Bhutan's Hidden Valleys of Sakteng

Trekking off the beaten path in Eastern Bhutan




From $4,500 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • A trekking holiday in Bhutan exploring the unique Brokpa culture
  • The amazing dzongs of Bhutan including cliff-hugging Takstang
  • Trekking in Bhutan`s recently opened Merak and Sakteng region
  • Kathmandu sightseeing included

At the eastern end of the Himalayas, the remote 'Shangri La' kingdom of Bhutan has changed little over the centuries and has stunning mountain scenery for this trekking and touring holiday. Bhutan is a land of charming people, other-worldly architecture and spectacular Himalyan scenery. Most visitors to this Himalayan Kingdom raely venture further east than the district of Bumthang. However, in far eastern Bhutan the mysterious district of Sakteng, home to the semi-nomadic yak-herding Brokpa people, is a relatively undiscovered gem. Following a fascinating journey through the foothills from Paro, visiting the famous sights and dzongs of Thimpu, Punakha, Wangdi and Trongsa, we enjoy five days of sublime trekking which take us through the valleys of Merak and Sakteng. These two valleys which are linked by a walking trail across the Nyuksang La (4140m), are dotted with a number of Brokpa villages and we will have time to meet the Brokpas and learn about their fascinating culture while enjoying the pristine alpine landscapes of a part of Bhutan that has been previously off limits for years.  Take this opportunity to be amongst the first to trek in the Migoi National Park, the world's only reserve dedicated to the yeti !

Is this holiday for you?

This relatively short trekking holiday in Bhutan combines a 5-day trek through an unspoiled region of Eastern Bhutan with a tour of Bhutan's most important and iconic sights. The trek takes us through a little-visited area of Bhutan, newly opened up to trekkers, and offers an opportunity to see first hand, a way of life unchanged over centuries. The trekking is not particularly difficult and we follow good trails used by local traders. The short duration of the trek and the relative low altitude (compared to other Himalayan treks) have influenced our grading of this holiday. However, it should be noted that trekking even at these altuitudes, is more demanding than trekking below 2000 metres. You will need to be in good shape for this trip and comfortable with walking for 6 - 7 hours each day and with some steep uphill sections lasting up to 2 hours or more. The holiday also involves a long drive through a fascinating landscape to reach the trek area and you should be prepared for this.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Transfers from Kathmandu Airport are provided.
  • Fly to Paro in the Kingdom of Bhutan.
  • Cross the Dochu La to Punakha and Wangdi.
  • Drive via Trongsa to Bumthang.
  • Drive via Mongar to Trashigang.
  • Drive to Chaling (2150m) and trek to Damnong Chu (3120m).
  • Trek to Merak (3400m).
  • Trek to Miksa Teng (3000m).
  • Trek to Sakteng (2960m).
  • Trek to Jyonkhar (1767m).
  • Trek to Phongme, drive to Trashigang.
  • Drive across the Thumsing la (3800m) to Bumthang.
  • Fly to Paro. Sighseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Takstang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery.
  • Fly to Kathmandu. Half day sightseeing tour.
  • Departure day. Transfers to Kathmandu Airport are provided.
Sat 08 Oct - Sat 22 Oct Code SAK /02/16/ Adult$4,500 Status Available Book now
Sat 29 Apr - Sat 13 May Code SAK /01/17/ Adult$4,500 Status Available Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Kathmandu, Nepal. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Kathmandu International airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements & transfers' section in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • trip direction
  • airport
  • trek
  • internalflight
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Transfers from Kathmandu Airport are provided.

    Meet at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Complimentary Airport transfers are provided for all KE clients. KE Land Only package services begin with the evening meal.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals d

  • Fly to Paro in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

    We transfer to the airport for the Druk Air flight to Bhutan’s only international airport, at 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. Arriving in Paro we are met by our Bhutanese hosts and we will make the 1 - 1½ scenic drive to the capital, Thimpu where we check into our hotel. Although inhabited for many centuries, with an important and strategic dzong (fortress monastery), the fertile Thimpu valley was a quiet place until the town was declared the country's permanent capital (as opposed to the Summer capital), in the early 1960s. Today the city has a population of around 100,000 and is a fascinating mix of the traditional and modern. Depending on the flight scedules we have some time to look around this friendly capital city.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Cross the Dochu La to Punakha and Wangdi.

    Beyond Thimpu, the road climbs steadily through the densely wooded valley to reach the summit of the Dochu La (3050m). We pass through Hongsto, a village founded in 1525 by the 14th Drukpa hierarchy of Tibet and through some magnificent temperate forest, with an abundance of rhododendron and magnolia. We may see several species of deer and monkeys. Many prayer flags and an impressive collection of large chortens mark the top of the pass. If we are lucky enough to have clear weather, a viewpoint just above the road offers one of the finest panoramas in the Eastern Himalaya, stretching out over Lunana and the peaks of Masangang, Tsendagang, Terigang and Gangkar Puensum (7497m). Dropping down into the Punakha Valley, we turn north to reach another most impressive dzong at the junction of the Mo and Po (mother and father) rivers. This is Punakha, the traditional winter capital of Bhutan. Punakha Dzong is the winter home for over 1000 monks. Every year the Punakha festival celebrates the famous victory over the Tibetans, who were repulsed whilst trying to recapture the sacred statue of Avalokiteshvara, brought to Bhutan by Shabdrung in 1637. After the visit we rejoin the main road and continue our eastward journey to the pleasant town of Wangdi, which has another commanding dzong on a spur above the river. Sadly all the main wooden structures of this over 300 year-old dzong were destroyed by a fire in June 2012 and only the walls now remain. Fortunately most of the sacred relics of the temple were saved and the King has pledged the complete resoration of the dzong. Wangdi town has a quaint and typically Bhutanese market square, surrounded by small shops with carved wooded frontages. Arriving in Wangdi we check into our hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Drive via Trongsa to Bumthang.

    Setting off once more, the road climbs to the Pele La (3300m). This pass is traditionally known as the boundary between Western and Central Bhutan and the landscape which spreads out on the far side of the pass is different to that of the western side. After crossing a bridge at Nikkarchu, we enter Trongsa district and follow a dramatic section of the road, carved into the side of a cliff, high above the Mangde Chu. Stopping at the picturesque Chenjebi Stupas we have a magnificent view of Trongsa Dzong, the largest monastery in Bhutan with a spectacular location on a spur above the river. Trongsa literally means means 'New Village' as the town was only founded a little more than 300 years ago! - relatively recent for Bhutan. We continue our eastward journey, climbing once more to cross the Yutong La (3400m). Beyond the village of Chumey, the scenery is once again totally different, as we enter the wide open Bumthang valleys. After a short climb to Kiki La, we turn a corner to begin the descent to Jakar. From some distance away, we can see Jakar Dzong, perched high above the village. We arrive in Jakar after a full day of driving and sightseeing and check in to our charming lodge in this sleepy outpost, with a few shops, a post office and its magnificent dzong.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Meals bld

  • Drive via Mongar to Trashigang.

    Driving up to cross the Ura La, we enter the Ura Valley, which is the highest of the Bumthang Valleys. Extensive sheep pastures line the road and just before the pass there is a panorama of the mountains of Lunana to the north. We descend from the pass, then climb again more gradually through dense forest of conifer and rhododendron to the Thumsing La (3800m) which marks the boundary between central and eastern Bhutan. Now, the road descends almost endlessly, dropping 3200 metres and passing through dark conifers, then deciduous woodland, then bamboo and other exotic species as we enter a semi-tropical zone. Hewn out of the side of a cliff, and above a vertiginous drop for most of the way, the road here is particularly exciting. We hope to reach Mongar not long after mid-day and have some time to look around Mongar Dzong. From Mongar it is a further 4 hours drive to Trashigang, crossing a couple of relatively 'minor' passes and descending through cornfields and banana groves to reach the hot tropical climes of the valley of the Gamri River. The town of Trashigang is the administrative headquarters for the district of Trashigang which is the largest district of Bhutan located close to the confluence of the Gamri Chu and Drangme Chu. Few tourists ever make it as far as Trashigang and the town has limited facilities for foreign travellers. We will stay in the 'best place in town’, which is in reality a very basic but quite comfortable lodge.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Meals bld

  • Drive to Chaling (2150m) and trek to Damnong Chu (3120m).

    From Trashigang we descend the valley on a winding road which follows the Gamri Chhu (river) to the market town of Rangjung (1120m) below the relatively recently built Chholing gompa (temple). From Rangjung we follow a dirt road which climbs through neat terracing of rice and corn passing through the village of Radhi to reach the road-head at Chaling (2150m). The drive from Trashigang will take approximately 1½ hours and at Chaling we meet our crew who will be waiting for us. As the horses are loaded with our equipment and luggage we set off trekking in this relatively recently opened area. We start out through open grazing land and begin a gradual climb to our first pass, the Mendru La (3354m). Along the way we pass isolated dwellings and a monastery with its mani walls and stupas. It will take around 4 – 5 hours steady climbing to reach the pass and now it is downhill all the way. From the summit of the Mendru La we drop down to lush rhododendron forest and continue the descent to reach a very pleasant campsite in an open meadow beside the Damnong Chu (3120m).

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 220m

    • Distance 19km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 230m

    • Time 7 hours

  • Trek to Merak (3400m).

    Leaving our camp we follow the meanders of the river on an almost level trail through small forests of rhododendron and scrubby juniper bushes. Leaving the river, we have a gentle climb up to the village of Gangu and after a further 40 – 60 minutes we reach the village of Merak (3400m) where we set up camp in the village. The Brokpas who inhabit the valleys of Merak and Sakteng are strikingly different to other Bhutanese. They are taller and wear a very different dress, the most notable item being a felt hat made from yak hair with four hanging ‘tails’. The women wear red dresses and the men wear red wool khos and waistcoats of deerskin or yak hide. The first Brokpas arrived in these valleys centuries ago from southern Tibet, a migration which must have been perilous over very high snow-covered passes. Merak literally means ‘set ablaze’ and legend has it that on arrival in the valley the Brokpas set alight to the shrubs and trees to clear the area for grazing and settlement. Like their Tibetan ancestors the men wear daggers through their belts and the women plat their long hair with colourful strands of wool or textiles. The Brokpas are semi-nomadic farmers, sheep, cattle and yak-herders, and salt traders. They practice ‘fraternal polyandry’ where several bothers share a single wife. Until very recently the valleys of the Brokpa were closed to protect their cultural heritage. The inhabitants of Merak have a reputation for friendliness even in Bhutan, perhaps the friendliest country on earth! We should arrive in the village by early afternoon with plenty of time to explore and to absorb this fascinating area.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 400m

    • Distance 14km

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 hours

  • Trek to Miksa Teng (3000m).

    This is likely to be our longest day of the trek involving quite a bit of ascent over several passes. Leaving Merak village we climb steadily up wooded slopes to reach an unnamed pass at the limit of the trees giving views back down the Merak valley. We continue above the juniper and rhododendron crossing several minor passes to gain the summit of the Nyuksang La (4150m) which we should reach in around 3 - 4 hours from Merak. After taking in the view and recovering from our efforts we make a long descent sometimes over loose scree, to enter the forest once more and reach our campsite in a clearing known as Miksa Teng (3000m).

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 640m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1080m

    • Time 6 hours

  • Trek to Sakteng (2960m).

    A much easier and shorter day as we continue our descent through the lush forest to the river below. Crossing on a wooden bridge, we now follow the river for a while before climbing again to a pass marked with a chorten. Now the Sakteng valley lies below us. This is the heart of the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary which was established in 2002 ostensibly to protect one creature in particular – the Migoi. Also known as ‘Gredpo’ or ‘Yeti’! This man-like creature is believed to exist in this area and in fact the local inhabitants claim frequent sightings of the hairy giants on the high passes to the north. The government have appointed civil servants to look after the interests of the Migoi and the Sakteng Sanctuary was designated as such to preserve its likely habitat. We descend to the Brokpa village of Sakteng which is quite different to Merak in that many of its houses while traditional in architecture have benefited from the use of modern building materials. We aim to reach Sakteng by lunchtime leaving plenty of time to relax and explore the village. We will set up our camp just outside the village at 2960m.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 100m

    • Distance 14km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 350m

    • Time 4 hours

  • Trek to Jyonkhar (1767m).

    We have another longish trekking day today although mostly downhill. Leaving Sakteng we begin with a short climb to crest the bounding hill to the west of the village and from here we head down to the river which we then follow with occasional ascents and descents to a suspension bridge across the Gamri Chu. Crossing the bridge we continue along the river to our riverside camp below the village of Jyonkhar (1767m). The village which is spread out on the hillside above has a mixed population of Brokpa and Sharchopa and boasts a clinic and a community school.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 100m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1320m

    • Time 6 hours

  • Trek to Phongme, drive to Trashigang.

    Our final day of trekking starts with a short ascent to the village. Beyond Jyonkhar we continue climbing and there are several ascents and descents as we cross various tributary valleys on a variety of bridges before we reach the road-head at Phongme where our transport will be waiting. We say goodbye to our trek crew and drive via Ranjung to Trashigang. Arriving in Trashigang we check into our lodge and have time to clean up and perhaps enjoy a stroll to the central square before sitting down to dinner.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Ascent 350m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 950m

    • Time 4 hours

  • Drive across the Thumsing la (3800m) to Bumthang.

    We make the return drive through the foothills, passing through Mongar and crossing the Thumsing La (3800m) to Bumthang where we check into our lodge.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Fly to Paro. Sighseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Takstang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery.

    Making use of the new service from Bhutan's only other airport, we take a morning flight across the country to Paro, tracing the route of our road tour at the beginning of the holiday. Arriving in Paro we can check into our hotel before exploring the Paro valley with visits to Paro dzong and the National Museum or for those who want more trekking, we have the otion to visit the famous 'Tigers' Nest' monastery at Takstang just outside the town. This monastery occupies a unique position built on ledges of a sheer cliff overlooking the Paro River and is one of Bhutan's iconic sights. To get to the monastery itself involves a fairly strenuous walk of around 3 hours but an easier option is to walk as far as the classic viewpoint from where you can look across the deep cleft of the gorge to the monastery which clings improbably to the cliff face opposite. It takes just an hour to reach this viewpoint and there is a cafe here making it a good place to take a break while waiting for any more energetic members of the group who opt to make the tough climb up to the monastery. After a day of sightseeing, we can enjoy a delicious dinner at our hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Fly to Kathmandu. Half day sightseeing tour.

    We transfer to Paro Airport to catch the flight to Kathmandu. The flight takes only 45 minutes and on arrival we transfer to our comfortable hotel. As part of the holiday package we have arranged an optional sightseeing tour which will visit two or three major sites of interest in Kathmandu such as the great stupa at Bodhnath and the temple to Shiva on the ghats of the Bagmati River at Pashupatinath. In the evening, we will have a celebratory meal in one of the city's finest restaurants.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Departure day. Transfers to Kathmandu Airport are provided.

    KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. Transfers to Kathmandu airport are provided. There are lots of extensions that can easily be added to your holiday in Nepal. Why not pre-book a simple day-tour in the Kathmandu Valley, or a multi-day excursion to one of the important wildlife reserves at Chitwan or Bardia. You might also like to add a visit to neighbouring Tibet. Contact our office for details.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • Experienced English-speaking local leader
  • Flights between Kathmandu and Paro
  • All transfers and land transport involved in the itinerary
  • All accommodation as described in the trip dossier
  • All meals
  • Once on trek a full service including food and all equipment (excluding personal equipment)
  • A guided sightseeing tour of Kathmandu

  • Travel Insurance
  • Nepalese and Bhutanese visa costs
  • Tips for porters and other trek staff
  • Departure taxes on leaving Kathmandu and Bhutan
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc

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.

All clients will be met at Kathmandu Airport on arrival and transferred to the group hotel. Complimentary return transfers are also provided for all clients. Land Only clients must provide us with full details of flights and should let us know if transfers are NOT required. Hotel contact details and an emergency phone number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

This holiday involves going to high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 3500 metres. 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 on our website which can be viewed via the link below. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

During this trip the group will spend 2 nights in Kathmandu at a centrally located comfortable hotel. In Bhutan, we use comfortable tourist standard hotels in western Bhutan and simple lodge accommodation further east (where the infrastructure is less well developed). Whilst on trek there will be a total of 5 nights camping. All accommodation is allocated on a twin sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. It is possible to hire a single tent while on trek for an additional cost. (Please note single tent hire does not include single rooms in hotels). It is also normally possible to book a single room for the hotel nights in Kathmandu and Bhutan. While single accommodation in lodges in the less well developed area of Eastern Bhutan can not be guaranteed, our leaders will do their utmost to secure single accommodation for those who have requested it. Extra nights in Kathmandu can also be arranged if you plan to arrive early or depart later than the group trip dates (subject to availability). Please refer to our website for single tent prices, single supplements and additional hotel night prices (note that hotel prices can change).

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

Hotels and restaurants throughout Bhutan generally offer a range of dishes including those designed for the western palette. When camping, the emphasis is on providing a high-carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet. All meals are included in the trip price. Typically the Bhutanese eat a lot of chillies both raw and cooked and certaimly you will be able to opt for spicy food if this is to your taste.

All meals are included in the holiday price from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 15

Approximately £150 - £200 (or equivalent in US dollars, Euros etc.) changed into local currency, should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses including tips to your trek crew, beer or soft drinks, souvenirs etc. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of cash, since you will exchange the majority of this on arrival (into Nepalese rupees in Kathmandu, and into Bhutanese Ngultrum at Paro Airport). Sterling, US Dollars and Euros are equally acceptable for exchange in Nepal and in Bhutan. You can withdraw cash from ATM's in Kathmandu. In Bhutan money can be easily exchanged but you cannot rely on withdrawing money from ATM's

Flights to Bhutan

It is possible to fly to Bhutan from Kathmandu, Delhi, Bangkok and Singapore, as well as from Dhaka and several regional airports in India. Our preferred port of transit for this holiday is Kathmandu, which has daily flights to Paro and a good tourism infrastructure. In addition, Nepal visas are easily obtained on arrival and are relatively inexpensive. Druk Air is the only airline operating flights to Bhutan and seats can be limited, particularly around the time of the major festivals. It is not always possible to confirm seats immediately and it is not uncommon for passengers to be ‘waitlisted’ for several weeks until their booking clears. In rare circumstances, it may be necessary to route our groups or individual clients through an alternative airport if waiting lists are not cleared in good time.

The group will be met and escorted in Kathmandu by a local KE representative. Once in Bhutan the group will accompanied throughout by an experienced English-speaking Bhutanese 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.

Tipping is an accepted and expected part of the culture in both India and Bhutan. For your trek crews we recommend that you give a tip if you feel that their services have met your satisfaction. It is important to remember that tipping is discretionary. Tips do not form part of the wages of local staff. KE always pays local crews the best rates of pay and any tips received are seen as a personal thank you from group members. We recommend that you give any tips as a group rather than from individuals and that you decide together on an appropriate amount for each crew member. As a rough guide we suggest a contribution of £50 - £60 from each group member should provide a sufficient pool for tips to all your local staff.

Your baggage on trek will be carried by pack animals. The packed weight of your trek bag whilst trekking should be no more than 15 kgs/33 lbs. It is possible to leave travel clothes or other items not required on trek at the group hotel in Kathmandu.

KE Trek Bag / Free Gift

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

All nationalities need a valid passport and a current Nepalese Visa for entry into Nepal. The easiest way to get your Nepal visa is on arrival at Kathmandu Airport. Visa fees must be paid in cash. The most convenient currency to purchase Nepalese visas is US dollars, but GB pounds and Euros are also accepted. The charges for the visa depend on your length of stay (please see fee information below). Two passport photos are also needed. Photographs can be obtained at the airport but this may be time-consuming.

Nepal visa fees (Multiple Entry). 15 days: US$25, 30 days: US$40, 90 days: US$100

Note that visa fees can change without warning and we advise that you bring extra cash as a contingency.

Please note that if you are travelling to Nepal via Delhi you may also require a visa for India. This may apply even if you are not leaving the airport unless your baggage has been checked all the way through to your destination. Generally, if you use the same carrier for both legs of your journey (into Delhi and from Delhi to Kathmandu), you will not need an India Visa. Please note that the responsibility for ensuring you have the necessary visas, travel permits etc, for your chosen route of travel to the joining point, lies entirely with you. We are always happy to give advice on these requirements if you contact us.

Note that if you book a UK flight-inclusive package with KE using Jet Airways or Air India via Delhi, you will not require an India visa.

Important Notes:

For all regions of Nepal you are now required to have a permit to trek / bike. To apply for this we must have your full passport details before your departure. We recommend you also take 4 passport photographs with you to Nepal.

We require additional items for following trips:

Annapurna trips (ANS, ASL, ACL, APL, AEL, ANL, ANC, UAT), Dhaulagiri via the French Pass (DLG), and Royal Trek and Chitwan (RTC).

1 passport photograph to be sent / emailed to the KE office at least 4 weeks prior to departure.

Kanchenjunga (KAN), Mustang (MUS), Dolpo (DOL), Manaslu (MAN), Hidden Valleys of Naar and Phu (NAP), Naar to Mustang (NTM), Humla and Limi Circuit Trek (HUM), Naya Kanga and the Ganja La (NKG), Yala Peak and the Ganja La (YPGL), Tent Peak (TPK), Ramdung and Parchemo (RAM), Mera Peak, Island Peak and the Amphu Labsta (MIP), Island Peak Climber (IPC), Peaks and Passes on Nepal (MTR); Mera Peak Climb (MER); and Chulu Far East & the Tilicho La (CTL); Tabsar Peak and the Tsum Valley (TVC), Mukot Peak (MKP).

1 passport photograph plus 1 copy of the information page of your passport to be sent / emailed to the KE office at least 4 weeks prior to departure.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

  • The packed weight of your trek bag while trekking should be no more than 15 kgs/33 lbs.
  • You must bring the following items:

    • Hiking boots
    • Gaiters
    • Trainers /sneakers or similar
    • Smart shoes (if your trip includes visiting a festival)
    • Socks
    • Underwear
    • Trekking trousers / pants
    • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers / rainpants
    • Long johns (thermal underwear)
    • Thermal baselayer shirts
    • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts
    • Fleece jacket or warm jumper/sweater
    • Waterproof jacket
    • Sunhat
    • Warm hat
    • Scarf or neck buff
    • Eyewear - Sunglasses
    • Thermal gloves
    • Warm and waterproof over gloves or mittens
    • Daypack 30 litres / 1800 cu in.
    • Headtorch / headlamp and spare batteries
    • Basic First Aid Kit - refer to trip notes for details
    • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
    • Water bottles 1 Litre (1 Quart) x2
    • Selection of dry bags (to keep trek bag contents dry)
    • 4 season sleeping bag*
    • Thermarest or similar sleeping mat*
    • Washbag and toiletries
    • Antibacterial handwash
    • Small towel

    The following items are optional:

    • Spare laces
    • Sleeping bag liner
    • Swimwear (for hot springs)
    • Travel clothes
    • Smart clothes (if your trip includes visiting a festival)
    • Trekking poles
    • Insect repellant (DEET)
    • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
    • Repair kit (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
    • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)
    • Camera, media, spare batteries

    Equipment hire / rental

    • Items marked * can be hired / rented through KE Adventure Travel. Please make all requests at least 6 weeks prior to the trip departure date. Please note all hire / rental equipment is issued in Delhi. Please remember to allow room in your trek bag for these items.

    We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    Know before you go

    As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: 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 FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

    It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking trip getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. For this trip you need to be aerobically fit and also comfortable with walking for 6 - 7 hours with long uphill sections on some days. We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip. Regular hiking in hill country is the best training but jogging, squash and swimming are also good for developing cardio vascular fitness and stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country.

    Pre and post-monsoon the weather in Bhutan is normally fairly stable. Mornings usually dawn bright and clear with a tendency to cloud over by the afternoon. Day-time highs of around 20°C can be expected at altitudes around 2000 metres, whilst at the high points of the trip the maximum daytime temperature will be around 15°C. At night the temperature will drop to a few degrees above freezing.

    Bhutan. A Trekker's guide. Bart Jordans. (Cicerone). Bhutan. (Odyssey Illustrated Guide). Pommaret. Bhutan. (Lonely Planet Guide). Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon. Edmunds.

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