Winter Walking in Bhutan
14-Day Easy-Medium Grade Trip
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- Get ready for some brilliant day hikes during winter, when the clear sunny skies make for great mountain views.
- Travel to the beautiful Phobjikha Valley to see the rare and majestic black necked cranes who spend each winter here.
- Explore Bhutan's traditional culture in Bumthang, where every hiking trail finishes at an ancient temple.
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Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Choeten
Some of the best views in Bhutan can be seen from the rooftop of this gorgeous temple, set on a ridge high above the Punakha Valley. It was built in 2004 in honour of the current, fifth king. It's a great walk to get there, as the trail winds through the rice paddies then pine forest, with the views becoming more spectacular as you ascend. Further up the hill are the monks quarters and beyond that is a royal retreat.
The Black Necked Cranes
The beautiful dzong at Punakha sits at the confluence of two great rivers and is reached by a wooden cantilevered bridge. This elegant building displays the very best of Bhutanese architecture, embellished with intricately carved, painted and gilded woodwork. The dzong is the site for the coronation of Bhutan's kings and it is the winter residence of the central monk body.
Tiger's Nest Monastery
The hike to the amazing Tiger's Nest Monastery is one of the best in the world. As you ascend through pine and rhododendron forest you glimpse the monastery high above and the Paro Valley down below. Suddenly, after a final push upwards you are faced with the most magnificent views of the Tiger's Nest clinging to the side of a cliff. It's simply breathtaking.
The rambling layout of Trongsa Dzong makes it the most interesting in Bhutan. It has been added on to over the years since construction first began in 1543, resulting in a building of many layers. Lovely courtyards are connected by stone staircases, with many intriguing nooks and crannies for exploring. If you walk all the way to the end of the dzong you'll be rewarded with wonderful views of the gorge and the river.
Zuri Dzong Hike
Gangtey Goemba, in the Phobjikha Valley, can be a great place to interact with the Buddhist monks who live here, as their quarters are within the courtyard rather than in buildings elsewhere. Great honour is usually bestowed upon a family that sends a son to become a monk. The monastery becomes their home and school, where they learn Buddhist teachings and poetry. They may also train in Buddhist art forms. Many of the intricate ornaments in the temples are made by the monks.