Snow Leopard chomolhari Trek 16 Days
Western Bhutan Tour with Jumolhari base camp Trek & return via Yaksa
At A Glance
8 days incl. one rest day
Total Trip : 16 days
4890m at the pass
Max. Camp Elevation:
4180m at Dumzo
Average walking time:
6 + hours
Best available standard hotels during the tours and tent camp for 7 nights during the trek
Nothing in the world can prepare you for an astounding panorama that awaits you when you embark on a Jomolhari trek in Bhutan. Along this trek, you will come upon stretches of spectacular scenery, unending expanse of fields, green hills filled with flowers and quiet hamlets below snowcapped mountain peaks. This is one of Bhutan’s finest treks that offer spectacular views of 7,314m Jomolhari with its companions Jitchu Drake and Tserim Kang. These trio peaks are Bhutan’s highly revered custodians that loom large on the Tibet-Bhutan border close to an ancient trade route from India into Tibet’s Phari Valley.
It is thought by many to be the most beautiful mountain in the whole length of the Himalayas. This trek has high chances of sighting the blue-sheep, Takin, and a wide variety of birds. In the spring, rhododendrons, azaleas, and masses of wildflowers carpet the high meadows, while pear and apple trees blossom in the valleys. In the fall, rice paddies ripen to a golden brown, and yak herders bring their charges down from high summer pastures.
Tour Costs: starts from $2880 Per Person
Cost will depend on number of participants.
Best Time: Late March till May & from Late Sept till early Nov.
Route Closed: Dec till Febuary.
Day 1: Arrive in Paro and transfer to Thimphu (L/D)
Arrive in Paro by Druk Air. You are met and transferred to the capital Thimphu, Bhutan’s bucolic capital, nestled in a fertile valley at 2,300m (1hr drive). After lunch we will take a short tour to view some sights and get acquainted with Thimphu.
Overnight in Jumolhari Hotel or Hotel River View.
Day 2: Thimphu Valley Tour (B/L/D)
After breakfast, spend full day touring Traditional Art School, Indigenous hospital, Textile Museum, and many other cultural monuments in the capital. This evening we will take a stroll, and visit the colorful farmer’s market, which is best during the weekends.
Overnight in Jumolhari Hotel or Hotel River View.
Day 3: Drive to Punakha (B/L/D)
After further tour of Thimphu in the morning, drive east to Punakha and Wangdue valley, which takes about 3 hours. En-route, we stop to take in the panoramic views from Dochula Pass (3,050m). In the evening, take a short walk to visit Chimi Lhakhang temple, dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, a Buddhist saint popularly known as “the divine madman”. He is considered a folk hero in Bhutan for his unconventional ways. There will be time in the evening to take self-guided walks from your hotel.
Overnight Meri Phuensum Resort or similar
Day 4: Punakha & Wangdue Phodrang Tour (B/L/D)
Drive to the idyllic countryside north of Punakha, and start a gradual hiking ascent through cultivated fields and little hamlets to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten, a shrine built for the present King when he was a crown prince and for world peace. The shrine is an amazingly elaborate structure with a rainbow images of Guru Rimpoche and there are superb views of the Valley below. The hike uphill takes about 35 minutes. We will return downhill and following ancient riverside trails, walk back to Punakha Dzong via Sonagasa village. (total approx 2-3hours walk of easy walk). Visit an impressive Punakha Dzong, an architectural masterpiece at the confluence of Pho Chu & Mo Chu rivers. Later in the evening, drive and visit Wangdue Phodrang town and a fortress on a ridge.
Overnight Meri Phuensum Resort or Similar.
Day 5: Drive to Paro (B/L/D)
From Punakha, retrace our drive recrossing Dochula for one more opportunity to view panoramic views of the Eastern Himalayan range. Lunch at Thimphu or in Paro depending on the hour of the day. In Paro. we will try to cover some sights as well and later stroll through the town area. This is also an opportunity to shop for any items you may need for the trek. Our accommodations will be in a simple but nice cottages of Tiger Nest Resort, north of Paro with views of Takstang monastery (away from the town area). Our trek’s start point is nearby and we will have enough time to pack in the morning.
Overnight in Tiger’s Nest Resort.
Day 6: Begin Trek to Shana (B/L/D)
Approx. 17km, 5 hours trek, 360m ascent 80m descent (1meters = Aprox 3.28ft)
Transfer to the trek’s starting point near Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m), where our pack ponies are loaded up with all the gear for our trek. Accompanying us are crews comprising of a horseman, ponies, a Guide, a Cook and assistants. Your luggage are carried by the ponies or mules and all you have to carry is a day pack containing the requirements for your personal use during the day.
On the trek, there will be a dinning tent, simple pit toilet tents and sleeping tents. We use LPG gas to cook meals, light dinning tent and kitchen. We are also among a very few companies in Bhutan that carry Gamow or PAC bags (Pressurized Altitude Chambers), for emergencies with altitude sickness.
Our first day is an easy trek. While our crews get ready, we begin by walking along the Paro river, following it as it winds along past traditional farmhouses with cultivated fields of red rice, chilies, potatoes, and millet. After about five hours of walking, we arrive at campsite by the river near the village of Shana (2,860m). By this time our crew would have already gone ahead of us and prepared our camping site.
Overnight in tents.
Day 7: Trek to Soi Thangthanka (B/L/D)
Approx. 22km 7-8 hours trek, 770m ascent. 10m descent
Today is a longer and much tougher day, so start early! You are now entering Jigme Dorji National Park. We continue up through the valley of Paro River, which gradually narrows as the trail leads higher, winding up and down through a thick, lush forest of oak, pine, and juniper. As we get closer to our camp for the night, we begin to see the snowcapped summit of Mt. Jomolhari. Camp at Soi Thangthangkha (3,610m) amidst the woods with one trekker’s hut used for eating and for a fire place. Overnight in tents.
Day 8: Trek to Jangothang (Base Camp) (B/L/D)
Approx. 19km, 5 -6 trek. 480m ascent
We continue following Paro river as the valley begins to widen, opening to a spectacular area surrounded by high ridges and snowcapped peaks. A few yak-herding villages are based in this area, and we may be lucky to purchase some yak cheese from them or have lunch in one of their simple, traditional homes. Today is not a long day but because of an altitude gain, the pace is slower. Camp at Jangothang (4,080m) below a ruined fortress with Mt. Jomolhari seemingly nearby. There is a nice little trekker hut that provides fire place and dinning.
Day 9: Rest Day for Exploration (B/L/D)
Jangothang is one of the most spectacular camping places in the entire Himalayas. Chain of snow peaks form the eastern side of Paro river, which just a clear little brook here. , Jangothang has few villages with yak herders and trout filled lakes to visit. The mighty of Jomolhari, Bhutan’s second highest mountain, seems almost close enough to touch from here. This sacred mountain remains unclimbed and off limits to mountaineers. Near it rises Majestic Jichu Drake, which is also unclimbed.
Depending on your interest, you can walk towards Jomolhari glaciers or walk part of the route heading north to Lingshi. You may also opt to stay at the camp, take in the views, visit a village, or rest for the challenging day ahead. You can also get some laundry or cleaning done this morning in a stream nearby.
Overnight in Tents.
Day 10: Trek across Bhontela to Dumzo (Yaksa) (B/L/D)
Approx. 16km, 7 hours trek. 810m ascent and 1090m descent.
The trek is now more serious today. Our trail starts with a steep hike to Tshopu (4,380m), one of the two trout-filled glacial lakes that we will pass on our way to Bhonte La. From here on, we often see blue sheep, fat marmots, and migrating Himalayan birds, as well as incredible views of Jichu Drake, a beautiful snowcapped peak alongside Jomolhari. The meadows are carpeted with flowers and there are usually some Yak herders in tents. We continue for about one hour to our lunch spot below Bhonte La (4,890m). On a clear day, the views from the Pass are really spectacular in all directions. You can even see Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world to the west. After lunch we cross the Pass and make a long, steep descent to the yak-herding valley of Soi Yaksa. There are only a few families living in this area and they produce some of the best yak-wool cloth we’ll see along this trail. Yak herders and their families will come to our camp as early as 6:00am with items to sell, such as cloth, yak tassels,ropes, jewelry and such. Campsite is at 3,800m
Day 11: Trek to Thongbu Shong (B/L/D)
Approx 11km 5 hours trek. 720m ascent, 340m descent.
Our hike starts with a very gentle uphill trail to the top of the eastern ridge of the Soi Yaksa valley. From here we can enjoy an incredible view of the amphitheater of mountains to the north. Gradually Jomolhari and Jichu Drake peaks reappear on the distant horizon as we approach our lunch spot. Cross Takhung La (4,520m). A short descent thereafter leads into wide and grassy Thangbu valleys (4,180m). This area is rich pastureland for yaks, and we’ll usually see nomadic yak herders camped in their traditional woolen tents and stone huts.
Day 12: Trek to Shana (B/L/D)
Approx. 13km 5hr 200m ascent and 1650m descent.
After a short, steep climb out of camp, we leave the remote mountain area by following a ridge to Thombu La (4,380m) From this vantage point we get a glimpse of the Paro Valley to the south and mountain views all around. Then start steep descent for most of the afternoon and rejoin our route at Shana (2,730m), where we had spent our first night of camping. (5-6 hours hiking.) Your campsite may differ tonight. We may cover more area and camp a bit further down.
Day 13: Trek end to Paro (B/L/D)
After trekking for 4 hours or less, we make it back to the Drugyel Dzong. Bid farewell to our trekking crew and transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, you can join for a tour of Paro Valley.
Day 14: Paro Takstang & Ugyen Tsemo (B/L/D)
Approx. 9km/ 2-3 hours trek 890m descent.
Transfer to the trail head and hike to Takstang. Most tourists trek upto Takstang and return but we will hike beyond Takstang and also visit other sites such as Zangdopelri temple and Ugyen Tshemo monasteries as well. Return to Paro in the evening.
Overnight in Gangtey Palace Hotel or similar.
Day 15: Full day sightseeing tour of Paro (B/L/D)
Paro is one of the most beautiful valleys in the country with Bhutan’s only airport located here, among the terraced fields, and elegant farm houses. Willow trees line many of the roads, contrasting with bright colors of the fields and the most popular and important sites are also found in Paro district.
On our final day in Bhutan, tour the National Museum housed in an ancient watchtower. Visit the Rinphung Dzong with monastery in a fortress, which houses the local district office and living quarters for monks. Visit Kichu temple, founded in the 7th century. We will take stroll around the town area, visit some farm houses and evening is free until farewell dinner.
Overnight in Gangtey Palace Hotel or similar.
(Note: March trip visits the Paro Tsechu Festival in the morning: this includes unfurling of Gaint Thangkha and final rites of the festival.)
Day 16: Depart (B)
After breakfast, transfer to Paro airport in time for your departure flight.
Jhomolhari Trek Video
Snow Leopard Chomolhari Trek October 2008
* Bhutan royalties
* Visa fees
* Accommodation in listed hotels or similar during tours
* All meals including evening tea
* During the trek: fully organized trek with Tents, Thermal Pads, Blow pillow, Hot-water bag, Pressured Altitude Bag for emergencies, Pack animals to carry luggage and additional riding pony for emergency, Basic Medical Kit, Trekking Guide, Cook and assistants. Beverages such as Juices, Tea, Alcholic spirits provided.
* Flights in and out of Bhutan with departure tax (listed separately – depending on sectors)
* Travel/Medical and evacuation Insurance – optional
* Personal trekking gears such as sleeping bag, clothing, shoes etc.
* Tips and gratuities (optional)