Walks to monasteries, such as Tango, Cheri and Taktshang, invite an absorbing excuse to exit city streets and embark on an adventure where meetings with monks and villagers are much more likely to place you on an even footing. Although Bhutan is hemmed by the Himalayas there are plenty of opportunities to hike at lower levels with Bumthang and Phobjika valleys providing access to river trails and farming communities based within fertile foothills adjacent to habitat for migrating black-necked cranes. Trekking trails lead through flowering rhododendron forests to unveil breathtaking valley views from high ridges with snow-capped peaks offering a tantalising taste of Tibetan borders. The higher you go the more challenging the experience with registered guides and helpers inviting cultural insight whilst well organised camps offer chances to absorb surroundings and catch your breath before embarking onwards and upwards over Bhutan's most spectacular peaks and passes.
Find out more in our Bhutan walking vacations travel guide.




Swiftly flowing rivers cut through deep valleys in Bhutan’s southern Himalayan foothills against a backdrop of Jhomolhari (7,314m) in the east and Gangkhar Puensum (7,570m) overlooking Tibet to the north. Perched on many of Bhutan’s peaks are some of the world’s most revered Buddhist monasteries (dzongs) with Taktsang Dzong (the Tiger’s Nest) overlooking Paro Valley and Tango Dzong, just north of Thimphu, just a couple of points to head to on a walking tour of Bhutan. Guided walks help you get to grips with the history, symbolism and etiquette attached to visiting monasteries and combining a walking tour with a Buddhist festival provides the perfect path to cultural enlightenment.


Small group walking vacations in Bhutan are undertaken with a tour leader who will be working behind the scenes to ensure everything runs as efficiently as possible without impinging on privacy or free time. Traveling in a small group also allows you to meet new people and bolster confidence – ideal for solo travelers, friends and couples. Tailor made walking tours in Bhutan are without a group leader but still include a local guide, accommodation and walking trail pick-ups and drop-offs all of which are incorporated into a flexible itinerary to allow you the freedom to explore away from well-tramped trails but with the invaluable security of local assistance.


There are plenty of circular treks and shorter walks in Bhutan that can easily be achieved just outside of city limits. Early morning transfers can position you right at the start of a trail head, where you can spend a day walking in Bhutan before returning to base to rest, unravel and prepare for the next day’s adventure. Point to point hiking presents longer distance trails with the Druk Path, Merak and Sakten and the Snowman, all offering more of a challenge amongst some of Bhutan’s most scintillating scenery. Time, fitness and cultural or natural interests will all determine which walk best suits you so be honest before embarking on an enjoyable experience rather than a gruelling slog.


Some of the most important people that you’ll meet whilst walking in Bhutan will be working and walking alongside you to ensure your experience runs as smoothly and as informatively as possible. Shorter day walks will still feature a local guide licensed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan whilst longer trekking experiences will include an entire crew of experienced licensed guides, camp assistants and cooks. Porters aren't used in Bhutan as readily as Nepal or Tibet and you can expect to find several sturdy ponies employed to carry equipment and food to tented outdoor campsites.



Weather-wise you only have a couple of smallish windows to squeeze through with mid to late Oct and the second half of April the best time to go on a walking vacation in Bhutan. Jun-Aug is the monsoon season whereas Dec-Feb finds snow blocking many of the higher trails, although lowland trails can be much warmer and relatively unaffected. Sep signals the start of peak season although conditions are still wet and muddy with cloud often obscuring blue skies and mountain peaks. Trek for multiple days at high altitude and you'll see rare blue poppies flowering from May-Aug. Walks in Mar-Apr find wild primula, iris and edelweiss all below 3,000m.
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Photo Credits: [Mountains and Monasteries: Zachary Collier] [Day walks and longer treks: Xiaojun Deng] [Temp chart: Ian Cochrane]
Written by Chris Owen
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