Trans Bhutan Trail
Trans Bhutan Trail. Bhutan opened its border to its first tourist in 1972 that is approximately 50 years ago. The group traveled from Phuntsholing crossing the Indian border taking almost 3 days to reach Thimphu the capital city. Before the country opened its border to the outside world Bhutanese used to get the necessary items like salt, clothing, and other basic needs from Tibet. Our forefathers used to take this journey to Tibet taking butter, Cheese, and meat for the exchange of basic needs from Tibet. There are many routes taken by our forefathers to reach Tibet and It’s not often you can hike a historic trail that was used for millenniums by royals, monks, and traders.
In fact, it’s been 60 years. Until the 1960s, the Trans Bhutan Trail was the only real way to traverse the mountain kingdom of Bhutan before it fell into disuse. Thankfully, it’s back, and this 11-day tour will show the world what it’s been missing. Covering some of the best portions of this 403 km trail, you’ll use your own two feet to experience its breathtaking, diverse landscapes and timeless villages from a different era. Featuring idyllic camping spots and overnights in comfortable local homestays, this tour will give you a glimpse into Bhutan’s rural and spiritual life that’s only possible when you head off the beaten path. So lace up those hiking boots — the Trans Bhutan Trail is ready when you are.
Trans Bhutan Trail Trip Facts
- Trans Bhutan Trail Difficulty: Moderate to Extreme
- Trans Bhutan Trail Guide: Licensed Tour Guide
- Trans Bhutan Trail Length: 12 Days
- Trip Type: Small Groups.
- Trip Name: Trans Bhutan Trail
- Trans Bhutan Trail Cost: The trail cost will depend upon the group size and Trip Duration
Trans Bhutan Trail Trip Highlight
- Explore 60 years old route used by Bhutanese before the modernization.
- Hike the remote routes and villages never explored before.
- We will only do a quarter of the Trans Bhutan Trail starting from Haa and ending at Punakha.
Trip Outline Itinerary
- Day 01: Arrival Paro Airport
- Day 02: Tiger Nest Hike
- Day 03: Paro to Thimphu
- Day 04: Thimphu to Chendebji, Start of the Trans Bhutan Trail.
- Day 05: Chendebji to Tsangkha.
- Day 06: Tsangkha to Trongsa.
- Day 07: Trongsa to Gyetse.
- Day 08: Gyetse to Bumthang.
- Day 09: Bumthang to Paro-Haa.
- Day 10: Haa to Paro 2nd Part of Trans Bhutan Trail.
- Day 11: Rest Day at Paro.
- Day 12: Paro to Airport and See Off
Day 01 Arrival at Paro International Airport
Arrival at Paro airport for Trans Bhutan Trail Hike. Paro Airport is one of the smallest and dangerous airport in the world with beautiful valley sorrounding the airfield. Only few pilots are trained to land at Paro airport. Once the plane lands at the port you will be greeted with frsh air of Paro valley. The walk to the immigration office takes about 2 minutes and after your Visa procession our team from Tour Bhutan will assist you and brief you about Trans Bhutan Trail program. A quick drive around the Paro valley and over night at Hotel.
Day 02 Tiger Nest Trail Hike
Tiger Nest trail. This 12 Km trail takes about 3 hours for average walker and it is uphill hike. From the base you also have option to take pony for Nu.700 while going up. The trail takes you through alpine forest and beautiful view of Paro valley. the lane is well paved and repaired during Covid 19 by the tour guide. Upon reaching the cafe we will rest for sometime with a cup of coffee with perfect view of Tiger Nest temple. Nest 30 minutes walk you will be welcomed with small waterfall and grand view of the Tiger nest temple built in 6th century by the saint Guru who came from Tibet. Guide will expalin the details of monastery. In the afternoon we will visit Paro Rinpung Dzing and Dungtse Temple. Over Night at Hotel.
Day 03 Paro to Thimphu
Drive to Thimphu. The drive to thimphu (7700ft/2350m) is only 60 Km from Paro and easily negotaited in 1.5 hours. You have to back track to Chuzom where your paper are checked sometime before leaving to Thimphu. Campared to Paro valley along the Wang chu river is arid and has mainly scrib as vegetation. The country side from Chuzom to Tjimphu is less forested. The drives are beautiful as the roads are recently widened and well paved. On the way visit Simtokha Dzong. The place where the Dzong is located was called Sinmo Dokha( stone of Demon) till the Zhabdrung cleansed and purified it and built the present dzong and named as San Ngay Sabdon Phodrang (the palace of profound Tantric Teaching). Driving further to the express way you come across bridge spanning the Wang chu (The old one Lungten Zampa or the bridge of Prophecy). The guide will expalin why its called the bridge of Prophecy. Enter the bustling town of Thimphu and Check into Hotel Jumolhari located right in the middle of the City near clock tower.
Day 04 Thimphu to Chendebji
The drive is long and we start early via Dochula Pass-through Punakha and to Chendebji where the trek begins. As you leave Punakha and climb towards Pelela pass 911070ft/3375m) which is marked by chortens and Prayer flags. Approaching the pass you find the slopes of the hills covered in bamboo, locally called ‘ham’, which is favorite meal of the resident yak population. the road now descends gradually to the langthel valley, passing through groves of fir trees to the evergreen and finally the broadleaved varieties. On the opposite side of the roads is the village Rukubji with its clustered hones and gompa. the land is well cultivated with crops of mustard, wheat, barley and potatoes. You then drive past sephu village known for the bamboo baskets and mats produced here. the next village is chendebji the place where the Trans Bhutan trail trek begins. The Chendebji monastery on the banks of the nikkar chu. the startling white stone chorten is built in the Nepalese style with eyes painted on all four sides. Camping at Chendebji.
Day 05 Chendebji to Tsangkha
- Walking time:
- Max Altitude:
Chendebji to Tsangkha trail begins with smooth climb through pine forest. Eat breakfast at your camp before rejoining the Trans Bhutan trail at the Chendebi Chorten (stupa). Follow the trail along the old East-West National Highway and then trek back into the countryside towards the village of Tangsibji. Fill those stomachs with a farmhouse lunch in the village before continuing further along the trail passing several hydroelectric project sites. These clean, renewable energy projects are one of the ways in which Bhutan has achieved its status as the only carbon negative country in the world. In the afternoon, visit the Trashi Choeling Lhakhang (temple), located in Trashiling village. Once the group arrives in Tsangkha you will visit the Tshangkha Lhakhang (temple) before heading to your campsite where you will enjoy a hot shower and a locally-sourced organic dinner with the group.
Day 06 Tsangkha to Trongsa
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- Max Altitude:
Tsangkha to Trongsa hike. Trongsa is very important distrcit for Bhutan Royal Family. Today we hike to this places. Today’s trek includes a short, but steep climb out of Tsangkha passing the Ugyen Choling and Tsangkha Sheydra. Then, the trail drops back down to cross the National Highway at the Trongsa viewpoint which is considered to be the geographical center point of Bhutan. Recreate the experience of past royals as you descend as a group into the steep valley below. See spectacular views of the Dzong (fortress) and cross the old cantilever bridge over the Mangde River before climbing the other side of the valley to reach Trongsa Dzong via the Western gate. Overnight at Hotel in Yangkhil Resort. Read More about Trongsa
Day 07 Trongsa to Gyetse
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- Max Altitude:
Trongsa to Gyetse hike begins after breakfast. Wave farewell to Trongsa today and head back out on the Trail for some more hiking. The trail between Trongsa and Gyetsa begins with a gradual climb upwards to Kewathang. Trek through a stretch of dense forest as the group continues through Yotongla where you’ll stop to enjoy a picnic lunch. Cross through meadows and through open forest until the trail reaches the Gyetsa River. Once the group arrives at camp in Gyetsa you’ll be able to enjoy a hot shower and a locally-sourced organic dinner at the campsite.
Day 08 Gyetse to Bumthang
- Distance: 8 Km
- Walking time: 3.5 Hours
- Max Altitude:
Gyetse to Bumthang trail begins today.
Today after breakfast the group will trek through the most historic section of the trail. This section was used by the royal family when they travelled between their winter and summer residences. You’ll travel through Kikila Pass before descending into the Bumthang Valley. We’ll stop along the way for a picnic lunch, enjoying the scenery.
In the afternoon visit the Jakar Dzong(the palace of white Bird) and walk around the valley of Bumthang. Over Night at Hotel
Day 09 Bumthang to Paro-Haa
Bumthang to Paro via domestic flight. It takes about 25 minutes. The flight is one of the amazing mountain flight in Bhutan.
Day 10 Haa to Chelela to Paro
Hike starts from Haa to Chelela and to Paro. The trans-Bhutan Trail begins from Haa valley towards Chelela Pass. The hike takes about 7 hours till Chelela Pass ( 4200m) the highest road point of Bhutan. the trail was popularly used by people from Paro and Haa valley to trade.
- Distance: 17Km
- Walking time: 7 Hours
- Max Altitude: 3950m
Day 11 Paro Rest Days
Paro city tour. Visit Dungtse Lhakhang and Paro dzong. Dungtse Lhakhang is a temple just 10 minutes drive from Paro City. The temple is chained to the ground by a thick iron chain believed to have been brought from Tibet. Local belief is that if the chain is broken the temple may fly away. In the afternoon visit Punakha Dzong and the cantilever bridge.
Day 12 Paro to onward Journey
Your quarter Trans Bhutan Trail comes to an end today. Our team from Tour Bhutan will escort you to see you off from the airport.
What is Included in The Cost?
- All camping Equipment during Trans Bhutan Trail.
- 3 Star Accommodation in all the Hotels.
- Professional Tour Guide.
- All meals as per the Tour Itinerary.
- Transportation throughout the Country.
- Airport Pick and Drop.
- All entrance fees for Dzongs and Monasteries.
- Cook and Porter.
What is not Included in the Cost?
- Insurance Premiums.
- Alcoholic Drinks.
- Shoppings and bills of personal nature.
The trail stretches for approximately 670 kilometers (416 miles) across Bhutan. It starts in the subtropical plains of the south and ascends through lush forests, alpine meadows, and remote mountain passes before reaching the high-altitude regions of northern Bhutan.
The Trans Bhutan Trail allows hikers to witness the diverse landscapes of Bhutan, including dense forests, cascading waterfalls, pristine rivers, terraced fields, and towering peaks. The trail provides breathtaking views of the Himalayan mountain range and offers an immersive experience in Bhutan’s untouched natural surroundings.
Along the route, hikers have the opportunity to explore Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage. The trail passes through several traditional villages, monasteries, and sacred sites, allowing visitors to interact with local communities and experience Bhutanese hospitality firsthand. This cultural immersion adds a unique dimension to the trek.
Bhutan is known for its incredible biodiversity, and the Trans Bhutan Trail showcases the country’s wide range of flora and fauna. The trail passes through various protected areas and national parks, providing opportunities to spot rare and endangered species such as the Royal Bengal tiger, snow leopard, red panda, and many species of birds.
Trans Bhutan Trail Difficulty
The Trans Bhutan Trail is a challenging trek that requires physical fitness and endurance. The terrain varies from steep ascents and descents to narrow and rocky paths. The trail can take around 25 to 30 days to complete, depending on the pace and stops along the way. It is recommended for experienced trekkers or those with prior long-distance hiking experience.
Permits and Regulation
Due to the remote and sensitive nature of the trail, permits are required to trek the Trans Bhutan Trail. These permits can be obtained through a registered Bhutanese tour operator, who will arrange the necessary logistics, guides, and support during the trek. It is important to abide by Bhutan’s environmental and cultural regulations to ensure the trail’s preservation.
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FAQs about Trans Bhutan Trail
The Trans Bhutan Trail is a long-distance trekking route that spans the entire length of Bhutan, from the southern border to the northern border with Tibet. It connects existing trails, offering trekkers the opportunity to experience Bhutan’s diverse landscapes, cultures, and traditions.
The length of the Trans Bhutan Trail varies depending on the specific route taken. It covers a considerable distance, typically taking several weeks to complete the entire journey.
The trail highlights Bhutan’s natural beauty, cultural diversity, and remote regions. Trekkers encounter stunning mountain scenery, alpine lakes, traditional villages, monasteries, and unique flora and fauna.
The Trans Bhutan Trail isn’t a single established trail but a network of existing paths and routes. While some sections might be well-marked, others might require navigation skills and the assistance of experienced guides.
The Trans Bhutan Trail is better suited for experienced trekkers due to its length, altitude variations, and sometimes challenging terrains.
Remember that information can change over time, so it’s important to verify details with local tour operators and authorities before embarking on the Trans Bhutan Trail.
Having an experienced guide is highly recommended for the Trans Bhutan Trail. They can assist with navigation, provide insights into local culture, and ensure your safety in remote areas.
The Best Time to Visit Bhutan for Trans Bhutan Trail
Climatic conditions vary vastly across the country. One can be in shorts and T-shirts and within a few hours of travel need a warm cotton cloth. There is also a large fluctuation in temperature even at the same destination or general area. Another peculiarity is that since each of the valleys is virtually an independent ecosystem, there is no such thing as a general weather forecast or even an accurate local one. However, one can safely rule out having to face the kind of blistering heat the adjoining Indian planes experience. The maximum temperature in the extreme south of Bhutan usually does not go above 35 degrees celsius at the peak of Summer starts from May to June and remains a comfortable 15 degree celsius at the height of Winter December to February. The temperature in the central valley where the Trans Bhutan trail starts is much lower the summer maximum does not exceed 30-degree Celsius and nights are in the 15 to 20-degree range during the Camping. The best time to get the best experience of the Trans Bhutan Trail would be Springtime.
The Trans Bhutan Trail offers an unforgettable adventure for nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and those interested in experiencing Bhutan’s unique culture. It provides an opportunity to explore the hidden gems of the country and immerse oneself in its pristine natural environment.
Accommodation Used for the Trans Bhutan Trail Itinerary
Hotels in Bumthang
Yugharling Resort has been in full operation since our opening in 2009. With years of experience behind us, we are the only 4-star resort in Bumthang. Read the Hotel Reviews
Hotels in Paro
Hotel Naksel Boutique. Located thirty minutes from Paro International Airport, Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa is a luxury retreat where the comforts of man and the presence of nature combine for a peaceful escape in the hills of Bhutan. Read the Reviews
Hotels in Thimphu
Hotel Jumolhari Boutique. With a stay at Hotel Jumolhari in Thimphu, you’ll be next to a golf course, just a 3-minute walk from Clock Tower Square and 7 minutes by foot from popular Mojo Park. Read the Reviews
Hotels in Haa
Ugyen Farm House. Ugyen Farmhouse in Haa is more than 200 years old & is built in traditional Bhutanese style. Guest will have the best experience spending time in 200 years old house. Read the Reviews.
Hotels in Trongsa
Yangkhil Resort is the most elegant resort in the historic town of Trongsa, offering 21 rooms of ultra-modern design combined with traditional Bhutanese. Read the Reviews.