hikes in Bhutan
Hiking In Bhutan
Are you looking to trek paths less-travelled and explore one of the most vibrant cultures in the world? Throw your hiking boots in your backpack, grab your passport, and fly to Bhutan. This country, sandwiched between India and Tibet, is decorated with dramatic mountain ranges, hillside Buddhist monasteries, and verdant landscapes. With snowy, high altitude escapades cloaking the Himalayas, a temperate climate blanketing the southern and central valleys, and subtropical weather warming up the eastern region, it's easy to see that Bhutan has walks tailor-made for any level of trekker.
Bhutan's hiking scale can accommodate avid adventurers craving a bold, multi-day experience or chilled-out travellers who enjoy pleasant routes sprinkled with magnificent views and culture. The 27-day Snowman Trek—some dub this expedition as the "hardest trek in the world"—takes you away from society and places you in the thick of the Himalayas. At the same time, most of the day hikes traverse lush landscapes to monasteries perched precariously on mountain faces.
Do keep in mind that travelling to Bhutan takes some planning. While the country is slowly opening up and allowing independent visitors, you may have to pay for a fully packaged, pre-planned guided tour or create your own prepaid, planned travel program. Just think of it as an all-inclusive resort, but swap the lazy beach days for unique hiking adventures.
The government believes in protecting the environment, hence the strict rules and costly regulations!
Types Of Hiking In Bhutan
Bhutan encompasses a delightful mixture of easy, family-friendly treks and crazy, adventurous, multi-day explorations. And somewhere in the middle, you'll find short, but challenging day treks or hikes stretching over a couple of days, but with a low elevation gain. Bhutan is the ultimate hiking paradise with the eastern Himalayas towering over Bhutan and the sloped valleys collecting villages below.
Visitors looking for easy day hikes can flock to Thimphu, where several trails paint the area surrounding Bhutan's capital city. Paro, Phobjikha Valley, Tang also offers hikes stacked with mind-blowing views and remote sacred monuments. Up in the Himalayas, you'll find beyond challenging trails traversed by fit and experienced hikers.
Easy Hikes In Bhutan
Cheri Monastery: Get acquainted with the verdant scenery painting Bhutan's backyard on this short 1.5mi trek. This lighthearted trail may be easy, but that doesn't mean the views aren't spectacular. The path will guide you to the Cheri Monastery perched on the hillside and to sprawling vistas of the land below. This hike makes for an ideal afternoon or morning expedition!
Family Hikes In Bhutan
Tango: A meander along this well-marked trail allows you to catch glimpses of the unspoiled scenery spanning Bhutan without overexerting yourself. The monkeys perched in the trees and deer littered across the land work to provide free entertainment for hikers strolling this 2.5mi path.
Dodeydrak Monastery Hike: Interact with locals and catch a glimpse of Bhutan's rural life as you hike towards the Dodeydrak Monastery. Admire its great peculiarity before winding along this less-travelled-by, steep path until you reach the road. The top of the track even has a rest spot with bathrooms!
Day Hikes In Bhutan
Chele La Pass: Exploding with scenery shimmering in green hues, the Chele La Pass boasts of magnificent views of both the Haa and Paro valleys. Amid admiring the stunning vistas, the path sprinkles trekkers with doses of spirituality. Expect to encounter a chorten, nunnery, and if you want to hike farther, two sky burials. The Chele La Pass gives you the option to choose your trail back, evoking a choose-your-own-adventure experience.
Pomola: This 8.1mi route beautifully marries Bhutan's lush scenery with glimpses of rural life. Notice the horses and yaks scattered across the land as you meander this path, which will also carry you through a blue pine forest. Eventually, you'll reach Pomola Pass, and the myriad of trails give you the chance to pick which route you want to take back!
Challenging Hikes In Bhutan
Talakha Hike: The 8.4mi distance tacked onto this route may propel you to brush it off as a moderate trek, but we can assure you that it'll get your blood pumping and breath panting. The sign scarcity also adds a slight challenge to this already strenuous hike, but it's all a part of the fun, right? But once you reach the peak, the vistas from above will wipe your memory of any pain you felt just moments ago.
Best Hikes In Bhutan
Phajoding Monastery: This trek seamlessly blends Bhutan's vibrant culture with vistas of unmatched scenery. Hikers will likely cross paths with locals and horse teams as they make their way to the recently declared "endangered monument," the Phajoding Monastery.
Thari Goempa: The Thari Goempa hike, which spans 6.8mi and has an elevation of 10699ft, earns the slot as one of the most satisfying day treks within the Thimphu Valley—the region surrounding Bhutan's capital city. En route, hikers will come across spectacular views of Doedaydra, Buddha Point, and Phudjoding. A goempa and more fantastic views await trekkers at the top.
Buddha Point: This 6.8mi, out-and-back route boasts of one notable highlight: the statue of Buddha eyeing the valley and people peppering the area below. Crossing rainforest and logging roads, on a path marked with limited undulations, this route makes for a pleasant morning or afternoon adventure.
Lungchutse: The Lungchutse hike twists through junipers, hemlock, and rhododendrons. Eventually, the lush forested scenery will fade into a ridge, granting—if it's a clear day—a vista of the Himalayas towering over the horizon. This route is a well-marked, 6.1 km out-and-back path.
When Is The Best Time To Hike In Bhutan?
While most trekkers can snake along Bhutan's path all-year-round, certain pockets of time grant clearer views and increased pleasure. The monsoon season typically goes from June until August, so hikers craving crisp vistas and a vibrant shade of green coating the land will want to travel to Bhutan between September and November.
However, from March to May, flowers, such as rhododendrons, magnolias, and a concoction of other wild blossoms, add colour variation to the valleys and slopes. The views may not be as unobstructed as in autumn.
Best Regions For Hiking in Bhutan
Bhutan contains an array of regions tailor-made for hiking enthusiasts. Avid trekkers can find a collection of lush hikes, exploding with cultural colour and unmatched scenery in western Bhutan. Several of the trails spanning these areas suit all hiking and fitness levels. Travellers seeking a more off-the-grid experience, heightened lush views, and a step back in time, will enjoy the central region. Eastern Bhutan boasts of warmer temperatures and fields of necessary crops: corn, wheat, rice, potatoes. Most people tend to flock to the Western region for hiking!
Other Outdoor Activities in Bhutan
While several people flock to Bhutan for its numerous trails twisting through the mountain slopes and its eastern Himalayan location, the country also encompasses a selection of other outdoor activities, such as rafting, climbing, kayaking, and biking. Those interested in cycling may want to try biking the Thimphu to Dochula Pass. Kayakers will have a heyday paddling through the rivers flowing with water streaming from the Himalayas. Climbers can climb The Nose via one of 13 routes. Rafters can try navigating the Po Chu River and the Mo Chu River. Activity enthusiasts can also try archery, fishing, or opt to go camping! It's safe to say that Bhutan is a natural playground for lovers of the outdoors.Read More