It's a place you feel lucky to have experienced. So exotic. So dramatic. Hidden deep in the Himalaya. Restricted by the government. It has a magical essence that's indescribable. It practically rubs off on you. Makes you want to cancel cable. From the deep-rooted Buddhist traditions to its remote location. Temples that cling to the cliffs. People who live unimaginably hard but full lives. A country trying to join the 21st century while retaining its ancient ways. You've discovered something that seemed like it couldn't still exist. But it does. Bhutan is there. See it for yourself, if you're lucky.
We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.
AccommodationsThe accommodations on this trip are quite comfortable and are becoming more luxurious every year. Several new hotels are in various stages of completion, and we've taken advantage of them as they open their doors.
This Premiere Inn Trip includes two Casual Inn nights at Dhensa Boutique Resort, which just opened in 2014. While we expect great things from this beautiful hotel, it may take time for their amenities and services to be fully operating at a Premiere Inn level. We’ve chosen it because of its proximity to our favorite routes, its friendly (albeit unassuming) hospitality, strong cultural character and the tremendous view from the hotel’s deck.
Many hotels and restaurants on our itinerary see few Western travelers and therefore lack many Western-style services. Note that the Bhutanese government oversees most hotels, making room availability subject to bureaucratic needs. The extra-firm twin beds, the ornate Bhutanese window coverings that keep guest rooms dark, the leisurely service found in neighborhood restaurants and the limited supply of beer can all be appreciated when you keep a sense of humor and see patience as a traveler's virtue.
Day 1 Namgay, our guide and longtime friend, opens doors normally closed to foreigners; ask him about his tenure in the National Assembly Explore Paro Dzong, a massive fortress and hub for spiritual and community life.
Days 2-3 An ancient landscape where life's daily rituals remain sacred Cresting Dochu La mountain pass, take in a panorama of snowcapped Himalayan peaks Pine forests line our path through Punakha Valley Hike to Chorten Nebu, a 14th-century temple accessible only by foot.
Day 4 Ascend herders' trails to find valley views and colorful prayer flags Raft down Punakha's Mochu river on our way to the exquisite riverside Punakha Dzong, Bhutan's 300-year-old lofty winter capital.
Day 5 Exchange ideas with Buddhist monks and receive a blessing Cheri Goemba Monastery beckons from above Dodina village From Dochu La Pass at 10,000 feet, climb to almost 12,000 feet to reach the remote monastery of Lumitsawa.
Days 6-8 Hike to secluded temples and monasteries, including the otherworldly cliff-clinging Tiger's Nest Believe in legends? A giant ogress is said to have inspired construction of 7th-century Kyichu Lhakhang Monastery Paro's shops abound with exotic items Sip a hot brew 9,200 feet up at Taktshang teahouse and savor superb views.
- An ancient landscape where life's daily rituals remain sacred
- Hike to secluded temples and monasteries, including the famed Tiger's Nest
- Namgay, our guide and friend, opens doors normally closed to foreigners
- Ascend herders' trails to find valley views and colorful prayer flags
- Exchange ideas with Buddhist monks and receive a blessing
Uma Paro (1 night): An upscale hillside retreat with luxurious guest rooms; the main building was formerly a Bhutanese nobleman's home. (pool, spa)
Dhensa Boutique Resort (2 nights): Surrounded by thick pine forests in the heart of the Punakha Valley, this secluded contemporary hotel is perched above lush rice fields and the Punakha River. (spa)
Taj Tashi (2 nights): Designed in Bhutanese dzong architectural style, and just steps away from Thimphu's lively central square. (pool, spa)
Zhiwa Ling (2 nights): With impressive masonry and elaborate hand-carved cornices, this hotel is set on a verdant mountainside and combines Bhutanese hospitality with modern conveniences. (spa)
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of
interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one
day to the next-and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat
from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each
day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.
Routes For All Abilities
|Daily Route Options|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5|
|miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain|
|Punakha Dzong guided walk (1 hour)|
|Rafting on the Po Chhu River (2 hours)|
|8||Conclusion of the trip|
2014 Dates & Pricing*
- 9/14-21 Price: $6498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
- 10/12-19 Price: $6498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
2015 Dates & Pricing*
- 3/8-15 Price: $6198 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
- 4/12-19 Price: $5798 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
- 9/13-20 Price: $5798 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
- 9/27-10/4 Price: $5798 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
- 10/2-9 Price: $5798 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
- 10/11-18 Price: $5798 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
- 10/16-23 Price: $5798 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
- 10/25-11/1 Price: $6098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
- 10/30-11/6 Price: $5798 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
Private Trips Options & Pricing
Gather your favorite people to share a Backroads adventure on a ready-to-book Private Trip - featuring all the legendary Backroads hallmarks from expert leaders to unforgettable activities.
You can pick from a large selection of dates for your group of 8 or more. Call us for date availability.
If your party has fewer than 8 guests, or if your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you.
Pricing for Private Trips (prices may vary based on departure date)
|8 - 9 guests from $6,698 pp dbl. occ.||12 or more guests from $5,798 pp dbl. occ.|
|10 - 11 guests from $6,398 pp dbl. occ.|
|8 - 9 guests from $6,798 pp dbl. occ.||12 or more guests from $5,998 pp dbl. occ.|
|10 - 11 guests from $6,298 pp dbl. occ.|
For groups of 2 to 7 guests, please call for Custom Trip pricing.
Guest Trip Reviews
This trip was the most amazing travel experience I've ever had. The combination of living in and learning about the culture of Bhutan and beautiful hikes to incomparable temples with historic, religious and artistic features was incredible. The local guide was outstanding.- Seattle, WA
This was a phenomenal experience rich in culture, history, architecture and landscape. Bhutan is a beautiful country with beautiful people. It left me wanting to return and see more and learn more about this wondrous place and its people. Bhutan was an amazing experience I will remember forever. There are many other places I would like to visit, but I have to go back to Bhutan!- Chicago, IL
We enjoyed the trip immensely the second time around. It was so different in terms of the hikes taken and sights seen that everything seemed new. Seeing the spring landscape, especially the blooming rhododendron, contributed to the feeling of a new adventure. Seeing Matt Allen and Namgay again was wonderful.- Philadelphia, PA