- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
The Phajoding Monastery Hike will take you along a well-worn track, peppered with locals, horse teams, and a few other tourists, to the monastery. In 2010, the once-prosperous, adorned monastery was declared an “endangered monument.” If you have energy after reaching the monastery, you can opt to trek higher into the mountains for more vistas.
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Route Description for Phajoding Monastery
Phajoding is a favourite hike among locals and tourists alike. It’s a well-worn track, better in some places than others. If you’re walking it during monsoon season, be prepared for a muddy, slippery track.
This is also the start/end point for the Druk Path (highly recommended!) and as such frequently has horse teams traversing it. You may have to get off the path to let them pass, if you don’t, they will push you off which is quite unpleasant.
The start point is above the Takin Reserve, at a small tea shop. It is well signed, and most taxi drivers know where it is. The trip from town will cost around Nu250-300. At the sign, the path either goes up the hill or along the river, take the path up as the other path will take you to Pomola.
If you’re feeling adventurous you can walk to Pomola Goempa, where there’s a trail that joins the Phudjoding path (this route would be 15.0 km, 6-9 hours, 3,600 m elevation). Give yourself plenty of time, especially in the winter months. You may also start this trek at BBS Tower (you can drive up to the tower), which won’t take as long as starting from the tea shop.
There are a number of times where the track splits and one point where 5 paths converge under an oak tree. That is a nice place to pause for lunch or a snack. As with most Bhutan tracks, just keep heading up. There is minimal signage, but you can look for a red plank with yellow writing pointing the way.
At the top, enjoy the view, sit on the tree swing, or watch the monks play soccer in their spare time between study. If it’s winter, there is the chance of snow, so pack accordingly. The monastic body is very welcoming of guests. Be prepared for a chat and to share food with them.
If you’re a fast walker, it is possible to go to the chorten on the top of the peak above Phajoding (another hour and a half above the monastery) and back in a day. If you have a bit more time, stay overnight and head up to the 1000 lakes. If you plan to do so, start off early as it will take 7 – 8 hours to return to Phajoding. There is only one path—it’s not well signed.
Insider Hints for Phajoding Monastery
- Avoid hiking during monsoon if you can. The track isn’t impassable, but it’s not pleasant to navigate through mud.
- This is one of the busier paths around the capital. The monks feed and provide tea for more people than other monasteries—they also rely almost exclusively on offerings from visitors, a packet of biscuits, rice, tea, sugar or milk would be greatly received.
Getting to the Phajoding Monastery Trailhead
The start point is above the Takin Reserve, at a small tea shop.
Phajoding Monastery Elevation Graph
Weather ForecastCheck Area Weather
Phajoding Monastery Reviews
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