Bhutan - Trek by suchenfz


            IN BHUTAN

                                                                              AUTUMN DEPARTURES –

                                                                              2009 DATES :

                                                                                Sun 27 September – Thu 15 October
Bhutan - Trek

                                                                              Other available dates in the autumn:
                                                                              Tuesday 22 Sep – Saturday 10 Oct
                                                                               Tuesday 27 Oct – Saturday 14 Oct
                                                                              Thursday 17 Dec – Sunday 03 Jan 10
                                                                              (Itineraries vary slightly depending on date – if
                                                                              you are interested in another departure,
                                                                              please ask for itinerary)

                                                                              2009 PRICE:
                                                                              Land only:          £2,595
                                                                              (joining in Kathmandu)

                Style of Trip:                  Hotels and Lodges             Including flights:     £3,395

                Grade:                          Gentle

                Maximum altitude reached:       10,302ft/3,140m

                Duration:                       19 Days, London to London

                Gentle Trekking/walking:        8 Days

                Group size:                     Maximum: 12 clients plus leader

                                                Minimum:       2 clients plus leader

                Will the trek run?              Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 2 persons.

                                                In the rare event that we cancel a trek we will refund you in
                                                full and give you at least 6 weeks warning. During 2008 most
                                                treks were full, therefore if you want to secure a place(s) on
                                                the dates of your choice we do advise you to book early.

                Trek Leaders:                   Local Leader

                                                          Tel: 01453 844400
                                                          Fax: 01453 844422

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 The tiny Kingdom of Bhutan in the eastern Himalaya, or the 'Thunder Dragon Kingdom', has successfully
remained isolated from the outside world for very many centuries. Only at the time of the present King's
coronation (1974) was the first trickle of foreigners allowed in. Prior to the building of the road from India to
Thimphu even visiting Indian presidents took 6 days on horseback to visit the King. It still remains a secretive
Kingdom and the present king is keen to preserve its unique customs and traditions.

Its history is a capsule of all that is mystical about the Himalaya; re-incarnate rulers, who used black magic to
defeat Tibetan aggressors, lama-saints, who foretold the future and who fought demons opposed to the spread
of Buddhism, and civil wars between powerful district governors, or penlops, who laid plot and counter-plot in
an endless cycle of strife and assassinations.

This trek offers the perfect introduction to Bhutan! We have designed the itinerary to give you a wide variety of
experiences though it will be an adventure enjoyed in comparative comfort because every night is spent either
in a hotel or comfortable lodge. Every day-hike has an interesting objective taking you to many temples, hermit
retreats, old palaces, villages or simply into lovely scenery. But you do not have to do every day-hike. If for
instance you prefer to spend a day relaxing at your hotel or lodge, this is possible. There are also exciting road
journeys and your vehicle is a Japanese mini-bus which will take you slowly on twisting mountain roads and over
passes. By its nature this is an adventure with plenty of varied walking in a place that is only just emerging into
the 21st Century.

This trek was featured in the BBC ‘Holiday’ program broadcast in the spring of 2005.

                       This departure attends the Thimphu Drupchen Tsechu (Festival).

Mountain Kingdoms have been working with the same partner in Bhutan since 1986. Their guides are some of
the best in the Kingdom. They speak fluent English, as this is taught in all Bhutanese schools, and are fully
qualified guides. The Tourism Authority of Bhutan insists that a Bhutanese trek or tour leader must pass his/her
guiding exams in Thimphu before accompanying groups of foreign visitors.

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Days 1-2                Fly to Kathmandu, at leisure in Kathmandu
Days 3-5                Fly to Bhutan, attend Thimphu Tsechu, walk to Cheri Gompa
Days 6-7                Drive to Punakha, trek to Chorten Ningpo
Days 8-11               Drive to Tongsa, drive to Bumthang, day walks
Days 12-15              Drive to Gangtey, local walks, drive to Paro
Day 16                  Visit Taksang Monastery
Days 17-19              Fly to Kathmandu, at leisure in Kathmandu, fly to London

Mountain Kingdoms is pleased to announce that it won AITO’s Award for Achievement in Responsible Tourism for
2007. Mountain Kingdoms has been granted the highest 5 star rating for Responsible Tourism, by AITO
(Association of Independent Tour Operators).

Mountain Kingdoms is committed to responsible tourism, through its policies and practices which permeate all
aspects of its business. The company’s policies aim to ensure that Mountain Kingdoms and its clients act in a
way which is socially, environmentally and culturally sound. We feel strongly that all our holidays should
benefit the local communities, protect the environment by minimising pollution, and respect local traditions,
religion and heritage. We tread lightly - low volume, low impact trekking/touring is the best way of preserving
the beautiful and fragile places we visit.

We work with organisations such as Tourism Concern, International Porter Protection Group (IPPG), TICOS, AITO
and various Himalayan charities, to help achieve our responsible tourism goals. In 2007 we set up and funded a
project to provide English lessons for our sherpas in Nepal.

At Mountain Kingdoms we feel that the issue of porter protection is immensely important. We
support the work and the aims of the IPPG (International Porter Protection Group) and as such we
have a set of guidelines to adhere to. All porters on Mountain Kingdom’s Local Lodge/Tea House
treks are provided with insurance, wind/waterproof clothing, shoes, and goggles when crossing a high snow-
covered pass.

All Mountain Kingdoms trips, where clients choose to take our international flights, are
carbon off-set.

When we receive your booking we send you a full trek dossier which contains details of visas and vaccinations
required, a suggested gear and clothing list and lots of useful information.

If you do have queries at this initial stage do ring us and we will be pleased to offer advice.

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DAY 1 – SUNDAY:                 DEPART LONDON.
Fly to Nepal.

DAY 2 – MONDAY:                 ARRIVE KATHMANDU.
You will be met and transferred to the Dwarika’s Hotel - luxurious and stylish, with a cool elegant courtyard
filled with Nepalese wooden carvings and statues and a superb restaurant where you can eat in traditional style.
After the long flight from London it might be worth taking a brief siesta and unpacking before venturing out into
Kathmandu, one of the most fascinating medieval cities in the world. Take a taxi to Thamel for a leisurely walk
through the bustling and colourful streets into Durbar Square to glimpse the ancient shrines and royal palace.
Overnight at the Dwarika’s Hotel.

DAY 3 – TUESDAY:                 FLY TO PARO.
Transfer to the airport for the short flight up to Bhutan. On a clear day the
panoramic views of the Himalaya are sensational, including Everest and
Kangchenjunga, but particularly exciting is the approach through the Bhutanese
foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of
Paro. Although you are at the mercy of the Druk Air computer, if possible try to sit
on the left hand side of the plane for the most spectacular views. In Paro you will be
met by your Bhutanese guide and taken to your hotel. There is usually time to
wander around Paro township. Overnight Olathang Hotel.

Today you will drive for two hours to Thimphu. The winding mountain road climbs gradually to this remote
Himalayan capital. On the way you pass one of the oldest dzongs in the Kingdom, Simtoka Dzong. The first
ruler of Bhutan, Nawang Namgyal, built this in the early 1600s.

When you arrive in Thimphu you will have a chance to visit the Tsechu which is held in the inner courtyards of
the main monastery fortress, the Tashishhodzong. This is one of the most important set-piece festivals of the
year and massively impressive. Beware the very naughty clowns who spend a lot of their time teasing the
crowd. You will be assured that The Black Hat Dancers and all the other colourful ceremonies will dispel the
evil spirits that have accumulated over the ground during the previous year.
Overnight Phuntso Pelri Hotel.

DAY 5 – THURSDAY:               WALK TO CHERI GOMPA (4-5 hours day walk)
This morning, you will make the 2½ hour drive to Thimphu, the least-visited of all the Himalayan capitals. The
road twists its way gradually up the Thimphu valley. On the way you pass Simtoka Dzong the earliest of these
fortress/monasteries built by the first ruler of Bhutan, Nawang Namgyal.

Today you will walk to Cheri Gompa (4-5 hours). This is a pleasant rural walk, gently up a valley through paddy
fields and woodland via a Tibetan village. The walk commences at the junction just before the village of
Dechencholing (15 mins drive from Thimphu). Dechencholing is where the Queen Mother’s palace is located.
Walk through the village and along a dirt track to Pangri Zampa gompa, by the river. Here you cross the bridge
and turn left - then follow the main path, which swings up from the main valley floor, along the lateral valley,
through forest, to the Tibetan village (hidden from view from the main valley). You then cross the valley floor
and return down to the main valley (1 to 1½ hours walk). Continue to follow the main valley path, gently rising
through paddy and forest - from here there are lovely views of Tango monastery at the far end of the valley.
You continue through paddy past chortens and the village of Choku to Begana (also known as Dodena). This is
where the border of the Jigme Dorji National Park begins. You walk straight on - the Wang Chu is bridged at
Begana and is on the left and from near here one can see the 17th century Cheri gompa for the first time. You
follow the metalled road alongside the river, past a mani wall and on through the forest. After 25 minutes you
arrive at the cantilevered bridge at Cheri. You cross it and climb steeply for 30 to 45 minutes to the gompa.
Two thirds of the way up, one can rest at a Tibetan-style stupa. Ascend to the gompa where there are lovely
views. It is usually possible to enter Cheri courtyard, but NOT the temples. The full name of this monastery is
Cheri Dorji Dhen. The Shabdrung (first ruler of Bhutan) built this gompa in 1620 and established its first order of
monks here. A silver chorten inside the gompa is said to hold the ashes of the Shabdrung’s father. Later,
transport arrives to take you back to Thimphu. Overnight Phuntsho Pelri Hotel.

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                                 VILLAGE WALKS (full walk 5-6 hours, shorter version 3 hours).
                                 SIGHTSEEING IN PUNAKHA.
In the morning you drive to Punakha, the old winter capital. Leaving Thimphu, the road climbs via a series of
zigzags over the Dochu La, 10,000ft/3,048m. On a clear day, panoramic views can be had of the eastern
Himalaya, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 24,770ft/7,550m. The road drops through
varied forest finally emerging into the highly cultivated Punakha valley.

In the afternoon you will make a trek to visit the Crown Prince's new
lhakang (large chorten) and nearby villages. You return on a different route
through the village to Sonagasa (the King’s winter residence) and through
to Punakha Dzong, following the Mo chu river. A pleasant walk gently
descending the Mo Chu valley from Kabesa, taking in the Crown Prince's
new lhakang (temple), beautiful paddy, small villages and ending at the
King’s Palace and Songasha na, a tiny cave lhakang.

Walk through the village of Kabesa to a small chorten and bear right. The path runs through paddy, following
the river until the suspension bridge is reached (30 mins). You cross it and then take the path up through paddy
to the base of the hill where Nazagang Lhakang is sited (Crown Prince's lhakang). The climb to the top is quite
steep. (40 mins) The lhakang was consecrated in December 1999 and contains sacred relics donated from
Punakha Dzong.

You leave by the far exit path and descend two thirds of the way down the hill. A contour path then runs
inwards, away from the river. You follow this contour path up and along the lateral valley to a small group of
houses, where it bears back down to the main valley floor and the village of Yabesa. From here, bear left and
follow the Mo Chu downstream through paddy and pasture. You continue to follow the path that runs below the
Habesa palace (Ashi Sonam Choedun, the King’s sister) and along through pasture to Sonagasha, the King’s
Palace. Just beyond here is Sonagasha Na, a pilgrimage site and location of a small cave lhakang. Dupthonagi
Rinchen, a famous 13th century Tibetan scholar said to have supernatural powers, meditated here in the cave.
You meet the vehicle near the dzong for the return drive to Punakha.
Sometimes a shorter version of this walk is used by driving up the valley, descending to the suspension bridge,
walking up to the Crown Prince’s Chorten, and then returning back over the suspension bridge. This will depend
on weather, time available and fitness of the group (3 hours round trip).

The main monastery/fortress in Punakha was the power base for the old system of re-incarnate rulers. The
remains of the original ruler of Bhutan, Nawang Namgyal, are kept in a small room at the top of the highest
tower; only the king and the head of the monastic order are allowed to enter this room. Provided the head of
the monastic order and his monks are in Thimphu it should be possible to view the inner courtyards of Punakha
Dzong. In 1994 there was a major flood in the town as a glacial lake burst up in the Himalaya, causing
tremendous havoc in the town and damage to the dzong, which has now been restored. Overnight at the
Zangthok Pelhri Hotel.

                                  (full walk 6-7 hrs, shorter version 3-4 hrs).
This is a beautiful walk, visiting a lovely village. There are orange groves and a temple which dates back to 'The
Divine Madman' Drukpa Kunley. The temple can be visited and there is a tree outside which is supposed to have
sprouted after Drukpa Kunley sent a thunderbolt from an adjoining valley to kill some evil spirits who had
gathered at the site. The drive from the hotel to the bridge at Kabje Sirigang will take about 40 minutes, and
you then start the 2-hour hike to Chorten Ningpo. Chorten Ningpo is an old monastery, containing some large
and very old statues. After lunch, you take the trail of the Sinchula trek route for an hour until Tongchena
village. After crossing the wooden bridge, you walk down through paddy fields, following the Shoshi Rongchu
stream to Usakha village. This should take about 3 to 4 hours. In total this day’s hike is a roundabout route of
approximately 6 to 7 hours. Overnight at the Zangthok Pelhri Hotel.

DAY 8 – SUNDAY:                  DRIVE TO TONGSA (142 kms, 6 hour drive).
This is a long day's drive of about 6 hours depending on road conditions but it is a journey you are not likely to
forget; the scenery is certainly stunning. To begin with you continue down the highly-cultivated valley to the
town of Wangdiphodrang where there is a very large fortress built in the shape of a sleeping bull. The road then
gradually winds its way up towards the Pele La (11,000ft/3,350m). In places the road is carved out of
impressive cliff sides. Descending from the other side it is a long way down to Tongsa, which can be clearly
seen for many miles distant. It has the largest monastery/fortress in the kingdom and it was from here that the

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present royal family emerged as the most powerful force at the beginning of the last century. Overnight at the
Norling Hotel or Yankil Resort.

DAY 9 – MONDAY:                  VISIT 2nd KING’S PALACE, DRIVE TO BUMTHANG (68kms, 3-4 hours).
In the morning you wander around Tongsa township and visit the watchtower above the main Dzong. It has a
fine temple at the top containing original Mongol armour and a large prayer wheel outside. If time allows you
will visit Kunga Rabten, the palace of the 2nd king, some 20 kms away, an hour each way. It is now vacant and
dilapidated but contains a fine library of rare Himalayan books. You can visit the village and farmhouses
around. From Tongsa you drive across the Yotong La and descend eventually into the valley of Bumthang and
Chumey, the heart of the famous Bumthang Yatha weaving region. This central area of Bhutan is where the
colourful wool weaving is found. Close to the 7th century Zugney Lakhang are two Yatha shops. The first shop
has about 10-15 girls who do the spinning, dyeing and weaving. The Bumthang valley is one of the most sacred in
the kingdom and innumerable legends surround the area. It is here that the kings are cremated and the present
royal family trace its ancestry back to a famous saint called Pemalingpa, who was a smith in Jakar township. It
is said that on one occasion he emerged from the waters of a lake at the foot of the Tang Valley with a burning
lamp and holding a statue and treasure chest. Female heavenly spirits were said to have visited him encouraging
him to preach their contents around the country. It is said that whenever he spoke crystalline flowers appeared
in the sky and dissolved as they drifted down to earth. Overnight at the Hotel Wangdichholing.

                                DAY TREK TO TAMSHING VILLAGE AND OTHER VILLAGES (3-4 hours).
Today you trek to Tamshing Gomba, established in 1501 by Pemalingpa. It is
the most important Nyingma Gomba in the Kingdom. After breakfast start the
walk from the hotel to Jambay Lhakang and continue to Kurjey Lhakang.
Cross the suspension bridge over to Tamshing Lhakang, then continue walking
to the Swiss farm and then on to the bazaar. The vehicle can meet you at
this point or you can continue walking to the hotel. This is a pleasant way to
take in a visit to the homeopathic hospital, the cheese factory, the castle of
the 'White Bird', perhaps one or two local temples and a walk around Jakar
township. Also worth seeing in Jakar are the woodcraft workshop, dying
workshop, and the five water wheels behind Wangdicholing Old Palace. Overnight at the Hotel Wangdichholing.

                                TREK TO OGYEN CHOLING AND RETURN.
The region of Bumthang encompasses four major valleys: Choskhor, Tang, Ura and Chhume. Today you drive to
Tang, stopping on the way to walk 20 minutes each way to visit Membartso, ‘the flaming pool’ of Pemalingpa.
Pemalingpa (1450-1521) was one of the five great tertons (treasure discoverers) of Nyingma Buddhism. The
artefacts he found and the dances he composed are all important parts of Bhutan’s heritage. Return to the road
and drive for about an hour on a rough road to Tang Rangmachen Lhakang and walk to Ogyen Chholing Palace,
built by Deb Tshogey Dorji, a descendant of Pemalingpa. There are servants’ quarters and storage rooms in the
building that surround this magnificent small palace. In total, this is an easy walk of about 3 hours on the valley
floor. There may be a possibility to stay the night in the Ogyen Chholing Palace but if not, you return to
Bumthang to stay overnight at the Hotel Wangdichholing.

You drive 80kms to Gangtey, home of the famous black neck cranes and an excellent carpet workshop. After
lunch, you can either rest in the peaceful vicinity of the lodge, or there are plenty of local walks, including a
visit to the Gompa which overlooks the town. Overnight hotel or tented camp.

DAY 13 – FRIDAY:                DAY WALKS IN VALLEY.
A whole day to enjoy this beautiful valley. A whole series of walks are possible and your guide may have his
own particular favourite. However, we suggest a walk to the purpose-built hides that between the end of
October and mid-February are used for viewing the black-necked cranes (sadly they will have not arrived by the
time of your visit). However this and the walks to the small villages beyond are very pretty.
Firstly, walk a little way back along the road, then turn right on a rough track across one end of the marshy
valley floor to a Chorten built on the belly button of a fairy. Near here, there is a hide for watching the black-
necked cranes. Traditionally, the cranes arrive at the end of October and leave mid February so it is unlikely
you will see any. From here, you can contour around and up to the small hamlet which at certain times of the
year is deserted and is only occupied in the summer months. Then you can walk down and across the valley
near a school. This is a nice place for a picnic lunch.
From here, it is not so very far to go across the floor of the valley to visit a temple/gompa, though you may
have to find a caretaker nearby with a key to let you in. It is very old and musty, but quite well cared for with

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a huge statue of Shakumani Buddha. Certainly worth a visit. If you have had enough exercise by now, then you
can head back towards the road and the lodge. Those of you who are keen to continue the walk can contour
round the valley and climb gently to another larger village, and after this descend a short way to the valley
floor, cross this and up the other side to a small temple. You then have to walk back along the rough road to
the guest house. The longer version could take seven hours. There are some wonderful legends surrounding
events and geography in the valley so try, if it possible, to find a local who speaks some English. There are
tales about two different types of Yeti, a large one and a small variety, and many other interesting legends. It
is also worth visiting, if you have time, the World Wildlife Centre just above road. It is well-constructed and
laid out and has some excellent exhibits. Overnight hotel or tented camp.

Today you drive back to Thimphu and time permitting, do a little more sightseeing. Your guide, driver and
transport will be on hand. In addition to those places recommended on day 5 we suggest you see the
indigenous hospital specialising in herbal medicine, and the recently-built Changlingmithang stadium.
Overnight Phuntsho Pelri Hotel.

Time in Thimphu to see those things you did not have time for yesterday. Later in the day you drive down the
winding mountain road to Paro. Overnight Olathang Hotel.

Today you visit the Paro valley, site of the famous Tiger's nest, Taksang Monastery. The monastery is perched
some 2,000ft/600m up on a cliff overlooking the valley and was said to be where the legendary Indian saint,
Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tiger to defeat five demons, who were opposing the
spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. In the afternoon you will visit Bhutan's national museum, a fascinating place
housed in an old watchtower above the huge Paro Dzong (monastery/fortress). The museum holds a fantastic
collection of Bhutanese national treasures. Overnight Olathang Hotel.

Again a sensational take-off and scenic Himalayan flight past Chomolhari,
Bhutan’s second highest peak, past Kangchenjunga and Everest back to
Kathmandu, where you transfer to the Dwarika’s Hotel.

A day to relax/shop or sightsee in Kathmandu. Overnight Dwarika’s Hotel.

DAY 19 – THURSDAY:               FLY TO LONDON.
You will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight back to London.

                                            IMPORTANT NOTE
We have been running this trek for very many years now, and have had hundreds of happy clients who return in
love with Bhutan. The itinerary is never the same each time! Do not expect the itinerary to necessarily be
delivered precisely as written here! Our experience is that Bhutanese guides will often suggest things that are
not described by us, and will vary the walks depending upon the weather, the group’s inclination, people’s
fitness, time available and their own preferred versions of the walks. Therefore, we ask you not to expect an
itinerary “cast in stone”, and that you engage with your guide to make the most of his/her knowledge.

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                      Jan      Feb      Mar     Apr    May     Jun     Jul     Aug    Sep     Oct    Nov     Dec

            Max °C    9.4      13.4     14.5   17.6    23.5    25.4    26.8   25.3   23.4    18.7    13.9    11.2
            Min °C
  Paro                5.8       1.5      0.6    4.6    10.6    14.1    14.9   14.7   11.7     7.4     1.4    -1.7
Thimphu     Max °C   12.3      14.4     16.4   30.0    22.5    34.4    18.9   25.0   23.1    21.9    17.9    14.5
            Min °C
                      2.6       0.6      3.9    7.1    13.1    15.2    13.4   15.8   15.0    10.4     5.0    -1.1

                            While in Nepal there are various interesting and exciting options to pursue either
                            before or after your trek or tour.

                            EVEREST MOUNTAIN FLIGHT. After trekking in the region why not take the
                            opportunity for a close-up view of the world's highest and most famous mountain from
                            the air! The flight lasts about an hour and takes you from the Kathmandu valley, over
                            the Khumbu region and culminates with the unforgettable view of Everest herself.

                            RAFTING AND CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK. We offer options of rafting, a safari at the
                            Royal Chitwan National Park or a combination of both. For accommodation we can
                            either book a Tiger Tops property, Temple Tiger lodge or the Chitwan Jungle Lodge.

Please contact the office for a detailed information sheet on either of these options.
Please Note: If you want to extend your stay in Nepal it is essential we are informed as soon as possible after
your booking. This is due to the high demand for flights to and from Kathmandu.

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HOTELS:           KATHMANDU:        We use the top class Dwarika’s Hotel, which is filled with fascinating original carvings
                  and artefacts. Its elegant restaurant is one of the places to eat in Kathmandu.
BHUTAN:           Please note that there is a shortage of hotel/lodge accommodation in Bhutan, and although we pre-book rooms as far
                  in advance as possible, anything can happen and probably will. If, for instance, the Royal Government of Bhutan
                  suddenly has a visiting delegation, accommodation may be changed at short notice. Also during peak seasons it can
                  sometimes be very difficult to secure not only the hotels/lodges we want, but also to secure necessarily all the single
                  rooms we might need. In these circumstances singles may occasionally be asked to share and in such cases we refund
                  any single room supplements that might apply. Given these conditions we will make every effort to secure any of the
                  following hotels:

                  PARO: Olathang Hotel/Kichu Resort/Namsey Resort.              These are each of a high standard, probably
                  equivalent to 3/4 star; the staff are friendly and decoration and furnishings are of typical Bhutanese style.
                  Do not expect however European professionalism. Service is much more 'laid-back' in Bhutan. We have
                  always found the food to be of a high quality.

                  THIMPHU: Phuntsho Pelri Hotel. This new luxury hotel is beautifully appointed with custom made
                  Bhutanese pine furniture and lots of facilities.
                  During busy periods, especially during festivals, we may not be able to secure enough rooms and will then
                  use either the Jomolhari Hotel, Pedling Hotel, Druk Hotel or Riverview. These are the best hotels in
                  Thimphu and of a similar quality to those in Paro.

                  PUNAKHA: Hotel Zangtok Pelhri/Meri Punsum Lodge. The Hotel Zangtok Pelhri sits high above the
                  Punakha valley, with panoramic views of the fields, terraces and river below. It is roughly the same
                  standard as those in Paro and Thimphu and just a 20-minute drive away from Punakha. Below it is a
                  smaller place, the Meri Phunsum Lodge, which we have also used occasionally.

                  TONGSA: Either the Norling Hotel (10 rooms) or Yankil Resort (21 rooms).                 The latter offers a higher
                  standard of accommodation but is a blot on the otherwise perfect landscape!

                  OGYEN CHOLING PALACE: It may be possible to stay here on Day 11. The palace has a small number of
                  basic rooms but is difficult to book far in advance. If we can get you in, we will. Lots of atmosphere but
                  basic accommodation.

                  JAKAR (BUMTHANG DISTRICT): Hotel Wangdichholing. This hotel has beautifully appointed luxury suites
                  with wood burning stoves, custom Bhutanese designed furniture and full heated baths. During busy
                  periods, especially during festivals, we may not be able to secure enough rooms and will then use any of
                  the following tourist lodges: Wangdichoeling Lodge, River Lodge, Rinchling Lodge, Gangkhar Guest House or
                  the Swiss Guest House.

                  GANGTEY: Dewachen Hotel. This new lodge at Gangtey is a lovely property with excellent views across
                  the valley, wood burning stoves and well fitted bathrooms. As it only has a small number of rooms we
                  sometimes use a converted farmhouse, or a tented camp.

                  Possible hotel upgrades:
                  Recently two new 5 star hotels, the Amankora and the Uma Paro, have been built in Paro and we are
                  pleased to be able to offer these as an optional upgrade.
                  Other Aman Resorts are open in Thimphu, Punakha, Bumthang and Gangtey.
                  Further details and prices for all these properties are available from our office.

MEAL PLAN:        Bed and Breakfast in Kathmandu and full board elsewhere.

AIRLINES:         International flights : We will use a reputable IATA airline such as Qatar, Gulf, Etihad or similar – all fly to
                  Kathmandu via their respective home cities as direct flights are not available.

                  Druk-Air is the only airline flying to Bhutan. It is now operating two new airbuses. Flights into Bhutan are
                  usually rewarded with stunning views of the Himalaya, including Everest, Makalu and Kangchenjunga.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Whilst every effort is made to keep to the above itinerary, this is Adventure Travel in a remote
mountain region. It is likely that there will be changes in the itinerary in terms of anything from the exact hotel used
to the villages we may stop in for the night. Weather conditions, road conditions, vehicle breakdowns can all contribute
to changes. The Bhutanese guide will do everything to ensure that you are inconvenienced as little as possible in such
circumstances. If problems do occur, an easy-going nature is a positive asset! This itinerary is not cast in stone and the
Bhutanese guides may suggest other things of interest we have not mentioned here.

Also, please note the Royal Government of Bhutan has a strict policy to preserve its cultural and traditional values and antiques may
not be taken out of the country. The government also requests that clients do not give sweets, pens, etc., to children or distribute
medicine to villagers. Please speak to your trek leader regarding the Bhutanese policy on tipping.

                                         2009GT_Bhutan_27sep.doc Prepared: 02/10/08
MOUNTAIN KINGDOMS aims to offer the best value for money. We do not charge extra for meal packages or local
charges and try to ensure that all the key elements of your holiday are included - you won't get any nasty


   A Bhutanese leader                                              Good standard hotel accommodation (usually 4
   Economy class return air fares from the UK                      star) in Kathmandu, bed and breakfast basis
   UK Departure Tax                                                Best available hotels in Bhutan on full board
   All internal flights and hotel/airport transfers                All road transport by private vehicles
   Bhutan visa                                                     Sightseeing where specified
   Bhutan departure tax                                            A free high-quality Mountain Kingdoms kit bag


    Travel insurance
    Visa fees for Nepal
    Single supplements (see box below)
    Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu
    Nepal airport departure taxes, excepting UK Departure Tax
    Bar bills and laundry
    Optional trips

  £255    (Please see note under Trip Notes regarding Bhutan hotels)

  From: £149 (please contact the office for details)

Wherever possible we try to absorb these, however from time to time it may be necessary to pass on these
additional costs. All trip prices therefore may be subject to change due to such external factors and the prices
for each individual departure may vary slightly from those published in the current brochure. Any changes to
the price of an individual trip will be advised before a booking is confirmed.

                                     2009GT_Bhutan_27sep.doc Prepared: 02/10/08

A superb holiday. I had some experiences I thought I would never have in my lifetime.
Wonderful. Can't wait to book my next holiday! Dr L, Wiltshire

This was an excellent trip to a beautiful and interesting country. Group size was just
right for a mix, guide full of information and very well organised. Mr S, Yorkshire

A brilliant holiday - Thank You. Bhutan was stunning and we were well looked after.
We will certainly use your services again. Mr & Mrs L, Wiltshire

I enjoyed the holiday tremendously and look forward to going back to Bhutan soon.
Miss B, London

1.   The idea to develop a 'Gentle Trekking' itinerary stemmed from our Gentle Trekking itinerary in Nepal. We
     were the first UK company to offer this type of trek using hotels and lodges as bases for day walks; with our
     knowledge of the country we have developed these treks to provide the best day hikes available.
2.   With over 20 years experience of the country we are the UK's leading operator taking people to Bhutan. We
     annually take well over 150 people to the Kingdom. Our original interest in the country stems from our MD
     Steve Berry's attempt to climb Gangkar Punsum, which remains the highest unclimbed mountain in the
     world. This was the first UK climbing expedition in the Kingdom. (His book 'Thunder Dragon Kingdom' is
     available for purchase from our office).
3.   From our knowledge of Bhutan we have pioneered many of the routes which are now considered 'classics'
     and have consistently been the first UK Company to take clients into the remotest regions.
4.   We use the oldest and largest land operator in Bhutan. This means that they have a powerful influence in
     obtaining Druk Air tickets (which are always notoriously overbooked). They also own many of the county's
     best hotels - as a result we have unparalleled access to these facilities.
5.   Compared to other UK operators our itineraries offer more time in Bhutan and therefore more chance to
     experience the magic of this unique country.
6.   Unlike many of our competitors we impose a maximum group size of 12. As our minimum group size is 2,
     the trek is extremely likely to get “up and running”. Some of our competitors have larger minimum group
     sizes and therefore regularly cancel under subscribed treks.
7.   We use a reputable IATA airline such as Qatar, Gulf, Etihad or similar.
8.   While in Kathmandu you will stay at Dwarika’s Hotel, unique and one of the best hotels in Kathmandu. It
     has won heritage awards for its work in preserving and restoring Nepal’s architectural heritage and as such
     is very much a ‘living museum’.
9.   No hidden costs. Our brochure prices are not based on a minimum group size of 10 persons. Where some
     other companies surcharge if the group size is fewer than 10 we do not. We do not impose charges locally
     for ‘meal packages’. We adopt a policy of transparency regarding cost and inclusions.
10. We care about the mountains and adhere to the Himalayan Tourist Code that we helped to produce.

Mountain Kingdoms Ltd, Old Crown House, 18 Market Street, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, GL12 7AE
           Tel: 01453 844400     Fax: 01453 844422      Email:

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