The Jhomolhari trek is to Bhutan what the Everest Base Camp route is to Nepal: a trekking pilgrimage. With two different versions, it’s one of the most trodden routes in the country, and almost 40% of all trekkers who come to Bhutan end up following one of the Jhomolhari routes.
The first two days of the trek follow the Paro Chhu valley to Jangothang, climbing gently, but continually, with a few short, steep climbs over side ridges. It crosses a high pass and visits the remote village of Lingzhi, then crosses another pass before making its way towards Thimphu. The last three days of the trek cover a lot of distance. The trek also affords an excellent opportunity to see yaks.
Partly because of its popularity, the trek is not exactly in pristine condition. Power pylons now run the entire distance from Sharna to Lingzhi, following the exact route of the trek, including over the Nyile La. There’s quite a lot of plastic waste along the trail.
The trek is possible from April to early June and September to November; April and October are most favourable. It’s normally warm during daylight hours, but nights can be very cold, especially above Jangothang. There is a lot of mud on this trail and it can be miserable in the rain. Snow usually closes the high passes from mid-November onward, and they don’t reopen until April.
The trek traditionally started from the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong at 2580m, but the road now reaches Sharna Zampa, near the army post of Gunitsawa (2810m), close to the border with Tibet. This trek will soon be further shortened when the road, currently under construction, reaches Barshong.
|Season||April to June, September to November|
|Finish||Dom Shisa/Dolam Kencho Finish| Dom Shisa/Dolam Kencho|
|Access Town||Paro, Thimphu|
Summary| Bhutan’s popular showcase trek offers a spectacular view of the 7314m Jhomolhari from a high camp at Jangothang.