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Bhutan Expedition in the Hidden Himalayas
The land of the Thunder Dragon remains as mysterious today as ever. Despite the speed of our hyper-connected world, Bhutan is remote and mystical. This adventure is an ambitious 16-day trek into this mountainous haven of the eastern Himalayas. You’ll have the rare chance to summit a 5,400 mountain climbed only once before.
The Bhutan expedition is epic and you’ll be blazing a new path through unclaimed heights and the beautiful heart of Buddhist Bhutan.
- Fly past Mount Everest, Jomolhari, and Kanchenjunga during your internal flight
- View the summit of Gangkhar Puensum, the world’s highest unclimbed peak
- Attempt to summit a 5,400m unnamed mountain, climbed only once before
- Spend ten days trekking through the remote and rugged valleys of Bhutan, places that very few outsiders have seen
- Explore ancient fortresses including the stunning Tiger’s Nest monastery, built into the side of a cliff
- Follow in the footsteps of adventurer Levison Wood
The main goal of this adventure is to summit an unnamed 5,400m peak in the heart of Bhutan. Over the course of ten days, as you make your way to the peak, you’ll have an unobstructed view of the wondrous Gangkhar Puensum. This 7,570m mountain is the highest unclimbed peak on earth. Basecamp will be in the same valley that climber and adventurer Levison Wood camped during his Walking the Himalayas TV series.
The terrain varies throughout the country. Bordered by India, China, Sikkim, West Bengal, and Assam, Bhutan is completely landlocked. On one extreme you have subtropical plains, and on the other, sub-Alpine Himalayan coolness.
During the trip, the food will be healthy and hearty. Outside of trekking, you’ll enjoy a Bhutanese style buffet. You’ll fall in love with the chili and cheese, a local specialty. During the trek itself, local cooks will prepare hot and fantastic meals three times a day. The intention is to fortify you for the hard day’s work and reward you for reaching camp each evening.
Outside of the trek, you’ll have the opportunity to discover a few of the many monasteries and temples that Bhutan is famous for. Perhaps the most famous is Paro Taktsang, or Tiger’s Nest. Built in the late 17th century, legend tells that Guru Padmasambhava meditated on this spot for three years, three months, and three days. He is also credited with bringing Buddhism to the Bhutanese.
The Bhutanese pride themselves on their gross national happiness. Predominantly Buddhist with a large minority of Hindu’s, it has been voted the happiest country in all of Asia. They were the first country to drop gross domestic product as the main development indicator and instead adopt happiness.
Don’t miss out on the few places to take part in this incredible Bhutan expedition. Enquire today to learn more.
You will assemble and meet your expedition leader in Kathmandu, Nepal, before flying on to Paro in Bhutan (this internal flight – with its incredible views of Everest – is included in the expedition cost). Day one in Bhutan is a 3,000m acclimatisation trek whose goal is to see the iconic Tiger’s Nest monastery. An internal flight (included) then takes you to Jakar, Bhutan’s cultural heart and the city nearest to the trailhead. You’ll then receive a blessing from a monk wishing you safe passage (at one of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries) before the expedition proper begins, accompanied by a local cook, support crew and pack animals.
You’ll trek up steep-sided valleys and past turquoise blue rivers, Buddhist stupas, prayer flags and tiny yak herding settlements. Altitude will increase gradually to help with acclimatisation, until you get your first glimpse of the foreboding Gangkhar Puensum. With the mountain’s peak looming in the distance, basecamp will be pitched ready for a very early morning start to your 5,400m summit attempt. If successful you’ll receive impressive views of the highest unclimbed mountain in the world and the eastern end of the Himalayan ranges.
On the return trek, you’ll explore valleys it’s believed no westerners have ever trekked in. After the trek, you’ll celebrate with Swiss cheese and wheat beer! You’ll then drive back to Paro via further cultural highlights such as imposing fortresses and a village adorned with phalluses (see final episode of Wood’s Walking the Himalayas for insight). The expedition will end following the flight back to Kathmandu, at which point you and your fellow teammates will be free to return home or to organise onward travel together.
Landlocked Bhutan is surrounded by China and India, touching borders with Sikkim, Assam, and West Bengal. Its terrain is hugely varied. Depending on altitude you might encounter subtropical plains and sub-Alpine Himalayan heights.
Suitable Team Members
Team members must be over 21 and should be fit and healthy. On many trip operator expeditions, teammates carry all their own kit, equipment and often food. For Bhutan, there are pack animals to carry your larger bag and tents, and so team members will all be carrying just a day sack, see below. Team members must be fully prepared for the following.
Walk – up to eight hours per day comfortably (up to 20km per day, the average is 12km per day).
Carrying – a day sack weighing up to 10kg (water, warmer layers and waterproofs).
Terrain – on small footpaths over often rough, uneven and mountainous terrain at up to 5,400m.
Climate – it’s likely to be cool, dry and sunny with colder temperatures at night/ at altitude.
Temperatures: Daytime temperature averages 15°C which can drop to -10°C at night/ at altitude.
Your accommodation during this trek will be in comfortable three-star hotels when in more urban areas. On the trek itself, tents will be provided and set up by our local in-country partners.
When not on the trek food, meals will often be buffet styled. The food will be hearty and healthy although watch out for the chilli and cheese, a local speciality! On the trek itself, you’ll be accompanied by local cooks who will prepare hot meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner times. The food is delicious and will help to fortify you for the day’s trek, or indeed reward you at the end of each day once you’ve reached camp.
Dates: 22 October – 6 November 2017
Price: 4,799 GBP
- All internal flights (a return Kathmandu – Paro flight and a one-way flight to Jakar).
- All internal vehicular transport and transfers.
- Local guides, drivers, cooks and assistants.
- Professional trip operator guide(s).
- All relevant entrance fees to cultural sites and attractions.
- All food, meals and non-alcoholic drinks.
- All relevant park entry permissions and permits.
- Visas (information on visas will be supplied to successful applicants).
- International flights.
- Suitable travel insurance (obligatory).
- Alcohol and purchases or costs of a personal nature.
- Personal kit and equipment (a full kit list will be supplied on application).
When it comes to getting off the beaten track these guys can’t be beaten. They lead pioneering expeditions to some of the most remote regions on earth. The organisers are dedicated to creating imaginative experiences for adventurers around the world and their team of expert military guides are some of the most experienced in the industry.
Nowhere is off limits and no idea is too crazy. They have achieved ground breaking world firsts such as mountain biking in Afghanistan and mountaineering in Iraq and their first ever expeditions to walk across Madagascar and pioneer white water rafting in South Sudan both made the headlines…. and a bit of history.
Being wild and wacky is one thing but with their background as commanders in the British Army and experienced team of specialists in every kind of terrain and environment means that all of their adventures are thoroughly planned and the safety and security of teams is always their highest priority.
Expeditions can be inherently risky, but they do everything possible to minimise potential hazards and for that, and the utterly extraordinary trips they put on, we salute them.
- Trip Code: AWA388
- Dates: 22 Oct – 6 Nov 2017
- Price: 4,799 GBP
- Depart: Kathmandu, Nepal
- Arrive: Kathmandu, Nepal
- Length: 16 days
- Adventure: This Bhutan Expedition is a rare chance to summit an unnamed 5,400 m mountain and to gaze across at the highest unclimbed peak in the world.