Where else but the happiest country in the world could you trek among the Himalayas, smiling the whole time at the sheer beauty of the temples and landscapes around you? This active tour will get you out and about to visit some of the most gorgeous temples and monasteries in this part of the world. Trek sacred mountain passes of the celebrated Druk Path, ascend to the profound Taktshang Monastary (Tiger's Nest), and explore the unique beauty of the city of Paro. Bhutan is the only place in the world just waiting for you to walk all over its happiness. (Warning, it's contagious here.)
- Travel Style : Active
- Service Level : Standard
- Physical Grading : 4 - Demanding
- Trip Type : Small Group
- What's Included:Your Wellness Moment: Institute of Traditional Medicine Services, Thimphu. Arrival transfer. Paro orientation tour. Chelela Pass hike. Kila Goempa Nunnery hike. Druk Path trekking (4 days). Motithang Takin Preserve visit. Folk Heritage Museum visit. Institute for Zorig Chusum visit. Kuenselphodrang visit. Memorial Chorten visit. Chime Lhakhang visit. Punakha Dzong visit. Kyichu Lhakhang Temple visit. Local Archery Grounds visit. Drukgyal Dzong visit. Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest) visit and hike.
- Highlights:Hike among mystical peaks in the Himalayas, visit dzongs and Buddhist gompas, trek along the famous Druk Path, enjoy incredible views of Mt Jomolhari, take in stunning Himalayan mountain views
- Important Notes:1. CAMERA RULES
Please note there may be times during your visit to Bhutan when the use of video and/or still cameras may be inappropriate. Local people may consider that filming is too intrusive and in these circumstances we will request that you do not film. At all times be aware and sensitive to the impact of photography and seek permission before taking photographs of people and respect their wishes if they refuse.
If you are still using film for a camera, bring plenty of it - film is often hard to find in Bhutan and can be of inferior quality.
Accommodation in Bhutan can be very simple. Electricity and water can often be sporadic. All meals are included and almost always buffet-style with plenty of western options.
Bhutan, a Buddhist country, believes in ahimsa so the barking of dogs (and there are a lot of them) at night can be annoying. It's advisable to bring earplugs. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a good sense of humour, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by what Bhutan has to offer.
The prime requirement for clothes you bring on Bhutan trip is that they are comfortable and appropriate to the weather conditions that you are likely to meet. For protection against cold, particularly at night, a number of relatively thin layers is better than a few thick ones. Thermal underclothes, being small and light, can be very useful. Bhutan is very conservative and you should dress accordingly. As a general guideline, shoulders and legs should be covered at all times. The wearing of shorts is not allowed (except while hiking) as it will restrict your entry into buildings of a religious nature and family homes. A water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat and sunscreen essential. Due to the altitude, it can be cold in the mountains even in the summer.
Your flights into Paro, Bhutan, must be booked by you online. Please visit the following airline websites to do so:
Flights can be booked from: Bangkok, Kathmandu, Delhi or Kolkata (please check Visa requirements if flying via India). Once your flight is booked, contact your G Adventures agent, who will be happy to assist in booking your International connections.
5. EXTRA NIGHTS
If you are planning to extend your stay in Bhutan, pre or post-tour accommodation MUST be booked through G Adventures in order for us to issue a valid visa for the duration of your stay. These extra nights will include a guide and meals in addition to the accommodation.
- Group Size Notes:Max 15, avg 12
- Meals Included:10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 10 dinners
- Meals:Most meals in Bhutan are included in the cost of the trip - some are in the accommodation where it is the best quality/availability option. Most meals are served buffet-style with a selection of traditional Bhutanese food, some western-style (often pasta) as well as some Chinese. Fresh local vegetables are in abundance and while Bhutan is almost mostly vegetarian, there usually is one meat dish available (on some occasions, there can be shortages, as all meat is imported from India).
- Transport:Private vehicle, walking.
- About our Transportation:Traveling by road in Bhutan is certainly not what people are used to in Western countries. The roads in the mountains might not be the best but our drivers always keep the safety of the passengers first. Most roads consist of a series of switchbacks going up and back down mountain passes and can be quite bumpy. If you do suffer from motion sickness, we recommend you bring medication for the drives. We use private transport for the duration of this tour.
- Accommodation:Hotel (7 nts), camping (3 nts).
- My Own Room Exceptions:Nights 4-8
- About Accommodation:The idea of camping can be a daunting one. For those not accustomed to ‘roughing it’ for a few days we offer a full camping service. All tents are pitched for you, meals are prepared and served and the washing up is done by G Adventures staff. This leaves you with more time to enjoy your surroundings and is ideal for first-time campers who may be worried about the challenges such a trip can entail. When camping we are exposed to the elements, and whilst there are times when the weather is fine and temperatures are pleasant, there may be days when it is foggy, rainy and cool. In certain locations there may also be a number of bugs. These factors, however, should be seen as minor downsides to a camping experience which will allow you to get up close to the beautiful nature that Bhutan has to offer. All camping equipment (with the exception of your sleeping bag and pillow) is supplied. We supply canvas dome tents with built-in mesh insect nets on the doors and windows. Mattresses are also available, which are approximately 4cm thick, warm and comfortable.
While on trek, we provide full-service alpine camping at designated communal campsites. Your porters will be carrying your tents, which they will pitch for you at these sites. The campsites are fairly basic, and exposed to the elements. They will not have electricity, nor shower facilities, and toilet facilities are basic long drop latrines, which could become dirty at times (especially when it is raining), as other hikers share the same facilities. Your crew will prepare basins of warm water for washing daily. All camping equipment (with the exception of your sleeping bag and pillow) is supplied. All meals on the mountain will be prepared for you by your group's cook.
- Joining Hotel:For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
- Emergency Contact:Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (Bhutan):
Ms Wangchuk Dem
Phone: +975 17 74 74 28
Mr Rajju Maskey
Phone: +977 9802014444
G Adventures Local Office (Delhi)
G Adventures South Asia Manager, Rishab (Delhi, India)
>From outside of India: +91 88 5180 6614
>From within Delhi: 88 5180 6614
>From within India, but outside Delhi: 088 5180 6614
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time): +66-02-3815574
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
- What to Take:This is a very active trip, meaning you will be on the move most of the time, so pack as lightly as possible. We provide one porter for every two travellers; your trekking gear will be carried by the porter in a water-proof duffel that we will provide. The maximum the porters are allowed to carry is 7.5kg/16.5lb per passenger. Please note that as you will be sharing the duffel with a fellow trekker from the group during the trek, a lightweight cotton or plastic bag is recommended to keep your gear separate.
Important to note:
- Please read the 'Checklist' section of this trip notes for additional details of what you need to bring for the trek on this trip.
- You will need to bring a comfortable medium sized day pack to carry the things that you will need during the day. This should have a waist strap or (better) a padded waist belt.
- The weather is subject to change in high altitude so layered clothing is recommended throughout the year.
- Packing List:Additional Items:
• Sleeping bag and liner (Seasonally appropriate)
• Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
• Warm gloves
• Warm hat
• Warm layers
• Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders (Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders)
• Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
High Altitude Trekking:
• Down jacket (Recommended for winter season)
• Hiking boots (Worn frequently prior to departure)
• Pack liners to waterproof bags
• Reusable water bottler - minimum 1 litre (Aluminium or Nalgene polypropylene are best)
• Sandals (For wearing around camp in the evenings)
• Sleeping bag and liner, 4 season
• Spare boot laces
• Thermal base layer
• Waterproof gloves
• Windproof rain gear
• Wool socks
• Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
• Hiking pants (Convertible/Zip-off and quick dry recommended)
• Snacks (Protein bars, chocolate, dried fruits, candies, energy sweets.)
• Socks (Trekking socks (woollen or synthetic, not cotton).)
• Thermal base layer (Woollen or synthetic, not cotton.)
• Walking poles (Highly recommended.)
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Note: During the colder months (Oct-Apr) the mountains can be very cold, so please make sure you pack warm clothes.
- Visas and Entry Requirements:For Bhutan, G Adventures will arrange the visa for you. The cost of the visa is included in the tour price. The Bhutanese visa is issued to your passport on arrival. No passport photos are currently required for this, but it's always good to travel with a couple current photos.
In order to arrange the Bhutan visa, you must provide G Adventures with the following:
- Arrival and Departure flight details for Paro
- Scanned colour passport copy, which must meet the following requirements: the image must be extremely clear with no obstructions covering any part of the passport; it must have all details (including background letters) on the passport page in readable print; and there must be absolutely no reflections (due to flash photography) on the image itself.
These details need to be submitted to us 35-40 days before departure.
We will then arrange the Bhutanese visa for you. The visa letter will be forwarded to you 2-5 business days before departure. We cannot get the visa letter issued any sooner, as it is issued by the Bhutanese government. Please print out the visa letter, you will be required to show this before boarding your flight to Paro.
Important: If you are planning to extend your stay in Bhutan, pre- and post-tour accommodation MUST be booked through G Adventures in order for us to issue a valid visa for the duration of your stay.
If arriving and departing Paro from India, please note that the Indian government has recently made some changes to visa regulation due to misuse of the Tourist visa. We encourage all passengers to contact the Indian consulate or embassy in their home country to get up to date information on entry requirements. This is especially important for those planning on entering India multiple times in a two month period.
Foreigners holding an Indian Tourist visa, who after initial entry into India plan to visit neighbouring Nepal, Bhutan or Sri Lanka and then re-enter into India within 2 months need to get special authorization.
- Money Exchange:There are ATMs in larger cities in Bhutan, and they will accept only Mastercard or Visa. As well, credit card can be used at larger hotels and shops but please note most places charge from 3-5% fees to use cards. The Ngultrum (local currency) is valueless outside of Bhutan so make sure that you change back all excess Bhutanese currency before you leave. It is possible to use Indian Rupees in Bhutan.
- Emergency Fund:Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
- Tipping:It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from USD1-2 per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline USD20-30 per person, per week can be used.
- Optional Activities:No optional activities
- Health:Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. In Asia pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
**HIGH ALTITUDE- This is medically defined as anything over 8,000 feet (2,440 meters). Most people can travel to 8,000 feet with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can on set with some people irrespective of fitness and age. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the unlikely event you are effected on your adventure, please consult your physician.
- Minimum Age:You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
- International Flights:Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
- Group Leader:Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Itinerary (11 days)
Arrive at any time, arrival transfer included. Take an orientation walk of Paro town.
Drive to the Chelela Pass before then hike to Kila Goempa, a nunnery perched on a cliff housing over 60 nuns.
Drive to Ta Dzong and begin the hike along the Druk Path. Enjoy a gradual climb with stunning views of the Paro valley, Mt. Jomolhari (7314m) and snowcapped mountains. Finishing the day's journey at Jele Dzong camp.
Continue hiking along a ridge, enjoying the spectacular mountain scenery and flowering rhododendron bushes around the trail. Pass by Jimelangtsho where you may see Yak herders and can visit their tents before reaching camp at Tshokam.
Continue the hike through the mountains, ending the day at Simkotra camp near the lake.
Enjoy a final day hikking up to Phume, the highest elevation on our trek. Continue downhill with stunning views of the valley, ending in Thimpu.
Spend the day exploring the sights of Thimpu, including the Institute of Traditional Medicine Services and Folk Heritage Museum.
Travel to Punakha and trek to Chime Lhakhang. Also known as the temple of the "Divine Madman," hear stories of the madman's legacy. Later, explore Punakha Dzong, one of Bhutan's most majestic structures.
Enjoy a day of sightseeing in the Paro valley and gain a deeper understanding of the country's history. Explore Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan's oldest monasteries, before learning about the national sport with a visit to a local archery ground.
Explore Drugyel Dzong, a ruined castle that has repelled many invasions, before hiking through the mountains to the stunning Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest).
Depart at any time.