BHUTAN'S JOMOLHARI TREK & CULTURE TRIP
WOMEN EMPOWERMENT PROJECT
TRIP DATES FOR 2019:
*If the above dates do not work for you, you can also choose your preferred dates.
The tiny Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan awaits, nestled high in the Himalayas its isolation from the world has cultivated a culture rich in traditions, religion and a benevolent monarchy. The dramatic landscapes, from snow-capped peaks and deeply forested slopes to raging, boulder-strewn rivers, sit largely undisturbed as the endeared environmental initiatives and religious beliefs leave the Kingdom pristine and a jewel of nature. The program takes you into this ancient Kingdom for an adventure into the hearts and lands of charming farmers, fascinating weavers, enchanting monks and charismatic leaders.
This is a special trip as you will partake in our women empowerment project as your guide, Tshering, is the very first female trekking guide in Bhutan. You can listen to Tshering's story and her journey towards becoming a guide via Women Trail Leaders: Tshering Choki Wangchuk
Alternative tour/trek: We can offer customized trips in Bhutan such as a 6-7 day culture trip or the Druk Path trek which is a beginner-moderate trek. We also offer longer treks such as the Laya Gasa trek and more. All trips will be women-led. Email us at
Day 1 Arrival in Paro & drive to Thimpu
Flight into Paro with Druk Air, crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jomolhari 7300m and Jichu Drake 6794m peaks in Bhutan. On arrival, yoiur guide will greet you and escort you to hotel in Paro. Evening stroll through the market and mingle with the local people. Elevation: 2280 meters.
Note: You will need to travel from your origin city to Bangkok where you can catch your flight to Paro. This may take two days and require an overnight in Bangkok. We can make arrangements for the Paro flight and your accommodation in Bangkok.
Day 2 Paro Tiger's Nest Acclimatization Hike
Drukgyal Dzong - A morning drive, north of Paro valley brings us to the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong. Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the Dzong was destroyed by an accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and relive the memories of a glorious past. Taktshang Monastery - A one hour hike to the cafeteria is also a vantage view whereby you can enjoy the stunning view of the monastery. Prayer flags adorn the cliff and this is also where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. Kyichu Lhakhang - After a sumptuous local lunch, we will retrace our steps to visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. Overnight in hotel in Paro. Elevation 2280 meters.
Day 3 Drive to Shana and hike to Thangthanka (Day 1 of Trek)
Morning drive to Shana where we start the trek. The trail follows the river through a heavily forested area with a few isolated farmhouses. As we go up the valley becomes narrow, wilder and steeper. The trail winds up and down along the drainage. We pass a junction en route, where another path leads over the Tremo La to Tibet. This route was formerly used by Bhutanese people as a trading route to Tibet. We cross several traditional wooden bridges finally arriving Thanthangka. Camp is in a meadow with a stone shelter. From this campsite for the first time-in case of good weather the Mount Jomolhari may be seen.
Distance: 20 km
Hiking Time: 6 hours
Elevation: 3,575 m
Day 4 Thangthanka-Jangothang (Day 2 of Trek)
The path ascends for a while until we reach the army camp. We then follow the river above the tree line, enjoying stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Hot lunch is served at a yak herder’s camp. A short walk from here into the valley takes us to our campsite at Jangothang (4,040m). From here, the views of Jhomolhari and Jichu Drake are superb.
Hiking Time: 5-6hours
Elevation: 4,090 m
Day 5 Jangothang Rest Day (Day 3 of Trek)
To acclimatize for following day's highest climb on this trek, we rest and explore the nearby glacier or lake.
Day 6 Jangothang-Lingshi (Day 4 of Trek)
The trail follows the stream for half an hour and crosses the bridge to the right bank. We now start our climb up to the first ridge, enjoying breathtaking views of Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tserimgang. The trail then takes us across a fairly level valley floor, until the climb up to Nyele-la pass (4,700m). We descend gradually from the pass to our campsite at Lingshi (4,000m), enjoying a panoramic view of the mountain peaks and Lingshi Dzong as we walk.
Hiking Time: 7-8 hours
Elevation: 4,080 m
Day 7 Lingshi-Shodu (Day 5 of Trek)
First half of the trek is mostly through treeless valley until we start ascending to Yale-la pass at 4950 m. On clear day, we can see Mt. Jumolhari, Mt. Tsherimgang and Mt. Masagang. Nomads traveling between Lingshi and Thimphu use the Yale la so the trail is well marked. The descent from the pass joins the Jaradinthang Chhu which later becomes the Thimphu Chhu. At the altitude of 4150 m is a chorten (stupa) from where the trail takes an easterly direction following the river. The camp is at Shodu just after crossing the sandy slope.
Distance: 22 Km
Hiking Time: 8-9 hours
Elevation: 3,575 m
Day 8 Shodu-Barshong (Day 6 of Trek)
250m ascent, 670m descent, camp altitude 3,710m today’s trail winds up & down following the Thimphu Chhu through the limestone valley. Monks use the caves for meditation. Shabdrung is said to have mediated in these rocks when he fled from Tibet in the 17th century. We will have the good opportunity to view the giant rock faces and waterfalls. The trail gradually ascends 130m to Barshong Dzong which lays ruins. Barshong is a small village with an inhabitant of half a dozen houses.
Hiking Time: 6-7hours
Elevation: 3,720 m
Day 9 Barshong-Dolam Kencho (Day 7 of the Trek)
As we are nearing the end of our trek, there are several ups and downs and crossings of small streams. Reach a split in the trail, the one to the right descends to your campsite for tonight.
Distance: 15 Km
Hiking Time: 5-6hours
Elevation: 3,290 m
Day 10 Dolam Kencho-Thimpu (Day 9 of the Trek)
Today is an easy walk and with small ups and downs followed by a couple of short steep switchbacks to descend a vertical cliff before finally reaching the last stretch to Dodina. The trails descends through bamboo forests, following the mule trail high above the river and reach Dodina where your vehicle will meet you and drive you half an hour to Thimphu, the modern capital of Bhutan. Thimphu has a population of about 98,500. The town is made up of just three lines of shops and is the only capital in the world without traffic lights. Dinner and overnight in Thimphu.
Distance: 7 Km
Hiking Time: 3 hours
Elevation: 2,280 m
Day 11 Thimpu
In Thimpu, you will a number of places to visit:
Centenary Farmers’ Market (open from Thu-Sun only): Most of the Thimphu’s population and many valley dwellers converge on the bustling weekend market, held by the side of Wangchu River. A wide range of foodstuffs and local arts and crafts are sold at the market, which runs from Thursday afternoon till Sunday evening. A visit to the market provides great photo opportunities, as well as the chance to mingle with local people.
Archery Match (National Game of Bhutan) at Changlimithang National Stadium.
Kuenselphodrang (commonly known as Buddha Point) where the largest Buddha statue in the country is perched on the hillock overlooking the Thimphu Valley. You may take a nature hike through Kuenselphodran Nature Park for about 20-30 minutes.
Tashichhoe Dzong, a fortress of the glorious religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and was reconstructed into present structure by the late King, His majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the year 1962-1969. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body.
The National Memorial Chorten (stupa) which was constructed in 1974 as a memorial for the third King of Bhutan, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is widely regarded as the father of modern Bhutan. The term ‘chorten’ literally means ' seat of faith' and Buddhists often call such monuments the 'Mind of Buddha'. Meet the elderly generation in circumambulation, especially in the evenings, at the National Memorial Chorten.
Craft Bazaar – A one stop place to witness Bhutanese culture and to buy Bhutan made art and craft product. The Bazaar in its 80 stalls covers all aspects of the traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. You will get to see craftsmen and artisans from across the country displaying and selling their handicrafts. You can also visit other handicraft stores in town.
Dinner and overnight in Thimphu.
Day 12 Drive to Punakha & Sightseeing
We will set off early from Thimphu after breakfast, perhaps with a visit to the weekend market first. Then proceed to Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan, about 2.5 hours’ drive from Thimphu across Dochu-la pass. Once you cross the pass, you wind down into a warm fertile valley and meander along a gently flowing aquamarine river that leads you to the Punakha Dzong, the second Dzong to be built in Bhutan.
On your way to Punakha, stop at Dochula Pass to have a coffee break and admire the grand 108 stupas. If in good weather, take in the enchanting views of Mt. Himalaya. You can also do a Dochula Natural trail hike (1.5 hours). Upon arrival in Punakha, visit Punakha Dzong, the beautiful Bhutanese architecture armed by the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, serving as the religious and administrative center of Bhutan until the mid-1950s.
Head for a suspension bridge and start hiking up to Khamsum Yuelley Chorten, passing by nice rice terraces and pine forests en route. When reaching the stupa atop, take in the superb views. Later drive to Lobyesa and continue another 20 minutes' hiking to Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to the Devine Madman and now a sacred place where women pray for children. Dinner and overnight in Punakha.
Day 13 Drive to Paro
Depart Punakha early morning for your transfer westwards to the Paro Valley, once again traversing Dochu La, and arriving in Paro town in time for a late lunch at one of the local restaurants.
This afternoon enjoy an orientation tour of the major features in Paro town including Paro Dzong with its cantilever bridge; Kyichu Lhakhang – one of Bhutan’s oldest and most beautiful temples boasting an orange tree that perpetually bears fruit followed by a visit to the old ruined fortress of the Drugyel Dzong (14km from Paro). This is the historical site of the Fort of Drukpa Victory, from which the Bhutanese used to repel the Tibetan invaders again and again. On a clear day views of the 7314 m snow domed peaks of sacred Mt Chomolhari can be seen. Dinner and overnight in Paro.
Day 14 Fly home
Early morning, drive to the airport, your journey begins and a future pilgrimage to further explores the hearts and lands of the Kingdom’s charming farmers, fascinating weavers, enchanting monks and charismatic leaders awaits.
This is a STRENUOUS trek. Recent hiking and/or backpacking experience is highly recommended. You will need to prepare in terms of cardio workout and consult with your doctor prior to joining the trip given the high altitude. You will be required to familiarize yourself with the hazards and risks of high altitude trekking, sign a liability waiver and terms & conditions forms.
$5540 1 person
$5340 2 persons
$4980 3-15 persons
HOW TO BOOK: You will be required to complete a booking form and the entire amount is due at time of booking in order for all visa and permits to be secured by the local agency. Once we receive your booking form, we will send you an invoice to make the full payment via credit card or Paypal.
The cancellation policy is as follows:
90 days or more prior to the departure date: 70% refund of trip cost
30-89 days prior to the departure date: 50% refund of trip cost
29 days or less prior to the departure date: No refund
Note: With trip shortened due to unforeseen reasons after arrival in Bhutan, no refund will be made (as all costs are incurred at that point).
Click on Book Now below to book.
Private guided tour
Visas for Bhutan
Daily 3 meals (B/L/D) at designated restaurants or hotels
Accommodation at 3 star hotel
A qualified & licensed English-speaking guide
An experienced driver
A tour vehicle
Entry fees & road permits
Government fee, royalty, taxes & surcharges
Mineral bottled water
Set of traditional costume (to be return at the end of your stay)
Full service & assistance before, during and after your Bhutan trip
Flight into Bhutan via Drukair
Flight on other airline to catch Drukair Flight
Meals at 4-5 stars restaurants
Hotel stay outside of Bhutan
Expenditure of personal nature
Tips for the guide and driver
Single room accommodation
International flights are excluded. Clients must book their own flights and send a copy of their flight itinerary by e-mail to no later than the trip balance due date. You must book your round-trip flight to Bangkok. The next day you take your flight to Paro. Flight to Paro can be book jointly as a group via the local operator once a group is confirmed.
TRAVEL INSURANCE REQUIRED:
After making a deposit, you are required to obtain appropriate travel insurance through Travel Guard or other insurance of your choice that should cover at a minimum 100% of the trip cost (land & air), emergency medical and evacuation for high altitude trekking of up to 5000 meters. Proof of travel insurance must be provided via electronic mail to no later than the trip balance due date. Failure to obtain travel insurance by the trip balance due date will result in cancellation and no refund of your trip deposit and/or applicable cancellation fees as noted in the Terms & Conditions.
Note: If you opt to buy your insurance from a company other than Travel Guard, please ensure that the insurance you purchase covers high altitude trekking as there are only a select number of companies that provide such type of coverage.
Please check ahead of time as to the visa requirements for the country of your choosing. You are responsible for securing your own visa, if required. In this case, our local partner will obtain visas for all attendees.
Upon booking, you will receive trip notes that include the recommended gear list and logistics prior to your departure.
meet your guide