Soi – Yaktsa Trek
Day 1: Paro
You will be welcomed by the representative of Across Bhutan Tours and Treks at
the airport. Transfer to hotel and relax till lunch.
Lunch in the town, after lunch visit the following places
Built in 1645, as a Ta- dzong or watch tower, was used to guard the Dzong (fortress
below), now houses wide range of religious artifacts, rare stamps and special
exhibition on Shabdrung’s era. The visit to the museum is to familiarize you with
the Bhutanese cultural and traditions.
Dzongs are the architectural wonders of the country. It is the first structures that
arrest the attentions of the outsiders. Almost all dzongs are strategically located.
The original Paro dzong dates back to1645 but was destroyed by fire in 1907 and
was rebuilt in the same year. It is the home to 200 monks and the district
administration. The central tower or Utse is said to be the most beautiful in the
country. You can visit the Kuenrey or the prayer and the study hall of the monks.
It is possible to take pictures in the courtyard.
Hike down to the old wooden bridge. In olden days this bridge used to be guarded
at night as this was the only entrance to the dzong.
Stall around the town. It is quite nice to drop in one of the local restaurant for a cup
of tea and get the feel of Bhutanese atmosphere.
Day 2: Paro – Takshang/ Tiger’s Nest
Today is your warm up hike for the trek tomorrow.
Bhutan’s most scenic icon and important place for pilgrimage and refuge for over
1200 years the Takshang or the Tiger’s nest clings 200 meters on the steep cliff
overlooking Paro valley. The place was first visited by Guru Rimpoche, the
founder of tantric form of Buddhism in Himalayan countries in 8th century. It was
said that he came there riding on a tigress and meditated in a cave about three
months. After him, lots of high Buddhist priests came to meditate and had attended
The original temple was built in 17th century, but it was burnt by fire in 1998. The
temple was rebuilt to its fullest glory in 2003.
It is considered as the 10th holiest site in the Buddhist world.
The total hike will take you about four hours. From the parking, you will take about
one hour to get to the tea house and then another one and half hours to the temple.
In the evening visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in 7 th century by
the Tibetan king Songchen Gyampo.
Try Bhutanese Jacuzzi or Hot stone Bath at the farm house.
Day 03: Paro – Gunyitsawa - Shana alt. 2870m 14km, 4h, +300/-80
After about fifteen kilometer at the road end from Paro is the old Drugyel dzong in
ruin, which dominated the valley of Paro. This dzong was built by the Shabdrug in
17th century to stop further Tibetans in routes and also to celebrate the victory
against the Tibetans invasions. But sadly this dzong was destroyed by fire in 1951.
During the clear weather you can see the beautiful mt. Chomolhari (7325m)
exposing itself at the far end of the Himalaya. This is the starting point of most of
the treks including the full Snow man trek, Laya Gasa or the half snowman, round
Jomolahri and the Yaktsa trek.
From Drugyel Dzong the trek starts along the river of Paro, at the beginning follow
left side of the river crossing the fields where they cultivate rice, wheat and
potatoes depending on the seasons. It is a leisure walk with sounds of river and the
birds. You will also be going through the beautiful forest and finally you will be
crossing the army base camp where you have to show your permit.
The campsite for the night is about two hundred meters from the check point. The
campsite is beautifully located at the side of the river. The first part of the trek is
quit easy and it is almost flat.
Overnight at camp
Day 04: Shana – Soi -Thangthangkha Alt. 3570m 22km, 6-7h, +70
Today, it is going to be the longest day of the trek. Lots of ups and down will make
this day quite tiring. You will be crossing the farm isolated of Shing Karap, at
about 3100 meters and after sometime you will come to the cross point of the trails
marked by the piled up rocks and with the prayer flags on it. If you take left side of
the trail it will lead to Tibet crossing the pass called Tremo la. On the rock it is
written “way to Soi” with the arrow pointing towards the right trail, which you will
follow. The steep climb followed by descend will take you to the bridge which will
permit you to come to the left side of the river and continue always climbing in the
forest till you reach the clearing called Thongo Samba, ideal place for lunch.
The forest is always beautiful, through the different vegetations. As you go high it
is normal that you will come across the yaks. Be careful, they are not very kind to
the strangers. If they are on the way, keep good distance and let them pass first. It is
always advisable to keep high above them then below the trail.
The trail will take you to the bridge and a small white stupa. Do not cross the
bridge as it will take you the village of Yaktsa. Half an hour from the bridge will
take you to the camp at Soi Thangthangkha.
Day 05: Soi Thangthangkha – Jangothang Alt.4500m 17km, 4-5hrs, +500
It is quite rewarding to wake up early in the morning and admire the rays of the sun
touching the second highest peak the Chomolhari (7314m) between two steep
valleys. As you continue following the left side of the Pa chhu or Paro River after
about one hour of walk you will be leaving behind the tree level and entering into
the stunning valley. You will come across the military camp site which guards the
border with Tibet. As you go higher, the valley becomes much wider and you will
view some high and snow capped peaks. You will come across some yaks and
camps for winter. Several small houses are found on the way and this place is
called Soia Yutey. You may stop here in one of this house for a cup of butter tea
Day 06: Jangothang Halt (Acclimatize and explore around Jangothang) Alt.
This day is reserved for you to rest and acclimatize as you are at 4100m. But there
are possibilities to explore around Jangothang. You can go towards Lake Tsho Phu
situated at about 4400m. There are lots of trout in this lake and the view of Jichu
Drakey from there is superb. You will take about 2hrs to get there and little bit less
to come back. There are other possible hikes; you can go towards the base of
Chomolhari staring behind the ruins or towards Jichu Drakey to the end of the
If your heart allows you to go even higher, you can try going towards the small
peak at 5150m towards the north-west of the camp. The view of Chomolhari and
Jichu Drakey is awesome. The last few meters can be quite steep. It is not rare to
see animals like rare blue sheep in these places.
Day07: Jangothang- Bontela – Dumzo alt. 3840m, 18km, 7h, +540/-1100m
Today we will cover a distance of about 18 km. on the way you will view
Jomolhari, Jichu Drakey, and the valley of Jomolhari campsite. You will also come
across several yak herders tents. Around Tsophu Lake you will normally see flocks
of Blue sheep. The trail winds up till Bonte la (4890m), the highest pass of this
trek. Stop for sometime to enjoy the panoramic view of Himalayas.
From the top, you will see Basingthang peaks (5500m), Chatarake( Djo Drake
5570m) and Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world. The trail drops
through a steep, narrow gully with gravel and loose rocks till you reach Dumzo.
The Soi Yaktsa valley is a beautiful valley with impressive rock cliffs, waterfalls,
deep valleys and snow covered peaks.
Day 8: Dhumzo – Thongbu Shong alt. 4120m, 11km, 4h, +2420/-420m
You will have to climb from the camp through rhododendron, birch, oak forest
draped in mosses will take you to the meadow with huge juniper trees and the then
leads to Dunge La(4700m) and then to the Tagulun La(4540m). you will have a
stunning view of the Himalayan ranges. You will be able to see the campsite for the
This campsite is used by the yak herders in spring and autumn. This campsite is the
second highest campsite of this trek.
Day 9: Thongbu shong – Shana alt. 2890m, 14km, 5h, +150m/-1380m
Today, you will cross the valley through a swampy area to a clear trail through
rhododendron bushes climbing steeply to Thombu La (4270m). Take a last glimpse
of the Himalayan ranges from the pass. The trail following the ridge is the part of
the trek with beautiful views.
Steep descend for about 2 hours, will take you to the army check point, from where
you will take about half and hour to the campsite at the bank of the Pa chhu.
Day 10: Shana – Paro alt. 2300, 10km, 4h, +0/ -590m
The last part of the trek through the lovely valley will take you to Drugyel Dzong
where the transportation will drive you to hotel.
Day 11: Paro – Thimphu
The road between Paro and Thimphu is considered as one of the best road in
Bhutan. On the way to Thimphu stop at Ta- chhogagang temple and hike down to
the 14th century suspension bridge made out of iron chains. It was built by the great
engineer and Buddhist poet called Lama Thangtong Gyalpo or Lama Chazampa.
Thimphu with the population of about 80000 is the biggest and most populated city
Most of the inhabitants consist of civil servants, business people, private employees
It is also famous for being the only capital city with no traffic light.
Upon arrival in Thimphu visit the following places,
It is the centre of learning for Bhutanese artists, depending upon one’s interest, one
can specialize in one of the thirteen arts and crafts. The thirteen arts include
painting, weaving, sculptures, black smith, embroidery etc. It is the best place to
learn about Bhutanese arts and craft.
See the famous national animal of Bhutan called takins. They have a very strange
shape and very strong smell. Locals believe that it was created by the famous Lama
Drukpa Kuenley or popularly known as the Divine Madman. It was said that, he
had joined the head of a goat and a body of a cow together.
Handmade Paper factory
Although the process of making papers may be simple, but the amount of time to
collect the raw materials like bark of Daphne plant, collecting roots of some of the
plants to make into a glue consumes lots of time. Apart from a small heater to dry
the papers, everything is manually done. It is one of the finest papers in the world
and highly recommended for artist.
Explore Thimphu Town
Be aware! There are chances of getting lost in the biggest city of Bhutan. it has one
long street and two half streets. Do not ask the directions of the places with street
names to the locals as they are also foreign to it. If you are interested in shopping,
this is the best place with better choices.
Day 12: Thimphu – Punakha – Wangdue Drive 3hrs
If you are interested to take a glimpse of the Himalayas, it is advisable to drive
early in the morning.
En route stop at Dochula pass (3150m), enjoy the panorama of the Bhutan
Himalayas. Here you can spend sometime walking around and photographing the
108 Druk Wangyel Chortens. Built in 2004 to “celebrate the stability and progress
that His Majesty has brought to the nation,” this hill of 108 religious monuments in
the middle of the pass reflects Bhutan’s spiritual and artistic traditions.
As you descend from the pass, you will observe dramatic changes in vegetation. At
the lower elevations in Punakha and Wangdue, cacti, banana plants, poinsettias and
other semi- tropical plants dominate the exotic landscape.
Continue your drive towards Punakha and visit Punakha Dzong. Built in 1637
between the confluence of the Po chu (male river) and Mo chu ( female river), this
fortress monastery is the winter residence of Bhutan’s spiritual leader, the Je
Khenpo or Head Abbot, and the central Monk Body comprising of over 350 monks.
On the way back to the hotel stop at Lobesa and take a short hike to Chhi- med (
means no dogs) Lhakhang in the picturesque valley, to visit the temple of Bhutan’s
foremost Saint, the Lama Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as the Divine
Drive to Wangdue and visit the dzong. Built in 1639, it houses the offices for the
Wangdue district and about 200 monks reside there all the time. Perched on the top
of the hill, it was used to control west to east and east to west passages.
Hike to Rinchengang village in the evening. This will give you general impression
of Bhutanese lives.
Day 13: Punakha – Thimphu – Paro Drive 4 ½ hrs
Drive back to Paro, en route stop at Dochula pass for some refreshments. Visit the
oldest Simtokha Dzong. It was the first dzong built by Shabdrung in 1629.
Currently it houses about 60 monks. It has a huge statue of Buddha and a beautiful
In Thimphu, visit Changgangkha temple, this temple dates back to 13 th century. It
is one of the most important temples for the people living in Thimphu.
It has the only statue of sitting Buddha of compassion in the country.
Continue driving to Paro.
Day 14: Paro – Departure
Drive to the airport for departure
Day 1: Paro
Day 2: Paro, excursion to Takshang
Day 3: Paro- Shana
Day 4: Shana – Soi- Thangthangkha
Day 5: Soi – Thangthangkha – Jangothang
Day 6: Jangothang halt, explore the valleys and the mountains
Day 7: Jangothang- Dumzo
Day 8: Dumzo - Thongbu Shong
Day 9: Thongbu Shong – Shana
Day 10: Shana- Paro
Day 11: Paro- Thimphu, sightseeing
Day 12: Thimphu- Punakha- Wangdue, sightseeing
Day 13: Wangdue – Paro
Day 14: Paro - Departure
Soi- Yaktsa Trek (Jomolhari Trek 2)
Durations : 13 days & 14 nights