- Best available of the regular hotel accommodation in Paro and Thimphu.
- All camping gear, including two-person sleeping tents with floors and fly; dining tent, kitchen tent, toilet tents, dining tables, chairs, pillows and mattresses.
- English speaking guide.
- Cook and kitchen aides.
- All intercity transfers and sightseeing by a private vehicle.
- Pack animals and animal drivers during trekking.
- All necessary supplies.
- 3 meals a day.
- Bhutan visa.
- Entrance fees.
Cost Does Not Include
- International and internal airfares.
- Travel Insurance.
- Expenses of personal nature like drinks, tip, telephone, laundry etc.
- Extra expenses due to nature or unforeseen events such as flight cancellation, road blockade, no show etc.
Passport and visa
Your passport must be valid 6 months or more at the time of travel; please make sure that it has enough blank pages for entry and exit seals. Bhutan visa is processed through us with a booked trip. We will obtain visa pre-approval letter for you to present at Druk Air counter when you check in for flight to Paro. You will get the actual visa seal on your passport upon arrival, upon production of the pre-approval letter.
Trek Difficulty and Preparation
This is a moderately challenging trek with maximum altitude of 4,210 meters (13,809 feet). On average, we will walk five to six hours each day; some days could be longer. Trail conditions are varied with frequent ups and downs; sometimes the trails are muddy and difficult when it rains. Passes can close by snows around end of November. Although this trek includes couple of days camping above 3,000 meters, we will gain altitude gradually, significantly reducing chances for altitude discomfort or sickness. Previous experience is not required, but we do recommend some training and preparation beforehand to build stamina and confidence. Participants should start jogging, cycling and some hill hiking about a couple of months ahead of the trip. If you are buying new boots for the trek, please do break them in well before you leave.
What a typical trekking in Bhutan is like?
A trekking day in Bhutan usually consists of five to seven hours of walking. Pack animals, ponies or yaks are provided to porter provisions, baggage and equipment. All necessary camping and kitchen equipment are provided and included in the trip cost. Camping gear includes two-person sleeping tents, a toilet tent and a kitchen tent, dining tables and chairs, and foam mattress. You should bring your own sleeping bag.
All trekking parties are accompanied by a trained guide, a cook, and a couple of aides and pack animals with their driver. At least one riding pony is always taken along just in case it is needed. The support crew walks ahead of the trekking party each day, pitches camp before the group arrives, and greets everyone with a warm and most welcome cup of tea or coffee in the dining tent. All meals are carefully planned and prepared. Breakfast and dinner are served freshly prepared at camp and includes a choice of at least four dishes. On trail, we serve a picnic lunch at a pleasant and scenic place. All cooking and cleaning chores are taken care of by our trek staff, so you can relax and enjoy the trek fully.
A trekking day normally begins with an early cup of tea or coffee in your tent. A jug of hot water will be provided for washing; you are expected for breakfast by 7 am. Breakfast is usually cereals, toast, eggs, juice and tea or Nescafe coffee. By 8 am, we’ll be on the trail. Trekkers can walk on their own pace, but we won’t want to get too spread out on the trail as we explore the villages and temples, and meet people along the way. The lunch stop is around noon to 1 pm. Some days we’ll be served hot fried rice or noodles or bread or boiled potatoes brought in an insulated container (unlike in Nepal, where the crews cook a hot meal while you nap). Lunch is usually accompanied by tea from a large flask. Some days, lunch will be simply sandwiches, fruits and cookies. Usually the day concludes between 4 to 5 pm, with our tents already set up and steaming cups of tea or coffee with biscuits or cookies waiting. As the crew makes dinner, we will have time to update our journals, read, nap, or photograph in the day’s diminishing light. Dinner is usually served around 7 pm. Meals typically include a rice dish, a potato dish, or frequently both. The cook is trained to produce a reasonable variety of Western and Asian dishes. They often add interesting Bhutanese touches, such as cheese sauces.
Clothing and Equipment
Your packing should be guided by these restrictions: Druk Air has a 20 kg (44-pound) limit on checked baggage. On trail, we expect to provide one pony for each two trekkers, and each pony carries 30 kg (66 pounds) or less.
Essentials Items/Not to forget
Down Jacket: We recommend a down jacket, which has the advantage of being light, compressible, and versatile – say, as pillow at night or long car trips; or even inside our sleeping bag on colder nights. Artificial-fiber jackets filled with Polar-guard, Thinsulate, or Fiberfill are good substitutes, and are cheaper.
For day walking, we recommend Jumper or Pile Jacket. Two or three light layers of clothing, which could be jumpers, shirts or polypropylene, are better than a single heavy layer. Pile jackets with polyester fleece are light, warm and easy to clean.
Sleeping Bag is a must. Choose the one 20-degree bag. We can rent bags in Bhutan, but we cannot guarantee the quality.
Duffel Bags and Backpack: Suitcases are fragile and cannot be carried by ponies. Please bring a strong, waterproof duffel bag; a spare lockable bag or suitcase for the city stuff that you’ll leave behind in the hotel; and a backpack for your personal items (camera, wallet, water bottle, etc.) on trail.
Mountain Trekking Boots: Bring a pair of good quality of trekking boots with ankle support. If you are buying a new pair, break them in before you leave. Another pair of comfortable camp shoes is also recommended.
Torch lights with spare batteries and bulbs.
Water bottle and water purifying pills.
- Jumper or sweaters
- Waterproof jacket, poncho or umbrella.
- Hiking shorts (for men) and skirts (for women).
- Nylon windbreaker (for altitude above 4000m/13,120 ft.).
- Nylon wind pants (for altitude above 4000m/13,120 ft.).
- Insulated pants (for altitude above 4000m/13,120 ft.).
- Long sleeved shirt.
- Long Underwear.
- Sun hat.
- Gloves ((for altitude above 4000m/13,120 ft.).
- Gaiters (for altitude above 4000m/13,120 ft.).
- Woolen socks and some cotton socks to wear under wool socks.
- Cigarette lighter.
- Small knife.
- Sunscreen (SPF 15+).
- Laundry soap.
- Medical and first aid kit.
- Sewing kit.
- Goggles or sun glasses.
- Lip guards.
- Insect repellents.
- Reading materials.
- Pen and diaries.
- Play cards.
How we dress during the day
This is one of our higher-altitude treks. The weather will be cool even during the day. Most people are comfortable in long pants; but for women are recommended skirts, mainly for ease in relieving yourself along the trail. There are long stretches where there is little chance to hide, and a skirt solves the problem.
Best Trekking Season
Late September to mid-November is generally recognized as the best trekking season in the Himalayas, and so it is in Bhutan. The second best period is March to April. Winter is snowy and summer is rainy. We tend to avoid these seasons, but we always expect some rain. During fall, nights are cold in the mountains – 40 degrees F, or 5 degrees C under 11,500 feet, or 3,500 meters; at higher altitudes overnight temperatures can drop to 14 degrees F, or -10 C. But the bright sun makes the daytime pleasant, with temperatures averaging 68 degrees F, 20 degrees C. Autumn has clear sky with good visibility; spring trekkers are rewarded with rhododendron and orchid flowers in bloom.
If you are traveling to Bhutan during winter, the only trek we recommend is our Samtegang Trek.
High Altitude Sickness
Altitude sickness, or at least discomfort, can pose a problem for trekkers crossing the high passes. In fact, above 3,000 meters (9,840 feet) all trekkers are likely to experience some mild symptoms of altitude discomfort that could include headaches, disorientation, dizziness, restlessness, and loss of appetite. But our itineraries are designed to allow enough time for acclimatization and, following proper measures, those symptoms should disappear in a day or two. We will always exert ourselves reasonably and drink plenty of water. Soup is also a welcome restorative in camp.
Anyone with existing heart, lung, or high blood pressure issues should consult their physician before signing up for this trip. Participants should in the months leading up the trip prepare with such exercises as jogging, cycling, swimming, and hiking in hilly terrain.
Accommodations and meals in the towns
For the most part, we will stay in moderate to best-available accommodations, which are usually small hotels with 15 to 20 rooms of varying designs, rarely with gift shops. Outside Thimphu and Paro, “best available" might be very basic, sometimes without hot water (or any water, for that matter). These adjustments are, we think, part of learning about a new country. During festival period, high demand for accommodations sometimes means we have to use alternative hotels; your cooperation and understanding in this matter is very much appreciated.
Paro and Thimphu have a couple of international chain resorts with remarkably high prices. Our trips do not feature them, but we can book them for additional charges.
Bhutan trips feature three meals each day, mostly at our hotel, usually served in a buffet that includes rice, vegetables, and noodles. Our guide can arrange some dinners at local restaurants, but remember that traditional Bhutanese food always features chilies, and the most popular dish, ema datshi, is made with large, hot, green chilies in a cheese sauce.
Our guides are college-educated Bhutanese, proficient in English, and trained and licensed by local tourism authorities. Just as important, they are friendly and committed to deliver the best services.
Note on Itinerary
Although we will do our very best to adhere to the itinerary schedule as listed; it is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
When you are sure you are going to Bhutan, it will be wise to put your reservation in line as early as possible as there are limited flights and hotels. An initial deposit of US$ 300 is requested along with completed booking form.
The balance and final payment is 90 days prior departure. The payment schedule may vary with customized and private trips on case to case basis. Payments made within 90 days prior departure may be subject to late fee and are required to make through wire transfer or cashier’s check. Payment by credit card attracts additional 3.5% fee.
Cancellation and refund
- 90 days prior departure: US$ 150 (Administrative Fee).
- 60-89 day's prior departure: US$ 250 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
- 45 days to 59 days prior departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
- 30 days to 44 days prior departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
- Less than 30 days: 100%.
Travel Protection Plan
While we plan and do our best to make your trip smooth and seamless, there may be chances of unforeseen events and conditions such as illness, accident, inclement weather, and flight cancellation or missed connection or loss of baggage etc. that may cause interruption or delay or total cancellation of your trip putting your hard earned travel investment in jeopardy. It’s also possible that you may need medical assistance, emergency evacuation or medical transportation when you get ill or involve in an accident when you are traveling in remote areas. Far & High’s Tour cost does not cover any of these expenses or losses and so we strongly recommend you that you should protect yourself and your travel investment against those unfavorable conditions.