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Best Hiking Trails in Bhutan

Overview

Bhutan, a kingdom nestled in the Himalayas, has some of the best hiking and trekking in the Himalayas.  One of the most difficult treks in the world, the Snowman Trek, is here. Bhutan is unique in many ways compared to its Asian neighbours – in an effort to preserve its identity and promote sustainable tourism, there are many restrictions in place for visitors.  For trekking, one must go with an organized tour and stay in designated hotels if staying in the city or towns.  Find out more information on where to hike near Thimpu and beyond, including the very popular Tiger’s Nest hike as well as the many multi-day treks found here. See the whole of Bhutan by hiking the Trans Bhutan Trail. The best times to hike are spring and fall, but read on for more details about when to go hiking in Bhutan. 

Capital: Thimpu

When To Hike in Bhutan?

March – May; September – November: spring and fall are the optimal times to trek
February; June; December: for some treks these might be good months
July – August; January: monsoon rains in the summer; cold in the winter months
Climate: Very difficult to pinpoint definite times to go here.  It all depends on altitude and area of country.  In general, avoid summer monsoon and winter snows; spring and autumn are best, and it shifts with the altitude.  There are low altitude hikes that can be done in winter.

Accessibility of Hiking

Medium – There is no independent hiking; you have to go with an organized tour and it can be quite expensive.  One can’t rent a car in Bhutan and public transit is limited.  

Top Places to Hike in Bhutan

In Bhutan, multi-day treks through the Himalayas are the thing rather than day hikes, even though the latter are possible, particularly around Thimpu. Western Bhutan is the most popular region with many established treks here. Highest Mountain: Gangkhar Puensum (7570 m) in the Great Himalaya range.

Filter out hiking places of Bhutan by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Phrumsengla National Park

  • Trekking in its infancy in this part of the country

Bumthang Valley

  • Also known as Chokhor Valley

Punakha Valley

  • Close to Jigme Dorji National Park

Phobjikha Valley

  • Day hikes and treks start from here
  • Close to Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park

Paro Valley

  • Several day hikes around here
  • The well-known Tiger’s Nest hike
  • Many treks start from here (Snowman, Jhomolhari, Druk Path)

Bhutan's Long Distance Trails

There are many long distance hiking trails in Bhutan.  Below are just a sample:

  • Snowman Trek – 27 day high-altitude trek is considered one of the hardest in the world   
  • Laya Gasa Trek – First 10 days of the Snowman trek
  • Dagala Thousand Lakes 
  • Jhomolhari Trek  
  • Druk Path Trek  
  • Trans Bhutan Trail – 403 km trek – Trans-Bhutan Trail
  • Great Himalaya Trail – approximately 1700 km going through the Himalaya (Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet) – Great Himalaya Trail

 

Bhutan's Walking & Hiking Resources

Bhutan Hiking Books: 

  • Trekking in Bhutan: 22 multi-day treks including the Jhomolhari, Druk Path, Lunana and Dagala treks, by Bart Jordans, Cicerone Guide, 2018, Cicerone Press
  • Mild and Mad Day Hikes Around Thimpu, by Piet van der Poel and Rogier Gruys, 2006 – www.bhutan-trails.org 
  • Lonely Planet Bhutan, by Lonely Planet, 2017, Lonely Planet Global Limitedthis is a good source of information; has a good map of the various treks
  • Bhutan Travelog: Bhutan Travel Guide, by Joni Herison and Ashley Chen, 2021, Druk Asia Publishing
  • Bhutan: Himalayan Mountain Kingdom, by Françoise Pommaret, 2018, Odyssey Books & Maps

 

Best Hikes in Bhutan: 

You can find more details on hiking these trails in the hiking guidebooks, official hiking websites from the country/region, trail maps/apps or other websites:

  • Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Paro Takstang Goemba)
  • Snowman Trek – 27 day high-altitude trek is considered one of the hardest in the world   
  • Laya Gasa Trek – First 10 days of the Snowman trek
  • Dagala Thousand Lakes – 6 day trek
  • Khamsum Chorten
  • Trans Bhutan Trail
  • Druk Path Trek
  • Jhomolhari Trek

Easy Hikes in Bhutan:

  • Gangtey Nature Hike
  • Owl Trek

Bhutan Hiking Websites:

 

Bhutan Weather Website:

 

Bhutan Official Tourism Organizations:

 

Bhutan Hiking Apps: 

 

Bhutan Hiking Maps: 

  • Nepa Maps: Bhutan Great Himalaya Trail 1:400,000

What Else To Do

  • Monasteries
  • Fortresses
  • Dance festivals
  • Watch archery competitions
  • Watch black-necked cranes in Phobjikha 
  • Bird watching

Other Important Points

  • Sustainable tourism is very important here; also why they charge visitors a daily fee to visit 
  • Mountaineering is prohibited; therefore climbing above 6000m is not allowed
  • Buddhist country
  • Known for its Gross National Happiness