Length: 2.6 miles (one way)
Starting Elevation: 8,525 feet
Max Elevation: 10,232 feet
Taktsang (commonly known as Tiger’s Nest) is one of the most sacred sites in Bhutan and a place you must visit when you visit Bhutan. It is also one of the most challenging monasteries to get to. Located at an elevation of over 10,000 feet, Taktsang is the birthplace of Bhutanese Buddhism. Guru Rinpoche flew here from Tibet on the back of a tigress which was the manifestation of his divine consort Yeshe Tsogyal.
You can reach the Tiger’s Nest by walking or by horseback and while it is a challenging trek, you gain merit with every step. The view of Paro Valley from the monastery is worth the climb in and of itself.
Parking Lot to Tea House
Length: 1.3 miles
Hiking Time: 45 Minutes
Elevation Gain: 973 feet
Tea House Elevation: 9,498 feet
The hike starts with a gentle forest climb among prayer flags. After passing a creek and water powered prayer wheels the trail starts getting steeper.
About half way up the climb is a nice tea house with great views of Tiger’s Nest that makes a welcome stopping point. You can get a tea and food here on your way up or on your way down.
Tea House to Viewpoint
Length: 0.9 miles
Hiking Time: 30 Minutes
Elevation Gain: 734 feet
Viewpoint Elevation: 10,232 feet
After the teahouse you’ll continue climbing to the viewpoint that overlooks Tiger’s Nest. The viewpoint is the BEST place to take photos of Taktsang.
Viewpoint to Tiger’s Nest Entrance
Length: 0.4 miles
Hiking Time: 15 Minutes
From here you’ll walk down a series of steep stairs to a waterfall before making your final ascent to the entrance. Here you’ll be required to leave your backpacks, cameras, and phones. There are lockers to leave your things and it’s a good idea to bring a small lock.
After exploring the monastery it’s time to start heading back. You’ll have to climb back up the stairs to the viewpoint and then make your way back down.
If you have bad knees it really helps to have walking sticks as you descend down the steep trail.