Trek in a diverse landscape to reach the base of Mt. Chomolhari, complete with remote villages and alluring mountain vista
Soi Yaksa Trek involves trekking in one of the most biologically diverse environments in the world. This enchanting trek takes you to the base of Mount Jumolhari (7,513m) , the second highest unclimbed peak in the world. As you walk along the rugged trails, the hike becomes a walking meditation. While trekking on part of his BBC Himalaya Adventure 2010, Michael Palin exclaimed, "Farewell big, monumental, Himalayan peaks!" The 10-day Soi Yaksa Trek has proved to be one of the best treks for nature lovers offering stunning views of mountains and alpine pastures coupled with an opportunity to visit remote villages neighboring with Tibet. On our journey we also visit some of the most popular landmarks of Paro and Thimpu such as the Rinpung Dzong, Kichu Lhakhang, Drugyal Dzong, King's Memorial Chhorten, nunnery temple, National Institure of Traditional Medicine, Bhutanese tradional painting school and the folk heritage museum.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 01: Arrival and sightseeing in Paro (2,250m/7,382ft)
As our flight nears Bhutan, we can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to our hotel. Today, we will visit Rinpung Dzong which was built in 1646 and now houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. We will also visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country and Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower but has now been changed into the National Museum. The museum has a wide assortment of ancient paintings, armors, philatelic displays and a “field of Buddhas”, which helps one visualize while meditating. Overnight in Paro.
Day 02: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery then return to Paro
After breakfast, we hike for 4 -5 hours to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan's most famous monastery situated at 3,180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up the mountain. After having explored the monastery, we hike down to the valley floor and drive back to Paro. Overnight in Paro.
Day 03: Trek starts: Paro to Shana (2,870m/9,413ft): 17km,5-6 hours
The trek starts from Drugyal Dzong at 2,580m with a downhill walk on a wide trail. The trail climbs gently through well-maintained rice terraces and fields of millet. The route later enters an area of apple orchards and forests. Soon the valley widens and we reach the army post of Gunitsawa at 2,810m. This is the last stop before Tibet. We will camp a little further from Shana Zampa, at the meadows surrounded by trees. Overnight camping.
Day 04: Shana to Sio Thangkha (3,750m/12,300ft): 20km,6-7 hours
The trail follows Pa Chhu (Paro River), ascending and descending through pine, oak and spruce forests. Hot lunch will be served after crossing the bridge towards the left side of the river. After lunch, we will follow the river again and climb up through the rhododendron forests. We cross the bridge for the last time before reaching our campsite.Overnight camping.
Day 05: Sio Thangkha to Jangothang (4,040m/13,251ft): 19km,5-6 hours
Our path ascends for a while until we reach an army camp. We will then follow the Paro River above the tree line enjoying stunning views of surrounding peaks. Hot lunch will be served inside a yak herder's camp. A short walk into the valley will take us to our camp at Jangothang. From here, the view of Mt. Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peak are superb. Overnight camping.
Day 06: Jangothang to Dhumzo (3,800m/12,464 ft) via Bonte La pass: 16 km, 6 - 7 hours
The trail heads north to the last settlement in a valley and drops to the Paro River, crossing it on a wooden bridge. Walk up to the Tshophu Lake (4,380m), which is inhabited by ruddy-shel ducks. We will come across a second lake after a climb across a slope to a crest. Then, we will descend into a hidden valley and climb on a steep trail to Bonte La pass at 4,890m. After crossing the pass, our trail descends, crisscrossing through yak trails down to the Dhumzo River. After walking downstream for a while, we reach our camp. Overnight camping.
Day 07: Dhumzo to Thombu Shong (4,180m/13,710ft): 11km, 4-5 hours
The trail climbs around 100m over a ridge, and then drops to another stream. After crossing this stream, the trail heads up a hillside dropping into a small valley before emerging onto a ridge. Here the route turns south, ascending past few huts to Takhung La Pass (4520m). A short descend will bring us to Thombu Shong village with few yak herder's huts. Overnight camping.
Day 08: Thombu Shong to Thimphu (2,320m/7,610ft):Trek ends: 13km, 4-5 hours
Climb out of the valley to Thombu La Pass at 4380m, and then drop gradually to about 4000m. The trail then makes a steep descent, moves down the ridge before reaching the helipad at Gunitsawa . Our vehicle will be waiting for us here to drive us to Thimphu. In the evening, we can stroll through the streets of Thimphu and absorb the lifestyle of the people. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 09: Sightseeing in Thimphu
In the morning, we visit Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), nunnery temple, mini zoo to see Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Today, we also visit other landmarks of Thimphu including the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Bhutanese traditional painting school, folk heritage museum, the majestic Tashichho Dzong and the traditional paper factory. However, some of the landmarks are closed in the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). Therefore, if we are in Thimphu during the weekends, we explore the Weekend Market instead. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 10: Final Departure
Today we bid farewell to the tiny Himalayan kingdom and her friendly people. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, we will be taken to the airport in Paro after breakfast.
Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Himalayan Glacier. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather conditions, health condition of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc., can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.
Included in the Cost
- Bhutanese visa fee
- Pickups and drops from hotels and airports
- Government approved A and B category hotels in the cities and camping(tents) during trekking on twin- shared basis
- All meals, tea and snacks
- Transportation in comfortable private vehicle(s)
- English speaking, trained and experienced local guide and staff
- All entrance and permit fees for visits to monuments and museums
- Porter and pack animal services for trekking
- Tents and Kitchen utensils for trekking
- Company services and all required Bhutanese government taxes/royalties
Not Included in the Cost
- Airfare for International flights to and from Bhutan
- Items of a personal nature (personal gear, telephone calls, beverages, internet, laundry, etc.)
- Personal camping gears (sleeping bag, torch etc)
- Trip cancellation and medical/evacuation insurance
- Tips for staff/guide
- Travel Insurance
It is a condition upon joining any of Himalayan Glacier's trips that all clients be insured for comprehensive expenses that might incur due to medical issues or accidents (this includes air ambulance, helicopter rescue, and treatment costs). Please note that we don't arrange or sell insurance.
Hotels in Bhutan are approved and classified by the government as grade A, B and C. These government approved hotels are equivalent to 3-4 star hotels elsewhere. Based on availability at the time of your booking, we provide grade A hotels in Paro and Thimphu. We use Hotel Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro, Hotel Migmar in Thimpu and camping(in tents) during trekking. All accommodations are on twin-shared basis. Single supplement will be served on request and will cost USD 385.
A variety of meals are available in most hotels the most popular being Indian, Chinese, and the more common continental food. Non vegetarian dishes are generally available in most parts of Bhutan - pork, beef, chicken, and fish. The best advice is to ask the hotel and restaurant to recommend what is fresh and in season. For the actual trekking days, our company will send wide assortment of food. You will be provided 3 meals a day breakfast, hot picnic lunch on the way, and dinner at the campsites with evening tea and snacks. Our trekking cooks are well trained and can whip up delicious meals at any altitude. If you have any special dietary needs, please let us know prior to the trek departure so that we will be able to take care of it. For the first few days during trekking, you will be served fresh foods and meats and towards the end of the trek, you will be served high quality tinned foods.
Physical Condition & Experience Requirements
Trekking in Bhutan is physically demanding because of the distance and abrupt changes in elevation. Depending on the day of the trek, you will have to walk 5-8 hours covering a distance of 10-15 kilometers daily to reach the campsites. Most of the climbs run through deep forests on rocky trails and sometimes the trails traverses through wet mud where you will need agility to hop between round river stones. But if you have experience of walking long distances with a back pack and you do not have history of knee pains on descents the trek should not be difficult for you.
Best Time to Travel
Spring (March to May) and autumn (September and October) are the best time for touring and trekking in Bhutan. The months of April and May offer the natural grandeur of rhododendron blooms whereas Bhutan observes its biggest festivals during spring.
Equipments & Packing List
The packing list has been created with the objective of getting maximum comfort with minimum possible weight. Please bring only what is necessary, as this will be helpful to you and the field staff.
Luggage Weight Restrictions
Druk Air has a 44 pound (20 kg) weight limit for checked luggage and another 11 pound weight limit for carry-on luggage on their flights. Your carry-on bags are restricted to one piece, and the size should not exceed 17" x 13" x 8".
- Passport with minimum validity of 6 months
- Copy of the first page of your passport
- Airline tickets
- Visa approval for Bhutan (to be brought with you)
Packing List for Trek
Be advised that there are no trekking stores in Bhutan. Therefore, sleeping bag and daypack should be bought with you beforehand as they are two indispensable items for trekking. However, Himalayan Glacier does provide a few trekking equipments including tents, stoves, fuels, sleeping pads, cooking and eating utensils and first aid kit (which will be with your Trek Leader)
- Duffel bag for storing gear(s) (if not weatherproof, bring lg. plastic bags)
- Warm sleeping bag (negative 8-10 degrees centigrade)
- SM first aid kit (blister kit with specifically 2nd skin, aspirin &/or ibu, cough drops, tape)
- Camera and extra batteries
- 2-liter water bottles (if you bring a camelback, bring a nalgene, also)
- Water purification tablets (iodine or chlorine to carry in daypack)
- Insulated drinking mug
- Lightweight toiletries (travel size shampoo, soap is best for trekking)
- Sunscreen and lip screen
- Small towel
Suggested clothing list
- Down parka
- Gore-Tex shell and pants
- Warm fleece jacket
- Comfy trekking boots (we like lowa)
- Lightweight shoes
- 4 pair of trekking socks
- 2 long sleeve capilene shirts
- 2 capilene bottoms (mid and heavy weight)
- 2 trekking shirts (non-cotton is best)
- Trekking pants (zip off shorts are better)
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 bandana
- 1 pair of winter gloves (ie: ski)
- 1 pair of lightweight gloves (ie: fleece)
- Flip flops
- Warm hat
- Sun hat
- 2 pairs of sunglasses
- Anti bacterial wipes or lotion (for face and hands)
- 10 or so energy bars (we do provide 3 meals per day on the trek!)
- Prescription medications
- Over the counter drugs for diarrhea, headaches and cold
Our website contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you wish to discuss any aspect of this trip or your suitability for it please contact us by email
. If you want to talk to us directly feel free to call us at: 00977-98510-55684