Eccentric, exclusive and expensive, Bhutan is like no other country. Bhutan travel is all-inclusive and all tourists on Bhutan holidays or tours to Bhutan must travel on a pre-planned itinerary as this is the only way to explore the fascinating, medieval kingdom, whose name translates as ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon'.
The pretty capital Thimpu has an ancient feel and a pleasing atmosphere. Dominating the brightly coloured buildings is the imposing fortress monastery Trashi Chhoe Dzong.
The country's spiritual centre is Bumthang. Home to many precious Buddhist sites, dzongs, temples and palaces, it is a spectacular place to visit.
Dramatic scenery is everywhere, but some of the most striking can be seen on the flight into Paro from neighbouring Nepal, when you'll pass eight of the world's ten highest peaks before touching down.
700m above the Paro Valley precariously perches the Taktshang monastery, also known as the Tiger's Nest monastery, one of Bhutan's best-known sights. In this mountainous country there's plenty of options for trekking; tackle the Jhomolhari or Snowman Trek to spot spectacular views.
There are several wildlife reserves; head to Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary for a chance to see the wilderness where the yeti, known locally as the migoi, might live.
The Practical information displayed here is taken from The Traveller's Handbook, published by WEXAS (2009). While all possible care was taken to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, we are aware that situations change, so for the latest information and up-to-date visa requirements, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.
Climate is best between October and November, when skies are clear and high mountain peaks are visible. Spring is also pleasant, between April and mid-June. Nights can be very cold. Monsoon occurs June to August.
Holidays include Independence Day on 8 August, the King's birthday on 11 November and National Day of Bhutan on 17 December. Traditional Buddhist holidays are also observed. The largest and most colourful festivals, called tsechus, take place at Bhutan's dzongs (fortresses) and monasteries once a year, in honour of Guru Rinpoche. They normally take place in spring and autumn. Tsechus consist of up to five days of spectacular pageantry, masked dances and religious allegorical plays that have remained unchanged for centuries. As well as being a vital living festival and an important medium of Buddhist teaching, tsechus are huge social gatherings.
Restaurants are scarce since visitors are always on an organised tour. Vegetarian based cuisine. Chillies are often cooked as vegetables instead of being used as a condiment. One popular dish is a cheese and chilli stew. Rice is ubiquitous, including Bhutanese pink rice. Bhutanese tea (souza) is the most popular drink.
The strongest influence on social conventions is the country's state religion. Normal Buddhist etiquette applies, such as not pointing your feet at people and removing your shoes before entering important rooms or temples. Equal rights exist for men and women. Until 1974, Bhutan was deliberately isolated. Visitor numbers remain limited, but all are welcomed with warm hospitality.
Paro (PBH) - journey into Thimpu takes about 90 mins by bus or taxi.
No internal rail services, good internal road network. Yaks, mules and ponies are the most common transportation, but buses are also run. Taxis do not have meters and fares are open to negotiation.
The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Bhutan. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.
The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in Bhutan. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in Bhutan, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.
Charlie Gordon - Asia Specialist
To make an enquiry or to start planning your trip talk to our team of specialists on 020 7590 0613