WALKING & HIKING TOUR
Explore Bhutan on foot, hiking and walking from city to city with minimal amount of hours spent sitting in the back seat of a car. Why drive to a city on a motorized tar road with scenes zooming past your eyes, when you can hike on rugged trails savoring the untouched nature of Bhutan? Trudge along ridges surrounded by majestic mountains, hike from one hotel in a city to the next while listening in on the ancient oral traditions of our unique culture. With walking and hiking the foci everyday speckled with cultural sightseeing in Thimphu, Punakha and Paro, this trip is a calling for active adventurers.
There may be a disparity between the difficulty levels of hikes in Bhutan and those in your country. Easy hikes in Bhutan may be considered difficult in other regions because of the differences in terrain, air pressure, treeline and trail conditions. Easy hikes reach a maximum of 2500m which mostly start from valley floors and ascend into the high ridges. When hikers cross 2500m altitude and hike up to a whopping 4200m, we enter the moderate to difficult levels where we often cross the tree line which is 3700m.
The striking views that hikers get to see at the end of each hike isn’t short of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Thimphu city can be seen nestled in the valley from Phajoding, a hike that ascends 4200m above the sea level. Kung Karpo hike is your best bet to absorb the majestic views of Paro and Haa Valleys. One distinction between the trails in Bhutan to those of others is the organic and untouched paths which occasionally cross cool streams from the Himalayas. Indulge in the natural forest, home for exotic birds, flora and fauna. With steep ascents and descents, hikers with some sturdy boots can achieve some great heights and with every few hundred meters gain in altitude, one can also witness the gradual change of vegetation and thinning of the air. Hiking in Bhutan is an adventure you must not miss.
6 most popular hikes to add in your itinerary
Walk along the ridge adorned with thick fluttering prayer flags. On the ridge is the breathtaking views of Paro and Haa valleys on the either side of the pass. Climbing higher up the ridge will take you to Gungkarpo (4600m), where you will find sky burial spot.
Built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother in the late 20th century, this temple is dedicated to the Kingdom’s welfare as well as a long prosperous life of our Druk Gyalpo. The temple is the epitome of the finest Bhutanese craftsmanship and artistic traditions.
This is one of the most picturesque hikes in the Thimphu region. On clear days, one can enjoy 360° view of the breathtaking Himalayan mountain ranges from the top of Lungchutse goenpa to the extreme north. Once you are at the Dochula Pass (3140m), walk to the south of the mani wall and Chorten. Head up the ridge through cattle trails until you find recognisable Homo sapiens trail.
As you walk along the trail you will have an opportunity to witness the landing and taking off of Drukair which would remind you of the exciting landing you had earlier. This beautiful hike serve as acclimatization and adaptation for the trek if you have to undergo the next day.
Drive above Thimphu city, pass Mothithang area and drop by the Takin Reserve to see our national animal Takin, which is endemic only to Himalayan ranges. The view of Tashichodzong, Thimphu city, and Buddha statue is stunning from here.
With an end altitude of 4000m, Phajoding Hike falls under moderate-difficult. Hikers can expect breathtaking views of the Thimphu Valley and avid birdwatchers can catch glimpses of some exotic birds on the trail. The trail starts from the Broadcast tower (2200 m) and ascends up to Phajoding (3000m) and Thuji dra (3700m) and further up to the stone chorten (4000 m) and finally ends at Motithang.
To start your day in Thimphu you will visit the National Textile Museum followed by the National Institute of Zorig Chusum (School of Arts and Crafts). After lunch in the city you may visit the Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory and Nado Poizokhang Incense Factory to witness some interesting traditional practices. To end your day we will drive to Kuenselphodrang or Buddha Point where the biggest bronze statue in the world stands — a 169 feet Buddha state overlooking Thimphu Valley.
Today you will start early from Thimphu and drive to Paro for your hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery. It is Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at 3180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria, located about halfway up on the mountain. The monastary is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. Explore the monastery and hike down to the valley floor. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
Today we will bid you farewell as you catch your flight from Paro to your next adventure.
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