Trekking in Bhutan
Bhutan is a wonderfully scenic country with a huge variety of attractive landscapes ranging from snow capped Himalayan mountains, deep valleys, wooded hillsides, rolling meadows, lakes, waterfalls and fast flowing rivers. Often the best way to get a real appreciation of the countryside and the raw natural beauty of Bhutan is to explore by foot on one of the myriad trekking opportunities that the country has to offer.
Trekking durations vary from 26 days on the formidable ‘snowman trek', which is alleged to be one of the most difficult treks on the planet, to a much more leisurely one day hike through the picturesque Phobjikha Valley. Generally speaking, providing you are reasonably fit, there should be a trek to match your capabilities, and if you wish to undertake trekking as part of your tour we will be able to advise on the appropriate length, and areas to cover, for your exploration of the Bhutanese landscape. Most of the treks take place in the region of 3000m to 5500m. Shorter treks tend to be at lower altitude whereas longer treks will take you over some of the highest passes in the country so it is best to have a few days to acclimatise to the altitude before setting off. Depending on the altitude, and season, you should expect to walk around 6 to 7 hours each day (including meal & rest stops).
The great advantage of trekking in Bhutan is that the country has a rich legacy of travelling overland, over difficult terrain, using just horses and temporary accommodation. This inherent knowledge, accumulated over the generations, will be brought to bear on your trek by the experienced team that will accompany you - thus allowing you to concentrate on the views. Your trekking team will consist of an experienced guide, a horseman, a chef, and as many assistants and horses as are required for the size of the trekking party. Your main luggage will be carried by horse, so you will only need to carry a day-pack, and your campsite and meals will be prepared by the trekking team. Everything will be planned right down to the last detail so apart from the right clothing, and a small amount of equipment (we will supply you with a list), there will be little else to bring except a sense of adventure.
The best time to go
The best time to go trekking is in the spring and the autumn months. In the winter is is too cold, especially high in the mountains, and in the summer months conditions can be very damp due to the monsoon rains. The best months therefore tend to be from March to May and from late September through to November, when the the visibility in the mountains affords stunning views of the Himalayas. During spring and autumn, day-time temperatures will usually be good for walking, but temperatures will drop at night and sometimes it can get extremely cold so you should prepare for this by bringing a decent sleeping bag.
Below we have outlined a short list of the more famous treks that you might like to consider as part of your tour to Bhutan. However there are a great many alternatives to the ones shown below and so if you don't see something that appeals please let us know and we can make some alternative suggestions.
Tsaluna Trek (4 days)
Max altitude reached: 3480m
The trek starts from Paro and is classified as easy (i.e. it is suitable for the majority of people). The best months to do the Tsaluna Treak are March to June & September to November.
Druk Path Trek (4 to 6 days)
Max altitude reached: 4235m
The trek starts from Paro and is classified as moderate (i.e. it is suitable for people who are reasonably fit). The best months to do the Druk Path Trek are March to June & September to November.
Yaksa Trek (6 to 8 days, or 9 days with an extension to Lingshi)
Max altitude reached: 4520m
The trek starts near Paro and is classified as moderate (i.e. it is suitable for people who are reasonably fit). The best months to do the Yaksa Trek are March to June & October to November.
Jomolhari Trek (8 to 9 days)
Max altitude reached: 4930m
The trek starts near Paro and is classified as moderate (i.e. it is suitable for people who are reasonably fit). The best months to do the Jomolhari Trek are March to June & October to November
Laya to Gasa Trek (14 to 15 days - including 2 rest days)
Max altitude reached: 5005m
The trek starts near Paro and is classified as difficult (i.e. it is suitable for experienced trekkers). The best months to do the Laya to Gasa Trek are April to May & mid-September to mid-November.
Snowman Trek (26 days - including 4 rest days)
Max altitude reached: 5320m
The trek starts near Paro and is classified as extremely difficult (i.e. it is only suitable for the most experienced trekkers). The best months to do the Snowman Trek are September & October.
You can see how a trek might be incorporated into your itinerary in our recommended tours section where we have a few different options for your consideration.