Himalayan scenery

Bhutan: Druk Path Trek Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Bhutan, Nepal
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TBC
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging

You are moderately fit and have an interest in remote or challenging environments. Some previous experience is required for activity based trips.

13 Days Flight Inclusive
12 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

The Druk Path is one of Bhutan's classic treks and follows an ancient, high-level trade route from Paro to Thimpu in a country visited by only a lucky few. Trek through splendid rhododendron forests, past yak herder settlements, across several passes and camp beside clear, blue, mountain lakes with spectacular views of the peaks which border Tibet. Experience Bhutan’s fascinating culture and on specific departures, its colourful festivals with masked dances and general joviality. Note that different departures follow different itineraries - see 'is this trip for you' for more details.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights hotels and 4 nights full-service camping in two-person tents
  • 5 days point-to-point walking with full porterage, plus 1 daywalk
  • Group normally 4 to 16 plus tour leader and local staff. Min. age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 4235m, average 3654m
  • Travel by private minibus 
  • Free transfers for any flight
  • Paro and Thimphu Festival departures available (see dates and prices for details)

Trip Highlights

  • A short classic trek through the beautiful Bhutanese countryside
  • An opportunity to gain an insight into the culture of the people
  • Famous cultural highlights; Paro Dzong and Thimpu's Memorial Chorten
  • Witness Bhutan's colourful, vibrant festivals (on festival departures)
  • Visit the incredible Taktsang 'Tiger's Nest' Monastery

Is This Trip for You?

Grade 4: Moderate/Challenging.

5 days walking; maximum altitude 4235m, average 3950m. 

This trip is for those who would like to combine the cultural highlights of Bhutan with beautiful Himalayan walking. The trek is a classic Himalayan trekking route. You can generally expect good service on the trek.

Travelling and Walking Conditions

We follow a route which was formerly an important link between Paro and Thimpu and which has been used for generations by pack animals. However please note that the trekking trails in Bhutan are more remote and less well marked than in Nepal. The route we trek is rarely used nowadays and the trails are quite narrow and rocky in places.

We highly recommend trekking poles for this trip. It regularly rains in Bhutan which can make the trails muddy and slippery. In early spring there can be some snowfall at the higher altitudes. The highest altitude we reach on the trek is 4235m and the highest we sleep is 4100m. Our local staff carry a first-aid kit and oxygen on the trek. This route presents a great variety of walking from pleasant pine and rhododendron forests to rocky landscapes and passes and high altitude lakes.

Trekking is still relatively new in Bhutan and you are unlikely to meet many other trekkers. Please be aware that whilst the distances on the five-day trek are not considered to be challenging; the altitude can sometimes pose a problem as your body adjusts to the difference. The pace of this trek is kept slow continually and there will be many opportunities to stop and enjoy the stunning views and Himalayan scenery. Walking hours stated are given as approximates only. Timings given include rest and photo stops but not a longer lunch break and will vary depending on the pace of your group. You may find wish to refer to our Walking & Trekking Fitness Training Guide

Smoking

Please note that smoking is technically banned in Bhutan. Tourists are permitted to smoke in certain designated areas but must bring their own cigarettes (up to 200 cigarettes). They must, however, pay duty on any tobacco product they import (up to 200% tax). Smoking in a public place can result in a fine as long you have proof of having paid the duty. If no proof of having paid the duty can be produced then there is the risk of a minimum 3 years imprisonment.

Travelling in Bhutan
Travelling in Bhutan is still in its infancy. All foreigners must travel through an official travel agent and be accompanied by a Bhutanese guide. Exodus uses well trained Bhutanese guides, but please be aware that the guides are sometimes restricted in what they are allowed to do and where they are allowed to take you. There is plenty of time to enjoy the different features of each centre whilst travelling through the magnificent countryside. There is time to study the monasteries, browse in the bazaars, or relax with a cup of tea in incredible surroundings. This trip is varied, with walking and sightseeing, and should appeal to those who like to see something a little different.

Alternative itineraries

The following departure dates have been scheduled to coincide with festivals. The itineraries are ordered slightly differently to coincide with these. 

For the trips with no festival we have included an excursion to Punakha and the Chimmi Lhakhang.

 

The daily itinerary for the departure Ex London 30/09/2019 (Thimphu Festival) is as follows:

Day 1 (Day 2 Ex London) Arrive Kathmandu
Day 2 (Day 3 Ex London) Fly to Paro.
Day 3 (Day 4 Ex London) Hike to Takstang Tiger's Nest Monastery; explore Paro old town.
Day 4 (Day 5 Ex London) Trek to Jele Dzong.
Day 5 (Day 6 Ex London) Trek to Jangchulaka.
Day 6 (Day 7 Ex London) Trek to Jimi Langtsho.
Day 7 (Day 8 Ex London) Trek to Labana. 
Day 8 (Day 9 Ex London) Trek to Phajoding via Labana Pass; to Thimphu.
Day 9 (Day 10 Ex London) Sightseeing Thimphu; afternoon archery display.
Day 10 (Day 11 Ex London) Thimphu festival; drive to Paro.
Day 11 (Day 12 Ex London) Fly to Kathmandu.
Day 12 (Day 13 Ex London) End Kathmandu.

The daily itinerary for the departure Ex London 26/03/2020 (Paro Festival) is as follows:

Day 1 (Day 2 Ex London) Arrive Kathmandu.
Day 2 (Day 3 Ex London) Fly to Paro.
Day 3 (Day 4 Ex London) Day walk to Takstang Tiger's Nest Monastery; explore Paro old town.
Day 4 (Day 5 Ex London) Trek to Jele Dzong.
Day 5 (Day 6 Ex London) Trek to Jangchulaka.
Day 6 (Day 7 Ex London) Trek to Jimi Langtsho.
Day 7 (Day 8 Ex London) Trek to Labana.
Day 8 (Day 9 Ex London) Trek to Phajoding via Labana Pass; to Thimphu.
Day 9 (Day 10 Ex London) Sightseeing Thimphu; drive to Paro.
Day 10 (Day 11 Ex London) Spend the morning at Paro Festival, the most famous in Bhutan where thousands of people gather to see the monks dressed in colourful brocade, silk costumes and wearing painted masks as they re-enact the story of the gompa's particular divinity through music and dance. For several days there are masked dances, prayer meetings and a general carnival atmosphere prevails as many villagers arrive to meet old friends.
Day 11 (Day 12 Ex London) Fly to Kathmandu.
Day 12 (Day 13 Ex London) End Kathmandu.

The daily itinerary for the departure Ex London 17/09/2020 (Thimphu Festival) is as follows:

Day 1 (Day 2 Ex London) Arrive Kathmandu.
Day 2 (Day 3 Ex London) Fly to Paro.
Day 3 (Day 4 Ex London) Day walk to Takstang Tiger's Nest Monastery; explore Paro old town.
Day 4 (Day 5 Ex London) Trek to Jele Dzong.
Day 5 (Day 6 Ex London) Trek to Jangchulaka.
Day 6 (Day 7 Ex London) Trek to Jimi Langtsho.
Day 7 (Day 8 Ex London) Trek to Labana. 
Day 8 (Day 9 Ex London) Trek to Phajoding via Labana Pass; to Thimphu.
Day 9 (Day 10 Ex London) Attend Thimphu Festival.
Day 10 (Day 11 Ex London) Thimphu sightseeing and archery display; drive to Paro.
Day 11 (Day 12 Ex London) Fly to Kathmandu.
Day 12 (Day 13 Ex London) End Kathmandu.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

A Bhutanese leader will accompany the group in Bhutan. We have a representative in Kathmandu who will advise you on sightseeing etc and answer any questions you may have. The trek is on a full service basis whereby the general camp chores will be performed by our local staff, including setting up and breaking camp, and all meal preparation. Your main luggage is carried for you and you will only need to carry whatever you require for that day's walk.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Map TBC

Land Only

Start City:
Kathmandu
End City:
Kathmandu

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive Kathmandu

    Land in Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel. The evening is free to relax.

    Royal Singi Hotel or similar

  • Day 2

    Fly to Paro; visit Paro Dzong and museum

    We fly to Paro today. If the weather is clear, we should get a fantastic view (from the left hand side of the plane) of much of the eastern half of the Himalaya, including Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and Chomolhari (Jhomolhari). After completing visa formalities in Paro, we transfer to our hotel. The Paro valley is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Bhutan. Its blue pine-covered hills and attractive, solidly built farmhouses among the paddy fields are dominated by the massive dzong, or fort.

    This afternoon we aim to visit the Paro Dzong and the National Museum above it. Paro Dzong is one of Bhutan's most impressive, and the finest example of Bhutanese architecture you will see. The inward sloping walls form a massive structure that towers over the town. Built in the 17th century it was one of Bhutan's strongest and most important fortresses and it was used on several occasions to defend the Paro Valley from invasions by Tibet. Formally the meeting hall for the National Assembly, the dzong now houses a monastic school and district government offices. Scenes from the 1995 film 'Little Buddha' were filmed in the dzong. West of the dzong a traditional wooden covered bridge called Nyamal Zam, a reconstruction of the original bridge, which was washed away in a flood in 1969. The most famous pictures of Paro Dzong are taken from the west bank of the river, just downstream from the bridge. At the top of the hill above the dzong is the old watchtower known locally as Ta Dzong. Originally built in 1656, it was renovated in 1968 by King Jigme Dorje Wangchuk to house the National Museum. Damaged by the earthquake in 2011, the museum is housed at the present time in a new building above the Ta Dzong. Inside the museum there are collections of masks and thangkas.

    Please note that the itinerary above could change subject to flight timings, which are generally unpredictable.

    Rema Resort or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 3

    Warm up hike to Taktsang also known as Tiger's Nest Monastery

    Today we will have a warm up hike to Taktsang Monastery. 'Tigers Nest' Monastery, is perched on the ledge of a cliff high above the Paro Valley. Partly destroyed by fire in 1998, it has now been completely restored to its former magnificence. We drive a short distance from the hotel and then hike up for about 1.5 hours to a viewpoint, for the classic views of the monastic buildings which cling impossibly to the cliff wall opposite. For the energetic there is the chance to walk another 2 hours to the actual monastery. The walk is good for acclimatization and we recommend you wear trekking boots and take trekking poles and plenty of water. Please note there about 100 steps up and down. Returning to the hotel we have time in the afternoon to explore Paro town.

    Rema Resort or similar

    Distance covered: 8 km / 5 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    580
    Altitude loss (m):
    580
    Activity (hours):
    5.5
  • Day 4

    Trek to Jele Dzong

    Today we start our trek. After breakfast we have a short drive to the ancient Ta Dzong watchtower (2400m). The first day's trekking is not long in terms of hours but it’s all the way uphill and we do gain quite a lot of height. From Ta Dzong it is a gentle climb for about 3 hours on a jeep track to a prayer wall. The trail then narrows and we continue climbing on a rocky path up a little steeper now through the forest. We have lunch about an hour further on in a clearing and then it’s about an hours walk in the afternoon to the Jele La (3550m) and our camp just below Jele Dzong. If the weather is clear we can see the Paro Valley below. The energetic can walk up and visit the Dzong. 
    Full-service Camping (sleeping altitude 3,530m)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 7.5 km / 4.7 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    915
    Altitude loss (m):
    70
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 5

    Trek to Jangchulaka

    After breakfast we have time to explore the ancient 14th century Jele Dzong and if lucky we may be allowed inside. Our day's walk begins with a short climb up the ridge before a descent into through thick rhododendron forest. Climbing back up again we emerge on the ridge and at times we can see the Paro Valley way below us and if the weather is clear we may even spot Chomolhari in the distance. Look out for the colourful Blood Pheasants which inhabit the forests. The trail climbs the ridge most of the day on rocky/muddy paths, through forests of rhododendrons. Today is a short day and we camp tonight at the yak herder’s settlement called Tsokam, just beyond Jangchu Lakha. 
    Full-service Camping (sleeping altitude 3,800m)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 9 km / 5.7 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    580
    Altitude loss (m):
    210
    Activity (hours):
    4.5
  • Day 6

    Follow the ridge with spectacular views of Jichdrake to reach Jimi Lang Tsho

    A long day today and probably the hardest walk of the trek. We climb steeply up from camp on a narrow trail for about an hour to rejoin the main trail. We continue climbing through a rocky landscape littered with small rhododendron bushes. We reach a col at 4073m marked with prayer flags and then drop down a short way to a cave. The trail then climbs again quite steeply to a ridge at 4080m, from where on a clear day we get spectacular mountain views including Chomolhari and Jichudrake. We have lunch on the ridge to enjoy the views and then continue a little further up the ridge to 4120m. From here we contour round a little and then drop steeply on a rocky trail to the shores of Jimi Lang Tscho, well known for its trout. 
    Full-service Camping (sleeping altitude 3,885m)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 8.4 km / 5.2 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    465
    Altitude loss (m):
    460
    Activity (hours):
    7
  • Day 7

    Trek to Labana

    Another long but great day's walk with good mountain views. The trail climbs from camp along a rocky trail up to Janye Tscho Lake at 3956m. Climbing even higher and steeply there are two more lakes above us Dungtscho Tscho and Dungtscho Sama before we finally reach a cairn at 4150m. Below is Simthoka Lake (4090m) the highest lake on our trek. From the lake the trail undulates all the way to our camp at Labana. 
    Full-service Camping (sleeping altitude 4,100m)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 8.6 km / 5.3 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    530
    Altitude loss (m):
    360
    Activity (hours):
    7
  • Day 8

    Cross the Labana Pass and descend to Phajoding; transfer to Thimphu

    The trail today climbs gradually up to the Labana Pass at 4235m (the highest point of this trek). The views get better and better and on a clear day we can see Gangar Punsum, Table Mountain and much of the Bhutan Himalaya. Way below is the Thimphu Valley. From the top we traverse the hillside with great mountain views and descend towards Thimphu. There are a couple of small climbs to cols but the general direction is downhill. From the Phajoding Labsa chorten we descend quite steeply to Phajoding Monastery for lunch. There are several temples here and a monastic school and the place is a visited by many Bhutanese. We descend even further through forests of blue pine to the end of our trek at Motithang, just above Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. We should reach our hotel by mid afternoon. The evening is free to explore Thimphu. 

    Pedling Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 9.3 km / 5.8 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    100
    Altitude loss (m):
    1400
    Activity (hours):
    5.5-6
  • Day 9

    Excursion to Punakha

    Today we take an excursion to the nearby town of Punakha. The road climbs steadily out of Thimpu Valley and winds its way through forests to the Dochula Pass. At 3050m (10,000ft) the views over the eastern Himalaya are magnificent although this is most definitely weather dependent! We descend to the valley floor and continue to sub-tropical Punakha. At an altitude of 1350m the difference in temperature and flora is apparent. Punakha is the winter capital of Bhutan and the dzong was the second one to be built in Bhutan. This remarkable fortress is situated between two rivers and it has survived many fires, an earthquake and a glacial flood. Over the years it has been repaired and added to and has several interesting features to protect it against invasion. In the afternoon we'll drive back to Thimphu to spend the night.

    Please note that for festival departures this day's itinerary does not apply, see the 'is this trip for you' section for more details.

    Hotel Pedling or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 10

    Thimphu sightseeing; drive to Paro

    We spend most of today visiting the main sights of the town including the Memorial Chorten, which was built in 1974 to honour the memory of the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Buddha Point, which is a large Buddha statue built on the hillside overlooking Thimpu and a painting school. In the late afternoon we have a short (1hour) drive back to Paro.

    Rema Resort or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 11

    Fly to Kathmandu

    Today we fly back to Kathmandu. The rest of the day is free to explore the temples and markets of Kathmandu or go shopping. There are several sightseeing tours on offer (ask the Exodus representative in Kathmandu), or you may want to explore Kathmandu on your own. You may want to visit the monkey temple at Swayambhunath or the largest Hindu temple in Nepal at Pashupatinath or the one of the largest Buddhist stupas in Asia at Boudhanath. Once you have had your fill of culture the colourful markets of Thamel are great for souvenir hunting.
    Royal Singi Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 12

    End Kathmandu

    Our trip ends in Kathmandu after breakfast.

    Please note that sometimes due to opening times, holidays or festivals we have to change the timings of the sightseeing around. We will endeavour to show you all the sights in the time available. In case it is not possible to visit any of the sights described in the notes above an alternative will be provided.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels & Camping

Tents on TBC

You will spend 7 nights in hotels with en suite rooms and 4 nights in full service camps. The hotels we use in Bhutan are simple but comfortable and all rooms have attached bathrooms.

The camping will be in spacious 2-person tents. We will also provide dining and toilet tents, chairs, tables, cooking and kitchen gear and there will be a team of support staff. All groups will be accompanied by a local leader, who will be supported by a cook, assistant guides and yakmen. Whilst on the trek you will be woken up with a cup of hot tea, and we will also provide a small bowl of warm washing water in the mornings.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £510.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

Breakfast is included throughout the trip plus 9 lunches and 9 dinners whilst in Bhutan.

The hotel/restaurant meals in Bhutan are usually buffet style and include Bhutanese and Western food. Bhutanese food can sometimes be considered a little bland - this is generally because chillies are frequently used in traditional dishes, and these are often omitted to adapt to foreigners' tastes. However, you will find an assortment of meat, vegetable, rice and potato dishes and many examples of the infamous 'Ema Datshi' (chillies and cheese) so there will be plenty of nutrients for your day ahead!

Whilst camping, the staff will bring a hot drink (usually tea) to your tent each morning. When you reach camp in the afternoon tea and biscuits will be served. At breakfast, dinner and in the afternoons, there is a choice of hot drinks. Breakfasts typically include cereal, toast and jam, eggs and porridge. Lunch on trek is usually served as a picnic en route (except on shorter days when it is in camp). Lunch and dinner typically include soup to start, followed by a variety of hot dishes (both local and western) such as potatoes/chips, vegetables, curry, pasta, rice, dhal and vegetables. At dinner time a dessert such as tinned fruit and custard, fritters or cake is also served. Please note that although some meals will include meat, it is not as readily available whilst camping.

Please allow approximately £20-25 ($25-35) per day for other main meals in Kathmandu.

Transportation

For all transfers and road journeys we use a private bus. For the flights between Paro and Kathmandu we use either Druk Air or Bhutan Airlines. All bookings on regional flights are made in economy class. Paro-Kathmandu flights Please note that the schedules for flights between Nepal and Bhutan are notoriously unpredictable and the final timetables often published very late. The itinerary is based on the latest schedules but these are subject to change. Should there be a change of schedule we will amend the itinerary and update the Trip Notes, and advise any clients booked as soon as possible. Please be aware that due to a country-wide initiative to improve the roads connecting major towns, road conditions can be incredibly varied in Bhutan. Wet weather can have a detrimental effect and there may be occasions in which the van is held in a traffic jam/road block. If your leaders is made aware of bad conditions then they will make every effort to inform you of any potential delays.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Himalayan views tend to be best between October to December, as the weather is generally clear with sunny skies. From March to May the valleys are awash with colour when the famous rhododendrons bloom (particularly in May); the country has over 45 wild species. You will experience a range of temperatures during the trip depending on the altitude. During the day temperatures will be approx 10ºC-20ºC. At night temperatures will drop in autumn to about 3ºC-4ºC. Although these departures do not fall inside the normal monsoon season there is always a chance of rain in Bhutan and you should be prepared for this. If it rains on trek the trails become very muddy. There can sometimes be snowfall at the higher altitudes on trek especially in spring.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 13 days 

We normally use the scheduled services of Turkish Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please visit www.exodus.co.uk/regionaldepartures for a useful overview
of the options available, and contact our sales team for expert advice.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1½ hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Travelling land only: 12 days starting in Kathmandu and ending in Kathmandu

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Free Transfers

Exodus offers FREE airport arrival and departure transfers on any flight for this trip, for both Land Only and Flight Inclusive clients. Unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the Exodus start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel, and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers may be shared with other Exodus customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance. 

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

The cost of a taxi is likely to be about £6/US$10 should you decide to make your way independently.

Exodus is a well-known established tour operator in Nepal and there have been some cases in the past where locals have pretended to be Exodus employees and have offered to carry our clients luggage and take them to the Exodus vehicle. Please do not allow anyone to do this, unless they are carrying an Exodus sign, t-shirt or badge. If you suspect that someone does not work for Exodus and are offering to help you and you cannot locate our Exodus representative outside the arrivals hall, please call our local emergency number +977 98511 34139 or +977 97510 60705.

Location start:
Kathmandu
Location end:
Kathmandu

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful on this trip. Please note that many Bhutanese are still traditional in the way they dress. Out of respect for the country we ask you to dress conservatively. T-shirts are preferable to sleeveless tops. Although shorts are acceptable for trekking they should reach to just above the knee and for women a long skirt or trousers are preferable. For the festivals and when visiting dzongs you need to carry a set of appropriate clothes. Both men and women need to have a long-sleeved top with collar and legs need to be covered (for men - long trousers and for women, long trousers or a long skirt or dress below the knees). Comfortable shoes are fine for the festivals, such as trainers or sandals. 

You will be restricted to 15 kgs of luggage whilst on trek. You can leave luggage that you do not require for the trek in the hotel in Kathmandu to collect on your return, or in Paro. Any luggage left in Paro will be transferred to the hotel in Thimpu for you. There are safe deposit boxes in the hotel in Kathmandu.

4-season sleeping bag

Sleeping mattress (you will be provided with a foam mattress for the tent but you may wish to bring extra padding or thermarest)

3/4-season jacket

Waterproof walking boots (worn in)

Waterproof jacket and trousers

Gaiters

Trekking pole(s)

Trainers/sandals for the evening

Warm hat and gloves

Several pairs of walking socks,

Tracksuit/thermal underwear

Warm mid layer (fleece)

Light weight trousers

Base layers/T-shirts/ shirts

Long shorts or skirt for women

Sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve with sun protection

Daypack

Head torch

Water bottle (minimum 1 litre)

Towel

Plastic bags (bin liners) to line daypack and for packing clothing in the kitbag

Toilet paper

Small personal first aid kit.

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Optional Equipment

We also recommend:

Trekking pole(s) - these strongly recommended as it can get muddy under foot

Hand washing gel

Water purification (you will be provided with boiled water for drinking on trek but you may wish to take additional purification although this is not necessary)

Biodegradable soap/shampoo

Umbrella

Sit mat for the festivals

Ear plugs - In Buddhism it’s believed that neutering or spaying cats and dogs will stop the reincarnation cycle for the animals, therefore you will notice a higher than average street dog population - we recommend packing ear plugs in case of dogs barking at night. 

Internal Flights Weight Limit

20kg

If you book this trip, we provide an Exodus kitbag to pack your luggage in whilst on trek (unless on booking you stated a preference not to receive one). If you book via an agent, it is at the agent’s discretion and you should speak directly to them to arrange delivery. Please note that if you book less than three weeks before the departure date we cannot guarantee that your kitbag will arrive before your trip starts, so if this is the case please contact us on [email protected] to let us know. For full T&Cs see www.exodus.co.uk/kitbags.

Practical Information

Passport

Bhutan

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Nepal

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Bhutan

You will need a visa for Bhutan, which we will organise for you. The cost of the visa is included in the price of the trip (USD40). You will need to send us a clear copy of your passport on booking. We need this in order to organise your Bhutan visa in advance of your arrival. Please make sure that we have a copy no later than 8 weeks before departure. The passport copy can either be sent by post or scanned, in which case it has to be very clear and in colour. If you need to get a new passport for the journey, please apply for this immediately, and send us the copy/scan as soon as you receive your new passport. It is VERY important that the information you give us is 100% correct, and that the copy of the passport you send us is the one on which you will be travelling to Bhutan. Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Nepal

Most nationalities require a visa for Nepal, which can be obtained in advance or on entry. If you wish to apply before departure the current visa cost is £20 for a 15-day visa and £35 for a 30-day visa for UK passport holders. The current cost of a visa on arrival is US$25 for 15 days, US$40 for 30 days or if extending your stay $100 for 90 days. All are multiple entry. The visa on arrival fee can be paid for in cash in US Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Euros. Application forms are available in the immigration hall (or for electronic passports, there are visa registration machines which, after inserting your passport, automatically fill out a form for you. If you use the machine you will not need a passport photo). You must first join the queue to pay the visa fee and then go to the relevant immigration desk to obtain your 15, 30 or 90-day visa stamp.  If you use the paper form to obtain a visa on arrival then you will also need one passport photo (a photo is not required if you use the electronic registration machines but we recommend you bring one with you anyway in case, for any reason, the machines cannot read your passport). There can be long queues for visas on arrival.

Non UK nationals should check requirements with their nearest embassy (a few nationalities are not permitted visas on arrival).

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Bhutan

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Nepal

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

There is low to no risk of malaria throughout Nepal and antimalarial tablets are not usually advised although may be considered for certain higher risk groups; you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. The risk is highest in the low lying southern ‘terai’ districts bordering India.

A yellow fever certificate is only required if travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission or for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through a country with risk of transmission.

Dengue fever is a known risk in Nepal. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Most of our trips to Nepal go to high altitudes where there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please refer to the Altitude Warning within the Trip Notes for further advice on AMS.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

We are advised that there is no risk of malaria on this trip.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Altitude warning

This trip includes one or more nights over 3500m above sea level, where there is a genuine risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). If left untreated AMS can be life-threatening. We expect most clients to experience some mild symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches and shortness of breath while walking or sleeplessness. Our leaders are trained to identify symptoms of severe AMS and if a client requires extra care, arrangements such as rapid descent will be made immediately.

On some days this trip climbs faster than commonly published ascent rate recommendations. Based upon an assessment by our external safety and medical advisors and our risk assessment process, we consider the ascent rate is acceptable due to the additional safety measures that are in place for our customers. All our trips operating at high altitude meet our internal altitude safety standards that minimise the risk of serious incidents occurring whilst travelling at altitude.

A number of medical conditions or medications can reduce your body's ability to acclimatise. This may affect your performance and make you more susceptible to AMS. If you are worried about any pre-existing conditions, such as heart conditions, or your overall physical ability, you must seek medical advice prior to booking. The drug Diamox (also known as acetazolamide and normally only available on prescription) has been shown to aid acclimatisation in some individuals, and therefore may reduce the risk of AMS. Clients considering using Diamox should speak to their doctor about the drug, its side-effects and a prescription. Please note that while we endeavour to assist all our clients in achieving their goals, there may be times when your leader decides to delay or stop your ascent based on your overall condition, or the onset of AMS.

If you are not taking out Exodus Travel Insurance, make sure that your policy covers you up to the maximum altitude on this trip (if trekking in the Himalaya your policy should also cover the use of a helicopter for emergency medical evacuation).

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Bhutan's Timezone:
Asia/Thimphu +06 (GMT +06:00)
Nepal's Timezone:
Asia/Kathmandu +0545 (GMT +05:45)

Electricity

Bhutan's Electricity:

Electrical sockets (outlets) in the Kingdom of Bhutan usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.

Nepal's Electricity:

230V, 50Hz. Mains electric 'load shedding' (planned temporary power‐cuts) occurs regularly throughout towns and cities in Nepal. On teahouse treks the majority of lodges now have electricity and charging facilities in the communal areas for batteries, for a fee (around Rs150-350 per hour). Battery life can be affected by cold - lithium batteries are best.

Money

Bhutan's Currency

The national currency of Bhutan is the Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 88 to the UK£ and 64 to the US$. Indian rupees can also be used in Bhutan (but only Rs100 notes or less, not the new Rs500 or Rs2000 notes). The exchange rate is the same as the BTN.

Nepal's Currency

The national currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 153 to the UK£ and 115 to the US$.

It is illegal to import or export rupees, but foreign currency is not limited, provided it is declared on arrival.

Keep your change receipts, as you will need them if you want to change rupees back into hard currency at Kathmandu airport.

ATM Availability

There are ATM machines in Kathmandu. However, we do not advise that you rely entirely on these as they are often broken or have run out of money. There is also a limit on the amount you can take out per day. Credit cards (Visa or Mastercard) can be used for more expensive purchases in the better souvenir shops.

There are ATM machines in Bhutan, mainly of the Bank of Bhutan in Thimphu and Paro. The maximum withdrawal in a day is Nu 30,000 (approx. $500). Credit cards (Visa or Mastercard) can be used for more expensive purchases in the better souvenir shops.

We recommended you take most of your money in cash as it is easier to change cash in Nepal and Bhutan on arrival at the airports (Pounds Sterling, US Dollars or Euros can all be changed easily). We do not recommend travellers cheques as they can no longer be changed.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will need approximately £50 ($65) in Nepal for lunches, dinners and drinks, plus extra for any optional sightseeing tours or shopping. Please note that you can change Nepalese Rupees back into US Dollars at Kathmandu airport on departure from Nepal. If you wish to do this, you should keep the original currency exchange receipts. Please note that travellers cheques, £50 notes or any Scottish or Irish currency cannot be changed in Nepal or Bhutan. The Bhutanese Ngultrum is tied to the Indian Rupee, which can be used throughout Bhutan (please note that only Indian notes up to Rs100 denomination can be taken or used in Nepal and Bhutan - do not carry Indian Rupee notes of 500 or 2000 denominations). Money can be changed at Paro airport on arrival. Ngultrums are impossible to change back, so if you are left with any at the end of the trek, make sure you exchange them for Indian notes which can be used in Nepal. It is illegal to import or export Rupees or Ngultrums, but foreign currency is not limited, provided it is declared on arrival.

You will need to take some money on the trek with you, as the trekking crew are tipped on the final morning of the trek. 

Tipping

Tipping is a tradition in Bhutan and we suggest you allow about £80 ($110) per person for this. About £15/$20 per person can be collected at the start of the trip and given to the guide as a kitty for hotel and restaurant staff.

Tips for your trekking crew (assistant guides, cooks, ponymen and drivers) are distributed on the last night/day of the trek so you will need to take enough cash with you for this. We recommend passing an envelope around the group so that everyone can put in whatever they wish to contribute - your leader will then help to divide this fairly between the trek staff.

A tip for your main Bhutanese tour leader is not included in the above and we therefore suggest that as a group you collect a separate amount to give at the end of the holiday.  

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.