( 11,500ft) but at higher elevation, temperatures range from about 20?C (68? F) to -10?C (14? F). Autumn has clear sky with good visibility whereas Spring trekkers are rewarded with rhododendron and orchid flowers in bloom.

High Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness can pose a problem for trekkers crossing the high passes. Above 3000m (9,840 ft.) All trekkers are likely to experience some mild symptoms of altitude sickness that includes headache, disorientation, dizziness, restlessness and loss of appetite but our itineraries allow enough time for acclimatization and following proper measures, those symptoms should disappear in a day or two. We will not overly exert ourselves or engage on hard physical activities. We drink plenty of water and eat soup in meal.

People with existing heart, lungs, high blood pressure issues should consult their physician before signing up for this trip. Participants should be optimally conditioned and should start some exercises like jogging, cycling, swimming, hiking in hilly terrain and camping at least a couple of months ahead of the trip. Please, note that this trek should not be taken as means of losing weight.

Accommodations and meals in the towns

In the towns of Paro and Thimphu, unless we have chosen other alternatives, we will be staying in moderate to the best available accommodations which are in general small hotel with room numbers ranging 10-20. Rooms are simple with en suite bathroom with running hot and cold water. No rooms may be similar to another and so there may be disparity in the rooms. You may get a better room than others or vice versa. We do not expect our hotel to have a gift shop for "sundry" items.

All Bhutan trip includes 3 meals a day and we expect to eat most meals at our hotel, usually served in buffet that includes rice, vegetables, noodles, bread etc. Our guide can arrange some dinner at local restaurants but beware: traditional Bhutanese food always features chilies and the most popular dish is ema datshi made with large, green hot chilies in a cheese sauce.

Guides

Our guides are college educated locals, proficient in English and trained and licensed by local tourism authorities. Most importantly they are friendly and committed to deliver the best services.

International and internal airfares

You will book your international airfare on your own and provide us your flight information. We can also help you find good fares through our air ticket consolidator on your request. We will take care of internal airfares-flight from Bangkok into Paro or on the return from Kathmandu back to Bangkok. If your trip starts from Delhi or Kathmandu, we can book your internal airfare accordingly. All internal airfares are booked locally. Local airport taxes may or may not be included in the fare.

Passport and Visa

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months at the time of travel and there should be enough blank pages for entry and exit seals. Bhutan visa is pre-processed by us and we will get clearance for you before your flight into Bhutan. Your passport gets actual visa seal upon arrival at Paro airport. You can obtain Nepal visa upon arrival at Kathmandu airport or you can obtain it from nearest Nepali embassy abroad. India does not grant visa on arrival and so you will have to obtain it beforehand. We will take care of all other permits necessary for this trip.

Best time for this trip

This trip can be undertaken throughout the year but definitely October and November are the best months when temperatures are mild, skies are clear and we have clear visibility. The second best season is from March through early May. Temperatures are still mild and we have rhododendrons and other wild flowers in bloom during this season.

Note on Itinerary

Although we will do our very best to adhere to the itinerary schedule as listed; it is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Booking/Deposit

When you are sure you are going to Bhutan, it will be wise to put your reservation in line as early as possible as Bhutan Air reservation is quite a tricky matter. Druk Air is the only airline flying into and out of Bhutan and operates with 2 A 319 craft with capacity less than 100 passengers and gets filled up quickly. Paro-the only airport of Bhutan is connected with Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata and Kathmandu and have limited operations. For flight schedules and more information, please visit Druk Air Website. A deposit of US$ 200 on land plus the cost of internal airfares is requested along with booking application and passport photocopies.

Balance Payment

The balance and final payment is 60 days prior departure. The payment schedule may vary with customized and private trips on case to case basis. Payments made within 60 days prior departure may be subject to late fee and are required to make through wire transfer or cashier’s check.

Cancellation and refund

Notice of cancellation and refund request must be received in written form. Cancellation fee structure has been listed below.

  • 90 days prior departure: US$ 50 (Administrative Fee).
  • 60-89 day's prior departure: US$ 250 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 45 days to 59 days prior departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 30 days to 44 days prior departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Less than 30 days: 100%.

Travel Protection Plan

While we plan and do our best to make your trip smooth and seamless, there may be chances of unforeseen events and conditions such as illness, accident, inclement weather, and flight cancellation or missed connection or loss of baggage etc. that may cause interruption or delay or total cancellation of your trip putting your hard earned travel investment in jeopardy. It’s also possible that you may need medical assistance, emergency evacuation or medical transportation when you get ill or involve in an accident when you are traveling in remote areas. Far & High’s Tour cost does not cover any of these expenses or losses and so we strongly recommend you that you should protect yourself and your travel investment against those unfavorable conditions.

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(Formerly Highland Asia Travel)

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Tel: 1 612 605 4428
Fax: 612 807 1137

Nepal

Kapoordhara, Samakhusi, Kathmandu
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Tel (975-2) -329098 / +975-77204087
Fax (+975) 2 337004

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No 13 Jiangsu road Lhasa Tibet China.
Tel: +86-(891)-6836609,
Fax: +86-(891)-6836619


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