My packing staging area for my Bhutan trip took up the entire couch. My mother would model possible outfit choices on our video chats. We sent emails back and forth debating the one question – what to pack for our trip to Bhutan? There were so many considerations. Bhutan has several climates from alpine mountains to windy valleys to subtropical river valleys. Plus, we were doing a mix of cultural touring to museums and temples and day hiking.
In addition to Bhutan, we had two days in Bangkok on the way to Bhutan. I had been there two times before and it was jungle-lava-hot humid and the cultural sites like the Grand Palace required shirts with shoulders covered. Then, there were the weight considerations of Druk Airlines. At the end of my trip, I was going to be staying for 3 days in Seoul, South Korea, which meant that I needed clothing dressy enough for a city. There were many variables to consider and I wanted it all in a carry-on sized suitcase.
Here is my final list of what I packed. I’m very happy to say that I used every piece of clothing and did not run out of undergarments, nor have to buy additional clothes. I consider this list one of my best of all my big trip packing lists.
An Osprey Meridian – – I’m obsessed with this carry-on bag. It’s durable, expands and has many compartments, and the wheels are big and durable for uneven surfaces. If they made this in an ergonomic back pack, I would be all over it.
Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti-Theft Daypack -> The size of this day pack is perfect for traveling, but too big to take around every day.
An Eagle Creek Travel Gear 2-In-1 Waistpack –> I used this as a purse for the trip. It packed really small and I was able to expand it to fit my DSLK when needed. I also brought it on hikes because, in the expanded state, it fit a small water bottle.
- Hiking Pants These adhere to my strict “no zip offs” travel clothing rule
- Hue Black Cotton Leggings Two pairs of black leggings are critical – one for day and one for night.
- Levi’s Black Skinny Jeans
- About 6-7 pairs of undies and 2 bras – I did laundry along the way
- Colombia Hiking Shirt
- V Neck Tunic Top (Enough to go over leggings)
- Sweatshirt (for a layer or alone)
- Blouse (long enough to go over leggings)
- V-neck cotton t-shirt
- Cotton jersey shirt that doubled as a pajama top
- Athleta cotton hoodie that was long enough to go over leggings
- Patagonia Women’s Black Dress
– I wore this over leggings and under the hoodie
- Polypropylene long sleep top for a warm base layer
- A scarf
- A knit hat
- Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero
- 5 pairs of merino wool socks, which were warm and great for hiking
- Thin gloves
- Cole Haan Ballet Flat
- Merrell Women’s Hiking Shoes
- Chaco Flip Flops
- ECCO Women’s Biom Shoe
– these are some of the best shoes I own for travel and daily life. They are comfortable, light, and stylish. I brought them along for the days where we walked a lot, but did not do any hiking.
- iPad + keyboard + soft case to hold
- Nikon D5300 DSLR Camera
I know there are always the iphone vs. DSLR photo debate, but I look at my pics of Bhutan taken with my “fancy” camera and they are of such better quality and vibrancy.
- iPhone with no international data plan because there was wi-fi at almost every hotel in Bhutan.
- Before leaving I downloaded the apps Dropbox for all my documents; Skype to make phone calls over wi-fi; and got caught up on all my podcasts.
- A reusable water bottle
- All chargers, which I stored in a small mesh bag. I like the Eagle Creek Specter Cubes
for this purpose.
You can download the What to Pack for Bhutan Packing List PDF for easy printing.
Recommended Bhutan Tours:
I traveled on this trip to Bhutan for my work as marketing campaign director at GeoEx. They provided a packing list in the trip materials, but I came up with my own based on my own big trip experience, the additional destinations, and the need to fit all of this stuff into a carry-on. GeoEx trips tend to be very expensive, so if budget is a concern, I recommend G Adventures.
G Adventures Wonders of Bhutan “Anyone with an interest in Buddhist culture will be fascinated by this 10-day adventure into the heart of Bhutan, the only country in the world that measures its productivity in GNH Gross National Happiness. Explore remote villages and shrines in the mountains. Climb magnificent heights to the cliff-side Taktsang Monastery, 900m (2,953 ft) above the valley floor. Discover your own capacity for happiness within Bhutan’s ancient culture.” Learn More About This Trip>
Trekking in Bhutan on the Druk Path Where else but the happiest country in the world could you trek among the Himalayas, smiling the whole time at the sheer beauty of the temples and landscapes around you? This active tour will get you out and about to visit some of the most gorgeous temples and monasteries in this part of the world. Trek sacred mountain passes of the celebrated Druk Path, ascend to the profound Taktshang Monastary (Tiger’s Nest), and explore the unique beauty of the city of Paro. Bhutan is the only place in the world just waiting for you to walk all over its happiness. Learn More About This Trip