Many people dream of trekking in the Himalayas.
It's on thousands of bucket lists all over the world.
Travel writers rave about the unforgettable experience of being in the shadow of high mountains and crossing windswept passes.
But what if you're not an experienced or serious trekker?
The experience doesn't have to be missed. In western Bhutan, the short Sagala Trek is one of the most popular for giving a taste of trekking in the high altitudes of the Himalayas, without committing your time or your body to a more serious route.
The trek begins in the tranquil valley of Haa, bordering on Tibet and shaped by the Haa Chhu River. Local people consider the hills around Haa to be holy and inhabited by local protector deities, so you'll see shrines and temples dotting the forested slopes and around every village. A walk through the quaint villages of the Haa valley allows you to experience traditional Bhutanese customs and everyday life, as you can interact with the local people.
From the small village of Talung, resting at 3,150m at the top of the valley, the trail gradually climbs through meadows and coniferous forest to the Sagala Pass - the highest point of the trek at 3,720m above sea level. Enjoy the excellent views as far as the Tibetan border, Mount Jomolhari, Tiger's Nest Monastery near Paro, and Drukgyel Dzong. Crossing over the pass toward Paro, the descent begins through rhododendron forest to the peaceful Dongney Tso Lake where camp is set up for the night.
Waking up in the morning to the sound of birdsong in the trees and sunrise illuminating the distant peaks, enjoy a coffee with your breakfast as you warm up and prepare for the day's hike. Trek down a steep hill through thick vegetation that's thriving with animal life - see how many laughing thrushes, magpies, and pheasants you can spot - until you reach a small village and temple. From here there isn't far to go to Balakha Chhu, where the trail ends and your car will meet you to take you the rest of the way to Paro.
Done as a three-day/ two-night, or a shorter two-day/ one-night journey from Haa over to Paro, the Sagala Trek is the perfect introduction to Himalayan hiking for those who have never done it before. You will be accompanied by a guide, mules to carry your luggage, and a cook to prepare nourishing meals. Camp will be set up for you each night, complete with mattresses, warm sleeping bags and blankets, a dining tent and bathroom tent - you don't have to worry about the cold or your comfort.
Short on time, unsure of your trekking stamina, or nervous about committing to a multi-day hike at high altitude? Don't let these stop you; the Sagala Trek could be the right one for you.