Trekking in Bhutan – Guidelines

Referred as the Land of Thunder Dragons, Bhutan, a remote Buddhist country is known for its century old monastery, massive fortress and breathtaking landscapes from high mountains to sub tropical plains and valleys.

Located in the southern slopes of the Himalayas, sandwiched between the Tibet Autonomous Region in the south and India to the west and south, Bhutan is one of the most beautiful yet inaccessible countries in the world.  Almost completely cut off from the rest of the world for centuries, Bhutan is largely unexplored by foreign tourist and has no shortage of treks.

So if you are planning for short easy hike in some of the most scenic lowlands or challenging yourself to hard high altitude trek, you need to be fully prepared for harsh conditions of Bhutan.

Gangkhar Puensum trekking in Bhutan
The highest mountain in Bhutan with an elevation of 7,570 metres (24,836 ft).
What to expect. [Climate]

Bhutan Climates varies with the elevation, from subtropical to polar-type climate, so get yourself fully equipped with quality clothing. It is cold in Bhutanese mountain even in the summers.

  • Bhutan has five distinct seasons: Summer, Monsoon, autumn, winter and spring.
  • Western Bhutan has heavier monsoon, Southern Bhutan has hot humid summers and cool winters, Central and Eastern Bhutan has warm summer and cool winters.
trekking in bhutan
Paro Taktsang “tiger nest”

Read more about Tiger’s Nest

Know about AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness)

Planning trekking in the high mountain of bhutan, than you must consider and have an idea about the risk of Acute Mountain Sickness, also referred as Altitude Sickness. The altitude sickness mostly occurs above 2,400 metres (8,000 feet) and most people can ascend to 2,400 metres (8,000 ft) without difficulty.

However it is hard to determine who will be affected by AMS, everyone reacts to altitude differently, as there are no precise factors that is associated with a susceptibility to altitude sickness.

Headache, nausea, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, difficulty in sleeping and lack of energy are the symptoms of AMS and it is quite common when you first arrive at the high altitude.

Tips : Never continue to ascend if you have any symptoms of AMS, it is better advised to descend to lower altitude. 

Tour in Bhutan
Punakha Dzong the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan and one of its most majestic structures.

Know more about Bhutan

General guidelines on what to pack.

The secret is to pack lightly as possible, as you are constantly walking (trekking) most of the time.

Here are some tips what you need to pack during your trek to Bhutan.

  • Choose lightweight, quick-dry clothing.
  • It is cold in the mountains even in summer, carry light and small Thermal underclothes.
  • Dress accordingly, shoulders and legs should be covered all the time, Bhutan is a conservative country.
  • Shorts are not allowed (except trekking/hiking). You will be restricted from entering into religious buildings ,monastery and fam.
  • Instead of carrying your documents such as boarding passes and other documents you can store it in your smartphones or other electronic devices.
trekking and tour in bhutan
Trashigang Dzong, the largest dzong fortress in Bhutan.
Packing list for Bhutan. [Recommended]

1.Trekking Equipment

  • A pair of sturdy and light hiking boots.
  • Warm Sleeping bag. (approx -10 degrees centigrade)
  • Trekking poles.
  • Headlamp.
  • Refillable water bottle.
  • Lightweight shoes. (sneakers)

2.Clothing

  • Down parka.
  • Warm fleece jacket.
  • Warm hat .(Sun hat)
  • Trekking pants.
  • Light waterproof jacket.
  • Long-sleeved shirt. (half if trekking in summer)
  • Sandals or slippers for evenings.
  • Pair of gloves.

3.Medical

  • Insect repellent.
  • Motion-sickness pills.
  • First aid kit. (blister kit with specifically 2nd skin, aspirin &/or ibu, cough drops, tape)
  • Water purification. (iodine or chlorine to carry in daypack)

4.Optional

  • Sunscreen & lip screen.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Lightweight toilet articles.
  • Headlamp.
  • Small pad or combination lock-to-lock for trek bag.
tour in bhutan
Memorial Chorten, Thimphu the most visible religious landmark in Bhutan.
Tourism in Bhutan and How much does it cost.

Tourism in Bhutan began in 1974; in spite of being open to foreigners, the government is highly aware of the environmental impact tourists can have on Bhutan’s unique and practically unspoiled landscape and culture. [Reason for restriction on the level of tourist activity and preferring higher quality tourism.]

In search to become a high value destination, it requires a daily fee of US$250 on tourists covering touring and hotel accommodations.

Foreigners cannot travel by themselves in Bhutan. All tourist be it a group or individual must have a pre-planned, prepaid, guided package tour or custom designed travel program.

Tips:  Make a pre arrangement with an approved tour operator, either directly or through an overseas agent.


Bhutan, the last Shangri – La is a trekker’s paradise and an environmentalist’s dream. Those fortunate enough to Visit Bhutan describe it as a unique, deeply spiritual and mystical experience.


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