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The Tiger’s Nest Bhutan monastery hike is one of the most popular hikes around the world.

Also called as Paro Taktsang, hiking this trail was actually the reason why Harsh and I had planned our trip to Bhutan. Nonetheless, the 2.5-hour hike deposited us on a striking expedition in the gorgeous backdrop of cliffside of Paro Valley which made us befriend Tiger’s Nest Bhutan monastery.

We started early at 8 in the morning only after reconfirming from our driver that it was fairly pleasant weather for the Taktsang monastery hike.

We could see globules of clouds from far away but were reassured that it wouldn’t rain, which is why we left our rain gear in our car (still believing that local people would know better about the weather).

**Bad Decision**

Tiger’s Nest Bhutan and we got off on the wrong foot – dramatic climate change, improper planning, no rain gear – an epic Bhutan monastery hiking plan gone wrong.

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One Week Comprehensive Bhutan Itinerary

Tiger’s Nest Bhutan Trek Details

Tiger’s Nest Bhutan monastery trek can be easily broken into two parts:

  1. Choosing the main trail is all about gradual ascents and less strenuous hiking, which we’d suggest you take, and even opted for.
  2. The side trail cuts down the hiking time relatively but is a lot steeper and only suggested for regular trekkers. It can be really straining for the beginners, believe us. Usually, monks are the ones who are more comfortable taking this route as they are adept with it. Don’t blindly follow them as it can leave you gasping for breath later on.

This trek has three prime landmarks – the cafeteria, first viewing point, and ultimately the monastery.

The Cafeteria marks your half-way through the trek and you can enjoy a quick lunch here (it’s quite expensive so bringing along your refreshments would be a nicer idea). For the foreigners with their tour guides, the lunch is covered. So, relish appetizing Bhutanese delicacies only if your pocket permits.

Then comes the viewing point from where you get the first good view of the monastery. In our case, the monastery got so badly covered in globules of clouds that it was rather disappointing for us to click the pictures. But we were not let down by that, instead, we waited for half an hour for the clouds to move away and could eventually take some pictures. A lot of trekkers actually returned from this point to my utter surprise. 

Finally, the monastery which entices all trekkers from a distance and the continuous chanting of mantras keeps the pace going.


Our Tiger’s Nest Bhutan Hike Experience

Our driver dropped us at the starting point where a small group of traders were selling wooden sticks and trinkets. We did not consider taking a horse/pony and instead did the entire trek on foot. The trek takes you through a patch of dense pine forest and ascents that start soon after you’ve hiked 50m. Soon the trail went on to become arduous from steep to a way steady climb up to the Paro Monastery.

Tiger's Nest Bhutan Monastery

Starting point of the Tiger’s Nest Bhutan Monastery trek

Tiger's Nest Bhutan Monastery

Gentle climb into the pine forests

Tiger's Nest Bhutan Monastery

Monastery perched prettily atop the left cliff

The first small stop on the Tiger’s Nest Bhutan hike was the ridge which was marked by numerous prayers wheels and flags as well as a chorten. Within 45 minutes, we were past the cafeteria, and we didn’t stop there as we weren’t tired.

“We’re almost there,” other trekkers kept assuring us and themselves! It was really nice to climb to the Paro Monastery with so many people, all from different countries and of different religions.

Tiger's Nest Bhutan Monastery

Gorgeous prayer wheels made us so happy

Tiger's Nest Bhutan Monastery

We were actually very tired at one point but still continued after short breaks

We reached the second viewpoint and it began to rain cats and dogs. So, we decided to relax a bit over there and waited for the rain to stop. Also, there was the most difficult path to tread in front of us – one last brutal flight of stairs which were blanketed in clouds (though offering an aura of heaven to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery Bhutan).

The remaining stretch was wrapped beautifully in prayer flags, which was a site to behold. Even the view of the Paro Monastery was clear then, which gave us a chance to click ’n’ number of pictures.

Almost at the Monastery

Within 15 minutes, we were there at the monastery, though our legs felt like jellies by then. Our determination didn’t deter and we finally were upfront with the beauty. And trust me, no matter how many times you might have seen and appreciated the beauty of Tiger’s Nest Bhutan monastery in pictures, but the feeling of being up close and personal with it is so different.

Tiger's Nest Bhutan Monastery

Taktsang was just 850 steps away from there. Not far, right

Tiger's Nest Bhutan Monastery

The second Viewpoint – totally awestruck by the beauty

Chilling in front of Tiger's Nest Bhutan

Chilling in front of Tiger’s Nest Bhutan

Tiger's Nest Bhutan

A striking waterfall that cascaded into a sacred pool

Tiger's nest Bhutan monastery

A stair trail plunged into a bridge


Inside the Monastery

  • There are strict conditions for entry inside the pilgrimage site. You cannot take shoes, cellphones, cameras, or any kind of electronic equipment inside. You need to deposit everything at the counter outside the monastery. Also, you cannot act smart with the security guards as they make sure you do not smuggle your cameras or cell phones inside.
  • Tiger’s Nest Bhutan Monastery remains closed from 1:00 P.M – 2:00 P.M as lamas have their lunch at that time.
  • Inside the monastery, we were greeted with tea and biscuits. On procession to the main temple, there was a small room where the deity is worshipped. There are chambers where Buddhist icons are offered food and money. It felt divine, for sure!
Tiger's nest Bhutan monastery

Such beauty – Paro Monastery

Trekking Down

It was extremely difficult for us to come downhill as the entire stretch which was way too steep had become slippery after the downpour. In fact, I slipped there twice and sat down at one point of time, deciding that I wouldn’t be able to go back ever. A lot of local people kept telling us horror stories of other trekkers who were slipping as well, which scared me to no ends.

Help came out unexpectedly. A very sweet local Bhutanese friend, Thinley, asked to give his help to me. Harsh was able to trek down easily after that because I was able to move down easily with Thinley’s help. We both couldn’t thank him enough for his gracious attitude. And by the time we got back down, we were totally doused in mud. This experience was something we would never forget!

Tiger's nest Bhutan monastery

Even with the mist blanketing the monastery, it looked gorgeous


Ultimate Tiger’s Nest Bhutan Checklist 

When:

We suggest that you keep Tiger’s Nest Bhutan monastery hike for the last day as it will drain all your energy, and you will need plenty of bed rest afterward. It won’t be wise wasting the next day in bed rather you can make the most by going for the hike on the last day of your trip and take rest on flight back.

Best months to plan your trekking trip to Bhutan would be March, April, May, June, September, October, November.

What:

There are a lot of things you need to keep in mind when getting ready for the trek.

  • Good hiking shoes: However good or bad the climate might be, don’t forget to wear good hiking shoes with thick socks. Strictly stay away from sandals, heels or bathroom slippers.
  • Clothes: They won’t let you inside the monastery in short pants or capris. You need to be modestly dressed to go inside the pilgrimage site. Perhaps Harsh made a huge mistake here and ended up sitting outside the monastery even after such hard work. Read about the blunder he made, here
  • Refreshments: There’s just one cafeteria that too after you are halfway up to Taktsang so carry your water and refreshments. We would advise you to carry some protein bars and chocolates to keep your energy level in check throughout the Tiger’s Nest Bhutan monastery trek.
  • Hiking poles: If you have hiking poles, bring them along. And if you don’t, then you can buy a wooden stick from the parking lot area for 50 NU | 1USD where a lot of vendors stack up these sticks and handmade stuff.
  • Rain Gear: If it can happen to us, it can happen to anyone. So, there’s no harm in carrying a rain gear. Think how much weight it would add? There wasn’t any stark hint that it could rain but it did!

PIN ME: 
Tigers Nest Monastery Bhutan

Start early, go slow!!

Have you been to Tiger’s Nest monastery? Let us know your travel experience in the comments below!

More from Bhutan!

 

Comments:

  • December 13, 2016

    Despite the weather and mud this sounds like an amazing trip! I would love to visit Bhutan someday. All of my travels have been in the US, but traveling internationally has long been a dream of mine.

    reply...
    • December 14, 2016

      You definitely should consider paying a visit to Bhutan, John! It’s a different world altogether. We truly miss that place. 🙂

      reply...
    • Charity Valenzuela Marces

      December 19, 2016

      Paro Taktsang looks absolutely incredible. I would probably get stoked of its beauty and be busy taking pictures. It sounds like a painful leg workout (blame it on my lack of exercise.) Nevertheless, it is undoubtedly worth it!

      reply...
  • Hra

    December 13, 2016

    What a beautiful post 🙂 I love your photos so much!! they make me to wanna go there. Thanks for sharing with us!!

    reply...
    • December 17, 2016

      Thanks a lot. Even we want to go back to Bhutan and make more memories! 😉

      reply...
  • Scarlet

    December 13, 2016

    Wow, how lovely pictures and very interesting article. Good read. I never knew Bhutan was that beautiful. Will surely put it in my upcoming trips list. Thank you for sharing 🙂

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  • Sanne - Spend Life Traveling

    December 13, 2016

    This trek sounds incredible! Bhutan has fascinated me for years and I really hope to go here some day!

    reply...
    • December 14, 2016

      Yes Sanne, this trek is definitely incredible. It has surely enticed us to no ends and we are gonna do it once again sometime in future. 🙂

      reply...
  • December 13, 2016

    Those colourful flags are really beautiful. I suppose with views that amazing, all your tiredness must’ve quickly been wiped away! I agree with proper hiking boots – saves a lot of trouble. Great post!

    reply...
  • Loudy

    December 14, 2016

    What an amazing experience. Oh my gof you were not scared when you knew that you cant go back down. If it was me I would have paniced haha. I would like to go here and live this adventure. Thank you for sharing this post

    reply...
    • December 14, 2016

      Trust me, you would never like to be in our shoes. It was one of the scariest experiences we’ve had and has even made us realise the dire need of planning well. That apart, Tiger Nest trek was a delight! 😉

      reply...
  • December 14, 2016

    Wow guys this looks epic, would love to go there. The beauty is incredible! Glad we now know what to take though, haha 😉 Thanks for the great tips. The Austin’s (www.360honeymoon.com)

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  • December 15, 2016

    Wow the photos are out of this world. I would definitely love to go to Bhutan someday. It’s extremely beautifully. Thanks for sharing.

    reply...
  • December 17, 2016

    I have heard of Bhutan for many years and have always dreamed of seeing this monastery, you really made it come alive for me and the photos are just amazing.

    reply...
    • December 17, 2016

      Thanks Faith. So good to know that you loved our blog and we could actually put you there through our photographs. But you should plan for a trip to the country and experience it first-hand. You are going to love it 🙂

      reply...
  • December 17, 2016

    I would very much like to visit this place – it looks absolutely mind-blowing. I am so happy to hear that I am not the only traveller who turns up to places with improper planning and no rain gear – I’ve done it myself a few times! Also, I love that the monastery is closed when the llamas are having their lunch 😀

    reply...
    • December 21, 2016

      Or I should say so happy to know that there are more travellers who are like me when it comes to improper planning. 😀
      Nonetheless, yes, the monastery was epi of sorts! 🙂

      reply...
  • December 17, 2016

    I always have a soft spot for Bhutan — I’ve been eyeing this country for a while now! Unfortunately, the cost to visit Bhutan is not cheap 🙁 thanks for the photos and story! I enjoy reading it.

    reply...
    • December 21, 2016

      Nice to hear that. And I am sure you’ll be able to make it there one day for sure 🙂

      reply...
  • December 17, 2016

    Bhutan has been ‘on my list’ so to speak for years and years now; it just looks like such a beautiful and serene country! Your journey to and from the monastery sounds like quite an adventure – I always find the worst part about doing treks such as these are the stories you’ll inevitably hear about how people (who you’re always told are more experienced than you) have fallen and seriously injured themselves or gotten killed. Like, that’s not going to help with my already severely shaken nerves!

    reply...
  • December 18, 2016

    It sure is pretty mind blowing just by reading from your experience and looking at the photos! Hopefully one day I could take this trail. I’d love to have divine trips like this, usually these are life-changing!

    reply...
    • December 21, 2016

      I agree, such trips have the power to change the way you think! Felt blessed to have finally made it to the monastery and was so gratifying once we were descending down! 🙂

      reply...
  • Misa

    December 18, 2016

    Wow wow and wow again! I had no idea there’s a place like this but daaaamn it’s beautiful! I just wrote it down on my travel list!

    reply...
  • December 18, 2016

    Ive never been to Bhutan and this really made me want to add this in my bucket list. Thanks for sharing and for the helpful tips as well!)

    reply...
  • Katie

    December 18, 2016

    Tiger’s Nest looks incredible and is deffo on my list! I thought Bhutan had high visa costs?

    reply...
    • December 19, 2017

      Hey Katie,
      All travelers (excluding Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian passport holders) who plan to visit Bhutan need a visa and have to book their trip through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator who will take care of Visa arrangements.

      reply...
  • December 19, 2016

    Such stunningly beautiful temple set in a gorgeous location. I found your post very informative and useful. Thank you for the tips. I would defo add this to my bucket list but would use your tips.

    reply...
    • December 23, 2016

      Thanks Verushka, glad to know you found this post helpful.I am sure you’d be able to make the most from our experience and not repeat the mistakes we made 🙂

      reply...
  • December 19, 2016

    What an amazing trip. I’d love to visit Bhutan someday, especially this beautiful monastery. Think I’d be a little scared of the drop though 😉 Polly

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  • Mri

    December 19, 2016

    This looks like such an amazing and wonderful hike! Am definitely going to add it to my travel bucket list of things to do in the future. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to visit Asia yet, but one day soon for sure!

    reply...
  • December 20, 2016

    this this this this!

    I would love to visit. Looks like an incredible journey

    reply...
  • December 21, 2016

    Wow, this adventure is so inspirational. Bhutan wasn’t on my list before but it is now!

    reply...
    • December 19, 2017

      Glad you liked our post so much that it’s in your wishlist now 🙂
      Hope you make it there Rachel 🙂

      reply...
  • Sandy N Vyjay

    December 21, 2016

    The trek looks incredible. Bhutan is really a fascinating place. The view of monastery is great! I really hope to go here someday.

    reply...
  • December 21, 2016

    I have been to Bhutan twice, but unfortunately unable to explore this area. It looks awesome. I will definitely visit this place, the next time I go to Bhutan.

    reply...
    • December 19, 2017

      Hey Saurabh, then you must return for PARO. It’s the most gorgeous city of Bhutan. Plus the Tiger’s Nest Monastery that’s so dreamy.

      reply...
  • Vibeke Johannessen

    December 28, 2016

    Awesome post! The photos makes me want to visit Bhutan right now. It looks like a very interesting place. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    reply...
    • December 19, 2017

      Thanks Vibeke. Hope you find yourself in this gorgeous country soon 🙂

      reply...
  • January 7, 2017

    wow – those monks must be so fit! And the reward is amazing.

    reply...
  • Eva

    January 8, 2017

    A fantastic and very detailed article. I haven’t been to Bhutan but it so gained a few more points after reading your post.

    reply...
  • January 8, 2017

    wow1 I’ve seen so many photos of this place, and the trek is right up our alley for adventure hikes. It looks spectacular! I’ve learned my lesson on rain gear in the past, as well as not being properly prepared for just how difficult a climb would be, but those views are the reward for sure!

    reply...
  • January 8, 2017

    such a cool place to visit! this building is amazing! thanks for your photos and post.

    reply...
  • January 9, 2017

    This place is amazing! And now it’s on my bucketlist. I’ve pinned it for later. Thanks!

    reply...
  • January 10, 2017

    That must be scary! I don’t have the courage to do such a thing for I have fear of height. I admire your perseverance and passion for extreme adventure.

    reply...
  • January 13, 2017

    I have seen pictures of the Tiger’s Nest but haven’t researched it enough yet to know about the trek. It must have been an incredible adventure, and what a feeling once you actually reached the place.

    reply...
  • Cruise Writer

    January 16, 2017

    Bhutan is getting more and more popular and I am anxious to go there. Your story about the local saying that the weather was good reminded me of a hiking in Grenada when a local said that the trail wasn’t muddy. After losing our shoes in the deep mud, we decided that local advice isn’t always trustworthy. I will add Tiger’s Nest to my list of must-do hikes.

    reply...
  • January 17, 2017

    Bhutan is high on my list to visit. Unfortunately I’ve heard that it could be a bureaucratic and expensive journey to get the visa to Bhutan. Maybe not for you – I would be interested in learning how you managed to get it, and how much you spent on required tours etc.

    reply...
  • January 17, 2017

    Tiger’s Nest is a dream destination. The external pictures of it are so inspiring but we always wondered why we never saw internal photos. Thanks to you guys, we now know that electronics are forbidden. You always include such useful info. Thanks.

    reply...
  • Mike

    January 18, 2017

    What did you do with your cameras and cellphones etc when you went inside? Is there a safe place to leave your stuff?

    Also is it easy to get a picture from the exterior?

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It looks and sounds incredible.

    reply...
    • January 18, 2017

      Hi mike, we had to deposit our cameras, mobiles etc, at a small office located at the entrypoint of the monastery. We were then frisked by a policeman. It’s best to take pictures from the viewpoints as you’ll be able to capture the monastery in it’s full glory. 🙂

      reply...
      • Mike

        January 18, 2017

        Thanks very much. 🙂

        reply...
  • Only By Land

    January 18, 2017

    I gotta get myself up to the viewpoint. Great photos! This has been on my list for a long time now!

    reply...
  • Neni

    January 19, 2017

    Despite the rain, this hike sounds and looks amazing.
    The trail seems to be lovely to walk and every time I see a picture of those buildings I´m in awe. Hopefully I get there once in my life 🙂

    reply...
  • February 16, 2017

    That does sound like a rather harrowing trip back down! Glad you made it safely. Thanks for the post!

    reply...
  • April 13, 2017

    I’m stoked that you managed to get over a dodgy start to your Bhutan adventure. I’d love to visit this remote mountain kingdom, the landscapes would, as it did you, blow my mind.

    reply...
  • April 21, 2017

    This is one of the places that I want to go most in my life! Thanks for outlining how I can make this a reality!

    reply...
  • April 28, 2017

    I am planning to visit Bhutan this year and after reading this post, am very excited to go and see this beautiful country. The tips are very useful. Amazing pictures.

    reply...
  • May 11, 2017

    I really want to visit Bhutan. The Tiger’s Nest looks amazing! Thanks for the tips about what to wear there. The trek sounds tiring but worth it for the view!

    reply...
    • October 12, 2017

      Dear Kat,
      This trek is worth all the effort. We are glad we could help you with the clothing part 😉

      reply...
  • LifeFit Hub

    November 8, 2017

    WOW! So amazing. The photos are brilliant and I couldn’t stop reading. Thanks for the info, will def put this on my list

    reply...
    • December 19, 2017

      Thanks a ton! Hope you make it to Tiger’s Nest Bhutan super soon 🙂

      reply...
  • Ryan Biddulph

    December 19, 2017

    Hi Prerna,

    I can see why the place blew your mind! Beyond stunning, and one of my dream places to see.Bhutan in general seems so happy, or, the people see cheery and genuinely joyful. Factor in the beauty of the land and you have a winner. I also dig the fact that you get some serious cardio on this hike. Right up my alley. Super post and super blog guys.

    Ryan

    reply...
    • December 19, 2017

      Hi Ryan, thanks for your kind words. Bhutan is definitely a unique country rich in lore, tradition and striking architectures. Our visit to the Buddhist country will always remain special. Blessed that we made it there especially Tiger’s Nest. It was worth it 🙂
      Hope you make it there soon 🙂

      reply...
  • December 19, 2017

    As a Bhutanese, I couldn’t do justice to its beauty by taking such a good pictures. You have done it wonderfully perfect. Taktsang looks more beautiful here.

    reply...
    • December 19, 2017

      That’s a sweet compliment, Sherab. We would love to return to Bhutan as we are enamored by it’s beauty and absolutely impressed by the hospitality, care, warmth of Bhutanese 🙂

      reply...
  • February 11, 2019

    Tigernest is Bhutan’s most sacred place and every tourist should visit once if you are in Bhutan. Wonderful information about tigernest. Love from Bhutan

    reply...
  • March 12, 2019

    Tiger’s nest is one of the best travel Destination in Bhutan. I really like your blog post, amazing writeup, really valuable for the traveller.

    reply...

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