The itinerary and accommodation are designed to give you a flavour of what is possible and can be tailored to suit your preferences. Prices will vary according to the accommodation selected and season
Responsible tourism: Bhutan holidays, tailor made
If travelling in the winter months then you will be able to see the rare black necked cranes at the Black Mountains National Park. Part of the income generated through tourism is put into preserving the habitat, so your visit contributes greatly. In addition the money that tourism brings into this region also helps to demonstrate to the local people why maintaining this national park is so important. Here in the Phobjika Valley there is a very well-run black neck crane education centre which promotes the importance of these birds and other Bhutanese wildlife (to local people as well as to travellers), and employs local people and protects these wonderful birds.
We advise our clients to act responsibly while travelling with us, to abide by and respect local rules, respect religious ceremonies and avoid taking photographs (several temples are not happy for pictures to be taken), but in any case the client must ask beforehand. Clients are asked to take all normal environmental and socially responsible steps, such as using water and electricity carefully, re-using hand towels and choosing locally produced goods.
Travelling responsibly can take many forms and need not comply solely with the expected norm and focus only on the preservation of wildlife. Simply by visiting an area the traveller can benefit the locality and this positive impact can be greatly enhanced by operating in a sustainable and considerate manner. This is particularly true of Bhutan where the Government specifically controls tourists in order to limit the impact of visitors. The high visa costs are not only designed to limit the number of travellers, but also allow the Government to develop small scale low impact tourism.
On this suggested itinerary your qualified local guide will ensure that you learn a great deal about the culture, history and wildlife of the region and they will also encourage you to buy in local shops, try local restaurants or pick up the odd souvenir in a market. This spending will not only help support the local economy but will also sustain local trades and crafts. Every day as you go from place to place you will be taken to roadside, locally owned cafes/restaurants for lunch, or a cup of tea. They will be family run and the people are charming; it is a wonderful part of the experience. Each one also tends to have a small shop selling local craftwork, the proceeds of which go to the local artisans.
All the drivers and guides used on this tour are local, most are locally qualified and they will offer you a first rate service as they are so proud of their country and of their job. By employing only local Bhutanese guides, travellers are providing both a valuable source of employment as well as generating income for the local community.
Bhutan is very proud of its traditions and local skill. They are great at encouraging the younger generation to continue using traditional work forms such as textile works, paper factories, woodturning and dance. As many of these are included in our sightseeing tours as possible; visitors learn the process, meet the people and chat to local workers and are also given the opportunity to buy in the factory shop.
The Bhutanese government encourages visitors to minimise waste, recycle and save on energy. Added into the cost of any Bhutanese holiday is a tax which is shared among local projects around the country; charity donations are made from this and the king will personally go round sharing (royal) lands amongst those without, meeting the people and ensuring life is running smoothly. The government also scrutinises every development project in the country and these may be slowed or stopped if it affronts religious faith or adversely affects the environment.
In this itinerary all accommodation is locally owned and clients would barely see any sign of foreign investment. The Bhutanese government has managed to keep this to a minimum and therefore only the local people gain from clients' spending. The properties provide all staff, source local food and use local suppliers to carry out extra services required. We provide notes on particular properties if they pay attention to any aspect of responsible tourism. We can suggest appropriate hotels to those that have specific interests and we generally encourage local properties over the small selection of international ones.