Where: Bhutan, near Northeast India
Best season: Late September to mid November
Best sights: Isolated, rolling hillsides with grazing animals and scattered settlements
Watch out for: Snow blindness and trekker’s knee
Remember to bring: Camping gear and lightweight packs
Where It’s At
A Bhutan trek is physically demanding because of its lengths and the almost unbelievable changes in elevation. You can easily walk on the trails – no particular mountaineering experience is required except a passion for isolated and solitary hiking.
All treks will take you rolling up and down the small hills, passing through various biospheres hosting a variety of trees and vegetation. As most treks are in protected areas, there are good opportunities to see wildlife in its natural habitat.
When To Go
The best time to trek in Bhutan is between late September to mid November. Winter snow and rains limit the ideal trekking season here to just these two months. During autumn, when weather-wise Bhutan is perfect, a lot of tourists visit and the hotels stay absolutely booked.
There are many medical problems that a trekker might encounter during their trek: –
Snow blindness – This is a temporary, painful condition resulting from sunburn of the clear surface of the eye. It comes from heavy exposure to ultraviolet radiation, in a case where someone is walking on the snow without sunglasses. The treatment is simply to try to relieve the pain by holding cold cloths outside the eyelids.
Trekker’s knee – Trekking in Bhutan invariably involves multiple long ascents and descents. If your legs have not been gradually accustomed to walking uphill and downhill, there is chance that you may develop some degree of knee soreness.
Blisters – Since the trek involves long walks, blisters on your feet can occur from repeated rubbing of the skin against a hard surface of your show or your boot. Try to provide additional protection to the area that is being rubbed and bring a medical kit containing different kinds of plasters and bandages.
Government rules dictate that all treks must be arranged as camping trips. This also happens to be the only practical solution because there are no lodges or hotels in the hills.
There is no trekking gear available in Bhutan so you need to both bring and carry all your own equipment. Make sure that the duffel bag that you would be carrying while trekking does not exceed 15 kilograms to make your hike comfortable.
The official tourist board website for Nepal with lots of practical information on visiting the cities and its sites of interest.
Main image c/o Taktsang Monastery, Bhutan. Photo by Goran via Flickr, (Creative Commons).
By Nitasha Kulashreshtha