Nothing can prepare you for Bhutan. It's like nowhere else you've been. It has a magic about it that's indescribable. The quiet smiles. The natural rhythms of life. The temples that seem to challenge the Himalayas. The mystery of Buddhism. The crisp air. The striking mountains always looming, protecting. It's a people rooted in history and yet changing with the times. It's not Shangri-La - it's more real than that. It's a country balancing the modern with the ancient. It's what you've pictured and what you couldn't have imagined. Let's tread gently and leave it just as we found it.
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 ful-ly operating at a Premiere Inn level. We’ve chosen it because of its proximity to our fa-vorite 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, former National Assembly member, our guide and longtime friend, opens doors normally closed to foreigners Ride above Paro Dzong, a massive monastic fortress built to commemorate a 1644 victory over the Tibetans, then see what lies within Peruse handicrafts in Paro's tiny traditional mercantile shops.
Days 2-3 Bike through Bhutan's culturally and scenically rich valleys - you'll be one of the few! Dochu La 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 seldom visited by international travelers.
Days 4-5 Immersion into an ancient landscape where life's daily rituals remain sacred Raft down Punakha's Mochu river on our 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 rewarding walk from Dodina village to Cheri Goemba Monastery.
Days 6-8 Hike to secluded Buddhist monasteries and temples, including the famed Tiger's Nest Climb an ancient path to the Taktshang teahouse, situated at 9,200 feet and offering superb views of the valley and otherworldly Taktshang Monastery.
- Immersion into an ancient landscape where life's daily rituals remain sacred
- Namgay, our local guide and longtime friend, opens doors normally closed to foreign travelers
- Bike through Bhutan's culturally and scenically rich valleys - you'll be one of the few!
- Hike to secluded Buddhist temples and monasteries, including the famed Tiger's Nest
- 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 forest in the heart of the Punakha Valley, this secluded contemporary hotel is perched above lush rice fields and the Punakha River. (spa)
Taj Tashi Hotel (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|
|Other||Punakha Dzong Guided Walk (1 Hour)|
|Rafting||On the Po Chhu River (2 Hours)|
|8||Other||Conclusion of the Trip|
To make for the most comfortable ride to this particular trip, we've outfitted our titanium road bike with slightly wider tires. You'll appreciate this on those stretches of the route with hard-packed dirt (approximately 15% dirt and 85% paved).
* Includes a shuttle
2014 Dates & Pricing*
- 3/23-30 Price: $6498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
- 4/27-5/4 Price: $6598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
- 9/28-10/5 Price: $6498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
- 11/2-9 Price: $6398 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*
- 3/22-29 Price: $5998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.), Internal Air: $1040
- 4/26-5/3 Price: $5998 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
- 8 - 9 guests $6,898 pp dbl. occ.
- 10 - 11 guests $6,598 pp dbl. occ.
- 12 or more guests $5,998 pp dbl. occ.
For groups of 2 to 7 guests, please call for Custom Trip pricing.
Guest Trip Reviews
This was without a doubt an exceptional adventure in a magical place.- Portland, OR
Namgay, our local guide, added immensely to everyone's experience. His forthcoming nature and his desire to share his country with us was very warming. He is a beautiful person and a remarkable human being. You are very very lucky to have him as your local guide.- San Francisco, CA
Fabulous trip. This was more than a vacation; our Bhutan trip was an adventure, a cultural experience and a window on another world. It was made even more special by the other like-minded travelers, our superb Backroads leaders and our marvellous Bhutanese guide. Thank you so much!- Toronto, ON
As always, the trip was well-planned, well-executed and enjoyable from start to finish. The guides were knowledgeable and fun, the group was awesome, and my long-awaited trip to the Land of the Thunder Dragon exceeded all expectations and then some.- New York, NY
This was a trip of a lifetime; the beautiful country of Bhutan, the hiking/biking adventure, the guides and the group with whom we traveled. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to see Bhutan at this time, while it is unaffected. I was unprepared to fall so in love with the people and the land.- Tres Piedras, NM
What can I say? Backroads does such a great job, great guides, good itineraries. I am so pleased and will plan on many more similar trips!!! Bhutan is especially wonderful. I would think folks would be flocking to your door!- Portland, OR
This was a life-changing experience. I expected beautiful scenery, but there was so much more.- Chevy Chase, MD
From the 5 Backroads trips I took during my three and a half months, I think this one and Patagonia were the most impressive ones. It was an amazing experience and I wanted to thank you all for making it a very special time. I think the biggest asset of Backroads are the "people" and everyone that I met was fully engaged in the company's philosophy.- Hamburg, Germany