Hike Trans Bhutan Trail

Trip Code: HJXB

Why we love it

Take in panoramic views of Himalayas from the Dochula Pass which sits more than 3000 metres above sea level and is home to many fluttering prayer flags., Hike along the Divine Madman Trail which is believed to be a trail followed by Drukpa Kuenley, a famous Buddhist monk, missionary and poet who came to Bhutan from Tibet., The country’s biggest Dzong, a complex of fortified buildings which served as a Buddhist school, is in Trongsa. Explore this magnificent site at the end of your hike from Chendebji., Explore the remote, lush and beautiful Tang Valley and Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake) which is famous for being one of the most serene places in Bhutan to meditate., Journey to Taktsang, commonly known as the Tiger's Nest, a small monastery clinging to a rocky cliff 900 metres above the valley floor, and soak in its magnificence.

Is this trip right for me?

Bhutan is a high-altitude destination, so taking it easy for a day or two makes for a much more comfortable trip. Drinking tea and water and avoiding strenuous exercise will help you acclimatise after arriving.

Hiking on this trip can be strenuous and will take place on high altitude, up to 3500 metres above sea level. Please make sure you are adequately prepared physically.

Please read packing list available on Essential Trip document carefully and make sure you bring all necessary items.

Despite Bhutan being a small country, you'll experience long travel days as most roads are single lane. It’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.

While it’s legal to consume imported meat, the slaughtering of animals for consumption within Bhutan is banned, therefore delicious veggie dishes are varied and bountiful at every meal.

Please be aware that hot water is limited in some places. Speaking of all things heated, the Bhutanese love chilli and the food can be a touch spicy.

All meals are included due to the nature of travelling in Bhutan. This means there may be limited choices on some days.

Important information

1.In June 2020, the Government of Bhutan increased its Sustainable Development Fee from $65 USD per traveller per day to $200 USD per traveller per day. The full fee is included in the price of this trip, and you will not be asked to cover any additional costs.
2. Complimentary airport arrival and departure transfers are included. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
3. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
4. Entry to Bhutan is very strict and travellers can only enter Bhutan on a group visa as part of a tour. All travellers must arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 10 to be eligible for a group visa. At time of booking, please provide your booking agent with a clear uncut scanned colour copy of the two pages of the personal details section of your passport.
5. Bhutan's airlines are renowned for last minute changes to flight timetables into and out of Bhutan. Please allow a minimum of 24 hours transit time before and after your flights into and out of Bhutan. Timetables are available on the Druk Airlines and Air Bhutan websites.
6. If you have booked additional accommodation and transfers in Kathmandu, please see the ‘Passports, visas and entry requirements’ section of the Essential Trip Information for details regarding visas and arrival in Nepal.

What to bring/pack

As well as your underwear, toothbrush and other items you always need to pack for travel, below are some items that you specifically need for this trip.

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

MAIN LUGGAGE
You need to bring your main piece of luggage as well as a small to medium backpack for day’s walks (20-25 litres). One with waist strap would be most comfortable for all included walks

ESSENTIALS

- Day pack: for carrying essentials during activities
- Trekking clothing: A mixture covering lightweight clothing and some warm layers is recommended. Your activities will take place in the outdoors, where weather may change quickly. Lightweight, comfortable, and quick drying clothes for the activities are best. Laundry facilities may not be available on every day basis, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes.
- Hiking boots with a good grip, ankle support and waterproof membrane that are comfortable to walk for an entire day
- Comfortable shoes for shorter beach walks or evenings spend around accommodation
- Sport sandals
- Light jacket, fleece and base layers
- Wind and waterproof jacket
- Breathable, non-cotton hiking t-shirts
- Long hiking pants or zip-offs
- Nylon hiking shorts
- Water bottle or bladder: you will need water during activities and it’s best to avoid buying unnecessary plastic.
- Sun protection: sunscreen, sunglasses, sunhat or bandana
- Torch/flashlight/headtorch
- Toiletries

RECOMMENDED

- Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, antihistamine tablets and any personal medication you may need
- Ear plugs & eye mask
- Walking poles for longer walks and uneven terrain
- Camera with spare batteries/power bank: You will have access to power to recharge your electrical items daily
- Travel eco-friendly wipes/hand sanitizer

OPTIONAL

- Swimwear
- A good book, a journal and music player

VALUABLES

Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables. It’s also recommended to bring a copy of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.

WATER BOTTLE

Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.

Physical rating

4

You’re in for a walking trip and a good level of fitness is essential. We don't ask travellers to complete a physical participation form for this trip however we do ask you read through the trip notes carefully to ensure that this trip is the right trip for you.
If you’re already a regular exerciser, it might be an idea to up your game a little. Run those extra laps, or take few longer walks, ideally with a day pack on your back. If you’re not exercising so regularly (2-3 times a week), it’s important to start in the weeks leading up to your departure (4-6 weeks prior at least). Your best choice would be to start walking regularly 2-3 times a week including at least one longer walk (up to 15 km). It’s important to not only walk on flat surface, so if you cannot access a hilly terrain easily, walking up and down the stairs is a good replacement. Top that up with some general fitness exercises and any other cardio related classes and you will see a huge progress in your fitness levels.

BHUTAN:
A reasonable level of fitness is required to enjoy this trip. Many monasteries in Bhutan are reached by long flights of steps. The hike to Tiger Nest Monastery is approx 5 hours return via many uneven steps. You will be at altitudes of over 2500m, which can affect even the fittest traveller, so be prepared to be a little breathless and speak to your doctor prior to travel if you have any health concerns.

Joining your group

Hotel Pedling, PO Box No: 976 Phendey Lam, Thimphu, BHUTAN

Joining instructions

Finishing your trip

Bhutan Mandala Resort, Wangchang, Paro Bhutan, Paro, BHUTAN

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 10

Lunches included: 10

Dinners included: 10

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

BHUTAN FOOD:
All meals are included with the cost of your trip to Bhutan. Generally, meals will be buffet style and taken in your hotel or guesthouse. Lunches and dinners will generally include a selection of western, Chinese, or Indian style dishes, with some local specialties on occasion. Don't forget to try the National dishes of emma datse (chili and cheese) and delicious red rice. Rice and vegetable dishes are always present for every meal. Vegetarians are well catered for and meat is the exception rather than the rule with most meals. Bottled and alcoholic drinks are not included with meals and are paid for separately.

Each restaurant typically will cook about three or four dishes per group to share. Choices are limited and feedback has suggested that the food isn't the main reason to visit Bhutan. Meals may become a little monotonous with similar offerings at most restaurants. 

Please don't be offended that your leader and driver do not eat with you. This is the custom in Bhutan and leaders and drivers generally eat together in another section of the restaurant.  

Climate & seasonal information

WEATHER IN BHUTAN
Bhutan can be divided into three areas. In the south, you’ll find the lowlands fronting the Indian border, which enjoy a subtropical climate. This region sees monsoonal rains from June to mid-October and mild winters through December, January and February.

Travel north and the climate becomes progressively colder as the Himalaya rise. The central belt of the country, in the lower foothills of the Himalaya, features cold, dry winters and warm summers with monsoonal rains on the southern sides, while the valleys experience less rainfall thanks to the mountains’ protection.

In the northern regions, as the Himalaya rise above 2500 metres (8202 feet), the winters are cold and while the summer can be warm, the valleys are generally protected against monsoonal rain.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below.

Intrepid’s Local Operator: +977 980 112 3617

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

Transportation

BHUTAN:
Whilst there are approx 8000km of roads in Bhutan, the quality varies greatly depending on proximity to the major towns of Thimpu and Paro. As such, even short distances can take longer than expected. Bhutan is currently upgrading a lot of its road network and delays are common. Roads are narrow and speeds are slow. Landslides are common, particularly after rain and occasionally trips are diverted due to debris blocking roads. Thimpu is also famous as the worlds only capital city without a traffic light.


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