What You Need to do to Prepare for a Trek in Bhutan

by Manoj Keshwar on 04 September 2018
Prepare for a Trek in Bhutan

Beautiful Bhutan is a Kingdom of mountains, monasteries and magic. Nestled in the clouds between India and Tibet, Bhutan is considered to be the last great Himalaya Kingdom, and a trip here is truly a once in a lifetime experience. Shrouded in mystery, the Buddhist nation prides itself on its rich history and traditions, and a sustainable approach to tourism. One of the top attractions drawing visitors to this tiny country is the spectacular mountain ranges and jaw-dropping scenery – and hiking is one of the best ways to experience it. If you’re planning a trek in Bhutan, there are a number of things you can do to get the most out of your trip.

What to expect
First things first, you need to evaluate your own fitness level. Bhutan isn’t called the ‘Kingdom in the Clouds’ for no reason – on average, the country sits well over three kilometres above sea level, making it the single highest country in the world. It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about your own capabilities before you book any plane tickets.

Altitude sickness
Given the high altitude across the entire country, acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a very real possibility. While everyone reacts differently, it’s important to take it slowly when you first arrive for your trek in Bhutan, giving your body time to adjust to the new altitude. Symptoms of AMS include headaches, nausea, shortness of breath and lack of energy – everyone is at risk, no matter what their fitness level or age.

How to prepare
If you haven’t guessed by now, trekking in Bhutan won’t be your average holiday – it’s going to be hard. Compare the fitness level needed for the trek with your own abilities, and find out what you need to do to reach your goals.

  • If you haven’t already, consider getting a gym membership. Workout at least three times per week, with a focus on cardio training – think running and cycling or high-intensity interval training.
     
  • Walk long distances on consecutive days. Long periods of repetitive activity (which is what you’ll be doing on your trek in Bhutan) will help your body prepare and gain endurance.
     
  • Eat a healthy, balanced. This won’t just help with your trek but will also go a long way to creating a healthier overall lifestyle.
     
  • Buy high-quality clothing and gear for your trek in Bhutan – after all, this is what you’ll be relying on while you’re out in the open.
     
  • Spend your weekends in the great outdoors. You’ll be camping and hiking in Bhutan, so you should get used to it now while you’re close to home. This is a good opportunity to test out the gear you’ll be using on your trip as well.
     
  • Research is key. Read online about other people’s experiences and recommendations, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask questions either!

A trek in Bhutan is one of the most spectacular and rewarding things you’ll do in your lifetime. You’ll be graced with the jaw-dropping scenery at every turn, and you’ll be amazed at your own strength. But just like everything else, it’s important that you research what’s ahead of you. The more you prepare now, the easier it will be when you touch down in the Kingdom in the clouds.