17 tel: 0845 330 8579 (local call rate, UK only) international tel: +44 1453 844 400 www.himalayankingdoms.com Prayer flags on the Dochu La Pass Photo: Jude Limburn Turner Punakha Dzong Photo: Nicholas Thompson The Kingdom of Bhutan This tour is designed to get ‘under the surface’ of Bhutanese culture. We meet villagers and weavers in their own homes, attend genuine Tibetan Buddhist festivals in the courtyards of the country’s monasteries and travel right into Bhutan’s interior. There is no trekking, but gentle walks to villages provide some exercise and we stay in some of the best quality hotels available. Centuries of isolation have left the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon unique. The architecture is unlike anything else found in the Himalaya – the houses are more akin to Swiss chalets, but painted with magic symbols to keep out evil spirits – their national dress has survived, as has their “Dragon” sect of Buddhism. The enormous monastery/fortresses, or Dzongs, still stand after earthquake and war and are still in use today. Archery is the national sport and the mystic rites are almost as important as hitting the target. Bhutan is also renowned for producing the highest quality fabrics of any of the Himalayan regions. Definitive Cultural Tour of Bhutan £2,695 £2,170 Dates: Sat 16 Feb – Sun 02 Mar*, Tue 18 Mar – Tue 01 Apr Tue 30 Sep – Tue 14 Oct*, Sat 04 Oct – Sat 18 Oct † land only Grade: Cultural Tour European Leader: Moira Viggers*, Michael Rutland*, Siân Pritchard-Jones† Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 11/12 Tourist Lodges: Optional: Single Room £145 Insurance: £69 (Standard Policy) Days Typical Itinerary Duration: 15/16* days 1–3 Fly to Kathmandu, at leisure, fly to Bhutan 4–6 Sightseeing Paro and Thimphu, attend festival, drive to Punakha 7–9 Village walks, drive to Gangtey, sightseeing Phobjikha valley 10–12 Drive to Thimphu, at leisure, drive to Paro, view Taksang temple 13–15 Fly to Kathmandu, at leisure, fly to London Guaranteed to run for a minimum of clients Adults Children under 12 £2,665 £2,045 £1,995 £1,515 Dates: Sat 05 Apr – Fri 18 Apr land only land only Grade: Gentle Day Walks: 5 days European Leader: Mike Ford Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 11 Lodge/Guest house: 1 Optional: Single Room £130 Insurance: £95 (Standard Policy) Days Itinerary Duration: 14 days 1–2 Fly to Kathmandu 3–4 Fly to Bhutan, day walks in Paro Valley, drive to Thimphu –5 Day walks in Thimphu valley 6–7 Drive to Punakha, day walks 8–9 Drive to Thimphu, day walks 10–11 Drive to Paro, visit Ha Valley, walk up to Taksang temple 12–14 Fly to Kathmandu, at leisure, fly to London Guaranteed to run for a minimum of4clients Other family treks – see page 28 & 34 Other cultural tours – see page 29, 38, 39, 52, 56 & 58 All departures attend a national festival 4 Family Trek in Bhutan – Easter Holidays Over Easter 2001 Steve and Seraphina Berry led our first family trek to Bhutan. The trek was an unqualified success and the 4 children and 8 adults enjoyed perfect weather and many adventures. All the party thought the itinerary was a perfect, varied combination of walking and sightseeing. We have carefully chosen a series of interesting day walks. We will visit many important temples, fortresses, villages and markets, and expect to meet many interesting and influential Bhutanese people. We stay in the best hotels in Paro and Thimphu and comfortable lodges elsewhere and enjoy a spectacular mountain flight with stunning views of the Himalaya. We shall experience the many sights and sounds that make Bhutan one of the most fascinating places on Earth. As our connection with Bhutan goes back to 1986, our clients can be assured of a real insider’s view of the kingdom.
Here is something extremely special: the chance to trek the full length of Bhutan’s highest mountains, the completion of which would be the major achievement of a lifetime. Only a small handful of westerners have ever managed the whole route. The trek begins from Paro, making its way past Mt Chomolhari (7,314m/23,997ft), Bhutan’s second highest peak, before crossing numerous high passes, including one above 4,900m/16,000ft, finally to arrive at the village of Laya. From here instead of turning south to the old winter capital of Punakha the trek crosses the Karakachu La (5,200m/17,000ft) to enter Bhutan’s most remote district, Lunana. It is a difficult place to reach and even the King of Bhutan has not been there. It is enclosed on all sides by high mountains and the lowest pass affording entry is 16,500ft/ 5,000m. Even this is impassable during the winter months leaving Lunana totally isolated from the outside world. Its inhabitants venture beyond these passes only occasionally to trade goods at the old winter capital a week’s walk away. In 1989 we were the second ever British party to enter Lunana and exit via the spectacular Gophu La (5,230m/17,160ft). The first was the remarkable exploring botanist, Frank Ludlow in 1949. The pass gives excellent views of Gangkar Punsum (7,550m/24,770ft), the highest peak in Bhutan, and now the world’s highest unclimbed mountain. Many legends surround Lunana including stories involving the Dredmo or Yeti. Also the evil spirits of seven Tibetan brothers, defeated in battle, inhabit the area, the most powerful of whom live in a wood near Chozo Dzong, a village we pass through. Lunana’s remoteness makes it a demanding trek and those embarking on it must be in excellent physical condition and have plenty of walking experience. Mount Chomolhari Approach This trek follows the route of the Hidden Kingdom Trek as far as Lingshi, then turns south towards Thimphu, allowing Chomolhari base camp to be reached on a shorter trek. Even though this is only an eighteen day itinerary it takes us into very remote and mountainous country, crossing two high passes, both of which are nearly 4,880m/16,000ft. Nevertheless we have allowed the same time for acclimatisation as on the Hidden Kingdom Trek, giving us a chance to trek up to Chomolhari’s glacier, and to look properly around the fortress at Lingshi. At 7,314m/23,997ft, Chomolhari is the second highest peak in Bhutan. 18 Download detailed itineraries from www.himalayankingdoms.com e: email@example.com Yaks resting close to Mount Chomolhari Photo: Steve Berry Glacial lake on the Lunana trek Photo: Steve Berry The Complete Lunana Snowman Trek £4,795 £4,260 Dates: Sat 27 Sep – Tue 04 Nov land only Grade: Strenuous On Trek: 28 days European Leader: Steve Findlay Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 8 Camping: 27 Lodges/Guest houses: 2 Optional: Single Room £160 Single Tent £50 Insurance: £185 (Insurance Plus) Days Itinerary Duration: 39 days 1–3 Fly to Kathmandu, at leisure, fly to Bhutan –4 Visit Taksang 5–32 On trek Lingshi – Laya – Lunana – Bumthang 33–35 Bumthang, drive to Tongsa and Thimphu –36 Rest, sightseeing, drive to Paro 37–39 Fly to Kathmandu, at leisure, fly to London Guaranteed to run for a minimum of6clients £2,595 £1,975 Tue 15 Apr – Fri 02 May £2,495 £1,975 Tue 07 Oct – Fri 24 Oct, Tue 14 Oct – Fri 31 Oct land only land only Grade: Vigorous/Strenuous On Trek: 10 days In-country Leader Nights’ Accommodation: Hotels: 7 Camping: 9 Optional: Single Room £130 Single Tent £50 Insurance: £99 (Standard Policy) Days Itinerary Duration: 18 days 1–2 Fly to Kathmandu, at leisure 3–4 Fly to Paro, sightseeing, trek to Taksang 5–14 Trek to Chomolhari Base Camp, and Lingshi, return to Thimphu –15 Sightseeing in Thimphu 16–18 Fly to Kathmandu, at leisure, fly to London The Autumn departure varies slightly due to Bhutanese flight schedules Guaranteed to run for a minimum of3clients