Hiking trips in Bhutan - 7 Days

Overview

Hiking trips in Bhutan are the best option to explore Bhutan’s natural beauty and it’s unique culture and traditions. There are plenty of hiking trails in Bhutan which offer the best views and great mountain panoramas. Hiking tours Bhutan revolves around Paro, Thimphu and Punakha. At all of these important locations, there exit several beautiful day hikes in Bhutan. In Thimphu, one can go for a day hike To Cheri Monastery located at the northern end of Thimphu town. It was established in 1620 by Ngawang Namgyal. It’s a refreshing hike where the monastery is located atop a hill in a lush green environment. After Thimphu proceed to Punakha en-route taking a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang ‘fertility temple’ dedicated to Drukpa Kunley. It is a quick hike from the road head to the temple located in rice fields. In Punakha awaits Khamsum Chorten hike at the Khamsum Chorten temple. It’s a newly erected temple in 2004 by HM the Queen Mother. The hike itself is about 2 hours outskirts of Punakha. Getting back to Paro go for a day hike to Chumphu Temple which is about 3-4 hours to the temple. The main attraction of the temple is ‘floating’ statue of tantric goddess Dorje Phagmo (Vajravarahi) who is said to have flown here from Tibet and turned into a statue. At the end of the tour is the ever-popular hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ (3120m). Taktsang is located outskirts of Paro and is a must-visit location during any Bhutan tour.

Besides day hikes in Bhutan, walking and hiking in Bhutan tour will take you to many other cultural and heritage sites, monasteries, dzong fortress, temples and shrines. In Paro, visit Paro Rinpung Dzong and Kyichu Lhakhang –which is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. local sightseeing in Thimphu takes you to Buddha’s point, King Memorial Chorten, Centenary Farmers Market, National Institute of Traditional Medicine etc. In Punakha, pay a visit to what’s believed to be one of the most beautiful monasteries in Bhutan ‘Punakha Dzong’. Bhutan walking and hiking tour is to explore Bhutan’s natural beauty and discover it’s cultural heritage.

Outline Itinerary for Hiking trips in Bhutan
Day 01: Arrival Paro (2250m) – Thimphu (2350m)
Day 02: In Thimphu –Day hike To Cheri Monastery (2850m)
Day 03: Thimphu – Punakha (1310m) – Chimi Lhakhang short hike
Day 04: Punakha – Khamsum Chorten hike – Paro (2250m)
Day 05: In Paro – Day hike to Chumphu Temple
Day 06: Paro – Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ (3120m)
Day 07: Paro depart

Trip Highlights

  • -Witness majestic Himalayan panorama while flying in/out from Paro
  • -Explore around Paro exploding with colors and tradition
  • -Day hike To Cheri Monastery in Thimphu
  • -Visit the tiny capital Thimphu
  • -Explore rich Buddhist & Tibetan culture & traditions
  • -Khamsum Chorten hike in Paro
  • -Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ Hike (3,120m) outskirts Paro
  • -Experience Bhutanese age-old culture & traditions first-hand

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Paro – Transfer to Thimphu

Arrive Paro by the Bhutanese National Carrier flying over the world’s highest mountains and finally landing at the lush green Paro valley. A cool and clean fresh air greets the visitor as stepping down from the plane, the first gift of Bhutan. After clearing customs and visa formalities, meet the representatives and the Bhutanese guide, and a short tour brief by the guide then transfer to Paro town for lunch. Then drive towards Thimphu (the capital of Bhutan) for about 1 & half hours drive. En-route Thimphu, one can do a short hike to Tamchog Monastery, a private temple owned by the descendents of famous Tibetan bridge – builder Thangthong Gaylpo. Later on continue the drive to Thimphu.

In Thimphu, visit Buddha point for a stunning view of Thimphu city and Takin Compound- on the way to the viewpoint over Thimphu is the home of Bhutan’s national animal, the Takin. Then continue to Tashi Choe Dzong- the fortress of the glorious religion was initially constructed in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk in the 1960s, Folk Heritage Museum – a 300 year old traditional house converted into a museum, Centenary Farmers Market, the new authentic craft bazaar. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 2
In Thimphu –Day hike To Cheri Monastery (2850m)

Drive up the valley to north along Thim Chhu (river) for a hike to Cheri Monastery. The short drive along the countryside reaches the Jigme Dorji Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest protected area in Bhutan. The park is home to several endangered species including the Takin, snow leopard, blue sheep, tiger, red panda, and the Himalayan black bear. More than 300 species of birds have been cataloged within the park and it has a rich vegetation.

Begin the hike from the small village of Dodena after crossing the covered bridge over the Thim Chhu to climb up steadily to Cheri Monastery. Cheri Monastery is a small monastery atop hill with a view over the Thimphu Valley. Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel built this monastery in 1620, and this is where the first community of monks in Bhutan was established. The monastery contains the ashes of Tempi Nima, the father of the first Shabdrung of Bhutan, so the monastery is considered very sacred. Shabdrung also spent three years in retreat here and it’s a renowned meditation place even today. Afterward, descend back re-tracing the same route keeping our eyes open for the goral (wild goat) often spotted on the cliffs nearby. Afterward back to Thimphu. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 3
Thimphu – Punakha (1310m) – Chimi Lhakhang short hike

Drive to Punakha from Thimphu which is about 1 & half hour. En-route passing over Dochula La at 3140m. The pass commands a wonderful panorama of the Eastern Himalayas on clear weather. descend through varied forest From the pass and finally emerge into the highly cultivated valley of Punakha. Take a short hike through beautiful rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley. He was a favorite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as “the Divine Madman”. The temple is on a hillside in the middle of rice fields and has become a pilgrimage site for childless couples. Then drive to Punakha. Afternoon: visit Punakha Dzong located at the confluence of the Pho-chu (male-river) and Mo-chu (female-river), the Punakha Dzong is arguably the most impressive dzong in the country. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 4
Punakha – Khamsum Chorten hike – Paro

In the morning after breakfast, hike up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyel Chorten erected by Royal queen mother for the purpose of present king in 2002. The temple offers a great view of the lower valley. The temple is regarded as one of the most intricate with paintings. At the temple one could see three different sect of Mahayana Buddhism. Then drive towards Paro. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 5
In Paro – Day hike to Chumphu Temple

Early in the morning after having breakfast, proceed with hike to the Floating statue Temple in Paro. It’s not a familiar tourist destination as this site is promoted by few travel agent. The Chumphu Nye hike starts from the upper Dop Shari Valley after a drive for about half an hour on the dirt road from Paro. Then keep walking along the river till reaching a small chorten (stupa). From this point, you can spot Chumphu Nye atop a hill on your left. The walk then is easy as the path way is alongside the river with a mixture of gentle up hill and downhill but at the very end after reaching the small temple from where the temple can finally seen it’s a steep climb up for 45 Mins to reach and see the amazing floating statue of Dorji Pham. Afterwards trace the same route back and to Paro. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 6
Paro – Hike to Tiger Nest Monastery

In the morning we drive to the base camp of Taktsang to start the hike up to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s nest). The hike up to the cafeteria will take around 2 hrs. At the view point, you will enjoy the stunning view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. We then walk back to the road point and drive to the winding road to the Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fort, which was once defended this valley from Tibetan invasions, and also visit a Bhutanese farm house of a local family at Drukgyal for a close up view of everyday Bhutanese life. Later drive to visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. In the evening take a walk around the main street of Paro’s main shopping district. Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 7
Departure from Paro

After breakfast your representative will help you with the exit formalities and bid you farewell and wish you happy journey back home.

Cost

What is Included

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
  • 3-star accommodation throughout your Bhutan stay (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium).
  • Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing.
  • Route Permit.
  • Three meals per day - Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner (only breakfast on last day)
  • A licensed English Speaking Bhutanese tour guide.
  • All land transportation by a private vehicle.
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary.
  • Monuments entrance fees wherever applicable.
  • Bottled drinking water.
  • All internal taxes and charges.
  • A sustainable development fee of $65. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)

What is Not Included

  • Airfare & Travel Insurance.
  • Expenses of personal nature, Tips & Gratuities.
  • Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.

Trip Information

Bhutan Visa Information:
The citizen of Bangladesh, Maldives and India do not require VISA to enter Bhutan. People from other countries except from Bangladesh, Maldives and India need a VISA permit while traveling to Bhutan. The VISA processing for Bhutan requires a readable color copy of passport via email that has at least six month of validity from the date of exit from Bhutan. The file Scan Copy should be forwarded to via email in JPEG or PDF format. The passport number and picture of the applicant should be visible in the e-document.

The application should be processed at least 10 days prior to the date of entry to Bhutan. The tourism council of Bhutan then issues a VISA clearance letter and fax or email it to the local travel agent. Please note that the VISA service is not offered in Bhutan, travelers have to buy full service package from the local tour operator. Travelers traveling by air are required to produce a printed VISA clearance copy at the time of check-in for Druk Air flight. People traveling by land to enter Bhutan via Phuentshoking or Samdrup Jonkhar are required to produce a VISA clearance letter at the immigration center. The actual VISA is stamped in your passport on your arrival in Bhutan.

Flights to Bhutan:
There are several cities that have direct flights to Bhutan. There are two airlines Druk air and Bhutan airlines running the flights to Bhutan. Druk air is the national carrier of Bhutan. With its fleet of Airbuses A319-115 and ATR 42 the airlines fly from different Asian countries to the Paro international airport, Paro (PBH); which is only the international airport in Bhutan. There are daily direct flights from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu to Paro International Airport.

The flights from Indian cities to Paro International Airport with the airport name and their codes are listed below:
Bagdogra Airport, Bagdogra (IXB)
Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi (DEL)
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata (CCU)
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (BOM)

Likewise, there flights from other countries with the codes are as follows:
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand (BKK)
Shahjalal International Airport, Bangladesh (DAC)
Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore (SIN)

Note: The flight schedule and timings are subject to change. If you want to know more about the flight schedules and tour to Bhutan please feel free to contact us. We can also help to find you the cheapest fares available.

Best time to visit Bhutan:
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan lies in south Asia between China and India. Climate and weather vary according to the altitude, season and place of visit. Bhutan is open all year around for the visitors but it is better to make the travel arrangements as per your preference and nature of visit.

The ideal time to visit Bhutan is spring (March-May) and Autumn/fall (September-November). These are considered to be the best time to visit Bhutan to get the maximum adventure and trouble free experience. Summer and winter also have their own specialties that could draw the attention of tourists during these seasons. During the spring the weather mostly remains clear and climate is fantastic. It is also the best time to visit for the nature lovers to experience the mystifying beauty of nature. Varieties of flowers and plants bloom in this season that makes your adventure an exotic one. The route opens for Jomolhari and Druk Path treks from mid-April to May.

Summer (June-August) in the other hand could get tricky at times due to the early arrival of monsoon. The month of June would be great for traveling if the monsoon is pushed further. Usually monsoon is in full swing by early July. Travelers who would strive to get some trekking experience on muddy trail while witnessing swollen rivers, green forests and flourishing paddy field could choose late summer to plan their adventure. The view of open clear blue sky after the rain is something that strikes you with its mystifying beauty.

Fall (September-November) is another favorable and crowded season after spring. The weather gets mild despite cold mornings and evenings. Tourists from all around the world thong to Bhutan during this season to witness Black-Necked-Crane festival. The month of October has its own significance and the valley turn into a shade of gold as the farmers prepare to harvest their rice crops during this month.

Winter season (December to February) is not that crowded with tourists in comparison to other seasons. Planning your adventure during the winter could be a better idea if you want to avoid the hustle-bustle of the peak season. During the winter Bhutan may see some snow fall. The temperature level goes down (even below freezing point) during some winter days.

VACCINATION FOR BHUTAN:
No vaccinations are presently required However, the following vaccinations are recommended:
Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver. The disease is distinctly unpleasant, with profound nausea, loss of appetite, and weakness.
Tetanus: Tetanus bacteria can infect small wounds and cause a fatal infection.
Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever is caused by infection with Salmonella typhi bacteria, passed in human feces and acquired by eating contaminated food or water.

WEATHER IN BHUTAN:
Bhutan lies in South Asia between China and India in the Himalayas, weather in Bhutan depends upon the altitude. In the northern parts of the country where mountains rise up to 7,000m, weather conditions are similar to arctic. Southwards, closer to India, the weather is hot and humid in the summer and cool in winter. The monsoon rains are usually heavy. Winters can be a good time to visit the lower parts, but then the highest areas are freezing.

The best times to visit Bhutan are spring (March-May) and autumn (late September – November) when the weather is warm, dry and sunny but always throw in a couple of warm clothes into your travelling gear when you travel to Bhutan regardless of the season.

WHAT TO WEAR AND BRING:
Layering Clothing
Bring your clothes according to the season and region of your travel. Based on your activity and the weather, you can make quick adjustments, by putting on more clothing if it is cold or taking off layers as it warms up. In the summer time, days can be quite warm, especially in the lowlands of Punakha and Phuentsholing, light cotton clothing is recommended for day time. But in most of the tourist and trekking areas, light woolen clothes for evenings and heavy woollens / down jackets for winter are necessary. A waterproof windbreaker is important for trekking and outdoor activities.
Comfortable and Sturdy shoes.
You have a lot of opportunity to walk around in Bhutan, you will be glad you wore sturdy shoes that keep your feet comfortable. Good shoes will let you explore the rural and allow you to have a long day walk. Bring sandals or slip ons to take off easily when entering temples.
Long pants / skirts
Wear particularly conservative clothing in the towns, women should wear long pants or long skirts, men should wear long pants and shorts are not appropriate for anyone. In the dzongs and temples, the legs and arms must be covered, and even threequarter-length capri pants are not acceptable for women.
Rain gear
Be prepared for occasional shower. A folding umbrella is a good idea to bring with.
Hat, Sunglass, Sunscreen & lip protection.
The sun can be scorching in Bhutan. Be sure to apply sunscreen in the morning and throughout your day.

Other requirements:
A quality sleeping bag.
Waterproof gators.
A headlamp torch and a normal torch. (Including spare batteries.)
Binoculars and Camera.
Small day pack.
Water bottle
Towel
Small medical kit that includes aspirin, motion sickness tablets, diamox.(The guide carries a larger Medical kit but please bring own travel medications)
Antiseptic hand gel for disinfecting hands without water.
Mini-flashlight

DIFFERENT CURRENCY ACCEPTED BY BHUTAN BANK:
Credit cards are accepted only in major international hotels and high-end shops in Bhutan.

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Hiking trips in Bhutan

TRIP FACTS

  • Bhutan
  • 06 Nights/07 Days
  • March to May & September to November
  • Private vehicles & Flights
  • Taktsang Monastery (3,120m)
  • Easy
  • Paro, Bhutan
  • Paro, Bhutan
  • Cultural Sightseeing & hiking
  • Cultural & Nature Tour
  • Taktsang Monastery 'Tiger's Nest', Paro Ringpung Dzong. Thimphu City, Punakha Dzong, Cheri Monastery, Khamsum Chorten, Chumphu Temple
  • Government approved 3 stars and Above

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