By Rama Gaind.
Journeys that not only leave big impressions, but small footprints on the people and
places we visit are few and far between. If active and adventurous travel is what you seek, then leading Himalayan travel specialist, World Expeditions, has some reliable guidance.
In fact, it’s advising would-be travellers to Bhutan to book now to avoid big price hikes in 2023.
The Bhutanese Government has announced it will introduce a new Sustainable Development Fee in 2023, which will triple the daily rate payable by foreign visitors, who will pay US$200 per day, rather than the current US$65 per day per visitor charge.
According to World Expeditions CEO Sue Badyari, the US$135 per person per day increase will have a huge impact on costs of travel to Bhutan.
“One of our most challenging but popular treks in Bhutan is the 27-day Bhutan Snowman Trek and the Government-imposed price rise means that the cost of this trip will increase by US$3,645 – or roughly A$5,500 per person.”
“The Snowman Trek ranks amongst the very finest anywhere in the Himalaya but, if the price rise goes ahead, clients will be paying almost $17,000, rather than the current cost of A$11,190. Increasing the price of a trek by almost 50% will have huge impact on the future of Bhutan’s tourism industry.”
“On top of two years of COVID shutdown, we are very worried about the potential impact for the livelihoods of our colleagues in Bhutan.”
“The good news is that our 2022 trip dates are locked in and there are still a limited number of places available to join our published dates before the price increase is implemented,” Ms Badyari said.
“With no need to quarantine on arrival, we strongly advise anyone considering travelling to Bhutan to seize the day and travel in 2022 to avoid paying the new fees.” Ms Badyari said most of their clients travelling to Bhutan were in the country for between three-to-four-weeks, during which time they engaged deeply with the community, which stimulated the economy, providing jobs and a source of income to remote communities.
“We’ve asked the Bhutanese Government to consider a scaled increase for those spending longer than a week in the country, as the proposed increase will be a huge barrier for many people travelling,” she said. “We’d find it very worrying indeed if these new fees stopped people travelling to the country.”
In addition to exploratory expedition-style treks, World Expeditions’ Bhutan range includes cultural itineraries, such as the Bhutan Explorer and the Bumthang’s Jambay Lakhang festival and the Bhutan Explorer & Paro Tshechu Festival, both crafted to coincide with festivals that reveal Bhutan’s cultural richness, and the 11-day Bhutan Dragon Kingdom, which combines an exceptional trek along the Druk Trail between Thimpu and Paro, with an in-depth exploration of some of Bhutan’s cultural highlights.
Yarra Valley’s Balgownie Estate’s attractive endota escape
Balgownie Estate Yarra Valley is a beautiful award-winning resort with luxurious accommodation and facilities that include a vineyard, cellar door, restaurant and indoor swimming pool.
Now it has opened a state-of-the-art new endota Spa facility – where travellers to Victoria’s premier wine region can relax and rejuvenate in style. To celebrate the opening, special winter spa experience packages have been created.
The Balgownie endota Escape Package starts from only $621 per couple/per package (based on midweek rate for a standard room) and includes:
- Overnight accommodation in one of Balgownie Estate’s spacious suites
- Breakfast for two at the winery’s new Restaurant 1309
- An endota Escape Treatment Package for two (includes infrared sauna, back of body massage, and a facial)
The package features a unique infrared sauna experience that is exclusive to the all-new endota Spa Yarra Valley – no other endota Spa locations around Australia offer this warming restoration experience. Experienced beauty professionals will design a special treatment or spa package to suit personal preferences – offering the ultimate skin care and pampering experience.
With majestic 360-degree vistas right across the picturesque Yarra Valley and nearby Dandenong Ranges, Balgownie Estate is the ultimate luxury getaway destination. Located only footsteps away from endota Spa Yarra Valley is Restaurant 1309, where the talented team of local chefs proudly incorporate the finest and freshest produce from the Yarra Valley to create an innovative seasonal menu that takes guests on an extraordinary culinary journey – of course – matched with Balgownie Estate’s award-winning wines.
A getaway is for resting the mind, taking time-out, eating delicious food and sleeping soundly in a luxurious room – above all it is about returning home revived and rejuvenated. The Balgownie endota Escape Package will ensure all that and more for the ultimate winter escape.
Available until September 30, 2022, make the most of this quality package offering the ultimate escape of relaxation and indulgence among the beautiful surrounds of the Yarra Valley.
Balgownie Estate resort is a one-hour drive from Melbourne. Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary is only 20 minutes’ drive away, while the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail is 40km from the property.
1300 720 000
Balgownie Estate Yarra Valley
(03) 9730 0700