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Adventure Tours   >   Asia Adventure Tours   >  Highlights of the Trans Bhutan Trail

Highlights of the Trans Bhutan Trail Adventure Tour

Asia

  • Bhutan

Imagine exploring the happiest country on Earth while walking along the same path used by royals, monks, and traders for thousands of years. That's the Trans Bhutan Trail. Until the 1960s, it was the only way to get around the mountain kingdom of Bhutan. And now, for the first time in 60 years, you can hike it yourself. On this 12-day tour, you'll travel and trek along the best portions of this historic trail, using your own two feet to experience rural and spiritual life in the most beautiful parts of the country. Venturing from west to east, you'll hike along high mountain passes, across lush river valleys, and through villages from a different era, stopping to soak in local history, culture, and customs along the way. There really is magic on the Trans Bhutan Trail, and it's ready to be rediscovered.


Meals Included  

11 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners


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.


Laundry  

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.


Local Dress  

Many Bhutanese people still wear traditional clothes and dress modestly.


Feedback  

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at [email protected] and we will send it on to you.


Newsletter  

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation - Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.


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.


Group Leader Description  

All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.


Important Notes  

1. CAMERAS
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.

2. HIKING AND WALKING
Please note that there is a lot of walking and light hiking on this trip and some of it at higher altitudes. Please ensure you are in decent physical condition and able to walk for extended periods of time.

3. EARPLUGS
Bhutan, being 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.

4. CLOTHING
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 knees should be covered at all times. The wearing of shorts is not allowed as it will restrict your entry into buildings of a religious nature and family homes. A water and windproof jacket, a hat and sunscreen are essential.

5. FLIGHT
Your arrival and departure flights into/out of Paro, Bhutan, must be booked by you online. Please visit the following airline websites to do so:

Druk Air
http://www.drukair.com.bt/

Bhutan Airlines
http://www.bhutanairlines.bt/

Flights can be booked from: Bangkok, Kathmandu, Delhi or Kolkata (please check Visa requirements if flying via India). Once your flights are booked, contact your G Adventures agent, who will be happy to assist in booking your International connections.

6. 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.

7. LUGGAGE
Please note that if you have extra luggage or bags you do not wish to bring along for the entire trip you will be able to leave them at the joining hotel and retrieve them at the finishing hotel when the trip ends.

8. ACCOMMODATION NOTE:
Please be aware that properties we stay in with only two stories may not have elevators installed and climbing the stairs with your luggage will be necessary.


Joining Instructions  

For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.

Upon arrival travellers will be met and transferred from Paro Airport to their joining hotel. Please look for the GAdventures sign when you enter the arrival lounge. If you run into any problems please contact our airport transfer representative at this number, +97517747428.

Please note that for Day 1 in order to have time for a visit to Buddha Point please plan to get to Bhutan by noon so that you can reach Thimpu by late afternoon and have enough time to do an orientation before going to Buddha Point. Most flights arrive to Paro in the morning. The last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned and a departure transfer from your hotel to the airport is also included on this tour.

Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day.

Upon arrival to your Joining Hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon), look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don't see a note, please ask reception for details!

If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.


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!


My Own Room  

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops


Visas and Entry Requirements  

All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Visa requirements for your trip will vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as far as possible, but rules do change and sometimes without warning. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check the information yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements.

Visa information specific to your destination and nationality can be found in our Important Pre-Departure Information page here

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, please click on the following link for information and application form

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.


Safety and Security  

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/


A Couple of Rules  

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of people in the sex trade is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they utilize the services of paid sex workers, in any capacity.


About Accommodation  

A variety of styles of hotels/guest houses are used in Bhutan. These can vary in terms of service and efficiency. In many instances they might not be like what you are used to back home. This tour features a mix of hotels, homestays and camping.

While camping the group will be provided with an “A” shaped two-person tent. The tents are of good quality, breathable and waterproof. Beds are not provided, but a pad type mattress will be provided. Blankets and other accessories are not available and it is recommended that travellers bring their own. Please note that sleeping bags will be provided by the local team. You can bring your own if you prefer, but you will have to carry it for the duration of the trip.

The dining tents are made of canvas and PVC materials. The tent provided will depend on the size of the group and all members will be able to be seated inside the tent to have their meals. Tents are furnished with tables and chairs to allow a smooth dining process.

Canvas toilet tents will also be provided and they include a portable European style toilet.

When staying with a local family in a homestay or farmstay the accommodation is very simple and basic, but clean. Each room can accommodate around 2 or 3 group members at a time. Depending on the community or village the group stays with, each property will have 2 or 3 rooms designated as guest accommodation.

Meals during the stay are cooked by the family members of the home and shared with the guests. Meals will consist of local meats and locally grown vegetables from the host family or community. Guests will sit down with their host families to enjoy the meal at a dining table. In Bhutan it is customary to sit on a low chair or the floor for meals, there may not be any normal sized chairs.

All homestay properties include shared bathrooms which are European style and clean. Shower facilities are also available during homestays and farmstays.

In addition, homestays will be comfortable, twin-share accommodations with shared western styled washrooms. The groups will be divided among 3 to 4 homestay in both Bumthang and Punakha. Each homestay offers 2-3 rooms and can accommodate 4-6 travellers. Any group activities during the homestay will be done together, but travellers will also have time to spend with their host families.


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.

AIRPORT TRANSFER
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 or flight cancellation within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, please call the emergency contact number to advise of your new arrival flight information. If you do not, we will not be able to rearrange your arrival transfer and you will need to make your own way to the starting hotel at your own expense. 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 Karma Rigsang
Phone: +975 17331140

G Adventures Local Office (Delhi)
G Adventures South Asia Manager, Sorab Jassawalla (Delhi, India)
From outside of India: +91 8851806614
From within Delhi: 8851806614
From within India, but outside Delhi: 0 8851806614

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 Sales team who will happily assist you. Hours of operation by region can be found here.

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


Packing List  

Cold weather:
• Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
• Scarf
• Warm gloves
• Warm hat
• Warm layers

Conservative Dress:
• Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders (Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders)
• Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)

Documents:
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Visas or vaccination certificates (With photocopies)

Essentials:
• Toiletries (required) (Shampoo, bodywash, soap, etc.)
• 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
• Footwear
• Hat
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Moneybelt
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Shirts/t-shirts
• Sleepwear
• Small travel towel
• Sunglasses
• Swimwear
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket

Health & Safety:
• Hand sanitizer (required)
• Face masks (Clients will be only be required to wear a face mask where it is mandated by local regulations.)
• Pen (Please bring your own pen for filling out documents.)
• Quick Covid Test/Antigen Test (optional)

Trekking:
• Gloves
• Hat
• 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.)

Warm Weather:
• Sandals/flip-flops
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sturdy water shoes/sandals
• Sun hat/bandana
• Swimwear

Note: During the colder months (Oct-Apr) the mountains can be very cold, so please make sure you pack warm clothes.


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.


Highlights  

Hike the ancient Trans Bhutan Trail with local trekking guides, Interact with artists at Choki Art School, Hike along the Divine Mad Man trail, Enjoy amazing farm lunches and cooking sessions with locals, Immerse into local life at a homestay in Bumthang.


Arrival Complications  

We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO. If this is unsuccessful, please refer to our Emergency Contact. If your included airport transfer has not arrived within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, please make contact with our representative. We then recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please contact your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.


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.


Travel Insurance  

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.


Itinerary Disclaimer  

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.


Group Size Notes  

Max 15, avg 12.


Dossier Disclaimer  

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.


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.


What's Included  

Your Welcome Moment: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting, Thimphu
Your Local Living Moment: Bhutanese Homestay. Arrival transfer. Visit Choki Art School. Sustainable Development Fees. Pangri Zampa Monastery visit. Thimphu Dzong visit. Visits to Buddha Point and Memorial Chorten. Hike the Divine Madman Trail. Toebchandhana Lhakhang (temple) visit. Punakha Dzong visit. Bhutanese Cooking Demonstration. Pelela Pass Segment of the Trans Bhutan Trail. Rukubji's village Lhakhang (temple) visit. Chorten (stupa) visit. Trans Bhutan Trail Trongsa Portion. Trongsa Dzong (fortress) visit. Jakar Dzong (fortress) visit. Pema Choeling Nunnery and Mebartsho Lake visit. Bhutanese Farmhouse Lunch. Bumthang Brewery visit. Ta Dzong National Museum visit. Paro Rinpung Dzong and Ta Dzong visits. Departure transfer. All transportation between included activities.


Planeterra Foundation - the non-profit partner of G Adventures  

Planeterra International Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to turning travel into impact by helping local communities earn an income from tourism. Planeterra connects underserved local communities to the benefits of tourism by developing and supporting small community-owned businesses. These businesses support Indigenous people, empower women, grant youth access to employment opportunities, and protect the environment. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating their projects into G Adventures' itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra's largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs, so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.

G Adventures Dollar-a-day Program - Make Every Day Count - Turn your travel into impact with Planeterra Foundation.

Did you know? Most communities around the world do not benefit from tourism. Give back to the places you visit on your travels by creating opportunities for local people to earn an income, and protect the environment.

Make every day count by donating $1/day for the length of your trip, and join us in empowering the communities you will visit when you travel. 100% of your donation goes directly to Planeterra projects.


Group Leader  

CEO (Chief Experience Officer) throughout, local guides.


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).


Optional Activities  

Punakha
- Optional Rafting on Mo Chhu River


Max Pax  

12.


Solo Travellers  

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.


Accommodation  

Hotels (8nts), Homestays (2nts), camping (1 nt).


What to Take  

What you need to bring depends on the trip you have chosen and the countries or regions you are planning to visit. We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as your are expected to carry your own luggage. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 mintues with your bags which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg/22-30lb. Suitcases are not recommended for G Adventures trips! Most travellers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!) as they need to fit under the beds when travelling on sleeper trains. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones.


Spending Money  

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.


Money Exchange  

Bhutan is essentially a cash-based economy, so you will need ngultrum (local currency) for any expenses (drinks, souvenirs, optional activities, etc.). You should not rely on using your ATM card or credit cards in Bhutan. Bring additional cash (USD is best) and exchange that at the airport so you have local currency from the beginning, as it is not always possible to find an ATM or exchange. The local currency is valueless outside of Bhutan so make sure that you change back all excess Bhutanese currency before you leave.

Day 1 Paro/Thimphu

Upon arrival enjoy a private transfer from Paro International Airport to Thimphu, Bhutan's capital city. The rest of the day is yours before a brief welcome meeting in the evening with the rest of the group in the hotel. Afterwards head out to enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant where you'll have your first opportunity to sample Bhutanese cuisine. If you still have energy left after dinner, consider bar hopping through some of Thimphu's best spots to get a taste of local nightlife.

Thimphu is a city with elevations ranging between 2,248 meters (7,375 feet) and 2,648 meters (8,688 feet) above sea level. It is also the fifth highest capital city in the world by altitude; and it is also the only capital city in the world without any traffic lights. You'll be captivated by the unique blend of the modern world alongside the striking Bhutanese tradition.

Day 2 Thimphu

Spend the day seeing the best of Thimphu's many highlights. In the morning transfer to the scenic Kabesa valley, just north of Thimphu, to visit the Choki Traditional Art School, an institution offering free education to underprivileged youth who have an interest in learning traditional art and craft. On the way back stop in at the Pangri Zampa Monastery to enjoy a private reading with a monk astrologer. The rest of the day includes a visit to Thimphu Dzong (fortress), lunch at a local restaurant, followed by a trip to Buddha Point, and a final stop for the day at the Memorial Chorten, a Tibetan-style stupa built in 1974. In the evening indulge in dinner as a group at a local restaurant.

Day 3 Thimphu/Chendebi

Begin the drive early with packed breakfast to Pelela, where the group will rejoin the Trans Bhutan Trail. Descend through meadows below Pelela and stop at a traditional farmhouse in the village of Rukubji to enjoy a hot lunch before visiting the temple known as Kuenzang Choling. Rukubji is also famous for its unique local language, called Ngyen-Kye and you will have the chance to learn about it from the villagers over tea.

Then rejoin the trail for a gentle climb out of the valley, through the forest, and to the village of Chendebi where you will camp for the night. Head for a visit to the Chorten (stupa) in the village and then indulge in an organic, locally sourced dinner at the campsite.

On days when you will be hiking it's recommended that you have your own day pack to carry during the long hiking days. In the pack you should have any daily, personal medicine you may need, sunscreen, cameras, a water bottle, and any valuables such as cash or passports.

During the trekking itself the camping crew will provide all travellers with boiled water. You can fill your water bottles with this water provided during the hiking days. But it is highly recommended that you bring your own water bottles.

Day 4 Chendebi/Trongsa

Wake with the sun and eat breakfast at camp before transferring towards the town of Trongsa to rejoin the Trans Bhutan Trail at the viewpoint high above the town. Recreate the experience of past royals as you descend as a group into the steep valley below. See spectacular views of the Dzong (fortress) and cross the old cantilever bridge over the Mangde River before climbing the other side of the valley to reach Trongsa Dzong via the Western gate. After arriving here the rest of the day is yours to relax and explore before joining back together for dinner at a local restaurant in the early evening.

On days when you will be hiking it's recommended that you have your own day pack to carry during the long hiking days. In the pack you should have any daily, personal medicine you may need, sunscreen, cameras, a water bottle, and any valuables such as cash or passports.

During the trekking itself the camping crew will provide all travellers with boiled water. You can fill your water bottles with this water provided during the hiking days. But it is highly recommended that you bring your own water bottles.

Day 5 Trongsa

Devour a quick breakfast this morning before heading out for a tour of Trongsa Dzong (fortress), first built as a small meditation room in 1541. Visit a selection of the Dzong's 23 lhakhangs (temples), before heading to the Trongsa Ta Dzong (watchtower), which now houses the fascinating Royal Heritage Museum. The remainder of the day will be at leisure to explore Trongsa at your own pace.

Day 6 Trongsa to Bumthang

Bid farewell to Trongsa after breakfast at your hotel and transfer towards the city of Bumthang. Once you arrive, visit the majestic Jakar Dzong (fortress), also known as the ‘Castle of the White Bird'. Observe unique features like its fifty-meter utse (tower) and a sheltered passage with two parallel walls, interconnected by fortified towers, which guaranteed the fortress's inhabitants access to water during a siege. The rest of the day is yours to explore the town on your own before meeting back up with the group in the evening for a special experience as you settle into your local homestay accommodation.

Spend the night with a few of your fellow travellers in the home of a local Bhutanese family who will be your hosts for the evening. Share a meal and exchange stories while learning about what life is like for your local hosts.

Day 7 Bumthang

Have some breakfast before beginning your next trek on the Trans Bhutan trail. Along the way stop at the Pema Choeling Nunnery to learn about this institution and how it was created to increase opportunities for Bhutanese girls,coming from rural or vulnerable backgrounds. Then, continue south along the Trail towards the sacred Mebartsho (The Burning Lake) where you'll enjoy a typical Bhutanese lunch at a local farmhouse in the nearby village of Phom Drong.

After lunch, return to Bumthang, where you will visit the Bumthang Brewery, producers of Bhutan's celebrated Red Panda Beer. In the evening, enjoy another homestay experience with local Bhutanese families. Tuck into a delicious homemade meal and rest up for another incredible day ahead

On days when you will be hiking it's recommended that you have your own day pack to carry during the long hiking days. In the pack you should have any daily, personal medicine you may need, sunscreen, cameras, a water bottle, and any valuables such as cash or passports.

During the trekking itself the camping crew will provide all travellers with boiled water. You can fill your water bottles with this water provided during the hiking days. But it is highly recommended that you bring your own water bottles.

Day 8 Bumthang to Punakha

After an early breakfast travel to Punakha. After lunch set out on an afternoon trek down into the adjacent valley on a section of the Trail known as the ‘Divine Madman Trail'. Hike from 1-2 hrs to the Diving Mad Man temple of Chimi Lakhang. After taking a look around you'll be transferred back to your hotel in Punakha for the evening.

On days when you will be hiking it's recommended that you have your own day pack to carry during the long hiking days. In the pack you should have any daily, personal medicine you may need, sunscreen, cameras, a water bottle, and any valuables such as cash or passports.

Day 9 Punakha

Enjoy some breakfast before heading out for a day of exploring around the charming town of Punakha. Visit the Bazam (bridge) just across the river from Punakha Dzong (fortress). In order to cross the bridge on foot you must be wearing formal Bhutanese dress, including a gho for men and a kora for women. On the other side head out on a tour of the Dzong (fortress). Afterwards, drive north to Zomlingthang, and whet your appetite with a local cookery demonstration and a traditional Bhutanese outdoor lunch.

In the afternoon you can choose to go on a gentle rafting expedition down the Mo Chhu River before going out to dinner at a local restaurant as a group in the evening.

Day 10 Punakha/Paro

Drive to Paro. Enroute stop at Dochu La pass and visit the 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens. Upon arriving in Paro, enjoy a sightseeing tour. Visit Paro's Ta Dzong or ‘watchtower' which is now Bhutan's National Museum, later in the afternoon. Continue to the stunning Paro Rinpung Dzong (fortress), meaning ‘Fortress on a Heap of Jewels' to explore with your CEO. The evening is yours to continue discovering Paro.

Day 11 Paro

Tuck in to breakfast at your hotel before heading northwest out of Paro for a visit to the iconic Taktshang Goemba, more commonly known as the ‘Tiger's Nest Monastery'. Precariously perched on a sheer cliff face 900 metres (2,950 feet) above the Paro Valley floor, the Tiger's Nest is undoubtedly Bhutan's most famous religious building. The trek offers spectacular views from the ridge and passes a small chorten, a basic monastery, and a waterfall on its way. Once you have reached the Tiger's Nest, you will have a chance to visit the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated, as well as the extensive network of Lhakhangs (chapels) which house images, murals, chortens, and a holy spring.

If time allows, make a quick trip to the fascinating Machig-phu Lhakhang (temple) on the way back down to the access road. The rest of the afternoon will be at leisure to relax at your hotel or to explore Paro on your own, before enjoying a last dinner with your group at a local restaurant to celebrate the trip!

Day 12 Paro

Enjoy one last breakfast before being transferred from your hotel to the airport for your flight home.

Details

Prices from: €4449.00

Duration: 12 Days

Physical Grading: 4 - Demanding

Travel Style: Active

Service Level: Standard

Trip Type: Small Group



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