Bhutan During the Monsoon
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Jun 20, 2013 5:11 AM Last Post By: dperrault
May 8, 2013 9:11 AM
Bhutan During the MonsoonI am interested in visiting Bhutan this summer in July or August. I have heard the monsoon is not ideal due to heavy rains, lack of views, and lack of festivals.
However, it should also be less touristy right? Also, I spent a summer in Nepal and Tibet about 20 years ago, during the summer monsoon, and still had a wonderful time. Also in Tibet, the monsoon was a non-issue, being in the rainshadow.
1) Is it still worth going during the summer season if it is the only time I can go? Which month would be better July or August?
2) Is it drier and clearer further north in Bhutan (closer to Tibet)? If so, are there good trekking options in these areas?
3) How much time do people recommend in Bhutan. I would like to do some trekking, or at least day hikes and see some diversity in terms of diferent parts of the country. Will 4 weeks be too much time? I'm thinking more like 2-3 weeks.
4) Are there repudable guide services that people recommend? Please no solicitations from tour companies monitoring this site!!
5) I will likely visit Myanmar prior to Bhutan, and am concerned that the two contries will be very similar since they are both very budhist and have been relatively isolated in recent history. There are obvious differences as well, I know, but would it be worth visiting both of these countries, or should I just choose one??
May 8, 2013 7:45 PM
May 10, 2013 8:29 AM
2Hope you know about the visa policies in Bhutan - all 'normal' trips for a foreigner has to be routed via recognized agencies and you can't travel solo unless you are a citizen of select countries including India and Maldives.
A few other pointers:
#1: Winter seasons would be good too if you want to avoid crowd, if at all you call it a crowd.
#2: Please note that travel within Bhutan is restricted and controlled and heading north may not be as easy as you think. Even as an Indian citizen (with no restrictions for solo travel), my permit request to go to places like Laya was refused straight away and was told that 'ministry' level clearances would have to be obtained. I am pretty sure they were bluffing, but figuring out a way to get there would be quite an interesting challenge!
#3: 2-3 weeks sounds pretty much all right. Travel in itself takes time within the country (and more so if you head east). Having experienced Nepal and Tibet, you should have a clear idea what to expect.
#4: As I said in the beginning of the post, all of that will have to be channeled via registered tour agencies. I have put together a few notes here which could be of some help:
#5: Though both Myanmar and Bhutan are primarily Buddhist nations, Myanmar follows the Theravada tradition of Buddhism whereas Bhutan follows the Mahayana tradition - 2 totally different roots. I am pretty sure this will be reflected in the daily life of people as well. Bhutan is bang in the middle of Himalayas and you can clearly see the mountains playing a huge part for the Bhutanese (unlike Myanmar, I would suspect!).
Hope that helps,
May 10, 2013 5:38 PM
May 10, 2013 10:43 PM
Jun 3, 2013 6:40 PM
5You can go alone as a tour group of one, but as mentioned, it is expensive. The daily rate for a single tourist in Bhutan during the low season is about 240 USD per day. That includes all hotel/guesthouse stays, food, driver and guide, etc. Going for 3 weeks is going to be very expensive. That does not include airfare into Bhutan.
On the plus side, being a group of one will allow you to tailor an itinerary that you want. The travel agencies are excellent at working with tourist requests, but it must be set before the tour starts. If you do go during the low season, there is a better chance of making changes after starting the tour, but depending on what it is, it could still be difficult.
Jun 20, 2013 5:11 AM
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