October 24 - November 7, 2020
Trip Leader - Gene Goldberg | Assistant Leader - Deirdre Butler
The small Kingdom of Bhutan sits balanced in the valleys of the Himalayas, balanced between the giants of China and India, balanced between an ancient past and a modern future, balanced between a manual, rural lifestyle and a digital urban one, balanced between Buddhist traditions and the industrial age.
Now is a good time to explore this Land of the Thunder Dragon with us, to visit its countryside, its ancient temples, its humble villages, and to see it in transition as its people engage in a conscious struggle to enter the modern world without losing their traditional values.
In my homeland I possess one hundred horses, yet if I go, I go on foot. – Bhutanese proverb
Bhutan is about the same size as Switzerland, with about 1/10 the population, 800,000, or about the same as Albuquerque, NM. It is one of the few countries in the world that has been independent throughout its history. The first paved road was built in 1964, and the first foreign tourists permitted in 1974. In 2008 the country became a constitutional monarchy with the adoption of the current constitution and the ascension of the current king, Jigme Keshar Namgyel Wangchuck.
“There is no colonial history or architecture to get in the way of what is Bhutanese.”
On our trip we will explore western and central Bhutan. We will be taking short walks to richly decorated temples, monasteries perched on cliff sides, impregnable fortresses, and traditional villages. We will visit people in their homes and important cultural sites such as the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Taktsang Goempa.) We will watch the national sport of archery, partake in the daily life of the Bhutanese in their homes, and also their festive celebrations as we attend a Drubchen, a traditional festival honoring local deities.
This trip is suited for active walkers who like to hike 2-3 miles daily in hilly and sometimes steep and maybe muddy conditions. We have one hike of 4.5 miles with 2,100 feet of elevation gain on rocky trails with steep drop offs. That day it is possible to rent a horse to ride 2/3 of the way up, but not down. Our elevations vary from 7,200 feet to 10,200 feet. All hikes are optional.
All flights to Bhutan are on either Druk Airlines, the national airline, or the private Bhutan Airlines. Your best routing will be Druk’s Bangkok-Paro route. Booking on Druk is only through Asian ticketing agencies. To help you, we have reserved a block of seats on this flight for the group. The cost is not included in the trip price. The flight will leave Bangkok on the morning of October 24 and return there from Paro on November 7. The exact cost and schedule has not yet been published but the cost should not exceed the amount referenced. Additional details (and hopefully savings) will be sent to trip members once available. Benefits to being on this flight are that you will be met at the airport by our bus and should the flight be delayed you will be part of our group and it will be easier for us to deal with the problem.
Remember in your planning, that flights crossing the Pacific from the US cross the International Date Line, so it takes three calendar days to get to Bangkok. For example, if you leave California on the evening of October 21 on an overnight flight, you will skip the 22nd instantly as you cross the date line, thus arriving in Bangkok on the evening of October 23. Then you can make our flight to Paro on the morning of the 24th. On the return, even though your flight is 12 hours long, because you cross the date line again you may well land earlier than your departure time! You are strongly encouraged to arrive in Bangkok a day or two early to enjoy the city and help overcome jet lag before our trip begins and especially to allow for any flight delays or lost baggage.
- All lodging in three-star hotels.
- Internal domestic flight.
- All on-trip land transportation.
- All luggage transfers.
- All on-trip meals including non-alcoholic beverages.
- All entrance fees for listed activities.
- Processing and purchase of Bhutanese Visitor Pass for US citizens, others please inquire.
- Group airport transfers (when joining return group air travel Bangkok-Paro-Bangkok).
- Full time English speaking local guide.
- Gratuities for local service providers.
- 4 pre - trip bulletins prior to departure with more detailed and specific information to help you prepare for your adventure.
What’s not included:
- International flights to/ from Paro.
- Return airfare Bangkok-Paro-Bangkok.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Travel insurance.
- Tips for trip leaders are at your discretion.
Trip Price $5,800 per person Deposit $1,450 per person
Plus: International flight Bangkok-Paro-Bangkok: $1,000* pp | Deposit: $300 payable by December 21, 2019
*Provisional RT airfare price is dependent on the actual price to be published by Druk Airlines. Actual cost should not exceed this amount. Option to purchase return group air ticket is guaranteed until December 21, 2019. A nonrefundable deposit of $300 will secure your space on this return flight and is payable by Dec 21, 2019. After this date availability can not be guaranteed.
Price is based on double occupancy of rooms. Same gender roommate will be assigned to participants traveling solo. Single supplements are limited. Your non-refundable deposit will hold your reservation. Either pay on line (credit/ debit cards accepted) using our secure PayPal payment system or write a check, payable to “Big Round World”, and mail it to: PO Box 1337, Lyons, CO 80540.
How to Sign Up
- Pay your trip deposit - click on the yellow Buy Now button below.
- Send us your trip paperwork.