The Bumthang Valley

12 days
from
$6,175 AUD
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Traveller ratings
4 / 5 from 4 reviews >
Moderate
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Trip code: 
TBB
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Walking & Trekking Holidays
Min age:
18
Group size:
4–16

Gentle Himalayan hiking

The secretive mountain kingdom of Bhutan is one of the world’s great off-the-beaten-path destinations with its mountain-top temples, towering peaks and unique culture. As well as seeing the country’s highlights, we head to central Bhutan where we meander through meadows, Blue pine forests and bamboo groves, stopping in villages and meeting welcoming locals. We then witness the masked dances and other festivities of one of Bhutan’s less visited festivals (Domkhar in May and Jambay Lakhang in November). Note that different departures follow different itineraries.

Highlights

  • Colourful and vibrant festivals (Domkhar and Jambay Lakhang festivals)
  • Spectacular Himalayan scenery
  • Tiger's Nest monastery, the Paro Dzong and the Memorial Chorten
  • An insight into a country that few foreigners visit
  • Free transfer to meet any flight

Key information

9 nights hotels with en suite facilities and 2 nights full-service camping sleeping on camp beds in two-person tents

What's included

  • 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 dinners
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Bhutanese visa

What's not included

 

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request - limited availability)
  • Nepalese visa or vaccinations
Call us on
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

3

Pace:

Leisurely: 3-4km/2-3miles an hour

Terrain:

High altitude; good paths

Day by day breakdown
Day 612.0km/7.0miles
Day 716.0km/9.0miles
Day 810.0km/6.0miles

Responsible Travel

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… 

Itinerary

Kathmandu
to
Kathmandu
  • Day 1

    Arrive Kathmandu.

    Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel. The evening is free to relax.
    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    Flight to Paro; drive to Thimpu; visit Semtokha and Trashichi Dzongs.

    Today we fly to Paro. If the weather is clear we should get fantastic views of much of the eastern half of the Himalaya including Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga and Chomolhari. Upon arrival we transfer to Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan (approx 1hr). Thimpu is a fairly small town, with a population of around 90,000, and is easy to get around. There is a certain quaintness to it and all the houses and shops are painted in traditional Buddhist styles. Today we will visit Simtokha Dzong (fort) and Tashichho Dzong, which is the centre of the Bhutanese government.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Visit Memorial Chorten; drive to Punakha via Dochula, Chimi Lhakhang and Punakha Dzong.

    This morning we spend some more time exploring the charms of Thimpu. We will visit the Memorial Chorten, which was built in 1974 in memory of the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, as well as a local art school and Buddha Point, the site of a 50m Shakyamuni Buddha statue overlooking the city. We then leave Thimpu and drive east to Punakha. The route climbs steeply in places to the Dochula Pass. At 3050m (10,000ft) the views over the eastern Himalaya are magnificent although the clouds may obscure this spectacle. 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 was the old capital of Bhutan and the dzong was the second one to be built in Bhutan. This remarkable fortress is built between two rivers and it has survived many fires, an earthquake and a glacial flood. Over time it has been repaired and added to and has several interesting features to protect it against invasion. En route we will also visit Chime Lhakhang, a 15th century monastery built to honour one of the more folkloric saints of Bhutanese tradition, Lama Drukpa Kuenley. The Lama was known for his foul-mouth, alcohol-smelling breath and insatiable lust towards women. Yet he is revered as a great saint by most Bhutanese who come from all corners of the country to visit Chime Lhakhang
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Visit Wangdi Dzong en route to Bumthang.

    A long day today so we will leave very early for the long drive to Bumthang, often referred to as the spiritual heart of Bhutan. En route we stop at the Chendebji Chorten and visit the weavers in Chumey where we can see women weaving yak wool into traditional Bhutanese textiles known as Yathra. Passing through Trongsa we will visit the imposing dzong and if there is time the museum set in an old watchtower (time permitting). It will be evening by the time we reach our hotel in Bumthang.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Domkhar Festival or Jambay Lakhang Festival.

    Today we witness one of Bhutan’s famous festivals – either the Domkhar Festival (also known as the Bumthang Festival) or the Jambay Lakhang Festival. Spring departures feature Domkhar and Autumn departures feature Jambay Lakhang.

    Festivals in Bhutan are very colourful affairs and are a celebration of the country’s greatest Buddhist saint, Guru Rimpoche. Bhutanese come together during festivals to watch various dances such as the black hat dance or the treasure dance which normally have a long history and tradition going back centuries. Most of these are masked dances and the masks themselves have an important significance. Both of these festivals are more intimate and lesser-visited in comparison to those in Paro or Thimpu.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    To Thangbi Lhakhang; trek to camp at Nglakang.

    This morning we take a short walk (approx. 3km) around the town to visit several of the nearby temples. Tamshing Monastery was founded in 1501 and remains one of the most important of Bhutan’s religious buildings, and legend has it that Guru Rimpoche himself visited the site of Jambay Lhakhang and deemed it exceptionally sacred. (Visit Kenchosum, Tamshing, Kurjey & Jambay Lhakhang).

    Afterwards we will drive approximately 30/40 minutes and then start our hike from a small village at Kurjey. Our path will take us through dense blue-pine forests, meadows and bamboo shrubs. We follow the undulating trail all the way to the area called Ngang Yul, which directly translates as Swan Land after the swans which once inhabited the valley (but are, sadly, now gone). At the heart of the valley is Ngang Lhakhang (Swan Temple) at an elevation of 2,800m, which we will visit before returning to our campsite. The story goes that a Lama had a dream about how to build a temple, he shot an arrow into the air and where the arrow landed he built the temple. We will camp here overnight. Walk approx. 12 km; 6 hours.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Climb to Phelhe La; descend to Takung Valley.

    Today we start a gradual ascent towards the Phephe La Pass (3,465m), the highest point on our trek. We will be passing through beautiful forested areas and will have plenty of opportunity to make stops and take in our surroundings. We have an easy descent through forest for about an hour before the valley opens out as we pass an old gateway chorten. The forest here is interspersed with clearings where animals graze on the lush grass pasture. As the valley widens we see cultivated land and herders huts. After another hour a large village comes into view – this is Takung and we camp just outside the village (2,900m). Walk approx. 16kms; 7hrs.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Walk to Gamling; drive via Mebar Tsho to Bumthang.

    Today is the last day of our trek, we hike for about 45 mins (1.5 km) to the village of Gamling (2505m), and then further onto Ugyencholing. Here there is an opportunity to visit a local museum, learn about tradition and Bhutanese textiles and the trading history of the past. From here we will be descend down to the small village of Kizom and continue with our hike along the Tangchu down to Mesithang where we will be met by our vehicle and drive back to Bumthang. En route we will stop at Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake) which is named after the legend of Pema Lingpa who entered the lake with a butter lamp and returned a long while later with treasures and holy books, and the lamp still alight. This holy site, with its bright prayer flags, is a pilgrimage place for many Bhutanese. Walk approx. 10 kms; 4 – 5 hrs.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Fly to Paro; city tour

    We take the short internal flight from Bumthang to the beautiful broad, fertile Paro Valley, with its famous dzong overlooking the rice fields and scattered houses. 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 Paro dzong also known as Rinpung dzong, which we will visit. We will have the opportunity to visit the National Museum which is housed in an ancient watchtower with a superb view over the valley, and contains many interesting historic and religious objects, as well as a fine collection of Bhutanese stamps.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery.

    We drive to the car park below Taktsang monastery, where we set off walking. It is an uphill hike taking 2 - 3 hours to the viewpoint café and is steep in places. After a tea break we continue to the monastery itself. The famous 'Tiger's Nest' is only accessible on foot but is well worth the effort. The complex clings to a huge granite cliff 800 meters above the Paro valley. It is believed that the great saint Padmasambhava came in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in a cave for 3 months. The demons who were trying to stop the spread of Buddhism were subdued and he converted the Paro valley to Buddhism.At the end of the 17th century a monastery was built on the spot where the saint meditated and it is a pilgrimage site for every Bhutanese to visit once in their lifetime.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Fly to Kathmandu.

    We transfer to the airport to check in for our flight to Kathmandu. The rest of the day is free for individual sightseeing or shopping. You may want to visit the famous Durbar Square in the heart of the old city. Here is the old royal palace, with its intricate woodcarving and four fine towers. Or you may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambhunath or take an optional trip to Bhaktapur, the mediaeval city a few miles east of the capital. Bhaktapur has its own Durbar Square with many temples and statues and a maze of narrow streets, which are generally quieter than the capital. Please note that due to the recent earthquake some of these places may be closed, your guide will be able to tell you more about this.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Depart Kathmandu

    Our trip ends in Kathmandu after breakfast.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

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 (USD20). 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 6 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. You will also need a passport photo. 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). You must firstly 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. 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).

Vaccinations

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. The risk of malaria is present in certain regions only (such as Chitwan); you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. 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 TRIP NOTES for complete advice on AMS.

Eating and Drinking

Breakfast is included throughout the trip and all food is provided in Bhutan. The meals in the hotels in Bhutan are usually buffet style and include Bhutanese and Western food. The food in Bhutan can sometimes be a bit bland. The meals on trek are a mixture of Bhutanese, western and Chinese. Please allow approx. GBP20-25 per day for other main meals in Kathmandu.

Weather

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; 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.

Is this trip for you?

Grade 2: Leisurely/Moderate
This is a trip for anyone who wants to combine an exploration of Bhutan's fascinating culture with a very gentle trek through some of its beautiful valleys. The maximum altitude is 3,465m. There are some up-hill and down-hill sections, nothing too extreme, but some sections are steep. The trek will take you through small villages, dense forests and meadows as you meander through the valleys of central Bhutan. Please be aware that whilst the walking on the three-day trek is considered to be relatively undemanding; 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 stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Driving

There are a couple of longish drives and the roads in Bhutan are quite winding. We recommend that if you suffer from travel sickness that you bring your normal remedy. Whilst road conditions in Bhutan are generally quite good please be aware that due to road-widening works across many of the main roads in the country there could potentially be the occasional delay, especially on the section between Punakha to Bumthang. If we are notified of any delays the leader will ensure an early start and arrange a short hike whilst the vehicle is stuck in traffic. 

Accommodation

Accommodation is mostly in standard hotels though 2 nights on the trek will be in spacious 2-person tents. We also provide dining and toilet tents, stools, tables, cooking and kitchen gear and a team of support staff.

All groups will be accompanied by a local Bhutanese guide, who will be supported by a cook, assistant guides and yakmen. Whilst on trek we will wake you up with a cup of hot tea, and will also provide a small bowl of warm washing water in the mornings.

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 differing 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, although not demanding, and should appeal to those who like to see something a little different.

Festivals

Every departure of this trip coincides with a different festival and has its own itinerary. The 30th April 2017 departure spends time at the Domkhar Festival, set in the beautiful Bumthang Valley, and the 9th November 2016 and 31st October 2017 departures feature the Jambay Lakhang Festival with its spectacular night time fire dances. Festivals in Bhutan are very popular and flights to Bhutan at these times are booked up well in advance so we advise early booking for these trips.

Call us on
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Camping

You will spend 10 nights in hotels with en suite rooms and 2 nights in full service camps. Your rooms in Bhutan will be simple, as tourism in the country is still in its infancy. All food is included and is usually a simple mix of Bhutanese, continental and Chinese served buffet style.

Call us on
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call us on
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed November 2015
    Fiona Morris

    The Bumthang Valley

    An inspiring trip to a beautiful and remarkable country, with a mix of trekking (fairly easy but some to quite high altitude) and culture - which, as this is Bhutan, means a lot of Buddhism and a lot of Dzongs! Be prepared to be very busy; there was very little time for chilling. Also I had expected mountains of a more bare and snowy variety, while Bhutan is forested to a large extent and a fair amount of walking is through trees. But it is really beautiful and culturally fascinating, and our leader and team did their best to look after us and give us an in-depth introduction to their country in a very short time, with considerable success.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Very hard to say as there were so many! The final day's ascent to the Tiger's Nest has to be up there, a lovely (and steep at times, but not at all scary) walk with an iconic destination. The festival, which being on a smallish scale felt relaxed and friendly as well as colourful and interesting- and the market there is a great place for souvenir shopping (and you can haggle). The Dzongs: I know some of the group got a bit 'dzonged-out' but I loved them, particularly at Punakha and Paro. The trek - I just wanted more of it!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Norbu was great. He had the job of moving us all, and our gear, all over the place, making sure that everything worked and answering endless questions about absolutely every aspect of life in Bhutan, as well as looking after anyone who felt ill or particularly tired, while being constantly patient and cheerful. He obviously has a wealth of knowledge and understanding if his country and religion and was keen to share these without ever (for me) being oppressive. He also arranged for treats for us - a picnic in the woods at the end of the final walk, hot stone baths during the trek, hot water bottles while camping- which really made a difference. Also I have to mention our wonderful driver, Pasang, who coped with hours of horrible conditions with great skill and cheerfulness, even though his wife was having a baby at the time! And the whole trekking team, who did a great job and came up with some of the best meals of the holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't go to Bhutan if you really have no interest in Buddhism! It is such a huge part of the culture that it just permeates everything. Also, if you really mostly want to trek, then this is maybe not the trip for you - we had one long day of walking, on pretty reasonable paths but to quite high altitude, while on trek, and the Tiger's Nest is a decent walk, but the other two trek days were short and easy. I found that trainers designed for walking were fine - though having poles was really useful. The Trip Notes suggest a few things that we didn't find necessary: we could get bottled water at all times (there was always some for us on the bus) and loo roll was provided. My long skirt and shoes were not needed either; the Dzongs seem happy to allow trainers, sandals and trousers, so normal gear is fine, though a tshirt with too-short sleeves is not OK. Lightweight shirts as cover-ups could be useful. Finally, don't expect to be too comfortable! This is not a developed country tourism-wise and the hotels and food, as the Trip Notes say, are not of the kind of standard people in the West are used to. Meat in particular was often pretty horrible! And any extra requirements are probably best dealt with by taking stuff with you. On the plus side here, no one had real tummy problems, so the food was at least safe. Oh, and don't go if you don't like dogs! They are everywhere. They seem to be pretty benign but it's worth having a head torch if you are out at night as they are easy to tread on or fall over.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I am very glad I went, and I would love to go back, it's a country that the Western world could learn a huge amount from. If I had a complaint it would be that at times things felt rushed: I would have loved an extra day or so and the same activities, to allow some down time. I don't know about anyone else but I got quite tired, and it might have been good to just be able to potter about a bit and look around. Also I don't think having two brief visits to Kathmandu added much, while taking up a fair amount of valuable time. Maybe it is just much cheaper to do the flying that way, but I didn't have enough time to do much in Kathmandu and would rather have had more in Bhutan.
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Paul morris

    An immersion into how life could be!

    So, first of all, the bad bits; the hotels aren't top notch, lots of "quaint" idiosyncrasies, especially with the electrics. Wifi was variable, and there is rather a lot of time spent travelling- much of it on very poor roads. You won't see lots of snowy Himalayan peaks, and the food is really average! So why go? Because it is the most remarkable place on the planet (ok, there's lots of the planet I haven't been to yet, but, you get the idea). This trip is really about Buddhism, and how one tiny country has decided that there is another way to live other than secular consumerism. If you are reading this, you will probably have heard all about gross national happiness, but what you get is an exposure to what that means in practice. You may also have an idea about vajrayana Buddhism, and seen prayer wheels, Chortens and the like in other places. In Bhutan, the spiritual element seems to run through the country like letters through a stick of Blackpool rock. At the same time, it is clear that the nation is getting to grips with the issues of development, and how to maintain it's identity in the 21st century. They have eschewed mass tourism and the "trickle down" approach; it is amongst the poorest countries in the world, and yet I didn't see a single beggar. A fair distribution of wealth and giving just seems to be what you do, mostly to the monks and temples who use it and also redistribute it. They seem to genuinely revere their line of kings, who seem to have masterminded a steady process of change over the last hundred years or so. If this sounds like I have swallowed "the party line", that's fine, but I had no sense of "propaganda" from our guide or those we met. More a celebration of a way of living that cares more than we do in the west.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stepping off the plane from Kathmandu (so many similarities, so many differences) into the amazing world apart that is Bhutan.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't worry too much about iodine pills or similar. Water is provided. Mobile reception is better than we have at home (not saying too much), but the hotel wifi kept coming and going.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trek involved one reasonably long day, but not more than a decent day of hill walking in the UK. Basically however, the trip is a cultural one with some lovely walking involved.
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Julia Hammond

    The bumthang valley

    This is a busy trip with some very early morning get ups. It has a great variation between culture, camping and trekking and some inside history into the life of the people. Getting to see and participate in the fire festival was great but we were all too tired to stay up to see the dance of the naked man !! The general opinion of the group at the end of the trip was that they felt it warented a level 3 and not a lesurely 2. The walk on the 2nd day was long and tiring and some of the older members of the group struggled a little. It was however a great walk. The camping has disappeared and it is now glamping with hot water bottles. ( lovely as it was cold at night )

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It has to be walking to tigers nest. It was a beautiful autumn day and the views were spectacular. The walk is hard in places but just take your time. To finish it off we got back down to a fab lunch all set up in the woods even with a celebratory beer. I also enjoyed the very long drive to bumthang on the road that is being widened with interesting results. All I can say is Pasan you are a star ( our driver ) and top gear eat your heart out

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Norbu was our leader and he was great. I made it a challenge to ask him a question about Bhutan that he couldn't answere but it never happened. He was tireless and kept a sense of humour. He was very well organised and knew a lot about the buddist faith. I would have him again. It was lovely to have local staff. We actually went through the village he used to live in.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack a warm sleeping bag and good head torch. Be prepared for a busy tiring trip but great. Be reasonably fit the walks are not easy.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The group were Dzonged out by the end of the trip. We felt a little less pushing of the Buddist faith would have been appreciated. Everyone enjoyed the private and state museums, it was good to see what more modern day life was like. We would have liked to see more of that and less Dzongs. The food in Bhuton is monotonous and repetitive but it is mentioned in the trip notes Hot water at the end of a day is very important and this was not always available.
  • Reviewed May 2013
    Anonymous

    BHUTAN: THE BUMTHANG VALLEY

    Getting the opportunity to go to the fascinating Kingdom of Bhutan is really the trip of a lifetime.  I highly recommend this trip and Exodus Travels. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first amazing moment (and hair-raising) was our flight from Nepal into Bhutan. Flying right past the majestic snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas (and Mt Everest!) was just stunning and awe-inspiring. Just being in Bhutan is inspirational. The people are friendly, the place is mostly clean, and people ARE happy. It's a peaceful, tiny Buddhist nation with a lot of good ideals and a lot we can learn from. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two leaders: Sonam and Dorji. Both were great! Sonam was always ready to leap and do whatever you needed. He had a lot of knowlege on the country and was happy to share all with the passengers. Dorji kept everthign organized and together. I appreciated how he checked in with the group for some group decisions with hiking and some weather issues. Both leaders are friendly, fun, and knowledgeable. I'd be remiss not to all mention our driver, Dorji. Driving is a very intense job in Bhutan with all the twists, turns, and mountain passes. He did an exceptional job. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Because of the topography of the country, be prepared for a lot of driving. Because you are on a tour with scheduled time, the driving can get tedious, but this is the nature of the beast. Our guides did allow for lots of stops which included walking some to stretch legs and the bus picking us up down the road. Also be aware that some of the hiking is strenuous. The longest hike day did take 9 hours and included a lot of rocky, uphill terrain. You should be prepared for this and possible rain.  

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I like that Exodus uses local tour companies and local guides. It is hard to get to really know a place in such a short time, but having local guides helped me connect more with the country and its people. 

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Call us on 1300 131 564