Bhutan

Quick Facts

When to go:

October–April for better weather. May–September are warmer and wetter but quieter. December-February can get very cold but it should also be beautifully crisp.

Time difference:

    GMT+5.75 hrs

Prices:

From about £4000 per person for 10 nights in Bhutan. £6500 per person to do it in luxury. Bear in mind that these costs include all your flights, accommodation, guiding, transport, entry fees for monuments and all meals.

Recommended Read:

Married to Bhutan: How One Woman Got Lost, Said "I Do," and Found Bliss by Linda Leaming

Must pack:

Well-loved walking boots.

Did you know?

There are no traffic lights in Bhutan.





With a sophisticated, well-preserved culture and rolling velvet hills, meandering up to the distant snowy peaks of the Himalayas, the Kingdom of Bhutan has a draw like few others. While the mental image you have of some countries can be misleading, drawn in by glamorous films, angled photography or old pictures, Bhutan simply doesn’t disappoint.

Passionate about their cultural history and identity, the Bhutanese have fought to maintain the integrity and individuality of their unique nation, so much so even the airport is a thing of wonder. In fact, when I disembarked the breathtaking flight into the Paro Valley on my first visit, I initially assumed the building was one of the ancient monuments and marvelled at the imagination of the Bhutanese in rendering the mundane so beautiful.

Guiding is the key in a country where the emphasis is less on ticking off ‘must-sees’ and more on stumbling upon the odd local festival or archery contest. The best guides will know when to take you where, and will take pride in showing you the places others don’t go.

These are just a few of the activities we’ve arranged for our clients in the past. One of them could be the defining reason for your whole holiday, or simply an afternoon diversion.

  • Traditional cultures
    – Such is the commitment to preserving national culture, tradition and religion that it is everywhere to see. Old Bhutanese houses, temples and monasteries dot the landscape. We can also try and time your visit to coincide with one of the extraordinary local festivals. These are often announced only at short notice, and often seemingly at random. While the main festivals have become something of a tourist trap, if you travel out of season or venture beyond the main tourist trail, our guides will be able to take you to see something really special.
  • Trekking and hiking
    – Light hikes from your hotel are the best way of exploring the country in comfort, but there are also delightful overnight camping treks and major month-long undertakings like the Snowman trek, strictly for the over-adventurous. Guiding, as well as an excellent pair of walking boots, is essential. The former is our speciality.
  • Bird watching
    – The tiny Himalayan country has placed a huge emphasis on sustainable development and environmental preservation, resulting in a bird watcher’s paradise in any season. The black-necked crane arrives in the Gangtey valley in November making this a fascinating yet busy time to visit. Travel slightly later in the season in December and the weather will be cooler but it’ll be much quieter.
  • Plantlife/flora
    – Stunning Himalayan wildflowers, dense forests and vibrant rhododendron make Bhutan a feast for green eyes. In fact, such is the government’s preservation agenda that large tracts of mineral-rich territory has been deemed completely off-limits for reasons of sustainability. This makes Bhutan even more fascinating a country for the naturalist.
  • Getting there
    – Bhutan is accessed via flights to Paro which is about a 2–4 hour flight away from Singapore, Bangkok, Kathmandu and various locations in India.
  • Getting around
    – Getting between destinations within the country will be by car. There is also an airport in the east of the country in Bumthang, which can help make a longer itinerary run smoothly. Where possible we can incorporate some hiking to take you between locations.
  • Weather
    – October and November offer the clearest mountain views and lovely warm temperatures but can be busy, by Bhutanese standards. December–February can be bitter but breathtaking with the snowy transformation. March–May the hills are in bloom and temperatures become more pleasant. May–September sees more rain but are much quieter months and perfect for some of the higher altitude trekking.
  • Visa/ entry requirements
    – Tourist visas are pre-approved through us prior to departure and issued on arrival.
  • Events (festivals, wildlife migrations)
    – Tsechu are the best known of the traditional Bhutanese religious festivals and are quite spectacular to witness. Some of the more accessible and better known of these are quite touristy but we can get you out into the more remote regions where you get an altogether more authentic experience.
  • Cultural Nuts
    -There is little that needs to be done to get you to the heart of the country’s culture. Step out of the plane and you’ll mistake the airport for a monastery. Step out of the airport and you’ll see that most Bhutanese choose to wear the graceful national dress. Get to your hotel and you’ll find a natural welcome. Head out on your tours and you’ll find a country proud of its history and keen to reserve its traditions. There is nowhere quite like it.
  • Honeymooners
    – Experience a completely different culture and a rugged landscape, returning to roaring fires of an evening. You’d also be surprised how well Bhutan combines with beach should you want a fix of the seaside.
  • Young and Old Families
    – Bhutan is such a safe country and travelling with children will open doors that might remain closed to the adult. But be warned that this is a place which closes down when the sun goes down.
  • Solo Travellers
    – A companion guide will make travel to Bhutan for the single traveller more rewarding but such is the friendliness of the Bhutanese that you will never want for company. The local hotels are probably more sociable than the super-lux options, if you’re happy to compromise on sophistication.
  • Twitchers
    – Amazing birding in all seasons but particularly from November with the arrival of the rare black-necked crane in the Gangtey Valley.

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