Explore Bhutan

Explore Bhutan

An adventure to explore Bhutan:

Head to this tiny kingdom that only a small number of people get to visit per year and experience the serenity of hiking in complete wilderness while visiting some of Bhutan’s iconic landmarks and experience one on one Buddhist meditation sessions

While being completely mesmerized by the beauty of the Himalayas.

Why Take This Trip?: There is a reason why Bhutan is also called the happiest kingdom on earth. From the subtropical forests to the high peaks of the Himalaya, the adventure is limited only by your imagination.

Being the first country to constitute environmental regulations on its people, it is clear why the Bhutanese culture and dramatic landscapes are worth experiencing.

What to Expects:?

Scenery: Trekking in Bhutan is different from other regions in Himalaya or Asia. Trekking offers the opportunity to see a Bhutan that is scarcely touched by modern times. 80% of Bhutan’s landscape is covered with forests, and nowhere is this more evident than on a trek where you will often be trekking through protected areas and may have a chance to see wildlife in its native habitat. There are no lodges or hotels in the mountains and so you camp in tents.

Weather: The climate in Bhutan is extremely varied, which can be attributed to two main factors-the vast differences in altitude present in the country and the influence of North Indian monsoons. Southern Bhutan has a hot and humid subtropical climate that is fairly unchanging throughout the year. Temperatures can vary between 15-30 degrees Celsius. In the Central parts of the country which consists of temperate and deciduous forests, the climate is more seasonal with warm summers and cool and dry winters. In the far Northern reaches of the kingdom, the weather is much colder during winter. Mountain peaks are perpetually covered in snow and lower parts are still cool in summer owing to the high altitude terrain. Bhutan has four distinct seasons in a year. The Indian summer monsoon begins from late-June through July to late-September and is mostly confined to the southern border region of Bhutan. Bhutan's generally dry spring starts in early March and lasts until mid-April. Summer weather commences in mid-April with occa- sional showers and continues to late June. The heavier summer rains last from late June through late September which are more monsoonal along the southwest border. Autumn, from late September or early October to late November, follows the rainy season. It is characterized by bright, sunny days and some early snowfalls at higher elevations. From late November until March, winter sets in, with frost throughout much of the country and snowfall common above elevations of 3,000 meters. The winter northeast monsoon brings gale-force winds at the highest altitudes through high mountain passes, giving Bhutan its name - Drukyul, which means Land of the Thunder Dragon in Dzongkha (the native language).

Accommodation: One of the most beautiful things about hiking in Bhutan is that you hike in complete wilderness and disconnect from our busy and noisy world which just makes the journey alot more surreal. Given that, there are very limited villages you will be passing by along the way so your accommodation is going to be in 2 persons expedition tents which are custom made to withstand the extreme temperatures of Bhutan to keep you warm and comfortable through the night. There will be a tent for toilet and another one for meals. Every morning after you head of for the hike, our crew will pack up the camp site and head to the following campsite and have it set up before you arrive (yes they are that fast!) In the main cities - Paro, Punakha and Thimpu - you will be staying in charming 3-4 star hotels.

Food: You can rely entirely on our camp meals and not carry any food with you to Bhutan. If you wish, you may bring a small supply of or trail mix for snacks - some people like to carry these. Our cook can look after any special dietary requirements with advance notice. There is almost no fresh food available on trek routes and so the entire supplies must be carried from the start of the trek. Whenever the fresh supplies are available locally, our crew will purchase it to also help local farmers. Fresh vegetables and meats brought from the start of the trek usually last for a week or so. Our cooks have been trained to use dried vegetable, smoke meats and of course canned foods are also brought along. There are few opportunities to buy limited fresh vegetables, meat and we also hope for some trout filled lakes or streams along the way. We use stoves fueled by LPG gas, which makes cooking fast and clean. Our cooks are adept at producing a reasonable variety of Western and Asian dishes.

Hikking: On most hikes the daily gain of elevation is approximately 500m. However, it can be more than this on some days, even 1500m, depending on the hike. The distance for each days hiking is normally between 14 and 16km. You can always take plenty of time during the day to cover this distance, take time for rest. Most hike days require 6 to 8 hours of walking and you do have to keep moving to get to camp before dark. Many of the hikes are along ancient trade routes, on which the trails may be rocky, sometimes muddy. It is possible to encounter snow, especially on high passes or rain in the valleys. Like any the other parts of Himalayas, the descents can be long and steep and unrelenting. If you are an experienced walker and often hike 12 to 16km a day with a backpack, a hike in Bhutan should prove no difficulty. Hiking in the Himalayas is often thought to be only for the super fit, but there are hikes suited to all levels. Many first time hikers are pleasantly surprised at how easy it can be if you carry only a light backpack and do not have to worry about setting up a camp, finding water and preparing meals. The most important thing is that you are happy to walk for several days and you enjoy camping.

Trip Details

  • Itinerary
  • Trip Info
  • Useful Info

Itinerary:

Day 01: Welcome, Bhutan! (L,D): The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world. Upon your arrival, a Our representative will meet you at the airport and take you to the hotel. After check in, we will head for a sightseeing tour around Paro, including a visit to the National Museum, Ta Dzong, the Rinpung Dzong and walking down along the beautiful cantilever wooden bridge. Overnight in hotel in Paro

Day 02: Trek to Tiger’s Nest - (B/L/D): After breakfast we will head to our first hike of the trip to the famous Taktsang Monastery (AKA Tiger’s Nest). The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes us high above the Paro valley. The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. In the afternoon, we will go for a walk around ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, a historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644 and visit oldest 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed. Overnight in hotel in Paro.

Day 03 Start trekking through Druk Trail (Jele Dzong) (3,770m) - (B, L, D): Today we will pack our stuff and start our trekking adventure through the famous Druk path. The trail ascends gradually up to the fortress, and if the weather is clear, Paro valley can be seen surrounded by snow capped mountains. After lunch, we will ascent again for an hour then walk through thick alpine forests of rhododendrons with great views of Mt. Chomolhari along the way. Hiking around 6-8 hours. - Overnight at campsite. (Tent).

Day 04 Jangchulakha – Pumula Camp 3,610m - (B, L, D): After breakfast, we will start softly by descending to Jaydikha village for about 2 hours. From there, the trial will take us through coniferous and bamboo shrubs forests. After lunch, we will gradually climb up to Pumula passing through cold broad-leaved forests for about three hours. Hiking around 7-8 hours - Overnight at campsite. (Tent).

Day 05 Trek to Kabisa Village 2,600m - (B, L, D): We will start trekking today just below the pass and climb to 3000m getting a gorgeous view of Thimphu from above. We will continue on a trial leading to Phajoding monastery through pine forest, following the old mule track used in the old days between Thimphu and Paro. A couple of hours later, with some various ascents and descents, we finally climb steadily to our campsite in dajey area. Hiking around 6 hours - Overnight at campsite. (Tent).

Day 06 Head to Sinchu La 3,380m - (B, L, D): Today we bid this trail farewell, and drive to Kabisa village, the starting point of our second trail. It takes around 4-5 hours uphill to reach Sinchula pass through blue pine, oak and rhododendron forests till we reach our campsite. Hiking around 4-5 hours - Overnight at campsite. (Tent).

Day 07: Trek to Dupshi Pang 2,440m - (B, L, D): The first part of the trek is rather slow due to difficult trail conditions. After an hour’s walk, the village of Thinley Gang, Talo Monastery and the highway to Thimphu can be seen. The trail takes us through mixed forests and on a clear day, views of Phajoding Monastery and some of the Himalayan peaks can be seen. Hiking around 5-6 hours - Overnight at campsite. (Tent).

Day 08: Trek to Chorten Nebu 1,810m - (B/L/D): Today starts with 4 hours descent through dense forests. A small stream has to be crossed twice after which we continue for another 3-4 hours through villages and rice fields to the village of Chorten Nebu. Overnight in campsite (Tent).

Day 9 Trek to Punakha - (B/L/D): Today’s trek will be light as we walk through several villages till we reach the end point of this trail and take a ride to Punakha, which is the ancient capital of Bhutan. In Punakha we will visit Sangchen Dorji Lhendrupchling Nunnery which is located above Khuruthang town where we will get to experience a 30 minute meditation session by the head monk in the Nunnery Overnight in hotel.

Day 10 Head to Thimphu - (B/L/D): Today after breakfast, we will go on a 2.5 hour drive to Thimphu visiting a couple of sites along the way including Dochula Pass, Trashicho Dzong fortress, and the largest Buddha statue. Afternoon we have a sightseeing tour around Thimpu. Visit to National Library, The Traditional Medicine Institute, The Painting School, Textile and Folk Heritage Museum, Tashichhodzong etc. Overnight in hotel in Thimphu.

Day 11 Homebound - (B): Today we will bit the kingdom of happiness farewell and head to the airport in Paro for our flight back home.

Note: If the above itinerary does not meet your needs, we can design individualized travel plans based on your preferences.

Cost Include:

* Bhutan Visa fees
* Consultation on every aspect of preparation including physical and mental.
* All transfers during the trip.
* All meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
* Accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary.
* Porters and ponies to carry all personal gear and group equipment.
* Experienced English speaking guides.
* Trekking permit and Entrance fees.

Cost Exclude:

* International flights to/from Paro/Bhutan.
* Personal medical & travel insurance.
* Tips and Gratuity.
* Any meals/snacks not mentioned in the itinerary.

Visa/Entry Permit: With the exception of visitors from India, Bangladesh and Maldives, all other visitors travelling to Bhutan need a visa. Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals can obtain a permit at the port of entry on producing a valid passport with a minimum of 6 months validity (Indian nationals may also use their Voters Identity Card (VIC).

All other tourists must obtain a visa clearance prior the travel to Bhutan. Visas are processed through an online system by your licensed tour operator directly or through a foreign travel agent.

You are required to send the photo-page of your passport to your tour operator who will then apply for your visa. The visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) once the full payment of your holiday (including a USD $40 visa fee) has been wire transferred and received in the TCB bank account. Once received, the visa clearance will be processed within 72 working hours.

At your point of entry you will be required to show your visa clearance letter, the visa will then be stamped into your passport.

Online Regional Permit System: In order to streamline and facilitate smooth visitation by tourists from Bangladesh, India and Maldives, the Department of Immigration, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs and the Tourism Council of Bhutan have launched the Online Permit System. The system facilitates the online processing of permits for regional tourists through registered tour operators and TCB certified hotels. The facility is offered as an optional channel to process permits for visitors from the region and is applicable for entry from Paro and Phuntsholing. Visitors who use this facility will be able to obtain their permit clearances and route permits ahead of their arrival in Bhutan similar to international tourists.

Travel Requirements: All tourists (excluding Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian passport holders) who wish to travel to Bhutan require a visa and must book their holiday through a Bhutanese tour operator or one of their international partners. The tour operator will take care of Visa arrangements for visitors.

In keeping with the Tourism Council of Bhutan's policy of "High Value. Low Impact" tourism a Minimum Daily Package is required for tourists. To learn more about the Minimum Daily Package, please follow the link below:

Getting Into Bhutan: The Kingdom of Bhutan remained largely cut off from the rest of the world up until the early 1960’s. Entering the country was difficult as it was only accessible by foot from two main entry points, one in the North and another from the South. The Northern route was through Tibet, crossing high mountain passes that were inaccessible throughout the winters. The second entry route from the South came through the plains of Assam and West Bengal. The high frozen passes in the North and the dense jungles in the South made it extremely difficult to enter the country.
However, carefully planned economic development has made the country much more accessible and there are now a network of roads entering and traversing the country, as well as one international and multiple domestic airports.

Today the main roads entering the country are through Phuentsholing in the south, linking Bhutan with the Indian plains of West Bengal through the border towns of Gelephu, in the central region and Samdrup Jongkhar in the east, that link Bhutan with the Indian state of Assam.

Travel by Land: Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar are the only land border areas open to tourists.

The town of Phuentsholing in south-west is located approximately 170 km east of the Indian national airport at Bagdogra. After crossing Phuentsholing, you begin your journey to Thimphu, the capital city with travel time of about six hours for the 170 km stretch.

Gelephu, in south-central Bhutan, is another entry point to Bhutan. It is approximately 250 kms from Thimphu and the journey will take you through the sub-tropical areas of Bhutan before entering the alpine zone and then finally into Thimphu. One will have to traverse across three districts and the travel time will be about ten hours.

The district of Samdrup Jongkhar in south-east Bhutan borders the Indian district of Darranga, Assam and is approximately 150 kms away from Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. The journey from Guwahati is about three hours. Tourists entering Bhutan through Samdrup Jongkhar will take you to Trashigang, and from there over the lateral route to Mongar, Bumthang, Trongsa, Wangdue Phodrang and then finally into the capital, Thimphu. The distance is about 700 kms and will take you a minimum of three days to reach Thimphu.

Travel by Air: There are flights to destinations that include Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Bodh Gaya, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Guwahati, Singapore and Mumbai.

Paro is situated at a height of 2,225m (7300ft) above sea level and is surrounded by mountains as high as 4,876?m (16,000?ft). At present two carriers operate to Bhutan, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. There are also domestic airports in Yonphula in eastern Bhutan, Bumthang in central Bhutan, and Gelephu in south-central Bhutan.

Flying into Bhutan’s Paro International Aiport is typically an exciting experience as the descent into Paro valley brings you closer to the mountain tops than most other flights in the world. The flight between Paro and Kathmandu is one of the most exciting ones as the aircraft passes over four of the five highest mountains in the world. In fine weather, as you soar higher up, you can enjoy the spectacular view of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kangchenjunga at their best.

Payment System in Bhutan: Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.) It is at par with the Indian rupee which is widely accepted in the country.

ATMs are located within all main towns throughout Bhutan, where money can be withdrawn using a Visa or MasterCard. In addition, POS (Point of Sale) services are available nationwide, meaning visitors can pay by credit card at most hotels and handicrafts stores.

Guides: There are over 1000 licensed and active tour guides working in the country.
In order to ensure that visitors receive high quality professional service, every guide must complete a training course. Guides are trained to specialize in either cultural or adventure tours. Many guides complete language courses in German, Japanese, Thai and other languages so that they can easily communicate with guests and all are proficient in English. All tour operators must employ only registered and certified guides.


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