Trekking in Bhutan

Bhutan is one of the best places for trekking in the whole of Asia and below we outlined some tips on what to expect if you decide to undertake a trek in this very scenic country.

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The Trek
Trekking in Bhutan is fantastic fun but should not be underestimated. Walking along the rolling Himalaya can be hard work at times. It’s rarely flat and more usually a succession of ascents and descents, some of which will be steep. However it’s certainly worth it for the crystal-clear air, little-frequented paths, the flora and fauna, and the incomparable views. You will see snow-peaked mountains, alpine meadows, rhododendron forests, crystal mountain lakes, traditional farmhouses and villages.

The Trekking Team
The trekking team that will accompany you will consist of your guide, a cook, a horseman and enough horses for your party. You will not have to carry your main bags, but you should bring a lightweight rucksack to carry daily items such as water, suncream and basic toiletries.

The Campsites
Your trekking team will be experienced and they will set up camp for the night in the most appropriate place. The camps will be basic affairs and there will be few if any facitlities. However what the campsites lack in amenities they will make up for in location as most will be situated in attractive areas, often on a river bank, or lake, looking out at the mountains and, if you are lucky with the weather, under amazing night skies. You will have your own personal tent which will come with a thin foam mattress. Elsewhere in the camp there will be a dining tent where meals will be taken and in most cases there will be a toilet tent which will afford privacy when nature calls. Each morning (and evening if requested) your trekking team will provide a bowl of hot water which will allow you to wash.

Meals on the Trek
All your food will be provided for you and you shouldn’t need to carry any extra food items unless you want to. However a few dry snacks may come in handy to keep energy levels up on the trek itself. A hearty breakfast usually consists of porridge, egg & toast, juice, tea & coffee. Lunch will be taken on the trail and will either be a packed lunch (sandwiches, boiled eggs, potato, juice and tea/coffee) or more usually a meal of rice and vegetables. When you reach camp there will be tea and snacks and in the evening a three course meal is followed by fruit or dessert.

Altitude & Extremes of Temperature
Much of Bhutan is at high altitude and this could affect your holiday. Altitude sickness can affect anyone and may do so with varying degrees of severity. If you are going to be trekking at altitudes you are not used to then you should consult with your doctor before travelling, especially if you have a known heart (or other) condition. To reduce the chances of being affected by altitude sickness please drink plenty of water and take things slowly at the start so that your body can acclimatize successfully. Always take the advice of your guides in relation to altitude.

In Bhutan day and night temperatures vary sharply, especially in the mountains. It is essential to bring some warm clothes to wear in the evening and early mornings in case of low temperatures. The best advice is to take easy-to-pack clothes for layering that can be easy put on or taken off as the temperature changes e.g. long sleeve t-shirts, fleeces, a lightweight woollen hat and thin scarves. During the day, temperatures can soar especially in the middle of the summer so it is also important to pack cool cotton garments for the daytime.