A day hike to
Phajoding Ghoenpa which is 5 km distance and estimated trekking time is about 5
hours round trip. It is one of the most interesting day hiking trails in
Thimphu. The hike starts from the upper valley of Motithang-Thimphu just above
the Takin preserve with the gentle climbs through the forest of blue pines,
rhododendrons, oak and many other high altitude plants. The snake trails curve
take you about 2 hours uphill on the same slope before you take final left
inclined up to a small stupa, which offer the best view of Thimphu valley. From
here another hour hike up will take you to an open area where you can see few
houses build at the base of Phajoding top.
Phajoding Ghoenpa is a
large monastic complex with 10 temples and 15 monastics residences; many of
them are being used for extended period of meditation and spiritual retreats. Togden
Phajo, a yogi from Tibet, who was searching for a place of meditation, founded
it in the 13th century. Most of the temples were built in 1748 through the
effort of Shakya Rinchen, the 9th Je Khenpo (a chief abbot of
You will enjoy our
packed picnic lunch here and take another 30 minutes walks to Thujidrag Ghoenpa
(monastery) from where we can see Thimphu valley and you will enjoy panoramic
view of Himalayan mountains ranges. Return to the monastery and visit the
temple before descending down. Enjoy your time at the pass-taking picture,
walking around. Later in the afternoon you will retrace your walk back to hike
start point from where we will picked up by our car and drop at the hotel.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Best Season: March,
April, May, June and Sept, Oct and Nov
Maximum Elevation: 3500m
Elevation Gain: 1000m
Walking distance: 7
km | 4.34 miles
Walking time: 4
13th century old monastery complex of Phajodhing. Trail passes through forests
of pine, fir and hemlock. The view of the Thimphu valley is superb top of
Phajoding nature trail-The most popular hiking trail in Thimphu
The Phajoding monastery is located on the hilltop from Mothitang Youth centre, Thimphu. The monastery was founded by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo in the 13th century. Phajoding is located at an elevation of 3650m. Presently the Phajoding coupled consists of ten temples and several other meditation houses.
The monastery is home to numerous monks. The monastery was once considered renowned and richest monasteries in Bhutan. Today the World Monuments Fund listed Phajoding Monastery as one of the five endangered cultural monuments in 2010. Besides locals’ pilgrims and hikers many tourists also pay their visit to the monastery.
Besides the significance of the monastery, further away from the monastery are several spiritual remnants ‘Nye’ and popular lakes like Thujeydrak and Dungtsog.
Thujeydrak is a temple located perched on the cliff where Phajo Dugom and his consort Sonam Pelden mediated. Four hours further from Thujeydrak is the famous lake Dungtso.
Phajoding Nature Trail
The 5 Km hiking trail leads to the Phajoding monastery and it takes 3 hours to reach up to the monastic complex with several temples and monks residence.
Over a weekend few friends and I signed up for the hike. We started hiking from the base of Mothithang at around 8:00 am in the morning. The hiking trail is pretty wide.
Unlike other trails, the Phajoding nature trail is not sloppy and narrow. The hike isn’t tiring at all. Until now amongst the hike I have done around Thimphu, I consider Phajoding hike to be one of the easiest hikes.
On the way, there are several resting areas with canopies and wooden benches. You will also come across several streams but be mindful that not all streams are drinkable except one drupchu.
While hiking up, watch out for ropeway cable. Phajoding monastery conservation project is operating ropeway cable from Sangaygang base to Phajoding monastery to transport construction materials. Since it poses risk to commuters, as the cable will be moving during the operation period. Therefore, all the commuters are requested to take extra precaution while crossing the cable line.
The Phajoding trail is the last trail of Druk Trek path in reverse. When we were climbing uphill we met few international hikers who were descending down to Thimphu. They were running on final Druk Trek path.
After 3 hours of the hike we arrived at the entrance of the monastery and to our surprise little monks welcomed us serving tea at an elevation of 3650 m.
The view from the frontal part of the temple is amazing. One could literally see whole Thimphu city. The city submerged into clouds of wanderlust and for once I found myself on top of the people residing in Thimphu.
The ambience of the area is very peaceful and tranquil. There could be no better place for a spiritual retreat than around Phajoding Monastery. If you are into photography, take pictures for little monks. Most of them love taking pictures.
Best Time to Hike
Since it’s a short 3 hours hike. The trail is open throughout all season. If you are hiking during monsoon season make sure you carry your own raincoat. Most recommendable hiking time in spring and autumn. During spring if you hike further away from the monastery, varies of fauna grows.
Private guided tour
Visas for Bhutan
Daily 3 meals (B/L/D) at designated restaurants or hotels
Accommodation at 3 star hotels
A qualified & licensed English-speaking guide
An experienced driver
A tour vehicle
Entry fees & road permits
Government fee, royalty, taxes & surcharges
Mineral bottled water
Set of traditional costume (to be return at the end of your stay)
Full service & assistance before, during and after your Bhutan trip
Flight into Bhutan via Bhutan Airlines & Drukair (can be arranged with us)
Flight on other airline to catch Bhutan Flight (can be arrange with us)