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 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, you will be greeted by a representative who will take you to the 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.
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
International / Domestic air tickets.
Items of a personal nature, personal expenses.