- Best available of the regular hotel accommodation in Paro and Thimphu.
- All camping gears that includes sleeping tent with floors and fly sheet, 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 the leads for the trekking.
- All the necessary supplies.
- Three meals a day.
- Bhutan visa.
- Entrance fees.
Trip Does Not Include
- All airfares and airport taxes.
- Travel Insurance and emergency evacuation.
- Personal expenses such as drinks, tipping, telephone, laundry, etc.
- Extra expenses due to nature or unforeseen events such as flight cancellation, road blockade, no show, etc.
Trek Difficulty and Preparation
This is a moderate graded trek with maximum altitude of 4, 930 m (16,170 ft.). We camp between 2800m (8185 ft.) and 4150m (13,615 ft.) and take optional hike to 4500m (14,760 ft.). In average, we will walk 6 to 7 hrs. but some days are longer. Trail conditions are varied with frequent ups and downs. The trails become muddy and pretty miserable when it rains and passes are closed by snows around end of November. Trekkers are likely to experience mild symptoms of altitude sickness above 3000m (9840 ft.); so we allow enough time for acclimatization and the symptoms should go away in two or three days. Although previous experience is not a mandatory but some training and preparation would help a lot to build stamina and confidence. Participants should start jogging, cycling and some hill hiking etc. about a couple of months ahead of the trip. If you are buying new boots for the trek, please do wear them to get used to your feet.
What is it like a typical trekking trip in Bhutan?
A trekking day in Bhutan usually consists of five to seven hours of walking. We use ponies, or yaks for camping gears, food supplies, and your gears. We provide all the necessary camping and kitchen equipment. Camping gears include two-persons sleeping tent, toilet tent, kitchen tent, dining tables and chairs, and foam mattress. You should bring your sleeping bag on your own.
Trekking crews comprise a certified guide, a cook, and two or three aides and pack animals with their drivers. We will also have an extra pony, just in case anyone needs a ride in an emergency case. The support crew walks ahead of the trekking party each day and pitches camp before the trekkers arrive. A warm cup of tea or coffee will be waiting in the dinning tent as you arrive at the camp and it will be a welcome treat after days' trek. 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. During the day a picnic lunch is served at a pleasant and scenic place. All cooking and cleaning chores are taken care of by our trek staff so you can enjoy the trek fully.
A trekking day normally begins with an early cup of tea or coffee in our tent. A jug of hot water will be provided for washing and you are expected in the breakfast table by 7 am. Breakfast is usually cereals, toasts, eggs, juice and tea or Nescafe Coffee. By 8 am, we find ourselves on the trail. Trekkers can walk on their own pace but we should still try to maintain some close proximity with others. We stop to explore the villages and temples and exchange greeting with the locals. Lunch stop is around noon to 1 pm. We are served hot fried rice or noodles or bread or boiled potatoes brought in an insulated container, unlike in Nepal where the crews take time to cook hot meal while you nap. Lunch is usually accompanied by tea from a large flask. Some days, they serve cold lunch which is simply sandwiches, fruits and cookies. Usually the day concludes between 4 to 5 pm. As we reach our campsite, we find our tents already set up and steaming cup of tea or coffee with biscuits or cookies waiting. We will have some time to write journals, or read novels or engage ourselves on photography while the crews fix dinner for us. Dinner is usually served around 7 pm. Meals usually 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
Druk Air has only 20 kg of checked-in baggage allowance, and we expect to provide one pony for every two trekkers. Each pony carries 30kg or less. So, these things should be taken into consideration when.
Essentials Items/Not to forget
Down Jacket: We recommend down jacket as it has the advantage of being light and compressible and it can serve many functions on the trek. We can use it as a pillow at night and long car trips and wear it to bed inside our sleeping bags when it's cold. Artificial-fiber jackets filled with Polar-guard Thinsulate or Fiberfill are a good substitute for down and price wise, much cheaper.
For day walking, we recommend a Jumper or Pile Jacket. Two or three light layers of clothing, which could be jumpers, shirts or polypropylene, are better than a single dense layer. Pile jackets with polyester fleece are light, warm and easy to clean.
Sleeping Bag is a must. Choose the one for 4 seasons. We can rent them in Bhutan but cannot guarantee the quality.
Duffel Bags and Backpack: As suitcases are fragile and cannot be carried by ponies, please bring strong duffel bags which are water proof, also a spare lockable kit bag or suitcase for the city stuff that you want to leave behind in the hotel and a back pack for your personal items such as camera, wallet etc.
Mountain Trekking Boots: Bring a pair of good quality of trekking boots with ankle support. If you are buying a new pair, make sure you use them enough to make it comfortable to your feet. We recommend one extra pair of tennis or camp shoes or thongs.
Another essential thing is a torch light with spare batteries and bulbs. Do not forget a water bottle and your preferred 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 trip is one of the high altitude treks, and it may be cold even during the day, and so most people are comfortable on long pants, but women will be more comfortable in skirts; the most obvious reason is the 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
In general, late September to mid-November is the best trekking season in the Himalayas, and so it is in Bhutan. The second best period is from March to April. Winter is snowy, and summer is rainy and so we tend to avoid these seasons but no matter when we trek, we expect some rain at some time. During fall, nights are cold in the mountains, but the bright sun makes the day pleasant, with temperatures-in the high 20?Cs,(68? F+) falling to 4-5?C ( 40? F +) at night, in the elevation below 3500m( 11,500ft) but at higher elevation, temperatures range from about 20?C (68? F) to -10?C (14? F). Autumn has a clear sky with good visibility whereas Spring trekkers can enjoy rhododendron and orchid flowers in bonus!
High Altitude Sickness
Altitude sickness can pose a problem for trekkers crossing the high passes. Above 3000m (9,840 ft.) All trekkers are likely to experience some mild symptoms of altitude sickness that includes headache, disorientation, dizziness, restlessness and loss of appetite but our itineraries allow enough time for acclimatization and following proper measures, those symptoms should disappear in a day or two. We will not overly exert ourselves or engage on hard physical activities. We drink plenty of water and eat soup in meal.
People with existing heart, lungs, high blood pressure issues should consult their physician before signing up for this trip. Participants should be optimally conditioned and should start some exercises like jogging, cycling, swimming, hiking in hilly terrain and camping at least a couple of months ahead of the trip. Please, note that this trek should not be taken as means of losing weight.
Accommodations and meals in the towns
In the towns of Paro and Thimphu, unless we have chosen other alternatives, we will be staying in moderate to the best available accommodations which are in general small hotel with room numbers ranging 10-20. Rooms are simple with en suite bathroom with running hot and cold water. No rooms may be similar to another and so there may be disparity in the rooms. You may get a better room than others or vice versa. We do not expect our hotel to have a gift shop for "sundry" items.
All Bhutan trip includes 3 meals a day and we expect to eat most meals at our hotel, usually served in buffet that includes rice, vegetables, noodles, bread etc. Our guide can arrange some dinner at local restaurants but beware: traditional Bhutanese food always features chilies and the most popular dish is ema datshi made with large, green hot chilies in a cheese sauce.
Our guides are college educated locals, proficient in English and trained and licensed by local tourism authorities. Most importantly they are friendly and committed to delivering the best services.
International and internal airfares
You will book your international airfare on your own and provide us your flight information. We can also help you find good fares through our air ticket consolidator on your request. We will take care of internal airfares-flight from Bangkok into Paro or on the return from Kathmandu back to Bangkok. If your trip starts from Delhi or Kathmandu, we can book your internal airfare accordingly. All internal airfares are booked locally. Local airport taxes may or may not be included in the fare.
Passport and Visa
Your passport must have a remaining validity of a minimum of six months when you return from the trip, and there must be at least one blank visa page for Bhutan only. Surely, you will stop in the gateway city before and after the tour and so allow two more blank pages for the arrival and departure seals there.
We apply for your Bhutan visa and will email you the clearance document about two or three weeks before the trip date. You need to produce this document when you check in flight for Bhutan. You will get the actual visa seal on your passport upon arrival at Paro airport.
US citizens, Canadians, and most Europeans don't need a visa for Thailand. If your gateway city is Kathmandu, you can obtain a Nepal visa on arrival. If your travel starts in India, then you need to get an Indian visa beforehand.
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.
Booking deposit and payment schedule
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 accommodations in Bhutan. We request US$ 300 in initial deposit along with a completed application and a passport scan.
The second payment will be for the internal airfares, such as Bangkok-Paro and we will advise you the due date well in advance.
The final payment is due, 90-days before the trip date. The balance payment by credit card attracts an additional 3.5% fee. Personal check or cashier's check or a demand draft are welcome. If you wish to make a wire transfer, you are responsible for the bank fees at both the ends.
Cancellation and refund
If you need to withdraw from the trip, we need a notice in writing, by email or fax. The cancellation fee structure will be as follows.
- 180 day before departure: No fee
- Ninety days before departure: US$ 150 (Administrative Fee).
- 60-89 day's before departure: US$ 250 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
- Forty-five days to 59 days before departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
- Thirty days to 44 days before 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.