Bhutan Adventure

Code: BHWHW

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Activity types:

  • Culture
  • High Mountains

Level

  • Easy
More information

Difficulty indicator

Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.

More about difficulty levels

From £2,935.00 - 12 to 16 nights

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Prices are per person

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Holiday overview

Download trip notes here

Discover an ancient Himalayan kingdom, closed off from the world for centuries and shrouded in myth and legend. Walk through valleys under soaring peaks, along roaring rivers to ancient temples and dzong fortresses, where traditional beliefs and ways of life remain unaffected by the modern world.

Holiday highlights:

  • Experience fascinating culture and history of Bhutan, closed off for centuries
  • Walk in marvellous Himalayan scenery, past historic forts (dzongs) and monasteries in dramatic locations
  • Comprehensive journey across Bhutan
  • Meet friendly and welcoming people, in a country free of mass tourism
  • Walk up to the spectacular Taktsang ‘Tiger’s Nest’ Monastery, clinging to the cliff face
  • Walking in the Phobjikha and Bumthang valley in the heart of Bhutan, a traditional area which sees fewer tourists
  • Visit in November to see rare black necked cranes migrating from Tibet to the Phobjikha valley
  • Explore the interesting towns of Punakha, Paro and Thimpu, one of the world’s quietest capitals
  • Pass through Kathmandu and see the sights of the Nepalese capital

Price includes:

  • 12 nights’ accommodation in en-suite rooms 
  • Full board from dinner on arrival to breakfast on day of departure
  • A full programme of guided walks lead by local guides and an HF Holidays’ leader
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Travel by coach/minivan
  • Return flights between Kathmandu and Paro with Druk air
  • Tips

Accommodation

We use the best hotels available in the places visited. Accommodation in the more remote areas can be quite basic, and are generally at 2 or 3-star European standards, but always clean and welcoming.

Arriving in Kathmandu, we stay at the Hotel Malla, a 4-star hotel located in the centre of the city in the Thamel area.

In Thimpu, the Peaceful Resort (1 night) offers a very comfortable place to relax, a little out of the centre, and with very friendly and efficient service.

In Punakha we stay at the Meri Phuensum. Located in a superb vantage point with views down over the river, the hotel is a little outside of town, affording us some peace and tranquility. Rooms are all ensuite, comfortable and spacious. (March group will be at Hotel Vara)

Continuing into the Phobjikha Valley and Trongsa, we spend an evening at the Gakling Farm guest house. We then move on to the Yangkhil Resort which has large, comfortable rooms and pleasant grounds with views across to Trongsa Dzong.

In Bumthang, stay at the Mountain Lodge, (2 nights) a fairly basic but extremely welcoming lodge.

In Paro, accommodation is at the Olathang Hotel, a very pleasant small hotel tucked away in the pine forest, in the heart of the Paro Valley.

Returning to Kathmandu, we again stay at the Hotel Malla.


On occasion we may need to change the accommodation listed above. If this happens, your replacement accommodation will be of the equivalent standard or higher. In the rare instance this is not possible, we will contact you in advance.

Itinerary

Download trip notes here

This culturally weighted sightseeing holiday with easy to moderate walks in the Himalayan foothills. Walks are 2-10 miles (3.25-16km) to a maximum altitude of 10,500 feet (3,150m). The most difficult walk is to Taktsang Monastery, taken slowly, with approximately 1,509 feet (453m) of ascent over 2 miles (3.25km).

Day 1: To Kathmandu - Fly to Kathmandu via Doha.

Day 2: Kathmandu - Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the Hotel, for 1 night. Afternoon to unwind and later a visit to the nearby sleeping Vishnu.

Day 3: To Thimpu - Take a spectacular flight over the Himalayas to Paro, on a clear day some of the highest Himalayan peaks can be seen. On arrival, drive to Bhutan’s laid back capital Thimpu for 1 night. Depending on flight times, we may have time to explore Thimpu and visit the Takin Sanctuary. If this is not possible, we will try to fit this in tomorrow.

Day 4: To Punakha - Morning walking tour of Thimpu, visiting the National Memorial Chorten, the temple of Changgangkha Lhakhang with lovely views and the interesting Arts & Craft School. Later, journey over the Dochula Pass passing 108 stupas commissioned by the Queen with great views of the Eastern Himalayan range. Arrive in Punakha for 2 nights.

Day 5: Punakha Valley - Drive to Kabisatake for a walk past rice fields and small villages to the Khamsun Yuelley Namgyal Stupa, for great views of the Mochu valley. In the afternoon visit the Punakha Dzong, dating from 1637 with a spectacular location on the confluence of the Pho-chu (male) and Mo-chu (female) rivers.

Day 6: To the Phobjikha Valley - Arrive in the Phobjikha Valley, a stunning glacial valley and a haven for Himalayan wildlife, for a walk to Gangtey Monastery. In November it is possible to see rare black-necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. We spend the night here in the Phobjikha Valley.

Day 7: To Trongsa - An invigorating day in the beautiful untouched Bhutanese countryside. Today we will drive close to the Black Mountains crossing the Pele la Pass. Reaching Trongsa we are greeted by panoramic views over the town and its Dzong. We arrive early afternoon in Trongsa, giving us time to enjoy a leisurely walk around the town. Tonight we stay in Trongsa, in the centre of this very traditional part of Bhutan.

Day 8: To Bumthang - Morning walk around Trongsa and Trongsa Dzong, perched spectacularly above a roaring gorge. Later head into the Jakar valley, stopping at the Yotongla pass and the town of Chumey, known for its traditional ‘yathra’ weaving. Arrive in Bumthang for 2 nights.

Day 9: Bumthang - The Bumthang valley offers some wonderful walking areas, full of interest and with beautiful scenery all around. Walk to Ngang Lhakhang through villages, fields and forest to ‘Swan Land’ and ‘Swan Temple’ and the Burning Lake. After some time to relax in this bucolic area, there will be an evening stroll through town.

Day 10: To Paro - a short flight takes us to Paro (3 nights), one of Bhutan's most historical centres. Short afternoon walks to the National Museum and in the surrounding area (dependent on flight time).

Day 11: Paro walking and sightseeing - Wind through the pine forests to the peace and tranquility of the Tse-tho Monastery. We explore Dzongdrakha, an unusual village built precariously on a rock face, with beautiful views of Bondey village and the valley below.

Day 12: Taktsang Monastery - Take the hike to the famous Taktsang Monastery, also known as the Tiger’s Nest, which clings to the cliffs high above the valley floor. The ascent has a number of places to stop and admire the views, and is taken steadily. The first buildings date from around 1680 and legend says that Guru Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, arrived here on the back of a flying tigress.

Day 13: To Kathmandu - Fly to Kathmandu (1 night). Afternoon tour of the historic centre and farewell dinner at Rum Doodle restaurant.

Day 14: To London - Transfer to the airport for a return flight to London via Doha


Extend your stay- Chitwan National Park extension

Chitwan National Park is one of Nepal’s biggest attractions, after the mighty Himalaya. This beautiful park is home to a plethora of wildlife, including the endangered one-horned Indian rhino, and healthy populations of tiger and leopard amongst many other species. Your stay in the park will treat you to safaris in this stunning area. Keep your eyes peeled.

Day 14: fly from Kathmandu to Bharatpur and a transfer to the Jungle Villa Resort, your accommodation for exploring Chitwan National Park (breakfast, lunch and dinner included).

Day 15: a full day of activities ranging from wildlife viewing with experienced naturalists to elephant safaris into remote regions of the park (breakfast, lunch and dinner included).

Day 16: one last chance to search for wildlife this morning before transferring to Bharatpur and your flight to Kathmandu. On arrival in Kathmandu you will be transferred to your final night’s accommodation at the Hotel Malla (breakfast included).

Day 17: transfer to the airport for your flight home (breakfast included).

Price includes:

  • 3 nights en-suite accommodation
  • Transfers and return flights to Bharatpur
  • 4 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Please note there will not be an HF Holidays' leader nor a local leader in Chitwan. All activities are accompanied by local experts.

General Information

Passport
A full passport valid for the duration of the stay is required.

Visas
All visitors to Bhutan need a visa. This will be arranged in advance by our agents and is included in the holiday cost. IMPORTANT: In order to achieve this we will require a photocopy of your passport details at least 10 weeks before departure.

Visas are also needed for Nepal, because if travelling with the group one night is spent in Kathmandu either side of the Bhutan visit, and as such a Nepalese multiple-entry visa is required. If you intend to stay longer in Nepal, a visa for the appropriate number of days will be required. Full details will be supplied with your travel documents.

It is possible to obtain Nepal visas on arrival in Kathmandu, however it can take time completing the form and queuing. If you plan to get your visa on arrival, please download and complete a form from the Nepalese Embassy web site. This will save time on arrival.

Health advice
Before booking, you should check with your doctor to see if any health precautions are needed. The following websites provide a wealth of information on travelling and health: http://www.fitfortravel.co.ukwww.traveldoctor.co.uk

Vaccines: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Tetanus & Polio vaccinations are recommended. Malaria and Rabies are sometimes recommended too.

Climate
Most of the region through which we travel enjoys a temperate climate, with the temperatures seldom exceeding 28°C (82°F) in summer or dropping below 0°C (32°F) in winter. Due to the altitude temperature can drop at night, and all hotels are heated. All things considered the best time for travel is from the end of February until May and from October to mid December.

Money
In Bhutan the currency is the Ngultrum (BTN). The Indian rupee is also legal tender. Major convertible currencies and travellers' cheques can be exchanged at banks in all major towns. Certain credit cards (Mastercard, Visa & American Express) are accepted at a few large hotels and shops.

In Nepal the currency is the Nepalese Rupee (Rs). The import of local and Indian currency is prohibited. Away from major centres Rs500 & Rs1000 notes can be difficult to exchange, please carry some smaller notes. Credit cards are widely accepted. ATM’s are available in Kathmandu & Pokhara.

Traveller’s cheques are not advised.

Time

Nepal GMT + 5.45 hrs, Bhutan GMT + 6 hrs

Tipping
Tips are included on this holiday.

For flights information please see the Dates & Prices tab.

Leaders

Sandy Smith

Sandy’s professional career as a geologist takes her to lots of fascinating and beautiful countries. She has been leading for HF Holidays since 1995, including most of our USA holidays, as well as South Africa, Madagascar, Cape Verde, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Jordan itineraries. Sandy has written books on volcanoes and glaciers – a good connection with the mountain areas she enjoys for walking. She has trekked in the Himalayas and has done geological fieldwork in South America. Sandy is continually inspired by the amazing diversity of the natural world, and is a keen amateur naturalist and bird watcher.

Sandy is leading our 06 March 2017 departure.

Iain Riding

Iain has travelled extensively worldwide and welcomes new challenges and adventures such as trekking in the Annapurnas, wild camping in North West Scotland and helping crew a 40ft ketch across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to St. Lucia. 

He has a good knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of the region, gleaned from his extensive travels in Nepal and India.

Iain has been leading HF Walking holidays, both in the UK and abroad, since 2002, and looks forward to sharing our Bhutan Adventure with you.

Iain is leading 09 October 2017.

Mike Thomas

Mike's love for mountain walking started on a school field trip to Derbyshire, and since then he has thoroughly enjoyed trips to many of parts of the world. Voluntary leading has been a way of life for many years for Mike, and this has included spending two years in Africa, and organising holidays for mountaineering, skiing and cycling clubs.

Since 2000, Mike has lead trips for HF Holidays in the UK, Europe and many Worldwide holidays. He is an enthusiastic leader who loves to share his interest for travelling, and supporting his guests to ensure they have a wonderful holiday. Mike is delighted to be returning to the Himalayas where the people are wonderful and scenery out of this world.

When Mike is not leading walks for HF Holidays, he is walking with his local club, cycling, windsurfing, or volunteering for his local Wild Life Trust.

Mike is leading 6 November 2017.

Reviews

Date & Rating Customer Review HF Holidays says
28 Nov 2016, 8:20 a.m.

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Overall we were happy with the service we received before we left, however it would have been more useful in the preparations if the 'useful information pack' had been sent a few weeks earlier

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Loved every minute....the country, the people, everything
2 Nov 2016, 8:28 p.m.

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I enjoyed the holiday very much. I would have liked more information in advance about the likely weather conditions and the clothing requirements. We needed to make sure our legs and arms were covered on most days. I took more warm layers than I needed to.

Product review:

I enjoyed the holiday very much. The HF leader was excellent and so was the local guide. They both paid attention to the needs of the group, to make sure we had a good time. The hotels were of an excellent standard and the food was very good.
1 Nov 2016, 11:58 a.m.

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Overall HF lived up to our expectations

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We enjoyed this unique destination
27 Oct 2016, 3:27 p.m.

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Up to the usual standard

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Although I would have liked more information generally.
15 Mar 2016, 5:07 p.m.

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No review provided

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Extremely efficient.
12 Dec 2015, 4:57 p.m.

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Service review:

Trip just as outlined. All arrangements worked well.
The only problem you have is insisting you fly from London

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Trip itself fine
2 Dec 2015, 6:04 a.m.

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Well organised all round.

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A fascinating trip to a still unspoilt country.
30 Nov 2015, 7:24 a.m.

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The whole holidays was well organised with excellent leadership from our HF and our local Bhutanese guide

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I enjoyed the experience greatly, we saw a great deal and stayed in good accommodation for the areas.
27 Nov 2015, 1:44 p.m.

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You know you can expect a good standard

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Bit too much travelling, but a great trip overall
17 Nov 2015, 4:54 a.m.

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Service review:

The HF arrangements through their agents Dharma Adventures were excellent. Because of the earthquakes and a cancelled tour (with another operator) we requested an adaptation to the tour, which was very well handled.

Product review:

The HF leader, Bhutanese tour guide and driver were all excellent, and the extent of the inclusions incredible - unlimited supplies of bottled water, morning and afternoon tea/coffee breaks, and those hot 'picnics', complete with tables and chairs, were something else!! A great way to see this delightful country and meet its charming people.

Read more reviews from feefo

Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Book
6 Mar 2017 BHWHW - Bhutan Adventure
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

QATAR AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 6 Mar 2017, 8:30 p.m.
  • Arrive: 7 Mar 2017, 3:10 p.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: Kathmandu International

Flight - Return

QATAR AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 19 Mar 2017, 12:45 p.m.
  • Arrive: 19 Mar 2017, 10 p.m.
  • Depart from: Kathmandu International
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
13 £3,489.00 Book Now
7 Mar 2017 BHWHW - Bhutan Adventure 12 £2,935.00 Book Now
7 Mar 2017 BHWHW - Bhutan with Chitwan Extension 15 £3,405.00 Book Now
9 Oct 2017 BHWHW - Bhutan Adventure
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

QATAR AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 9 Oct 2017, 8:30 p.m.
  • Arrive: 10 Oct 2017, 3:10 p.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: Kathmandu International

Flight - Return

QATAR AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 22 Oct 2017, 12:45 p.m.
  • Arrive: 22 Oct 2017, 10 p.m.
  • Depart from: Kathmandu International
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
13 £3,489.00 Book Now
9 Oct 2017 BHWHW - Bhutan with Chitwan Extension
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

QATAR AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 9 Oct 2017, 8:30 p.m.
  • Arrive: 10 Oct 2017, 3:10 p.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: Kathmandu International

Flight - Return

QATAR AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 25 Oct 2017, 12:45 p.m.
  • Arrive: 25 Oct 2017, 10 p.m.
  • Depart from: Kathmandu International
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
16 £3,959.00 Book Now
10 Oct 2017 BHWHW - Bhutan Adventure 12 £2,935.00 Book Now
10 Oct 2017 BHWHW - Bhutan with Chitwan Extension 15 £3,405.00 Book Now
6 Nov 2017 BHWHW - Bhutan Adventure
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound

QATAR AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 6 Nov 2017, 8:30 p.m.
  • Arrive: 7 Nov 2017, 3:10 p.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: Kathmandu International

Flight - Return

QATAR AIRWAYS

  • Depart: 19 Nov 2017, 12:45 p.m.
  • Arrive: 19 Nov 2017, 10 p.m.
  • Depart from: Kathmandu International
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
13 £3,489.00 Book Now
7 Nov 2017 BHWHW - Bhutan Adventure 12 £2,935.00 Book Now
7 Nov 2017 BHWHW - Bhutan with Chitwan Extension 15 £3,405.00 Book Now

Prices are per person

Information

  • Standard single room: (2016) £8 per night; (2017) no supplement
  • Premium single room: £15 per night (2017 only)
  • Premium twin/double room: (2016) £5 per person per night; (2017) £10 per person per night
  • Non-member associate fee: (2016) £5 per person; (2017) £10 per person

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