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Jomolhari Yaksa Trek

Drukgyal Dzong

Jomolhari Yaksa Trek goes around the varied biological environment of Bhutan and the trek provides great views of snow-capped mountains like Mt. Jomolhari (7314m), Jichu Drake (6794m) and Tshering Gang. The base camp of Mt. Jomolhari, the second highest unclimbed peak in the world, is reached during the trek. Nature lovers can opt for this trek witnessing with some spectacular mountains views and alpine pastures, and the trek goes to the remote villages of neighboring Tibet. The trek starting point is from the outskirts of Paro driving to the Drukgyal Dzong; once the road ends, the trek starts en-route crossing alpine meadows with Jomolhari peak rising at the valley head. At the high altitude Lake Tshophu you can fish for trout’s. The tour also goes around sightseeing at colorful Paro, the tiny capital – Thimphu and the old capital city of Punakha. Some religious and historical monasteries and shrines are visited in such city tour like Punakha Dzong, Chimi Lakhang and the most interesting hike to the Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ perched in a vertical cliff.

Trip Highlights

  • Witness spectacular view of the world’s tallest mountains onboard flight to/from Paro.
  • Explore the tiny capital – Thimphu.
  • Visit Punakha Dzong – arguably the most beautiful monastery in Bhutan.
  • Experience moderately difficult high altitude trek.
  • Enjoy views of Mt. Jomolhari & Mt. Jyichu Drakye in closer proximity.
  • Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ perched in a cliff.
  • Experience remote rural life of Bhutan.
  • Discover age-old culture, tradition and religious landmarks.

Outline Itinerary

Day 01 : Arrive Paro (2,250m)

Day 02 : Drive to Drukgyal Dzong & trek to Shana (2,950m)

Day 03 : Trek from Shana to Thangthangkha (3,645m)

Day 04 : Trek from Thangthangkha to Base Camp/Jangothang (4,180m)

Day 05 : Rest Day at Jangothang (4,180m) for acclimatization

Day 06 : Trek to Yaksa (3,830m) passing beautiful lake (TshoPhu)

Day 07 : Trek from Yaksa to Thongbu (4,120m)

Day 08 : Trek from Shana to Paro and drive to Thimphu (2,350m)

Day 09 : Drive from Thimphu to Punakha (1,310m) via Dochula La (3,140m)

Day 10 : Punakha - Paro & hike to Taktsang Monastery (3,120m)

Day 11 : Paro Depart

What is Included

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
  • 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium).
  • 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 $65. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)

What is Not Included

  • 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.

Day 01 : Arrive Paro (2,250m)

Flying in to 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 breath-taking first impression. After clearing the customs and visa formalities met by the representatives and transfer to Paro. In the evening, stroll along Paro downtown for acclimatization and orientation or there is an option of exploring different sites in Paro which the guide will organize depending upon time available. Also visit Paro Rinpong Dzong. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 02 : Drive to Drukgyal Dzong & trek to Shana (2,950m)

Drive up to Drukgyel Dzong (2,580m) where the road ends and the trek begin. With a gradual climb the trail follows the Pachhu (Paro River) passing beautiful meadows, paddy fields and impressive farm houses. After about 4 hours it arrives at the army post at Gunitsawa village. At the army check point the trek permit will be checked and endorsed. Today’s campsite is by the small outpost for park warden. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 5-6 hrs)

Day 03 : Trek from Shana to Thangthangkha (3,645m)

Due to long distance to cover today the trek starts a bit early. Most of the campsite is designated by government depending on area and access to water. Mainly to protect from deforestation and disturbance to wild animals. The short walk from the camp will arrive at 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 2 hours, the trail gets to a fork where the path which is not supposed to follow or the ancient trade route to Tibet is much wider and definitely more inviting. Turn right and follow the smaller trail through oak, spruce, birch, alpine yellows trees. After lunch the trail becomes bit tricky with wet and loose rock for some section. After an hour hike the path comes across a bridge and chorten (Stupa) not to turn toward chorten. Keep left! Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 7-8 hrs)

Day 04 : Trek from Thangthangkha to Base Camp/Jangothang (4,180m)

The trail continues with gentle climb along Pa chu to another army post. The valley finally widen up gradually to a mere path which ascends to a meadow where same yak herders have their winter home. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful stroll. When the campsite is approached Mt. Chomolhari can be spotted including its neighboring snowcapped peaks. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 4-5 hrs)

Day 05 : Rest Day at Jangothang (4,180m) for acclimatization

Jangothang has a perfect environment for the acclimatization before going over the high passes. Relax or hike in the spectacular surroundings. From here a line of great peaks on the horizon can be seen; 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 just rest in camp or go for a day hike in this beautiful place. If yak herders are in the vicinity, perhaps 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.

Day 06 : Trek to Yaksa (3,830m) passing beautiful lake (TshoPhu)

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. Herds of blue sheep grazing on the slopes of the mountains might be seen from here and if the weather permits spot Mt. Chomolhari, Jichu drake and Tsherimkang. Then the path becomes much broader and gradual. Continue the hike passing the beautiful lake (TshoPhu).The government has stocked brown trout in many alpine lakes in 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 the top. From here it’s all downhill to the basemen of Yaksa village. The villager often comes with their local product to sell like, textile, yak cheese etc. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 6-7 hrs)

Day 07 : Trek from Yaksa to Thongbu (4,120m)

A gradual climb above tree-line, past hillsides covered with rhododendron and azalea will come across some yak herder’s camp. After crossing small stream the trail continues with climb 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. Overnight in Camp. (Walking Duration: 6-7 hrs)

Day 08 : Trek from Shana to Paro and drive to Thimphu (2,350m)

Today, it is a relatively easy half day’s walk through fields and rice terraces to the end of the trail at Drukgyel Dzong, where the trek ends. After refreshment 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 the 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 an hour. Overnight in Hotel.

Day 09 : Drive from Thimphu to Punakha (1,310m) via Dochula La (3,140m)

After early breakfast, drive about 1 & half hours to Punakha. Climb up the mountain road to Dochu La at 3140m. On clear weather, the pass commands a wonderful panorama of the Eastern Himalayas. From the pass, the road descends through varied forest and finally emerging into the highly cultivated valley of Punakha. Take a short hike through beautiful rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, who as a favorite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as “the Divine Madman”. The temple is on a hillside in the middle of rice fields and has become a pilgrimage site for childless couples. Enjoy some tea and snacks at the end of hike while overlooking the fields. In the afternoon, Punakha Dzong located at the confluence of the Pho-chu (male-river) and Mo-chu (female-river). Punakha Dzong is arguably the most impressive dzong in the country. Later in the evening drive back to Thimphu. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 10 : Punakha - Paro & hike to Taktsang Monastery (3,120m)

Early in the morning, drive towards Paro and further drive to the base of Taktsang and start the hike to Taktsang Monastery. This is one of the Buddhist world’s most cherished 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. A number of temples have been built on the site in 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 beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 11 : Paro Depart

This morning leave early morning to Paro airport to catch the onward flight; Bid farewell to the guide, and soon the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappears again behind its guardian mountains.

Bhutan Visa Information:
The citizen of Bangladesh, Maldives and India do not require VISA to enter Bhutan. People from other countries except from Bangladesh, Maldives and India need a VISA permit while traveling to Bhutan. The VISA processing for Bhutan requires a readable color copy of passport via email that has at least six month of validity from the date of exit from Bhutan. The file Scan Copy should be forwarded to via email in JPEG or PDF format. The passport number and picture of the applicant should be visible in the e-document.

The application should be processed at least 10 days prior to the date of entry to Bhutan. The tourism council of Bhutan then issues a VISA clearance letter and fax or email it to the local travel agent. Please note that the VISA service is not offered in Bhutan, travelers have to buy full service package from the local tour operator. Travelers traveling by air are required to produce a printed VISA clearance copy at the time of check-in for Druk Air flight. People traveling by land to enter Bhutan via Phuentshoking or Samdrup Jonkhar are required to produce a VISA clearance letter at the immigration center. The actual VISA is stamped in your passport on your arrival in Bhutan.

Flights to Bhutan:
There are several cities that have direct flights to Bhutan. There are two airlines Druk air and Bhutan airlines running the flights to Bhutan. Druk air is the national carrier of Bhutan. With its fleet of Airbuses A319-115 and ATR 42 the airlines fly from different Asian countries to the Paro international airport, Paro (PBH); which is only the international airport in Bhutan. There are daily direct flights from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu to Paro International Airport.

The flights from Indian cities to Paro International Airport with the airport name and their codes are listed below: 
Bagdogra Airport, Bagdogra (IXB)
Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi  (DEL)
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata (CCU)
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (BOM)

Likewise, there flights from other countries with the codes are as follows:
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand (BKK)
Shahjalal International Airport, Bangladesh (DAC)
Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore (SIN)

Note: The flight schedule and timings are subject to change. If you want to know more about the flight schedules and tour to Bhutan please feel free to contact us. We can also help to find you the cheapest fares available.

Best time to visit Bhutan:
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan lies in south Asia between China and India. Climate and weather vary according to the altitude, season and place of visit. Bhutan is open all year around for the visitors but it is better to make the travel arrangements as per your preference and nature of visit.

The ideal time to visit Bhutan is spring (March-May) and Autumn/fall (September-November). These are considered to be the best time to visit Bhutan to get the maximum adventure and trouble free experience. Summer and winter also have their own specialties that could draw the attention of tourists during these seasons.  During the spring the weather mostly remains clear and climate is fantastic. It is also the best time to visit for the nature lovers to experience the mystifying beauty of nature. Varieties of flowers and plants bloom in this season that makes your adventure an exotic one. The route opens for Jomolhari and Druk Path treks from mid-April to May. 

Summer (June-August) in the other hand could get tricky at times due to the early arrival of monsoon. The month of June would be great for traveling if the monsoon is pushed further. Usually monsoon is in full swing by early July. Travelers who would strive to get some trekking experience on muddy trail while witnessing swollen rivers, green forests and flourishing paddy field could choose late summer to plan their adventure. The view of open clear blue sky after the rain is something that strikes you with its mystifying beauty.

Fall (September-November) is another favorable and crowded season after spring. The weather gets mild despite cold mornings and evenings. Tourists from all around the world thong to Bhutan during this season to witness Black-Necked-Crane festival. The month of October has its own significance and the valley turn into a shade of gold as the farmers prepare to harvest their rice crops during this month.

Winter season (December to February) is not that crowded with tourists in comparison to other seasons. Planning your adventure during the winter could be a better idea if you want to avoid the hustle-bustle of the peak season. During the winter Bhutan may see some snow fall. The temperature level goes down (even below freezing point) during some winter days.

VACCINATION FOR BHUTAN:
No vaccinations are presently required However, the following vaccinations are recommended:
Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver. The disease is distinctly unpleasant, with profound nausea, loss of appetite, and weakness.
Tetanus: Tetanus bacteria can infect small wounds and cause a fatal infection. 
Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever is caused by infection with Salmonella typhi bacteria, passed in human feces and acquired by eating contaminated food or water.
 
WEATHER IN BHUTAN:
Bhutan lies in South Asia between China and India in the Himalayas, weather in Bhutan depends upon the altitude. In the northern parts of the country where mountains rise up to 7,000m, weather conditions are similar to arctic. Southwards, closer to India, the weather is hot and humid in the summer and cool in winter. The monsoon rains are usually heavy. Winters can be a good time to visit the lower parts, but then the highest areas are freezing. 
 
The best times to visit Bhutan are spring (March-May) and autumn (late September – November) when the weather is warm, dry and sunny but always throw in a couple of warm clothes into your travelling gear when you travel to Bhutan regardless of the season.
 
WHAT TO WEAR AND BRING:
Layering Clothing
Bring your clothes according to the season and region of your travel. Based on your activity and the weather, you can make quick adjustments, by putting on more clothing if it is cold or taking off layers as it warms up. In the summer time, days can be quite warm, especially in the lowlands of Punakha and Phuentsholing, light cotton clothing is recommended for day time. But in most of the tourist and trekking areas, light woolen clothes for evenings and heavy woollens / down jackets for winter are necessary. A waterproof windbreaker is important for trekking and outdoor activities.
Comfortable and Sturdy shoes.
You have a lot of opportunity to walk around in Bhutan, you will be glad you wore sturdy shoes that keep your feet comfortable. Good shoes will let you explore the rural and allow you to have a long day walk. Bring sandals or slip ons to take off easily when entering temples.
Long pants / skirts
Wear particularly conservative clothing in the towns, women should wear long pants or long skirts, men should wear long pants and shorts are not appropriate for anyone. In the dzongs and temples, the legs and arms must be covered, and even threequarter-length capri pants are not acceptable for women.
Rain gear
Be prepared for occasional shower. A folding umbrella is a good idea to bring with.
Hat, Sunglass, Sunscreen & lip protection.
The sun can be scorching in Bhutan. Be sure to apply sunscreen in the morning and throughout your day.
 
Other requirements:
  • A quality sleeping bag.
  • Waterproof gators.
  • A headlamp torch and a normal torch. (Including spare batteries.)
  • Binoculars and Camera.
  • Small day pack.
  • Water bottle
  • Towel
  • Small medical kit that includes aspirin, motion sickness tablets, diamox.(The guide carries a larger Medical kit but please bring own travel medications)
  • Antiseptic hand gel for disinfecting hands without water.
  • Mini-flashlight
DIFFERENT CURRENCY ACCEPTED BY BHUTAN BANK:
Credit cards are accepted only in major international hotels and high-end shops in Bhutan.
 
Click here to know more about Bhutan Information.

Where is Bhutan?
Bhutan is tucked away in the folds of the mighty Eastern Himalayas. It is a land locked country surrounded by on three sides by Indian states – Arunachal Pradesh in the east, Assam and West Bengal in the south and Sikkim in the West. The Tibetan autonomous region of China is in the North. The country lies between latitude 26 40? and 28 20? north and longitude 88 45? and 92 10? east.

Do I need to use a tour operator to book my travel?
It is a government regulation that you must use a Tour Operator to book your travel to Bhutan or one of their international partners.

Do I need a visa to enter Bhutan?
All International tourists wishing to enter Bhutan require a visa which must be pre-arranged through a license Bhutanese Tour Operator or one of their international partners. Visa clearance must be obtained through your tour operator prior to travel. For Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals and persons from the Maldives may obtain a visa on entry.

How much does the visa cost?
International tourist visas a cost of USD $40 applies. This can be paid in advance to you tour operator or travel agent. For Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals and persons from the Maldives there is no cost incurred.

How do I get to Bhutan?
There are a number of airports where you can fly into Bhutan from (Thailand – Bangkok; Nepal – Kathmandu; Singapore and India – Delhi, Kolkata, Bodh Gaya Dacca, Guwahati). At present Drukair, the national airline, is the only airline to operate flights in and out of the country. Also, there are three land border crossings which you can travel into the kingdom overland. All crossings are along the Indian border only – Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar. All travel arrangements to Bhutan must be made through a tour operator. We will make all the necessary arrangements.

What does the $200/$250 per day minimum daily package include?
The $200 per day (low season) and $250 per day (high season) package includes a minimum of 3 star accommodations, costs for food, an experienced guide and transportation (with driver) within the country. Also included in the price is a $65 per day royalty that goes towards free education, free healthcare and poverty alleviation. All of these services will be arranged by your tour operator.

What currency is used in Bhutan?
Bhutanese currency is known as the Ngultrum. Its value is tied to the Indian Rupee which is also accepted as legal tender. However Indian notes in 500 and 1000 denominations are not acceptable.

Is there a limit on the number of tourists that can enter Bhutan each year?
There is no limit on the number of tourists admitted into the country each year. In order to protect our culture, traditions and natural environment the government has adopted a strict policy of “High Value, Low Impact Tourism”. This policy is aimed at attracting discerning tourists that will respect the unique culture and values of the Bhutanese people while also providing the visitors with an unforgettable one of a kind experience.

What’s the food like in Bhutan?
The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness.  Chilies are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that was not spicy.
Rice forms the main body of most Bhutanese meals. It is accompanied by one or two side dishes consisting of meat or vegetables. Pork, beef and chicken are the meats that are eaten most often. A wide selection of western and Indian food is also available in many of the restaurants around the country.

When is the best time to go?
Go anytime – you won’t be disappointed. However If you are prepared to travel outside of the peak season periods (APR-MAY and mid SEP-NOV) there are fewer tourist visitors & you will enjoy a more rewarding experience. We especially recommend June – July (Summer) and December-March (Winter/Spring). If you are trekking you will need to generally travel in the peak season months for suitable conditions.

Can I travel totally independently in Bhutan?
It is not possible to gain an entry visa for Bhutan unless you pre-pay for a pre-arranged land package itinerary with a licensed and approved inbound operator and pay the appropriate nightly tariff. Bhutan prohibits independent backpacker style visitors to maintain its strict cultural and ecological values. However please be aware you can enjoy a degree of flexibility during each day to hike, visit markets & villages and interact with locals as you wish.

Is it possible to join an archery game and also visit the villages and farmhouses?
Yes, you can join in an archery game and also visit the villages and farmhouses.

I am a vegetarian, is this a problem?
If you are vegetarian, there is no problem. Though there are very limited varieties of vegetables available, most of the hotels will serve you good vegetarian dishes.

Important Note

If the above itinerary does not meet your needs, we can design individualized travel plans based on your preferences.

Trip Facts

Destination: Bhutan

Duration: 12 Day(s)

Trip Grade: Moderate

Max. Altitude: Base Camp/Jangothang (4,180m)

Activities: Sightseeing/Hiking

Best Season: Spring (March-May) & Autumn/fall (September-November)

Transportation: Private vehicle

Accommodations: Government approved 3 stars and Above/Tent during camping

Meals: All meals (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Trip Type: Sightseeing & hiking tour

Trek Starts/Ends: Drukgyal Dzong-Paro/Shana

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