From the moment you start your descent into the Paro Valley the excitement begins; as the plane weaves down through the foothills, occasionally you feel that you are so close to the mountains that the tips of the wings might just touch the valley side - amazing, but perhaps not for nervous flyers.
Miranda, Original Traveller
Bhutan is about as unusual a country as you could hope to find. Tucked away between Tibet and India in the eastern Himalayas, the geography of this small, landlocked kingdom ensured its isolation from the rest of the world for centuries, in the process preserving the country's Buddhist culture and traditional lifestyle very much intact.
Why we think you’ll love it
- Bhutan famously values Gross National Happiness above Gross National Product, and a few days in the fresh air and majestic scenery here should enhance your general net happiness
- The food in the luxury hotels is yummy - try delicious cheese and pork-filled momo dumplings made from pigs fattened up by farmers on the plentiful Bhutanese marijuana
- To go to Bhutan and not trek up to Tiger's Nest is like going to India and not seeing the Taj Mahal. We can arrange a wonderful overnight camping experience where you stay overnight high up the mountain on a sheltered plateau and then descend down in the morning - a very special experience
Our guide to holidays in Bhutan
Bhutan is wonderfully unspoilt by the outside world, and the Bhutanese set great store by their traditions and beliefs. Inevitably, however, the modern world is beginning to filter in to this Himalayan kingdom - a ban on TV was lifted in 1999, for example - but it remains a wonderfully unspoilt corner of the world. While Bhutan is slowly changing, the nation's government - recently transformed from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy - does its best to manage the transition. Hefty daily tariffs to visit the country keep tourist numbers low and help safeguard the nation's culture, identity and the pristine natural environment.
Did you know
- The Bhutanese refer to their country as the 'Land of the Thunder Dragon', which has got a nice ring to it
- Bhutan's national animal is the 'takin', a goat-antelope
- All Bhutanese citizens become one year older on New Year's Day - this way no-one's birthday is forgotten
- The countries national sports are archery… and darts
Journeys to Bhutan generally begin and end at Paro, where the country's only international airport is located. Paro is also the base from which to see probably the highest of Bhutan's many highlights, the fabulous Tiger's Nest monastery. Beyond Paro, and depending on how long you have, we can create an incredible tailormade itinerary to take in such wonders as the Wangdi Valley, famous for its extremely rare black cranes; the wonderful Dzongs (fortresses), temples and palaces in Bumthang; and Punakha, the one-time capital of Bhutan, built at the confluence of the mighty Phochu and Mochu Rivers.
Aside from simple immersion in a thoroughly alien but fascinating culture, trekking is one of the main activities, and keen walkers will be in their element here. Other activities include white-water rafting (from September to May), instruction in archery using traditional bamboo bows, and trout fishing in the many mountain streams and rivers, thanks to a British army officer who introduced trout as he missed the fishing of his homeland.
Most of Bhutan's population still wears the traditional national dress of knee or ankle-length robes and is occupied in agriculture of making traditional handicrafts which can be bought at the markets of the current capital, Thimphu.
Original Travel consultants know Bhutan well and can arrange for participation in archery tournaments, dancing at religious tsechus (festivals), trekking to fantastic monasteries, mountain-biking along 12,000 ft mountain passes or, between March and May, walks on hillsides ablaze with wildflowers.