Overview The Jomolhari Circuit Trek is a mesmerizing adventure that takes you through the pristine landscapes of Bhutan, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and challenging hikes. Spanning approximately 300 kilometers, this trek encircles the sacred Jomolhari Mountain (also known as Chomolhari), which stands tall at an elevation of 7,326 meters in the western Himalayas. The journey begins in Paro, a picturesque town known for its ancient monasteries and the iconic Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) monastery perched on a cliffside. As you embark on the trek, you'll pass through lush valleys, dense forests, and alpine meadows dotted with…
The Jomolhari Circuit Trek is a mesmerizing adventure that takes you through the pristine landscapes of Bhutan, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and challenging hikes. Spanning approximately 300 kilometers, this trek encircles the sacred Jomolhari Mountain (also known as Chomolhari), which stands tall at an elevation of 7,326 meters in the western Himalayas.
The journey begins in Paro, a picturesque town known for its ancient monasteries and the iconic Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery perched on a cliffside. As you embark on the trek, you’ll pass through lush valleys, dense forests, and alpine meadows dotted with vibrant rhododendrons, wildflowers, and yaks grazing in the distance. The trail surrounded by breathtaking panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, including Jichu Drake and Tshering Gang.
The trek is moderate to challenging, with steep ascents and descents, high-altitude passes, and rugged terrain. However, the effort is rewarded with the stunning beauty of the landscape and encounters with Bhutanese nomads, herders, and yak farmers who provide a glimpse into the traditional way of life in the region.
Throughout the trek, you’ll visit remote villages such as Jangothang and Lingshi, where you can interact with the friendly locals and explore ancient monasteries. You’ll also have the opportunity to witness Bhutanese religious rituals and ceremonies, gaining insight into the country’s rich cultural heritage.
Camping under the starlit sky adds to the magical experience, and the clear nights often offer breathtaking views of the Milky Way. The trek culminates with a visit to the base camp of Jomolhari, where you can admire its towering presence and revel in the serenity of the surroundings.
The Jomolhari Circuit Trek is a remarkable adventure that allows you to immerse yourself in Bhutan’s untouched beauty and cultural treasures. It is a journey that challenges both the body and the spirit, leaving you with lifelong memories of an awe-inspiring expedition in the heart of the Himalayas.
Flying in to the country’s only airport, in the beautiful Paro valley, the clear mountain air, forested ridges, imposing monasteries and welcoming Bhutanese people in their striking national dress, provides a breath-taking first impression. After clearing the customs and visa formalities met by the representatives and transfer to Paro. In the evening, stroll along Paro downtown for acclimatization and orientation or there is an option of exploring different sites in Paro which the guide will organize depending upon time available. Overnight at Hotel. (Lunch/Dinner included)
Drive up to Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) where the road ends and the trek begin. With a gradual climb the trail follows the Pachhu (Paro River) passing beautiful meadows, paddy fields and impressive farm houses. After about 4 hours it arrives at the army post at Gunitsawa village. At the army check point the trek permit will be checked and endorsed. Today’s campsite is by the small outpost for park warden. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 5-6 hrs)(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Due to long distance to cover today the trek starts a bit early. Most of the campsite is designated by government depending on area and access to water. Mainly to protect from deforestation and disturbance to wild animals. The short walk from the camp will arrive at the Jigme Dorji Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest protected area in the country. The park is home to several endangered species including the takin, snow leopard, blue sheep, tiger, red panda, and the Himalayan black bear. More than 300 species of birds have been cataloged within the park. After about 2 hours, the trail gets to a fork where the path which is not supposed to follow or the ancient trade route to Tibet is much wider and definitely more inviting. Turn right and follow the smaller trail through oak, spruce, birch, alpine yellows trees. After lunch the trail becomes bit tricky with wet and loose rock for some section. After an hour hike the path comes across a bridge and chorten (Stupa) not to turn toward chorten. Keep left! Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 7-8 hrs)(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
The trail continues with gentle climb along Pa chu to another army post. The valley finally widen up gradually to a mere path which ascends to a meadow where same yak herders have their winter home. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful stroll. When the campsite is approached Mt. Chomolhari can be spotted including its neighboring snowcapped peaks. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 4-5 hrs)(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Jangothang has a perfect environment for the acclimatization before going over the high passes. Relax or hike in the spectacular surroundings. From here a line of great peaks on the horizon can be seen; Chomolhari, Jichu Drake, Tsering Kang and many more. There are herds of blue sheep in the area. In the summer, the ethereal Himalayan blue poppy can be seen in this area. Today just rest in camp or go for a day hike in this beautiful place. If yak herders are in the vicinity, perhaps visit inside one of the big black smoky yak-hair tents. Chomolhari is a mountain sacred to a female deity (Jomo); lhari means snow peak. An Indo-Bhutanese team reached the summit in 1970, but now the high peaks may no longer be climbed.(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Starting at Jangothang (4180m) and camp at Lingshi (4010m) Today the first major pass at 4890m (Nyile-la ) is encountered. Also spot snow peak views of Tserim Kang (6789m) Camp near a stream in a meadow. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 5-6 hrs)(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Starting at Lingshi (4010m) and camp at Shodu (4110m). The first half of the trek is mostly through treeless valley until the trail starts ascending to Yeli-la pass at 4820 m, from here Mt. Jumolhari, Mt. Tsherimgang and Mt. Masagang can be seen on clear days. Camp in a meadow. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 7-8 hrs)(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Starting at Shodu (4110m) and camp at Barshong (3680 m). Today’s trial winds up & down following the Thimphu Chhu and crossing it six times. A final climb for about an hour walk will bring to Barshong. Camp just below the ruins of a small Dzong. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 5-6 hrs)(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Starting at Barshong (3680m) and camp at Dolam Kencho (3430m). The trial descends gently down to meet Thimphu Chhu through the dense forest of Rhododendron, birch, conifer trees and across the pasture land. Camp in a meadow. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 6-7 hrs)(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
Starting at Dolam Kencho (3430m) and end of trek at Dodina (2600m). Today is an easy 3 hour descends till Dodina where the vehicle will be awating for the drive to Thimphu which is about 30 minutes. Overnigh at Hotel.(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
After early breakfast, drive about 3 hours to Punakha. Climb up the mountain road to Dochu La at 3140m. On clear weather, the pass commands a wonderful panorama of the Eastern Himalayas. From the pass, the road descends through varied forest and finally emerging into the highly cultivated valley of Punakha. Take a short hike through beautiful rice fields to Chimmi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, who as a favorite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as “the Divine Madman”. The temple is on a hillside in the middle of rice fields and has become a pilgrimage site for childless couples. Enjoy some tea and snacks at the end of hike while overlooking the fields.
In the afternoon, Punakha Dzong located at the confluence of the Pho-chu (male-river) and Mo-chu (female-river). Punakha Dzong is arguably the most impressive dzong in the country. Later in the evening drive back to Thimphu. Overnigh at Hotel.(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
After breakfast drive towards Paro and further drive to the base camp of Taktsang for the hike up to the Taktsang Monastery-Tiger’s Nest. It’s about two hours hike up the cafeteria. From this point, enjoy the spectacular view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in 8th century. (The hike demands a certain level of fitness and a pony ride to the monastery can be arranged at additional cost) Then visit the Taktsang Monastery and hike back to the road point then drive to Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan and Paro Ringpong Dzong. Afterwards, back to hotel. Overnight at Hotel.(Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner included)
After breakfast, drive to the Paro airport in time to catch the onward flight. Bid farewell to the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappears again behind its guardian mountains.(Breakfast only included)
Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
• 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium).
• Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing
• Route Permit
• Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan
• A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
• All land transportation by private vehicle
• Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
• Sightseeing as per itinerary
• Monuments entrance fees where applicable
• Drinking water
• All internal taxes and charges
• A sustainable development fee of $65. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)
Airfare & Travel Insurance
• Expenses of personal nature, Tips to guides and drivers
• Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.
The Jomolhari Circuit Trek is a renowned trekking route in Bhutan, offering a captivating blend of natural beauty, cultural exploration, and challenging trails. Here is some important information to help you plan your trip:
Duration: The trek typically takes around 9 to 12 days to complete, depending on the pace and itinerary chosen.
Best Time to Go: The ideal time to undertake the Jomolhari Circuit Trek is during the spring (April to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons. These months offer pleasant weather, clear skies, and favorable trekking conditions. It’s important to note that the trek may not be accessible during the winter months due to heavy snowfall.
Permits: Travelers must obtain a trekking permit and a visa to enter Bhutan. The permit can be arranged through a licensed tour operator in Bhutan, who will also handle the visa process. It is mandatory to travel with a licensed guide in Bhutan.
Fitness Level and Difficulty: The Jomolhari Circuit Trek is considered moderate to challenging. It involves steep ascents and descents, as well as high-altitude passes reaching over 4,900 meters. Prior trekking experience and a good level of fitness are recommended to undertake this trek.
Altitude Sickness: As the trek reaches high altitudes, acclimatization is crucial. It’s important to take your time, maintain a steady pace, and drink plenty of water. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of altitude sickness and be prepared to descend if necessary.
Accommodation: Accommodation during the trek is in tents, as there are no permanent lodges along the route. Camping equipment is typically provided by the trekking agency, but it’s advisable to check in advance.
Packing List: Some essential items to pack include sturdy trekking boots, warm and layered clothing, a waterproof jacket, a hat, gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen, a sleeping bag, a first-aid kit, and a water bottle. It’s recommended to pack light and carry only necessary items.
Guided Trek: The Jomolhari Circuit Trek requires a licensed guide to accompany you. Booking through a licensed tour operator ensures that you have an experienced guide who can provide assistance, knowledge about the region, and handle logistical aspects of the trek.
The Jomolhari Circuit Trek offers a truly unforgettable experience, showcasing Bhutan’s pristine wilderness, ancient culture, and awe-inspiring landscapes. Proper preparation, including physical fitness training and obtaining the necessary permits, will ensure a safe and rewarding adventure in this Himalayan paradise.