So exotic. So dramatic. Its magical essence can't be articulated. From the rich Buddhist culture to its remote Himalaya setting. Here the people live unimaginably hard but full lives, rooted in age-old tradition yet ready to join the 21st century. Bhutan seems like a place that couldn't still exist. A place you feel lucky to have experienced.
1 Our Bhutanese guides and longtime friends open doors normally closed to foreigners Hike to Dzong Drakha, a seldom visited cliffside temple complex set high above the valley 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.
2-3 Explore an ancient landscape where life's daily rituals remain sacred Cresting Dochula 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 Backroads was one of the first foreign groups to be warmly welcomed at this monastery, which offers an authentic look at traditional Bhutanese culture.
4-6 Ascend herders' trails to find valley views and colorful prayer flags Raft down the Punakha's Po Chhu River on our way to the exquisite riverside Punakha Dzong, Bhutan's 300-year-old lofty winter capital Tackle the steep but stunning walk to Cheri Goemba, an important 17th-century monastery Visit a giant golden Buddha that houses 125,000 smaller figures inside.
7-8 Hike to secluded monasteries and temples, including the otherworldly cliff-clinging Tiger's Nest, one of Bhutan's most important pilgrimage destinations Walk along trails with a backdrop of thousands of colorful prayer flags flapping in the wind Sip a hot brew 9,200 feet up at Taktsang teahouse 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.