Bhutan: Journey Through a Himalayan Kingdom

April 9, 2014 - April 22, 2014

Please pay close attention to the following sections: Passport and Visa Requirements, Health Information, and Baggage Allowance.
 

Activity Level

This expedition requires a moderate level of activity, with the option of more active hikes available.

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Arrivals and Departures

Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures
Please arrive at the airport for your international flight at least two hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Be certain the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to the final destination allowed, and that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts.

Arrival / Departure Transfers
Transfers and assistance between airports and group hotels are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates only. If you are arriving prior to the group day and Zegrahm Expeditions has booked additional night(s) at our group hotel, a transfer from the airport to the hotel will be provided.
 
If you are handling your own travel arrangements, please forward a copy of your itinerary to Zegrahm Expeditions as well as contact information where you can be reached prior to and after the program. 

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Baggage Allowanceimportant

Due to the group flights to and from Bangkok, Thailand, and Paro, Bhutan, each person is limited to two checked bags that should not exceed 44 pounds (20 kilograms) total combined weight.  In addition, one carry-on is permitted and cannot exceed 11 pounds (5 kilograms). Additional weight can be purchased at the airline ticket counter.  PLEASE NOTE: Most airlines strictly enforce their baggage regulations. Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are the personal responsibility of each participant.
 
Airline baggage limitations and charges for checking bags vary by airline, destination, and class of service you are traveling. If you have purchased your tickets from Zegrahm Expeditions and have questions, please contact our Air Department for the specific allowances and limitations for the airline you are on. If you have booked your own air arrangements you will need to visit the airline website or contact the airline directly.
 
We recommend the use of soft-sided luggage, as it is easier to store. Your carry-on bag should include anything you may need in transit. We recommend that you carry with you essential toiletries, prescription medications, and a change of clothing appropriate for the initial activities of our itinerary, so that you will be more comfortable in the unlikely event that your baggage is delayed in transit or is slow to be delivered to your room upon arrival

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Climate

The following are average high/low temperatures in April for selected locations on our itinerary:

 

High

Low

Bangkok, Thailand

94º

80º

Thimphu, Bhutan 68º 45º
Paro, Bhutan 64º 40º

If you wish to do your own research shortly before departure concerning local weather conditions, you can check the Internet or Weather Channel, among other resources.

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Currency

 As of November, 2013 the exchange rates are as follows:

                $1 US dollar = 31.11 Thai baht (THB)
                $1 US dollar = 62.85 Bhutanese ngultrum (BTN)
 
ATMs are not a good option for obtaining local currency in Bhutan as they are not widely available. Please have cash available as a back-up.
 
Up-to-date currency information can be found at the XE website.

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Documentation

You will receive your Pre-Departure Packet—including a Personal Information Form that will need to be returned to Zegrahm, a complete packing list, reading list, gift certificates, and visa kit—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—will be sent approximately one month prior.  

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Electricity

The electrical current in Bhutan is 230 V / 50 hz, with Type D (Old British) plugs and outlets. An electrical converter will be necessary to run small, 110 V, North American appliances unless they have a dual-voltage switch and a set of adapter plugs that will fit in these types of outlets.  

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Extending Your Stay

Interested in extending your stay? Speak with one of our Expedition Advisors to find out how easy it is for you to stay an extra night or two. Or, our Private Travel department is available to design customized extended stays for individuals, families, and groups of friends—the same horizon-broadening adventures and life-changing experiences as our group expedition, but on a flexible, intimate, and personalized scale. Call 800.628.8747 or 206.285.4000 for more information.   

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Flight Information

Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements. Since many of our expeditions embark and disembark from remote destinations, the airports that serve these areas often have limited carriers and/or daily flights.
 
You will need to purchase air fare from your home city/Bangkok/Paro and Paro/Bangkok/home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.
 

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Health Informationimportant

Health Advice
During this expedition we will be traveling to destinations up to 9,000 feet, and altitude sickness may occur. Travelers should discuss the precautions needed for travel at these elevations with their doctor prior to departure.
 
A yellow fever vaccination is not required for anyone strictly following our group itinerary. If you are deviating from the group itinerary, please be advised that a yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into Thailand and Bhutan if arriving from infected or endemic areas. Please refer to the World Health Organization website for a list of yellow fever endemic countries.
 
Yellow fever vaccinations, valid for life, must be given at official centers designated by your state’s health departments. The International Certificate of Vaccination must be validated by the center that administers the vaccine and carried with you on your trip. Your local or state health department can provide information regarding the locations and hours of yellow fever vaccination centers.
 
No other vaccinations are required for this expedition at this time.
 
Be sure to bring a sufficient amount of your personal medications, as pharmacies are not found in the remote areas of this expedition.
 
Insect bites can be a problem, and we urge you to bring an adequate supply of both insect bite relief products and insect repellent.
 
Protect yourself against the heat and the strong sun. Drink plenty of fluids whenever you can, not just when you are thirsty. By preventing dehydration, you may prevent a range of medical problems associated with traveling. Take precautions to avoid overexposure to the sun. Bring a sun hat with a wide brim or scarf, sunglasses, and a high-SPF sunscreen.
 
During our program, food and drink taken as part of our itinerary and at our hotels are perfectly safe. However, tap water is best avoided. Bottled water will be provided.
 
Physical Requirements
For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required, with the option of more active hikes available.
 
Should you have any physical limitations, please notify us in advance of your departure.

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Internet and Phone

Internet access will be available in most of our hotels, however the fees and the availability vary. Contact information that can be left with family and friends in case they need to contact you during your expedition will be included with the final materials sent to you approximately one month prior to departure. 

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Local Time

Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 6:00a.m. on the North American west coast:

6:00a.m.

Seattle, Washington (PDT)

9:00a.m. New York, New York (EDT)
7:00p.m. Thimpu, Bhutan (BTT)
8:00p.m. Bangkok, Thailand (ICT)

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Meals

Should you have any dietary needs, please let us know on the Personal Information Form included with the Pre-Departure packet, and we will do our best to prepare for them.  Unfortunately, kosher meals cannot be accommodated.

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Packing Suggestions

General Information
It is essential to maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered. Wash-and-wear, lightweight, natural fabrics are recommended. As you pack, consider your own internal thermostat and personal tastes and adjust accordingly.
 
Laundry service is available in most hotels, and by using it, you can limit yourself to just four or five outfits and not be inconvenienced by an overabundance of clothing.
 
Expedition Clothing
Sporty summer-weight clothing is a good basis for your wardrobe. Loose, lightweight, wash-and-wear slacks, skirts, blouses, shirts, and T-shirts made of natural fibers are recommended. The nights and early morning can be quite chilly so a sweater or jacket is recommended. The sun can be strong, so bring adequate sun-protective clothing and gear, wear hats, and use sun block, as we will be out in the sun for extended periods of time. Also, keep in mind that we may encounter a rain shower or two on our excursions.
 
You will receive a complete Packing List with your Pre-Departure Packet, approximately five months prior to departure.

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Payments and Cancellations

Reservations

25% of the expedition fare will reserve a place for you on this Zegrahm program. The balance of the expedition fare is due 120 days prior to departure. Air fare is due at the time tickets are issued. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars and must be paid in U.S. dollars.

Cancellation & Refund Policy
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Zegrahm. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:

  • 120 days or more prior to departure: $750 per person
  • 60 through 119 days prior to departure: 50% of expedition fare
  • 1 through 59 days prior to departure: 100% of expedition fare
 
Please note, fees associated with cancelled airline tickets are in addition to this and will be clearly outlined for you on your flight itinerary.
 
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect themselves from an unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave an expedition while it is in progress. Information describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit for the expedition. 

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Passport and Visa Requirementsimportant

Passport
A valid passport is required for participation in this program. It must be valid for at least six months after you return home, through October 22, 2014. If you do not have a passport, or if it is not valid for the correct length of time, you should apply for one as soon as possible. You need to have a minimum of four blank pages available for entry/exit stamps in your passport and secure additional pages if necessary. We suggest that you carry a photocopy of your passport’s information page when you travel.

Visas
Visas are not required of U.S. citizens for entry into Thailand.

Visas are required of U.S. citizens for entry into Bhutan and will be arranged by our operator prior to arrival. In order to obtain this Visa in advance, a color copy of the information page in your passport must be submitted to Zegrahm Expeditions at least 2 months prior to departure.
 
If you are traveling independently of the group or to any other countries prior to or after the expedition, check the entry and visa requirements with the local consulates of each country you plan on visiting.
 
PLEASE NOTE: Citizens of other countries should check with the nearest consulates for specific visa and entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangements and any travel prior to or after the program.

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With Our Compliments

 We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. Gift certificates to our Zegrahm Store and Longitude Books will offer you the opportunity to choose one of several specially selected items from our store along with books or maps suggested in the highly recommended titles sent. The certificates will be sent in your Pre-Departure Packet approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificates for more details.

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