Bhutan Trekking

bumthang-cultural-trekkingBhutan Trekking is a truly amazing experience. From the warmth and lush vegetation of the river valleys to the icy slopes of the eastern end of the Himalayas, you will encounter some of the most stunning scenery and friendly people imaginable.

All treks are a combination of natural discovery and an insight into the unique culture and lifestyle of the people. The trail on each trek passes through traditional ancient villages where the lifestyle of the villagers has seen little change in over a century. You will get the chance to mingle with the locals, observe their custom and tradition, unique architectural houses, and ancient monasteries.

Bhutan Trekking offers an ample opportunity to explore and experience the rich Buddhist culture, history, lifestyle of the people, and biodiversity of flora and fauna. Almost all the areas of the kingdom are mountainous, with furious rivers sourcing from the high Himalaya and over two-thirds is densely forested. Besides the dramatic landscape, it is enriched with mighty Dzongs (fortified monasteries), towering poles of fluttering Buddhist prayer flags, and lonely chortens (stone monuments containing religious relics and sometimes prayer wheels).

Bhutan Trekking is permitted on currently 17 trails (as recognized by the Department of Tourism for Bhutan) that lead us through the rugged terrain, isolated settlements, scenically beautiful alpine pasturelands, rhododendron forests, the foothills of the snow-peaked mountains, riverbanks, green valleys, and beautiful natural lakes. Trekking in Bhutan is meant to be a soul searching venture in this remote and little-explored kingdom in the Himalayas.

Trekking in Bhutan allows the traveler to get off the beaten track and into the beautiful Bhutanese landscapes. Most of the trek routes run through protected areas and you will see wildlife in its natural habitat.

Treks range from short soothing walks through terraced fields and idyllic hamlets to some of the most arduous high altitude treks. They range from the popular six-day Druk Path trek to the twenty-five days Snowman Trek reaching an altitude of close to 5500m.

Bhutan Trekking is arranged as camping trips, as there are no hotels or lodges along the trails. Your camp is at a designated place where there is ample water supply to cook your meals and meadows to feed the horses. The company trekking crew treks with you to set up camps, carry your pack lunches, prepare tea, and serve meals at the campsites.  You will trek with your back-pack with only water bottles, batteries, cameras, jackets, and your basic daily items such as medicines, toiletries, and supplies of chocolate bars, insect repellents, and treatment tablets. Your heavier stuff such as tents, personal gear, kitchen, and food supplies are carried by horses or yaks at higher altitudes. We do not rely on porters.

Bhutan Trekking – Tour Package

bhutan trekking

Bumthang Cultural Trekking

This is a fairly easy three-day trek that takes you through beautiful valleys, along clear trout-filled rivers. Bumthang is often known as the ‘cultural heartland’ of Bhutan and there are plenty of ancient temples to visit during the trek. In addition to the numerous Lhakhang’s, there are also a number of small villages where you can stop and rest… Read More…


Bumthang Owl Trekking

This three-day trek around Bumthang offers both fantastic views of an unspoiled natural environment endowed with a diverse array of flora and fauna, as well as an opportunity to visit ancient Buddhist temples and monasteries. The trail takes you through forests of blue pine, birch, maple, spruce, juniper, bamboo, and a beautiful … Read More…


Chelela Trekking

This trek is for nature lovers, especially during spring, which is the Rhododendron season. The trail takes you through forests filled with many species of primula and shades of red and orange Rhododendrons. From the pass, you will have panoramic views of the two valleys Paro and Haa, along with the beautiful Himalayan ranges of Bhutan. … Read More…


Dagala Thousand Lakes Trekking

This six-day trek takes you into an area adorned with a multitude of pristine, crystal clear lakes. As you walk amidst the shimmering lakes you will be treated to stunning views of the entire Himalayan mountain range and some of the world’s highest peaks including Everest (8848m), Jomolhari (7315m), Masang Gang (7165m), Jichu … Read More…


Druk Path Trekking

The six-day trek is the most popular trek in the country as it passes through a gorgeous natural landscape of blue pine forests, high ridges, and pristine lakes while at the same time offering the opportunity to visit some ancient Monasteries, Lhakhang’s, Dzongs, and villages. The Druk Path trek is fairly easy to undertake as the distances … Read More…


Duer Hot Springs Trekking

This is one of the most challenging treks available in Bhutan and the route partially overlaps with the trail of the legendary Snowman Trek, the most difficult trek in the world. This grueling nine-day journey will take you up to the Duer hot springs, arguably the most beautiful hot springs in the Himalayas. The trail has numerous steep ascents and  Read More…


Gangtey Trekking

Although the trek is possible throughout the winter, the best time for the Gangtey trek is between March to May and September to November. It is a short and relatively easy trek with several beautiful villages and monasteries en route. The trail winds through forests of juniper, bamboo, magnolia, and rhododendrons and over small … Read More…


Jomolhari Laya Gasa Trekking

The Laya-Gasa trek is considered to be one of the most scenic treks in Bhutan, offering amazing views of some of the most pristine and unspoiled landscapes in Bhutan. This fourteen-day, 217 km journey begins at Drukgyal in Paro and takes you through gorgeous alpine meadows, high mountain passes and dense sub-tropical jungles Read More…


Jomolhari Loop Trekking

Jomolhari Loop is the shortest of the Jomolhari trekking routes, which are the most popular treks in Bhutan. With altitude differences of 2250m and nearly 5000m, it offers a wide range of landscapes and flora and fauna. The highlight of this trek is the spectacular views of Jomolhari from Jomolhari Base Camp (Jangothang) … Read More…


Jomolhari Trekking

The Jomolhari Trek is longer than the Jomolhari Loop – one of the most popular trekking routes in Bhutan. With altitude differences of 2250m and nearly 5000m, it offers a wide range of landscapes and flora and fauna. The highlight of this trek is the spectacular view of the mountain Jomolhari from Jomolhari Base Camp (Jangothang)…. Read More…


Merak Sakteng Trekking

Merak-Sakteng stands out as a distinct attraction in Bhutan. Unlike anywhere else in the country, it offers a visitor to experience a unique semi-nomadic lifestyle, culture, and vernacular in one of the most scenic pastoral valleys in the protected area of Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) in Trashigang Dzongkhag (District), in Eastern Bhutan…. Read More…


Nabji Korphu Trekking

This one week trek offers a short, easy and enjoyable journey around scenic Trongsa Dzongkhag. The climate is warm and pleasant as the trail stays between 1000-1500m in altitude and there is a wide array of flora and fauna observable along the route including the rare Golden Langur, Red Pandas, Himalayan Black Bears  … Read More…


Punakha Winter Trekking

This is a short and easy trek through Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. The altitude of the trail covers almost a thousand meters in range, but the slopes are mostly gradual and should not present trekkers with much difficulty. This trek follows the old foot trail from Thimphu to Punakha passes through several villages … Read More…


Duer Hot Springs Trekking

This is one of the most challenging treks available in Bhutan and the route partially overlaps with the trail of the legendary Snowman Trek, the most difficult trek in the world. This grueling nine-day journey will take you up to the Duer hot springs, arguably the most beautiful hot springs in the Himalayas…. Read More…


Sagala Trekking

This moderate 3-day trek, also known as “The Haa Planters’ Trail,” follows the ancient trail used by rice planters from the Haa Valley on their way to lend their hands to the people of Paro during the rice plantation season (May – June). In return, the people of Haa received red rice after the autumn harvest. This trek passes … Read More…


Salt Route Trekking

Bhutan’s newest trekking route, the “Salt Trek,” has recently opened in 2012 in Trashigang, in the eastern region of Bhutan. The term “salt trek route” is derived from the purpose it served prior to the construction of the national highway from Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar. The people of the Eastern Dzongkhag’s (districts), used to … Read More…


Semtengang Trekking

This four-day trek is a short and pleasant journey from Punakha to Wangdue Phodrang Dzongkhag. It is a fairly easy trek as the altitude only ranges between 1100 and 1900m and the climate is warm throughout the trek. The path takes you through forests of rhododendron and oak, through the villages of Sha and … Read More…


Snowman Trekking I

The Snowman trek is an extension of the beautiful Laya Gasa Trek and leads from Laya into the high altitudes of the Bhutanese Himalayas. It takes tough and enduring trekkers into the Lunana region and further on to Gangkhar Puensum and Bumthang or down to Sephu in Trongsa district, depending on which route you choose… Read More…


Snowman Trekking II

The Snowman trek is an extension of the beautiful Laya Gasa Trek and leads from Laya into high altitudes of the Bhutanese Himalayas. It takes tough and enduring trekkers into the Lunana region and further on to Gangkhar Puensum and Bumthang or down to Sephu in Trongsa district, depending on which route Read More…


Wild East Rodung La Trekking II

While the Rodung La Trek does not ascend to very high altitudes, it is still fairly challenging as the trail covers some fairly steep climbs and descents. The trail takes you from Bumthang in Central Bhutan to Trashiyangtse in the far eastern reaches of the kingdom. The route was once an important trade road in the past, but it has  Read More…

When to Come?
The best season for trekking in Bhutan is spring and autumn, March to April, and late September to mid-November.  Although the nights are colder in autumn with temperature in higher altitudes ranging from 20 degrees Celsius down to minus 10 degrees Celsius, the days are warmer with bright sunshine.  The autumn and spring are generally a high season for tourists and all hotels and flights become fully booked. On the trek, you may find other trekkers camping next to you.  Our low altitude treks such as the Gangtey trek and the Samtengang trek runs throughout the year except in July and August when the weather is a little wet for trekking.

What you are supplied on the trek
On the trek, you will be supplied 2-man sleeping tents, dining tents, kitchen tents, toilet tents, mattresses, and utensils.  You will have to bring your own sleeping bags.  There is no trekking store in Bhutan to buy or rent one and we suggest you buy this from your country.

Trekking facilities are constantly being improved. All treks in Bhutan use tented campsite accommodation.

Trekking Staff
While trekking in Bhutan, you will be accompanied by a guide, a trekking cook, assistants, and horsemen.  The trekking cooks are experienced and there are no places in Bhutan where they have not wielded the pot and pan and they can whip up a delicious meal at any altitude, weather, or time.  Trekking cooks are trained by the Tourism Council of Bhutan and specialize in Bhutanese, Indian and Chinese cuisine.

Trekking food
While trekking, you are sent with an extensive assortment of supplies and you can depend entirely on camp meals.  You will not have to bring in any food items, except if you wish, you can carry some chocolate bars or trail mix for snacks and few packets of seasoning, but it is not really necessary.  On the trek, you are provided with three meals a day, breakfast, hot lunch served on the way, and dinner at the campsites with evening tea and snacks.  There are no fresh foods available on the trek. All the supplies are taken from the starting point of the trek.  For the first few days, you will be served fresh foods and meats and on longer treks, after a week or so, you will be served tinned foods. Trekking cooks can cook any type of food and if you have any special dietary needs, on prior notice they will take care of it.  Most of the trekkers say that trekking foods are better than in some of the restaurants and hotels.

Fitness level for treks in Bhutan
Trekking in Bhutan is physically demanding because of the distance and abrupt changes in elevation.  You will have to walk 7-9 hours for 15-19 kilometers daily to reach the campsites.  For example, for all the climbing days for the 18 days Laya Gasa Trek, there is an elevation gain and loss during steep ascents and descents of about 6800m and most of the other treks have an elevation gain of 500m in about 18kms.  Most of the climbs run through deep forests on rocky trails and sometimes the trails traverses through wet mud where you need the agility to hop between round river stones. However, if you have the experience of walking 20-25kms a day with a backpack and you do not have a history of knee pains on descents, it should not be difficult for you to trek in Bhutan.

Most treks in Bhutan go to an altitude where most people show signs of altitude sickness.  Guides are well trained on mountain sickness, medicine, and care. Trekking staff can handle the situation professionally and effectively. The cost that is provided does not include insurance of any kind and you will have to get insurance from your own country before you come trekking in Bhutan.

You will need to bring the following equipment
A quality sleeping bag
Waterproof gators
Sleeping mat for extra cushioning
A headlamp torch and a normal torch (including spare batteries)
Binoculars and Camera
Small day pack
Water bottle
Sunscreen, insect repellent, sun hat, and sunglasses
A small medical kit that includes aspirin, motion sickness tablets, Diamox
(The guide carries a larger medical kit but please bring own travel medications)
Quality footwear that has been previously worn in, warm clothing and wet weather gear
Antiseptic hand gel for disinfecting hands without water

Altitude Sickness Notes
Although rare, altitude sickness can be an acute problem for trekkers in Bhutan. Some of the designated treks go above 3000 meters. Those who have not properly acclimatized, are unfit and/or those who suffer from respiratory problems are at risk of altitude sickness and are advised not to trek.

Many treks take you to higher altitudes where the air is thin. The potential for altitude sickness should be taken into account when planning you’re itinerary and we recommend you consider carrying a supply of Diamox as a precaution. Please note oxygen cylinders are not available for trekkers in Bhutan.

Less experienced trekkers are recommended to consider either the Sinchula Trek, Chele La nature trek, or the Druk Path Trek, which leads across the chain of mountains separating the two main western valleys of Paro and Thimphu passing crystal clear lakes and on clear days offering splendid views of the high Himalayas.

Strenuous rated treks take in northern villages and pass yak herdsmen who spend most of the year tending to their herds. Some of these treks climb as high as 5500 meters and should only be attempted by exceptionally fit and strong trekkers with alpine experience.

The difficulty with trekking here, aside from the high cost ($250/day in the peak season), is the weather. Unlike Nepal and Ladakh, the windows for good high-altitude trekking in Bhutan are short: about 3 weeks in April and 3-4 weeks in October. Although the official season extends longer, you have the best chances of clear weather and little snow in the second half of April or the first three weeks of October. However, there are several low-altitude “winter treks”, which can be walked in other seasons.

Although most of the treks themselves are not difficult, the high altitude and difficulty of reaching rescue services mean that especially the treks through the High Himalayas are not for the faint-hearted. However, if you have saved up some money and are in good shape, you will have one of the best experiences imaginable.