Yaktsha Trek

Trekking duration: 7 days

This 7 days Yaktsha trek route is a very popular, passing through Jangothang and the base of Mount Jumolhari. Yaktsha trek starts and ends at Shana, Paro. The Trek Route passes through some of the beautiful high passes and the Yak Herders’ camp. The Trekkers can see some of the most spectacular sceneries of the Higher Himalayas including Jichu Drake (6662 meters). You will also have the opportunity to see Blue sheep and other wild life in these areas. Trek distance is 96 Km and the highest point is 4930 meters.

Detailed Itinerary for Yaktsha Trek:

Ta DzongDay 01. Arrive Paro (2280m):

Your guide from Yak Holidays will receive you at the airport and then drive to the hotel.

After lunch, we visit:

  • Visit Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley.

In the evening, free to stroll in the town for shopping and photography. Dinner and over night in Hotel.

Day 02. Hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest):

After breakfast, hike to the Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery

  • After breakfast, a short drive to Satsam Chorten and start the hike. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. The primary temple was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in the 1684 by the Penlop of Paro Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favourite consort.

After Lunch, visit to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the dzong was destroyed by accidental fire.

On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo.

  • Srongsen Gampo was a Tibetan king who married a Chinese princess, Wenchen in 641. In 659, He decided to build 108 Temples in a single day to pin the Ogress to the earth forever and, at the same time, convert the Tibetan people to Buddhism. Six of these Temples lie in Bhutan, most prominent of them are Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang and Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. Kichu Lhakhang is said to hold the left foot of the Ogress and Jambay Lhakhang pins the left knee.

In the evening, drive to Shana (22 kms. 2 hour drive). Dinner and overnight at the camp.

Yaktsha TrekDay 03. Shana – Thangthangka (Start of Yaktsha Trek):

The trail follows the river through a heavily forested area with a few isolated farmhouses. It narrows and closes in and the trail winds up and down along the drainage. We pass a junction enroute, where another path leads north over the Tremo La to Tibet. Camp is in a meadow with a stone shelter.

Altitude: 3610 m; Distance 22 Km; Time 7 – 8 hours. (770 meters ascent, 10 meters descent)

Day 04. Thangthangka – Jangothang:

In the morning after passing a small army post, the trail slowly leaves the forest line and gradually climbs into a beautiful valley, passing Tegethang, a winter home of yak herdsmen. Lunch will be served in one of these huts. The Yaktsha trek route passes through some of the beautiful high passes and the Yak Herders’ camp. Lots of yaks will be seen today before we arrive at the Jhomolhari base camp (4,115 m). High mountains overlook the camp and visible nearby are the ruins of an old fortress used to guard Bhutan against Tibetan invasions. Dinner and over night in Camp.

Altitude 4080 m; Distance 19 Kms; Time 5 – 6 hours. (480 meters ascent)

Day 05. Jangothang:

Rest day at Jangothang, enjoy the superb view all around.

For Day hikes, you have 3 options on this day at Jangothang.

  1. Hike to Jumolhari Glacier which is around 4 ½ hours (Back and forth)
  2. Hike to Jichu Drake Glacier which is around 3 hours (Back and Forth).
  3. Walk up the mountain between Jumolhari and Jichu Drake, the summit is at 5200 meters with a great view of both the mountains. This is 8 hours (Back and forth).

Day 06.  Jangothang – Dhumzo (Soi Yaktsa) at 3800 meters via Bonte La pass 4900 meters:

Today we will cover the distance of 16 km and will take around 7 – 8 hours to reach the Dhumzo Camp site. On the way you will see the view of Jhomolhari, Jitchu Drake and the valley to Jhomolhari camp site. Your will also come across the several yak harders tent, Tsho Phu lakes and normally see a flock of Himalayan blue Sheep high up on the rocky slopes. If you are lucky enough you may see the footprint of Snow Leopard at the Bonte La pass. Then the trail winds up till Bonte La (4900m) and is also highest pass of this trek.

Take a time to enjoy the scenery, have a snack or put up some prayer flags. From here you can see several 5800 meter peaks. The trail drops through a steep, narrow gully with gravel and loose rocks till you reached Dhumjo. The Soi yaksey Valley is a beautiful site with impressive rock cliffs, waterfalls, deep side valleys, and snow- covered peaks. Dinner and overnight at the camp.

Highest Point: 4900 meters, Duration 7 – 8 hours walk, Distance – 16 Kms, Level of Difficulty: Moderately hard.

Soi Yaktsa trekDay 07. Dhumzo (Soi Yaktsa) – Thombushong (4100 meters) via Tagalun Pass at 4550 meters:

You will have to climb from the camp through rhododendron, birch, oak forest draped in moss brings you to a meadow with huge Juniper trees till you reach a shoulder of ridge from where you walk straight into a beautiful valley with a couple of Yak Herders’ camp. You can also get a view of Jomolhari for a short while.

Little ahead of the Yak Herders’ camp site, we stop for lunch and then there is a steep climb to the pass for about an hour. From the pass, you can see the campsite at Thombushong which is very pristine. If you are trekking during May and June, you can see Takins (Our National Animal). This place is the Migratory route of the Takins. Dinner and over night in camp.

Highest Point: 4550 meters, Duration 5-6 hours, Distance 14 Km, Level of difficulty: Moderate.

Day 08. Thombushong to Zankepang at 2600 meter via Thombula pass (4300 meters):

From the campsite, you start your climb to Thombula which takes about half an hour and then you walk on the ridge which is very beautiful. You can see the several mountain peaks view from the pass, the closest one being Jo Drake (5980 Meters). The best time to walk on ridge is during the spring time where the whole mountains around is covered with beautiful rhododendron of different colours. After a while the path descends very steeply to the army camp which takes around three hours. The camp is another easy 1/1/2 hour from the army camp. Dinner and over night in camp.

Highest Point 4300 meters.Duration 7-8 hours, Distance 18 Kms, Level of Difficulty: Moderate (Long downhill)

Day 09. Zankepang to Drugyel Dzong (Yaktsha Trek Ends) – Thimphu

Trekking distance: 7 Km. Driving distance: 68 km, 2 hours drive

This is the place where you see off your Trekking staffs and your horse men. Then walk to the road end for 2 hours only. (End of Yaktsha Trek) and drive to Thimphu. After lunch, free to stroll in the town for shopping and photography.

Dinner and over night in Hotel.

National-Memorial-Chorten-in-ThimphuDay 10. Thimphu Sightseeing:

After breakfast, visit to:

  • Visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honor of our 3rdKing, late His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (The Father of Modern Bhutan). The paintings and statues give a rare insight into Bhutanese culture.
  • Tallest Statue of sitting Buddha (51.5 meters) at Kuenselphodrang, Changangkha Lhakhang, Takin Preserve center, Sangaygang view point, and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan.

Lunch at Simple Bhutan Museum restaurant, where you can enjoy typical Bhutanese dishes, Ara (Local wine), witness Folk dances, visit to the Folk Museum and many more.

  • Visit to the Painting School, school of 13 Arts and crafts.
  • In the evening, Visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan).
  • And free to stroll in the town for shopping and photography.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 11. Thimphu – Punakha (Altitude 1310 m, 76 Km, 3 hrs drive):

After breakfast, drive to Punakha. On the way,

  • Visit to the Dochula pass with its 108 stupas and the beautifully arranged Himalayan mountain ranges in the background.
  • Chimi Lhakhang built in 1499 by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as “The Divine Madman”. The Temple is also called “the Temple of Fertility”. Lama Drukpa Kuenley (1455 – 1529) was one of the Bhutan’s Favourite Saints who was born in Tibet, trained at Ralung Monastery and was a contemporary and a disciple of Pema Lingpa. He Travelled throughout Bhutan and Tibet as a “Neljorpa” (Yogi) using songs, humour and outrageous behavior to dramatise his teachings of Salvation through sex.

After lunch, we visit:

  • The Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Punakha is the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck convened the First National Assembly here in 1952. Punakha was also an ancient capital of Bhutan until the rule of the second king of Bhutan.

In the evening, we hike to:

Hike to Khamsung Yulley Namgyal Choling Monastery.

  • We drive to Yabesa village and hike to through rice fields and up to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Choling Chorten, built by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Punakha-Suspension-bridgeDay 12. Punakha –Wangdiphodrang – Thimphu: (Altitude 2280 m, Distance 90 km, Drive Time 4 hours).

After breakfast, walk the longest Suspension bridge in Bhutan (160 meters).

  • The Punakha Suspension Bridge is considered the longest of its kind in Bhutan. It is located in the Punakha district and it connects the two sides of the Po Chhu river. You will get a great view of the river, valley, temple, and a good boost of adrenaline as well. In the early years, the bridge was made for the Lamas of Punakha Dzong (temple) who crossed the river very often to visit nearby villages. Today it serves both for locals and tourists who want to visit the temple.

Drive to Thimphu via Wangdiphodrang.

  • View the Wangdiphodrang Dzong built in 1638 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. This Dzong was razed by fire in 2012 and is under construction now. The Legend relates that as the people were searching for the site of the Dzong; four ravens were seen flying away in four directions. This was considered auspicious sign, representing the spread of religion to the four points of the compass. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers.

Lunch at Dochula cafeteria.

After lunch, visit to the Postal Museum where you can make personalized stamps.

Then witness the Archery match at Changlimithang stadium.

In the evening, free to stroll in the town for shopping and photography.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 13. Thimphu – Paro (Departure):

After breakfast, drive to the airport and farewell.