You must have heard about the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Paro, but have you ever thought how would it be to experience the journey of getting up there? Well, due to its location, the only way to get to the monastery is by hiking. So, it’s definitely a sweat!
The Tiger’s Nest Monastery, also known as Paro Taktsang, is Bhutan’s prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred attraction with the temple complex which is located on the cliffside of the upper Paro valley. Every traveller who visits Bhutan for a few days, find time to make it here. Why? Because this place is simply extraordinary. However, for those who cannot hike the entire way, can also hire a horse that will carry you most of the way up there.
The Monastery is 12 kilometres off the ground and I wasn’t in the best of my shape to trek for hours, but a first time trip to Bhutan would not have been complete without seeing this stunning beauty and location.
What is the Tiger’s Nest Monastery?
Constructed in 1692, this is a sacred Buddhist site around the cave where Guru Rinpoche first meditated, the event that introduced Buddhism into Bhutan. It consists of four temples with residential accommodations for the monks. While you begin your hike, you will come across trees that surround you and you will get your first glimpse of the Tiger’s Nest too. In just a matter of hours, you will be up there too.
The trail to the Monastery is a wide, dirt trail. It is uphill the entire way but not overly steep. Very doable for most people, but just be prepared to take your time.
At the halfway point, you can take a break at the Takstang Cafeteria. From here, you will also have a great peek of the monastery as well. Some people choose to finish the hike here, electing not to make the final climb.
However, the second half of the climb is a bit easier. The trail is not as steep and gets less monotonous. You also catch one of the best views of the hike at a point where you overlook the monastery. This is where many people snap that iconic photo.
Once you’ve reached the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, you will be guided to take a tour of the temples. Backpacks, photography equipment, and shoes are not allowed inside the monastery. After the tour is complete, you can spend some time taking all the photos of the view you want…this is something you will want to look back on forever. Cheers!
Here are some tips for this hike:
Getting there: Paro is the perfect home base to plan this visit. The Monastery is located 10 miles north of Paro (20 minutes by car).
Best time visit: October to December
Hours of trekking: The visit to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery takes a full day. On average, it takes between four and six hours to do the round trip hike, including an hour to tour the monastery.
How fit do you need to be to do this hike? Anyone of average fitness can do this hike. Take your time, it is not a race! You may want to carry hiking poles to help out your knees on the descent.
What to carry: Hiking shoes, lots of water, a few snacks, and your camera. You can buy lunch or tea at the cafeteria.
As they say, Enjoy the journey than the destination! Hope you enjoy the read, until my next tale.