Truly Bhutan Travel

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12 Days

Wilderness Yaksa

Wilderness Yaktsa Trek is the shorter one of the two Jomolhari routes- -the most popular trek in Bhutan. With altitude differences of 2,500m and nearly 5,000m (lowest and highest point of the route), it offers a wide range of landscapes and fauna and flora.

The highlight of this trek is the spectacular view of Mount Jomolhari from Jomolhari Base Camp in Jangothang. Trekkers who want to avoid high passes and high altitudes can choose an easier version of the Jomolhari Trek II by going back the same way down from Jangothang (see days 1-3), while still having the majestic impressions of Mount Jomolhari.

The Wilderness Yaksa Trek in Bhutan, also known as the Jomolhari Loop Trek, stands out as a premier moderate-level trekking adventure in Bhutan. This trek not only showcases Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage but also immerses you in its breathtaking natural landscapes, culminating at the impressive base camp of Mount Jumolhari, towering at 7,326 meters.

Spanning 12 days and 11 nights, the journey offers an unparalleled trekking experience, intertwined with a glimpse into the nomadic life of Bhutan. You’ll have the opportunity to observe the daily activities of yak herders and Himalayan farmers, set against the backdrop of majestic mountains like Mt Jumolhari, Jitchu Drake, and Tshering khang.

The trek kicks off with an acclimatization hike to the iconic Taktsang Monastery, famously known as the Tiger’s Nest. Climbing approximately 4200 steps to reach an altitude of 3120 meters, this initial hike is an excellent introduction to what lies ahead.

Taktsang Monastery, perched precariously on a cliff, is not just a symbol of Bhutan but a testament to its spiritual heritage and stunning geographical wonders.

The trail meanders through a diverse landscape of towering mountains, rugged cliffs, vibrant wildflower meadows, and serene lakes. It involves a series of ascents and descents, leading up to the trek’s highest point at Bonte La pass (4890 m), before descending into the enchanting Soi Yaksa Valley (3800 m).

Your journey begins from Thangthangkha and concludes at Shana, taking you through a myriad of experiences. These include a visit to the historic Rinpung Dzong in Paro, the sacred Kichu Lhakhang temple in Lango Gewog, and a drive over Chele La, Bhutan’s highest motorable pass. The route also offers a scenic drive through the Bondey-Haa Highway to the secluded Haa Valley, known as the Hidden Land Rice Valley.

One of the highlights is the Thangthagkha campsite, where you’re greeted with the first clear views of the towering Jumolhari. Along the way, you might spot the national flower of Bhutan, the Himalayan Blue Poppy, Golden Eagles, and Himalayan Rhubarb. Camping beside the Tsho Phu lakes, once home to brown trout, adds to the trek’s allure.

The journey also includes a visit to significant cultural landmarks in Thimphu, such as the King’s Memorial Chorten, the giant Buddha Dordenma Statue, the Folk Heritage Museum, and the Tashichho Dzong, the office of the king.

This trek is not just a physical journey but a voyage into the heart of Bhutan’s natural and cultural splendor, offering awe-inspiring views of snow-capped peaks like Jumolhari, Jichu Drake, Kanchenjunga, and Teri Kang.

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Detailed Program

flying into the country’s only airport, in the beautiful Paro valley, the clear mountain air, forested ridges, imposing monasteries, and welcoming Bhutanese people in their striking national dress, provides a breathtaking first impression.

Upon arrival at the Paro airport, your guide from Truly Bhutan welcomes you and transfers you to the hotel. In the evening, you can stroll along Paro downtown for acclimatization and orientation.
Overnight: Paro

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This morning, we will take a short drive to the trailhead to start our hike to Taktsang Monastery. This is one of the Buddhist world’s most venerated pilgrimage sites and is known as the Tiger’s Lair. It is said that the Indian saint Guru Rinpoche came to Taktsang on the back of a tigress and, whilst meditating in a cave, converted the Paro valley to Buddhism.

Many temples have been built on the site since the 16th hundred and these occupy precarious positions, clinging to a black cliff high above the Paro valley. The visit involves a two-hour climb on a steep footpath through a beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags.

Overnight: Paro

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Drive up to Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) where the road ends and the trek begins. With a gradual climb, the trail follows the Pachu (Paro River) passing beautiful meadows, paddy fields, and impressive farmhouses. After about four hours you will reach the army post at Gunitsawa village.

At the army checkpoint, your trek permit (provided by your tour operator) will be checked and endorsed. Today’s campsite is by the small outpost for the park warden.

Camp: Shana (2950m)

Places and attractions:

Due to the long distance to cover today we will start a bit early. Government depending on area and access to water designates most of the campsite. Mainly to protect from deforestation and disturbance to wild animals. The short walk from the camp takes us to the Jigme Dorji Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest protected area in the country. The park is home to several endangered species including the takin, snow leopard, blue sheep, tiger, red panda, and the Himalayan black bear.

More than 300 species of birds have been cataloged within the park. After about 02 hours, you will get to a fork where the path that we are not supposed to follow or the ancient trade route to Tibet is much wider and more inviting. Turn right and follow the smaller trail through oak, spruce, birch, and alpine yellows trees.

After lunch, the trail becomes a bit tricky with wet and loose rock for some sections. After an hour’s hike, you will come across a bridge and chorten (Stupa) not to turn toward chorten. Keep left!

Camp: Thangthangkha (3645m).

The trail continues with a gentle climb along Pa chu to another army post. The valley finally widens up gradually to a mere path that ascends to a meadow where the same yak herders have their winter home. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful strolls. When you approach the campsite you will see Mt. Chomolhari and its neighboring snow-capped peaks.

Camp: Jangothang (4180m).

Jangothang is a perfect environment for acclimatization before we go over the high passes. Relax or hike in the spectacular surroundings. From here you can see a line of great peaks on the horizon; Chomolhari, Jichu Drake, Tsering Kang, and many more. There are herds of blue sheep in the area. In the summer, the ethereal Himalayan blue poppy can be seen in this area.

Today you can rest in camp or go for a day hike in this beautiful place. If yak herders are in the vicinity, perhaps you can visit inside one of the big black smoky yak-hair tents. Chomolhari is a mountain sacred to a female deity (Jomo); lhari means snow peak. An Indo-Bhutanese team reached the summit in 1970, but now the high peaks may no longer be climbed.

Camp: Jangothang (4180m).

After a short walk from the camp, the trail climbs rapidly for some time and then becomes a gradual ascent to the camp in yak pasture. You might see herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes of the mountains and if the weather permits you will see Mt.Jomolhari, Jichu Drake, and Tsherim Kang. Higher the better opportunity for snapshots.

Then the path becomes much broader and gradual. We continue our hike passing the beautiful lake (Tsho Phu). The government stocked brown trout in many alpine lakes in the 1980′s. Now the climb to Bongtoe La at an elevation of 4890m begins. Roughly take about an hour to reach the meadow before the summit and another 45 minutes to top. From here it’s all downhill to the basemen of Yaktsa village. The villager often comes with their local product to sell like, textile, yak cheese, etc.

Camp: Chorapang (3830m).

A gradual climb above the tree line, past hillsides covered with rhododendron and azalea. We will come across some yak herder’s camp. After crossing the small stream the trail continues with a climb of about an hour over the Takalung La (wind horse pass) at 4540m. Descend to grassy meadows where herds of yak graze during the summer months. It is a very large meadow.

Camp: Thongbu Shong (4120m)

A steep climb above the valley to Thongbu La (4160m) traverse an incredibly beautiful garden of wildflowers, then begin a long and steep descent to Shana and the last campsite, as the trail leaves the forest at a hillside above the river valley where the trek will end tomorrow.

Camp: Shana (2950m).

Today, it is a relatively easy half-day walk through fields and rice terraces to the end of the trail at Drukgyel Dzong, where we end our trek. After refreshment, we drive to Thimphu the capital city. It is a pleasurable ride, with many optional stops along the road. The capital rests on a wooded hillside by Wang Chhu. The center of government, religion, and commerce, Thimphu is a bustling town where traditional ways mingle with modern introductions. The drive takes about two hours.

Overnight: Thimphu

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Sights include the following, time and local conditions permitting:

National Memorial Chorten: Bhutan’s third king H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck had wished to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity, but he died before his plan came to fruition. The Royal Queen Mother resolved to fulfill his wishes and erected a memorial that would perpetuate his memory and also serve as a monument to peace.

BBS Tower Viewpoint and Takin Compound: One the way to the Viewpoint over Thimphu is the home of Bhutan’s national animal, the takin, a strange-looking beast that some say resembles a bee-stung moose. The Bhutanese have their own story to narrate about how the takin was created by Master Drukpa Kunley (the divine madman).

View of Tashi Choe Dzong: The “fortress of the glorious religion” was initially constructed in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. Tashi Choe Dzong houses His Majesty’s secretariat, minister’s offices, and the Central Monk Body. Entrance may be granted to guests only after 5 pm.

National Institute of Traditional Medicine: The Institute still dispenses traditional herbal and other medicines made from plants, minerals, animal parts, precious metals, and gems. A tour of its working facility for research and treatment of local people is fascinating (open Monday – Friday.)

Folk Heritage Museum: This is a very old house in the capital owned by a reputed family for the last three hundred years. In 2002, H.M. Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck converted it into a museum, to preserve its traditional value. (Open Monday – Friday)
Farewell dinner with Bhutanese guests.

Overnight: Thimphu

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This morning we leave early morning for Paro airport. Our Host will bid you farewell, and soon the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappears again behind its guardian mountains.

Frequently Asked Question

Select one of the travel programs and email us your passport information. If you do not currently belong to a group, we will endeavor to place you in one with a minimum of three and a maximum of 88 people.

All stated activities, ground transportation for scheduled events, hotel, and specified meals are included in the price. All itineraries are subject to alteration due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather concerns.

Please keep in mind that prices are subject to vary owing to tax changes and fuel surcharges. Personal excursions, airfare, alcoholic drinks, dishes not specified on the prepared menu, free time activities, passport fees, excess luggage costs, laundry, medical expenditures, gratuities, or insurance are not included in the cost.

Although gratuities are not required for any of our activities, there are times when a little gratuity is both acceptable and appreciated. It is entirely up to you whether to provide gratuities for extraordinary services done.

Truly Bhutan does not provide mass-produced, cookie-cutter tours. We carefully select sites that provide both entertainment and cultural value. Our Host has the experience and knowledge to give unique and informative trips and lectures. Their expertise in local people, culture, food, traditions, and history provides a true cultural trip.

Truly Bhutan believes that travel is an essential aspect of life. Traveling is a search for us to comprehend the world and our position in it. Furthermore, it is not just a matter of crossing sites off a list. Exploring new ideas, studying various cultures, and meeting new people leads to a more in-depth education that enhances your life.

A visa is required to enter Bhutan, however, it is not given from outside the country. Visas are stamped in your passport upon arrival in Paro, cost $40 US, and are included in the cost of your tour. Bhutan will get your visa on your behalf.

Visa is not required if you are an Indian national with a valid Indian passport or travel document. Permission to travel within Thimphu and Paro may be obtained upon arrival at Paro airport. In addition, while in Thimphu, you must process permissions for travel to the interior of Bhutan. If you arrive by land, you must get travel permission from the Indian Embassy Liaison Office in Phuntsholing, as well as the Bhutan Immigration Office.

It is not required for Indians to participate in a tour arranged by a travel agency or tour operator. However, if your vacation is pre-planned with a local agency, they will be able to book hotels, organize the appropriate permissions, arrange transportation and guides, and save you a lot of time and hassle. Permits are free, and the majority of drivers know Hindi and English.

If you go without a pre-planned and pre-booked trip, you may have to choose your lodging, pay higher prices, and spend a lot of time running about to secure permissions. As a result, even if you have to pay more, it is worthwhile to arrange your vacation with Truly Bhutan.

  • Inclusion
  • Exclusion
  • Insurance
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
  • 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium update).
  • Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing
  • Route Permit
  • Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan
  • A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
  • All land transportation by private vehicle
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Monuments entrance fees where applicable
  • Drinking water
  • All internal taxes and charges
  • A sustainable development fee of $200. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, and poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)
  • Airfare & Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of personal nature, Tips to guides and drivers
  • Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.

Package does not include insurance of any kinds, and that you are required to obtain separate coverage from your home country before your trip begins.

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