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Holidays

Dagala and the Thousand Lakes Trek

Bhutan
Walk & Trek
Guided Group
MODERATE MODERATE

Trekking from Punakha to Thimphu, along ancient trails and amid high alpine lakes in Bhutan

Trip Code: BSD
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Dagala and the Thousand Lakes Trek

Highlights
  • Sensational Himalayan views crossing the Sinchu La (3530m) and Dagala range (4520m)
  • Trek the Valley of a ‘Thousand Lakes’, a beautiful area full of pristine mountain lakes
  • Get off-the-beaten-track and follow ancient trade routes few other visitors have trodden
  • One of the finest short treks in the entire Himalayan range
  • Visit the Tiger's Nest Monastery and Punakha Dzong, the most iconic sites in Bhutan

At a Glance
  • Group Size 4 to 16
  • 9 days trekking
  • 4 days cultural touring
  • Max altitude - 4520metres
  • Join In Kathmandu

Accommodation & Meals
  • All meals included
  • 6 nights Hotel
  • 6 nights Camping
Overview

Starting in the original Bhutanese capital of Punakha, this superb new trekking holiday begins by following the ancient trading route to Thimphu over the Sinchu La (3530m). Until the road building programme of the late 20th century, the only access between the valleys of Punakha and Thimphu was across the ridges and passes connecting these two important valleys. The second section of our trek takes us up and across the Dagala range, including the Laba Chung Laptsa (4520m) from where we will have a stunning perspective on the Eastern Himalaya and then traverses the ‘Valley of a Thousand Lakes’, before we end our holiday in the modern capital of Bhutan, Thimphu. Very few visitors to Bhutan have followed this route and when KE founder Glenn Rowley went to reccy this trek for KE, he saw no one else at all. Glenn’s opinion of the trek: “I’ve completed many short treks in the Himalaya but the view from the Dagala range, which reaches from Chomolhari (7314m) in the west to Gangkar Puensum (7570m) in the east, is one of the best in Bhutan, you can literally see every peak. The lack of other trekkers, pristine campsites, the feeling of remoteness whilst being only a few days away from civilisation, the beautiful Dzongs, and contact with welcoming Bhutanese people, made this trip extra special for me”.

BOOK EARLY for BHUTAN! With only two airlines operating flights into Paro from Kathmandu, seats are limited and in high demand. Book early to guarantee your place on your chosen departure. We strongly advise booking a year in advance where possible.

Is this holiday for you?

This trek is suitable for regular hill walkers. On our 8 day trek we will for the most part be following trails that have been well prepared for the ponies or yaks that were traditionally used to carry supplies on the route. The trekking does involve some long days of 6-7hr with the occasional longer day. We will be crossing several passes over 4000m and will also encounter long ascents and/or des …

This trek is suitable for regular hill walkers. On our 8 day trek we will for the most part be following trails that have been well prepared for the ponies or yaks that were traditionally used to carry supplies on the route. The trekking does involve some long days of 6-7hr with the occasional longer day. We will be crossing several passes over 4000m and will also encounter long ascents and/or descents on some days, so a good level of fitness is essential. Remember that the moderately high altitude will make the walking feel more demanding than at lower elevations. Our hike up the Tiger’s Nest at 3100m will be great acclimatisation before starting our trek. During the trek we will encounter a variety of terrain; from fertile and intensively terraced farmland, through some of the finest mixed forest in the world, to open, alpine pastureland and high mountain valleys and passes. This is a fully supported trek, and you will only be required to carry your day pack each day. Our friendly camp crew will take care of all the camp chores, so you can relax, rest, and enjoy the views at camp.

Why KE?

At KE we are pioneers of new trekking routes in all the countries in which we operate and we'll take you to parts of the beautiful Kingdom of Bhutan that other companies are yet to visit, expect quiet trails, friendly remote villages and pristine campsites.


Your Bhutan visa fees, all meals, and return flights from Kathmandu to Paro are included, and there’s even FREE sleeping bag and down jacket hire available too.

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Itinerary

The holiday starts at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Transfers from Kathmandu Airport are provided. The rest of the day is free to relax or for independent sightseeing. We have also arranged for dinner in the hotel tonight, which you can take at your own leisure.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

D

The group will meet in the lobby of the hotel. We transfer together back to airport in time to check in for the flight to Paro.

The flight from Kathmandu to Bhutan is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. From the left side of the plane Everest, Makalu and Kangchenjunga, three of the world's highest mountains, are clearly visible. The total flying time is only 45 minutes and soon we are descending into the Paro Valley, enjoying the splendid views of alpine forests, small monasteries, temples and flat-roofed farmhouses. On arrival we will be met by our Tour Leader who will accompany us to the hotel.

If the flight to Paro is in the morning, there may be time today to visit the National Museum housed in an ancient watchtower, high above the Paro Valley overlooking the Dzong.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

This morning we make the stunning hike up to one of the most important religious site in the entire Himalaya, the Tiger's Nest. The monastery has a most stunning location, perched on the ledge of a cliff 900m above the Paro Valley. Not just a cultural experience, this hike up to over 3000m will provide some excellent acclimatisation ahead of our trek. Around half way up the trail there is a classic viewpoint for Taktsang, looking across the gorge to the monastic buildings clinging to the cliff wall opposite. There is a small teahouse located here where we can stop for a rest and a drink with a truly unforgettable view. The final approach to the monastery takes us down to a sacred waterfall, surrounded by a thousand fluttering prayer flags, where every crack in the rock is crammed with tsa-tsas (small caskets containing the ashes of the dead), before climbing back up towards the monastery. Leaving our bags and cameras at the gate we should hopefully be allowed to take a look around inside. As we explore amongst the chambers and altar rooms our guide will be on hand to explain all about the Buddhist rituals and iconography. After returning to Paro we make the 3hr drive to Punakha where we can expect warmer temperatures and a change of scenery towards fruit trees and rice paddies. In the late afternoon we will visit Punakha Dzong, one of Bhutan's most impressive buildings; it was here that the first king was crowned in 1907 and also where the current, and fifth, King first donned the Raven Crown. Particularly impressive is the pillared hall, which is decorated with art work depicting the most important scenes from the life of the Buddha and presided over by impressive giant gilded statues of Buddha, Guru Rinpoche and Zhabdrung Rinpoche (or Bluebeard). After visiting the dzong we will check into our hotel. If there is any luggage that do not require on the trek we can can leave a separate bag with the driver for delivery to our hotel in Thimphu to collect at the end of the trek.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

790 M

Descent

790 M

Time

5 hrs trekking

Distance

8 KM

After breakfast, we drive to Chorten Nyebu (1700m), the site of an ancient temple and here we meet our trek crew and horsemen who will accompany us over the next days. The trek today is a gradual ascent which begins through terraces of rice. We pass several villages and as we gain height we can look back over the valley below where we can also see the golden roofed Khamsum Yuley chorten, which was built by the Queen Mother. After crossing two streams and climbing steadily through forests of blue pine and rhododendrons, we reach a clearing, which is our camp for the night at the place known as Dupshipang (2440m).

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Time

6 - 7 hrs trekking

Distance

9 KM

We continue climbing steadily though mixed forest towards the Sinchu La. The view begins to open up and we can see Thinleygang village, Talo Monastery and the main road to Punakha. After approximately 4-5hours we reach the Sinchu La (3530m), marked with a small Stupa and many prayer flags. The trail across the top of the pass has been worn to a deep groove by generations of travellers between Punakha and the villages that now form Thimphu. These days most Bhutanese make the journey by road, thus bequeathing an excellent quiet trekking path to those who appreciate walking in the foothills of the Himalaya. From the top of the pass if the weather permits, we have extensive views over the Thimphu Valley and Phajoding Monastery and of distant Himalayan Mountain ranges. The old 'Winter' route between Punakha and Thimphu now aims directly for the capital, whereas we trend left heading towards our next pass to continue our adventure. From the top of the Sinchu La we descend to our camp in a meadow (3485m), surrounded by rhododendron and mixed conifer forest.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Time

6 - 7 hrs trekking

Distance

11 KM

Today's trek, which leads us down towards the Dochu La on the Punakha/Thimpu road, is relatively gentle with some occasional uphill climbing through dense forests of oak and blue pine with frequent dramatic clearings where we have extensive views over Thimphu city. Much of the walk is along old and disused logging trails which makes for relatively easy underfoot conditions. We will also pass some semi-nomadic Yak herders' winter settlements. This is also another opportunity to enjoy the amazing panorama of snow-capped Himalayan peaks and admire the 108 'Druk Wangyal' chortens. We camp around an hour on from the main road at a camp that offers great views of the Himalayas.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Time

6 - 7 hrs trekking

Distance

17 KM

From camp we should be treated to a stunning view of the sunrise. Today we begin with an uphill walk of around 2 hours to the remote Lungcheytsey Temple (3570m). From here we descend through the forest of pine and dwarf rhododendron, before heading up once more towards the Hele La (3225m). We will stop for lunch near the pass before descending down towards our camp, around an houraway from the small hamlet of Chamgang (2600m). Chamang is populated by highlanders who have relocated form the highlands of the Daga La to avoid the harsh winters.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Time

6 - 7 hrs trekking

Distance

15 KM

Today we trek for around an hour to reach Chamgang village, from here our path first leads up through orchards of apples, before a long gradual climb takes us through forests of spruce, birch, juniper, oak and rhododendron. The forests are full of wild life with many species of birds and are also known for the many varieties of blue poppy found here. Our camp tonight is in a clearing known as Tsokam (3200m), which means 'dried lake'. This is a winter meadow used to graze the Yaks when the herders bring them down from the higher mountain slopes.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Time

5 - 6 hrs trekking

Distance

6 KM

We have a steep climb for about an hour to start the day, after which we ascend more gradually beside the Dokka Chu, where we are likely to see the tents of semi-nomadic Yak herders. On this route Himalayan Monal Pheasants are a common sighting and we have fantastic views of the Himalaya as we climb over several ridges to reach the Tsari La (4190m). Eventually we reach a steep ravine and stream across which the locals have now built a concrete bridge. Crossing the bridge, we then ascend for around another hour to our camp site at Lhaba Chung (4300m). Tonights camp is just below a lake and has been used for centuries by the yak herders as their summer grazing grounds.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Time

7 - 8 hrs trekking

Distance

10 KM

On today's hike we will have fantastic views of the Himalaya. One we reach the Laba Chung Lapsta, a classic saddle mountain at 4520m, the extensive panorama will include distant Kanchenjunga as well as the Bhutanese peaks of Masang Gang, Gangchhenta, Tsenda Gang and Jichu Drake. For an even better view those with energy to spare can climb a further 200 metres above the saddle to a small summit. From the saddle our path descends. We take a detour from the main path ascending to visit the lakes, the Chage Tsho, Sertsho and Yu Tsho (Tsho = lake). This is a beautiful area containing many alpine lakes and tarns in numerous valleys, although the epithet of a 'Thousand Lakes' is more poetry than arithmetic. From the lakes, we follow the emerging stream downhill for a while to the main Labatama Valley where there are scattered yak herders' huts. In the springtime this is a flower-strewn meadow with fragrant wild asparagus filling the air. Our next camp is nearby the herder's huts at Watachen (4100m).

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Time

6 - 7 hrs trekking

Distance

8 KM

We now traverse around the head of the valley to the Pangalabtsa, a pass at 4250m adorned with a huge cairn and prayer flags. Here there is an excellent view over the entire Dagala range and most of the Bhutanese Eastern Himalayan peaks. From the pass we make a long gradual descent, crossing several side valleys and their streams, to reach a rocky outcrop where the vegetation changes from spruce and larch to tall blue pine. We now follow a broad trail down the ridge to the Yak pastures of Gur (3290m), from where we have a gradual descent through forests alive with birdsong to a superb viewpoint in the form of a huge rock platform. The villages of this region derive significant income from the harvesting of matsutake and chanterelle mushrooms that grow wild in the forests. In the season mushrooms from this valley are sold all over Bhutan. Below the viewpoint our descent becomes steeper as we follow a well-crafted ancient trail with steps down to the Dolongu Chu, which we cross on a rustic bridge. Following the stream downhill we reach the Geynitsang Chu and continue following this river north to a suspension bridge. On the other side a short climb brings us to the village of Genekha where our vehicle will be waiting to drive us the 40kms to our hotel in Thimphu. After checking in and taking a welcome hot shower we will go out to explore Bhutan's capital city.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Time

6 - 7 hrs trekking

Distance

8 KM

We have an early transfer to Paro Airport for the morning flight to Kathmandu. The flight takes only 45 minutes and on arrival we transfer to our comfortable hotel. The remainder of the day is free to explore the city or for shopping in the bazaars. An evening meal is included at the hotel, for those that wish to dine together, or you are free to head out into Thamel independently to a restaurant of your choice.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

The holiday ends after breakfast. Transfers to Kathmandu airport are provided. If you would like to spend more time exploring Nepal, why not pre-book a full day-tour of the Kathmandu Valley, or a multi-day excursion to a wildlife reserve in Chitwan National Park. Contact the KE Team for more details.

Meals

B
Download Trip Notes
The Route
Airport Airport
Point Point
Direction Direction
Pass Pass
Transfer
Trek

Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • A professional and qualified tour leader plus support crew
  • Bhutan visa fee
  • Flights between Kathmandu and Paro
  • All transfers and land transport involved in the itinerary
  • All accommodation as described
  • All meals
  • Full service camping on trek including all camping equipment
  • 'Thermarest' inflatable camping mats whilst camping
  • FREE Sleeping bag and down jacket hire is available for this holiday on request

  • Travel insurance
  • Nepalese visa costs
  • Tips for drivers and trek staff
  • Miscellaneous expenses - beer and souvenirs etc

The holiday starts at the group hotel in Kathmandu.

Airport transfers are provided for all clients arriving Kathmandu on Day 1 and departing on the last day of the Land Only itinerary and all clients with additional nights booked through KE.

Hotel contact details and an emergency telephone number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

All meals are included in the holiday price.

It is not recommended to drink untreated water from the taps. If you are on a trekking or cycling holiday, water is supplied to fill up your individual bottles. This will be boiled, filtered or provided in large jerry cans or 5 litre bottles. Additionally you should take purification tablets or a filter bottle (such as a Water-To-Go bottle) to treat your water when in towns or where water is not supplied. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

The Bhutanese love chillies; red, green, raw, cooked and flavouring their condiments – fans of spicy food will be in their element in Bhutan! Don’t panic if spicy food is not for you, all the hotels and restaurants in Thimpu and Paro offer a range of delicious dishes suitable for all tastes. Breakfasts whilst in hotels will consist of choice of cereal or muesli, eggs, toast, beans, sausage or bacon with tea, coffee and juices. 

You can expect to be fed very well during the trekking section of you holiday. Our trekking chefs are old hands at managing camps and meals whilst in the mountains. A senior trek cook and camp manager must have a minimum of five years of training and experience to qualify for the post! Our cooks have undergone training both on Bhutanese and continental dishes and can expect to be served a wide variety of delicious food on trek. Breakfast and dinner will be taken at the camp sites, whilst lunches will generally be carried on ponies and served mid-way on the trekking route for the day. Tea and hot drinks will be provided throughout the day and you will also usually also get a wakeup call from the camp crew with a nice cup of hot Chai!  Whilst on trek drinking water will be purified by boiling and will be provided regularly.

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

This holiday includes 2 nights in Kathmandu, one en route to Bhutan and one on the return journey. In Kathmandu we use a comfortable, centrally located hotel. In Bhutan, we will also use comfortable and well-located hotels throughout.

Whilst on trek there are 7 nights full service camping where you will enjoy a full-service from our friendly camp team. You will sleep in hardy 2 man dome tents and inflatable Thermarest mattresses are provided.

All the camp equipment and luggage will be transported between camps by ponies or yaks, you need only carry your day packs. Our team will erect and dismantle the tents for you, cook, and take care of all the camp chores.

During walking days, having stayed behind to collapse camp, it is usual for the team and the pack animals to overtake us during the day and we will usually arrive into camp to find it already established, with our personal bags already placed into our pre-assigned tents and the kettle on!

In camp, as well as the tents used for sleeping, there will also be a mess tent, with chairs and tables, where the group will dine (and socialise into the evening), a toilet tent and even a shower tent where a bucket of hot water can be provided for you to wash with. Hot water on bowls for washing will also be provided to you in the mornings and when you arrive at the camp each day. On cold nights we'll even provide hot water bags/bottles when it is time for you to retreat to your tents for the evening.

All accommodation is on a twin share basis. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired with another single traveller of the same sex. Single rooms and/or single tents are available for a supplementary cost. If you are planning to extend your holiday, additional nights in Kathmandu are available on request.

The group will be met and escorted in Kathmandu by a local KE representative. Once in Bhutan the group will accompanied throughout by a professional and qualified tour leader. During the trek the tour leader will be assisted by local guides and a full trek crew including cooks, baggage animals and their handlers.

This holiday involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night above 4000 metres and/or trekking to 5000 metres or above. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude. Unless you have previous experience of trekking above 4000 metres you should consult one of our trekking experts before embarking on this holiday. On this trip we carry a portable altitude chamber (PAC-bag) and/or bottled oxygen for use in emergencies.

Approximately £250 (or equivalent US dollars, Euros etc.) changed to local currency, should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses including approximately £50 - 70 for tips to local staff. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of cash, since you will exchange the majority of this on arrival. On arrival in Kathmandu you will only need a small amount of Nepalese rupees for drinks in the evening and we suggest that you change £10 or £20 at your hotel. When you arrive in Paro you will be able to change money at the airport into Bhutanese Ngultrum. Sterling, US Dollars and Euros are all equally acceptable for exchange in Nepal and in Bhutan. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect). Also, if you expect to buy considerable quantities of soft drinks or beer, you should make an allowance for this. You can withdraw cash from ATMs in Kathmandu. In Bhutan money can be easily exchanged but you cannot rely on withdrawing money from ATM's.

Tipping is the accepted way of saying thank you for good service. 

As a rough guide we suggest that each group member contributes US$80-100 (in local currency equivalent) to a group tipping pool, around $10per person of this should go into a kitty for drivers, hotel porters and waiters (you can give this to your tour leader who will make sure it is distributed fairly).

Normally the trek staff (assistant guides, cook, ponymen etc…) are given their tips at the end of the trek. Your Bhutanese tour leader will advise the group on an appropriate level of tipping for each crew member. Most groups will mark the end of their trek by handing out the tips with a bit of a ceremony on the last evening. 

A tip for your main Bhutanese tour leader is not included in the above. As a group you may want to make a separate collection to tip your tour leader separately during dinner on your final evening in Bhutan.

For this holiday you should take one piece of luggage, which should be a soft duffel bag, and a daypack. Your bag on trek will be carried by pack animals and should not weigh more than 15kg. It is possible to leave extra baggage at the hotel in Kathmandu and also in Paro. Baggage left in Paro will meet you at your first hotel post trek. Checked baggage allowance for the flight from Kathmandu to Paro is 30kg. For other international flights please check your baggage allowance with your airline.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

Visa Nepal

All nationalities require a visa. The visa process is partly automated and the fee is $30 for 15 days, $50 for 30 days, $125 for 90 days. The visa is FREE for children under 10 years. The visa allows multiple re-entry. Payment must be made in cash and USD, GBP or Euros are accepted.

Part of this on-arrival visa process involves filling in a ‘Tourist Visa Application Form’ and you can simplify the procedure at Kathmandu Airport by filling this form in online (within 15 days of travelling) at this link. This generates a receipt which you present (hard copy or saved on your phone) on arrival. This should allow you to go straight to the cashier to pay for your visa and has the potential to save you time in the visa queue.

Whilst these are not now needed for the visa process, we recommend that you travel with at least 2 spare passport photographs.



Visa Bhutan

All nationalities require a visa. KE will apply for the visa for you and the visa fee is included in your holiday cost.

Please note that this will be a group visa and will list the names, date of birth and passport details for all members of the group. A copy of this visa will be issued to each member of the group in Kathmandu prior to your check-in for the flight to Paro in Bhutan and your passport will be stamped on arrival in Paro.

We require a copy of the information page of your passport in order to make the arrangements for your Bhutan Visa. A colour scan must be emailed or posted to us at the earliest opportunity.

If you have a severe allergy please inform the KE office before you travel. We will do all we can to help, but we cannot guarantee an allergy free environment on KE trips. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' are not carried as standard by KE leaders and staff. You should inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

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 and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Vaccinations

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid.

Malarial prophylaxis is not usually required for trips in the mountains, however if you are visiting rural and remote low lying areas then they might be necessary.

On holidays to more remote areas you should also have a dentist check up. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

The unit of currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee.

The unit of currency in Bhutan is the Bhutanese Ngultrum.

Getting some additional exercise before coming on an active holiday makes a lot of sense. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience.

The walking on this holiday is not overly demanding and ascents are mostly gradual, but walking at altitude especially over 3000 metres makes its own demands on the body. You should be aerobically fit and comfortable with walking 5 to 7 hours for consecutive days. Hill walking, with a good amount of ascent and descent, is the best training. Running, cycling and swimming are also good for developing cardiovascular fitness and stamina.

In general the climate of Bhutan is colder and damper than one would expect to find in the Himalaya of India or Nepal. The monsoon usually arrives in June, and lasts until early September, bringing with it the heavy rainfall which is responsible for the lush vegetation which carpets much of Bhutan. March and April, as well as later September through to December are the best months to visit Bhutan. Pre-monsoon the weather is generally very good, with bright, sunny mornings and sometimes a moderate build up of cloud in the afternoons. ay-time highs of around 20°C can be expected at altitudes around 2000 metres with average daytime temperatures at 3000 metres around 10 to 15ºC. Night-time temperatures at any time can reach or dip below freezing

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

  • Bhutan. A Trekker's guide. Bart Jordans. Cicerone Press.

  • Bhutan. (Lonely Planet Guide). Stan Armington.

  • Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon. Owen Edmunds.

Bhutan Himalaya. 1:380 000. ITMB Publishing

ITMB publish a general road map which also shows the general relief and has an index of towns and major villages. There are also sections for Thimpu and Paro with detailed street plans.

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

Please note that a paper copy of your travel insurance is required if you are travelling to Huaraz and the Huayhuash region.

Please try to keep the weight of your trek bag to a minimum. See the 'baggage allowance' section for further details.

The packed weight of your kit bag while trekking should be no more than 15kg.

You SHOULD bring the following items:

  • Sleeping Bag (Comfort rating -10°C)*

  • Warm jacket (down)*

  • Hiking boots

  • Socks

  • Trekking trousers

  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers

  • Underwear

  • Baselayer shirts

  • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Sunhat

  • Warm hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Gloves or mittens

  • Daypack 25 - 30 litres

  • Headtorch with spare batteries

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Water bottles 1 Litre x2 (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)

  • Water purification tablets
  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Antibacterial handwash

  • Small towel

  • Selection of dry bags (to keep kit bag contents dry)

  • Small padlock (to lock your kit bag)

  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium) painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Trainers or similar

  • Gaiters

  • Spare laces

  • Thermal baselayer leggings

  • Scarf or neck buff

  • Sleeping bag liner

  • Swimwear (for the hotel pool in Kathmandu)

  • Travel clothes

  • Trekking poles

  • Pen-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)

  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)

  • Camera

  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping (to avoid plastic bags)

Notes

*FREE sleeping bag and down jacket hire is included in your KE holiday booking upon request.

Please make all requests at least 6 weeks prior to the trip departure date. Note all hire / rental equipment is issued in Bhutan. Please remember to allow room in your trek bag for these items.

‘Thermarest’ inflatable camping mats are provided whilst camping.

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

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