Bhutan: A Secret Kingdom & Real-Life Xanadu

Trip Overview

Treat yourself to an adventure travel trip to Bhutan in December 2018 to explore a tiny Himalayan Kingdom, a unique Asian destination that may become a favorite one - for life!

Tucked into the eastern Himalayas between China and India, the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan is a modern-day Shangri-La of awesome beauty and friendly people. Culturally and spiritually, it is a profoundly rich country where human relations and Buddhist beliefs outweigh economic indicators—where “gross national happiness” is promoted by the King of Bhutan as a measure of his enchanting country’s progress. Bhutan’s Buddhist faith permeates all strands of cultural, ethical, and secular life, bringing with it a reverence for Bhutanese society, the environment, and the land. Buddhists believe in preserving nature and giving more back to the earth and the culture than one has taken.

Bhutan, “Land of the Thunder Dragon,” has had a cautious approach to tourism until recently, but now welcomes visitors and beckons all to discover its unique treasures. AdventureWomen is fortunate to have the opportunity to explore this peaceful nation, just half the size of Indiana, on a customized 12-day adventure tour just for women that incorporates so much more than the typical sightseeing, hiking, and visiting monasteries.

Within its small boundaries the ecological diversity of Bhutan is amazing. Through centuries of self-imposed isolation, this sovereign state has been able to preserve its spectacular natural environment and nurture its unique culture. Drawing inspiration from its neighbor, Tibet, Tantric Buddhism has flourished and influenced art, crafts, and architecture for hundreds of years, and has shaped the Bhutanese way of life.

Throughout our adventure vacation to Bhutan, you will be immersed in the culture, history, and Buddhist practices of the country, visiting the Bhutanese people in their traditional pastoral hamlets, where they live much the same as they always have. You are welcomed with warmth and hospitality as you walk to traditional monasteries and awesome dzongs—originally built as fortresses during the Middle Ages—which today function as the center of both religious and secular activities. From the colorful, patterned weavings of Thimphu, to dramatic sweeping vistas of the snow-capped Himalayas, our adventure celebrates the breathtaking beauty of this peaceful realm.

Head to Bumthang and visit one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, and take a walk through the countryside, passing paddy fields. These fertile valleys are covered in fields of buckwheat, rice and potatoes. This serene region is one of the most peaceful places in the kingdom. Not many trips incorporate this very special region, considered the spiritual heart of Bhutan and an area of great historical and cultural importance, for it contains numerous sacred sites.

Visit the Pema Choeling Nunnery, a large nunnery where about 100+ anim (nuns) complete 12 years of study and participate in an impressive spiritual drum ceremony with the nuns for the well-being of all sentient beings and world peace. Have a chance to share stories and learn from the nuns over lunch.

As you leave for Trongsa, stop in the Chumey Valley at a traditional Yahtra sheep wool weaving center. Trongsa is situated on a steep ridge and offers spectacular views of the deep valleys surrounding it.

You will learn about the Black-Necked Cranes, which are winter visitors in Bhutan, arriving in late October and staying until mid-February. They visit the Phobhjikha Valley in large numbers, which is a declared protected area for the cranes. Take a beautiful nature hike through the valley, overlooking the plains created by the glacier that some claim is like the setting of a Shangri-La!

Hike to Taktsang – The Tiger’s Nest – a serene monastery and one of the most holy sites in the kingdom. It clings impossibly to a sheer cliff face 900 hundred meters above the Paro Valley. Legend states that Guru Rimpoche flew to the site atop the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for three years, three months, three days, and three hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it. The cave has been considered a sacred site ever since and many famous saints have traveled to meditate in it.

Much of the magic in Bhutan happens spontaneously, so our Bhutan travel itinerary is enhanced by festivals, ceremonies, and Buddhist rituals you encounter daily along our route. You'll delight in our ability to take advantage of these many opportunities to participate in authentic cultural events as they present themselves, allowing us a window into Bhutanese culture experienced by few visitors.

Step back in time with AdventureWomen as you venture in December 2018 into the heart of Bhutan to discover its magic. Explore this tiny kingdom through the eyes of its people and leave with a deep respect for this country’s rich culture. 

 

 

Main Attractions

  • Visit the Pema Choeling Nunnery in the remote region of Bumthang and engage in an impressive and emotional drum ceremony with the nuns
  • Walk through Phobjikha Valley to see the rare black-necked cranes and visit the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature’s exhibit dedicated solely to these birds
  • Explore the magnificent fortress of Punakha Dzong, once the capital of Bhutan
  • Spend two nights camping in an exclusive campsite in Punakha
  • Hike to see the breathtaking views of Taktsang “the Tiger’s Nest” monastery in Paro

What You'll See and Do

  • Anthropology
  • Buddhism
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Historical Sites
  • Local Delicacies
  • National Parks
  • Natural History
  • Spa Element
  • Walking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Women-To-Women

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Bhutan: A Secret Kingdom & Real-Life Xanadu

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Friday, December 7 - Arrive in Paro
Bhutan, a jewel between India and China, is about the size of Switzerland. Within its small boundaries the ecological diversity is amazing. Through centuries of self-imposed isolation, Bhutan has been able to preserve its spectacular environment and nurture its unique culture. Drawing inspiration from its neighbour, Tibet, Tantric Buddhism has flourished and influenced art, crafts, and architecture for hundred of years, and has shaped the Bhutanese way of life.

Meet your group in Bangkok for your flight to Paro, Bhutan.

You will be picked up at the Paro International Airport by your guide and transferred to your hotel.

Enjoy a welcome dinner and group orientation this evening.
Welcome Dinner

Overnight: Zhiwa Ling Hotel
http://www.zhiwaling.com/

The Zhiwa Ling hotel combines the sensibilities of a fine Bhutanese guesthouse with the best of 21st century technology. Created by a local Bhutanese company, the hotel’s elaborate hand-carved wooden cornices and masterful stonework coexist beautifully with cutting-edge telecommunication systems and Swedish under-floor heating.

 

Day 2

Saturday, December 8 - Paro
Haa is the ancestral home of the Queen Grandmother and the illustrious Dorji family. This valley remains one of the least visited areas in the country and retains the air of an unspoiled, primeval forest. The wooded hills of Haa provides an ideal location for hiking and mountain biking.

Drive to Chele La Pass at 13,000 feet en route to Haa. Enjoy panoramic views of the Paro and Haa valleys as well as the Himalayas and the Kachenjunga. The Haa Valley is newly open for tourism. With its three prominent hills representing the three guardian deities, the valley is said to have been named by Guru Rimochey himself - “Haa” means mystical.

Enjoy a picnic lunch and explore the area.

Head back to Paro and relax at your hotel late this afternoon.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Zhiwa Ling Hotel

 

Day 3

Sunday, December 9 - Paro to Bumthang
The name Bumthang has two probable origins; the first is that it is named after a Bumpa, a vessel for holy water which the valley resembles in shape. The second origin implies that it is the Valley of Beautiful Girls as Bum translates to “girl” and Thang means “flat piece of land.” These fertile valleys are covered in fields of buckwheat, rice and potatoes. Apple orchards and dairy farms are also common sights here. This serene region is one of the most peaceful places in the kingdom.

After breakfast, fly from Paro to Bumthang.

Visit Jambey Lhakhang in Bumthang. This temple, along with Kyichu Lhakhang in the Paro Valley, is one of the two oldest temples in Bhutan. It was built around 750 by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet as part of his pledge to build 108 temples to the Buddha during his lifetime. One of the most holy of Bhutan’s religious sites, you will have special permission required to visit the sacred temple.

Continue to Kurjey, a 17th century temple next to which a spectacular monastery has been completed. It was built to resemble the heavenly abode of the Guru Rimpochey. The funeral rites of the senior members of the Royal Family are sometimes conducted here.

From Kurjey, begin your walk through the countryside, crossing a bridge over the rushing Chamkhar Chu (river) and walk through paddy fields to Tamshing. This temple complex was founded in 1501 by one of Bhutan’s most famous saints, Pema Lingpa. There are many young monks in training here.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Yu-Gharling Resort and Spa

The perfect retreat for mind, body and soul, Yu- Gharling Resort offers ultimate rejuvenation and relaxation. All rooms offer spectacular views of Chokhor Valley.

 

Day 4

Monday, December 10 - Bumthang
Pema Lingpa was a Tibetan saint and siddha of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. He is considered to be a discoverer of spiritual treasures. In the history of the Nyingma school in Bhutan, Pema Lingpa is second only in importance to Padmasambhava. Padmasambhava appeared before Pema Lingpa at the holy site of Yigé Drukma, blessed him, and placed in his hands an inventory of 108 major termas, or hidden teachings to be revealed. During his lifetime Pema Lingpa revealed only about half of the prophesied treasures.

Drive to Tang Valley, one of the most remote valleys of Bumthang. As it is higher than Chokhor and the soil is not as fertile, there is not much agriculture here, although the valley turns bright pink with buckwheat flowers in fall. The people of this valley raise sheep and, at higher elevations, Yak.

Arrive at the Pema Choeling Nunnery, a large nunnery where about 100+ anim (nuns) complete 12 years of study. This is one of the few places for women to be educated as nuns. Once in the Lhakhang, participate in an impressive spiritual drum ceremony with the nuns for the well-being of all sentient beings and world peace. Share stories and learn from the nuns over lunch.

On the way back to your hotel, visit Jakar Lakhang, the temple manifested as the celestial abode of Guru Rinpoche.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Yu-Gharling Resort and Spa

 

Day 5

Tuesday, December 11 - Bumthang to Trongsa
Trongsa is situated on a steep ridge and offers spectacular views of the deep valleys surrounding it. The various hotels, guesthouses, and restaurants all offer stunning views from their balconies. Trongsa Dzong is easily visible from anywhere in the town and is always an impressive sight as it is situated atop a steep ridge that drops off into the clouds on its south side.

Leave Bumthang this morning for Trongsa. Stop in the Chumey Valley past a traditional Yahtra sheep wool weaving center. Pick up some souvenirs here if you want! Drive over Yotongla Pass at 12,000 feet, and descend down to Trongsa.

This watchtower, which once guarded Trongsa Dzong from internal rebellion, stands on a promontory above the town. It was built by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the 1st Governor of Trongsa in 1652. It has four observation points resembling Tiger, Lion, Garuda, and Dragon. Climb up the path to visit Ta Dzong which now houses a shrine dedicated to the epic hero, King Gesar of Ling. A visit to this former watchtower provides visitors with an insight into the significance of Trongsa in Bhutan’s history. As of date the Ta Dzong of Trongsa is the most fascinating museum of the nation.

Explore this narrow town on your own late this afternoon and evening.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Yangkhil Resort
http://www.yangkhil.bt/

Within walking distance from Trongsa town, Yangkhil Resort is the most elegant resort in town. The lush green and colorful gardens, fish pond, breathtaking panoramic views of Trongsa Dzong, Taa Dzong, Mangde Chhu, and the view of mountains soaring over 10,000 feet create an unforgettable setting at Yangkhil Resort.

 

Day 6

Wednesday, December 12 - Trongsa to Gangtey
Black-necked cranes in Bhutan are winter visitors, arriving in late October and staying until mid-February in the Phobjikha Valley as well as Ladakh, India, and Arunachal Pradesh, India. They arrive from the Tibetan Plateau, where they breed in the summer. They visit the Phobhjikha valley in large numbers, which is a declared protected area for the cranes, and also to other valleys in smaller numbers in central and eastern Bhutan. On arrival in Phobhjikha they are seen to circle Gangteng Monastery three times as if practicing kora (“circumambulation”), and repeat this act as they begin their return to the Tibet Autonomous Region in early spring.

After breakfast leave Trongsa, and drive to the Phobjikha valley. The Journey will take approximately four hours on fairly rough roads, depending on the number of stops you make along the way. On arrival in the valley, you will see one of the oldest and wealthiest private monasteries in Bhutan - Gangtey Goenpa. The head lama of Gangtey Goenpa is the ninth incarnation of Pema Lingpa, a famous 14th century blacksmith from Bumthang who is one of Bhutan’s most famous Buddhist saints and teachers.

This area is famous as the winter home for the very rare black-necked crane. Experts estimate that fewer than 6,000 cranes exist in the wild. Every year, approximately 800-1,000 birds arrive in Phobjikha Valley late October and stay through mid-February. Learn about the cranes at the Crane Center.

Take a beautiful nature hike through the valley, overlooking the plains created by the glacier that some claim is like the setting of a Shangrila. The forests surrounding the valley are full of birds and mammals alike, and the nature hike is a wonderful way to experience this pristine ecosystem.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Dewachen Hotel
http://www.dewachenhotel.com/

The Dewachen Hotel is designed and decorated in modern traditional Bhutanese style, and is perfectly blended with the natural garden and apple orchard surroundings. The resort is a perfect hideaway relaxation. Take advantage of individual balconies to enjoy the breathtaking view of the valley.

 

Day 7

Thursday, December 13 - Gangtey to Punakha
Punakha has been inextricably linked with momentous occasions in Bhutanese history. It served as the capital of the country from 1637 to 1907 and the first national assembly was hosted here in 1953. Punakha valley has a pleasant climate with warm winters and hot summers. It is located at an average elevation of 3,900 feet above sea level. Owing to the favorable climate, rice grows very well in this region and is the main cash crop cultivated here.

The Punakha Dzong was built in 1637 by Shabdrung. It is situated at the confluence of the “Pho” and “Mo” Chus (Father & Mother rivers), guarding the Southern end of the Punakha valley. This huge fortress was the capital of Bhutan until 1966. The “Je Khenpo” (head religious abbot) of Bhutan and most of the monks in Thimphu live in this Dzong throughout the winter, as the lower elevation of the Punakha valley is warmer than higher elevations. In 1651, Shabdrung went into retreat and passed away soon after. For fear of civil unrest his death was kept a secret for over 50 years.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Tented Camp

Enjoy your two-night stay at this remote tented camp. Basic amenities include cots, an open dining area with a fire pit, and separate toilet and shower facilities.

 

Day 8

Friday, December 14 - Punakha
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten stands out on a beautiful ridge above the Punakha valley. It took nine years to build, and Holy Scriptures rather than engineering manuals were consulted to construct this four-story temple. It is an excellent example of Bhutanese architecture and artistic traditions. This temple has been dedicated for the well being of the kingdom, its people, and all sentient beings.

Chimi Lhakhang stands on a round hillock and was built in 1499 by the 14th Drukpa hierarch, Ngawang Choegyel, after the site was blessed by the “Divine Madman” the maverick saint Drukpa Kunley. In founding the site it is said that Lama Kunley subdued a demon of Dochu La with his “magic thunderbolt of wisdom” and trapped it in a rock at the location close to where the chorten now stands. He was known as the “Mad Saint” or “Divine Madman” for his unorthodox ways of teaching Buddhism by singing, humour, and outrageous behaviour, which amounted to being bizarre, shocking, and with sexual overtones. He is also the saint who advocated the use of phallus symbols as paintings on walls and as flying carved wooden phalluses on house tops at four corners of the eves.

The monastery is the repository of the original wooden symbol of phallus that Kunley brought from Tibet, which is decorated with a silver handle and is used to bless people who visit the monastery on pilgrimage, particularly women seeking blessings for fertility. The tradition at the monastery is to strike pilgrims on the head with a 10-inch wooden phallus. Traditionally these symbols in Bhutan have been intended to drive away the evil eye and malicious gossip.

The hike will be about two hours.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Tented Camp

 

Day 9

Saturday, December 15 - Punakha to Thimphu
Thimphu is the most modern city in Bhutan with an abundance of restaurants, internet cafes, nightclubs, and shopping centers, however it still retains its cultural identity and values amidst the signs of modernization. One of the most curious features of Thimphu is that it is the only capital city in the world that does not use traffic lights. Instead a few major intersections have policemen standing in elaborately decorated booths (small pavilions), directing traffic with exaggerated hand motions. The juxtaposition of ancient tradition and modernity make Thimphu the ideal location to immerse yourself in the lifestyle of contemporary Bhutanese.

Enjoy breakfast at your camp this morning.

Visit the 108 stupas built by the Queen Mother at the Dochu La Pass (10,300 feet).

The Royal Grand Mother Ashi Phuntsho Choden built this Chorten in 1974 in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who died in 1972. You will find Bhutanese from all walks of life circumambulating the stupa for merit and for liberating sentient beings from suffering.

Check in at your hotel and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

This afternoon, visit the World’s largest seated Buddha statue at 169 feet, the Buddha Dordenma. This Buddha is seated amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang. If you are interested, there is an excellent nature trail here.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Le Meridien
http://www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien/index.html

Located in the heart of the capital city, Le Méridien has cosmopolitan surroundings amidst the bustling commercial streets of the city center and a convenient location to many of the city’s myriad attractions.

 

Day 10

Sunday, December 16 - Thimphu to Paro
Paro is the only place in Bhutan that has an international airport and so it is busy with all tourist travel. It is a small town and is the site of the very famous Taktsang monastery or the Tiger’s Nest.

Enjoy some free time in Thimphu to enjoy some last minute shopping or to explore the city.

Depart Thimphu and drive to Paro this morning. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Visit the National Museum in Paro. An earthquake destroyed the old circular tower which is being rebuilt. The artifacts have been moved to the outer buildings of the museum.

Enjoy an archery and dart demonstration this afternoon. Try your hand and see if you are any good at hitting your mark!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Zhiwa Ling Hotel

 

Day 11

Monday, December 17 - Paro
Taktsang Lhakhang is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark and religious site. The name Taktsang translates to “The Tiger’s Nest.” This temple is one of the most holy sites in the kingdom and clings impossibly to a sheer cliff face 900 hundred meters above the Paro Valley. It was first built in 1692 at a cave where Guru Rimpoche meditated in the 7th century. Legend states that Guru Rimpoche flew to the site atop the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for three years, three months, three days, and three hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it. The cave has been considered a sacred site ever since and many famous saints have traveled to meditate in it.

Legend has it that the Guru Padmasamhava flew to this rocky cave to meditate on the back of a tigress. Some pilgrims walk for a month to reach this temple. The surrounding area has many temples, monasteries and, cells where many monks, nuns, and lay-people can meditate, some even for a lifetime. Although you are not allowed inside the monastery, you can hike up to the view-point for a spectacular and breathtaking view of Taktsang. The hike is 4-5 hours round trip.

Return to the hotel this afternoon. Relax or take advantage of the spa.

Have a farewell dinner with your new AdventureWomen friends. Reminisce over all of the memories you have made and celebrate the end of an incredible trip!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Zhiwa Ling Hotel

 

 

Day 12

Tuesday, December 18 - Paro and Depart
Enjoy one last morning in Paro before departing for the US. Transfer to the airport this morning for your flight as a group from Bhutan to Bangkok.

Say goodbye to your new AdventureWomen friends as you connect with your flights home from Bangkok.
Breakfast

 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Bhutan: A Secret Kingdom & Real-Life Xanadu

Traveling to Bhutan



Traveling to Bhutan

Arrive: Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) on December 7, 2018. Specific time to be advised in late 2017. Your flights are arranged from Bangkok to Bhutan.

Depart: Depart Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) on December 18, 2018. Time to be advised in late 2017. Your flights are arranged from Bhutan to Bangkok.

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. Please contact us at:

(800) 804-8686 or (617) 544-9393
email: info@adventurewomen.com

If you’d like to do anything prior to or following the AdventureWomen trip, we’d be delighted to help you arrange any trip extensions you’re interested in.

Note: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last-minute registrants, we must release hotel rooms two to three months prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Passports and Visas

Citizens of the United States must have a passport valid for six months beyond your travel dates with at least two blank facing pages. If you do not have a passport, please apply now!

You will need a tourist visa to enter Bhutan. We will arrange the visas for the group and send you a copy. This copy must be brought with you when you check in for your flight to Bhutan and at immigration in Bhutan. The visa fee is $40, which we will add to your final invoice.

Health Considerations

We rate this trip as moderate to high energy. You should be able to hike on varied terrain for 5-6 hours. We have a partnership with FitForTrips, a company that will design an individualized fitness plan for you to ensure that you are prepared for the trip. Visit https://fitfortrips.com/ partners/adventure-women/ for more information.

You should come with a flexible, adventurous, and enthusiastic spirit, and a wonderful sense of humor that adventure travel requires.

Make an appointment with a travel clinic. There are no immunization requirements for travel to Bhutan, however your local travel clinic may have recommendations for you based on your age, health, and past vaccination history.

For more health information, go to www.cdc.gov/travel and navigate to the page about Bhutan.

Money

US Dollars are accepted in Bhutan. Credit cards are not generally accepted beyond in a few large shops in major cities. Visa and MasterCard are more commonly accepted than American Express. ATMs are only available in Thimphu, the capital city. We advise bringing cash for your trip.

Suggested Gratuities:

  • Main guide: $60-70
  • Assistant guides: $40-60
  • Drivers: $40-50
  • Luggage porters: $10-15

How to Register

Call the AdventureWomen office at (800) 804-8686 to determine space availability and register for this trip. We can complete your registration, including taking your credit card deposit over the phone. As a courtesy, we can hold your space for five days while you are making personal and travel arrangements.

If you prefer, you can register online by clicking "Sign Up for this Trip" on the trip page.

Please be sure to read the AdventureWomen policies before registering!

Forms and Final Payment

Once you book, you will need to fill out and return to AdventureWomen:

  • Information Form
  • Booking Conditions Form
  • Copy of Flight Information
  • Copy of Issuing Page of Passport (photo page)

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen in a cash form (check, money order, or wire transfer) on or before September 8, 2018.

 

 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Bhutan: A Secret Kingdom & Real-Life Xanadu

Included

  • All hotel accommodations throughout the trip
  • All meals as listed in the itinerary
  • All ground transportation
  • Fully-guided sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary
  • English-speaking guides throughout the trip
  • One AdventureWomen Ambassador

 

Not Included

  • International airfare to and from Bhutan
  • Domestic airfare
  • Optional activities as listed in the itinerary
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Fees for passports, visas, or immunizations
  • Cost of hospitalization or evacuation
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Bhutan: A Secret Kingdom & Real-Life Xanadu

What To Bring

Temperatures will fluctuate depending on elevation and time of day. You should be prepared for a low of 20°F and a high of 80°F. Plan on dressing in casual, comfortable clothing and layering for this AdventureWomen trip.

Clothing and Gear:

  • Duffel bag
  • Daypack and rain cover
  • Medium-weight, waterproof hiking boots (make sure they are broken in!)
  • 4-5 pairs wool hiking socks
  • 5-7 pairs underwear
  • 1-2 lightweight long under-wear tops
  • 1-2 lightweight long under-wear bottoms
  • 2-3 short sleeve shirts (quick dry recommended)
  • 1-2 long sleeve shirts (quick dry recommended)
  • 1-2 pairs of pants
  • 1-2 pairs of shorts
  • 1-2 sets of casual clothes for evenings
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 1 medium weight fleece sweater/jacket for cool evenings
  • 1 heavy jacket (down or synthetic)
  • 1 pair gaiters
  • Waterproof jacket (Gore-Tex recommended)
  • Waterproof pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
  • Warm hat
  • Gloves
  • Hat for sun protection
  • Comfortable shoes and/or sandals
  • Sleepwear
  • Telescopic trekking poles (optional)
  • Large refillable water bottle

AdventureWomen Essentials:

  • Travel documents (passport, airline tickets, money)
  • 2-3 spare passport photos (in case of lost passport)
  • Write down/print out travel insurance number
  • Locks for your suitcase/duffel bag
  • Travel alarm clock with spare batteries
  • Headlamp or small flashlight with spare batteries
  • Binoculars (8x40/42 models are excellent choices; center focus models are easiest)
  • Digital camera, memory cards, battery charger
  • Power adapters
  • Sunglasses, case, and strap
  • Spare glasses, contact lenses, cleaner, saline, etc.
  • Money belt or neck pouch
  • Your AdventureWomen insulated bottle (good for hot or cold drinks!)
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Hand wipes/hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Soap, shampoo, and conditioner
  • Small packet of tissues
  • Tampons and panty liners (avoid plastic applicators)
  • Earplugs: We recommend Mack’s Pillow Soft White Moldable Silicone Snore Proof Earplugs. Available at most drugstores or at www.earplugstore.com
  • Assortment of stuff sacks and Ziploc bags
  • 1-2 bandanas/Buff
  • Reading material/journal and pens

Personal First Aid Kit:

  • Prescription medicine you usually take (in original containers)
  • Personal epi pen (if you need one, don’t forget to pack it!)
  • Bandages, Gauze, Ace bandage, blister prevention
  • Antiseptic wipes/spray
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Cotton-tipped applicators
  • Oral rehydration tablets/packets
  • Antidiarrheal medication
  • Mild laxative
  • Antacid
  • Cold remedies
  • Ibuprofen/acetaminophen
  • Eye drops
  • Tweezers, scissors (travel size), safety pins

If you prefer to buy a complete kit, we recommend the Smart Travel first aid kit.


If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.