How to Go Trekking in Bhutan
Bhutan, located in South Asia, is one of the world’s top trekking destinations. Home to several peaks, including the world’s third tallest peak; Kangchenjunga, Bhutan offers its visitors a truly phenomenal hiking and trekking experience. However, you will need to make certain preparations and plans before you can embark on a trek in Bhutan.
1. Pre-planning is essential
Keep in mind that the peaks in Bhutan are far from simple to conquer. As such, you will need to plan your trek to Bhutan at least three months prior to actually visiting Bhutan. Pre-planning must include extensive research on the region of Bhutan you wish you visit, the geography of that region, the climate and weather patterns of that region, and any local support system that you can rely on. Given that the treks in Bhutan are strenuous, which most peaks and mountain ranges being extreme hostile terrain, every bit of research will be useful in your preparation and will most certainly come in handy when you visit Bhutan.
2. Choose the region you want to trek, and plan further
After researching on the regions, geography, climate and support systems in each region of Bhutan, you should choose a region that is suitable to your skill level. For example, you should not even attempt to visit the Sikkim region given that it is home to some of the tallest peaks in Bhutan if you limited experience in trekking and hiking. Once you choose a particular region, you should research further into the hiking and trekking trails of that region, and gather as much information as you can about that region.
3. Train yourself for the trek
As mentioned before, the peaks and mountain ranges in Bhutan are rather strenuous and can pose a challenge to even the most seasoned climbers and hikers. As such, it is highly recommended that you train yourself by regularly trekking and hiking smaller mountains and peaks. Your physical fitness and conditioning must be at a very high standard, and you must also acclimatize yourself by engaging in high altitude training whenever possible. It is recommended that you train yourself physically for at least a month (if your fitness level is moderate) before you attempt to trek in Bhutan.
4. Mental preparation
Keep in mind that the culture of Bhutan, the lifestyle of the people and the climate will be significantly different to what you are used to. Even more so, the terrains of the mountains and peaks are hostile and challenging. As such, mental preparation is imperative. The best way to prepare yourself mentally is expose yourself to literature and media dealing with Bhutan, its people and their lifestyle, and the challenges faced by trekkers and hikers, so that you have a thorough idea of what to expect when you visit Bhutan and when you commence your trek.
5. Packing for the trek
If you are staying at a luxury Bhutan hotel such as the COMO Uma Paro, you can use it as a base and commence packing just for trek at the hotel itself. You will need to pack plenty of warm clothing given that the climate of Bhutan is rather cold. In addition to warm clothing, you will need to pack trekking gear such as hiking boots and gloves. In addition to your clothing, you will also need to pack maps of the region, local guides, and contact information in case of an emergency. If your trek is to be an overnight trek, which most Bhutan trails are known for being, you will also need a padded sleeping bag, cooking equipment and plenty of water and food supplies. A torch or kerosene lamp is also highly recommended.