Nothing can prepare you for Bhutan. It possesses an indescribable magic. The temples that seem to challenge the heights of the Himalaya. The people rooted in history and yet changing with the times. It's not Shangri-La—it's more real than that, balancing the modern with the ancient. It's what you've pictured and what you couldn't have imagined.
1 Our Bhutanese guides and longtime friends open doors normally closed to foreigners Hike high above the valley to Dzong Drakha, a seldom visited cliffside temple complex Get to know Bhutan's tranquil countryside with a walk through lush forest, carefully tended rice fields and quaint hamlets.
2-3 Bike through Bhutan's culturally and scenically rich valleys—you'll be one of the few! Dochula Pass dazzles with panoramas of snowcapped Himalayan peaks Ethereal villages and rice paddies enliven your ride to Punakha Valley Engage with monks in between their meditations Hike to Chorten Nebu, a remote 14th-century temple accessible only by foot and rarely visited by international travelers.
4-5 Immerse yourself into an ancient landscape where life's daily rituals remain sacred Raft down Punakha's Po Chhu River on the way to the exquisite riverside Punakha Dzong, Bhutan's 300-year-old lofty winter capital Feast your eyes on vibrant Bhutanese painting, sculpture and textile arts in Thimphu, the capital city Curious about Buddhism and how it defines life here? Our historian will enlighten you Tackle the steep but stunning walk to Cheri Goemba, an important 17th-century monastery.
6-8 Hike to secluded Buddhist temples and monasteries, including the famed Tiger's Nest Climb an ancient path to the Taktsang teahouse, situated at 9,200 feet and offering superb views of the valley and otherworldly Taktsang Monastery Stroll the streets of Paro—Bhutan's second largest city—where you might run into nomads wandering in from the high mountains Peruse handicrafts in Paro's tiny traditional shops.