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Bhutan

Bhutan Trek

Activity
Trek
Duration
10 days
Grade
Grade 3

About the challenge

Pioneering challenge
Pioneering Challenge

The small Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan lies in the soaring peaks and green forested valleys of the eastern Himalayas. Isolated from the world for centuries, it is famously protective of its traditional, sacred heritage. Access to most of the country is restricted, though any trekker making the effort to travel to this remote mountainous region will  receive a warm welcome.

Our trek follows the classic Druk Path between Paro and Thimpu, taking in unforgettable views of snowcapped Himalayan peaks, dense rhododendron forest and clear mountain lakes, as we trek through scenic green valleys and over high passes. The cultural discovery, rewarding trekking and magnificent landscapes make a winning combination.

Dates & prices

   
Departs Days Charity Availability Registration fee   Fundraising target   Payment option  
05 May 2017 10 Open challenge Spaces £499 + £5000 Or £2250 Book now
12 Oct 2017 10 Sue Ryder Spaces £475 + £3450 Book now
20 Oct 2017 10 Open challenge Spaces £499 + £5000 £2250 Book now
04 May 2018 10 Open challenge Spaces £499 + £5050 £2275 Book now
19 Oct 2018 10 Open challenge Spaces £499 + £5050 £2275 Book now

The itinerary

The Highlights

Fabulous views of snow-capped Himalayas, forests and lakes
Visit breath-taking Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Discover fascinating, friendly culture of rarely-visited Bhutan
Camp in stunning locations

Concise itinerary

Day 1-3: Fly to Paro; acclimatisation day to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery

Days 4-5: Trek gradually up through alpine forests and rhododendron forest of Paro valley

Days 6-8: Fabulous views of snow-capped peaks and lakes as we trek mountain ridge and cross Pumo La Pass (4200m); descend to Thimpu valley

Days 9-10: Explore Thimpu, return to Paro and fly home

Download full challenge details

 

What makes it tough?

Trek over mountainous terrain
Some steep, rocky paths
Trek 6-8 hours most days
Trek at altitude with highest point 4200m
Camping en-route

Detailed information

What's Included?

All accommodation is included as well as all flights and transfers; internal air tax; all meals except as specified in the itinerary; camping equipment (except sleeping bag and mat) and any permits and entry fees to any regions and sites visited as part of the itinerary. Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and doctor (depending on final group size) are also included, along with a local support crew of local guides, porters and cooks.

What's Excluded?

The tour cost does not include personal travel insurance, airline taxes if charged by the airline, (capped at £250 by Discover Adventure), entry visa, meals as specified or tips for local crew. It also does not include any entrance fees to any optional sites or attractions. Remember to allow extra for drinks, souvenirs and other personal expenses. You can buy drinks, snacks and personal items in the villages we trek through, but be warned that the further up the trail we are, the more expensive items become. Please note that costs may fluctuate and we have no control over any changes. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.

Flight Information

Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with Jet Airways. However, we don’t always fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost

Accommodation

Camps are well supplied, with two-man expedition-style tents, dining tents and fabulous views! Hotels are 2-3* with en-suite facilities; rooms are on a twin-share basis.

Food

All food is included except as specified in the itinerary. The food is great, will provide you with plenty of energy, and there is plenty of it.

Dietary Requirements

Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we will be in rural areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities, when you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.

Trip Support

Discover Adventure Crew

Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader. All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. Although our leaders are trained in expedition first-aid, they are accompanied by an expedition doctor or medic (dependent on group size), who is there to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly and encourage you when things get tough. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but at Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.

Local Support Crew

Our local support crew is made up of local guides, drivers, porters and cooks. Your local guide knows the local area well, and is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Drivers, cooks and porters do not always speak English but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! See ‘Costs in Nepal’ above for a guideline amount; your leader will let you know if there is any change to this guideline. Our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in Nepal is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.

Luggage

Vehicles take us to the start of the trek and pick us up at the end. All luggage, food, water and camping equipment is carried by porters. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Your kitbag MUST NOT weigh more than 8kg on the actual trek. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.

Trip Safety

Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate.  Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.

Preparing for the challenge

Trekking Information

Terrain

We walk predominantly on dirt and rock paths through valleys, forest and grassy pastures above the treeline. Trails are generally good but can be slippery or rough underfoot, and very steep in places. There are many passes as we cross mountain spurs, and some terrain is exposed.

The altitude adds to the challenge, with our highest point at 4200m. The route allows for excellent acclimatisation, generally trekking high and sleeping low, and fairly gradual height gain. You are likely to experience symptoms of being at altitude such as headaches and shortness of breath.

Altitude affects people differently and being super-fit is no guarantee of being less likely to feel the effects. Where a participant is suffering from the effects of altitude, it may be necessary to walk them back down to lower elevations.
This trek is achievable for most people provided they train well in advance. We will supply you with a thorough training guide when you have registered.

Clothing & Equipment

We are travelling through remote mountains where we could be exposed to bad weather at any time sobe prepared for quickly changing conditions and temperatures. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.

Weather

The rainy season usually runs from late May to September. Weather in spring and autumn is excellent for trekking, with clear views. In the mountains temperature is influenced heavily by the altitude, so expect it to become cooler as you gain height.

Fitness Levels

Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.

Passport & Visa

A ten-year passport is essential, valid for at least six months after entry into Bhutan. All visitors require a visa, which is arranged in advance through our ground agents on your behalf.

Vaccinations

Your routine UK schedule of vaccinations should be up-to-date (including Tetanus); check with your GP for additional travel health advice.

Cultural Differences

For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow trekkers and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you! Our experienced tour leaders and local crew will help bridge the cultural gap; take advantage of their knowledge so you can come away with an understanding of a new culture as well as the achievement of completing a challenging trek.

Worldwide Sustainable Tourism

Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through. 

Discover Adventure Projects

We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.

Carbon Offsetting

We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.