Region Overviews: Bhutan Travel Guide: Overview
Known as the “Last Shangri-La.", Bhutan's culture is deeply influenced by a unique form of Buddhism and rich with traditions of spirituality, art, music, dance and food.
The proud nation of Bhutan sits on the roof of the world, isolated as much by choice as by its own geography. As prayer flags flutter in the wind and Buddhist monks tread millennia-old footpaths, we stride over high mountain passes, bike in verdant valleys, venture into remote monasteries and enjoy the incomparable warmth of the Bhutanese people.
THIS ITINERARY: 8 days, 7 nights
ACCOMMODATIONS: Premiere Hotels*
Start/End Bangkok, Thailand
Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.
Experience how our Bhutanese guides open doors normally closed to foreigners | Hike above Paro to a seldom-visited temple and behold fantastic views of Paro Dzong, a massive monastic fortress built to commemorate a 1644 victory over the Tibetans.
This upscale resort is nestled between the Himalayan foothills and Paro Chhu River. (pool, spa)
Families engage with monks in between their meditation | Bike amid breathtaking valleys brimming with history and culture | Dochula Pass dazzles with panoramas of snowcapped Himalayan peaks | Ethereal villages and rice paddies enliven your ride to Punakha Valley | Hike to Chorten Nebu, a remote 14th-century temple accessible only by foot and rarely visited by international travelers.
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)
Raft with your family down Punakha's Po Chhu to exquisite riverside Punakha Dzong, Bhutan's 300-year-old lofty winter capital | Immerse yourself in an ancient landscape with daily rituals steeped in spirituality | Vibrant Bhutanese painting, sculpture and textile arts are a feast for your eyes in Thimphu, the capital city | Take on the steep but stunning walk to 17th-century Tango Monastery.
Designed in Bhutanese dzong architectural style, and just steps away from Thimphu's lively central square. (pool, spa)
Hike beneath a rainbow of prayer flags to otherworldly Taktsang Monastery, or Tiger's Nest, the holiest site in Bhutan | Trek an ancient path to the Taktsang teahouse, situated at 9,200 feet and offering superb views of the valley and cliff-hanging monastery | Practice your aim as you learn archery, Bhutan's national sport.
With impressive masonry and elaborate hand-carved cornices, this hotel is set on a verdant mountainside and combines Bhutanese hospitality with modern conveniences. (spa)
The earlier you book, the more choice you'll have and the lower your price. And you can always change your mind — you won't be charged to transfer to a different trip before your final payment is due. View cancellation policy
Click on dates for pricing, itinerary variations and to book your trip. Price is per person, double occupancy.
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. LEARN MORE.
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.
The 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've opened their doors.
This trip includes two nights at a Casual Plus Hotel, the relatively new Dhensa Boutique Resort. While we expect great things from this beautiful hotel, it may take a few seasons for their amenities and services to be fully operating at a Premiere Hotel level. We've chosen it because of its proximity to our favorite routes, its friendly hospitality, strong cultural character and the tremendous view from the deck.
Some hotels and restaurants on our itinerary see few Western travelers and therefore lack many Western-style services. 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.
Your journey through Bhutan will be unlike any other travel experience. Bhutan is a remote corner of the world where ancient culture, traditions and religion are still the deep-rooted cornerstones of everyday life. That said, modern Bhutan is not always the Shangri-La depicted in glossy travel magazines. Rather, it's a developing country, where the scenes of poverty, trash and pollution can be jarring. And yet, the beauty of the people, the culture and the landscape shine through, making for an amazing exotic experience that's unforgettable and completely worthwhile. Though not a paradise, there simply isn't any other country like Bhutan. Our itineraries and Trip Leaders remove as many obstacles and inconveniences as possible, making your next extraordinary encounter always within reach. Of course, even all the efforts of our amazing leaders can't remove haze and noise from the air, or replace a poorly maintained road or trail, so it's a good idea to be aware of the ways that travel in Bhutan can be challenging. If you can be flexible and approach the region with a curious mind and good humor, you'll enjoy your trip to the fullest!
On this trip we travel into and out of Bhutan by plane. We'll be flying commercially with Druk Air aboard a narrow-body jet that seats 160 passengers.