- Altitude: 2500 – 5000 mts
- Best Season: March to May and September to November
Jomolhari Loop is the shortest of the Jomolhari trekking routes, which are the most popular treks in Bhutan. With altitude differences of 2,500m and nearly 5,000m it offers a wide range of landscapes, fauna and flora. The highlight of this trek is the spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari from Jomolhari Basecamp (Jangothang). Trekkers who want to avoid high passes and high altitude can chose an easier version of the Jomolhari Loop by retracing their steps from Jangothang (see days 1-3), while still having the majestic impressions of Mount Jomolhari.
The 7 Day Jomolhari Loop:
Day 1: Gunitsawa village, Paro – Sharna Zampa, Paro
40mins, 80 m descent, camp altitude 2,850 m.
This trek begins at Gunitsawa Village were you pass the army post. At the army checkpost your trek permit (provided by your tour operator) will be checked and endorsed. The campsite is on the opposite side of the river, not far from Gunitsawa.
Day 2: Sharna Zampa – Thangthangkha, Paro
Distance 22 km, 7-8 hours, 770 m ascent, 10 m descent, camp altitude 3,610 m.
On this long day, the trail continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley the valley finally narrows gradually to a mere path which descends to a meadow where a camp will be set up. From here, if weather permits, you will have the first great view of Mt. Jomolhari.
Day 3: Thangthangkha – Jangothang, Paro
Distance 19 km, 5-6 hours, 480 m ascent, camp altitude 4,080 m.
If you did not see Mt. Jomolhari the previous evening, you will still have a chance to get a great view early this morning. This morning the trek continues up the Paro Chhu valley which widens into patches of alpine meadow and scanty growths of forest. You will cross an army checkpoint along the way and enjoy a spectacular view of high mountain ridges and snow-capped peaks. In this area yaks and their herder’s homes become a regular feature of the landscape. Passing the villages Soe, Takethang and Dangochang is another asset on this day. After reaching Jangothang, one of the most beautiful campsites of the Himalayas, you will again have a spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari.
Day 4: Jangothang Halt, Paro
The rest day in Jangothang provides plenty of possibilities for day hikes with great views of lakes and snow capped mountains such as Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. There are good chances to spot some blue sheep on the upper slopes of the valley. Jangothang is a perfect environment for your acclimatization. You can also trek up to Tosoh or hike around the area. There are good short hiking trails in three directions. Jomolhari and its subsidiary mountain chains lie directly west, Jichu Drake to the north and there are a number of unclimbed peaks to the east.
Day 5: Jangothang – Soi Yaktsa, Paro
Distance 16km, six to seven hours, 810m ascent, 1,090m descent, camp altitude 3,800m.
The trail leads to a last settlement in the valley and drops to the Paro Chhu. Passing the lake of Tshophu (4,380m) you will climb up steeply to Bhonte La pass at 4,890 m, the highest point of this trek route. Reaching the Dhumzo Chhu river, you trek downstream passing the few houses of Soi Yaktsa (Dhumzo) to arrive at your camp soon after.
Day 6: Soi Yaktsa – Thombu Shong, Paro
Distance 11km, four to five hours, 720m ascent, 340m descent, camp altitude 4,180m.
The trail climbs 100m over a ridge to drop to another stream then. After crossing the Takhung La pass (4,520m) you descent to Thombu Shong, three yak herder huts with your campsite next to them.
Day 7: Thombu Shong – Gunitsawa Village, Paro (Yay! We did it!)
Distance 13km, four to five hours, 200m ascent, 1,650m descent, camp altitude 2,850m.
Crossing Thombu La pass (4,380m) you will finally reach Gunitsawa where you can be collected or you may decide to stay at the campsite, Sharna Zampa, where you stayed the first night of this trek.
Trekking Rates For Bhutan
The government of Bhutan requires that a minimum standard needs to be maintained while trekking in Bhutan. You will be accompanied by your own trekking staff consisting of a professional trekking guide, cook, camping assistant and a few horsemen and horses to carry your gear; regardless of whether you’re a solo trekker or you are a part of a bigger group. All food supplies must be carried in and prepared in camp. Trekking in Bhutan can therefore be a little expensive for solo travelers and those traveling in smaller groups.
TREKKING SURCHAGE PER PERSON ON TOP OF SDF, GUIDE & VEHICLE CHARGES:
1 Pax: USD 250 Per Person Per Day
2 Pax: USD 200 Per Person Per Day
3 Pax: USD 180 Per Person Per Day
4 Pax or More: USD 160 Per Person Per Day
- 4 season mountaineering tents. (Mountain Hardware Trango ll).
- Freshly prepared meals with tea and snacks throughout the trek.
- All trekking logistics like dinning tent with utensils, chairs and tables, toilet tent, etc.
- Fully seasoned support team.
- Portage charges.
- Filtered/boiled drinking water throughout the trek.
- Hot washing water in the mornings and evenings.
- Hot water bags for the night.
- Individual footprint foam mattress.
- Communal first aid kit (We always carry multiple oxygen canisters for emergency scenarios).
DOES NOT INCLUDE:
- Sleep system (Sleeping bag, mat and pillow). We suggest bringing an inflatable or a roll mattress that can be packed inside your duffle bag or strapped on your duffle bag. Sleep is of the highest importance!
- Guide services.
- Personal snacks, drinks and equipments.
- Camp fees if any.
- Gratuity for staff.
A TYPICAL DAY ON THE TREK:
The day starts off with a wake up call, around 6-6:30 am, if you are not already awake by then. A staff will come with a bowl of warm water to wash up along with tea/coffee brought to your tent. Before heading over to the dinning tent for breakfast, usually around 7-8, we suggest you pack your overnight gear into your duffel bag and prepare for the day. During breakfast the staff will pack away the tents and ready the horses.
After breakfast, usually between 8:30-9 am, we start walking. The pace of the trek is leisurely with plenty of time to enjoy the scenery, take photos and explore the local settlements, if any. Lunch will be around noon at a favourable spot by the side of the trail. Lunch is carried by the staff.
There is usually more walking after lunch, we will always plan to cover big ascents/passes before lunch but this does not always pan out as expected. Normally we will get into camp by mid afternoon with the tents already set up by the support team. Once you arrive at camp, you will be able to wash up, change to get into your comfy camp clothes and try and get comfortable.
Tea and snacks will be served. Followed by dinner later in the evening around 7pm.
All meals are freshly prepared by our cook and kitchen team. Breakfast with fried rice, toast/pancakes with various condiments, omelettes and a range of hot drinks. Hot lunch is prepared by the kitchen crew during breakfast and packed into containers carried by the staff to be eaten on the trail. On arrival at the campsite, there will be tea and other hot drinks in the dining tent with biscuits and snacks, help yourselves. Dinner will follow with soup, meal and dessert.
ACUTE MOUNTAIN SICKNESS (AMS).
This happens due to the body’s reaction to the low air pressure (less oxygen) at high altitudes and each individual responds to this situation differently. So please ascent at your own steady pace so that you allow your body to acclimate as you gain elevation.
This is a problem for some people, especially when hiking and sleeping above 3500 meters. The onset of symptoms has no logic in the sense that you never know who will get it regardless of your previous climbs and high ascents. There is no natural way to avoid getting AMS. However, acclimatization before the trek (we recommend day hikes, climbing high and sleeping low) and staying hydrated, eating and sleeping (rest) well on the trek goes a long to keeping yourself fit and feeling good.
Usually a steady and throbbing headache at the back of your head is a telltale sign of the onset of AMS. But this is not a major concern if it does not develop further and persists. Other symptoms include: fatigue, shortness of breathe, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and vomiting. There is no treatment to this sickness other than letting the body rest, acclimate and cure itself. If the symptoms do not get better, we will descend in altitude.
SMALL ACTS THAT WILL GO A LONG WAY, “PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN TRASH”.
This is a personal request and I do not mean to be condescending.
I just want to bring to surface something that is close to my being and I know it is to you too.
This is something we are all aware about and love to change about our society.
We will have a sack at every campsite where you can dump your trash from the day. We carry out everything that we carry in. We can not clean up after others, but we can take care of our own.
PACKING LIST AND TIPS:
They say we pack our fears when we travel and thus all of us pack different and are each their own creatures of comfort. But the rule of thumb on treks is to keep it to the essentials and be organized.
Less things to pack in the morning means, being swift and at ease which translates to a few more cups of coffee while enjoying the morning sun.
Therefore only listing the essentials here.
- DAS BOOT: Your favourite hiking boot or shoe. One that is broken in and kept you on the trail, blister free, while hitting the gnarly stuff. A pair with good ankle support that breathes well and to a certain extent is water resistant, keeps your feet happy!
- THE FART SACK: I mean the sleeping bag. Check where and when you are going and take something that is rated lower by 5ºC than the expected temperature, just be on the warmer and safer side. Women typical tend to sleep colder than men.
- MATTRESS: A foldable and comfortable mat, ideally an inflatable mattress. After a long day, you just want some good sleep. One that can be packed away inside your duffle bag or secured on the outside with the straps (easier for us to stow away and load it onto the horses). We will provide a footprint foam mat.
- DAY PACK: Just like your boots, a backpack is something you wear almost throughout the day and the entirety of your trek. So take a pack that you are comfortable with. A 20-30 L pack is ideal, depending on the gear you carrying.
- CLOTHING: Apart from the clothes you are comfortable with, a rain jacket or a poncho that can double up as a windbreaker, is indispensable. Micro climates in the mountains are an enigma. So its always nice to be prepared, that way the rain doesn’t feel so bad and you can slog on with a grin on your face. Another essential is a down jacket, to throw over yourself while at camp after the sun goes down.
- MEDICATION: Please don’t forget you personal medication. Also a small personal first aid kit. You may never need them, but it can prove to be crucial for your wellbeing incase you do while on the trail. We will also have a common first aid with only the essential medicine and kit.
- GLOVES & BEANIES
- SUNSCREEN, SUN GLASSES AND HAT
- WATER BOTTLES
- A PACKABLE PILLOW
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