Fancy a trek in Bhutan? Spring and autumn are the ideal seasons to visit the last Himalayan kingdom. Of the two, spring has a better reputation. Just out of winter, the temperatures are mild and landscapes reveal their most beautiful avatars.
Bhutan, an exceptional destination for trekking
Bhutan is an attractive destination for many reasons. Culture, religion, traditions, cuisine, and of course, the smiling locals! Forming the roof of the world, the neighbors Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet share fascinating mountain terrains. For lovers of the great outdoors and hiking, Bhutan is a dream destination, far away from the motorways that distort the charm of trekking. Limited access due to the country’s relatively underdeveloped infrastructure makes assistance from Shanti Travel’s consultants indispensable to ensure safe and enjoyable trekking.
Bhutan offers different levels of trekking, from easy and relaxed treks for families to difficult landscapes for professional trekkers. From my personal experience, I think I can say that Bhutan can be a real challenge as physical and psychological limits are tested. In this wild environment where Buddhist traditions are very strong, the traveler feels a great sense of isolation and remains speechless in the face of the might landscapes. This is certainly what happened to me. Off the beaten track for 12 days, lost in the heart of the Himalayan peaks, it was an indescribable feeling to abandon the usual landmarks and experience the rhythm of the sun. I could enjoy unadulterated sceneries with my trekking team and cross yaks in the bends in the trail. Truly, trekking in Bhutan is a rare experience.
Bhutan in spring and the rhododendrons
There are several advantages of traveling to Bhutan in the spring. One of these benefits is the blossoming of the flowers of spring and the most famous flower of Bhutan, namely the rhododendron. The Bhutanese love them! When I had the chance to go on a trek in Bhutan in October, none of these small trees were in bloom and whole hillsides were covered with shrubs ready for the winter. In spring however, the mountain slopes are covered with these bright pink and red flowers and their sweet scent hovered in the valley air. The sight of these colorful flowers is such a privilege for trekkers in the spring, although October trekkers also get to see other beautiful aspects.
Expert advice: go before things change!
Bhutan has a very exclusive tourism policy which maintains its myth of an unreachable destination. However, that is simply not the case anymore! Because of the changing seasons, Julie, Shanti Travel’s expert on Bhutan, recommends not to wait until April and get there as early as March. It will still be cool and the winter snows would not have melted completely, but it will only add a certain charm to your travels.
If you too want to experience this feeling of isolation, healing and transcendence, many trekking programs and ideas are available at Shanti Travel. Find yours and head to Bhutan!
And for those who want to visit Bhutan for attractions other than trekking, Julie has an itinerary that I find particularly interesting. A lucky group will get to travel between Nepal and Bhutan to attend the festival of Punakha in Bhutan and Boudhanath in Nepal. The Bhutan Punakha Festival will last from the 3rd to 16th of March in 2014. Availability is limited, so hurry up and register!