Jomolhari Loop (Soi Yaksa) Trek

This trek is also known as Jhomolhari 2 or Soi Yaksa with reference to valley it crosses through. The trail follows the Jhomolhari trek for first 3 days before making a loop and coming back to the same starting point. This trek is best for those who wish to have an up-close view of Mt. Jhomolhari but do not wish to take more strenuous Jhomolhari trek causing two more extra days. The routes are best to trek on May and October. The routes remain close due to snow from mid November to early April and due to monsoon during summer (June – early September).

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Duration: 8 days and 7 nights (6D 5N trek)
Maximum elevation: 4890 m
Season: April – June; Sep – November
Start: Sharna Zampa (Paro)
Finish point: Gunitsawa (Paro)
Access town: Paro


Day 1: Arrival at Paro

Welcome to Bhutan. Your guide and driver will pick you up from Paro international airport and drive to your hotel for the lunch.

Towards afternoon, enjoy your day visiting few of the iconic destinations within Paro valley such as Kichu monastery, Ta dzong (Museum) and Rinpung Dzong (fortress).

Day 2: Paro – Sharna Zampa – Thangthangka

22 km/ 8 hours/ 770 m ascent/ 10 m descent

Today is a long day. We start our day by driving from hotel till Sharna Zampa for about an hour. From the trailhead, we begin our journey upward through the rhododendrons and conifers alongside the Pa Chhu River. After around 15 minutes into the journey, we enter Jigme Dorji National Park.

Further 2 hours trek from here, through rhododendrons, oaks and fern we reach Shing Karap, a stone house. Little further up is a juncture; to the left which leads to Phari Dzong in Tibet. This route was once used by Tibetan for both trade and invasion and as of today it is used by Royal Bhutan army to ferry their rations to the border. Avoid following this route and keep right. Few meters away from the juncture is a wooden bridge over a small stream.

Across the stream, over a small ridge, we descend down to cross Pa Chhu once again. From here it’s occasionally ascend and descend through a forest of birch, fir, larch, Maples and blue pine. Following this route for about 3 hours, we reach once again to a bridge. After crossing river to the right side, follow this trail and continue upward for 20 minutes, through a beautiful meadow with Mt. Jhomolhari at sight is Thangthangka (3610 m), our campsite for the night.

Day 3: Thangthangka – Jangothang

19 km/ 6 hours/ 480 m ascent

Today there will be a significant gain in terms of elevation. In the morning we wake up with a beautiful view of Mt. Jhomolhari. After hiking up for just under an hour from the campsite, we reach an army camp (3739 m). Little further from army camp is a bridge. Across the bridge as we follow the hillside for a while, the trail then takes sharp right turn around the small mani wall. A short distance from here is a small stupa and then into the meadows.

The trail then continues through the hill side covered with larches beneath Soe village. An hour hike from here is Takethang village (3940 m), cluster of houses built with stones on a plateau. We continue through the plateau crossing small stream, opposite the Dangochang village. From the plateau end, it’s an uphill walk for a while till we reach our campsite at Jangothang. From here you can enjoy a spectacular view of Mt. Jhomolhari.

Your pack animals which started their journey from Sharna zampa will return back from here. From here horses or yaks from nearby villages will follow you till the end of your trekking journey.

Day 4: Halt at Jangothang

We will spend one extra day here at Jangothang which is also referred to as Jhomolhari base camp, the highlight of our trek. From number of options to explore around, we will take a 4 hour roundtrip excursion up the northern side to have a view of Mt. Jhomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drakye. It’s an open walk across the slope till we reach the hilltop at 4750 m. If luck favors we might spot some Himalayan blue ships grazing on the slopes.

Back at campsite you can enjoy playing a traditional game called Degor with your crew members. This is a very simple game. You just need to pick up a pair of flat spherical stone and hurled it over and back to a pegs fixed in the ground at an approximate distance of 15 – 20 m. Stone with nearer the peg gets the point. Usually a strong guy with strong arm powers stay at the end with heavy pair of stone to push the stones of opponent which are near or over the pegs or to crush it into pieces.

Day 5: Jangothang – Soi Yaksa

16 km/ 7 hours/ 810 m ascent/ 1090 m descent

If we are lucky, we may encounter Himalayan wildlife such as Blue sheep, Snow Leopards, and golden marmots during the day. We start our day heading north from the campsite before descending down to Pa Chhu River. After crossing the River, trail then ascends gradually over to the hill from where we can have a beautiful view of Mt. Jhomolhari, Tsherimgang and Jichu Drakye. From here the trail is relatively flat till we reach pair of Himalayan Lake, named Tshophu (4380 m). We continue our journey passing by the lakes trekking uphill for a while to the ridge, descend down to the valley and climbing steeply to Bhonte la pass (4890 m).

From the pass, we descend down following the yak trails to Soi Yaksa, our campsite for the night. It is a beautiful campsite decorated by few nomadic settlements, meadows, rocky cliff and a waterfall.

Day 6: Soi Yaksa – Thombu Shong

11 km/ 5 hours/ 720 m ascent/ 340 m descent

In the morning we start by trekking uphill through the shrubs of azaleas and rhododendrons to the ridge before descending down to the meadows where we reach to a small Chorten and a mani wall near a small stream. Cross the stream and continue uphill for a while before descending down through a valley to a ridge where the trail divides into two. Take right from here and continue uphill trekking for about hour to Takhung La pass (4520 m). From here we will have a view of Mt. Jhomolhari, Jichu Drakye, Tsherimgang and Kanchenjunga at the distance.

The trail from the pass then drops down gradually to a beautiful meadow, our tonight’s campsite at Thombu Shong (4180 m).

Day 7: Thombu Shong – Gunitsawa

13 km/ 5 hours/ 200 m ascent/ 1650 m descent

We follow the trail which leads us away from the valley, climbing up through the gardens of wild flowers and rhododendrons till we reach Thombu La pass at 4380 m. From here it is all downhill treks till Sharna zampa. Get ready with your walking stick as the descent will put quite a strain on your knees.

After descending for around 3 hours is Gunitsawa helipad. Down the road is where our diver and tour vehicle is waiting. Drive from here to Paro.

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast, we will see you off at Paro international airport for your onward destination. We look forward to see you in future.

More Info

Trekking in Bhutan

With the likes of trail that takes you right at the foot of worlds’ tallest unconquered mountain (Gangkar Puensum 7550m), trekking in Bhutan will give you a new experience never like before. With more than 70 percent of the country covered by undisturbed wilderness, trekking in Bhutan will take you ever closer to the nature. These trekking trails once used by famous Buddhist saints like Guru Rinpoche (who introduced Buddhism in Bhutan) in 746 AD while visiting Bhutan from Nepal and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (the unifier of modern Bhutan) in 1616 while fleeing Tibet for a political dispute, this routes are the genuine routes where Bhutanese people still use it today. What makes trekking in Bhutan unique is its calmness and natural feeling; credit to less numbers of trekkers visiting Bhutan and its natural unpaved trails unlike other countries around the world. With more than 20 trekking trials to choose from, Bhutan offers trekking services to both beginners and pros.

Trekking Permits

No specific trekking permits are required to trek in Bhutan. You can trek in Bhutan with normal tourist visa for international tourist and normal entry permit for regional tourist (Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivians).

Best season for trekking in Bhutan

The best season to trek in Bhutan depends on which trekking trail you choose to but in general, March, April, May, September, October and November are the best months to trek in Bhutan. In the month of June, July and August Bhutan receives heavy rainfall and in December, January and February, the high mountain passes along the trekking trails are covered with snow, making it difficult for trekkers.

The details regarding the best season to trek on different trails in Bhutan are mentioned below:
  • Bumdra Trek- February, March, April, May, September, October, November and December. However one can trek year round despite any season on this trail.
  • Gangtey Trek- March, April, May, September, October, November and December.
  • Samtengang Trek- January, February, March, April, May, September, October, November and December. It’s doable all year round despite any season.
  • Bumthang Owl Trek- March, April, May, September, October, November and December.
  • Bumthang Cultural Trek- March, April, May, September, October, November and December.
  • Sagala Trek - March, April, May, September, October, November and December.
  • Sinchula Trek- March, April, May, September, October, November and December.
  • Druk Path Trek- March, April, May, September, October, November and December. It’s Doable all year round despite its best seasons.
  • Dagala Lake view Trek- March, April, May, September, October, November and December. Despite the best season, one can trek year round on this trail.
  • Jomolhari Trek- March, April, May, September, October and November.
  • Laya Gasa Trek- March, April, May, September, October and November.
  • Gangkar Puensum base camp trek- One can trek on this route from mid June to October but the best recommended month for this trek is October.
  • Snowmen Trek I- One can trek on this route from mid June to October but the best recommended month for this trek is October.
  • Snowmen Trek II- One can trek on this route from mid June to October but the best recommended month for this trek is October.

Difficulty Grading

Trekking in Bhutan can be of 2 days or a month long. Depending on the number of days taken to trek, gain in altitude and nature of terrains, trekking routes in Bhutan can be graded into four categories; easy, moderate, difficult and very difficult.

    A. Easy
  • Bumdra Trek
  • Gantey Trek
  • Samtengang Trek
  • Bumthang owl Trek
  • Bumthang Cultural Trek
  • Sagala Trek
  • Sinchula trek
  • B. Moderate
  • Druk Path Trek
  • Dagala Lake view Trek
  • C. Difficult
  • Jomolhari Trek
  • Laya Gasa Trek
  • D. Very Difficult
  • Gangkar Puensum base camp Trek
  • Snowmen Trek I
  • Snowmen Trek II

Trekking experience and physical fitness required to trek in Bhutan

At 10,760 feet above sea level, Bhutan is ranked highest country in the world, in terms of average land elevations. As a result most of its trekking trails are located on higher altitude, averaging over 12,000 feet above sea level, requiring certain level of physical fitness and trekking experience.

However with varieties of trails to choose from, both beginners and pro can enjoy trekking in Bhutan. Be it 2 days or grueling 25 days trekking, Bhutan has it all for you to choose from.

For those who are attempting to go for Snowmen trek (25 days trek), it will be asset if you have certain level of trekking experience and physically fit enough, since snowmen trek is referred to as amongst the world’s most toughest trekking route involving climbs over 5000 m.

Safety measures

  • Altitude Sickness

    Do not ignore any kind of symptoms related to altitude sickness; difficulty in breathing, headache, giddiness and numbness in limbs. If you experience any of the mentioned symptoms, inform your guide immediately.

    Though portable oxygen supplies and first aid kits are always carried along with by the crew members but if possible carry some diamox (acetazolamide) pills, which can be bought from pharmacies across Bhutan.

    The best tactics, if you suffer from altitude sickness is to stop ascending and if the symptoms do not go away or get worse, then descend down. It is advisable that you drink large amount of water every day while you are trekking.

  • Food and water contamination

    Meals while trekking in Bhutan are prepared every day by cooking crews and no left over foods are served. Lunch are prepared in the morning along with breakfast and carried as a packed lunch. Dinners are prepared at campsite at the end of every trekking day. Hence chances of getting food contaminated while trekking in Bhutan are very slim.

    Bottled water is carried by trekking crew members but however it is not sufficient for longer duration treks and hence the crew member boils water in the morning for you to carry for the day.

    It is advisable that you bring your own water bottle and if possible carry some water purifier solutions as well. Refrain yourself from drinking directly from the streams nearby.

  • Criminal activity

    No trekking trails in Bhutan will meet you with any kind of criminal activities. In fact if you are in need, everyone you encounter will be very much happy to help you whatever way they can.

  • Safety considerations

    Consult with your guide in regards to dos and don’ts and stick together with your group (if trekking on group). Carry essential items such as head torch, portable cell phone chargers and your mobile phone along with you.

Trekking gears required while trekking in Bhutan

    Trekking gears and manpower provided by See Bhutan Travels are as follows:
  • Horses/ potters and ponies
  • Toilet tents with toilet pots and toilet papers.
  • Shower tents with hot water shower bag (only for longer duration treks)
  • Sleeping tents (A-shaped) with pillows and mattress
  • Dinning tents with tables and chairs
  • Kitchen tents with whole set of kitchen items to prepare meals.
  • Trekking/camping cooks
  • Trekking/camping staffs
  • Hot water bags in bed.
  • Some of the items that you need to bring along while trekking in Bhutan are; Sleeping bag, sturdy and comfortable trekking boots, few changes of cloths, gloves, neck warmers, wind proof/water proof jackets, warm jackets and hiking pants.

Accommodations during trekking in Bhutan

With no hotels or home stays along the trekking trails, all the trekkers must spend their nights in the tent (camping). Camping crew member arranges your tents. They travel ahead of you and put everything on place before you reach your campsite.

Meals while trekking in Bhutan

All the meals are prepared by trekking cooks who will trek alongside you throughout the entire tour. Lunch are prepared in the morning and carried by trekking staffs. Breakfast and dinners are prepared and served at the campsite.

Since there are no grocery stores or shops along the trekking trails, all the food items are bought and carried along by the crew members, their horses and yaks. As and when available, our crew members will try to buy fresh vegetables from local communities and include in your menu.

Trekking alone in Bhutan

Since trekking in Bhutan is a guided tour by the law of country, lone trekkers should not worry because he or she will be followed by trekking guide and crew members for the entire trekking tour.

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    What's Included

    All three meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
    Accommodations in 3 star rated hotels in twin sharing basis. (4 Stars and 5 Star available on paying extra premium)
    Licensed English speaking guide
    Transportation in a comfortable SUV cars, Mini Bus and Medium size Buses depending on the number of travelers
    Experienced driver.
    Sustainable Development Fee of $65 per person, per night stay in Bhutan, which goes for infrastructure development, free education, free medical services and reducing poverty
    All government taxes
    Bhutan visa fee
    Entry fee to all the tourist visiting sites and museums
    Tea and snacks throughout entire tour
    Bottled water during the day
    Trekking Equipments as follows:
    Horses/ potters and ponies
    Toilet tents with toilet pots and toilet papers
    Sleeping tents (A-shaped) with pillows and mattress
    Dinning tents with tables and chairs
    Kitchen tents with whole set of kitchen items to prepare meals
    Trekking/camping cooks
    Trekking/camping staffs
    Hot water bags in bed

    The above mentioned cost does not cover the following:

    Flight tickets (both international & domestic)
    Beverages & personal shopping
    Travel insurances
    Tips and gratuity for guide and driver
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