Treks in Bhutan You Must Try
Bhutan offers a unique blend of ancient traditions and modern influences, featuring distinctive dishes like chili and crimson rice. It remains relatively unexplored but boasts stunning landscapes and tranquil monasteries for those seeking solitude. A trip to Bhutan is bound to be life-changing in all the good ways.
Adventurous travelers can also enjoy numerous hiking trails in this breathtaking country, which provide an opportunity to connect with nature and discover uncharted territories. Seizing the moment and immersing oneself in Bhutan’s trekking paradise is essential to awaken the inner hiking enthusiast and appreciate the passage of time. Here are a few treks in Bhutan that you must try.
1. Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Renowned as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Paro Takstang Goemba is a captivating Buddhist sanctuary, and the journey to reach it begins with a broad trail starting at the mountain’s base near the parking area. Along the way, hikers can also enjoy a refreshing break at the esteemed Takstang Cafeteria, a popular spot for trekkers.
The entire round trip typically spans about 5 to 6 hours, so it’s essential to plan your hike accordingly. You can rent a horse if you get tired while climbing, but it’s better to finish the hike. Reaching the top will make you feel amazed and satisfied.
Distance: Approximately 6.4 kilometers (round trip). Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous. Best Time to Hike: Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) for pleasant weather.
2. Dochula To Lungchutse Lhakhang Hike
The Lungchutse Hike, considered an accessible trail, caters to both experienced hikers and beginners alike. Commencing at the Dochula Pass Buddhist shrine and culminating at the Lungchutse monastery, this hike typically spans approximately 3 hours. As the saying goes, the panoramic vista from the monastery is truly enchanting, affording glimpses of several majestic mountain peaks.
Distance: Approximately 3.5 kilometers. Difficulty: Moderate to challenging. Best Time to Trek: Late spring (May) and early autumn (September) for clear skies and blooming rhododendrons.
3. The Chomolhari Trek
Embarking on an eight-day journey, this challenging trek leads you through Bhutan, crossing both the Bhonte La Pass, reaching an elevation of approximately 16,000 feet, and the Takhung La Pass, situated at 14,829 feet above sea level. Globally recognized for its moderate trekking difficulty, this 8-day trek is a favorite among adventurers. If you’re considering this trek, consider planning it during the renowned Cholmohari Festival, an annual celebration that honors the heritage of the local villages in the vicinity.
Distance: Approximately 102 kilometers. Difficulty: Moderate. Best Time to Trek: Mid-March to mid-May, September-November
3. Druk Path Trek
The Druk Path Trek is a classic Bhutanese trek that connects the capital city, Thimphu, with the picturesque town of Paro. This trek offers a perfect blend of cultural experiences and natural beauty. Along the trail, you’ll pass by serene mountain lakes, ancient dzongs (fortresses), and charming villages. The highlight of the trek is the stunning view of the sacred Mount Jomolhari from the high point of the route.
Distance: Approximately 55 kilometers (one way). Difficulty: Moderate. Best Time to Trek: Spring (April to May) and autumn (September to November) for mild weather and clear views.
4.Gangtey Valley Trek
Gangtey Valley, also referred to as Phobjikha Valley, stands out as one of the unique glacial valleys in Bhutan and serves as the seasonal sanctuary for the elusive black-necked cranes, which migrate here annually from the Tibetan plateau.
The enchanting three-day trek commences from this picturesque valley, leading you on a journey to explore remote villages while traversing through meadows, cultivated fields, and the captivating landscapes of juniper, magnolia, and rhododendron forests.
Distance: Approximately 45 kilometers (circular route). Difficulty: Easy. Best Time to Trek: Late autumn (November) to early spring (March) for the chance to see black-necked cranes.
5. Bumdra Trek
This three-day trek is one of the most beautiful treks in Bhutan. It is perfect for those with limited time seeking a taste of local culture and stunning mountain vistas. The bamboo-filled forests, adorned with a variety of blooming Rhododendrons in April and May, create a haven for birdwatching and even offer sightings of the common black bear.
Beginning near Dhur village, known for its nomadic herdsmen, the trek reaches its high point at Drangela Pass (3,600m/11,800ft), providing panoramic views of Gangkar Puensum (7,570m/24,836ft), Bhutan’s tallest peak. After going down the pass, you can see many monasteries. One of them is Chuedak Monastery, which has over 100 stone carvings of Avalokiteśvara, a very respected bodhisattva.
Distance: Approximately 12 kilometers (round trip). Difficulty: Moderate. Best Time to Trek: Spring (April to May) and autumn (September to November) for pleasant weather.
Before embarking on a Bhutan hike, it’s important to get ready:
- Visa: Bhutan’s visa process is unique. Book through authorized tour operators for permits and visas.
- Fitness: As these hikes can be physically demanding, stay fit with regular exercise.
- Packing: Bring the right gear, including sturdy boots, warm clothing, a good backpack, and essentials like sunscreen and a first-aid kit.
- Altitude: Bhutan’s high terrain can be tough, so acclimatize gradually.
- Respect: Bhutan is deeply spiritual; be respectful of local customs, dress modestly, and follow temple rules.
- Responsible: Bhutan promotes sustainable tourism; practice “Leave No Trace” and dispose of waste responsibly.
- Insurance: Get comprehensive travel insurance, especially for remote treks.
With these steps, you’ll be ready for an incredible Bhutanese hiking adventure.
Exploring Bhutan on foot is not just about trekking; it’s about immersing yourself in a world of natural beauty, cultural richness, and spiritual depth. These treks will not only challenge you physically but also reward you with experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.
So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready to embark on a journey through the pristine landscapes of the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Bhutan awaits, and its trails are waiting to be explored. If you wish to plan a trip to Bhutan, feel free to reach out to our experts and they’ll be happy to help.