Climbing to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
7
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
7
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
7
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
5
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
7
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
8
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
67 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
Asia
country
Bhutan
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 250
Time of year visited
March
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RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
141st/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 40% SUMMARY RATING: Superb

Summary

A stunning location and really is a must visit if you’re one of the few people to visit this hidden Himalayan kingdom

Top tips:

  • You’ll need 5/6 hours for the overall hike  – we started at 9am, took around 1.5 hours to the monastery, and were back down before 2pm.  It’s steep in parts, but very manageable – around 15,000 steps and 150 flights climbed according to the iphone
  • Halfway stop – there’s a nice spot to take a break and have some tea, cakes etc, plus some cracking views, around halfway up
  • Highest elevation is around 3,120m / 10,230 feet, so should be low enough to avoid any altitude sickness, but also good to help you with acclimatising for some of the other hikes across Bhutan
  • The Monastery itself is cool – clearly the surrounding views and views of the monastery are the highlight, but the monastery itself is very cool.  Loads of hidden rooms to check out and the courtyards have  super relaxed feel
  • Its probably the “busiest” place for tourists you’ll find in Bhutan
  • More detailed guide – quite a comprehensive guide on hiking to the Tiger’s Nest here from the guys from EarthTrekkers

highlights

#1 The view of the Tiger's Nest from the top platform and seeing how just how much it hangs off the edge

#2 The 1.5 hour hike up to the Tiger's Nest itself. Beautiful countryside

#3 Checking out the beautiful Buddhist sites that are dotted all along the walk up to the Monastery

#4 Getting to explore some of the little houses and halls, in particular in the Tiger's Nest itself

Tips on Travelling in Bhutan

  • You have to go with a Bhutanese agency, with a minimum tariff of USD250 per day.  This sounds restrictive and expensive, but bear in mind that this includes all food, accommodation, transport, visas, entrance fees etc in the country and official guides, plus you don’t have to travel as part of a group and can arrange your own itinerary
  • Also bear in mind why this minimum tariff is enforced – Bhutan is focused on environmental and cultural preservation, and this extends to tourism.  Low volume, high value is their target; and it really does add to the experience being able to explore without the usual hoards of fellow tourists and the commercialised downsides we often bring
  • Bhutan focuses on Gross National Happiness, rather than an economic Gross National Product.  You’ll see this reflected in the cleanliness and quality of places you visit, and the general friendliness and pride of the local people
  • We had a 7 day / 6 night trip through Bhutan with Bhutan Swallow Tail Travels and they were awesome, would recommend.  USD1,400 per person, which, again, includes everything other than flights and discretionary spend.  For the full details on the itinerary see this travel entry for – A week in Bhutan

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone