|MEETING PLACE:||Paro International Airport, Bhutan|
|MEETING TIME:||Upon arrival on itinerary day 1|
|DEPARTURE:||From Guwahati, India – anytime on day 12|
|RIVER RATING:||Class II-III|
|AGE LIMIT:||Minimum age is 16|
|TRIP LENGTH:||12 days / 11 nights (allow additional days for travel)|
|ACTIVITIES:||Whitewater rafting, sight-seeing, hiking|
Are there really any truly wild rivers left to explore? How often does one get the chance to venture into parts unknown? The relatively unexplored Drangme Chhu offers exactly this opportunity! Cascading down from the Eastern Himalaya, the Drangme Chhu delivers adventurous whitewater amidst dramatic mountain scenery.
We’ll raft the practically unknown lower stretches of the Drangme Chhu, explore some of the country’s unparalleled national parks and protected areas and travel to Bumthang, the spiritual center of Bhutan, where we lose ourselves in several of the incredible monasteries and dzongs that make up this sacred land. Not only will a trip to Bhutan stay in your soul and memory for a lifetime, but you’ll be among a small group of people that has traveled to this land of the unknown—true adventurers!
We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every trip is different depending upon the group, other trips on the water and sometimes the weather. The following is a sample of what your trip might be like:
Day 1: Arrive Paro, Bhutan
Arrive into Paro International Airport. After clearing customs, you will be met outside the airport by our local trip leader and transferred to our hotel. You’ll arrive at our hotel about an hour after landing and may check-in upon arrival. A stop in town to withdrawal local money, known as Ngultrum, is provided.
After a group lunch, we will take a short excursion in the afternoon for those that would like a look around. We’ll visit the historic Drukgyel Dzong (dzong means fortress) at the upper end of the valley, built to protect against invading Tibetans, but in ruins since a fire in the 1950’s.
This evening, we’ll meet in the lobby of the hotel to discuss our plan for the next day. We will enjoy a dinner of local cuisine after the meeting and have time to get settled in to our new surroundings.
Day 2: Paro, Thimphu
This morning we will take a short drive northwest of Paro and begin our hike to the legendary Taktshang Goemba, or “Tiger’s Nest,” where story holds that the great 8th century Buddhist teacher, Padmasambhava, traveled through the Himalayas on the back of a flying tigress, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. He alighted at this sight, Taktsang, which means “Tiger Lair.” Since that time, many notable masters have come here to meditate. Perched more than 3,000 feet above the Paro Chhu (chhu means river), Tiger’s Nest is only reached via a beautiful, continuous hike which can take 2-3 hours to reach. On our way down, we will enjoy lunch at the midpoint cafe.
This afternoon we depart for Thimphu, where we’ll arrive in time for a stroll around town before dinner.
Day 3: Punakha and the Pho Chhu River
We depart Thimphu early in the morning and begin our overland journey up and over Duchula Pass. At 10,000 feet, this pass offers superb views of the Himalaya Mountains to the north. Atop this pass, we’ll enjoy a hearty breakfast before continuing on to Punakha.
Ready to hit the Pho Chhu for our afternoon rafting adventure, we offer the option of an invigorating one to two hour walk to the put-in or the option of accompanying the bus by road. Upon arrival to the put-in, we’ll have a picnic lunch. We warm up for the lower Drangme Chhu with this opportunity to paddle the Pho Chhu’s fun Class II-III rapids.
After a couple hours, we arrive at the confluence of the Pho Chhu (Pho means father) and Mo Chhu (Mo means mother) and our take-out. Dominating the confluence, the majestic Punakha Decenphodrang Dzong beckons us inside to reveal its secrets and lore. Here we succumb to the powers of the dzong.
Day 4: Punakha to Trongsa
Due in large part to the national religion of Buddhism, which stresses the sanctity of all life, Bhutan has protected virtually all of its wildlife and forests. Isolation, sparse population and mountainous terrain are also significant factors. As a result, in contrast to its neighbors, this tiny kingdom boasts the last truly intact, large-scale ecosystem in the Himalayas. We enjoy this beauty during our 6.5 hour drive to the town of Trongsa.
We begin our departure from Punakha by ascending the canyon of the Dang Chhu. We continue climbing through semi-tropical vegetation towards Pele La, ~10,989 feet, traditionally considered the boundary between West and East Bhutan. Here we may encounter gray langur monkeys and yaks. Before lunch in Chendebji, we will stop at the Chendebji Chorten, an 18th century monument. This monument was built by a Lama to cover the remains of an evil spirit believed to terrorize the inhabitants of the valley.
In the early evening, we will arrive in Trongsa, pause to gaze at the panoramic vistas and have time to stroll around the town.
Day 5: Trongsa to Bumthang
We will take time this morning to explore the impressive Trongsa Dzong, followed by a visit to the Trongsa National Museum, the old watchtower, perched on the mountain. The landscape is especially dramatic here, from the river far below to the Dzong and town looming high above. Keep your camera handy! Strategically built, sentries could see enemies coming from far away and alert the masses.
After lunch, we make our way to the Bumthang region, up and over Yotung La, ~11,155 feet. Bumthang is made up of many valleys and we descend towards the first, Chumey Valley, best known for its weaving. We visit one of the local shopping centers here before driving on to the Chamkhar Valley, and the town of Jakar in the heart of Bumthang.
Day 6: Bumthang
Today we immerse ourselves in the peacefulness of Bhutan by spending the day sightseeing in the Bumthang region, the spiritual center of the country. We’ll visit the site known as Flaming Lake, where a precious Buddhist treasure is said to have been discovered. From this short hike, we’ll trek along the river valley to a monastery adorned with paintings by Pema Ling Pa.
A further walk up the valley brings us to a suspension bridge crossing the river and our path to the Jakar Dzong, which houses the imprint of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), the founder of Buddhism in Bhutan from the 8th century. We’ll get an up-close look at his bodily impression carved into the mountainside’s stone wall. Our next stop is lunch is on a family farm.
Home to one of the oldest Buddhist sites in all of Bhutan, our next stop is to a temple dating back to 659 A.D. The sense of spirituality and the aged structure of this site will remind us of the long history this religion has here. Ending our day, folks are offered a chance to stroll the streets of town, which is a great opportunity to purchase souvenirs from this fascinating country.
Day 7: Bumthang to Mongar
Today is another travel day, in which we officially enter Eastern Bhutan. In all, this day’s travel will take about seven to eight hours. From Jakar, we follow the Chamkhar Chhu before our climb to Sertangla Pass, at ~11,750 ft. We then descend down toward the village of Ura, a small village of about 40 closely packed houses. From here, the road climbs through overhanging cliffs and lush forested hillsides to reach our highest point, Thumshing La Pass at ~12,300 ft. On a clear day Bhutan’s highest peak, Gangkar Phuensum, can be seen.
Descending once again, we follow the steep grade into Kuri Chhu valley with rock cliff faces and dramatic waterfalls keeping our attention. The winding road takes us into a warmer climate, where we discover bamboo and ferns, and tropical fruit such as mango and guava.
Arriving to Mongar late in the afternoon, our hotel is located right in town which allows easy access for a walk around before and after dinner.
Day 8: Hiking into the Lower Drangme Chhu canyon
Shortly after our departure from Mongar, we transfer into small 4×4 vehicles for the 2 hour climb to the village which harbors our trailhead. The ride takes us through a pine forest, past small villages and along our most exposed road yet, as we drive along the sheer cliffs of the Drangme Chhu canyon.
Our local porters help prepare our bags for the descent into the river canyon. The hike promises about 3-4 hours of beautiful scenery. We soon learn that we’re on Bhutanese time and there is no rush in getting down the trail. Very few outsiders have journeyed down this trail, having only been traveled by the locals prior to adventurous rafters finding this remote access. Our hike into this remote canyon is the only way into this section of the lower Drangme Chhu, so we don’t expect to encounter any other people. Our porters seem to enjoy themselves, as merrymaking along the way reminds us that the Bhutanese people find enjoyment in every task.
Arriving at the river, camp is set-up on the beach for us, allowing time to explore, watch for monkeys in the trees, fish jumping and to just relax for the evening.
Riverside beach camp
Days 9-10: Rafting the Lower Drangme Chhu
Today our travels bring us to our long-awaited adventure down the waters of the lower Drangme Chhu. For the next few days, we’ll discover exhilarating Class II-III whitewater rapids, tropical forests and local villages seemingly forgotten by time. Side creeks and waterfalls are abundant. With the help of our guides and our teamwork, we will navigate the waves and rock mazes that create the fun rapids of this river.
Along the way we’ll stop for lunch when the time seems right. We’ll keep a look-out for monkeys, river otters, barking deer, a variety of birdlife including great hornbills and more. We may even see signs of the elusive cats of this remote region. Our camps will be determined by the pace of our travel down this remote waterway. We’ll truly be living on river time.
Riverside beach camps
Day 11: Rafting the Lower Drangme Chhu; Guwahati, India
We raft the last of the Class II rapids of the Drangme Chhu and float across the border into India. We have more chances to spot wildlife as we near the lower elevations and Manas National Park. Keep watch along the banks for large monitor lizards, elephants and other wildlife.
Manas National Park is known for diverse and abundant flora and fauna, declared one of the top 10 biological hotspots. The Manas region of Bhutan was closed to tourism in the late 80’s and early 90’s, finally opening as the first raft descents of the Mangde Chhu in 2006 and Drangme Chu in 2009 brought visitors this far into Bhutan. Since then, only a handful of rafters and kayakers, along with a BBC tiger study expedition, have ventured down this way to enter the park through Bhutan.
We reach our take-out and rejoice at our successful exploratory adventure and our new friend, Drangme Chhu. We pack up and load our gear for the drive to Bansbari Lodge, located at an entrance of the national park. Here we’ll feast on a hearty lunch and have a chance to wash-up before our drive to Guwahati.
Radisson Blu, Guwahati
Day 12: Guwahati
You may arrange your departing flight for any time this day.
Included in Your Trip Cost
- Skilled, professional guide service provided by our affiliate operator
- 8 nights lodging in towns and villages (based on double occupancy)
- 3 nights catered camping
- All arrangements in the field including camp meals and cook staff
- All meals from lunch on day 1 through breakfast on day 12
- Expedition equipment, including 2-person shared tent, sleeping bag & pad and waterproof bags for personal gear on the rafting trip
- High-quality inflatable rafts and related river equipment including paddle, helmet, wetsuit, splashtop and personal flotation device
- Airport transfer for individual flights upon arrival into Bhutan
- Sightseeing and activities as noted in the itinerary
- Ground transportation with certified, professional drivers
- Monastery and monument entrance fees
- 27-oz Klean Kanteen water bottle
Not Included in Your Trip Cost
- Airfare to Paro, Bhutan (OARS will arrange your flight to Paro; from Bangkok approximately $485 per person, subject to change) and airfare from Guwahati, India
- Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals
- Single supplement ($500)
- Airport transfer for departing flight on itinerary day 12
- Excess baggage charges
- Airport departure taxes
- Insurance of any kind, including mandatory evacuation coverage
- Items of a personal nature and equipment outlined in personal equipment list
- Sodas and alcoholic drinks
- Gratuities (optional)
TRIP PREPARATION CHECK LIST
☐ Consider Purchasing Travel Protection: We recommend you protect yourself, your belongings, and your vacation with the purchase of a short-term Travel Protection Plan. A Travel Protection Plan may help cover your non-refundable payments should you have to cancel your trip due to a covered illness or injury. Because we begin working to prepare for your trip upon receipt of your deposit, and may be turning other prospective guests away while holding space for you, there are cancellation fees that will apply regardless of why or when you might need to cancel. The cost for the optional Travel Protection is listed on your trip invoice. All Plan Benefits are administered by Trip Mate, Inc. (in CA & UT, dba Trip Mate Insurance Agency). For a complete description of Trip Mate’s Plan online go to: http://www.tripmate.com/wpf431X or call Trip Mate at 800-888-7292 (reference Plan #F431X).
Please Note: Purchase this Plan within 14 days of the date we receive your initial deposit and the exclusion for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions will be waived, provided you are not disabled from travel at the time the plan is purchased.
Please note, we require all participants have a minimum of emergency medical evacuation coverage to participate. This coverage can be purchased as a stand-alone policy, or is typically included in a travel protection plan. If you don’t have proof of coverage at the start of the trip, you cannot take part in the expedition.
☐ Trip Forms (online): Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms within two weeks of making a booking. Refer to your confirmation e-mail for the link to the online forms. If you prefer to fill out paper forms, please let us know right away. If you are reserving within 90 days of departure, your forms must be completed immediately to ensure we can properly plan for your trip.
☐ Reserve flights, shuttles and lodging: Verify with your Adventure Consultant that your trip has met minimum numbers prior to booking flights and/or reserving overnight lodging for the night before and after your trip, if applicable.
☐ Whitewater Orientation: To increase your safety, we expect everyone to watch our 23-minute Whitewater Orientation video before joining us. Watch at https://www.oars.com/experience/safety/ or call 800-346-6277 to request a free DVD. Please don’t leave home without watching.
☐ Physical Requirements: Your outdoor adventure will be an active participatory trip. Please inform us of any physical limitation you may have as soon as possible. Make sure you are exercising frequently in the months leading up to your trip.
☐ Payments: Final payment is due in our office 90 days prior to your trip (refer to your invoice for final payment date). Please let us know if you would like us to automatically charge your credit card on file when final payment is due.
Meeting Place & Time
We meet at the Paro International Airport (PBH), Bhutan. An OARS representative will meet you outside the arrivals area and transfer you to our hotel in Paro. The drive takes about 20 minutes and you may check-in immediately. This afternoon you’ll have the choice to rest or join us for sightseeing around Paro.
This evening we will meet in the lobby of our hotel for a group meeting, followed by a welcome dinner.
Getting to Paro, Bhutan
OARS will arrange your flight to Paro. The cost of this flight is not included in the trip price and will be added to your trip invoice upon confirmation. We suggest connecting to Paro from Bangkok (BKK), but there may also be flights from Kathmandu (KTM), Singapore (SIN), Mumbai (BOM) or Kolkata (CCU). You will need to purchase a flight to Bangkok, or one of these connecting cities. The cost of the flight to Paro is subject to change and will likely cost about $485 per person. Bangkok is the preferred connecting city.
Flights from North America to these connecting cities are provided by many carriers. Direct flights are not available.
We recommend arriving to your connecting city at least one day early, spending two nights. This will ensure you’re there for the flight to Paro and help you recover from jet lag so you can better enjoy and take advantage of our first day in Paro, Bhutan.
Let us know if you’d like assistance with arranging your international flight logistics. Our partners at Exito Travel specialize in international destinations and we’d be happy to obtain a quote from them on your behalf.
Please do not purchase airfare until your departure has been confirmed by OARS, ensuring the minimum number of required guests.
After Your Trip–Departing From Guwahati, India
You are responsible for arranging a flight from Guwahati, India. We arrive to Guwahati the evening of itinerary day 11. You may arrange your departing fight for any time the next day, itinerary day 12.
Multiple carriers provide service from Guwahati, including Air India, Jet Airways, JetKonnect and IndiGo. Non-stop flights to Delhi are frequent and inexpensive. Flights to Bangkok connect through Delhi or Kolkata.
Currently when you leave India, there is a departure tax of $1500 rupees (~US$24). This is likely included in the cost of your ticket, you can check with your air carrier to confirm. Airport taxes are subject to change without notice.
Essential Travel Documents
If you don’t have a passport, apply for one immediately as the process can be lengthy. If you do have a passport, check the expiration date to ensure it is valid for at least 6 months from your planned entry into Bhutan, India and your connecting cities. Also, if you do not have at least two blank pages in your passport, we recommend that you apply to have extra pages added.
Do not pack your passport in your checked luggage. You may be asked for your papers at various times during the trip. If you are carrying a customs form, please keep it in a safe place at all times.
Our Bhutanese partner will arrange your tourist visa. We will send them a copy of your passport to begin the process. Prior to your trip, you will receive a visa clearance letter. You must have the letter in hand to check-in and board the flight to Paro.
If you are a U.S. citizen, you need to arrange a visitor visa prior to our arrival in India. A visa cannot be obtained at the point of entry from Bhutan, which is Bansbari, Assam, India. We recommend using a visa processing service to obtain your Indian visa, such as Travisa or CKGS (U.S. residents only).
Be aware that the validity of an India visa starts from the date of issue and may expire within 6 months. India offers ‘visa on arrival’ services for entry into select airports. This does not apply to our port of entry.
Thailand, Singapore and Nepal Visas (for connecting flights only)
No visa is required for stays less than 30 days in Thailand and for stays less than 90 days in Singapore.
For Nepal, travelers may obtain a visa prior to travel from the Nepalese embassy or may purchase a one-day, a fifteen-day multiple-entry, a one-month multiple-entry or a three-month multiple-entry visa upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.
Non U.S. citizens should check with the consulates of each country for entry requirements.
Make copies of the photo page of your passport and of your Bhutanese and Indian visas. Obtain two spare passport photos. Carry these items separately from your passport in case they are lost or stolen. It is also a good idea to leave a copy of your passport and Bhutanese and Indian visas with your emergency contact at home. If your documents are lost or stolen, a photocopy will help the local U.S. consulate speed up replacement authorization.
Mandatory Evacuation Insurance
We require that you purchase emergency medical evacuation insurance to participate in this expedition. Call or visit Travel Insurance Services at 800-937-1387 for inexpensive options that cover this requirement. We also strongly recommend that you protect yourself, your belongings, and your vacation through the purchase of a travel protection plan. For those unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we offer an optional Travel Protection Plan from Trip Mate, Inc. (in CA & UT, dba Trip Mate Insurance Agency) that can help protect you, your travel investment and your belongings. Should you have to cancel your trip due to illness or injury – your own or that of an immediate family member – non-refundable payments may be covered by a travel protection plan (see Cancellations and Refunds). For a complete description of Trip Mate’s plan online go to: http://www.tripmate.com/wpf431X or call Trip Mate at 800-888-7292 (reference Plan #F431X). Please Note: Purchase this Plan within 14 days of the date we receive your initial deposit and the exclusion for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions will be waived, provided you are not disabled from travel at the time the plan is purchased.
Flowing out of the Himalaya of Bhutan are some of the world’s least explored rivers and best-kept secrets. In fact, up until 2006 when the first descent of Mangde Chhu was completed, and later in 2009 with the first descent of the Drangme Chhu, Bhutan’s rivers were essentially unknown to the rest of the world. We will challenge the lower Drangme Chhu and the Pho Chhu, which rank among the world’s finest sections of Class II-III whitewater. These rivers boast beautiful scenic views and untouched forests and carve through terrain only the most adventurous travelers have experienced.
Oar Raft – Your guide pilots the raft with long oars from a center-mounted aluminum frame. Ample deck space allows for lounging in calm stretches, sturdy weight and width give your guide confidence to hit the big waves head-on. (Two to four passengers)
Paddle Raft – The sportiest of crafts we put on the water, everybody handles a paddle while the guide steers and gives directions from the rear. Paddling together is essential to finding the right run, and teamwork begets success. Helmets required. (Four to seven passengers)
Our accommodations throughout Bhutan are clean and basic government-standard 3-star hotels or lodges. Most of the lodges have central heating and a few heat using wood stoves. While on the lower Mangde Chhu we will wilderness camp on beaches along the river.
All meals are hot and savory, with lots of choices of dishes. We will enjoy most of our meals in restaurants, with a picnic lunch or two before we do our multi-day river run.
On Drukair, the airline we will likely use for our flight into Bhutan, the checked baggage limit is 44 lbs. (20 kg). The weight of your unchecked baggage/carry-on is part of your baggage allowance. There are also articles that may be carried free of charge over and above the free baggage allowance, such as a handbag, purse, book, overcoat. For a complete list visit Drukair online.
Ground transportation in Bhutan will be in a Toyota Coaster bus.
We will be camping along the river the three nights we’re on the lower Drangme Chhu. After each active day on the river, we pull ashore to camp for the night. Individuals may collect their waterproof bag and locate an area on the beach to camp for the night. On the first night in camp, a crew member will give a demonstration on setting up a tent, which you’ll see is quick and easy. The guides will set up the kitchen and central dining area. They will also locate a secluded area away from camp to set up the toilet, a discrete distance from tent sites. As dinner is prepared, you will have an opportunity to relax and reflect on the day with your fellow traveling companions.
In the morning, the first wake-up call will let you know that hot beverages are ready. You can fill your mug and then begin to pack up your personal belongings and sleep gear as the guides prepare breakfast. After breakfast, the entire camp will be broken down and packing will be completed. The gear will then be loaded onto the boats and we’ll head downstream to see what new adventures await us.
We provide a great variety of Bhutanese, Indian, Chinese, and Western cuisine… and plenty of it! There are always hot drinks, and lots of vegetables. A day’s menu may include multiple choices for hot breakfast at camp, later pulling over to a beach for a cold lunch with prepared salads and sometimes hot soups. In the afternoons, we relax with hot tea and snacks. Dinners promise a feast of soup and several main entrees followed by dessert.
We need to know as soon as possible about any dietary restrictions we should consider in planning your trip. If you have food allergies or restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. However, there may be a supplemental menu fee, ranging from $5-25 per person per day to cover any increase in our costs.
Beyond our standard menu, we can provide options for vegetarian, vegan and many allergy-restricted diets without applying a fee. However, we cannot always provide the same diversity or sophistication for restricted diets as we do for our regular menu. Similarly, certain allergen-free snack foods are difficult or impossible to source in our location.
We cannot guarantee that cross-contamination from allergens will not occur during meal prep, and reserve the right to refuse service to anyone as it relates to safety, including the potential for a medical emergency caused by a severe food allergy. Also, due to the constraints of cooking for a large group in a wilderness setting, availability of ingredients or specialty items in remote locations, and limited packing space, we are unable to cater to dietary preferences (likes or dislikes).
Bottled water will be provided during the land-based portion of our tour and filtered/treated water will be provided on the river trip. Sodas and alcohol will be available for purchase along the way. Please note that there is a limited selection. Beer, wine and spirits/hard alcohol are of moderate quality. For your safety and the safety of others, alcoholic beverages are limited to camp during the river trip.
We recommend you drink only bottled or previously boiled water and that you bring a refillable water bottle or similar device, especially when traveling away from major cities.
The Portable Toilet
While the idea of a river trip is appealing to most people, many are inhibited or reluctant because of modesty or uncertainty. We use a pit toilet system that is set up each day at camp in a secluded location a discrete distance from tent sites. It is essentially a toilet without plumbing and is available from the time you pull into camp each afternoon until you leave camp the next day. Toilet paper and a hand-washing station are provided.
Bathing is allowed in the river. We recommend using a liquid, biodegradable soap such as Campsuds or Dr. Bronner’s which can be purchased in most stores that have a camping section. It can also be used to wash clothes. You may also find a good selection at your local health food store. Disposable anti-bacterial towelettes (Coleman Swash Cloths, baby wipes, etc.) are also a good idea.
Bhutan and India are on the 220-240V, 50Hz cycles system. Sockets in Bhutan are often types D, F and G; in India are types C, D and M. However, many sockets are a hybrid-type that will accept a type A plug, as used in North America. Plan to bring a converter for 110V devices and a selection of plug adapters. More information about plug types can be found at http://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
In addition to your regular camera case, we recommend using extra protection such as Ziploc plastic bags, a waterproof camera case or a small dry bag while on the river. Water and dust can be a problem and it is a good idea to clean your camera every night with tissue, a brush and lens paper. We strongly recommend you take out a rider on your homeowner’s policy to cover your camera, especially if it’s fine equipment. Don’t forget media cards, batteries and chargers. Disposable waterproof and panorama cameras are also a fun option.
Electronics & Technology
The use of electronic devices, especially music players and flying drones, on your trip may represent an intrusion into the wilderness experience of your fellow guests. We ask that you please be mindful of the impacts to others and respect the wilderness nature of the trip. Please bring headphones if you intend to listen to music during the trip and leave your drone at home.
Many of our guests travel with their smartphone even though there is no cell service while on the river. On a trip like this, there is always the risk of water damage to smartphones and other electronic devices, even when they are stowed in a dry bag. If you intend to take your phone with you on the river, consider investing in a small, waterproof container just for your phone.
While on the river, we are not able to provide a power source for recharging devices. To keep cameras, phones, GPS and other devices working you may need spare batteries or portable power. Options include compact portable solar panels that can recharge devices directly, portable power banks that store power, or a combo unit that can be charged before the trip and recharged with a built-in solar panel.
We request that you do not smoke in vehicles, at meals or in group situations. We have asked our guides, drivers and staff who smoke to follow the same consideration. If a smoker and a non-smoker are sharing a hotel room, we ask that the smoker not smoke in the room.
Fax machines and telephones are available at the hotels, but can be expensive. Internet is available at most lodges and hotels. The service is not great, but usually sufficient to check email.
If you are planning on taking your cell or smart phone, please check with your carrier regarding service in Bhutan. In the towns, cell coverage is reasonable. Everywhere else, it could be described as “hit or miss.” Once we are on the river there is limited communication with the “outside world.” Cell phone service is sporadic at best. Satellite phones are permitted. If you have someone that needs to contact you about an emergency at home, they should call our office at 800-346-6277. If possible, we will relay the message to you. Keep in mind it could be several days or longer before the message actually reaches you. For your family at home you should define for them what you consider an emergency and provide them with instructions to call our office in the event one occurs during your vacation.
We pride ourselves on being an environmentally responsible company. On the trip, we carry out whatever we carry in, including non-biodegradable items such as batteries and empty plastic containers. Many areas of Bhutan where we will be visiting do not have the proper facilities to process this kind of waste, and your throwaways will end up in the river or tossed down a hillside. We suggest that you carry a large Ziploc bag in your pocket for daily accumulations, and empty it in our group trash bag on the nights we are away from civilization. As you pack for your trip, think about ways to minimize the trash that you will have to bring home. For example, take film out of paper containers, and take such things as your powdered drink mixes and “wash and dry” towelettes out of their foil packets and put them into reusable plastic containers like a wide-mouth Nalgene bottle.
We discourage handouts of candy and toys to the children you meet. “Junk food” is dangerous because dental care is almost non-existent in Bhutan, especially away from the towns. Handouts also encourage children to beg.
The official currency in Bhutan is the Ngultrum (BTN) and the current exchange rate is ~BTN$65 to US$1. In India, it is the Rupee (INR) and the current exchange rate is ~INR$65 to US$1. You will not need to take a great deal of money on the trip, just enough for any souvenirs you may buy, beverages, and any meals that are not covered in the cost of the trip. Anywhere from US$200-$500 should be enough, depending on how much shopping you like to do, plus an amount for any tips you may want to give the river staff or trip leader (see the Gratuities section).
Cash, ATM & Traveler’s Checks
One of our first stops in Paro can be an ATM that will dispense local currency. ATMs can be found along our journey, from town to town. Traveler’s checks can be awkward to exchange and are generally not the easiest way to carry money in Bhutan and India.
You can often use credit cards in hotels, restaurants and stores in Bhutan and India. American Express, Visa and MasterCard are commonly accepted. Be sure to notify your credit card company of your travels.
Bhutan boasts talented indigenous artisans! Bhutan’s 13 traditional visual arts and crafts include paintings, wood carvings, sculptures, calligraphy, carpentry, gold, silver and blacksmithing, bamboo work, weaving and embroidering, pottery, masonry, paper making and incense. There is a lot of pride in their work and not a lot of bargaining done in Bhutan. Do not buy expensive items such as hand-woven silk fabrics without doing some comparative shopping and speaking with our Bhutanese partners. Bumthang will be your last opportunity to shop the local craft markets, and perhaps the best.
Bhutan is the same latitude as Miami, Florida. The climate varies widely with elevation, from tropical in the southern border areas, temperate in the inner central valleys, to alpine in the high Himalaya.
Average Temperatures in Fahrenheit for Nov (High/Low)
|Paro (7300 ft.)||Punakha (4400 ft.)||Trongsa (7150 ft.)||Assam region|
Average Temperatures in Fahrenheit for Feb (High/Low)
|Paro (7300 ft.)||Punakha (4400 ft.)||Trongsa (7150 ft.)||Assam region|
We will be passing through these cities from west to east. Temperatures should be relatively moderate and skies are usually brilliantly clear. As a general guideline, days will usually be sunny, cool to warm, and pleasant. Nights will be considerably cooler after the sun has set. Rain or snow is possible. The temperature drops about 3.5°F for every 1,000 feet you gain in elevation, so daytime temperatures as we drive over the high passes will get chilly!
You may want to check one week prior to your trip for an up-to-date weather forecast. We recommend you check the following web site: www.wunderground.com.
Bhutan is GMT +6 hours, therefore a day ahead of North America by 12-15 hours, depending on the North American time zone.
The three most common languages of Bhutan are English, Dzongkha and Nepali. Most people related to the tourism industry will speak English.
Laundry service is available at some lodges. However, it will be difficult to take advantage of the service due to our schedule. Many lodges do not have dryers and line dry all laundry. Your laundry may not be dry by the time we leave a lodge. On the river, washbasins are available at camp for laundry you want to do yourself; however it may be too chilly for things to dry very fast. Synthetic fabrics are easier to wash and dry quickly.
It’s important that we have your medical information for use by the leader in the field, and he or she may evacuate or disqualify you if necessary. No refunds are given if you have to leave the trip.
Please be aware that hospital facilities for serious medical problems may, at times, be a long way away; a doctor may not always be available and evacuation can be prolonged, difficult and expensive.
Despite the many precautions we all take to stay healthy, occasionally one may experience diarrhea. The major problem associated with this is fluid loss leading to severe dehydration, so it is important to maintain plentiful fluid intake. Avoid milk and caffeine, as it will only further dehydrate you. The best drinks are weak tea, mineral water and caffeine-free soft drinks. Ideally it is best to let diarrhea run its course. However you may want to bring over-the-counter medication to minimize your potential discomfort.
Never drink tap water in Bhutan or India. Drink bottled water only. Use this water to brush your teeth as well. Also, ask for no ice in your drinks because you can’t be sure it was made with boiled water. When eating at a restaurant, you’re probably safe eating thoroughly cooked items served to you while they’re still hot, but avoid raw vegetables, salads and shellfish to be extra cautious. You may eat fresh fruit that you peel yourself. The trip leader will provide you with more detailed guidelines.
On the river, the food served in our camps is prepared hygienically by trained, experienced camp staff. We provide boiled water at every meal.
Although we do not require any immunizations to participate, it is important that you be up-to-date on routine immunizations and that you check with your physician prior to departure. The CDC is a good resource for recommendations pertaining to international travel immunizations and will provide insight to the relevance of malaria, Japanese encephalitis and other topics associated with traveling in Bhutan and India. Bhutan’s rural areas below 5,577 feet (1,700 m), especially the southern belt districts along the border with India, may have malaria. Japanese Encephalitis may also exist depending on the time of year. Therefore, we suggest obtaining a doctor’s recommendation for a chemoprophylaxis.
If you have traveled at or above 10,000 feet before, you will probably find that activity at altitudes higher than that is similar to your previous experience. At first you’ll move more slowly, rest more frequently, have some restlessness at night and be subject to headaches. If your previous reaction to altitude has been nausea or other unpleasant symptoms, rafting in the Himalayan foothills of Bhutan may not be for you. Be forewarned that there are no guarantees that your body will acclimatize properly. Any trip member who, in the opinion of the trip leader, shows signs of potential acute altitude sickness, such as HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) will have no choice but to descend and remain at comfortable altitudes.
For Women Only
Even if you aren’t anticipating your menstrual period, come prepared for it. You can use sandwich-sized Ziploc baggies during the day to store feminine products while you are on the river or hiking, and you can then discretely dispose of the baggies when you reach camp. When possible, we recommend o.b.® tampons, which are 1/3 the size of regular tampons, tuck discreetly into pockets and have less paper wrapping. If you use pads, be sure to bring extras. Many women suggest bringing a small supply of baby wipes. We provide some feminine products on most trips for emergencies.
Essential Eligibility Criteria for River Trips
The following are the physical and mental eligibility criteria for all participants on any OARS river trip.
1. Ability to remain seated and balanced while in a whitewater craft while holding on with at least one hand.
2. Wear a Type V Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (maximum chest size of 56 inches). Wearing leg straps may be required to ensure proper fit. Where required, properly wear a helmet.
3. Ability to independently board and disembark a boat four to ten times each day. This may require stepping into the boat, and then maneuvering your body over and across tubes and fixed objects into a seated position.
4. Ability to independently navigate shoreline terrain, including safely maneuvering around and across boulders, rocks, and slippery and uneven surfaces, under low branches, and around vegetation. This includes the ability to maintain your balance near precipitous ledges or cliffs.
5. Ability to independently swim in whitewater or swift currents while wearing a PFD. This includes being an active participant in your own rescue, including having the ability to (a) keep your airway passages sealed while underwater, and regain control of your breathing when being submitted to repeated submersion under waves or currents; (b) orient yourself to new “in-river” surroundings; (c) reposition yourself in the water to different swimming positions; (d) swim aggressively to a boat or to shore in whitewater; (e) receive a rescue rope, paddle, or human assistance, and possibly let go of the same; (f) get out from under an overturned boat.
6. Ability to swim 100 yards in flat water while wearing a PFD.
7. Ability to assist another passenger who has fallen out of the boat by pulling them back in.
8. Ability to follow both verbal and non-verbal instructions given by guides in all situations, including during stressful or dangerous situations, and to effectively communicate with guides and other guests.
9. Ability to carry personal dry bags and other personal gear (as heavy as 20-30 pounds) uphill from the boats to your camping location and back the next morning, independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member. (This only applies on multi-day trips).
10. Ability to manage all personal care independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member.
11. If taking prescription medications, have the ability to maintain proper dosage by medicating independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member.
12. Ability to remain adequately fed, hydrated, and properly dressed so as to avoid environmental injuries such as hypothermia, heat related illness, sunburn and frostbite.
The above criteria, if not met, will disqualify a person from participating in a river trip with OARS. The criteria exist for your own safety and that of all trip participants. None of the criteria are meant to discriminate on the basis of any physical or mental disability, and are applied uniformly to all potential trip participants, irrespective of the presence or absence of any disability. OARS is committed to making reasonable modifications to any trip for any persons with a disability, so long as they do not fundamentally alter the nature of the trip.
Further Information About Our Expectations of Trip Participants
The following paragraphs are meant to further inform all potential participants of the expectations for all participants in order to promote a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone on a trip. There may be requirements, whether physical or mental, that are not specifically applied “essential eligibility criteria”, but that help our guests understand the reality of being on a wilderness river trip.
Our primary goal is to minimize the risks associated with adventure trips in a wilderness environment. The trip involves physical exertion and exposure to the elements, including cold water and the potential for heat, sun, wind, rain and snow. We have experience accommodating people with a wide range of physical disabilities and/or health conditions. However, individuals who are overweight, lack conditioning, or have other physical limitations or ailments that interfere with the realistic encounters on a wilderness river can endanger themselves, other guests, and the guides. Please consult your doctor if you have medical or health conditions that could impact your ability to participate in this outdoor adventure.
It is very important that each trip participant take an active role in their own safety. You will likely encounter wilderness conditions that you are unfamiliar with, and those conditions may change rapidly. It is critical to pay attention at all times, to be aware of your surroundings, and to avoid taking unnecessary risks. Even a non-life threatening injury in a wilderness setting can become a major emergency for you, and can endanger the entire group. Swimming alone or hiking alone is discouraged. Excessive alcohol consumption or illicit drug use is not tolerated. Using common sense and following both the explicit instruction and the lead of your guides can go a long way towards keeping yourself and the group safe. Some obvious things to avoid in camp and on shore (by way of example) are: walking around without shoes in camp, approaching wild animals, not paying attention to what is above or around your tent site that could harm you, not paying attention to hazards such as poison ivy and rattlesnakes, and walking near precipitous ledges.
River trips, particularly those involving whitewater, are inherently risky. While the risk of a trip is part of what makes it an exciting adventure, you must be entirely respectful of the risk that such a trip poses. It is important that you are confident in your swimming ability, and your ability to stay calm in the event you become a non-voluntary swimmer. Your odds of becoming a non-voluntary swimmer change with the classification of a rapid, boat selection and environmental factors. On class IV and greater whitewater, the probability that you will become a non-voluntary swimmer is significant. A swim in whitewater is much more difficult and physically draining than swimming in flat water. Swimming in cold water can cause a gasping effect on your respiratory system. This can be overcome by focusing on your breathing and calming yourself down. Swimming in cold water will also much more quickly sap your energy and decrease muscle function than swimming in warmer water. While our guides are highly trained and will do their absolute best to rescue you, a successful rescue is greatly hampered by a swimmer who is unprepared for a swim in whitewater, who fails to actively participate in their own rescue, and who is not able to follow directions while under stress. You will receive a detailed orientation talk at the start of your river trip, but you can get a better idea of what to expect by watching a version of an orientation talk here: http://www.oars.com/videos/oars-whitewater-orientation.
Due to the physical nature of this trip, we highly recommend that you engage in regular exercise for at least three months prior to departure to ensure preparedness. No gym membership required! Simple exercises like push-ups, sit-ups and squats go a long way to improving core fitness. Start with these exercises and do three sets of ten repetitions each, three to four times per week. Aerobic training is also easy to accomplish without expensive equipment. Take 30 – 40 minutes two to three times a week and go for a brisk walk, easy jog or bike ride around town. If you have access to a pool, lake or the ocean, swimming is obviously an ideal choice for aerobic exercise. It provides a full-body workout and is training that is useful in the event of an involuntary swim in a whitewater rapid. It is important to push yourself in the months leading up to your trip by increasing your strength training repetitions and the pace of your aerobic training. Check with your doctor prior to beginning any exercise program to be sure you are medically safe to participate. Starting an exercise program that is more strenuous than you are ready for may result in injury or risk exacerbating existing health conditions. Getting in shape will certainly add to your enjoyment of the trip.
Packing for Your Trip
Click on this link for helpful information about packing for your trip: https://www.oars.com/video/pack-river-rafting-trip/
You’ll need warm clothing for cold weather as it I can be very cold at night and in the morning. Pack warm weather things for the lower elevations and lower river portions, where daytime temperatures reach into the 70’s. Expect mostly clear days and cold nights. The Drangme Chhu could be ~75⁰F during the day and down to ~55⁰F at night. Bring layers of synthetic or merino wool fabrics that insulate well, dry quickly and wick the perspiration away from your body. Avoid cotton on the river, but bring it for days full of sightseeing.
During the day on the river—Start with a swimsuit and/or swim trunks and synthetic or merino wool shirt as a base layer. You will be offered a wetsuit and splash jacket. Additional layers for sun protection or insulation can be added and subtracted depending on the weather, temperature and how wet you’re getting in the rapids.
In camp—When the weather is warm, lightweight cotton pants/skirt or shorts and shirt make great camp wear. Anytime the forecast calls for cool evenings and cold nights, a dry set of long underwear is the perfect base layer under long pants and a fleece sweater.
During the day on the river—The best choice is an amphibious shoe that drains water, protects your toes and won’t come off in swirling current. A retired pair of athletic shoes can work well, too. Sport sandals with a heal strap are a good option, especially on rivers with sandy beaches. Find professional-grade options made by Chaco®, the official footwear sponsor of OARS guides.
In camp—We recommend wearing shoes in camp due to risk of kicking a rock buried in the sand, or stepping on a sharp stick. The athletic shoes or light hikers you bring for hiking can double as your camp shoes. It’s nice to put on dry socks and shoes after a day on the water. Flip-flops or are OK for wearing in camp only.
During the day—Wide-brimmed hats, caps or visors are a good choice for sun protection. Ball caps are useful since they fit under helmets, which are required attire when paddling our whitewater rivers.
In camp—When the weather is cool or cold, you’ll want a beanie-style hat to wear in camp. They are the perfect remedy for bed-head as you rise from your sleeping bag to secure your morning hot beverage, or for retaining warmth in the evening hours after the sun sets.
To Avoid Being Cold
Synthetic or merino wool long underwear is a must-have on river trips. It can be worn under shorts, rain gear, T-shirts, etc., then stripped off when the chill of the morning has worn off. It keeps you warm even if it’s wet, dries quickly, and it’s compact enough to be stuffed into your small waterproof bag or daypack after you take it off. It can be layered under your waterproof rain jacket and pants. Be aware that cotton items, once wet, do not insulate; only synthetic and wool materials will keep you warm during cool, wet weather.
Something Warm for your Top & Bottom: Although the weather will probably be delightful, you need to be prepared for inclement weather. Bring a good fleece or wool top and bottom, along with a warm hat and gloves. You’ll want to double up on your synthetic or merino wool layers so that you’ll have a set to wear in the boat and a set of warm, dry clothes for camp.
Rain gear protects you from rain, wind and the splash of the rapids. It is one of the essential items that all passengers should have no matter what time of year you are traveling. Look for jacket and pants that are 100% waterproof, not just water resistant. A hooded jacket is recommended as well as good secure closures around your head, neck, wrists and ankles. Do not bring a rain poncho as it cannot be worn under your PFD.
Protecting yourself from the sun should be taken very seriously. A hat, sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses are a must. In many cases, a long-sleeve shirt is the best method for preventing sunburn on your upper body. Light-weight long pants may also be appropriate to protect your legs. Be sure to bring a good hat that offers full coverage, such as a wide-brimmed hat.
Bugs & Mosquitoes
Bugs and mosquitoes vary depending on location and time of year. It’s a good idea to come prepared with insect repellent. Long sleeved shirts and pants may be desirable at times.
We provide sleeping bags and mats, but you may bring your own if you prefer. We recommend a synthetic-fill bag rated to 20°F, the normal range for an all-around, “three-season” bag. You may find it helpful to put your sleeping bag into a compression sack so that it takes less room in your duffle bag while on tour, and in the waterproof bag on the river. If you choose to have a sleeping bag provided, we suggest you bring a sleeping bag liner for added warmth and cleanliness.
Equipment and Personal Items:
☐ 1-liter water bottle: durable and reusable
☐ Locking carabiner (for clipping a water bottle or personal dry bag into a raft)
☐ Headlamp or flashlight (consider bringing extra batteries)
☐ Day pack
☐ Sunglasses (preferably polarized) with securing strap and a spare
☐ Small, quick-drying towel (for camping on the river)
☐ Toiletries, including biodegradable soap (such as Campsuds or Dr. Bronner’s)
☐ Sunscreen and lip protection: waterproof & SPF 30 or higher (aerosol sprays not recommended)
☐ Moisturizing lotion or cream
☐ Insect repellent
☐ Personal first aid kit (Band-aids, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, moleskin, eye drops, etc.)
☐ Small waterproof bag or case for your camera and other belongings while rafting (we do not provide)
☐ Spare pair of glasses and/or contacts
☐ Cash for gratuities (U.S. dollars are fine)
☐ River shoes or sandals with a heel strap (such as those made by Chaco®), “aqua socks” strongly discouraged
☐ Athletic shoes or light hikers
☐ Extra pair of dry shoes, sandals or flip flops for camp
☐ Wetsuit booties and/or neoprene, wool or synthetic socks (for on the river)
☐ Hiking socks (3-5 pair)
☐ Long pants good for hiking, touring or city wear
☐ Long-sleeved shirt: lightweight and light color for sun protection
☐ Long pants: lightweight and light color for sun protection
☐ Shade hat or visor with securing strap and a spare
☐ Waterproof rain jacket & pants
☐ Swimsuit / Trunks: 2-piece suits recommended for women. Tankinis are a great option
☐ Shorts: 1-2 pair
☐ Synthetic or merino wool long underwear– top & bottom: we recommend a minimum of 2 sets light to mid-weight
☐ Warm jacket (down/synthetic fill jacket or vest; fleece jacket)
☐ Fleece pants
☐ Warm hat and gloves: synthetic or wool
☐ Sleeping bag liner – if you choose to have a sleeping bag provided (for our nights camping on the river)
☐ Sleeping bag: three season rated to 20°F – if you choose to bring your own
☐ Thermarest or similar back-packing style sleep pad – if you choose to bring your own
☐ Bathing wipes: pre-moistened disposable towels
☐ Plastic bags: assorted zip-loc bags – helpful to separate dirty clothes
☐ Camera and accessories
☐ Sketchbook, notebook and pen, paperback book
☐ Paddling gloves (for cold and/or hand protection)
☐ Down booties for camp for the cold-sensitive
Find all the gear you need for your trip online in the OARStore and receive FREE SHIPPING in the U.S. + 15% of your purchase helps provide disadvantaged youth with outdoor adventure experiences.
Packing Your Gear
It’s always easier to travel light! Bring only what you need, and you will have less to haul around and load on and off the rafts. Be aware there is a 30 kg (66 lb) weight limit for checked luggage on Druk Air, more than one checked bag is accepted.
Attire is very casual with comfort, convenience and space taking precedence over style. Bring only what is necessary to save time packing and repacking. Extra baggage can be an unwanted burden for yourself and others. Bhutan and India are conservative countries. Skimpy, revealing clothing is inappropriate for both sexes and only attracts unwelcome attention. Please bring loose, comfortable clothing.
For your main bag, bring a good quality duffel or other soft-sided luggage. For the river trip, we will give you a large dry bag for the gear that you pack away each day. Bring a daypack for hiking on the trip, which can also be used as your carry-on for the flights.
It’s convenient to bring extra stuff sacks and Ziplocs to keep things organized within your bag. It’s also a good idea to bring a money belt or passport pouch to keep your valuables organized.
You may leave a bag with our ground crew while you are on the rafting trip. This bag will be available to you when you get off the river.
We recommend that you leave valuables at home. For personal items like passport, wallet, purses and cell phones, we recommend putting them in a Ziploc bag at the bottom of your waterproof bag with your clothing.
Security While In Bhutan
Bhutan boasts very little crime; however, it is always wise to follow some simple safety precautions. When walking around towns, carry only a reasonable amount of spending money and a credit card. We recommend carrying a money belt or neck pouch as bags and purses attract attention.
From beginning to end, your trip will consist of a local trip leader and driver. On the river, you’ll have a raft guide, full-time cook and about four additional staff rowing gear boats, safety kayaking and assisting in camp.
Tipping is optional, but appreciated by our staff. If you are wondering how much to tip, you may consider that we operate in a service industry with a host of behind-the-scenes contributors in addition to the guides on your trip. In general, we suggest a gratuity based on 10 – 15% of the trip cost. It is customary on OARS trips for gratuities to be given to the Trip Leader, who will then distribute appropriately amongst all the guides and support staff. You’ll want to plan ahead and have cash with you.
In reviewing your statement, you’ll notice a $1 per person per day donation to International Rivers, a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to protecting rivers and defending the rights of the surrounding communities. Their work helps stop destructive dams and promotes water and energy solutions for a just and sustainable world. One-hundred percent of these funds go directly to protecting rivers, and your contribution is tax-deductible. Please notify our office to delete the donation from your balance.
If you enjoyed your trip, consider donating to the OARS Foundation. This organization is a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 organization with the express goal of providing opportunities for young people to experience the magic of the outdoors. Visit http://www.oarsfoundation.orgndation/ to learn more about how a tax-deductible donation can change young lives for the better.
Shop for the latest in top-quality gear for your trip
OARS practices Leave No Trace outdoor ethics
Watch our “How to Pack for a River Trip” video
Watch our Whitewater Orientation video
Terms & Conditions
Reservations and Deposits
A $800/person deposit is required at the time of reservation. The balance is due 90 days prior to departure.
Cancellations and Refunds
If you find it necessary to cancel your trip, please notify us as soon as possible. The cancellation fee after you’ve made your deposit can range up to the entire trip cost, based upon the number of days prior to your trip that we receive your cancellation notice. We regret we cannot make exceptions for personal emergencies. For this reason, we strongly urge you to consider purchasing a travel protection plan (see Travel Protection).
|DATE OF CANCELLATION||CANCELLATION FEE|
|90 or more days prior to your trip||$250/person|
|89 to 60 days prior||$500/person|
|59 to 30 days or less prior||50% of the trip price/person|
|29 to 0 days prior to your trip||100% of the trip price/person|
Under most circumstances, if you are of an adventurous spirit and in reasonably good health, you should have no problem enjoying an O.A.R.S. International People with medical conditions, including pregnancy, should have a physician’s approval before taking an adventure travel trip.
We recommend you protect yourself, your belongings, and your vacation with the purchase of a short-term Travel Protection Plan. A Travel Protection Plan may help cover your non-refundable payments should you have to cancel your trip due to a covered illness or injury. Because we begin working to prepare for your trip upon receipt of your deposit, and may be turning other prospective guests away while holding space for you, there are cancellation fees that will apply regardless of why or when you might need to cancel. The cost for the optional Travel Protection is listed on your trip invoice. All Plan Benefits are administered by Trip Mate, Inc. (in CA & UT, dba Trip Mate Insurance Agency). For a complete description of Trip Mate’s Plan online go to: http://www.tripmate.com/wpf431X or call Trip Mate at 800-888-7292 (reference Plan #F431X).
Please Note: Purchase this Plan within 14 days of the date we receive your initial deposit and the exclusion for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions will be waived, provided you are not disabled from travel at the time the plan is purchased.
Please note, we require all participants have a minimum of emergency medical evacuation coverage to participate. This coverage can be purchased as a stand-alone policy, or is typically included in a travel protection plan. If you don’t have proof of coverage at the start of the trip, you cannot take part in the expedition.
Everyone is required to sign a standard liability release form before the trip, acknowledging awareness that there are inherent risks associated with the Due to the nature of the activities, a condition of your participation is that you will sign this form and return it to our office before the trip begins. Anyone who refuses to sign the form will not be allowed to participate, and consistent with O.A.R.S. International cancellation policy, there will be no refund of the trip fees at that time.
Responsibility – An Important Notice
O.A.R.S International, Inc. and Xplore, Bhutan, act only in the capacity of agent for the participants in all matters relating to transportation and/or all other related travel services, and assume no responsibility however caused for injury, loss or damage to person or property in connection with any service, including but not limited to that resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, detention, annoyance, delays and expenses arising from quarantine, strikes, theft, pilferage, force majeure, failure of any means of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulations, and discrepancies or change in transit over which it has no control. Reasonable changes in itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and well being of the participants, including cancellation due to water fluctuation, insufficient bookings (this trip requires a minimum of 6 guests), and other factors. There is risk in whitewater rafting, particularly during high-water conditions. Rafts, dories and kayaks do capsize. You could be swept overboard. Your guide will make every attempt to assist, but you must be strong and agile enough to “self-help” and “float-it-out” without further endangering yourself or others. We reserve the right not to accept passengers weighing more than 260 pounds or with a waist/chest size exceeding 56 inches. We may decide, at any time, to exclude any person or group for any reason we feel is related to the safety of our trips. We are experienced at accommodating people with various disabilities. Please give us an opportunity to make you feel welcome. We need to discuss any special requirements ahead of time. On advancement of deposit the depositor agrees to be bound by the above recited terms and conditions. Prices subject to change without notice.
Xplore, Bhutan, a travel partner of O.A.R.S. International, will provide services including transportation and equipment on this trip. These international staff members are the very best and will strive to ensure your complete satisfaction.