hikes in Thimphu
Tucked in a valley peppered with monasteries and rural trails snaking mountain slopes, sits Thimphu. Bhutan’s capital city may not be the first place in the world that comes to mind when you think of intrepid treks. Still, the region encompasses a magical collection of trails that go above-and-beyond ordinary. The hikes combine spectacular scenery with glimpses of local life, one that seamlessly marries ancient practices with contemporary style. And sprinkled amid the magnificent views and locals, is an array of Buddhist monasteries nestled into the steep hillsides.
The Thimphu valley boasts of a myriad of trails all within close proximity to Bhutan’s capital city. While finding the trailheads may sound complicated at first, it’s not. Most taxi drivers will know exactly where to take interested trekkers. Several trails also begin at a distinct drop-off point, such as a building or a monastery.
Most visitors flock to Thimphu for Druk Path, a stunning backpacking adventure. Still, the valley contains layers of remote paths leading to magical views of the valley below with glimpses of the Himalayas accompanied by Buddhist monasteries. Expect to go on a surplus of day hikes, granting you the chance to explore nature by day and bask in the modern, comfortable amenities spanning Thimphu by night.
Are you interested in hiking in Thimphu? We’ve gathered a collection of trekking-related information so that you can cut some hours off researching. Put your hiking gear on and get ready to trek the less-travelled Thimphu!
Types Of Hiking In Thimphu
Thimphu valley offers several hikes suitable for all levels. Expect to encounter many easy, family-friendly, day hike options that won’t have you panting too hard, but will carry you to remarkable views of both the valley below and one of the many Buddhist monasteries carved into a steep grassy hillside. Those seeking more of a challenge will also find trails winding up the mountainside, taking you to a high elevation and deep into the woods.
Some hikes, especially the easier ones, can be done in one afternoon, but you will find several that last for hours. You’ll likely interact with monks, locals, and packs of friendly dogs—who will scare off any bears or yaks that you may encounter—as you meander Thimphu’s backyard.
Easy Hikes In Thimphu
Cheri Monastery: Spanning just 2-3 hours and covering 2.4km, this is an ideal trek for those seeking an outdoorsy afternoon or morning activity, one that immerses you into nature and unveils stunning views of the land below and of the Cheri Monastery carved into the mountain slope.
Family Hikes In Thimphu
Tango: This well-marked 4.0km hike gives families a chance to ease into the array of hikes twisting through Thimphu’s valley. Amid the scenery, expect to encounter monkeys swinging in the trees and deer dotting the landscape.
Dodeydrak Monastery Hike: Enjoy interacting with the locals as you make your way to the Dodeydrak Monastery, where you’ll instantly appreciate its precarious position on the mountain slope. This trail offers a more off-the-beaten-track experience, making it a memorable family trekking adventure.
Day Hikes In Thimphu
Chele La Pass: Embroidered with a tranquil ambience and lush scenery, this one-way day hike immerses you into the natural wonderland, blanketing the land between Thimphu and Paro, offering views of both Paro valley and Haa valley. This trek grants you the chance to choose your endpoint, making it a fun option for those who prefer a little trail flexibility.
Pomola: Etched with magnificent vistas, horses and yaks peppering the landscape, and a blue pine forest, this 13.0km route never fails to delight the trekkers who walk this trail. Once you reach Pomola Pass, you can choose your own path back. And who doesn’t love a choose-your-own-adventure hike?
Challenging Hikes In Thimphu
Talakha Hike: This trek may only cover 13.5km, but it’s not for the faint of heart! The lack of signs dotting the path may add a little adventure to this challenging route, but the views from the peak will force you to forget about how hard you were panting moments before.
Best Hikes In Thimphu
Phajoding Monastery: This trek not only provides a glimpse of the rural lifestyle dotting Bhutan’s mountain slopes but the path takes you to the Phajoding Monastery, a now-declared “endangered monument.” Expect to encounter horse teams, locals, and a myriad of magnificent vistas.
Thari Goempa: The Thari Goempa hike covers 11.0km with an elevation of 3261m, making it one the most rewarding day hikes near Thimphu. Encounter jaw-dropping views of Phudjoding, Doedaydra, and Buddha Point as you wind along the path. The pinnacle of the walk will take you to the goempa, where stunning views await.
Buddha Point: This out-and-back route will have you traversing logging roads and lush rainforest with the highlight being the statue of Buddha gazing over the vast landscape below. While this hike may be just over 11.0km, it’s relatively flat, making it an ideal morning or afternoon escapade.
Lungchutse: The Lungchutse hike boasts of a well-marked trail, a short 6.1km out-and-back route, and views of the famed Himalayas. After hiking through groves of trees—junipers, hemlock, and rhododendrons—the green forest will dissolve into a ridge, where, if it’s a clear day, views of the Himalayas will paint the background.
When Is The Best Time To Hike In Thimphu?
The best time to visit Thimphu is between March to May or September to November when the level of humidity provides more comfort than mugginess. During these months, the temperatures range between 16°C and 26°C, amounting to ideal trekking weather. It’s best to avoid going to Bhutan during the monsoon season—June to August.
From September to November, the torrential downpour from the previous months will cloak the landscape with vibrant hues of green, turning Thimphu’s valley into a verdant trekking wonderland. Hikers flocking to Thimphu between September and November may get the chance to mix up their expeditions with lively festivals dotting the area, with one notable event being the three-day Thimphu Tshechu. This festival typically takes place in mid to late September or early October.
It’s also best to avoid flying to Bhutan during the cold winter months, but once March rolls around, flowers will begin to bloom, and birds will spatter the sky. Be sure to pack warm clothes if you plan to come between March and May—the temperature can drop drastically!
Best Regions For Hiking in Thimphu
The lush Thimphu valley stretches for 26.0km and is loaded with a panoply of trails and revered monuments. Nestled within the mountains cradling the valley, you’ll find a concoction of regions layered with explorable paths.
If you’re looking for views of the Himalayas, opt to venture to Duchola, where panoramic vistas of the snow-swept mountains line the horizon. Whereas, more family-friendly, more accessible paths, such as Cheri Monastery, Dodeydrak Monastery, and Tango wind through the northern part of the valley. Meanwhile, the west, towards Paro, offers more intrepid treks, where the route signage is poor, but the adventure and rewarding scenery ranks high. Head south for one of the most challenging hikes: Talakha.
Other Outdoor Activities in Thimphu
As Bhutan’s capital city, Thimphu is one of the leading adventure hubs in the country. On top of hiking, you can opt to participate in a collection of outdoor activities, including climbs. Fun fact: Thimphu is home to The Vertical Bhutan Climbing Club, which provides equipment, training, and supervision! Or you can give your legs a break and go on an adrenaline-inducing kayaking adventure through Class IV+ rapids on the Upper Thimphu Chuu.Read More
The best hikes in Thimphu
Are we missing your favourite hike?
Tell us! If you've got photos, a GPS track and know the hike, we'd love to share your favourite hike with the rest of the 10Adventures community.