5 Best Hikes and Treks in Bhutan

The best way to visit Bhutan is to walk through the scenery there step by step. There are snow-capped mountains overlooking the globe, sacred alpine lakes, pristine forests with towering trees, beautiful and rare wildlife, and flowers everywhere. With dozens of official trekking or hiking routes in Bhutan every year tourists from all over the world come to Bhutan for them. The following famous routes are widely acclaimed by domestic and international tourists, ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced and in time from one day to one month, so there is something for everyone.

Hiking in BhutanHiking in Bhutan

Gangtey Nature Trail takes about 2 hours and is a 4-kilometer long route in Wangdue Phodrang district of central Bhutan, starting at Gangtey Goenpa and ending at Gangtey Valley. There are rhododendron gardens, jade-hued bamboo bushes, pine trees and magnolias along the way. The Gangtey Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan, where clear streams flow gently and cows, sheep and horses graze contentedly in the lush meadows. This is a route to take all year round, especially from late October to mid-February, when flocks of endangered black-necked cranes feed in the valley.

Village During the Gangtey Nature HikeVillage During the Gangtey Nature Hike

With little elevation change and mainly flat roads, this route is not physically demanding, making it an easy and pleasant hike for parents and children to experience together. Cars will be waiting at the end of the route to take tourists back to hotels or to other destinations.

It is a route that will take you on a tour of Tiger's Nest, the sacred temple of Bhutan, and the magnificent Paro Valley. Tiger's Nest is about 10 kilometers from the center of Paro, perched on a 900-meter-high cliff above the Paro Valley, appearing to float in the air from a distance. On the hike, the lush forests of the Paro Valley, the gently flowing rivers, and the brightly colored villages make up a vast and beautiful canvas that unfolds before your eyes. Upon entering Tiger's Nest, the entire visit will be quiet and solemn, and you will see a number of shrines meditation caves, and a large statue.

Tiger's NestTiger's Nest

You will walk about 3 kilometers up the slope to the temple and then back the same way, which requires you to have enough stamina. There are some stalls selling wooden hiking sticks, it's a good idea to buy one for the steep sections of the hike. There are also horses and mules available for hire at the base of the cliff, they can carry you about halfway up the route to make the climb easier.

Including the temple visit, Tiger's Nest Hike usually takes 4-6 hours. Overall the route is not difficult, there are restrooms halfway up the route, and also a cafeteria where you can eat something and take a break. It is recommended that you choose to experience this route in the spring or fall for more comfortable temperatures.

Druk Path Trek is one of the most classic trekking routes in Bhutan, with views of the towering Himalayan snow-capped mountains and Bhutan's highest peak, Gangkhar Puensum, as well as several beautiful alpine lakes, the largest of which is called Jimilang Tsho, considered a sacred lake by the Bhutanese people, which is very calm and home to huge trout. The weather is sunny and pleasant in the spring and fall, making it more suitable for experiencing the Druk Path Trek.

Ta Dzong, the Starting Point of Druk Path TrekTa Dzong, the Starting Point of Druk Path Trek

The Druk Path Trek is 54 kilometers long and starts at Ta Dzong in Paro and ends at Motithang Takin Reserve in Thimphu, where the vehicle waits for tourists. The route takes 5 days and after a walk of 4 to 5 hours, you can reach the camps provide hearty dishes, so you can get enough rest and food supplies every day.

The main difficulty of this route is the high altitude. If you have some experience of high-altitude trekking, then this route will be easier for you. Walk slowly and hydrate in time, there is also no tough for novices to finish the route.

Jomolhari Trek is 102 kilometers long. Starting from Sharna Zampa in Paro and ending at Dom Shisa in Thimphu where the vehicle waits for the tourists. It usually takes 11 days to finish the trek. The best seasons for Jomolhari Trek are spring and fall when the climate is more pleasant. Along the way you will pass through flowers and trees of many kinds, river valleys, glacial valleys, meadows, tundra, and see a lot of yaks, blue sheep, giant ground squirrels, and above all, you will be able to see Jomolhari, the sacred mountain of Bhutan, from far away and up close.

Scenery During the Jomolhari TrekScenery During the Jomolhari Trek

Jomolhari Trek is suitable for frequent trekkers and is demanding physically. It is a challenging high-altitude trek up to 4,930 m. There are many camps and villages along the way where you can find a place with a nice view to stop and rest. You will reach the camp after a walk for 5-8 hours. Having mules and horses carry all your belongings is another choice to ease this trek.

Snowman Trek is known as one of the toughest treks in the world and is only attempted by a very small number of experienced and professional trekkers each year. You will cross river valleys, waterfalls, lakes, and juniper forests at an altitude of about 5,000 meters; see the spectacular Gangchhenta (Great Tiger Mountain), the Tshendayang Group, Teri Gang and Masakang in the snow. In addition, there are many alpine villages along the way where you can enjoy authentic food and beer while learning archery, slate carving and bamboo weaving with the locals. If you are up for such a challenge, the beauty of Snowman Trek awaits you.

Snowman Trek takes 27 days and starts at Paro and ends at Thongsa, traversing through Thimphu, Gasa, Punakha and Wangdue for a total of about 320 kilometers. Each day, you will need to walk for 5-8 hours to reach the camps to rest. Horses and yaks will be available to help you carry your luggage along the way.

A more suitable time to complete Snowman Trek is from mid-June to mid-October each year, when temperatures are more comfortable, with late September to mid-October being the best time with less rainfall.

  • Bring long-sleeved shirts, waterproof jackets, long trekking trousers, waterproof trekking shoes, good quality socks and hats, as well as medical kit, sleeping bag, toiletries, sunscreen, sunglasses, quick-drying towels, daypack, trekking stick and other necessary trekking and personal items. There will be horses to help you carry all your belongings.
  • You don't need to worry about tents, food and water. Regardless of the route, the camps along the way have clean tents for sleep and shower tents with hot water for bathing. The cooks at the camps prepare fresh and varied meals for you every day. Food and water will be packed for you at the camps, enough for you to get to the next camp.
  • The main cities of Bhutan, Paro and Thimphu, are at an altitude of more than 2,000 meters, and tourists hardly experience any discomfort when traveling there. Some tourists experience altitude sickness when they walk to an altitude of more than 4,000 meters. Please consult your doctor before choosing a route whether you are physically able to adapt to the corresponding high altitude. No matter which route you choose, please carry medication for nausea with you, and if you have symptoms of altitude sickness, the staff can send you back to the lower altitude and help you adjust your routes.

Come to Bhutan to discover a different philosophy of life, the natural beauty will lead your footsteps and get your mind away from the hustle and bustle. Let Odynovo create travel plans and handle possible hassles for you, so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.

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