Description of Bumthang Valley trekking holiday in Bhutan
The kingdom of Bhutan is one of the world’s great off-the-beaten-path destinations, with its mountain-top temples, towering Himalayan peaks and unique culture. Hiking through this landscape brings a wonderful insight into its history. This small-group guided holiday includes non-strenuous hikes, ideal for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness, and three days of point-to-point trekking, with full-service camping at night. The remaining nine nights are spent in hotels.
This trip through central Bhutan takes in the country’s highlights, including the famous Taktsang ‘Tiger’s Nest’ monastery, as well as meandering through meadows, blue pine forests and bamboo groves, stopping in villages and meeting friendly locals. We witness the masked dances and other festivities of one of Bhutan’s less visited festivals (Domkhar in May and Jambay Lakhang in November), see how yak wool is woven into traditional Bhutanese textiles and pop into museums. This is a trip for anyone who wants to combine an exploration of Bhutan’s fascinating culture with a gentle trek through some of its beautiful valleys.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Bumthang Valley trekking holiday in Bhutan
Activity: Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a walking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints, although this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants, use markets to purchase traditional gifts and crafts. Also in visiting landmarks, cultural sites and National Parks, our fees contribute to the upkeep of these places e.g. Simtokha Dzong, Tashichho Dzong, Chime Lhakhang monastery
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Accommodation & Meals: During your trip to Bhutan you will spend most nights in hotels and then two nights camping. The hotels employ local staff and try to source produce locally if possible in order to promote the area’s economy. The hotels usually offer buffet style food which is a mixture of Bhutanese and Chinese fare. All meals are provided, but clients are encouraged to stop in cafes as much as possible e.g. there is a small cafe opposite the Tiger’s Nest Monastery which has the perfect view of the buildings clinging to the mountain, so this is a good place to stop for a bite. Your local tour leader will be able to point out several authentic spots which are more off the tourist trail and would benefit from your commerce.
Local Craft & Culture: This tour has a large focus on celebrating the culture of Bhutan and, of course, local crafts and traditions come into this. We visit multiple monasteries and workshops, for example the weaving centre and handicraft school in Thimpu. Our tours benefit these small communities here as travellers purchase goods as souvenirs and often make donations. There is also the advantage of perpetuating these ancient ways of life and manners of producing goods. The most flamboyant display of culture we support on the trip is the Domkhar Festival, in Central Bhutan. This is a less touristy occasion than Paro or Thimpu but still retains its vibrant character with traditional songs, fire dances and costumes. Also by law, $70 of the daily cost of any trip in Bhutan goes towards education and health.
A Fair Deal: We employ guides from the area for their insider’s knowledge and huge passion for Bhutan. In exchange for this local expertise, we are happy to give fair wages and treatment to all our staff. They are fully trained and also given refresher courses on responsible travel issues and so are able to convey this to clients in careful briefings. These might include advice on where and when to dispose of litter on a trekking trail or appropriate dress and donations when entering a temple.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.