Jumolhari Trek (Round Trek)

Trekking duration: 8 days

Jumolhari trek is a classic and beautiful 8-day trekking program starting from (Drukgyal Dzong) Paro and end at Dodena near Thimphu. The Jumolhari trek route passes through two high passes from Jangothang. The view of Jumolhari Mountain (7314 M) from Jangothang is spectacular.  The Trek is strenuous and is very popular. The highest point is 4700 M.

Detailed Itinerary:

Rinping-DzongDay 01. Arrival at Paro 2280 meters:

Upon arrival at Paro airport, you will be received by the Representative from Yak Holidays and transfer to the hotel.

After lunch, we visit:

  • Ta Dzong built in 1649, an ancient watch tower to protect the Dzong below which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan. This unusual building is in a conch shape with 2.5m thick wall. The most interesting and revered treasure on the third floor is a Stone egg laid by a mule.
  • The Rimpung Dzong built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Rimpung literally means “The heap of Jewels”. The Dzong presently functions as the administrative centre of Paro district.

In the evening, free to stroll in the town for shopping and photography. Dinner and over night in Hotel.

Day 02. Paro sightseeing – Hike to the Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest):

After breakfast, hike to the Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery

  • A short drive to Satsam Chorten and start the hike. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favourite consort.

After Lunch, visit to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the dzong was destroyed by accidental fire.

On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo.

  • Kichu Lhakhang is one of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries built by the Tibetan King Srongtsen Gampo in 659 AD. King Srongsen Gampo married a Chinese princess, Wenchen in 641. He decided to build 108 Temples in a single day to pin the Ogress to the earth forever and convert the people to Buddhism. Six of these Temples lie in Bhutan, most prominent of them are Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang and Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. Kichu Lhakhang is said to hold the left foot of the Ogress and Jambay Lhakhang pins the left knee.

Drive to the ruins of Drukgyel dzong, now in ruins was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders in1644; the dzong name’s means indeed “The Victorious Druk”. The Dzong was used as an administrative center until 1951 when a fire caused by butter lamp destroyed it.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Jele DzongDay 03. Paro – Shana – Thang thangkha (Start of Jumolhari Trek):

After breakfast, drive to Shana (22 kms) to start your Jumolhari trek. The trail follows the river through a heavily forested area with a few isolated farmhouses. It narrows and closes in and the trail winds up and down along the drainage. We pass a junction enroute, where another path leads north over the Tremo La to Tibet. Camp is in a meadow with a stone shelter.

Altitude: 3610 m; Distance 22 Km; Time 7 – 8 hours. (Ascent 770 meters, Descent 10 meters)

Day 04. Thangthangka – Jangothang:

In the morning, after passing a small army post, the trail slowly leaves the forest line and gradually climbs into a beautiful valley, passing Tegethang, a winter home of yak herdsmen. Lunch will be served in one of these huts. Lots of yaks will be seen today before we arrive at the Jhomolhari base camp (4,115 m). High mountains overlook the camp and visible nearby are the ruins of an old fortress used to guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasions.

Altitude: 4080 m; Distance 19 Kms; Time 5 – 6 hours. (Ascent 480 meters)

Day 05. Jangothang:

Rest day at Jangothang, enjoy the superb view all around.

For Day hikes, you have 3 options on this day at Jangothang.

  1. Hike to Jumolhari Glacier which is around 4 ½ hours (Back and forth)
  2. Hike to Jichu Drake Glacier which is around 3 hours (Back and Forth).
  1. Walk up the mountain between Jumolhari and Jichu Drake, the summit is at 5200 meters with a great view of both the mountains. This is 8 hours (Back and forth).

Day 06. Jangothang – Lingshi:

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 breathtaking view of Jumolhari, Jichu Drakey and Tsherim gang. Then walk towards the valley, almost flat for a while, until the climb to the Nyeley la pass at an altitude of 4,700 meters. After the pass it’s a gradual descent to the Lingshi camp, enjoying the panorama view of the peaks and Lingshi dzong.

Camp altitude is 4010 meters. 18 kms, Walking time: 6-7 hours, Ascent 840 meters, Descent: 870 meters.

Day 07. Lingshi – Shodu:

The trail today climbs to Yalila Pass (4930 m), from where on a clear day, impressive views of Mount Jumolhari, Tserim Kang and Masagang can be seen. Dinner and over night in Camp.

Camp at Shodu: 4080 meters. Distance: 22 kms, 8-9 hours walk. (Ascent 940 meters, Descent 920 meters).

Jumolhari TrekDay 08. Shodu – Barshong:

This is the place where one comes back to the tree line. The path follows the Thimphu River, descending through rhododendron, juniper and other alpine forest. The view of the cliff facing rocks and waterfalls are stunning. Hot lunch will be served by the riverside. After lunch the trail gradually ascends to the ruins of the Barshong dzong, reaching the camp. Dinner and over night in camp.

Camp at Altitude: 3710 meters. 16 kms. Walking time 5-6 hours, Ascent 250 meters, Descent: 670 meters.

Day 09. Barshong – Dolamkencho:

The road descends through alpine forest and we once again join Thimphu river for a while. After lunch climb up to Dolamkencho camp.

Camp at the altitude 3320 meters. 15 kms. Walking time 4-6 hours, Ascent 290 meters, Descent 640 meters.

Day 10. Dolamkencho – Dodena (End of Jumolhari Trek) – Thimphu:

Today is the last day of Jumolhari trek. The path descends through bamboo forests finally joining Thimphu River again. Arrive at Dodena where you will be picked up for the drive to Thimphu.

After lunch, visit to the Craft Bazaar and free to stroll in the town for shopping and photography. In the evening, visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan).

Dinner and overnight at Hotel.

Distance 8 km, 4 hours walk. Ascent 500 meters, Descent 930 meters.

Day 11. Thimphu Sightseeing:

After breakfast, visit to:

  • Visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honor of our 3rdKing, late His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (The Father of Modern Bhutan). The paintings and statues give a rare insight into Bhutanese culture.
  • Tallest Statue of sitting Buddha (51.5 meters) at Kuenselphodrang, Changangkha Lhakhang, Takin Preserve center, Sangaygang view point, and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan.

Lunch at Simple Bhutan Museum restaurant, where you can enjoy typical Bhutanese dishes, Ara (Local wine), witness Folk dances, visit to the Folk Museum and many more.

  • Visit to the Painting School, school of 13 Arts and crafts.
  • In the evening, Visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan).
  • And free to stroll in the town for shopping and photography.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

10 Nights 11 Days Bhutan TourDay 12. Thimphu – Punakha (Altitude 1310 m, 76 Km, 3 hrs drive):

After breakfast, drive to Punakha. On the way,

  • Visit to the Dochula pass with its 108 stupas and the beautifully arranged Himalayan mountain ranges in the background.
  • Chimi Lhakhang built in 1499 by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as “The Divine Madman”. The Temple is also called “the Temple of Fertility”. Lama Drukpa Kuenley (1455 – 1529) was one of the Bhutan’s Favourite Saints who was born in Tibet, trained at Ralung Monastery and was a contemporary and a disciple of Pema Lingpa. He Travelled throughout Bhutan and Tibet as a “Neljorpa” (Yogi) using songs, humour and outrageous behavior to dramatise his teachings of Salvation through sex.

After lunch, we visit:

  • The Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Punakha is the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck convened the First National Assembly here in 1952. Punakha was also an ancient capital of Bhutan until the rule of the second king of Bhutan.

In the evening, we hike to Khamsung Yulley Namgyal Choling Monastery.

  • We drive to Yabesa village and hike to through rice fields and up to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Choling Chorten, built by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 13. Punakha –Wangdiphodrang – Thimphu: (Altitude 2280 m, Distance 90 km, Drive Time 4 hours).

After breakfast, walk the longest Suspension bridge in Bhutan (160 meters).

  • The Punakha Suspension Bridge is considered the longest of its kind in Bhutan. It is located in the Punakha district and it connects the two sides of the Po Chhu river. You will get a great view of the river, valley, temple, and a good boost of adrenaline as well. In the early years, the bridge was made for the Lamas of Punakha Dzong (temple) who crossed the river very often to visit nearby villages. Today it serves both for locals and tourists who want to visit the temple.

Drive to Thimphu via Wangdiphodrang.

  • View the Wangdiphodrang Dzong built in 1638 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. This Dzong was razed by fire in 2012 and is under construction now. The Legend relates that as the people were searching for the site of the Dzong; four ravens were seen flying away in four directions. This was considered auspicious sign, representing the spread of religion to the four points of the compass. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers.

Lunch at Dochula cafeteria.

After lunch, visit to the Postal Museum where you can make personalized stamps.

Then witness the Archery match at Changlimithang stadium.

In the evening, free to stroll in the town for shopping and photography.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 14. Thimphu – Paro (Departure):

After breakfast, drive to the airport and farewell.