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Discover Bhutan with a Cicerone guidebook

Cover of Bhutan
10 Feb 2012
17.2 x 11.6 x 2.2cm
1st Published
21 Jan 2008
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A Trekker's Guide

by Bart Jordans
Book published by Cicerone Press

A guidebook for 27 multi-day treks throughout the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, including the Jhomolhari, Druk Path and Dagala treks. The trails are very clear and vary from 2 to 24 days long. The routes are mostly in western and central Bhutan, and range from easy to strenuous depending on the length, altitude and difficulty.

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Cover: Paperback - PVC
Size: 17.2 x 11.6 x 2.2cm
Weight: 430g

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The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, located between the two huge neighbouring countries of China and India, is a magical country of mountains and forest, which offers stunning scenery that really captures the beauty of the area. With its extensive natural border of high mountains to the north, rising over 7000m, and its virtually impassable jungle to the south, Bhutan has always been a place of mystery. Its lack of contact and influence from the outside world and untouched nature gives Bhutan it’s unique culture and appeal.

This guidebook contains detailed route descriptions for 27 multi-day treks that range from 2 to 24 days in length and has routes that are suitable for trekkers of all levels of experience. The treks have been divided into four sections, covering West, Central, East and South Bhutan. In general, trekking in Bhutan includes long days with several ascents and descents each day with steep valleys.

Every trek has to be led by a qualified Bhutanese guide but the Bhutan Himalayas do not require any special technical skills. The mountains are covered with a network of trails but, because of the sparse population, these are not heavily travelled. The trails are generally in a good condition, and fit experienced walkers should have no difficulty in navigating them, although natural obstacles such as snowfall and landscapes can require a change of plan.

Each trek has been graded for difficulty as follows:
Easy: lower altitude, good trails, shorter days, short treks, suitable for most people
Moderate: a mix between low and high altitude and shorter and longer days, not always on a trail, basic fitness required
Demanding: travelling at altitude, some high passes to be crossed, trails not always in the best state, possible river crossings, some longer days, higher level of fitness required
Strenuous: high altitude, high passes, high camping, difficult trails, possible river crossings, long days, long treks, only for well-prepared trekkers (previous experience recommended).

  • Seasons
    Pre monsoon (March-May) and post monsoon (October-November) are best. Monsoon and winter trekking in Bhutan is much more challenging.
  • Centres
    Bhutan's capital Thimphu with airport Paro is the main access. Guide thoroughly explores Bhutan and many towns and villages.
  • Difficulty
    Normal Himalayan trekking challenges, particularly altitude and staying healthy. Bhutan organisation helps a great deal.
  • Must See
    The culture, the birds and wildlife of Bhutan, especially the spectacular mountains of this unknown region.
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The thrill of Bhutan
Climate and trekking seasons
Organising a trek
Getting there and getting around
Environmental and cultural awareness
Protected areas
Flora and wildlife
Geology: the formation of the mountains
Rivers and glaciers
Accommodation and food
Medical considerations and fitness
Other activities
List of approved treks
About this guide
West Bhutan
1 Haa Valley–Saga La–Drugyel Dzong
2 Haa Valley–Nub Tshona Patta Tsho–Rigona
3 Paro–Jhomolhari–Lingshi–Laya–Lunana–Nikka Chhu
4 Jhomolhari Camp–Bonte La–Tagulun La or Lalung La–Drugyel Dzong Circuit
5 Jhomolhari–Lingshi–Thimphu
6 Jhomolhari–Lingshi–Laya–Gasa–Punakha
7 Masa Gang Base Camp from Laya and back
8 Drukpath
9 Dagala Trek – and extension to Dagana
10 Samtengang Trek
11 Gasa Tsachu (hot springs) Trek
12 Gangte Trek and southern variation
Central Bhutan
13 Nabji–Korphu Trek (The Black Mountains or Jigme Wangchuk National Park)
14 Nubi/Chutey Trek near Trongsa
15 Trongsa–Kasiphey–Dur Tsachu (hot springs) Trek
16 Bumthang–Lunana (including the trek to Dur Tsachu)
17 Gankar Punsum Base Camp below the South Ridge of Gankar Punsum – via Dur hot springs
18 Gankar Punsum Southeast Face–Thole La–Bumthang Trek
19 Gankar Punsum Southeast Face – crossing over to Gankar Punsum Base Camp
20 Bumthang: Ngang–Tang Valleys Trek and Extension to Ura
21 Bumthang: Tang Valley–Rodang La–Lhuntshi–T(r)ashi Yangtse Trek
22 Royal Heritage Trek: Bumthang–Kiki La–Tungi La–Kuenga Rabten– Trongsa
23 Ura–Buli/Zhemgang Trek
East Bhutan
24 Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary Trek (Bumdeling Iron Bridge Trek)
25 Migoi (Yeti) National Park (Merak–Sakteng) Trek
26 Kharungla Apeman Trek
South Bhutan
27 Manas National Park Trek
Appendix 1 List of maps
Appendix 2 List of Treks
Appendix 3 Bibliography
Appendix 4 Glossary
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