Gross National Happiness is an official development goal in Bhutan. We haven’t seen the numbers, but we’re pretty confident they’ve hit their annual targets. Set against the backdrop of sacred mountains, this isolated kingdom offers an entirely unique travel experience. Granted permission to be among the mere 14,000 visitors permitted each year, we make the most of it. Life-altering moment #523: en route to Punakha, we can stop in at the remote Tashigang monastery overlooking the Thimphu Valley, where the lamas and monks greet us, sip tea with us, and then bless our journey in an elaborate (not to mention highly musical) prayer ceremony. There’s more where that came from, but sadly, we’ve hit our space limit. Fortunately, Bhutan’s wonders know none.
Trip designed by Travel Expert Karen MacRaeView Karen’s Profile
Enjoy a relaxing night at the Novotel Suvarnabhumi in bustling Bangkok before catching an early morning flight the next day for stunning Paro.
Walk to a little-visited and quiet temple and village situated on the cliffs above Paro Valley before catching a ride to Bhutan's vibrant capital city, Thimphu.
Sip tea in the clouds atop the Dochu La Pass overlooking the Bhutanese Himalayas before descending through stunning landscapes into the Gangtey Valley along forested and open trails.
Hike past villages and homesteads on the valley floor and visit the local village temple, as well as a water-powered grain mill and family home, virtually unchanged since the Middle Ages.
Take a breathtaking and memorable hike through the Sha Valley, visiting endless rice terraces and small, local villages rarely frequented by outsiders.
Climb to an overlook of the terraced farmlands and pine forests of Punakha Valley and visit the impressive Punakha Dzong, a fortress battered by earthquakes, floods and fire throughout its history.
Hike to the Tashigang monastery, a working 17thC temple complex, to explore the grounds and building before meeting the Lama and his students.
Climb up to the magnificent Taktsang monastery (the “Tiger’s Nest”), set into a cliff face 800 m (2,624 ft.) above the stunning Paro Valley floor.
Take a stroll up to the 4,000 m (13,100 ft.) viewing platform of the majestic Cheli La Pass for a stunning glimpse of Bhutan’s snow-capped holy mountain, Chomolhari.
Enjoy a farewell breakfast in Paro at the hotel, then laso lok le ge in vibrant Bangkok.Show All Days VIEW MAP CLOSE Want to see a full
In a word: everything. In ninety words? Signature B&R guides; local experts; unique, unforgettable biking and walking routes; private tours; authentic local cuisine; lessons and demonstrations; local artisanal wines; wine tastings; all victuals and libations; all the endorphins you can handle; new insight; interesting, fun and like-minded travel companions; a feeling of total freedom. In short: an extraordinary, hassle-free journey of discovery.
Combining adventure and cultural travel in such an expansive country as China can be a challenge but our friends at TanSuo Cultural Travel mastered it perfectly. Adventure Compass spoke to the agency’s director Na Wang about the latest trends in cultural travel in China.