Oct 18 - 30, 2013
domestic flight included
Skill required: Solid Class III
Nov 5 - 17, 2013
13-day kayak & Cultural
Lodge & Camp
Domestic flight included
Skill required: Class IV
*Oct TBA, 2014
domestic flight included
*This will run concurrently with the 2014 Class III trip so that non-paddling friends and family can enjoy Bhutan together by adding one additional day.
We offer our Bhutan trips in October and November when the water is reasonable and the fall weather is crisp and stable. On the Class III trip we travel as far east as Jakar in the Bumthang district, and on the Class IV trip we travel east and south to paddle the Mangde Chhu. Along the way we take time to hike, tour villages, museums, temples and ancient monasteries, participate in ceremonial dances, and of course, to paddle Bhutan’s stunningly, pristine rivers. The kids, the dances, the architecture, the monks, the attitude; the whole culture pins you to the moment. The foreign and exotic become intimate due to English being the second language for many Bhutanese.
We'll have crisp, sunny fall days and cold nights. The harvest of rice, buckwheat and apples is underway, and so, weekly, the landscape changes dramatically. Throughout our stay, we'll get to interact with the warm and friendly people of Bhutan. Fortuitously in 2008, our trips overlapped with the coronation of the 5th King. The Bhutanese love their kings and this was yet another opportunity for them to demonstrate their devotion. We were treated to the decoration and festivities associated with this rare and auspicious event. But no worries, every year there is some festival to enjoy!
We value the way the Bhutanese culture defines happiness. For these people, "having and getting" have little to do with being happy. On the contrary, they believe that desiring and wanting often cause suffering. This principle is an underlying motivator of behavior in the country. The result is an open, loving, curious and accepting culture. They just soaked us up and take us in!
Our first visit to Bhutan was in November of 2006. We were only there for two and a half weeks, and we were awed. Our itinerary included trekking, biking, visiting monasteries and remote villages, and kayaking. In addition to many known rivers, our group ran the unexplored, lower section of the Mangde Chhu, a Class 4/4+ first descent! Discovery Channel followed our group’s journey and filmed our progress. The show aired in May 2007.
A trip to Bhutan is pure magic. You can plan on being immersed in the country's rich culture and Buddhist traditions while paddling wonderful rivers. From your kayak you will see prayer flags and ancient fortress-monasteries dotting the hillsides, the flags fluttering in the wind. Their purpose is to maintain constant communication with the heavens. We hope you will join us!
Bhutan is so much more than a kayaking destination. Entering this amazing Himalayan, Buddhist kingdom is like stepping back into the 16th century. Mountainous Bhutan, half the size of Indiana, is situated on the southeast slope of the Himalayas. This benevolent, Buddhist country is surrounded on three sides by India, with Tibet to the north. Population estimates are at 600,000 or so. The landscape consists of a succession of lofty and rugged mountains and deep valleys. In the north, the highest mountain, Kula Kangri reaches a height of over 24,000 ft (7,553 m).
From the beginning, government and religion in Bhutan have been intertwined. In the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche is credited with spreading Mahayana Buddhism throughout the entire Himalaya region. In 1616, Shabdrung established himself as the unifier and religious leader of Bhutan and built the first Dzongs, fortresses housing both the monastic body and the administrative facilities. Today, religious Mask Dances are performed by both monks and lay people in brilliant costumes, re-enacting legendary events. Accompanied by blaring horns, booming drums, and clashing cymbals, the dancers whirl and leap around the ancient old courtyard of a Dzong.
The Bhutanese refer to their country as Druk Yul, which translates to Land of the Thunder Dragon. There are a couple theories to its origin; one is that it is a reference to the dominant branch of Tibetan Buddhism that is still practiced in the Himalayan kingdom. The other is that the name is due to violent storms from the Himalayas that cause frequent landslides during the rainy season.
Few visitors ever make it into Bhutan and so the Bhutanese are often as curious about outsiders as tourists are about them. It is not uncommon to be engaged in adiscussion by a passerby, or to be invited in for lunch by a Bhutanese family. It is quickly apparent that the fun-loving Bhutanese live out their philosophy of “gross national happiness” which they consider to be their gross national product!
Bhutan was conclusively unified under King Ugyen Wangchuck in 1907 and a benevolent, absolute monarchy was established. (Transition to a constitutional monarchy occurred in November of 2008.) The British exerted some control over Bhutan's affairs, but never colonized it. Until the 1960’s Bhutan was largely isolated from the rest of the world, and its people carried on a tranquil, traditional way of life, farming and trading, which had remained intact for centuries. After China invaded Tibet, however, Bhutan strengthened its ties and contact with India in an effort to avoid Tibet's fate.
The economy, one of the world's smallest and least developed, is based on agriculture and forestry, which provide the main livelihood for more than 80% of the population. Agriculture consists largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry. Bhutan's hydropower potential and its attraction for tourists are key resources. Model education, social, and environment programs are underway with support from multilateral development organizations. Each economic program takes into account the government's desire to protect the country's environment and cultural traditions.
Thanks to its isolation, small population, mountainous terrain, and the national religion of Buddhism, which stresses the sanctity of all life, Bhutan has protected its forests and wildlife. As a result, this tiny kingdom, in contrast to all of its neighbors, possesses the last truly intact, large-scale ecosystem in the Himalayas.
Curious for more information about Bhutan? Travelers And Magicians is an excellent movie on DVD available through Netflicks. It is written and directed by a Bhutanese Lama.
These two websites are full of interesting facts:
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Email us for a waiver and reservation form.
Then there are three things you'll need to do to confirm you space:
1. Contact us for a reservation form and waiver.
1. Return the reservation form via email or hard copy through snail mail.
2. Make a hard copy of the waiver and return it with the $500 non-refundable deposit per person to:
DeRiemer Adventure Kayaking (DAK)
PO Box 559
Lotus, CA. 95651
The Solid Class III, Solid Class IV and Exploratory trips are 13 days long. The Yoga and Art trip is a 12-day trip.
How much is the trip and what does that include? - the Class III, the Class IV and the Exploratory trips cost $5150.00. These 13-day trips include the domestic flight from Paro to Jakar, kayaks, lodging, ground transportation, Bhutanese cultural guide, kayak guides and instruction, and all meals from lunch Day 1 through the last day's breakfast.
The Yoga and Art costs $4900.00. This 12-day trip includes domestic flight from Paro to Jakar, yoga instructor Dennis Eagan and art instructor Andie Thrams, lodging, ground transportation, Bhutanese cultural guide, and all meals from lunch Day 1 through the last day's breakfast. It is designed so that non-paddling family and friends of kayakers can share the amazing adventure of Bhutan by adding one more day to the itinerary. You do not need experience in art or yoga to join! Please contact us for more info.
How do I make my reservation and what are your cancellation policies? - A $500 non-refundable deposit is required with your reservation. Full payment is due 6 months before the trip date. Cancellations prior to 6 months before trip date results in a full refund less the $500 deposit. No refund will be given for cancellations after the 6 month deadline. Written cancellation is required, call to verify. We will notify you 3 months in advance and give full refund if we cancel the trip.
Tell me about travel and airfares. – Your flight from the US to Asia and from Asia into Bhutan are not included in the trip cost. At the time of this writing there were several Asian gateway cities from which to fly into Bhutan; Bangkok, Calcutta, Singapore, Dheli and Kathmandu. You will need to purchase a roundtrip to one of these destinations.
Call Himalayan Treasures & Travels at (800) 223-1813 and ask for Govind. Let him know you are going on a DeRiemer trip. We found that it was very beneficial in adjusting to the time change to arrive a few days early, before flying on to Bhutan. Last year our flight to Paro required us to be at the Bangkok airport to check in at 4:30 am. Your return can be scheduled late evening the last day of the trip.
Your visa for Bhutan is included in your airfare from Bangkok to Paro. We will assist you in making those reservations. Your passport must be valid for 6 months from date of travel.
Do you recommend travel insurance? – We sure do! No refund will be made for cancellations inside the 6 month deadline. We regret that we cannot make exceptions for personal emergencies or health problem. Once your reservation is confirmed, we lose the potential to sell that spot to someone else. Because of this, we advise trip cancellation insurance. You can compare on the Internet through:http://www.travelinsurancereview.net/travel-insurance-101/.
Please contact us to receive an itinerary for the skill level in which you are interested.