Bumdra Trek is one of the shortest trek in Bhutan. The two day trek starts at Sangchen Choekhor Buddhist Institute and ends at the Tiger’s Nest. The campsite in Bumdra offers luxury / glamping experience

In May 2018, after having done a few short hikes in and around Thimphu, my friends and I, we nervously set out to execute the two day Bumdra trek in Paro, Bhutan. Although I have always enjoyed being amongst nature, I haven’t been doing much hiking in the last ten years or so. My friends were not regular hikers either. There were four of us; Kunga Tenzin Dorji (aka Supe) was in his late fifties and Avinash, Sonam and I, we were in our late thirties.

As anticipated, we could not start off from Thimphu on time and by the time we reached the parking of Sangchen Choekhor Buddhist Institute, the starting point of the hike, it was already lunch time. The thought of a good lunch awaiting us actually inspired me to walk as fast as I can.

I was told that it was not a difficult hike but I found it pretty tough. Especially the first three hours. Travel guides say that they usually make it to the lunch point in two hours but it took me three. Supe and I, would have manged to climb to the lunch point in about two hours but two of our friends had to drag along a lot of whiskey, beer, cigarettes and broken hearts, so we had to walk for an hour and wait for another hour for them to catch up. It took us about 6 hours to reach the campsite and by the time we got to the campsite, it was already dark. We probably broke the record of having taken the longest time to hike to Bumdra. The Bumdra trail passes via Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) and ends at the base of Taktsang.

The day begins by driving to Sangchen Choekhor Buddhist Institute and then the three and half hour hike (for an average hiker) to reach Bumdra begins. This is a view of Paro Dzong, as seen from the Sangchen Choekhor Buddhist Institute – The shortest trek in Bhutan

A scenic view of a peaceful monastic setting, before reaching the lunch point – The shortest trek in Bhutan

View of Paro International Airport from the Bumdra trail – The shortest trek in Bhutan

This is where the lunch boy awaits his guests. Our lunch boy was pretty upset that we kept him waiting for over three hours. By the time we started our hike from Sangchen Choekhor Buddhist Institute, he must have already reached the lunch point with a big basket of food for all his clients. Since we had to walk for three hours on a partially empty stomach, his lunch was super scrumptious – The shortest trek in Bhutan

Sangchen Choekhor Buddhist Institute as seen from the lunch point. This is where I tell you that the brown patch is the portion that got burnt by the forest fire that took place earlier in the year. You will have to walk for about an hour through a burnt forest until you start walking through green nature. It was not as bad as I expected it to be – The shortest trek in Bhutan

Sangchen Choekhor Buddhist Institute again – The shortest trek in Bhutan

It was already getting dark by the time we reached this beautiful meadow and we could see the campsite a little further up. The happiest moment for us – The shortest trek in Bhutan

Just prayer flags on the ridge. I love prayer flags – The shortest trek in Bhutan

I was the last one to wake up the next morning and this was what my friends were up to. It was very cold at the campsite (May 2018). The tent makes a lot of funny noises as well. I would like to think that it was the wind that night – The shortest trek in Bhutan

The camping experience was more or less galmping. The tents had proper beds to sleep on with clean blankets. The dining tent had a heater and had a dining table and chairs to go with it. They even provide you with hot water-bags and a solar charged LED flash lights – The shortest trek in Bhutan

The Bumdra camp at 3800 meters above sea level – The shortest trek in Bhutan

The camp uses ponies to bring in supplies from Paro – The shortest trek in Bhutan

The view towards Paro town and Paro International Airport (from the campsite) – The shortest trek in Bhutan

View towards Paro valley again from the campsite – The shortest trek in Bhutan

Bumdra camp with hermitages perched on a cliff – The shortest trek in Bhutan

Standing on stilts, modest and unassuming hermitages such as these provide a secluded retreat for hermits – The shortest trek in Bhutan

With the cooks of Bumdra. These young men spend at least six months in the camp entertaining travelers and local hikers – The shortest trek in Bhutan

This friendly guard dog is very protective of the campers. Here he ventures a final bark to bid us good bye as we set off with the second day hike towards Taktsang Monastery (3100 meters). Taktsang Monastery is about 700 meters lower than Bumdra – The shortest trek in Bhutan

Avinash resting his rusted joints – The shortest trek in Bhutan

This is me, Bjob Ganchu – The shortest trek in Bhutan

Out first sight of Taktsang Monastery when coming from Bumdra – The shortest trek in Bhutan

This little boy was drinking water from the stream that flows beside the crafts stalls at the base of Taktsang. I asked one of the vendors that the water may not be safe and she responded that all of them drink from same the stream – The shortest trek in Bhutan

Souvenir and crafts stalls at the base of Taktsang. This is where the two day trek to Bumdra ends – The shortest trek in Bhutan

All pictures are taken by Bjob Ganchu.