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The 8 Best Day Hikes in Bhutan

  • Author: Naba Raj Amgai
  • Posted on: Fri Dec 25, 2020
dochula-pass

Bhutan is a perfect getaway for day hikes due to its scenic splendor, remote villages, pristine valley, and architectural wonders. Even a single day’s hike can take you to varied geography with distinctive characteristics. The structural landmarks of dzongs and temples situated on top of hills give off a picturesque view of the valleys underneath and the high mountains in the horizon.

Most of the day hikes span to an average of 3 to 4 hours walk through lush rhododendron, pine, birch, juniper, and fir forests. The hikes limit to a maximum elevation below 4,000m/13,123ft which is relatively easy. Regardless of your physique, you can join for some of the best day hikes in Bhutan like the Tiger’s Nest monastery, Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten, and Bumthang Cultural. For a more adventurous hike, you can opt for the Chele La pass hike that takes you to an elevation of 3988m/13,083ft. In essence, the day hikes are best for interacting with the locals, visiting their cultural sites, and immersing in nature in a short time with ease.

Recommended Read : Day hikes in Bhutan and Cultural Discovery-7 Days


1. Tiger's Nest Monastery Hike

Tiger's Nest Monastery Hike

District:

Paro

Distance:

6.4 km (Paro valley floor and back)

Maximum Altitude:

3120m/ 10,236 ft at the cliff

Time taken:

5 to 6 hours

Difficulty Level:

Moderate

Tiger’s Nest Monastery hike is a must visit in all Bhutan tours and trekking packages. It is regarded as one of the best day hikes in Bhutan due to its religious significance connected to Buddhism. The monastery also called Paro Taktsang is a cultural icon revered by pilgrims and tourists for the Buddhist mythology that spiritual leader, Guru Rimpoche flew on a Tigers back and landed to Thulo Phuk cave and meditated at the Pel Phuk cave which can be found in the vicinity. The dirt trail passing through pine forest takes you above a cliff to the monastery’s temples connected by stone ways.

2. Lungchutse Hike

Lungchutse Hike

District:

Thimphu

Distance:

3-4 km (From and to Dochula Pass)

Maximum Altitude:

3,100m/ 10,170ft at Dochu La pass

Time taken:

2 to 3 hours

Difficulty Level:

Moderate

 Lungchutse Hike in Thimphu takes you to the pass of Dochula at 3,100m/10,170ft towards the Lungchutse Monastery. It is one of the most popular places to hike in Thimphu. The trail passes through lovely hemlock, rhododendron, and juniper forest to reach the ridge where the monastery is situated. Views of the highest mountain in Bhutan, Gangkhar Puensum (7520m), and others like Jumolhari, Zongophu Gang, Masang Gang, and Lunana are some of the major attractions.

Where to travel next?

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3. Chele La Pass Hike

Chele La Pass Hike

District:

Paro

Distance:

3-4 km

Maximum Altitude:

3,988m/13,083ft

Time taken:

2-3 hours

Difficulty Level:

Moderate-Challenging

Chele La Pass Hike is one of the most famous hiking places in the unspoiled ambiance of Bhutan. The highest motorable pass in Bhutan is straddled between the Paro valley and Haa valley on both ends. Walking through pine forests, the hike lands to the pass which is adorned with vibrant prayer flags. The major attraction of the hike is the views of Mt. Jumolhari and the pristine valleys below. The pass is covered with snow most of the time in the winter season.

4. Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten Hike

Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten hike

District:

Punakha

Distance:

1-2 Km

Maximum Altitude:

2,250m/7,382ft

Time taken:

1 to 2 hours

Difficulty Level:

Easy

Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten hike in the stunning Punakha Valley walks through the hill sprawled with emerald meadow and passes the suspension bridge over the swiftly flowing rivers. The hike is favorited by many tourists who prefer to visit Punakha. The four-storied Chorten is situated atop a hill built during 2004. Walking through the paddy fields and viewing the sight of the Punakha valley at a distance is perhaps the highlight of the entire hike.

5. Tango Monastery Hike

Tango Monastery Hike

District:

Thimphu

Distance:

1-2 km

Maximum Altitude:

2,800m/9,186ft

Time taken:

1-2 hours

Difficulty Level:

Easy

Tango Monastery hike leads to the outskirts of Thimphu city. Along the way, you walk past the lustrous crimson woodland. You can marvel at the architectural wonder of the 12 cornered, Tango monastery built in the 13th century. It is valued by pilgrims and tourists for the meditation caves. The monastery reveals a rich history of the Bhutanese Saint, Ngawang Namgyel who meditated in these caves which assisted in the victory over the Tibetan army. You can also extend the short hike to the nearby Cheri Monastery for unparalleled views of the surrounding mountains.

6. Gangtey Nature Trail Hike

Gangtey Nature Trail hike

District:

Wangdue Phodrang

Distance:

2 km (Gangtey Monastery-Phobjikha Valley)

Maximum Altitude:

3,200m/10,498ft at Lawala Pass

Time taken:

1 hour

Difficulty Level:

Easy-Moderate

Gangtey Nature Trail hike is one of the best day hikes in Bhutan for those who want to immerse in nature while visiting the architectural heritage site. The trail commences through semi-tropical vegetation, alpine vegetation, and then to rhododendron-clad forests before opening up to a wide area. The major highlight of the hike is the views of the endangered Black-Necked Cranes circling the Gangtey Monastery, perched atop a small hill, while migrating from Tibet in the winter season. From the monastery, the trails lead to the village of Semchubara where you can interact with the Bhutanese locals.

7. Gangtey To Longtey Village Hike

Gangtey to Longtey Village hike

District:

Wangdue Phodrang

Distance:

7-8 Km (From Gangtey to Longtey Village)

Maximum Altitude:

3,700m/12,139ft at Kaychu La Pass

Time taken:

3-4 Hours

Difficulty Level:

Moderate

 Gangtey to Longtey Village hike, regarded as one of the best hiking places in Bhutan follows the trail to a wide stretch of meadows and farms towards Kaychu La pass at the elevation of 3,700m/12,139ft. The hike walks past amazing forests of dwarf bamboos, birch, rhododendron, fir, and hemlock to reach Longtey village. The glacial Phobjikha valley takes you to the scenic Longtey village straddled between the canopy of rhododendron where you’ll find farmers with their cattle grazing.

Where to travel next?

Get help from our travel specialists for holiday ideas that matches your interests.

8. Bumthang Cultural Hike

Bumthang Cultural hike

District:

Bumthang

Distance:

2-3 km

Maximum Altitude:

2,800m/9,185ft

Time taken:

1 to 2 hours

Difficulty Level:

Easy

Bumthang Cultural hike is one of the best day hikes in Bhutan characterized by entanglement in the architectural and cultural icons. Bumthang, the religious heart of Bhutan, offers a hike to the Kurjey Lhakhang temple, Jambey Lhakhang, and the Tamshing Goempa through Dozam. Kurjey is closely related to Guru Rimpoche who is believed to have left his imprint in the caves. You will also get to visit the oldest temple of Jambey Lhakhang built in the 7th century. The Tamshing temple is a good place to meditate and observe the amazing Buddhist paintings. Additionally, the one-day hike takes you to the Dorjibi village to meet the families in the farmhouses.

Conclusion

Most of the day hikes in Bhutan are easily doable by all tourists. These hikes are characterized by the amazing views of snowcapped mountains and valley from the ancient monasteries and temples bestrode in the high hills. The trails pass through some amazing topography adorned with lush green forests. If you with to hop on any of these day hikes or any other day hikes not mentioned here, you can feel free to contact us. We assure to provide the best service from guidance to management of your hikes in Bhutan.

Image Credit: Dave Parratt, Sayem Sujat, abizidRobert GLOD  flickr


  • Author: Naba Raj Amgai
  • Posted on: Friday Dec 25, 2020
Naba Raj

About Author - Naba Raj Amgai

Naba Raj Amgai, stepped into the world of travel and tourism in 1996. He is Founder and Managing Director of Third Rock Adventures.

Beginning his journey in the tourism industry as a humble Porter Guide to founding hospitality establishments and an adventure travel company, he has come a long way.

In a career spanning more than two decades, he has achieved more than anybody dreams of achieving. Along with his professional achievements, his selfless contribution towards his community and society has won him a lot of accolades and praises.

Having dedicated more than two decades in the tourism and hospitality sector, he has amassed a wealth of experience.

After passing high school, he began helping out some trekking guides and was soon recruited as a porter guide at a reputed trekking agency. Within a short time, he was individually guiding clients across the well-known trails of the Himalayas.

He went on to lead tour groups on multi-country tours to Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India. Being a part of mountain climbing expeditions familiarised him with expedition logistics and operations. Later on, he went to become the Executive Director and took over the reins of Operations, Sales and Marketing departments. Spending several years in the tourism field has made Naba Raj Amgai a destination expert.

Travelling is his passion and he has been to many countries across the world – USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Holland, Germany, Austria and many parts of Asia.

His journeys to different parts of the world have enriched his travel experience and knowledge. This experience has been instrumental in planning and organizing successful trips for several clients.

As of today many reputed travel companies, hotels and restaurants are under his leadership. A dynamic and proactive leader, he continues to inspire and motivate people from all walks of life.

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