Boonserm

Boonserm Tours & Travels

Since 2001, Providing safe, reliable and quality travel services...

Trekking Tips

Trekking in Bhutan is a unique experience with a combination of natural discovery and an insight into the country's unique daily life. Many of the trails take walkers past remote and ancient monasteries, through deep forests, and close to villages. The trails pass grasslands and pastures for livestock, beautiful crystal lakes, meadows of wild flowers, butterflies, and grazing animals. Trekkers often get to view a variety of flora and fauna.

 

We currently specialize in 11 trekking packages well spread over the whole country. Our professional and well experienced guides and staff will ensure that our trekkers are fully safe and satisfied. All the meals in the camp are carefully planned and prepared by trained cooks to ensure maximum hygiene and safety of our trekkers.

 

 

"We had two cooks and they were both excellent. It is amazing that they can prepare such gourmet meals from the campsite; we were very impressed with the food and their kindness. Our vegetarian needs were very well met. We are grateful to Boonserm Tours & Travels for giving us this once in a life time experinece and opportunity to see the real Bhutan and its gracious people." Carsten Henningsen, USA

 

NOTES ON CLOTHING

The clothing list below is provided as a guideline only. Dress on the trip is very informal, with the exception of festivals (if you are attending) and two or three city dinners for which you may want to dress up a little (jackets are not required for men). Basic laundry service is available in lodges. People in Bhutan dress modestly and visitors should also take care to dress modestly. Shorts for women are frowned upon, but if you feel you must bring shorts, make sure they come to the knee. Long baggy pants are comfortable and appropriate. Some women like wearing a mid-calf hiking skirt with thermal underwear underneath; a skirt also provides some privacy for toilet purposes on the trail. Sleeveless shirts are not appropriate at any time. For men, wearing running shorts or hiking bare-chested is not appropriate. Kneelength walking shorts are fine for men. However shorts and short-sleeved shirts shouldn’t be worn inside monasteries by men or women.

 

CLOTHING

  • Gore-tex waterproof jacket with hood. A poncho is not adequate.
  • Gore-tex waterproof pants (preferably with leg zippers so they can be taken off without removing your boots)
  • Fleece sweater
  • Hiking pants—jeans are not suitable because they are made of dense cotton. Synthetic hiking pants are a practical choice.
  • Sturdy hiking shorts, modest and knee-length
  • Polypropylene or Capilene long underwea bottoms and tops, medium weight
  • Long-sleeved shirts. Quick-drying ―travel􀔡 fabrics like nylon are ideal.
  • T-shirts (synthetics are best)
  • Shade hat with wide brim
  • Fleece hat for warmth
  • Fleece mittens or gloves
  • Fleece neck gaiter
  • waterproof mountain trekking boots
  • Running shoes, Tevas, or other comfortable shoes for city wear
  • Hiking socks. Thorlo hiking socks (moisture-wicking synthetic with padded toes and heels) are excellent as are SmartWool.
  • Casual socks for city wear
  • Underwear; synthetics dry faster
  • Sports bra for women (optional)
  • Sleepwear
  • Casual city/hotel attire

 

EQUIPMENT

  • Water bottle (Nalgene is preferable)
  • Good quality sunglasses
  • Personal toiletries, biodegradable soap
  • Flashlight or lightweight headlamp and extra batteries
  • Assorted plastic bags to organize items in your luggage
  • Toilet paper (Kleenex pocket packs are handy)
  • Good quality sleeping bag (Medium to heavy recommended)

 

OPTIONAL ITEMS

  • Converter/plug adaptor for appliance use in hotels (Bhutan has 220-volt current, 50 cycles; plugs have two or three round pins. Electricity in Bhutan is erratic and power fluctuations can cause damage to your appliances.)
  • Collapsible hiking poles. Hiking poles, such as those by Leki and REI, help to distribute your body weight, taking pressure off your knees and improving your overall balance. Many hikers like using one pole, while others prefer two.
  • Umbrella for sun and rain protection
  • Camera, spare batteries, film
  • Bandannas (good for protecting your neck from the sun and for use as a handkerchiefs)
  • Reading/writing material
  • Binoculars (small, lightweight)
  • Your favorite between-meal snacks, such as trail mix or energy bars
  • Money belt or neck pouch. Always carry your passport, credit cards, and cash with you in a money belt or neck pouch tucked down inside your shirt or blouse.
  • Travel clock, small mirror, small knife, sewing kit

 

TREKKING SUPPLIES

On your trek, you will be provided: a two-person sleeping tent, a toilet tent, a dining tent, a kitchen tent, sleeping pads, cooking staff, pack animals (horses) for carrying luggage and supplies, and a trekking guide. You will need to bring a duffel bag for your clothing and other items because the pack animals cannot carry hard-back suitcases. You will be accompanied by your guide. There will be about a total of 5-6 trekking staff accompanying you on your trek (guide, cook, cook helpers, horse men and horses). You can carry a small daypack, and the horses will carry your heavier luggage. Your trekking staff will put up the tents in the evening and take down the tents in the morning for you every day on your trek. You do not need to do anything except relax and enjoy your trek.

 

MEDICAL INFORMATION

The following recommendations should be used as a guideline only; consult your physician for advice.

 

PERSONAL FIRST AID SUPPLIES

You are responsible for bringing a small medical kit for personal use. Please bring adequate supply of any supplies you need.

  • Sunscreen SPF #30 or higher
  • Lip balm with sunscreen
  • Aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol for muscle pain or headache, Tylenol PM for sleep
  • Topical antibiotic (such as Neosporin) for cuts, bites, or sores
  • Insect repellent
  • Blister kit, Second Skin, assorted Band-Aids
  • Anti-bacterial gel for hand washing
  • Antihistamine such as Benedryl and cold remedy such as Sudafed
  • Pepto-Bismol tablets for heartburn, diarrhea
  • Imodium for diarrhea. If you wish to bring an antibiotic for diarrhea prophylaxis, please consult your physician.
  • Prescription medications properly labeled
  • Spare contact lenses or spare pair of prescription glasses
  • Feminine protection (not always available for purchase). Women may have disrupted menstrual cycles when traveling, so bring supplies just to be safe.

 

Optional

Diamox for altitude acclimatization. (Please consult with your physician regarding dosage, side effects, and possible allergic reactions, etc. If you take Diamox at any time, you must advise your Tour guide.

 

STAYING HEALTHY

Change of diet and a number of other factors can cause stomach upsets while traveling, To guard against illness, follow these guidelines: Consider all tap water unsafe. Do not drink it or brush your teeth with it. Boiled/Bottled water is available everywhere. Don’t drink the water served in restaurants (order bottled water). Avoid ice in your drinks (it may not have been made with treated water). Beware of uncooked or raw foods such as salads. Don’t eat fruit unless you have peeled it yourself. Avoid custards, pastry creams, yogurt, and milk where refrigeration and pasteurization are unreliable. Don’t eat food bought from sidewalk vendors. Overall, be conservative about what you eat. Frequent hand washing, especially after using the bathroom and before eating, can cut down on the possibility of traveler’s diarrhea. If you have a restricted diet, please let us know in advance.

 

ALTITUDE CONSIDERATIONS

It is not uncommon to experience unusual symptoms when you first arrive at high altitude. The best remedies are to hike slowly, rest frequently, and drink plenty of fluids. A good night's sleep will often bring you back to normal. However, it is important to pay attention to the signals your body gives you. While acclimatizing, avoid pushing yourself too hard, however physically fit you may be or feel. You may hike more slowly than others in your group, or more slowly than you are used to, but this is perfectly acceptable. Proper hydration is essential. The thin, dry air of high altitude wicks away moisture as you breathe. Drink plenty of liquids. Avoid caffeine, which is a diuretic. Sleeping pills and other sedatives should not be used at altitude as they tend to decrease breathing and may lead to AMS. Do not drink alcohol or smoke at high altitudes. Your appetite will probably decrease but it is important to eat well (especially foods high in carbohydrates), even if you're not feeling well. Cut down on salt, fats and protein.

 

MEDICAL EVACUATION

In case of serious illness or injury, it may be necessary to evacuate you. Depending on circumstances, evacuation could mean being carried to a road head and transferring to a vehicle, or being carried to the nearest airstrip, if feasible. Helicopters are now available in Bhutan. However, Helicopter evacuation should only be considered in life-threatening situations. If you require evacuation from a trip, you are responsible for payment of all evacuation costs, including the cost of a helicopter evacuation ($3500 and higher) if necessary. You must pay evacuation costs directly to Boonserm Tours & Travels. Acceptable forms of payment are cash, travelers checks, or credit card. If you use your credit card, be aware that a service charge will be assessed in addition to the actual cost of the evacuation. Trip members must bring one of these forms of payment with them in case of emergency. Keep careful documentation of all costs to be submitted to the insurance company with your claim when you return.

 

FITNESS

Your encounter with the mountains of Bhutan will be a rewarding experience. It will also be physically demanding. Hiking in the Himalaya also feels substantially more difficult because of the altitude. However, if you condition yourself properly beforehand, you will be able to complete and enjoy your hikes/treks. You must make a special effort to get in good physical condition for the trip by hiking, running, swimming, bicycling, or engaging in other forms of aerobic exercise well beyond your normal routine. Walking up and down flights of stairs is also an effective way to train for the steep ascents and descents in the Himalaya. Weekend hikes that involve long sections of uphill and downhill walking are great for conditioning your legs.

 

FOOT CARE

Blisters can ruin a hike/trek. Moisture-wicking synthetic socks help. If you feel a ―hot spot􀔡 forming while you’re hiking, stop right away and apply Moleskin or Second Skin (dry the area first).

 

READING GUIDE

Facts about Bhutan

It is a comprehensive book which unveils all there is to know about Bhutan. A maiden venture by a Bhutanese, it reveals amazing facets about the country and provides a holistic picture of the many delightful and incredible aspects of this little known kingdom.

 

Odyssey Guide Bhutan

A compact overview of Bhutan by a resident scholar, considerably enhanced by color photographs, well-chosen literary excerpts and many maps.

 

Bhutan, A Trekker's Guide

A compact, practical guide to 27 treks and walks throughout the mountain kingdom with color photographs and detailed sketch maps throughout.

 

So Close to Heaven, The Vanishing Buddhist Kingdoms of the Himalayas

A "New York Times" Asia correspondent writes of Bhutan and neighboring kingdoms of Ladakh and Sikkim in the Himalayas, strongholds of Tantric Buddhism in an increasingly homogenized world. It's part travelogue and part history.