Welcome to Bhutan, the land of the thunder dragon and the world’s last remaining Buddhist kingdom, where success is measured in happiness and the hills are alive with prayer. Things are done differently here – and that’s why it makes for such an unforgettable holiday. This is your guide to when to go, where to visit, where to stay and much more.
YOUR GUIDE TOBHUTAN
You know even before you clear customs in Bhutan that you’ve arrived at one of the most unique destinations on earth. The airport itself resembles a monastery, with all officials wearing traditional robes. Emerging outside, you’ll notice that much of the general population wear robes too. You’ll see archers practicing their national sport, tigers, and phalluses upon the village walls and it will not be long before you stumble across one of the countless festivals that embellish the country’s annual calendar.
To travel to Bhutan is to step completely away from the everyday. It is perfect for those looking to mark a special occasion, to discover something new or to reconnect with their inner explorer. The incomparably tranquil atmosphere and warm, welcoming people also make it the ideal place to relax and reflect – perhaps even meditate…
What to experience in Bhutan?
Bhutan's landscape is mindblowing. From high-altitude mountain passes to towns and hamlets in the low valleys, you'll find unique environments and climates to explore. We can show you what to do to unlock Bhutan's wonders.
You can have countless incredible experiences in Bhutan. For many, a highlight is trekking up to Tiger's Nest, known as Taktsang Monastery, together with many Buddhist pilgrims. Steeped in Bhutanese folklore, the Tiger's Nest seems to hang off the cliff face at 3,000 feet above the Paro valley floor - legend has it that Guru Rinpoche ascended to the caves of Tiger's Nest on the back of a flying tigress 1,300 years ago. Trekking experiences are plentiful, with routes to suit all abilities and rewards of breathtaking views - valleys, prayer flags, high mountain passes and snow-capped mountains. There are many chances for meaningful interactions with local people, whether eating traditional food at a farmhouse or trying your hand at Bhutan's national sport, archery.
Perhaps the most iconic sight in Bhutan, a visit to the Tiger's Nest Monastery is well worth the climb.
Views of the mountains over the evocative Dochula Pass.
Gangtey Valley is home to otherworldly views - a day spent roaming here is an absolute must.
Where to visit in Bhutan
Paro Valley is a must-visit during a holiday to the Kingdom of Bhutan, as this is the location of the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery. We also recommend exploring Punakha Valley, known as the rice-bowl of Bhutan, which has beautiful farmed terraces, and many impressive temples. The capital Thimphu, by contrast, is a developing city, with a bustling farmers market and thriving art scene. Phobjika Valley (aka Gangtey Valley), is a protected conservation area due to the black neck cranes that migrate from Tibet and make it their winter home. A visit to the wide peaceful glacial valley of Phobjika feels like stepping back in time.
Serendipitous moments are around every corner in Bhutan - sometimes literally!
One of the most profoundly spiritual countries on earth, Bhutan is the ideal place to reflect and rejuvenate.
Try your hand at a game of archery, Bhutan's national sport - the locals will happily show you how it's done...
WHEN TO GO TO BHUTAN
The most popular times to visit Bhutan are during the temperate spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). Spring is when the vast rhododendron forests bloom, and the valleys are lush. Autumn is the primary festival season, and when the black-necked cranes migrate to Bhutan. Both seasons bring bright dry and sunny days.
Suggested itineraries in Bhutan
Whether you’re looking for striking culture, breathtaking scenery, sublime Buddhism, all-out luxury or an off-grid adventure holiday, Bhutan has it all, and much more. Your trip can be personalised to your interests and budget and all arrangements are private so you can avoid small group tours. It’ll just be you and your English-speaking guide, who will help facilitate your meetings and cultural exchange with local people, so you see ETG tours always go deeper than standard package holidays to Bhutan.
Adventure & Comfort in Bhutan & Thailand
Two countries - one faith. From the Himalayas to the Andaman Sea, two beautiful countries linked by deep yet contrasting Buddhist traditions.
TEA & TENDERNESS IN DARJEELING & BHUTAN
A unique holiday experience that blends Darjeeling’s famous tea plantations with the fascinating Kingdom of Bhutan.
The Essence of Bhutan
A two-week immersion that takes you deep into the mountains, the valleys, the iconic sites… the very heart, the very essence of this incredible Kingdom.
Your Bhutan experience will be designed exclusively for you. Whether you are looking to roam the awe-inspiring landscapes, to discover the intensely Buddhist culture or soak up quasi-Alpine luxury in one of the gorgeous hotels, we will help you create your perfect adventure.
Take a look at some of our suggested itineraries for inspiration or give us a call to start your personal journey.
Wandering through the local villages in the valleys of Bhutan, you're sure to find some magical chance encounters.
Around every corner is another stunning vista, and it's hard not to be in awe of Bhutan's dedication to protect the natural environment.
Where to stay in Bhutan
Bhutan does luxury resorts extremely well, with well-known brands such as Aman, Six Senses and COMO. However, the offering has diversified over the last few years with more locally-run heritage hotels such as converted farmhouses springing up. Also 5-star wellness retreats, comfortable mobile camping options and for the intrepid more simple, but comfortable hotels in the more remote eastern part of the Himalayan Kingdom. For a varied authentic experience, a combination of all Bhutan hotel options is highly recommended.
Amankora Thimphu, Thimphu
Luxury, serenity, surrounded by pine forests on the edge of Thimphu town.
Bumdra High Camp, Paro
Breathtaking views over the Para Valley from this comfortable tented camp perched high over the Tiger's Nest Monastery.
Como Uma Punakha, Punakha
A deluxe, delightful and intimate retreat. Gorgeous green countryside and sweeping views down the Mo Chhu River valley.
Gangtey Lodge, Gangtey
As far as the eye can see - remarkable uninterrupted views from this luxury Bhutanese farmhouse perched high above the Phobijikha Valley.
Nemjo Heritage, Paro
A four-room farmhouse near Paro town centre. Charming, renovated and surrounded by pine forest and rice paddies.
Six Senses Punakha, Punakha
Sitting pretty in Punakha and commanding incredible views of the cascading rice terraces below - perfect pool, superb spa, restful luxury.
More Travel Information for travel to Bhutan
By Bhutanese law, travellers cannot book a trip to Bhutan independently. The country has ruled that tour operators are integral to maintain the responsible tourism model that preserves Bhutan’s ancient culture and pristine environment. Naturally, we believe that our experience, extensive connections and genuine passion for the country make us the best Bhutan tour operator out there - and our customer reviews seem to back us up!
Curious Traveller's Guide to Bhutan
Download the complimentary Curious Traveller’s Guide to Bhutan, in which we reveal the best hotels and experiences that take you beneath the surface of the destination, as well as a festival guide and tales from ETG travellers.
Finally, we believe an ETG experience can't begin unless you have complete peace of mind. Our travel team is available 24 hours a day to advise you on any questions you might have regarding staying safe and healthy, local laws plus travel, visa information and travel insurance advice. In addition, Experience Travel Group is a member of both ABTA and the ATOL scheme, which means that you are 100% financially protected from the moment you book. Take a look at this web page for more information about financial protection.
Why Holiday with Experience Travel Group?
Our B Corporation certification, commitment to sustainability and 'give back' philosophy mean you can always be sure that every step you take is light. Ethical, mindful, guilt-free travel - travel done right
Immersive ETG holiday experiences let you genuinely connect to the people and places you visit. You’ll learn as much about yourself as you do about them.
Sometimes you can know too much. Our holidays are specially designed to confound preconceptions and share magical, memorable, unexpected discoveries.
A thread of
A thread of luxury that ties everything together. From beautiful boutique hotels to top-quality transport, to exceptional levels of service - whatever luxury looks like to you… it’s yours
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