Saturday, July 18, 2009

Travellers wanted: join me in Bhutan!

Please note! I've changed the itinerary date to November 10th-20th!

Drukair, Royal Bhutanese Airlines
I've been dreaming of taking a trip to Bhutan for several years now and I think 2009 is the time to make it happen. I am now searching for travel companions to join me on this trip.

I've been in touch with Sonam from Bhutan Excursions to plan an itinerary for late October to early November mid November. More details on that later. Bhutan is a tourist oddity because visitors are not permitted to make their own way around the country. There are no backpackers allowed. The government has decided to adhere to a policy of 'high value, low volume'. This means that the cost to visit Bhutan is high - income from tourist fees brings in money for the health and education systems. The number of foreign visitors into Bhutan is kept low, making for a higher quality trip and less outside influence on traditional culture.

This is important: the daily tourist tariff for visiting Bhutan INCLUDES hotels, transportation, a driver, all meals, an English-speaking guide and entry permits.

Here's why 2009 is the year to go: in 2008, the base rate was $200 US per night. In 2009, the fee was set to be raised to $250 US. However, due to the economic downturn around the globe, the cost per night is now available for $180 US (for a stay of 9+ nights). As soon as the world economy picks up, the rate will go up again to $250 per day and I won't be able to afford that for a long time. So, please consider this situation - if you've ever wanted to see Bhutan, take advantage of the price dip now with me!

The itinerary I've set out with Bhutan Excursions is 11 days/10 nights, meaning the cost will be $1800 US plus airfare and possibly more if we have an odd number or a tiny group (single supplement for the hotels). Airfare from Bangkok to Paro on Drukair is $800 return.

At the moment, the tour would be from October 27th to November 7th November 10th to 20th. The itinerary is similar to this this Autumn Jambay Lhakhang Drup festival tour, except that the festival destination is now the Sumdrang Kangsol festival in Ura.

Day 1: arrival in Paro, evening visit to the town
Day 2: hike to the famous Taktsang Monastary, the "Tiger's Nest", drive to the capital city, Thimphu
Day 3: visit Thimphu sights, drive to Punakha, the old capital via the Dochu La pass (3050 m altitude) for a view of the Himalayas
Day 4: driving via the Pele La pass (3300 m altitude) into the Bumthang Valleys to Jakar
Day 5: all day watching sacred dances at the festival in Ura
Day 6: sightseeing in Jakar in Bumthang
Day 7: driving back from Jakar to the Gangtey area, see the Phobjikha valley
Day 8: driving back from Gangtey to Paro via Thimphu
Day 9: Paro sightseeing - Drukgyel Dzong, Rinpung Dzong, Ta Dzong/National Museum, Kyichu Lakghang and farm houses
Day 10: Chele La Ridge pass (3750 m altitude) to Kung Karpo La hike (4100 m altitude) to Kila Gompa nunnery
Day 11: depart from Paro

Please think about how awesome this trip will be! I really want you to join me for this adventure of a lifetime! Contact me soon if you are interested or have any questions (andreakw at gmail dot com). Let's go!


Anisa said...

I wish I could come!
It sounds like an awesome itinerary and such good timing to go visit.

Stefan van der Hoorn said...

I am planning a trip to Asia in November. This sound pretty cool. Unfortunately, I can't leave in October. But Bhutan is still a place I would love to see.

Pema said...

On Day 4 you will be seeing most of the things in Wangdi and Punakha so instead of staying in Wangdi on Day 5 why not drive to Gangtey for the night stay. That way you will have shorter distance to Bumthang otherwise its a long hours drive.

Other thing I would like to suggest is to keep the Taktsang hike for the last day. People living at lower altitude find it difficult on their second day. Some people show symptoms of AMS on the hike. They enjoy it on the last day when they are some what acclimatised.

Sadat said...

Andera, I wud like to join with u. It wud be cheaper if u fly from dhaka,Bangladesh. Druk air charge i think 220 usd including return.
Please let me know my email acct is

Anonymous said...

Do you think you could possibly mabey tell me why one would wish to venture to Bhutan? And possibly mabey why not?
Pease Please Please
Im doing research but I cant find anything....

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