A TREKKER'S GUIDE - BHUTAN
by Bart Jordans
Book published by Cicerone Press
This pocket-sized guidebook contains detailed route descriptions for 27 multi-day treks in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. The trails are very clear and vary from 2 to 24 days long. The routes range from easy to strenuous depending on the length of the days, altitude and obstacles encountered, but none requires any technical equipment.
The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, located between the two huge neighbouring countries of China and India, is a magical country of mountains and forest, which offers stunning scenery that really captures the beauty of the area. With its extensive natural border of high mountains to the north, rising over 7000m, and its virtually impassable jungle to the south, Bhutan has always been a place of mystery. Its lack of contact and influence from the outside world and untouched nature gives Bhutan it’s unique culture and appeal.
This guidebook contains detailed route descriptions for 27 multi-day treks that range from 2 to 24 days in length and has routes that are suitable for trekkers of all levels of experience. The treks have been divided into four sections, covering West, Central, East and South Bhutan. In general, trekking in Bhutan includes long days with several ascents and descents each day with steep valleys.
Every trek has to be led by a qualified Bhutanese guide but the Bhutan Himalayas do not require any special technical skills. The mountains are covered with a network of trails but, because of the sparse population, these are not heavily travelled. The trails are generally in a good condition, and fit experienced walkers should have no difficulty in navigating them, although natural obstacles such as snowfall and landscapes can require a change of plan.
Each trek has been graded for difficulty as follows:
Easy: lower altitude, good trails, shorter days, short treks, suitable for most people
Moderate: a mix between low and high altitude and shorter and longer days, not always on a trail, basic fitness required
Demanding: travelling at altitude, some high passes to be crossed, trails not always in the best state, possible river crossings, some longer days, higher level of fitness required
Strenuous: high altitude, high passes, high camping, difficult trails, possible river crossings, long days, long treks, only for well-prepared trekkers (previous experience recommended).
Pre monsoon (March-May) and post monsoon (October-November) are best. Monsoon and winter trekking in Bhutan is much more challenging.
Bhutan’s capital Thimphu with airport Paro is the main access. Guide thoroughly explores Bhutan and many towns and villages.
Normal Himalayan trekking challenges, particularly altitude and staying healthy. Bhutan organisation helps a great deal.
- Must See
The culture, the birds and wildlife of Bhutan, especially the spectacular mountains of this unknown region.