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Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour

Bhutan's Himalaya & Cultural Marvels

From $6,598 - $7,048 pp dbl. occ. | 8 days / 7 nights

(+$1,290 for sgl. occ.)

Internal air: $950


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. 

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Bhutan

Bangkok, Thailand

Bhutan walking and hiking tour map

Highlights

  • Hike to secluded temples and monasteries, including the famed Tiger's Nest, which clings to the side of a cliff
  • Meet our knowledgeable Bhutanese guides and friends who open doors normally closed to foreign travelers
  • Climb herders' trails to spectacular panoramic views framed by colorful strings of prayer flags
  • Exchange ideas with Buddhist monks—and receive a blessing—at a monastery where foreign groups are seldom received
Bhutan

Bangkok, Thailand

Bhutan walking and hiking tour map

Itinerary

Day 1 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.

Days 2-3 At the top of 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 on 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.

Days 4-6 Ascend herders' trails to find valley views and colorful prayer flags | Raft down the Punakha's Pochu River on our way to the exquisite riverside Punakha Dzong, Bhutan's winter capital | Tackle the stunning walk to Cheri Goemba, a 17th-century monastery | Visit a giant golden Buddha that houses 125,000 smaller figures inside.

Days 7-8 Hike to secluded monasteries and temples, including the otherworldly cliff-clinging Tiger's Nest | Walk trails with thousands of prayer flags flapping in the wind | Sip a hot brew 9,200 feet up at Taktsang teahouse | Stroll the streets of Paro and peruse handicrafts in Paro's tiny traditional shops.

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.

Please click on a date below for specific pricing and possible itinerary variations.

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C Classic Dates

2018 March
2018 April

View Private Dates

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 the selection of dates below for your group; some dates are only available for 16 or more guests while other dates are available for 8 or more guests. If your party has fewer than 8 guests, or your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you. Call or email us to reserve your date.

2018 Private Trip Pricing
  • 10 or more guests: from $6,598 pp dbl occ
  • 8 - 9 guests: from $6,998 pp dbl occ

Please click on a date below for specific pricing and possible itinerary variations.

Don't see your ideal travel date? Make a Date

  • 8 AVAILABLE TO BOOK
    for 8 or more guests
  • 16 AVAILABLE TO BOOK
    for 16 or more guests
  • Reserved

C Classic Tours

2018 September

View Scheduled Dates

Prices

From $6,598 - $7,048 pp dbl. occ.
8 days / 7 nights

(+$1,290 for sgl. occ.)

Internal air: $950


Premiere Hotels*

Le Meridien Paro
Le Méridien Paro, Riverfront

Paro (1 night)

Dhensa Boutique Resort
Dhensa Boutique Resort

Punakha (2 nights)

Taj Tashi
Taj Tashi

Thimphu (2 nights)

Zhiwa Ling Hotel
Zhiwa Ling

Upper Paro Valley (2 nights)

Activity Level

This trip is rated Levels 1-4

What's Included

Services and equipment are included.

Why Backroads

Why Travel with Backroads in Bhutan

Reviews by Power Reviews ®

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Premiere Hotels*

Accommodations may vary based on departure date. Any difference from what is listed below can be found by clicking on your desired date on the View Scheduled Dates or Private Dates tabs.

Le Meridien Paro

Le Méridien Paro, Riverfront

Paro (1 night)

This upscale resort is nestled between the Himalayan foothills and Paro Chhu River. (pool, spa)

Dhensa Boutique Resort

Dhensa Boutique Resort

Punakha (2 nights)
* Casual Hotel

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

Taj Tashi

Thimphu (2 nights)

Designed in Bhutanese dzong architectural style, and just steps away from Thimphu's lively central square. (pool, spa)

Zhiwa Ling Hotel

Zhiwa Ling

Upper Paro Valley (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)

This Trip Is Rated Levels 1-4

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.

Daily Route Options (drag to see full )

Daily Route Options
Day EASYGOING ACTIVE AVID
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
1 4 500
2 4 0 5 0
3 6 1400
Punakha Dzong Guided Walk (1 Hour)
4 5 400
Rafting on the Po Chhu River (2 Hours)
5 2 800
6 6 900
7 3 1700 6 2200
8 Conclusion of the Trip
 

Note: The terrain on this trip includes a mix of rugged mountain trails and ancient village and Buddhist pilgrim footpaths, with some steep ascents and descents. The mountainous terrain and altitude can make the routes more challenging than the mileage may suggest.

Learn more about how we determine our activity level and fully support a range of abilities and interests.

Please note that our distance and elevation figures come from Ride with GPS. Other sources (such as Map My Ride and Garmin devices) may give differing elevation figures due to different GPS and mapping technologies. Readings from a Garmin or a smart phone are influenced by other factors such as air pressure.

Meals

All breakfasts, 7 dinners, 6 lunches

Also Included

  • Expertise and services of our experienced Trip Leaders
  • Snacks and beverages between meals
  • Additional guides and experts from the region on many trips
  • Van shuttles to support a variety of route options
  • Comprehensive Travel Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at museums, historic sites, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the Travel Planner
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Special events, including wine tastings and other select attractions as mentioned in the Travel Planner
  • On biking and multi-adventure trips, use of fully equipped Backroads titanium bike plus helmet and accessories
  • Trailercycles, carriers, and kid-sized helmets for Family Trips
  • Equipment and experienced guides for kayaking, rafting, snorkeling, sailing and canoeing as described
  • Park and other entry fees
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the Travel Planner
  • Select coach transfers
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Get the Straight Talk about This Trip

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.

Accommodations

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 Hotel, the relatively new Dhensa Boutique Resort. While we expect great things from this newer, beautiful hotel, it may take a few seasons still 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 (albeit unassuming) hospitality, strong cultural character and the tremendous view from the deck.

Many 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.

Traveling in Bhutan

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 shines 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!

Two Leaders

We ordinarily staff our trips with three leaders: two leaders out on the trail offering support—allowing everyone to have the experience they want, whether it's an easygoing interpretative walk or a rigorous hike—while the third leader moves the van from trailhead to trail end. This trip is a little different in that our routes are a combination of loop hikes and out-and-back trails that begin and end in the same location. This means that you'll still have the same two leaders providing excellent trail support without the need for a third leader to move the van.

Why Travel with Backroads in Bhutan

We Learned How to Walk Here

When Backroads first came to Bhutan 20 years ago, we soon discovered that we were pioneering active travel in the remote Himalayan kingdom. No one else offered day hikes as the focal point for an itinerary. No one combined active adventures with cultural experiences and the region's best accommodations. So we set about exploring routes and building friendships. And now, in a country that's famous for measuring Gross National Happiness, we're enjoying healthy returns.

The Right Local Pairings

Our Trip Leaders combine deep local expertise with a firm grasp of North American expectations around quality of service. By the same token, we pair experienced Backroads leaders with local guides who know how to cater to your needs while cracking open the culture or natural history in ways that are meaningful, memorable and often magical.

Everyone at Their Own Pace

We design and support our Bhutan trips to suit mixed abilities and varied interests—so you can set your own pace, then change things up as the day unfolds. And all guests are free to do the same, traveling together or apart, with no one cramping anyone else's style. Which sounds easy in theory, but it's hard to pull off. Here's more on how we do it.

We Stand Behind Our Trips

Most companies' trips in Bhutan are run by local operators. At Backroads we manage our own trips; we would never subcontract your precious vacation to a third party. So as you enjoy the support of your seasoned Trip Leaders, along with our expert local guides and drivers, you have the confidence of knowing we're with you every step of the way.

Our Cultural Roots Run Deep

Thanks to our extensive connections in Bhutan, Backroads takes you off the beaten track and deep into the region's culture in ways that traditional travel can never hope to do. We know the people and their customs, the legacy of art and architecture, the complex history and politics – and if we're not sure, our amazing local experts can fill in the blanks.

The Best Leaders in Bhutan

Backroads has the best-qualified people to lead your trip in Bhutan, and our guests back that up, rating our Trip Leaders an average of 9.75 out of 10 for all-around quality of performance. Get the facts (and no fluff) on how we recruit and develop the very best people for your trip.

Experts with Secrets to Share

In choosing the ideal experts to enrich your travel experience, we look for people with a wealth of local knowledge, but also the ability to convey their insights in English. Too often travelers find themselves smiling politely, not quite understanding what they're being told. Our experts share intriguing facts, anecdotes and inside stories that stay with you forever.

A Variety of Routes Each Day

In Bhutan you head off each morning after choosing among several expertly designed routes—all with detailed directions, mileage and shuttle options. Unlike trips with one fixed daily route (or worse, one guide that everyone's obliged to follow), you're free to enjoy the best of the region at your pace, stopping wherever you want to explore further.

We've Set the Standard

For nearly four decades we've worked to earn and maintain our right to call Backroads the world's #1 active travel company. In pursuing that vision on behalf of our guests, we believe we've set the standard for our industry—captured in the Backroads Quality Guide, which clearly sets out the benchmarks of excellence, choice and support that we live by

We Know Where We're Going

Tom Hale has been keeping Backroads on track, with one eye on the horizon, since 1979. His passion for active travel, and for ensuring the highest-quality travel experience, is evident in every detail we add to make a guest's trip unforgettable—and the fact he's right there in the office, making it happen. To hear Tom describe his vision, watch our video.  

Photo Gallery

Hiking - Backroads Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour
Backroads Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour
Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour
Backroads Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour
Hiking - Backroads Bhutan Hiking Tour
Flages - Backroads Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour
Monks - Backroads Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour
Hiker - Backroads Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour
Backroads Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour
Backroads Leader - Backroads Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour
Backroads Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tours
Bridge - Backroads Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour
Backroads Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour
Backroads Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour
Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour
Backroads Bhutan Walking & Hiking Tour

Videos

Straight Talk

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.

Accommodations

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 Hotel, the relatively new Dhensa Boutique Resort. While we expect great things from this newer, beautiful hotel, it may take a few seasons still 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 (albeit unassuming) hospitality, strong cultural character and the tremendous view from the deck.

Many 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.

Traveling in Bhutan

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 shines 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!

Two Leaders

We ordinarily staff our trips with three leaders: two leaders out on the trail offering support—allowing everyone to have the experience they want, whether it's an easygoing interpretative walk or a rigorous hike—while the third leader moves the van from trailhead to trail end. This trip is a little different in that our routes are a combination of loop hikes and out-and-back trails that begin and end in the same location. This means that you'll still have the same two leaders providing excellent trail support without the need for a third leader to move the van.
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