Bhutan Jomolhari Mountain Festival and Trekking Tour
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💎 Why we love it ?
12 Days Jomolhari Mountain Festival Trekking Tour takes the same trekking routes as Jomolhari Loop Trek. The only difference is you get to halt 2 extra days in Jangothang to mingle among the people who live a nomadic life herding yaks at an altitude ranging from 2,500 meters to nearly 5,000 meters and celebrate their 2-day annual Mountain Festival which offers a great opportunity to explore and experience local culture and cuisine. The highlight of this trek is not only the fascinating mountain festival but also the spectacular view of majestic Mount Jomolhari from the Jomolhari basecamp accentuated by splendid landscapes, flora, and fauna. The Jomolhari Mountain Festival takes place annually on 14 & 15 October. Therefore, you must plan to arrive in Bhutan on 8th October.
🏁 Tour Itinerary: Bhutan Jomolhari Mountain Festival and Trekking Tour
Day 1: Arrive at Paro International Airport – Sightseeing Paro valley (2200m)
Our guide and driver will receive you at Paro International Airport and then escort you on your first adventure in the Kingdom of Bhutan sometimes known as “The Last Shangri-La” to the outside world. You’ll begin by visiting National Museum to get a glimpse into the rich cultural traditions and history of Bhutan, visit 17th-century Paro Rinpung Dzong originally built as an administrative and monastic center of the western region. Today, it serves as the office of governor and head clergy of the Paro district.
From there, we walk to the beautiful traditional wooden cantilever bridge just below the Dzong. Later in the evening, visit an auspicious and one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, the 7th-century Kyichu Lhakhang believed to have been built overnight by the Tibetan Kind Songtsen Gampo in his mission to subdue the spirit of a giant ogress that was harming the propagation of Buddhism in the Himalayan region. We conclude the day exploring Paro town.
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight at Khangkhu Resort or Bhutan Mandala Resort.
Day 2: Hike to Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) / Transfer to the capital city Thimphu (2334m)
After an early breakfast, drive to Taktsang base and hike to the iconic Paro Taktsang popularly known as Tiger’s Nest. The round trip hike takes 4-5 hours but you can hike at your own pace. We recommend starting early before the sun gets stronger. Oneway horse riding is available on your way up to the mid-point (Taktsang Viewpoint Cafeteria) for a fee of about USD20 per horse which will carry only one person. Horse riding is not recommended on your way down and most owners will not allow it.
After lunch at the Taktsang Cafeteria, we descend back to the base and drive to Thimphu, the only capital city in the world without traffic lights. En-route visit Tamchog Lhakhang, the 15th-century private temple accessible after crossing the iron bridge built by the Tibetan scholar Thangtong Gyalpo to whom this temple is dedicated. This iron bridge is among the very few remaining out of many built by Thangton Gyalpo.
Driving Distance: 55km, Time: 2-Hours, Thimphu Altitude: 2,334m/7,600ft
Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan and home to approximately 115,000 residents. This bustling little city is the main center of commerce, religion, and government in the country.
On arrival in Thimphu, drive past the Changlimithang Archery Ground and witness the archery game if it is in progress. You will see archers showing off their Robin Hood skills dancing and singing each time the target is hit from a whopping distance of 145m. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan.
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight at Kuenphen Rabten Resort or Hotel Amodhara.
Day 3: Thimphu / Transfer back to Paro (2200m)
Today, you’ll visit the tallest sitting Buddha statue located at Kuensel Phodrang overlooking Thimphu valley. Optionally, do a 2-hour leisurely hike from Kuensel Phodrang to Changangkha Lhakhang with a grand view of Thimphu valley. It is relatively a short hiking trail through sparsely populated pine trees offering a perfect opportunity for families and nature lovers to spend their leisure time. At the end of the hike, visit the 12th-century national treasure, Changangkha Lhakhang.
After a traditional lunch at Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant, visit the National Institute of Zorig Chusum where 13 Bhutanese traditional arts & crafts are taught, see Craft Bazaar along the main Thimphu street and finally drive back to Paro.
Distance from Thimphu – Paro 55km, Driving time 1.5-hours, Paro altitude 2200m
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight at Paro Village View Home Stay.
Located above a quaint village amidst an apple orchard overlooking south Paro valley, this homestay is a perfect place to experience the life of an ordinary Bhutanese family. If this homestay is fully booked, similar accommodation will be provided or you can stay at Khangkhu Resort/Bhutan Mandala Resort.
Day 4: Paro / Transfer to the First Campsite at Sharna Zampa (2850m)
Today after breakfast, we visit a 15th-century Dzongdrakha Temple perched on a cliff similar to Taktsang monastery but easily accessible. It is located just about 1km away from Paro Village Homestay. We offer prayers for our safe journey ahead and after lunch, drive to the starting point of the trek, Shana Zampa which will also be our first campsite. En route, visit Drukgyal Dzong built to commemorate the victory against the Tibetan-Mongol forces sometime in the 17th century. The trek used to start from Drukgyal Dzong but because of the road, trekkers prefer to drive up to the first campsite.
Distance: 17km | Time 5-6 Hours | Descent: 80m | Camp Altitude: 2,850m/9,350ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Full-service outdoor camping at Shana.
Day 5: Sharna Zampa / Camp at Thangthangka (3610m)
Today will be the longest day of the trek but very rewarding. After breakfast, we hit the trail which continues with lots of small ups and downs. After going uphill through the river valley, it finally narrows gradually to a mere path that 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.
Distance: 22km, Time 7-8 Hours, Ascent: 770m, Descent: 10m, Camp Altitude: 3,610m/11,845ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Full-service outdoor camping at Thang Thangka.
Day 6: Thangthangka / Jomolhari Base Camp, Jangothang (4080m)
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 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.
Distance: 19km, Time 5-6 Hours, Ascent: 480m, Camp Altitude: 4,080m/13,385ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Full-service outdoor camping at Jangothang (Jomolhari Basecamp).
Day 7: Halt at Jangothang – Witness Mountain Festival at Dangochang
Today and tomorrow will be the highlight of the trekking – witnessing the unique Jomolhari Mountain Festival. The festival brings together members of communities in the area to celebrate their local culture and heritage, promote happiness and strengthen social bonds while also creating awareness on the importance of conservation of elusive Snow Leopard with which the local people live in harmony.
Hike 30 – 45mins back to Dangochang where the Jomolhari Mountain Festival takes place.
On the first day of the festival, there will be several unique cultural programs such as songs and dances by the local communities. A school of fewer than 15 students will perform a play that focuses on the Snow Leopard Conservation, and a Snow Leopard dance by the Snow Leopard Conservation group.
You can participate and watch local games like a horse race, yak riding, Khuru (dart), shot put, and tug of war. There will be stalls selling handicrafts and local delicacies.
🏚️ Accommodation: Jangothang campsite.
Day 8: Halt at Jangothang – Nature Hike & Festival
Today on the 2nd day of the festival, the program includes scenic hikes led by the locals to various sites around Mount Jomolhari such as twin lakes called Tsophu, the glaciers, and even though the habitat of the endangered Snow Leopard. You will definitely see the primary prey of Snow Leopard, blue sheep, and other wildlife along with these day hikes.
In the afternoon, you can witness the cultural programs including traditional folk dances, and participate in local games like Khuru (dart), shot put, etc.
🏚️ Accommodation: Jangothang campsite.
Day 9: Jangothang / Camp at Soe Yaksa (3800m)
The trail leads to the 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 Soe Yaksa (Dhumzo) to arrive at your camp soon after.
Distance: 16km, Time 6-7 Hours, Ascent: 810m, Descent: 1,090m, Camp Altitude: 3,800m/12,467ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Full-service outdoor camping at Soe Yaksa.
Day 10: Soe Yaksa / Camp at Thongbu Shong (4180m)
The trail climbs 100m over a ridge to drop to another stream then after crossing the Takhung La pass (4,520m) you descent to Thongbu Shong, three yak herder huts with your campsite next to them.
Distance: 11km, Time 4-5 Hours, Ascent: 720m, Descent: 340m, Camp Altitude: 4,180m/13,715ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Full-service outdoor camping at Thongbu Shong.
Day 11 – Thongbu Shong / Gunitsawa Village in Paro (2200m)
Crossing Thongbu La pass (4,380m) you will finally reach Gunitsawa village where your driver will be waiting for you. This is the point where your trekking staff will bid you farewell. We will then drive to Paro.
Distance: 13km, Time 4-5 Hours, Ascent: 200m, Descent: 650m, Paro Altitude: 2200m/7220ft
🏚️ Accommodation: Overnight at Khangkhu Resort or Bhutan Mandala Resort.
Day 12: Transfer to Paro International Airport for Departure
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Paro International Airport for your onward journey depending on your departure time. Your guide will assist you to complete all exit formalities before you check in.
Terms & Conditions
- Free cancellation for up to 30 days prior to departure date
- 20% will be charged if cancelled 16-29 days prior to departure date
- 30% will be charged if cancelled 08-15 days prior to departure date
- 50% will be charged if cancelled 03-07 days prior to departure date
- No refund will be available if No Show or cancelled 0-02 days prior to departure date
The flight tends to get fully booked months ahead especially during the peak season. We highly recommend you book flights a few months ahead of your departure date. We can help with the arrangement of flights to and from Bhutan. There are only two airlines operating in and out of Bhutan:
- Drukair, the national flag carrier of Bhutan (www.drukair.com.bt) operates from and to these cities/International Airports: Bangkok, Bagdogra, Bodhgaya, Dhaka, Delhi, Guwahati, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Singapore.
- Bhutan Airlines, a private airline introduced in 2011 (www.bhutanairlines.bt) operates from and to these cities/International Airport: Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandu
Other Important Information
- Airport pick-up and drop-off time will be coordinated depending on your flight timings
- For the purpose of processing a visa, you must send us a clear passport copy of all the participants after you book the tour. A whole biodata page including the machine-readable zone must be seen clearly. It can be either scanned or just a mobile photo shot as long as it is clear and legible. Passports should have a validity of at least SIX MONTHS from the day you depart from Bhutan.
- You’ll receive a copy of your approved e-Visa Clearance letter in PDF format within 3-4 business days from the day the visa application is submitted. You MUST print a copy of this letter and present it at the check-in counter of the airline flying into Bhutan. Without the proof of an e-Visa Clearance letter, you may be denied boarding the flight to Bhutan. The actual visa will be stamped on your passport on arrival at the Paro International Airport.
- Child(ren) below 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult
- All participants between the age of 13 – 18 years old must send us a valid copy of the Student Photo ID Card/document after booking the tour.
- All our tour guides speak very fluent English. Guides speaking other major languages (Chinese, Japanese, French & German) can be arranged at an additional fee of $120 per day.
- You must let us know prior to your arrival if you have any dietary restrictions/preference.
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