About the size of Switzerland but with a population of less than 800,000, Bhutan is a place of peace and natural beauty. The landscape consists of a succession of fantastic, snow-capped peaks and deep valleys. Climbers are forbidden to attempt these peaks lest they disturb the “spirits of the mountains.” Abundant wildlife makes its home here, including the endangered snow leopard and the golden langur. More than any country in the world, Bhutan has implemented a national policy created to preserve its cultural identity, which has remained intact for centuries.

Indeed, Bhutan’s greatest attractions are undoubtedly its vibrant and active Buddhist culture and its glorious Himalayan pastoral landscapes. Buddhism plays a major role in the life of the Bhutanese people, and informs the highest levels of political activity. Bhutan is closely linked culturally and historically with Tibet, the name “Bhutan” implying Tibetan connotations. The Bhutanese have a very strong sense of independent identity, however, and quite often refer to their country as Druk Yul, or “Land of the Thunder Dragon,” and identify themselves as Drukpa. Since the Chinese incursion into Tibet in the 1950s, however, Bhutan has forged closer political and economic ties with India. Through it all, Bhutan has managed to maintain its identity and remains to many the embodiment of the legendary Shangri La.

Outline Itinerary

Day 1  Paro

This short tour of Bhutan begins by arriving in Paro. Drive to Thimpu, Bhutan’s capital city.

Day 2  Thimpu

Enjoy visits to the museums of Thimpu, including Zorig Chusum, Textile and Folk Heritage Museums, as well as the National Memorial Chorten.

Day 3  Punakha

Drive to Punakha and view the tallest peaks in Bhutan.

Day 4  Phobjikha

Explore the village of Phobjikha, the winter home of black-necked cranes that migrate from the arid plains in the north to pass winter in milder and lower climes; they start arriving here in October.

Day 5  Paro Valley

Visit the fortress, museums, and temples of Paro Valley, including the famed Tiger’s Nest, before this short tour of Bhutan comes to an end.

Day 6  Departure

Trip Dates & Pricing

Dates:

TBD

Pricing:

Dependent on time of year.

Activity Level

This is a moderate touring trip. Please note that road conditions in Bhutan leave a lot to be desired and the traffic can appear to be wild and unregulated. Horns are used more often than brakes. Sightseeing excursion and intercity drives can be exhausting and long (6-7 hours) thus giving the tour a “moderate” rating. Bathroom facilities during sightseeing excursions and long drives are frequently nonexistent and limited to the facilities at a local restaurant, which could be just an “outhouse.” Due to mountain weather, flights in and out of Bhutan can be delayed without much advance notice.