Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more..

Tripoto
Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. 1/13 by Amrita
Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. 2/13 by Amrita
The beautiful land of Paro, Bhutan
Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. 3/13 by Amrita
Buddha Point, Thimphu, Bhutan
Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. 4/13 by Amrita
On the bank of Thimphu River, Thimphu Bhutan
Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. 5/13 by Amrita
Thimphu,Bhutan
Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. 6/13 by Amrita
On a bridge on the Thimphu River
Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. 7/13 by Amrita
Not less than a perfect painting, bank of Wangchu River, Paro
Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. 8/13 by Amrita
Trek to The Tiger's Nest, an experience to be treasured for a lifetime
Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. 9/13 by Amrita
On the way to the Tiger's Nest (The monastery looking so tiny )
Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. 10/13 by Amrita
Feeling Happy! Half the way to the monastery.
Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. 11/13 by Amrita
Reached the mountain top! Tiger's Nest on the back drop!
Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. 12/13 by Amrita
Youngest pilgrim on the way

It's Bhutan. Where Magic Is In the Air & Happiness Everywhere

While planning Bhutan, we were excited about the trek to the Tiger’s Nest in Paro. The name 'Tiger's Nest' itself, invokes a thrill in mind. Hiking up to the Tiger's Nest hanging on the cliff, shrouded by the thick mist, had always been a dream.

When we set foot in the country, we realized, not only The Tiger's Nest, Bhutan has much more for its visitors. I was wonder struck at the scenic beauty of the country. Architecture is unique and people are simple and charming.

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. 13/13 by Amrita
A family pic on the way to the Tiger's Nest. Taken by a monk.

An Overview, Bhutan, The Natural Paradise

Scenic View: Bhutan's natural beauty includes grand views of majestic mountains, subtropical forest and alpine pastures with rivers flowing through.

Architecture: The Dzongs (fortresses) are magnificent. The monasteries are beautifully decorated with paintings depicting Buddhist teachings.

Culture & People: Bhutan follows their rich age old culture. Buddhism is the natural way of life. People offer hospitality to all guests and seem to wear a smile always.

On our trip to Bhutan, we visited the following places

•Paro, The Land of Tiger Nest Monastery

•Thimpu, The capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan

•Phuentsholing, The Indo-Bhutan border gateway

Day 2

Next morning, we reached Hasimara Junction. We took a local transport and in 30 minutes crossed the India-Bhutan border.

India Bhutan border

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

After collecting Bhutan entry permit from the Pheuntsholling gate, we hired a car and started for Paro. It was roughly 4PM. The roads through the Himalayas were extremely steep and the turnings were very sharp. Within around 5 hours, we reached the Paro Valley. The weather was freezing cold.

The next day we were to hike the famous Tiger's Nest. We were anxious. We were excited.

Day 3

Hike to Takstang Monastery (Tiger's Nest)

We started the hike to the Tiger's Nest in the morning. The monastery looked like a tiny white speck.

Walking sticks on rent are available in the beginning of the journey

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The tiny white spot on the mountain behind is the Tiger's Nest (top-centre)

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Here, we begin our walk!

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

From the valley, the trail slowly and gently climb into a pine forest passing by several structures containing water-powered prayer wheels surrounded by prayer flags. We would like to believe that they were placed on that spot to bestow blessings of stamina to hikers passing by – because from there the trail went into a steep, arduous, steady climb up to the ridge.

Walking through the pine forest

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The track gradually climbing up

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The hike was strenuous. Every time we stopped to catch our breaths, we looked up at the monastery. Sometimes it appeared closer and then it would appear farther away again.

A bit closer to the Tiger's Nest

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Yet so far...

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

On the way, we found monks turning to narrow paths that veered off from the main path. Those were short cut routes. Short cut was a good idea but turned out to be way much steeper. It probably took us longer to climb the shortcut route than it would have taken us if we have climbed the regular route.

Resting amidst beautiful nature

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Paused on the way

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Walking and walking..

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

After an hour of seemingly eternal climb, we reached the ridge marked by a chorten, prayer flags, series of prayer wheels and a breathtaking view of the monastery.

The Cafeteria View Point, the cafeteria is a 5 minutes walk from this place

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Half the way to the Tiger's Nest

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The second half of our journey begins @ Cafeteria

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

From here the view of the monastery and the cliff was even more dramatic. Many people ended their hike at this point. We took some rest here and continued on to the second half of our hike. The trail was still steep, but the view of the Paro Valley along the way was breathtaking.

Walking up the steep trail

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The Horses, on their way back from the top.

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Walking through the jungles

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Can you spot the Monastery in the picture. We were quiet near.

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

In some places, the track was quiet narrow

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Finally, we reached the mountain top. Adding to my wonder, the monastery was in the opposite mountain cliff. We found steps going down and down and then again going up till the monastery. The vista of the monastery and Paro Valley from this point was beyond spectacular. It was absolutely worth the climb.

The Tiger's Nest (from the mountain top)

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The final view point. A must picture taking point.

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The waterfall

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The monastery looked further up again as we followed the descending step trail. The stair trail plunged into a bridge across a lovely waterfall that was cascading into a sacred pool. From here, the stair started to climb up to the monastery. After 100 steep steps we were finally at the monastery entrance.

The waterfall bridge, connecting the mountains

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The view of the monastery from the descending steps

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Finally, on the ascending steps to the Monastery gate. The waterfall on the back drop.

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

It was exhilarating to finally reach Tiger’s Nest Monastery. Alas, photography was not allowed inside.

The atmosphere throughout the monastery was mystical. The breeze was chilling. We visited all the temples in the monastery. Climbed up/down short wooden ladders to see every permissible bit of the monastery. When I stepped on to the terrace of the monastery, I had goosebumps, oh I was standing in the mystical Tiger's Nest.

The final view point, on the way back

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Structures with one stone on top of another, the taller, the much prosperity one gains

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

I too tried making one stone on stone prosperity structure

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

A Himalayan dog accompanied us, on our way back

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Climbing down, through the pines

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

On the way back from the monastery

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Nature is so beautiful. Its tough to stop clicking

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Having experienced the way of a pilgrim, we descended with a feeling of lightness. And yes, the hike downward was much easier.

Day 4

Paro Sightseeing

The next day, we visited the splendid Paro Fort (Rinpung Dzong), on the bank of the Wangchu river. The landscape is as beautiful as painting.

Rinpung Dzong (Paro Fort)

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The architecture, Rinpung Dzong

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The royal steps to the Paro Fort

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

On the bank of Wangchu River, Paro

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The same day, we started for Thimphu. It is an hour distance from Paro. Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan seemed clean and classy.

On the way Thimphu-Paro

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Dantak, on the way Thimphu-Paro

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita
Day 5

The next morning, we hired a car for Thimphu sight seeing. The city has several exciting tourist spots. The scenic view from the 'Budha Point' was stunning. The King's Palace on the bank of the Thimphu river, surrounded by colorful alpine trees looked picture perfect.

City of Thimphu amidst beautiful nature

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Amrita

The huge Lord Buddha, Buddha Point, Thimphu

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Amrita

Motithang Takin Preserve

I loved visiting the 'Motithang Takin Preserve', the zoo where you can find Takins. Takin is the national animal of Bhutan and not to be confused with any other animal. If you have not visited Motithang, you have not seen a Takin

Motithang Takin Preserve

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

@Motithang Takin Preserve

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The Takin, the national animal of Bhutan

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Baby Takin

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Takin is believed to be a cross of the cow and the goat

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita
Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The Tashichho Dzong, on the western bank of the Wang Chu river is splendid. The Thimphu city has ancient monasteries and chortens (stupas). The city retains its cultural identity and values amidst the signs of modernization.

The gorgeous architectures of the Dzong

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The prayer wheels

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The Thimphu River

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Prayer flags tied on a bridge over the Thimphu River

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The entrance of a bridge on the Thimphu River

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

The centenary market

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita
Day 6

Next morning, we woke up early. With packed bags, lots of clicked photographs and countless beautiful memories we left Thimphu. Our Bhutan trip had almost come to an end. In a few hours, we boarded the train back to home (Kolkata) from Hashimara Junction,W.B.

Now, whenever I come across any picture of " Tiger's Nest hanging on the cliff ", I try to figure out the balcony I was standing in, the ladder, I had climbed down. I say to myself, this is the monastery I had been lucky enough to visit to.

Bhutan has been one of the most pleasant surprises in my life. Culture, tradition and natural beauty binds the Kingdom and distinguishes it as an wonderful place to visit.

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita

Note for Backpackers to Bhutan

How to reach: Bhutan is connected to India by road. Phuentsholling is the entry point. Hasimara Railway Station in India is 30 minutes from here. Drukair, Royal Bhutan Airlines is the only air option. The airport is at Paro.

VISA/Permit: Phuentsholling doesn't require VISA/permit for Indians. For other parts of Bhutan, you need to create the entry permit at the Phuetsholling gate against any valid Indian ID proof.

Where to Stay: Hotels can be booked online or can be booked when you reach. We stayed in the following hotels.

Hotel Ghasel, Thimphu

Sonam Trophel Hotel, Paro

The hotels are in the heart of the respective cities. Comfortable with all basic amenities. Budget friendly.

Food: There are many restaurants with variety of cuisines. No worry for meals.

Weather: Pleasant during day time. Nights are shivering.

If you travel for travels sake and not for luxury, Bhutan trip will be well within budget. The trip will fill in you an everlasting happiness. So, in your next 'a week' holiday, pack your bags and make it to Bhutan.

Stay Connected! And Happy Traveling!

Happy backpacking to Bhutan!!!

Photo of Magical Bhutan! Trek to Tiger's Nest & more.. by Amrita
Day 1

Journey Begins..

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

It was a Friday evening. We started our journey by train from Sealdah Railway station, Kolkata. My parents and my brother were my travel companion.

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