Barthelemy, Bhutan Tour – TEFL Activity Plan

This is a Task-Based Class Activity to Plan a Tour of Bhutan 

Level and number of Students:

This is for a class of 10 students, 11th and 12th graders in a private high school in Bhutan. They are of an advanced level, as they have had most of their schooling in English. Most will be eventually be working in the tourism industry.

Approach and goal of the activity

I’m using the Task-Based Learning Method. I would like the students to plan a one-week tour of Bhutan for four people. I would also like the students to review grammar for modal auxiliary verbs, and to increase their travel vocabulary.

Why might students enjoy this activity?

Students might enjoy this activity, because they might experience the curiosity and wonder from the point of view of visitors to their country. It is a joy to share your country and be of service to genuinely interested people.

Materials Needed:

  • Travel vocabulary review handout
  • Modal auxiliary verbs review handout
  • Photos of people planning trips.
  • Map of Bhutan.
  • List of tours available
  • Video of model text for trip planning.
  • Directions for students.
  • Task template with questions to fill in.
  • Directions for substitute teacher.                                 

Expected Problems:

There’s a LOT of vocabulary and grammar, however I believe these students will be up to the challenge since it is just a review for them. The budget brings in arithmetic. However Bhutanese 11th and 12th graders have studied math in English throughout school.


Step 0 – Foundational preparation weeks before:

  • Travel vocabulary
  • Modal Auxiliary verbs

Step 1 – Pre-Task:

  • Describe the Task to the students.
  • Review briefly travel vocabulary, modal verbs.
  • Ask them to brainstorm what makes a great tour of Bhutan.
  • Discuss photos of trip planning with important elements.
  • See video with model text on trip planning

Step 2 -Task Prep:

  • Give clear directions for the students.
  • Give them all the materials.

Step 3 – During Task:

  • Students work in groups of two: One tour guide and one customer, probably on the phone.
  • They discuss elements of an ideal tour in Bhutan, fill out the task template with their plan. They create a brief conversation between 2 people, to discuss possible tour elements. They and create a tour with dates and budget.
  • They practice their conversation.
  • They present it to the class.
  • Teacher takes notes in four areas: Vocabulary, Grammar, Pronunciation, Culture

Step 4 – Post Task:

  • Teacher reviews the presentations with the class, with comments and suggestions.
  • Class votes for the best Bhutan tour.

Rationale and how this activity fits into a series of lessons:

The activity is important to all English students in Bhutan, since most will be working in the tourism industry. This gives them a chance to integrate grammar and vocabulary in a real conversation.

Travel Vocabulary:

Grammar – Modal Auxiliary Verbs

Brainstorming: What would make a good trip to Bhutan?

You would need an expert guide to help plan the trip.

You could visit galleries of traditional Buddhist art.

Would you like to visit a giant statue of the Buddha on a mountain near Thimphu?

All tours include twin rooms in 3-star hotels.

Are 4-star and 5-star hotels available as an option?

Bhutan is located between India and Tibet. It has been isolated for centuries. Most Bhutan tours are in the capital city Thimphu or the spiritual center, Punakha.

Would you like to hike up the mountain to the Tiger’s Nest monastery? This is an epic journey of eight-hours up and down, and one of the best things to do in Bhutan.

The Thimphu Tshechu Festival features traditional dancing celebrations every September.

Punakha Dzong is considered the most beautiful monastery in Bhutan. A 17th century fortress, it has richly painted walls and a spectacular temple of gold statues.

Trekking is a wonderful way to see Bhutan’s traditional villages and the Himalayas.

3 Bhutan Tours Available

  • #1 Thimphu Festival Tour for 4 persons, 7 Nights 8 Days, Sept 18 – 25, 2018 – Medium fitness level.
  • #2 Punakha Festival Tour for 4 persons, 7 Nights 8 Days, Feb 10 – 17, 2019 – Low fitness level.
  • #3 Phobijika Valley Trekking Tour for 4 persons, 7 Nights 8 Days in March, April, May, Sept, Oct, or Nov. High fitness level.

Included: Bhutan Government Royalty of $65/person/night, Legally required spending of $250 per person per day, Twin rooms in 3-star hotels, All meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, & refreshments with standard menu at 3-star hotels), English-speaking tour guide, Transfers and transportation in private vehicles, Entrance fees to events and museums, Internal taxes and fees, Mineral drinking water.

Not included: Single room supplement of US$50/night, Visa fee of $40 (paid in advance with tour cost), airfare, travel insurance (recommended), laundry, overseas calls, 4-star hotel and meals surcharge of $1,000 per person, and 5-star surcharge of $2,000 per person.

TOUR #1 Thimphu Festival Tour for 4 persons, 7 Nights 8 Days, Sept 18 – 25, 2018

This is a rich festival and cultural tour requiring medium fitness level.

4 people in 3-star hotels, US $1750/person, Total US $7000

  • Day 1 – Arrive in Paro, Drive to Thimphu, Visit Farmer’s market
  • Day 2 – Historical Bhutan Postal Museum, Visit Changzamtok Weaving Center, Art gallery
  • Day 3 – Thimphu Dancing Festival Tshechu, Visit Buddha statue, National Textile Museum
  • Day 4 – 2ndday of Dancing Festival, Visit 13thcentury Temple Changankha Lhakhang,
  • Day 5 –Drive to Punakha, Visit Divine Madman’s Monastery, Chhimi Lhakhang fertility shrine
  • Day 6 – Visit Punakha Dzong, 17thcentury fortress, drive to Thimphu, Dochula Pass Monument
  • Day 7 – Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery – Taktsang Ghoempa
  • Day 8 – Departure from Paro

TOUR #2 Punakha Festival Tour for 4 persons, 7 Nights 8 Days, Feb 10 – 17, 2019

This is a rich festival and cultural tour requiring low level of fitness. There is no trekking or hiking.

 4 people in 3-star hotels, US $1,500/person, Total USD $6,000

  • Day 1 – Arrive Paro, Drive to Thimphu, See 17thcentury Tashchhoe Dzong Monastery, Visit Crafts Museum
  • Day 2 – Visit Farmer’s market, Visit huge Buddha statue, Textile Museum, Art gallery
  • Day 3 – Drive to Punakha, Visit Dochula Pass Monument, Visit Divine Madman’s Monastery, Chhimi Lhakhang fertility shrine
  • Day 4 – Visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang Monastery, Visit Drubchen Festival re-enactment of 17thcentury battle with Tibetan army
  • Day 5 – See Punakha Tsechu Festival dancing, Visit Punakha Dzong, 17thcentury fortress
  • Day 7 – Drive to Paro, Visit Rinpung Dzong 17thcentury fortress
  • Day 8 – Departure from Paro

TOUR #3 Phobijika Valley Trekking Tour for 4 persons

7 Nights 8 Days in March, April, May, Sept, Oct, or Nov.

This is a cultural-trekking tour requiring a high level of fitness. This trek is goes through villages walking an average of 5-6 hours a day. The highest point will be about 10,000 feet above sea level. The final hike is 8 hours to Tiger’s Nest Monastery.

4 people, staying in 3-star hotels and trekking camps,  US $1500/person

  • Day 1 – Arrive Paro, Drive to Thimphu, Visit Farmer’s market, Visit huge Buddha statue.
  • Day 2 – Visit Dochula Pass Monument, Drive to Punakha, Visit Divine Madman’s Monastery Chhimi Lhakhang fertility shrine.
  • Day 3 – Drive to Phobijika Valley through dense forests. Visit Gangley Monastery and Jigme Wangchuck National Park.
  • Day 4 – Trek 15 km, six to seven hours, to camp at 10,000 feet amid juniper, magnolia, trees.
  • Day 5 – Trek 16 km five to seven hours to camp at 10,800 feet amid blue pines and view of beautiful Himalayan peaks.
  • Day 6 – Trek 12 km, four to five hours to bird watching area. Drive to Thimphu.
  • Day 7 – Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery – Taktsang Ghoempa, Hotstone Bath
  • Day 8 – Departure from Paro

Model Text for Planning Trip to Bhutan:

Model Text:

Tour Guide: Hello, my name is Pema from Bhutan Best Tours. It’s wonderful to connect with you. How can I help you?

Customer: Hello Pema. My name is Carol Freeman. My husband and I would like to take a one week vacation to Bhutan. We heard it is beautiful and environmentally clean.

Tour Guide: Yes, that is true Carol. I am happy to help you. Tell me about your group.

Customer: There are four of us. My husband and I, our son Joseph, and my mother Maggie.

Tour Guide: Wonderful. What are your areas of interest? We can offer visits to statues, monasteries, galleries, trekking, markets, craft bazaar, dancing festivals, and views of the Himalayas.

Customer: Thank you. We would like to see a bit of everything, monasteries, galleries, monasteries, natural beauty, and especially the dancing festivals.

We have 3 fabulous tours available. Within each tour you can ask for activities according to your interests. I am sending you information about them now.

Customer: Yes, I see it. Thank you for the beautiful photos. My husband is here now and we are reviewing the information. Please tell me about your tours.

Tour Guide: Okay. First we have a wonderful festival tour in September to view traditional dancing in Thimphu. You would see the festival, cultural sites and monasteries. This tour requires a medium fitness level.

Our second tour is to the Punakha festival in February. It includes cultural sites, monasteries, art galleries, and an enactment of a battle in the 17th century. it requires a low fitness level so anyone can enjoy it.

The third tour is a trek to the beautiful Phobijika Valley. It requires a high level of fitness. Which tour would you prefer?

Customer: We would prefer the second tour, the Punakha Festival tour in February, because my mother is 85 years old, and my son is only 7. Please tell me the price. What does it include?

Tour Guide: Yes. The Punakha Festival tour in February costs $1,500 per person. This is all inclusive. It includes the government royalty fee of $40, twin rooms in 3 star hotels, all meals breakfast lunch and dinner, an impeccably-trained English-speaking guide, vehicle and driver, entrance fees to all events and museums, and plenty of mineral drinking water.

It does not include airfare. It does not cover the Bhutan visa fee of $40 which is paid in advance with the tour, travel insurance, laundry, or supplement for single room, four or five star hotels.

Customer: Thank you Pema. This information is very complete and the price is most reasonable. We have heard excellent reviews of your company. We would like to take the Punakha Festival tour in February. How can we register?

Tour Guide: Thank you Carol.  This is an excellent choice. You would need to register on our website and pay the total amount of USD $6,000 via credit card or PayPal. You would need to arrange your flights to arrive in Paro on February 10th. Please advise me your exact arrival time. Your guide will be waiting for you at the airport. He will make your visit pleasant and inspiring. I will send you final confirmation as soon as we receive your payment.

Customer: Thank you Pema. We will arrange our flights, make the payment online and await your confirmation.

Other trips:

Customer: Our group has a high level of fitness, and we would like to do the trekking tour. We would like to see the natural beauty of Bhutan. We’d like to do it in March 2019.

Tour Guide: That’s great. The trekking tour goes through traditional villages with scenic views of the Himalayas. It costs only $1,500 per person. I am sending you the information now.


Customer: My family is quite fit. We would love to see the dancing Festival in Thimphu. We would also like to see some art galleries. Could we also take the hike up to Tiger’s Nest?

Tour Guide: Yes, the Thimphu festival tour includes the hike to Tiger’s Nest. It costs $1,750 per person. It is from September 18th to September 25th.

Customer: Yes, my family would love that tour. We are interested in seeing traditional weaving. We would also like to see traditional statues of the Buddha and other shrines. We would like a more relaxing experience in 5-star hotels. How much does the 5-star supplement cost?

Tour Guide: Wonderful. We can include traditional weaving and a tour of important statues. With the 5-star supplement, the Thimphu Festival Tour costs $3,750 per person. You would receive the highest level 5-star service and meals in our very best hotels.

Customer: What should we bring on the trip?

Tour Guide: I suggest you pack light. A medium suitcase or backpack is plenty. You need your passport and some cash. Bring your camera or cell phone for photos. Bring a good sun hat and comfortable walking shoes. Bring your toiletries and medications. You might need an extra charger for your cell phone in case of emergency.

Directions for Students:

  1. Get into groups of 2.
  2. Follow the template handout, plan your trip, and practice your dialogue. You have 15 minutes.
  3. Present your dialogue to the class. Please speak and do not read. You will have 3 minutes.

Task Template:

Directions for Substitute Teacher:

  • Follow the steps in the outlined schedule.
  • Review the handouts for Vocabulary and Grammar very briefly. This has already been covered in previous lessons.
  • Draw the brainstorming diagram on the board – “What Would Make A Good Trip to Bhutan?”
    (This is the only item you need to write on the board.)
    Invite the students to suggest elements of a trip to complete the diagram.
  • Show the students through the photos, video, text, and instructions with some class discussion.
  • Show your natural enthusasm for planning a trip in their native country.
  • Follow the time chart.
  • Thank you!

Sources: (These were sources of inspiration. There are no direct quotes.)

Bandy, Samuel-Louis et all. The Fundamentals of Teaching English as a Foreign Language. International TEFL Academy. Chapter 4, Methods and Approaches.

Brookes, Vicki. Travel / Leisure. Planning a Trip. Sample CLB Lesson Plans.

Butte College. “Would, Should, Could Grammar”.

Coupuslinguistics. Task Based Leaning.

Davila, Sarah. Tourism Role Play.

Divine, Betsy Jo. Demo: Task-Based Learning – International TEFL Academy.

Heavenly Kingdom Travels. Complete Guide to Planning Your Bhutan Trip.

Herron, Lindsay. A Task-Based Travel & Tourism English Lesson That Never Fails.

Hunsdon, Jessica. Task-Based Instruction: Task-Teach-Task Lesson Plan Template.

Hunsdon, Jessica. Task – Teach – Task Lesson Plan Template 90 minute Lesson. Task – Teach – Task Lesson Plan Template 90 minute Lesson

Ludwig, Jonathan C. The Real World: Classroom Edition! 5 Task-based Language Teaching Activities to Simulate Key Situations.

Nunan, David. Task-Based Language Teaching.

Qasim, Asifa. Developing a Task based lesson using information gap activity. Journal of Education and Practice.

Ontesol. 5 Fun Task-Based Learning Activities. 1- Plan A Trip