Jumolhari Trek is one of the most sought-after trekking destinations in Bhutan. The panoramic views of the Jumolhari mountain is a major highlight of this 11-day trek among many others. The trek offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the true monastic life along with remarkable landmarks with amazing architecture. Even the ruins of the age-old monasteries throughout the trek takes you back in time and introduce you to the true Bhutan.
The trek that takes an average of five to six hours a day, is not as difficult as others in Bhutan. However, the Jumolhari trek difficulty is observed as you cross the pass of Nylie La pass and Yeli La pass. However, the trek is worth it as you get the opportunity of viewing high standing snowcapped mountains like Jumolhari, Jichu Drake and Tshering Gang.
Most of the trekking destinations pass through farmlands, pastures and forests. On the way, to Jangothang, you get to observe the lifestyle of the Bhutanese people living in small villages of Sio, Takethang and Dangochang. The villages have traditional houses that reflect the rural side of Bhutan. The trail even passes wooden bridges above swift-flowing rivers. But the best of all is perhaps the cool mountain wind that blows on your face as you reach the highest point at Nylie La pass at 4830m on the way to Lingshi from Jangothang. These experiences along the trek take you a little closer to the natural beauty, culture and traditions of the Land of Thunder Dragon; Bhutan.
Contrarily, Paro and Thimphu are towns that offer a change in the scenery as modern buildings melt in ancient architecture. The Jumolhari trek is a perfect package to explore Bhutan to its fullest.
|Day 1||Arrival at Paro (2,280m/7,480ft)|
|Day 2||Sightseeing and Acclimatization Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery (3,180m/10,433ft) – 5 km, 4-5 hours|
|Day 3||Trek from Drukgyal Dzong (Paro) to Shana (2,850m/9,350ft) – 17 km- 5 to 6 hours|
|Day 4||Trek from Shana to Sio Thangthangkha (3,750m/12,303ft) 21 Km- 7 to 8 hours|
|Day 5||Sio Thangthangkha to Jangothang (4,050m/13,287ft) – 19 km- 5 to 6 hours|
|Day 6||Acclimatize at Jangothang|
|Day 7||Trek from Jangothang to Lingshi (4,100m/13,451ft) – 19 km, 6-7 hours|
|Day 8||Trek from Lingshi to Shodu (4,100m/13,451ft)– 22 km, 8-9 hours|
|Day 9||Trek Shodu – Barshong – Domshisa, (3400m/11,155ft) – 23 Km, 7-8 Hours|
|Day 10||Trek Domshisa-Dodena-Thimphu, 17 Km, 4-5 Hours|
|Day 11||Thimphu to Paro and Depart|
The Jumolhari Trek encircles around Paro and Thimphu while touching the most rural settings in Bhutan. The trip sets its bar high from the time you set foot in the beautiful Paro Valley. On the first day of your arrival, you get a chance to intermingle with the lovely Bhutanese people as you walk the streets of Paro.
No trek to the Land of Thunder Dragon can complete without a visit to the most popular landmark, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery built-in 1684. The trip not just gives you a chance to visit the Monastery sitting on the edge of the misty cliff but also introduces you to the legend of Guru Rimpoche. Not just a place of worship, the monastery is also a popular tourist destination in the present day. You can watch the monks engaging in meditation and continuing with their day to day chores.
The actual trek starts from a walk past the Drukgyal Dzong at Paro. The trail gives you a chance to walk through the terrace and millet fields alongside the Pachu river and the apple orchards to Gunitsawa and eventually to Shana. Most of the campsites from hereon are nestled in between pine forests. The trek gets even more interesting and challenging as you head to Thangthangkha at 3750m, a sudden change of altitude. The main highlights of this day are entirely the views of one of the highest mountains in the world Jumolhari mountain (7326m/24,035ft) that first come to sight in this trek. This is one of the biggest attractions of the trek.
Thereon, the major attraction as you pass from Thangthangkha to Jangothang are the small villages of Sio, Takethang and Dangochang. It is amazing to witness the way of life in those rural areas. You might even spot some fairly rare species of birds along the way. The next day is allocated for acclimatization. However, you can enjoy the nearby natural beauty by hike further upwards to get an even clear view of the surrounding Himalayas.
After one day of acclimatization and sightseeing of the nearby area in the campsite at Jangothang Base Camp, the trek passes through glacial moraine on the next day. As you move on, the panoramic views of Jichu Drake, Jumolhari and Tshering Gang never leave your sight. This day is marked special as you cross the first high pass of the Jumolhari trek; Nylie La pass at the altitude of 4830m. Reaching Lingshi campsite offers you a chance to view the Lingshi Dzong, housing the office of Drungpa.
From the serenity of Lingshi, the trail next day leads to Shodu through the Mo Chhu valley. This day marks a special one as the trail reaches the second-high pass of Yeli La at4820m. You will feel a sense of joy to have successfully crossed the high pass with the strong cold mountain wind blowing all over you. After this triumph, the walk continues to Jimenameshing followed by the campsite at Shodu.
Walking along side Wang Chhu river throughout the day gives you a sense of peace and serenity. Crossing wooden bridges, the trail takes a halt at Barshong campsite. The highlight of the trek are the ruins of the Barshong monastery which is claimed to have been built around the time of Zhabdrung. Next on the trail is Dolam Kencho which is an open pasture land. The journey towards Kencho is an interesting one as you walk through a dense forest of rhododendron, birch and conifers. The Wang Chuu river stays companion as you eventually reach your campsite.
As the trekking days gradually come to an end, the final attraction is most certainly the amazing sight of Langur monkeys hanging on the trees on the way towards the exit point of Jigme Dorji National Park; Dodena. The trek ends at Dodena and a ride takes you to Thimphu, the economic center of Bhutan where you spend a lovely evening strolling around the streets.
The entire experience of trekking gives you a sense of gratification towards Bhutan for offering an experience of a lifetime. Nowhere in the world can you find this mystic, adventurous and naturally rich place to explore.
The tour to Jumolhari begins with a scenic flight to the valley town of Paro, Bhutan. Paro is the only international airport in Bhutan. Your wanderlust will only amplify as you observe the mesmerizing views of Paro Dzong and the snowcapped mountains from your window. Upon your arrival at Paro, you will be picked by our representatives at Third Rock Adventures who will drive you to your hotel for the stay. You will be briefed about the entire Jumolhari trek by our guide after refreshment.
After having some lunch, you will visit Rimpung Dzong. Rimpung Dzong is a Buddhist monastery and fortress of the Drukpa Lineage dating back to the 17th century. The monastery stands for high value as it houses the district's monastic body and the government administrative offices. You will cross a wooden bridge into Kichu Lhakhang which is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan.
Paro is a beautiful town with ancient architecture displayed in the buildings around the street. You should not miss out on walking through the streets of Paro as the sun goes down.
Overnight stay at hotel in Paro.
This is a special day as you get to visit one of the most popular landmarks in Bhutan. The hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery begins early in the morning after breakfast. On the hike to the monastery, you will find a forest of pine where you can hear the sounds of birds chirping and prayer flags fluttering.
The Tiger’s Nest Monastery also known locally as Paro Taktasang or Taktsang Palphug, is a mystical place sitting on the edge of a high cliff surrounded by mist. As per the mythical belief, Guru Rimpoche/Padmasambhava flew on the back of a tigress and identified the caves of the monastery as a place of solitude. It is believed that he then meditated for 3 months in this monastery. Padmasambhava is known to be the mystical tantric who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan. The monastery was built in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro and has since become a place of worship for Buddhist pilgrims. After the one-of-a-kind experience, you will head back to your hotel at Paro for an overnight stay.
Overnight in Paro.
Today is the start of your trekking days. After having breakfast, you will head towards Drukgyal Dzong. It is a Buddhist monastery in the upper part of Paro, now an ancient ruin (Please delete this sentence). You will walk along the Pachu River then along the rice terrace and millet fields. Along the route, you will pass through small villages with traditional houses. After Mitsizamp, the farms eventually disappear into the trail that leads through high trees towards Zakhapang after a steady ascend.
You continue to trek through blue pine forests, apple orchards and reach Gunitsawa village. You will pass through an army post along the way. Just beyond, you will check into your campsite at Shana. The campsite is a wide space nestled between pine forests. Near the campsite is a swiftly flowing river.
You will rest in the camp overnight.
This is one of the days you will experience the Jumolhari trek difficulty as it is one of the longest days of your trek spanning a distance of around 21 km. After a heavy breakfast, you will follow the trail that leads to the river. The trek takes a gradual ascend through a lush forest of blue pine, oak, rhododendron trees, birch and fir. Eventually, you will begin walking through the rocky and bumpy path and pass wooden bridges.
You will reach Thombu zam from where there are many other trails branched to other trekking destinations. After passing up a ridge with a chorten you will reach your campsite. You can instantly spot the amazing Jumolhari Mountain from the end of the valley. Jumolhari is one of the world’s highest mountain at an altitude of 7,326m/24,035ft.
The spacious camp faces Jumolhari and is an ideal place to rest for the night after a long trek.
Today the trek leads to Paro Chuu valley. The trail passes through an alpine meadow and leads towards the forest. As you reach the army outpost, you’ll have to stop and register at the entry permits. The entry permit to Bhutan will be taken care of by your guide.
You walk beside the Pachu River and pass some small villages of Sio, Takethang and Dangochang. This is one of the most special days of the trek as you reach the Jangothang Base Camp at 4050m. The views of Mt. Jumolhari will keep you company as the sunsets. The unique flora and fauna found here is one of the points of attraction. You will hear the sweet sound of birds chirping. If you are lucky enough, you might even spot the Yellow-billed Chough, Fire-tailed Sunbird, White-throated Dipper and Snow Patridge to name a few. Views of snowcapped Jumolhari, Jichu Drake and the ravens are perhaps the highlight of today’s trek.
Overnight stay at the campsite.
On this day you will halt at Jangothang and take a rest. There are a lot of small activities you can enjoy during this day. You can take a small hike around the nearby landscape or up to Tsophu Lake. All in all, the beauty of Jangothang is added by the Jumolhari and Jichu Drake views from a distance. For a better view of Jumolhari, you can even trek a little further up. You can also check out the ruins of an old fortress nearby.
You might come across some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley. The Himalayan Rhubarb, Golden Eagles and the Himalayan Blue Poppy- the national flower of Bhutan can be spotted. Rest on this day is necessary to acclimatize your body to the sudden change in altitude. Also, after the long days of trekking, this rest day is a blessing.
Overnight stay at the campsite.
On this day you will be heading to Lingshi which takes about 19 km. The trail begins with a steep climb above the base camp into glacial moraine. The sight of Jumolhari and Jichu Drake looks very different on this day. You will walk through a snowy path to Nylie La pass at 4830m. You are bound to experience a cold and swift wind coming straight from the mountains. From there, you will be introduced to a panoramic view of Tshering Gang at an altitude of 6789m.
The trek then gets a little tough as it descends to Lingshi campsite. From your campsite, the views of the majestic peaks and Lingshi Dzong is seen. Lingshi is a monastery that houses the office of the Drungpa. Nothing could be as serene as the views seen from there.
You will stay at the campsite for the night.
Today you will be taking a long trek that takes about 9 hours and covers a distance of 22 km to reach Shodu. The trail starts with a decent climb upwards to a chorten on a ridge into the Mo Chhu valley. You will cross a river and ascend to the Yeli La pass at the altitude of 4,820m/15,813ft. From thereon, the land is mainly deserted but offers views of the majestic snowcapped Jumolhari, Gangchen Ta, Tshering Gang and Masangagng. The path becomes narrower hereon and reaches Jimenameshing.
The trail gradually descends to the campsite in a meadow as you reach Shodu. Many other treks also reach this destination as the trekking days come to an end, since this is the main trail back to Thimphu. You can enjoy the rest of your day by having hot soup and enjoying yourself with other trekkers at your camp.
Overnight stay at the campsite.
Today you will come back to tree line. The path follows Thimphu River, descending through rhododendron, juniper and other alpine forests. You will be able to see stunning views of rocky cliffs and waterfalls. You can rest by the riverside and enjoy a hot meal. After lunch you will gradually ascend to the ruins of Barshong Dzong. Continue to your campsite near a river, Domshisa which is at 3,400m.
Overnight stay at the campsite.
The trail descends gently through a dense forest of rhododendron, birch and conifers and then ascends till you meet the dirt road. Walk along the dirt road for a while and then you will be picked up by the Third Rock Adventure transport. You might spot the Langur monkeys on the trees afar. Dodena is the exit point of Jigme Dorji National Park and it opens up to the main road that drives to Thimphu. Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan and one of the modern cities there. After some refreshment and shower, you can stroll around the town of Thimphu. As a memory of your remarkable travel to Bhutan, you can go to the street and buy some souvenirs to take back home for yourself and your loved ones.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Today marks the end of your interesting Jumolhari trek. With a heavy heart, we will bid you a farewell after you are driven to the Paro International Airport. As you head home after boarding the flight, you are bound to reminisce the landmarks you visited in Paro, the monasteries along the trek and the amazing views of the Himalayas. You can remember Third Rock Adventures to plan another wonderful trek in the beautiful and mystical Bhutan.