Basic travel information
A novelty trip to the happiest country in the world, the spectacular scenery of Bhutan!
More than 70 percent of the land area of the Kingdom of Bhutan, nicknamed the Thunder Dragon, is unspoilt nature and has the highest non-climbing mountains in the world. The hiking trails of this little-visited country lead to natural peace, traditional countryside and stunning Himalayan mountain scenery.
During the trip we make day hikes both in the valleys and high in the mountains, and we see magnificent snow peaks, old forts and small Buddhist monasteries. We stay comfortably in hotels during the trip. On the way we will also get to know the valleys of Paro and Punakha with their monasteries, the capital of Bhutan Thimpu and the capital of Nepal Kathmandu.
DAY 1 – FLIGHTS TO KATMANDU
Flights from Helsinki via Doha to the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, where we arrive the next day.
DAY 2 – KATHMANDU
Arrival in Kathmandu. Guided city tour of Kathmandu after staying at the hotel.
HOTEL MANASLU OR SIMILAR
DAY 3 – KATHMANDU – PARO – THIMPHU
A memorable flight to Bhutan’s only airport, Paro. From the window of the plane you can see the peaks of the highest mountains in the world during the flight. Even arriving in this mystical kingdom evokes great emotions. From Paros we will move to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Thimphu is certainly the only capital in the world with no traffic lights. At the city’s “busiest” intersection stands an elegant traffic control police. Cars did not arrive in this dormant capital until the 60s. The city of Thimpu is located in a wooded valley along the Wang Chu River. The city was a small village until the 60s, until the royal house of Bhutan moved there and Thimpu was made the capital. The city has a safe and peaceful atmosphere. In the afternoon we will make the first, about 2-3h hiking trip to Changangkhan Monastery. (UNDER)
DAY 4 – THIMPHU
We will explore the sights of Thimphu and continue hiking around the capital of Bhutan. We visit the third king’s memorial room and the Buddha statue standing in the vantage point, and hiked to the Tango and Cher monasteries north of Thimphu. Total hiking 4h (A, L, I)
DAY 5 – DOCHU LA, RED
We move from Thimphu towards the Punakha Valley. Our drive begins on an ascent to the more than 3,000-meter-high pass of Dochu La, from where we make a hiking trip to the Lungchutse Temple. The temple offers spectacular views of Bhutan’s highest Himalayan peaks, over 7,000 meters, in clear weather. We land for lunch in the village of Trashigang, from where we continue for a short walk to Chimi Lakhang. A car ride takes us from here to the lush Punakha Valley, one of Bhutan’s most fertile and especially red rice growing areas. Accommodation in Punahka. (UNDER)
DAY 6 – RED – PARO
Today it’s time for a total of about 10km hiking trip in the northern part of Punakha valley. We start the excursion from the village of Sirigang, from where we climb the Khamsum Yueley stupa. From there, we follow the Mo Chhu River across the valley countryside and end our trip to Punakha Fort. We will move to Paro in the evening. (UNDER)
DAY 7 – PARO
We will spend the day in Paro exploring the sights of the area. Our visit to Bhutan will be crowned by a rise and a visit to the famous Tiger Nest and Kyichu Lhakang monasteries. Overnight in Paro. (UNDER)
DAY 8 – PARO – KATHMANDU
We say goodbye to Bhutan and fly back to Kathmandu where we will stay. (A)
HOTEL MANASLU OR SIMILAR
DAY 9 – KATHMANDU – HELSINKI
Airport transfers and return flights via Doha to the home country.
MEALS: (A) BREAKFAST (L) LUNCH (I) DINNER
Note: Flight capacity to Bhutan is very limited and flights are usually sold out several months before the time of travel. So make your reservations for Bhutan trips well in advance.
Group size: 10-20 people
The price of the trip includes
- Flights to
- Airport transfers
- Bhutanese visa
- All transportation mentioned in the itinerary
- Excursions mentioned in the itinerary
- Entrance fees for guided tours
- Services of a Finnish-speaking tour guide and an English-speaking local guide
- Meals mentioned in the itinerary
- airport taxes.
The price of the trip does not include
- Travel insurance
- Nepalese visa
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Food drinks
- Personal expenses
- Local airport taxes or possible exit fees not included in the ticket price
- Office expenses 10 € / person.
We fly to Nepal on scheduled flights from Qatar Airways. The airline has the right to change its schedules, so do not book any connecting flights until you have received your flight tickets.
The program is designed for anyone interested in hiking. You will succeed on the way with normal basic fitness and good motivation. Most of Bhutan is high in the mountains, and hiking along the way also takes place in high air. However, day mattresses are rather short and include plenty of rest breaks. Most of our hiking groups consist of first-time and basic Finns, young to retirees. We recommend that you go for regular walks, for example, because the better your physical condition, the more you enjoy our hiking trips.
Typical hiking day:
Our luggage is retained on the day of the hike at the hotel, so during the hike you only need to carry your own daypack with the necessary supplies for the day such as a bottle of water, sun fat, a camera, a wallet and a small snack. In mountainous areas, the temperature can drop quite a bit, and it’s a good idea to have a little warm clothing with you on the trip, even though the day usually goes well with summer clothes.
We get an electronic visa to Bhutan , which is arranged by our local partner. A copy of the passport personal information page is required for the visa. This should be submitted to the Mandala Travel office well in advance of the start of the trip. A Nepalese visa will be redeemed upon arrival in Nepal. You will need a passport valid for at least the next 6 months for the visa. A Nepalese visa costs $ 30 for less than 15 days and $ 50 for 15-30 days. The visa is paid in cash upon arrival in the country.
For Bhutan flight bookings, we need a copy or picture of your passport personal information page . You can send us a copy after booking the trip by e-mail (eg as a jpg or pdf file) or by post to our office.
Check that your basic vaccinations are valid during the trip. Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for all travelers to Bhutan. Malaria can occur in the lowlands of the southern parts of the country. There is no risk of malaria in the destinations of this itinerary. You can get more information about vaccinations from your doctor and on the Internet: http://rokote.fi
The official language of Bhutan is dzongkha. However, English is also widely spoken in the country, as it is used as the language of instruction in schools.
Bhutanese currency ngultrum (BTN) cannot be exchanged in Finland. Cash can be exchanged at local exchange offices, hotels and in Thimpus for local currency. Indian rupees are also valid in Bhutan. NOTE: There is full board in Bhutan, so you only need money for food, souvenirs and other extra expenses. The currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR). The currency of Nepal cannot be exchanged in Finland. Local currency can be withdrawn from an ATM in Kathmandu. Cash can be exchanged at local exchange offices for local. International credit cards are available in Nepal.
Top culture in Bhutan is not at the same level as in India or Nepal. You can book around € 30 for tips from guides and other staff on your way to Bhutan.
The climate in Bhutan is variable due to large altitude differences. The central and southern parts of Bhutan belong mainly to the subtropical climate zone. During the tourist season, the climate is pleasantly mild, with daytime temperatures ranging from about 25 degrees in the low valleys to about 20 degrees in the upper valleys. Evenings in the upper areas can be cool. Bhutan is one of the wettest areas in the Himalayan region, and although tourism in the country takes place mainly during the dry season, a raincoat is worth getting involved. Monsoon rains last from June to the end of August. The best time to visit Bhutan is Finnish spring and autumn.
The capital of Bhutan, Thimpu, is certainly the only capital in the world without traffic lights. At the city’s “busiest” intersection stands an elegant traffic control police. Cars did not arrive in this dormant capital until the 1960s. The city of Thimpu is located in a wooded valley along the Wang Chu River. The city was a small village until the 60s, until the royal house of Bhutan moved there and Thimpu was made the capital. The city of about 80,000 inhabitants has a safe and peaceful atmosphere. Its main attractions include the city’s fortress, the Craft Center, the National Library, and a Buddhist stupa built in memory of the country’s third king.
The lush and fertile Paro Valley and the city are located in the western part of Bhutan, along the old Tibetan trade route. The valley is one of the most fertile growing areas in Bhutan and especially for the red rice variety. Other products grown in the valley are apples and strawberries. Paro’s main attractions include its old fortress, Rinpung Dzong, as well as the National Museum of Bhutan. The city is the only international airport in the country.
Punhha, the old capital of Bhutan, is located at the crossroads of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. The main attraction of the city is Punakha Fort, Punakha Dzong. The fort is considered to be a glorious example of style in Bhutanese fortress architecture. It was built between 1637-38 and is still in operation today. The fortress houses the county offices, the court and the most important religious bodies. According to the story, the fortress was built without drawings as a copy of the palace of Guru Ringpoche, another enlightened buddha, whose architecture he saw in his dream.
Equipment for the trip
The following equipment list is made to facilitate packing for the trip and the products serve as an example:
- Hiking shoes, we recommend models that support the ankles
- Training shoes
- Hiking socks * 2
- Merino wool t-shirt (or moisture-wicking sports t-shirt) * 2
- Light hiking pants
- Hiking shorts
- Shell jacket (eg Gore Tex or similar)
- Shell pants (eg Gore Tex or similar)
- Softshell or fleece jacket
- Headgear to protect from the sun / scarf
- About 30 L daypack
- 2 * 1L water bottles
- Sunscreen (protection factor min. 20)
- Lip balm, protection factor 30-40
- Camping towel
- Ear plugs
- Hiking poles
- Waterproof packing bag
Personal EA package
- Bladder patches
- Ibuprofin or Paracetamol