Justins World

All booked for Bhutan

Normally i wait until I depart to make an entry on my next journey, however organising a trip to Bhutan has its own peculiarities with organising a visit. Getting a visa is not the issue, and neither are flights. its the government mandated daily fee that puts most people off visiting this country. Yet many would pay double to triple this per day in somewhere like Europe.

I timed it to go just at the beginning of the off peak season in June. Its then $200 per day vs the $250 for peak season. then there is a $50 per day surcharge for single travellers or $40 per day for 2 people travelling. The fee does cover a guide, driver and car, accommodation in 3* hotels, meals and entrance fees to museums and sites. Other than alcohol and souvenirs just about everything is covered, so its not too much. I guess what people have a problem with is it is a lot for just about anywhere in Asia, except maybe Japan, Korea or as I’ve found out Singapore.

Then there is the plethora of travel companies to choose from. They are all government sanctioned and most people only have good things to say about them. I looked at some of the more popular companies with reviews on the web, but then found a local Australian company (Bhutan & Beyond), that didn’t charge much above the daily rate and it also meant we could pay them directly in Australia with a EFT or BPay transaction.

They organised the flights with the two airlines and also use a company in Bhutan to do all their guiding and driving. They even have sorted out the visa for us. I’m travelling with my mate Noel, who probably got a few mentions in the Central Asia blog. We met in Turkmenistan, shared many nights in a tent and thus feel we both can enjoy each others company without killing each other. Much the same that I travelled with Jane and Claire last year to Bolivia, both of whom I also met in Central Asia. See sometimes good things come from tours!

On the way home I’m stopping for a few days in Bangkok as I’ve never been there, and 2 nights in Singapore as I liked it last time and missed a few things in my 1 day there last just after xmas in 2012. However Singapore accommodation is not cheap even for backpackers, but found that my Qantas Frequent flyer points can get me a decent hotel for a decent price. near chinatown and Clarke Quay (which has an awesome brewery bar!). This all happens in june which is only 7 weeks away from today.

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