Bhutan Discovered
from $4000
Duration: 7 Days
Bhutan is Asia’s best-kept secret. Overshadowed and nestled between China and India, it is a relatively new travel spot, with many undiscovered secrets in its natural scenery and quiet townships. The land is dotted with red-clothed monks, ancient Buddhist temples, and friendly smiles. It is one calm country, where gross national happiness is more important than money, where chilies are used as a vegetable rather than for spice, and the thunder dragon, Druk, is emblazoned on the national flag, symbolising the people of Bhutan: loyal, patriotic and living with a total sense of belonging within the kingdom.
  • According to Lonely Planet, Bhutan is the top country to visit in 2020: here’s why we agree: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/lonely-planet-2020-bhutan/
  • A magical kingdom in the Himalayas nestled between two spiritual hubs, Tibet and India, it would be hard not to feel closer to enlightenment in this hidden paradise.
  • Bhutan is quite possibly the most environmentally friendly country in the world; by law, 60% of the country must remain protected national forest and the country actually absorbs more carbon than it uses.
  • Journey to Taktsang, commonly known as the Tiger's Nest, the small monastery clinging to a rocky cliff 900 metres above the valley floor, and soak in its magnificence.
  • While it’s legal to consume imported meat, the slaughtering animals for consumption within Bhutan are outright banned therefore delicious veggie dishes are varied and bountiful at every meal.
  • Hike to the top of Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a monastery built to bring peace to the world, and enjoy breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding rice terraces.
  • Thimphu - Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre
  • Thimphu - Nado Poizokhang Incense Factory
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Thimphu - National Memorial Chorten
  • Thimphu - Village walk & picnic lunch
  • Thimphu - Choki Traditional Art School
  • Thimphu - Drubthob Nunnery
  • Thimphu - National Textile Museum
  • Punakha Valley - Chimi Lhakhang
  • Punakha - Punakha Dzong
  • Paro - Home cooked dinner & family visit
  • Paro - Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery hike
  • Complimentary Airport Departure Transfer
  • Day 1 Location: Paro - Thimphu
    After arrival at Paro Airport and making your way through immigration and customs formalities, you will be greeted by your guide and driver and warmly welcomed to the enchanting Land of the Thunder Dragon. Drive for approximately 2 hours alongside mountains, rivers, and fields of red rice to Thimphu, Bhutan's capital city. After lunch, you may visit Nado Poizokhang Incense Factory, Bhutan’s famous traditional incense maker, as well as the colourful Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre. Once everyone has arrived, you’ll have a joining meeting and dinner before wandering and exploring the fascinating streets of Thimphu, the world’s only capital city without a traffic light!
    Day 2 Location: Thimphu
    Today begins with a pleasant walk that meanders gently up the valley through paddy fields, pristine woodlands, and a Tibetan village, a trail that continues uphill (1 hour) to the Cheri Dorji Dhen monastery – built in 1620 by Shabdrung, the first ruler of Bhutan. Enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to Thimpu for an afternoon of sightseeing. Begin by visiting the National Memorial Chorten – many Thimphu residents consider this to be the heart and soul of Thimphu and gather here every day to pray and walk clockwise around the chorten. Afterward, visit Drubthob Nunnery, the Choki Traditional Art School, and the incredible National Textile Museum. If you’re in the mood for a spot of shopping, the National Handicrafts Emporium offers high-quality traditional goods and a small family-run enterprise that manufactures paper and paper products using traditional methods.
    Day 3 Location: Punakha
    This morning, drive to Punakha – the ancient winter capital of Bhutan. Stop at Dochu-La pass for a breathtaking view of the eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan's highest mountain, the majestic Gangkhar Puensum. Continue the journey before taking another break. Enjoy a short walk to visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple built in 1499 by lama Drukpa Kunley. With its three towers, and wonderful location at the confluence of two rivers, it is considered by many to be the most beautiful of Bhutan’s 21 Dzongs. Arrive in Punakha for a good night’s rest before another day of exploration tomorrow.
    Day 4 Location: Punakha
    Head down to the convergence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers, two of the main rivers of Bhutan, and admire breathtaking views of the majestic Punakha Dzong, the second oldest and second-largest Dzong in the country, as well as the cantilever bridge that spans across the river. Afterward, you might like to join your leader for an optional hike to Khamsum Yulley Monastery – an elaborately decorated chorten, built to ward off evil spirits and bring peace and harmony to all living things. As with many monasteries in Bhutan, your leader will need to hunt around for the caretaker with the keys to have a look inside!
    Day 5 Location: Thimpu - Paro
    This morning head back over the Dochu-La and continue to Thimphu (approximately 4 hours) The roads in Bhutan are narrow, and while the distances don’t appear to be very far, due to the nature of the roads and the many valleys they pass through, travelling can take some time – so this is a good chance to relax and refresh. After lunch in Thimpu, continue by vehicle into the Paro Valley. This evening, experience Bhutanese hospitality and a taste of tradition with a home-cooked meal at the rustic Tshering Farm House. Soak up the friendly atmosphere and try your hand at Bhutan's national sport, archery, with an introductory lesson.
    Day 6 Location: Tiger's Nest Monastery
    After an early breakfast followed by a short drive, prepare for your hike to the legendary Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) – a magnificent monastery, clinging on a rock cliff 900 meters above the valley floor. After approximately 1 hour ascending the mountainside, reach a small teahouse that has a wonderful panoramic view of the temple and the ideal place to enjoy lunch. For those interested, it’s possible to get a closer view by hiking another 45 minutes to 1 hour (each direction) to reach the small chorten directly across from the temple. Anyone not interested in hiking any further can relax at the teahouse and enjoy the view.
    Day 7 Location: Paro
    Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before a departure transfer to Paro airport for your flight out of Bhutan.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    04MAR2022
    Return Date:
    10MAR2022
    4000NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    18MAR2022
    Return Date:
    24MAR2022
    4000NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    15APR2022
    Return Date:
    21APR2022
    4320NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    19APR2022
    Return Date:
    25APR2022
    4405NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    22APR2022
    Return Date:
    28APR2022
    4160NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    16SEP2022
    Return Date:
    22SEP2022
    4000NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    30SEP2022
    Return Date:
    06OCT2022
    4160NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    14OCT2022
    Return Date:
    20OCT2022
    4320NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    28OCT2022
    Return Date:
    03NOV2022
    4320NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    04NOV2022
    Return Date:
    10NOV2022
    4160NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    08 Sep 2021

    Trip title

    Bhutan Discovered

    Trip code

    HJKB

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2021

    Introduction

    Bhutan is Asia’s best-kept secret. Overshadowed and nestled between China and India, it is a relatively new travel spot, with many undiscovered secrets in its natural scenery and quiet townships. The land is dotted with red-clothed monks, ancient Buddhist temples, and friendly smiles. It is one calm country, where gross national happiness is more important than money, where chilies are used as a vegetable rather than for spice, and the thunder dragon, Druk, is emblazoned on the national flag, symbolising the people of Bhutan: loyal, patriotic and living with a total sense of belonging within the kingdom.

    Style

    Comfort

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    Private vehicle

    Physical Rating

    3

    Physical preparation

    BHUTAN: A reasonable level of fitness is required to enjoy this trip. Many monasteries in Bhutan are reached by long flights of steps. The hike to Tiger Nest Monastery is approx 5 hours return via many uneven steps. You will be at altitudes of over 2500m, which can affect even the fittest traveller, so be prepared to be a little breathless and speak to your doctor prior to travel if you have any health concerns.

    Joining point

    Pedling Hotel & Spa

    Norzin Lam,Near Swiss Bakery

    Thimphu

    P.O.Box: 976, Thimpu

    BHUTAN

    Finish point

    Tenzinling Resort

    Lango

    Paro

    BHUTAN

    Phone: +975 8272773

    Fax: +975 8272503

    Important information

    1. Entry to Bhutan is very strict and travellers can only enter Bhutan on a group visa as part of a tour. All travellers must arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 7 to be eligible for a group visa. At the time of booking, please provide your booking agent with a clear uncut scanned colour copy of the two pages of the personal details section of your passport. Bhutan Immigration is extremely strict. If one passport scan fails to meet their requirements the whole group’s visa will be rejected, thus delaying the process significantly. 2. Complimentary airport arrival and departure transfers are included. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel. 3. Please be aware that Bhutan's airlines are renowned for last-minute changes to flight timetables into and out of Bhutan. Please allow a minimum of 24 hours of transit time before and after your flights into and out of Bhutan. Timetables are available on the Druk Airlines and Air Bhutan websites. 4. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    PETTY CRIME: The crime rate in Bhutan is low, but there are occasional thefts and petty crime, such as pick-pocketing and purse snatching in areas frequented by tourists.

    Communications

    BHUTAN: Internet access is generally fast and very good in both Thimpu and Paro. There may be limited internet access in smaller towns and villages. WiFi is generally free in the lobby and restaurant section of a hotel but charges may apply for internet use within your room.

    Visas

    PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. COVID-19 Entry and Exit Requirements Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for the most up to date information.You may also refer to our travel alert page for more info https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/travel-alerts Make sure you are familiar with the current border measures and entry requirements as these are quite complex and changing frequently without notice. Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers your travels as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country. RETURN TRAVEL Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour. We are able to help facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as assist with booking appointments for all travellers who need to be tested. BHUTAN All nationalities require a visa for Bhutan. Travellers can only enter Bhutan on a group visa as part of a tour. Independent visas are not issued. The cost of the visa is included in your tour. Please provide your booking agent with the following at time of booking in order for us to apply for your group visa: - a clear uncut scanned colour copy of the two pages of the personal details section of your passport - email address you will access while travelling - arrival and departure flight details Due to the controlled nature of travel in Bhutan the group visa can only be submitted once we have the above details from ALL travellers in the group. Failure to advise any of the information as above can slow the visa issuing process, and delay the visa for the whole group. Generally visas are issued within 5 days of departure and as close as 48 hours prior to travel into the country. We will send your group visa to your travelling email address. Please print this group visa as you must show it at check-in for your flight to Bhutan and on arrival at immigration in Bhutan, where you will have an entry stamp placed in your passport. Please note that the visa is issued by the Royal Government of Bhutan and will contain the nationality and passport number of every member of the group who is travelling on the same departure.

    Why we love it

    According to Lonely Planet, Bhutan is the top country to visit in 2020: here’s why we agree: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/lonely-planet-2020-bhutan/

    A magical kingdom in the Himalayas nestled between two spiritual hubs, Tibet and India, it would be hard not to feel closer to enlightenment in this hidden paradise.

    Bhutan is quite possibly the most environmentally friendly country in the world; by law, 60% of the country must remain protected national forest and the country actually absorbs more carbon than it uses.

    Journey to Taktsang, commonly known as the Tiger's Nest, the small monastery clinging to a rocky cliff 900 metres above the valley floor, and soak in its magnificence.

    While it’s legal to consume imported meat, the slaughtering animals for consumption within Bhutan are outright banned therefore delicious veggie dishes are varied and bountiful at every meal.

    Hike to the top of Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a monastery built to bring peace to the world, and enjoy breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding rice terraces.

    Is this trip right for you

    Despite Bhutan being a small country, you'll experience long travel days as most roads are single lane. It’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates. The trek to Tiger's Nest is quite vigorous but well worth the climb. Please ensure you bring sturdy walking shoes and comfortable clothes. To make the most of this hike, it's best if you have at least a moderate level of fitness. Bhutan is a high-altitude destination, so taking it easy for a day or two makes for a much more comfortable trip. Drinking tea and water and avoiding strenuous exercise will help you acclimatise after arriving. Please be aware that hot water is limited in some places. Speaking of all things heated, the Bhutanese love chilli and the food can be a touch spicy. All meals are included due to the nature of travelling in Bhutan. This means there may be limited choices on some days.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels HEALTH SCREENING If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. TESTING & VACCINATION POLICY From 1st May 2021 we introduced new safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia and New Zealand. On trips departing before 1st September 2021, you will need to show one of the below to your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or - Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip, or - Proof of recovery documentation In addition, if you’re aged 70+ or have an existing health condition that puts you at a higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, you are also required to provide proof of vaccination before you can join a trip. MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY From 1st of September 2021 we have introduced enhanced safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. You will need to show your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit https://www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19 ALTITUDE SICKNESS: Much of Bhutan is at elevations of over 2,500m and travellers can be affected by altitude sickness. Altitude sickness can be life threatening and can affect anyone, even the physically fit. Those more at risk include people who have had altitude sickness before, who exercise or drink alcohol before adjusting to the altitude, or who have health problems that affect breathing. See your doctor prior to travelling to Bhutan to get advice specific to you and your situation. Monitor your health and well-being during the trip and report immediately to your leader if you feel unwell. Ensure your travel insurance covers you for altitude sickness and medical evacuation. MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES: Outbreaks of dengue fever and malaria have been known to occur in Bhutan. Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses by taking measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing.

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure. BHUTAN FOOD: All meals are included with the cost of your trip to Bhutan. Generally, meals will be buffet style and taken in your hotel or guesthouse. Lunches and dinners will generally include a selection of western, Chinese, or Indian style dishes, with some local specialties on occasion. Don't forget to try the National dishes of emma datse (chili and cheese) and delicious red rice. Rice and vegetable dishes are always present for every meal. Vegetarians are well catered for and meat is the exception rather than the rule with most meals. Bottled and alcoholic drinks are not included with meals and are paid for separately. Each restaurant typically will cook about three or four dishes per group to share. Choices are limited and feedback has suggested that the food isn't the main reason to visit Bhutan. Meals may become a little monotonous with similar offerings at most restaurants.  Please don't be offended that your leader and driver do not eat with you. This is the custom in Bhutan and leaders and drivers generally eat together in another section of the restaurant.  

    Money matters

    BHUTAN The official currency of Bhutan is the Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN). The Indian Rupee is also accepted as legal tender in Bhutan, but Indian currency in large denominations may not be accepted. You can exchange all major currencies at the airport on arrival. Ensure you have new, clean and undamaged notes. Also, note that there are variable rates for bigger foreign currency notes and currency notes of smaller denominations. Higher denominations get you a better exchange rate. ATMs are common in towns. EFTPOS services are available nationwide, including at most hotels. Credit cards are not widely accepted, but can be used at reputable hotels. It is not possible to exchange BTN outside of Bhutan so ensure you keep any exchange receipts in order to convert any remaining currency back before you leave. BHUTAN: All meals are included on your Bhutan trip. You will only need extra spending money for souvenirs, drinks and tips. Best to bring cash, as it is easily exchanged into local currency. ATMs are available only in Thimphu and Paro. Credit cards are accepted only in larger tourist shops for large purchases. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Hotels / Restaurants: USD 0.50 - 1 for porters and restaurant staff Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of US$ 1-2 per person, per day is generally appropriate. Local transport: For a city tour we suggest US$ 1 per person, per day. Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$ 5 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps). If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

    WATER BOTTLE Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination, if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage

    Feedback

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below: Intrepid’s Local Operator: +977 980 112 3617

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel BHUTAN LOCAL DRESS: Bhutan is a conservative country in standards of dress and behavior. Dress modestly and respectfully when visiting temples or other religious sites. Long trousers are most appropriate for men and longer length skirts or trousers are most appropriate for women.

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation. Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

    Transport notes

    BHUTAN: Whilst there are approx 8000km of roads in Bhutan, the quality varies greatly depending on proximity to the major towns of Thimpu and Paro. As such, even short distances can take longer than expected. Bhutan is currently upgrading a lot of its road network and delays are common. Roads are narrow and speeds are slow. Landslides are common, particularly after rain and occasionally trips are diverted due to debris blocking roads. Thimpu is also famous as the worlds only capital city without a traffic light.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

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