Jhomolhari Base Camp Trek

The Jhomolhari Trek is the most iconic trek in Bhutan. It’s not an easy trek - there are some long climbs and long days, and it is often muddy. However, the rewards are immense - not least the fabulous views of the 7314 metre Jhomolhari. Jhomolhari might not physically measure up to the 8000 metre giants in Nepal, but it is nonetheless considered to be one of the most magnificent mountains in the Himalaya.

The trek also takes you through a cross-section of amazing forests, including oaks, rhododendrons, birch, fir, pine, daphne, maple and larch. This is also yak country and there are a number of interesting villages. Blue sheep, and even snow leopards, live in the region and are sometimes spotted.

The best times to undertake the trek are October and April. This is the peak season for all travel in Bhutan, so you are best to book early. October (autumn) has the best likelihood of good views, and April (spring) has the advantage of flowers, including rhododendron and azaleas, although it is more likely to rain.

This is a full-service trek, which means you only carry a small pack with your day’s needs, and everything else is done for you.The trek does reach quite high altitudes, so it is important to be fit, and to be aware of the issues around, and potential responses to, of altitude sickness.  The highest pass is Bonte La, at 4755 metres.

The trek also includes two nights in Paro (at the beginning of the trip) and two nights in Thimphu (at the end of the trip) so you also have an opportunity to see some of the amazing temples and szongs  that are so central to the Bhutanese culture.

Around The Sun organises one small group, with a set departure in October, but private groups can be run on any dates between October and November and March and May.

2018 Dates

Small Group - Set DepartureOctober 16 to 29 October - 11 nights, airfare not included - $7495 twin share code: BHJBCT-16/10/16-SGST

Private Groups - Comfortable - recommend April & October - 11 nights, airfare not included - from $5299 twin share code: BHJBCT-16-PGC

Private Groups - Luxury - recommend April & October - 13 nights, airfare not included including the Shivaling Hotel in Paro, and the Druk Hotel in Thimphu - from $6999 twin share code: BHJBCT-16-PGL

Around The Sun trips do not include airfares. The Bhutan trips include a local guide, all transport, accommodation, and meals - but not drinks, other than water. Tents and mattresses are supplied for treks, rafts and PFD's are supplied for rafting, and bikes and helmets are supplied for mountain biking. See our detailed packing list (supplied with a detailed itinerary when you confirm your booking) for personal luggage requirements.

2018 Dates

Private Groups - Comfortable - recommend Oct and Nov - 11 nights, airfare not included - from AUD $5299 per person, twin share code: BHJBCT-15-PGC

Private Groups - Luxury - recommend Oct and Nov - 11 nights, airfare not included - including the Shivaling Hotel in Paro, and the Druk Hotel in Thimphu - from AUD $6999 per person,twin share code: BHJBCT-15-PGL

2018 Dates

Small Group - Set Departure - October 16 to 29 October - 11 nights, airfare not included - from AUD $7495 per person, twin share code: BHJBCT-16/10/16-SGST

Private Groups - Comfortable - recommend April & October - 11 nights, airfare not included - from AUD $5299 per person, twin share code: BHJBCT-16-PGC

Private Groups - Luxury - recommend April & October - 13 nights, airfare not included including the Shivaling Hotel in Paro, and the Druk Hotel in Thimphu - from AUD $6999 per person, twin share code: BHJBCT-16-PGL

Bhutan - The Last Shangri La

Bhutan is absolutely remarkable. 

The countryside is remarkable. It is remarkable from its highest point at 7553 metres, to its lowest point at 97 metres - from the world’s highest unclimbed peak bordering Tibet to tropical jungles on the border with India. In between,  there’s every imaginable ecological zone, including forests of rhododendrons and daphne.

The culture is remarkable. It is a Buddhist country, similar in some ways to Tibet, with a stunning architectural heritage. Most people still wear traditional dress - in fact in some circumstances it is compulsory.  New buildings have to be created in traditional style and advertising is limited to small plaques on buildings. Plastic bags are banned. Remarkably, the concrete canyons, advertising hoardings and non-biodegradable trash ubiquitous throughout Asia are nowhere to be seen.

The politics are remarkable. The kings and queens of Bhutan are revered, especially the 4th king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who began a process of cautious modernisation. The first tourists arrived in 1974, TV was introduced in 1999 and much to the shock of his subjects, in the mid-2000s the king decreed the country would become a democracy and abdicated in favour of his son. Elections were held in 2008.

Remarkably, development is measured not in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) like the rest of the world, but by an official government statistic known as Gross National Happiness (GNH) which measures such things as psychological wellbeing, time use and community vitality as well as more tangible western concepts like living standards, health and education.

There are similarities with other Himalayan countries, but as is often said, this is Shangri La. And people fall in love with Shangri La!

Many travellers expect Bhutan will be similar to other Himalayan regions and countries. Remarkably, it is not! Obviously the existence of 7000-metre mountains means there are some similarities, but… everything seems to work, it’s clean, it’s relaxed, and it’s completely unspoilt.

Tourism has only existed in Bhutan since 1974, but has been tightly controlled. The Bhutanese decided on a ‘high value, low impact’ policy and, as a result, there are only small numbers of visitors. 

Perhaps because of an extensive network of (mostly) decent-quality roads, trekking has never developed on a Nepalese scale. There are some fantastic treks, but only small numbers of people tackle them. All treks must be arranged as full-service treks, which is essential because most pass through uninhabited forest areas and parties must be self-sufficient. Unlike in Nepal, porters are rarely used. Pack horses (and at high altitudes, yaks) carry expedition gear.

There are also some brilliant opportunities for mountain biking (utilising the road network) and river rafting. Bhutan is a must for anyone with an interest in the Himalayas, Buddhism, flora, birds, and textiles. Roads open up the possibility of visiting such an incredible range of sights that for most first-time visitors road touring is compelling, even when they are keen walkers. 

Food is the only aspect of Bhutan that is not remarkable. Only Thimphu is large enough to support decent stand-alone restaurants, so most people eat in their hotels, which usually provide decent food featuring a mix of western, Indian and Chinese dishes. Bhutanese home cooking features rice, noodles, and some of the hottest, chilli-fired food on the planet. 

If you have any questions please contact us. We have an enormous amount of experience – and we have expert operators on the ground in all our destinations.

If our small group guided tours don’t meet your needs we’re set up so that we can create private tours – using our published itineraries – or custom tours that are both private and customised to meet your wishes.

See Create Your Own Journey

Bhutan Visas

Tourism has only existed in Bhutan since 1974, but has been tightly controlled. The Bhutanese decided on a ‘high value, low impact’ policy and, as a result, there are only small numbers of visitors. 

All western tourists must pre-arrange their visas, and to get a visa, visitors must pre-book a trip that costs a minimum of USD$250 a day during high season, and USD$200 a day during low season. This minimum includes the government’s tourism royalty (USD$65 per day). At the budget end it is possible to travel in Bhutan for the minimum requirement of USD$250 per day, but Bhutan is home to some of the best, most beautiful and expensive hotels on the planet, so it is also possible to spend a lot more. 

In order to process visas, Around The Sun requires travellers to provide scanned passport copies and a passport size photograph. We will process the visa in Bhutan and then send the approval letter to you. The actual visa is stamped on the passport on arrival.

 

Jhomolhari Base Camp Trek

The Jhomolhari Trek is the most iconic trek in Bhutan. It’s not easy, but the rewards are immense. There are fabulous views of one of the Himalaya's most spectacular peaks. And you experience amazing forests, including oaks, rhododendrons, birch, fir, pine, daphne, maple and larch. Blue sheep, and even snow leopards, live in the region and are sometimes spotted.

Days:12
Luxury:comfortable / luxury
Type of Tour:trek
Experience: trek
Challenge: moderate / difficult
Cost: from AUD$5299

Bhutan Journeys & Suggested Itineraries