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HELP PLEASE planning family trip to Nepal and Bhutan - going round in circles !

by katelinton Online Now Feb 3, 2009 at 8:39 AM

We are hoping to go to Nepal for approx 14 days and then spend perhaps 4/5 days in Bhutan end Oct this year. We have a 9 year old son so can't risk being overloaded with culture or long bus journeys. I am getting overwhelmed with information and can't get quotes until I'm clear about where exactly we want to go etc. I've contacted a few agencies in Bhutan who are charming and helpful, but am concerned that not going with UK company on a family adventure is a bit risky. Opinions and experience anyone?
Also, from what I've seen. Thimpu doesn't sound that inspiring and, in the short time we have, we might be better off trying to get to Bhumtang festival (would that be possible or is it too far?), Tigers Nest and Paro??????
Also (sorry lots of questions!) Is there a best way of organising trip to 2 countries? eg using separate agencies for each country or the same? and if so which way round? Thank you Best wishes Kate

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  • Wowmoment's Profile Photo

    Re: HELP PLEASE planning family trip to Nepal and Bhutan - going round in circles !

    by Wowmoment Online Now Feb 3, 2009 at 9:22 AM

    I visited Bhutan on an organised trip and did not regret that, especially as I traveled alone. I also find that organised trips pack in a lot in a short time. When time is not critical it is nice to do one's own thing, but tour companies win on local experience.

    I do remember that distances were deceiving in Bhutan. Roads were very winding and although reasonable it took along time to get anywhere.

    Everywhere in the country was great including Thimpu. In only 4-5 days I would not be too ambitious with distances. If you see Thimpu, Paro, Tigers Nest and Punakha that will probably give a good taste of the place. Anything else will be a bonus.

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  • wrangler_blk's Profile Photo

    Re: HELP PLEASE planning family trip to Nepal and Bhutan - going round in circles !

    by wrangler_blk Online Now Feb 4, 2009 at 6:05 AM

    i have a question too. i also wish to travel to the both countries, i have a question - How to do a combine trip to both countries if they do not have the same border? India is between them - so do we need an Indian transit visa if we travel by road/train? is there any air connection between two tiny countries?
    thank to everybody! in advance!

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  • thevaughan's Profile Photo

    Re: HELP PLEASE planning family trip to Nepal and Bhutan - going round in circles !

    by thevaughan Online Now Feb 10, 2009 at 6:30 AM

    Hi Kate,

    I understand your concern but as long as you're comfortable with the folks you're dealing with (you can of course tell quite a bit about them by how they handle your questions and emails - and don't forget to ask for references!), there is truly no need to go thru a local agent. This often costs more as well.

    Regarding your time frame, Bumthang is not at all feasible in 4/5 days. I recommend a very minimum of 9 days to visit central Bhutan, but please note you will have to spend quite a bit of time in a vehicle to get there - likely one full day of driving somewhere in your itinerary.

    Also, I recommend finding a flexible travel agent that will allow you to call the shots every day in regards to activities and sights (just confirm that guide and driver will be available to you at all times so you can do what you want and not necessarily what your itinerary says) to help possible cultural overload for your son. Another option to help keep him involved and occupied is to mix up the cultural aspect with active pursuits such as hiking or biking.

    Lastly, I personally think you're better off finding different agents for each country as you want someone who specializes in each respective region. Also, as Bhutan is truly magnificent, I think your best bet will be to visit Nepal first, then catch a direct flight from KTM to Paro (saving the best for last!).

    Good luck with your travel planning, safe trip, and please let me know if you need any help/advice!

    Jamie

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  • thevaughan's Profile Photo

    Re: HELP PLEASE planning family trip to Nepal and Bhutan - going round in circles !

    by thevaughan Online Now Feb 10, 2009 at 6:35 AM

    Hi Wrangler,

    Travel between Nepal and Bhutan is actually really simple. Drukair, the national airline of Bhutan, has direct flights between the two countries. Approximate cost is429 roundtrip. However, if you do decide to travel overland, please be aware that the road is long and strikes have been preventing travel very frequently recently. Air is your best and safest bet, and you can avoid the need for a transit visa for India which is required. All the best!

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