Bhutan will both humble and amaze. About the size of Switzerland, it combines the green alpine meadows, chalet-style homes and snowy peaks of a wintry playground with the truly exotic: the ancient mystical culture of Himalayan Buddhism practiced daily by monks, nuns and the populace in beautifully preserved ancient temples and monasteries. Incense, butter lamps, chanting and drums heighten the experience as the myth, magic and legend of the great teachers and saints of yore are repeated in song, text and vivid iconography on the walls of temples and homes. This spirit manifests itself in the people – one can sense their quiet confidence and pride inherent in their wonderful sense of humour and innocence, disarming and endearing in equal measure. The myth of Shangri-La is easy to believe as you explore this unforgettable land.
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 up to a little-visited temple set on the cliffs above the Paro Valley before relaxing at the hotel spa or strolling through the surrounding pine forest.
Take an early morning flight before hiking in one of Bhutan’s most revered valleys, Bumthang, situated at about 2,500 metres above sea level. Visit some of the sites in town, including Wangdicholing Palace, Bhutan’s first royal palace.
Enjoy a relaxing breakfast on the terrace before taking an exploratory guided tour of the sights around Bumthang and hiking to a monastery where dozens of monks practice their chants. Finish your day with a hot stone bath and massage in the hotel’s spa.
Drive though some of Bhutan’s most dramatic countryside stopping at one of Bhutan’s most famous buildings – Trongsa Dzong. Take part in a hike or continue over the 3,400-metre Lawa La by vehicle before hiking to your hotel.
Hike along the valley floor pausing to visit a local village temple, water-powered grain mill and a family home, virtually unchanged since the Middle Ages. Walk along the local’s trail to the Gangtey village and tour a monastery with a resident lama.
After a short drive we turn off into the little-visited Sha Valley for one of the most idyllic walks of our trip. After our walk we’ll continue to Punakha via the town of Wangdi. In the late afternoon we’ll arrive at Uma Punakha, overlooking the Mo Chhu (Mother River).
Visit the impressive Punakha Dzong which has been battered by earthquakes, floods and fire throughout its history. Later, hike across the river via an enormous suspension footbridge and meander through the third king’s golf course.
Head to the capital Thimphu, by way of Dochu La, breaking for a picnic lunch and hiking a beautiful forest to the Tashigang Monastery. Meet the Lama and his students for a private puja ceremony and continue on to Thimpu in time for some shopping.
Drive back to Paro this morning before lunch at the Uma Paro and a walk to the Tiger's Nest, set into a cliff face 2600 ft. above the Paro and one of the most iconic Buddhist monuments in the Himalayas.
Drive up Cheli La pass through a marvelous forest and walk up the ridge for unparalleled views of Bhutan’s snow-capped holy mountain, Jomolhari. Continue walking to Cheli La convent, a nunnery tucked under the cliffs facing Paro.
Enjoy a farewell breakfast in Paro at the hotel, then laso lok le ge in vibrant Bangkok. Farewell and safe journeys!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.