Land of the Thunder Dragon


I would be interested in chatting to anyone joining the Thunder Dragan tour on 16th October. Would be perticuarly interested in chatting to those who have trekked at altitudes before with regards to equipment and training.


Hi Marcus, we are going on the same trip as you are and were advised to take  acetazolamide as a precaution against altitude sickness, but we have not trekked at altitude before.  Any training has been general fitness and Scottish mountains!  John and Margery

Thanks for the info. My doctor would not provide any.

Have you looked into sleeping mats? The thermorest mats look extremely expensive and was wondering if a £30 unit would suffice. 


I did this trip couple years ago.  You get provided with a sleeping mat  , foam covered about 2 inches thick with a rug then placed on top. All in the group agreed that part way during the night the foam mat seemed to turn into concrete . Personally I also had a self inflating camping mat ( cheapo about 20 quid ) with me and was glad of it . Having said that , after a day trekking at altitude  you are tired so do sleep.

No one in group "suffered"  AMS , all of us had slightly stuffy nose/onset of a cold feeling.  Having since also travelled to Peru and Tibet have learned  important factors are - LOTS of fluids. Lots.  Carry some dioralyte or similar , also Ibruprofen in low doses can help.  Eat food - its fuel - even when not hungry ( on our trip the guides told the women off for not eating enough  depsite us scoffing 3 full meals a day and cake in afternoons when coming in from trek ) .

Trek up to Tigers Nest monastery early on is an eye opener. Everyone , including the super fit , felt effects of being in Himalayas. Just  go at own pace and if thats - like me -  slow and steady  then thats fine.

Avoid alcohol in first few days or at least until after trek . Do carry a head torch for night time toilet tent visits.

When going through New Delhi airport for connection , having just come off an international flight , you get scanned and hand luggage checked again.  Its slightly chaotic , seperate lines for men and women and the tension rises with thoughts of missed flights. Dont hang around looking at shops etc , go straight through for connecting flight ( its a looong walk )  as it  can take 45 minutes  to be security checked again.

Flights from Kathamndu across Himalayas are often delayed by few hours so prepare to hang around Kathmandu airport longer than you thought .

Enjoy Bhutan !

Many thanks for your advice. How fit would you recommend someone be? Run 10k? 

Honestly I wouldnt get too hung up on being super fit.  If you can run 10KM then brill but if you cant then dont beat yourself up.

You need to be able to walk for several hours a day unaided ( by people I mean , trekking poles are very handy )  , its the altitude that makes you puff and requires the effort as you physically  breathe in and out more frequently . Less oxygen. . If you look at daily walk distances , in UK you would say "oh 3 miles an hour average so why does it take 5 hours to do a few KM on this trek". The effort is due to lack of oxygen. Having said that we usually set off around 08.00 ish and were in camp ( it gets set up by the porters who just skip by at speed , with mules etc )  no later than 16.00 .

I  did lots of gym training  / HIIT stuff/ circuit training  and was "gym fit" but still struggled. I was also overweight ( BMI at time of 38 plus )  and got quite worried on walk to Tigers Nest . Was reassured when I saw everyone struggling including the whippet thin , keen fell walkers.

So long as you have a level of fitness for walking in UK and  accept that you will be slower in Himalayas you should enjoy yourself. If you are doing your first ever trek and think its all flat lands then you will be in for a shock. The trails are defined but if its rained then they can be slippery , hence trekking poles for extra balance . There is no safety barrier on side of steep inclines !  Sometimes you have to make way for mules carrying their load , so trail will be about 3 feet wide in parts.

Reiterate about liquids ,  just get as much fluid in you every day on trek . Eat at every meal because you will burn it all off through exertion.

The group may get bit strung out but guide is top notch and there is also a sweeper at rear .As is normal on a group trek the keen ones will be at front .

So obviously the fitter you are the better but there is plenty of time in a day to complete that days trek. The first day of trek ( not the Tigers nest which I suspect is used by Guide to get a feel for the group abilities )  is steepest climb in shortest time . remainder of trek is climb and drop. To avoid AMS the adage go high sleep low is applied. So you wont be sleeping at highest point of that day trek , you will have dropped down 50 or 100  metres from highest point.

You only take on trek the minimal amount you need for 4 days , in the Exodus  kit bag you have been issued ( if in UK )  . The remainder of your luggage is driven to Thimpu hotel and waiting for you   . You are woken each morning by porter outside tent with bowl of warm water for a "cat wash"  and then its into meal tent for breakfast.

The trek is amazing, for me a personal challenge that I passed , Bhutan is really interesting country and unspoiled by massive construction in countryside. No pylons etc.

If you look up "Druk Path Trek "  you can read reviews from many peopel. Some do it in 3 nights some 4 some even 5.Its an old trading route so a well established path.

Thanks for the further advice. Very much appreciated. I dont sleep well at altitude so am hoping i am so tired i just crash. 


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