Soi Yaksa Hike (Bhutan)

Bhutan is still part of the Himalayas, so of course Jean decided we had to fit in a trek during our trip. We opted for the Soi Yaksa trek, which is 5 nights and 6 days and brings you close to the Tibetan border and the highest mountain of Bhutan (Jomalhari – 7330m). The majority of the country is not accessible by road so trekking was the only way for us to see the Bhutanese mountain people and the stunning higher altitude areas of the country.

We were accompanied by an impressive little crew consisting of a local guide, a cook, a horseman, a helper, a dog and 8 horses to carry our food and material for 6 days in the mountains! We have to say that our trek in Bhutan, even though less physically demanding, was much harsher than trekking in Nepal because we slept in tents at high altitudes with temperatures often dropping below zero inside the tent. We often slept with all our trekking gear on us – it was soooo cold! πŸ™‚

We started the trek with two easy but long days walking up alongside a river through pine forests and crossing several streams. At the end of the second day we arrived at the campsite of Jangothang (4100m) where we could admire the remains of an old fortress and more importantly – catch a glimpse of the shining snow white Jomalhari peak.

The third day was absolutely gorgeous passing along high altitude lakes of Tshopu (4380m) and the Bongteyla pass (4900m) with stunning views on surrounding meadows where yaks pass by to graze all year long. We had to walk for more than 8 hours to reach our campsite, where we could warm ourselves around the campfire with a cup of warm tea.

On the fourth and fifth day we walked alongside ridges, through fields where farmers grow incense and then finally back down to the valley of Paro. We were lucky enough to spot blue sheep during several days of our treks – who look like a larger version of normal sheep – perhaps with a hint of a blue fur from a distance for the creative minds πŸ™‚ .

We highly recommend going on a trek whilst in Bhutan because it’s the only way to see the more remote areas of the country. We passed through a couple of high altitude villages and spoke to locals, we met yak herders and learned about their lives, and above all reconnected with mother nature by camping in the wild!

Our favourites:

  • Bhutan Travel Bureau: a well-established local travel agency which organised our trek. We had an amazing team with a cook who prepared the best food we tasted in all of Bhutan!

Little break in front of the Tshopu lakes (4380m)

Camille and our loyal borrowed dog

Goodmorning Bhutan! Waking up after a tough night at minus 5 degrees in the tent

View during the daily 4pm ‘hot tea break’ – heaven!

Posing at the top of the Bongteyla pass – we stayed there for exactly 3 mins because it was freeeeezing!

Climbing up after the Tshopu lakes – still a 500m ascent to go…

Hot tea heaven!

Lunar landscapes above 4500m – spectacular views!

Another typical morning in Bhutan πŸ™‚

Should I or shouldn’t I?

A hot water bowl and horses to carry our stuff – pure luxury!

Slowly but surely going forward


Halfway up to the Bongteyla pass – slowly slowly

Made it to the camp site

Finally going back down

The high altitude lakes – probably the most beautiful moment of the entire hike

Much faster when going down

Are we still on the same planet?

Found some blue sheep horns on the way up

Insane views on the Bhutanese mountains – which are days away from any modern civilisation. A must for whoever decides to visit Bhutan!