The itinerary for this tour is a combination of Jomolhari Mountain Festival, Jomolhari Loop Trek and Thimphu Tshechu Festival
Day 1: PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – THIMPHU (L/D)
Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2: TANGO MONASTERY AND DOCHULA PASS (B/L/D)
After breakfast drive to Dodeyna to climb through a beautiful forest track to the Tango Monastery which overlooks a forested valley and other Buddhist retreats high in the mountains. Then drive to the Dochula Pass at 3140m to enjoy a most spectacular view of the Himalayan snow capped mountains and a great view of Gasa Dzong at a distance.
After lunch at Druk Wangyal Cafeteria, drive back to Thimphu and visit the National Memorial Chorten built in honor of Bhutan’s late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck before visiting the mini zoo at Motithang to see the Takin, Bhutan’s national animal.
In the evening, visit Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body which includes the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan). If you wish, explore Thimphu town in the evening.
Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
Day 3: TAKTSANG MONASTERY OR TIGER’S NEST (B/L/D)
After breakfast drive to the trail head in Paro to commence a climb through beautiful pine forest. We will stop for light refreshments at the Taktsang cafeteria before walking on to the famous Taktsang monastery or Tiger’s Nest. The primary Lhakhang or main temple was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 m into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo from Kurtoe Singye Dzong in the east.
After lunch visit Drugyal Dzong (a ruined fortress), 16 km away from Paro. Although it is now in ruins, this dzong has great historical importance for the people of Bhutan. It was a place where the Bhutanese finally defeated the Tibetan invasion. On a clear day one can view sacred Mt. Jomolhari (Mountain of Goddess). We will also visit Ta Dzong (built in1 656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Rinpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”), the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley, built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Day 4: PARO – GUNITSAWA VILLAGE – SHARNA ZAMPA
The 8 day Jomolhari Mountain Festival trek begins today at Gunitsawa Village where you pass the army post. At the army check post trek permit will be checked and endorsed. Following the Paro River we pass cultivated fields and tiny picturesque villages. The forests are alive with numerous birds and brightly coloured butterflies.
Dinner and overnight camping at Sharna Zampa.
Day 5: SHARNA ZAMPA – THANGTHANGKHA (B/L/D)
On this long day, the trail continuous with lots of small ups and downs following the river through a heavily forested area with a few isolated farmhouses. After going uphill through the river valley, the valley finally narrows gradually to a mere path which descends to a meadow and closes in. You also pass a junction where another path leads north over the Tremola Pass to Tibet. Your camp will be set up in a meadow with a stone shelter. From here, if weather permits you will have the first great view of Mt. Jomolhari.
Dinner and overnight camping at Thangthangkha.
Day 6: THANGTHANGKHA – JANGOTHANG (B/L/D)
If you did not see Mount Jomolhari the previous evening, you will still have a chance to get a great view early this morning. This morning the trek continuous up the Paro Chhu valley that 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 of 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.
Dinner and overnight camping at Jangothang.
Day 7 – 8: JOMOLHARI MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL (B/L/D)
An opportunity to experience the Jomolharu mountain Festival.
The two days in Jangothang also provide 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 9: JANGOTHANG – SOI YAKTSA (B/L/D)
The trail leads to a last settlement in the valley and drops to the Paro Chhu. Passing the lake of Tshophu (4380m) you will climb up steeply to Bhonte La pass at 4890m, the highest point of this trekking route. Reaching the Dhumzo Chhu River, you trek downstream passing the few houses of Soi Yaktsa (Dhumzo) to arrive at your campsite soon after.
Dinner and overnight camping at Soi Yaktsa.
Day 10: SOI YAKTSA – THOMBU SHONG (B/L/D)
The trail climbs 100m over a ridge to drop to another stream then. After crossing the Takhung La pass at 4520m you descent to Thombu Shong, three yak herder huts with your campsite next to them.
Dinner and overnight camping at Thombu Shong.
Day 11: THOMBU SHONG – GUNITSAWA VILLAGE (B/L/D)
You will finally reach Gunitsawa Village where your transport will be waiting to drive you through to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan (approximately 2 hours).
Farewell dinner and overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Day 12: THIMPHU – PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (B)
In the morning drive to Paro International Airport where your guide will accompany you to bid you farewell.