Bhutan: Packing Tips

Yoooohhhooooooo!!! We are off to Bhutan tomorrow! While I have been traveling a lot for the past six months, Ankur and I haven’t been able to travel together since August. Our last vacation was to the paradise island of Zanzibar … stunning beaches and colourful underwater world. This time, we have decided to head to the hills and spend a few days in the one of the happiest countries in the world … Bhutan.

Quintessential` Bhutan...

Quintessential Bhutan…

With less than 24 hours left, I am busy packing. As per the weather forecast, Bhutan will be cold during the next week. The maximum temperature would be about 15 degrees Celsius and the minimum would be close to 0 degrees Celsius. It’s time to take out the winter gear that is seldom used in India. So, here is a lit of stuff that’s made its way into our bag…

Down jackets: Nothing keeps as you snug and warm as a good quality down jacket. We would be going to Punakha Dzong, which is supposed to be really windy. I wouldn’t want to be there without the outer shell!

Happy and snug in our down jackets...

Happy and snug in our down jackets…

Sweaters: We have so many sweaters from around the world … Iceland, Sweden, Nepal, Bolivia and obviously India. However, it never gets cold enough in Mumbai or Ahmedabad to sport any of these. I am always itching for a chance to wear them … so in they go!

Sweaters from around the world...Ankur got his from Amsterdam and I got mine from Sweden

Sweaters from around the world…Ankur got his from Amsterdam and I got mine from Sweden

Boots: Cold climes call for smart boots… it’s a perfect blend of style and comfort. I had picked up a pair of fleece lined boots in Sweden that make my feel all so happy. I haven’t ever walked too much in them, so am wondering whether the day long hike to the Tiger’s Nest temple wearing boots will be a good idea?

Hiking to Tiger's Nest...good shoes are a must have

Hiking to Tiger’s Nest…good shoes are a must have

My loyal Quechua trekking boots gave away in Bolivia after taking me to the Himalayas, the Alps and the Andes. I miss them…maybe it’s time to shop for another pair.

Inner wear: Our winter experience in the Arctic and Iceland has taught us that the quality of inner wear is critical in wicking ie taking sweat away from the skin and letting it stay warm and dry. The wicking inner wear should be first layer always. I am carrying three sets of inner wear hoping that we will be able to get them cleaned at least once.

Accessories: Caps, scarves, mittens, ear muffs, gloves…you can’t call them mere accessories in the Himalayan winters, can you? They are necessities! Well, I am carrying a few sets to try and match colours, and hence you can call them accessories. My favourite is this set of a cap, scarf and mitten made from high quality Icelandic wool. I have never worn it till date and can’t wait to romp around the hills in it!

My favourite scarf and cap....

My favourite scarf and cap….

Photography equipment: We won’t come back from Bhutan without taking over a thousand pictures. I have packed extra batteries for the SLR and the Go Pro. I have packed the tripod and the mounts to ensure that there are plenty of pictures that have both of us in the frame.

Warmers: Now, this is a new addition to our travel kit. This time, we are carrying Warmee body warmers. The first time we ever used body warmers was in the Arctic winters in Sweden in 2012. We had never seen them in India and were delighted to figure out that they are now being manufactured in Mumbai and can be ordered online. Warmee is a little pouch filled with non-toxic chemicals, that are self heating.


You simply need to shake the pack for just a couple of minutes and voila, in 5-10 minutes, it’s all toasty to sit in you gloves, socks, jacket or even sleeping bag to make you feel warm and comfortable. I have a cold feet problem and there are times I have stayed up all night just because feet feel as though they are dunked in ice cold water. I have experiments with little Warmee pouches in my socks and they let me sleep nice and easy. Warmers will now accompany us for every winter vacation!

Besides the above, I have packed the medical kit, toiletries and rolls of toilet paper. We would just need our passport to enter Bhutan … no visa required! We are all set … let the vacation begin!

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12 Responses

  1. Hey, looks like a great place. Never before thought about Bhutan. In fact I have to check on the map where it is lol! But the place looks amazing! And those self heating warmers look so handy! I will be buying them for sure!

  2. Great tips for a packing list!! I use hand warmers all the time in Korea they are just perfect to keep in your pockets!!! I’ve heard Bhutan is beautiful. Was it difficult to plan a trip there? Am I right in thinking you must be on an organised trip or can you visit the country freely?

    1. Its very easy for Indians to plan the trip…we dont even need a visa …not even a passport :-). For foreigners, you need to plan it through a local tour operator. We still used services of Heavenly Bhutan to ensure we saw the best in the week…and highly recommend them!

  3. I am so envious. I would LOVE to go to Bhutan. It’s been on my list for twenty years. Great suggestions for packing — I hope your boots work out. It sounds like a similar list as what you would pack to visit Montana in winter.

  4. How lucky are you to go there without even needing a visa! I am planning my trip to Nepal in April and in a similar fashion will be taking my winter clothes with me. I agree with needing a good inner layer and I am just on the hunt for one. Any recommendations? Love the matching hat and a scarf too! I bought me and my partner matching beanies for hiking haha!

  5. This is so cool guys! So jealous that you are going to visit such an amazing country! Loved your tips on what to pack, specially the jackets. I’m sure you are going to need them with that temperature. I also wear warmers when I go to cold places and they are so useful!
    Enjoy your trip so much 🙂

  6. These are some great tips. We haven’t visited any destination with extreme weather conditions, though we have explored a lot in Europe but a normal winter jacket and footwears worked fine there. Body warmers are something new to know about will keep it in mind if we had to make a visit. Bhutan is a dream we would love to read more on your experience there.

  7. So exciting! Thanks so much for all the cold weather tips. We are heading off to a colder climate soon and we actually have the same matching down jackets as you guys haha. The hand warmer tip is great thanks!

  8. Bhutan has definitely captured my interest after reading about it so much. I’ve seen a lot of photos of Bhutan and I cannot deny that it is now on my bucket list. Your handy packing guide will surely serve tourists well. Oftentimes, we get so caught up in the planning of the itinerary itself that we forget to pack smart.

  9. I am actually going to be fortunate enough to be visiting Bhutan in the summer and truly, I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to something more. This was certainly a pretty handy guide of what to expect when I get there and how to pack accordingly and I have bookmarked it for advice closer to the time. Looks like you had a really fabulous experience during your time there and I can only hope mine goes so well. Really great post

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