Generally speaking a Bhutan visit is fairly active and all of our private tours & small group tours feature hiking opportunities which can be taken on a daily basis. You’ll also find that quite a few temples and dzongs require some walking to access.
Hiking can be turned into a major focus of your private tour and there are short; half day and full day hiking options in most valleys. You’ll mainly be between valley level and 3200 m, and occasionally briefly up to 4000 m, on hiking trails. The joy about hiking is you still get to stay in a hotel at night. When hiking all you need is a small day pack to carry your water bottle, camera, sunscreen etc. Some like to take hiking poles however be advised only wooden poles, cut from fallen trees, are available in Bhutan and if you need a lightweight metal pole you’ll need to bring it in to Bhutan with you.
Trekking is a different beast altogether! Trekking involves between 2-30 nights at higher altitudes and using tented campsites for accommodation. Unlike Nepal, there are NO teahouses or trek trail lodges in Bhutan. You will have a private trek crew who will erect your campsite in advance and decamp after your departure next morning. All gear on treks is carried by horses and you’ll only need to carry your day pack. Speaking of gear you’ll need to be well prepared physically, mentally and with the right equipment.
Whilst hiking can generally be factored in all year round, the high altitude trekking season has become more inconsistent with climate change affecting the region. As at 2019 the trekking season is generally late MAR-early JUN and early OCT to mid-NOV; so it’s being squeezed!
There has also been a recent policy of farm roads being bulldozed over some existing trekking trails, to give better access to remote faming villages. This is a wonderful development for those farming folk however has sadly compromised some trek experiences. We find the Dagala 1000 Lakes trek a great trek option for those wanting a reasonably challenging, but not overly-strenuous, unspoilt trek experience complete with remoteness and wonderful alpine scenery. And it is also one that can be done in shorter stays in Bhutan as it is close to the western Bhutan valleys of Paro and Thimphu. We can offer this trek as both a private trek or a small group tour trek.
So before you decide to go ‘trekking’ consider your options between hiking & trekking (you can do both of course) and also note we have pioneered a ‘Premium Trekking’ option for some added comfort in your tented campsites.
Article by James Irving – Bhutan Travel Expert
James Irving – Bhutan Travel Expert.
James has worked in the travel industry for over 40 years & has been involved in the leisure, corporate, group, sport, incentive & wholesale Travel genres.
James loves rugby union, and keenly supports the Queensland Reds and the Australian Wallabies.