Hike Up the Tiger's Nest - Trek & Trekking Trail

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Hike Up the Tiger's Nest, Bhutan Overview

Tiger's Nest Monastery, or Paro Taktsang, is one of the most prominent Buddhist sites in Bhutan. Located 900 metres above the upper cliff in the Paro Valley, this monastery is undoubtedly an architectural marvel. Tiger's nest is known for the trek that has been carried on for years. With a total distance of 6.4 kms, the trek offers mesmerising views of the Paro Valley.

Total Distance: 6.4 kms
Elevation: 3,120 metres (10,240 ft)
Time Required: 3-5 hours depending on your pace.
Timings : 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Entry Fee : BTN 500

The trekking trail which leads to Paro Taktsang is considered a bit challenging, but all it takes is the determination to reach the destination.

Trek to Paro Taktsang, Tiger's Nest Monastery
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The trail starts from the nearest road and the total length up to the monastery is around 4 kilometres. There are colourful flags all along the way, which makes the trail beautiful and vibrant. The first stop on the route is a cafeteria, which is at a 2 kilometres uphill distance from the parking lot. The trail is gentle, with an amazing view all along the way. This is more like a resting point, where you can relax and treat yourself with snacks and tea for completing the 2 kilometres long trek.

Thereafter, there are a 1.44 kilometres long trek to a cliffside from where the view of Paro Taktsang is the best. Here, the monastery looks the way it should look like. It looks like a paradise situated between the hills and the aura is extremely captivating and tranquilising.

Paro Taktsang, Tiger's Nest Monastery
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From this point on, the monastery is just 0.6 kilometres away. The journey may seem impossible to complete, but when the entry gate of the monastery is reached and the amazing view greets you, the tiredness fades away in seconds.


How Challenging is Tiger's Nest Trek?

The Tiger's Nest trek brings along a series of adventures along the way like any other beginners trek. However, it isn't as challenging as the others. Trekking newbies can easily undertake this trek. Since most of the expedition include ascending and descending the mountain zones, be prepared to walk on foot. There is an option of riding horseback to get here, but that may turn out to be scarier than travelling on foot through the edges and turns of the cliffs.

If you bear sufficient stamina to walk for a few hours across 14 kilometres (to and fro), you are good to go. The Tiger's Nest Monastery is situated at 10,332 ft and is thus tagged between easy and moderate trek, which requires no prior trekking experience to wing this trek with hopefully no troubles!


Prior Preparations for Tiger's Nest Monastery Trek

Tiger's nest monastery
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Tiger's Nest Monastery Trek isn't such an arduous trek to conquer. The moderately rated trek also carries its share of adventures for which you must undertake some physical preparations to stay fit and be trek-ready. Even if you're super enthusiastic and your body doesn't allow you to endure long and endless hours of walking, it would be quite difficult to cope with the strain physically. Unless you indulge in a considerable amount of self-prep, the trek is not really recommended. Take the following measure to be good to go!

1) Cardiovascular Endurance 
Altitude treks require healthy lungs. For improving your endurance, you can begin by merely jogging every day - initially at a low pace and then increase your pace day by day. Set a target distance to be covered in a given amount of time, say 4 kilometres in 40 minutes. It will take time, but make sure to achieve the target successfully before the trek begins. You can also improve your breathing with activities such as cycling, swimming and climbing stairs. Make sure you don't take too many breaks in between.

Since you will have to cover a call considerably large distance in one day that too on uneven terrains at times along with some essentials in your backpack, you will want to strengthen your legs. Doing squats is an excellent way to ensure strong legs before the start of the trek. Three sets of squats, with eight squats in each set, should be good enough to build your legs.

Apart from the above activities, you can also do some stretching exercises - stretch your shoulders, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles regularly. This will help you in relaxing your muscles, especially when you climb up the slopes.

2) Basic Essentials and Gears
  • Backpack & rain cover: 50 - 60 litres with comfortable shoulder straps (a backpack with strong straps and supporting frame is necessary)
  • Trekking Pole: No matter how pro you are with trekking, a trekking pole is an essential that will help you share the weight of your baggage, as well as provide support while walking through challenging terrain.
  • Water bottle: Recommended to carry two bottles of one litre each. 
  • Hydration pack: People who require it should carry one hydration pack and one bottle of one litre.  
  • Snacks: Energy bars, dry fruits etc
  • Personal Medical Kit: Consult your doctor, keep Electral/ORS, medicine for fever, motion sickness, altitude sickness, allergy, painkiller, diarrhoea, acidity, indigestion. Carry crepe bandages, gauze, band-aids, cotton, ORS, antiseptic creams and pain relief spray or ointment or any other depending on what you're prone to getting. 
  • Disposable Bags: Carry some disposable bags disposing of waste material and compartmentalising things.
3) Clothing
  • Basic Apparel: Since the Tiger's Nest Monastery Trek is a 1-day trek so an extra set of clothing should be enough. In case you get drenched in sweat or feel unfresh, you might need an extra t-shirt. If you're travelling during winter, you will need a thermal and jacket, depending on your resistance. 
  • Must-Haves: Wear thermals in winter, both top and bottom and t-shirts during summer.  
4) Trekking shoes
Wear a pair of sturdy shoes because they are the only saving grace for your feet undulating roadways. They should preferably be Waterproof with a high ankle with a good grip. 

5) Accessories
  • Sunglasses: Sunglasses are mandatory. It becomes challenging to endure hot summers. Keep them handy. 
  • Suncap: Since the sunray at altitudes is unfiltered with UV rays, a sun cap is necessary to protect your head.
  • Balaclava: To prevent hair loss.
  • You can include some other accessories like sunscreen, lip balm, moisturiser, toilet paper

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