While Bhutan is nowhere near as isolated from the mainstream of South Asian life as it used to be, the country certainly comes closer to the old ‘Shangri-La’ myth than any other. Buttressed on three sides by high peaks, this small, thinly-populated mountain kingdom the size of Switzerland has maintained its traditional way of life to a degree that’s unique in the eastern Himalayas – and in a style that’s fabulously idiosyncratic.
Where else in the world are men obliged by law to wear Argyll socks and knee-length, cross-buttoned tunics? And which other country can claim as its national symbol an animal that looks like a cross between a cow and a goat (the ‘takin’)? Or which has archery as its national sport, has banned foreign television and tobacco, and measures its success not merely in terms of economic growth, but GNH – ‘Gross National Happiness’?... a scale on which Bhutan scores very highly.
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Bhutan holiday types
Bhutan Places and Experiences
Shops, restaurants and offices in richly carved traditional buildings line the main street of Paro, a couple of hours’ drive from Thimpu, where two of eastern Bhutan’s main rivers meet. Approached by a spectacular flight path, which only a...
Several other sights lie in and around town but further up the valley (towards Tibet) lies what is arguably Bhutan’s iconic picture-postcard monument – the Taktsang Monastery. Commonly known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’, it is wedged into a lofty...
Thimphu became the capital of Bhutan in 1961, since when it has swollen to a town of around 80,000 people. TransIndus tours typically pause a couple of nights here – long enough to take in its impressive dzongs (fortress-monasteries), the ...
Bhutan’s religious festivals form a particularly important part of the local and tourist calendar. The best known are tshechus, typically three- to five-day events staged at different times of the year by every village in honour of Guru Ri...
Around 15.5 miles (25 km) east of Thimphu, Punakha and its gorgeous valley typically offers visitors their first real taste of rural Bhutan. Built in around 1638 and beautifully sited at the confluence of two rivers, its dzong ranks among ...
Dochu La Pass
On the road to Punakha from Thimpu lies the Dochu La Pass, at 3,100m (10,170ft). 108 memorial stupas adorn the pass, arranged in three concentric circles. The vast expanse of the snow-clad mountain peaks of the Himalayas lies to the east, ...
Situated in the heart of the country, a crossroads-like alignment of four valleys is collectively known as Bumthang. Until the 1970s, when a road was finally constructed through it, this region remained isolated and relatively undeveloped....
Suggested tours to Bhutan
Tailor-made Tour 12 days from £4455 per person
Discover the magic and mystery of Bhutan on this short tour of the country’s highlights, covering the sights of Paro and Thimphu, and taking in the astonishing fortified monastic complexes at Punakha. Also included is the beautiful valley of Gangtey...
Tailor-made Tour 16 days from £5390 per person
Explore the more remote, rural east of the country on this two-week tour starting in Delhi. Grandiose, forested valleys ringed by shining ice peaks, pretty, typically Bhutanese farmsteads, and the most spectacular dzongs in the country provide ample...
The Bhutan Journey
Tailor-made Tour 16 days from £4434 per person
Bhutan is perhaps the last bastion of Mahayana Buddhism in the Himalaya and retains its age-old traditions and unspoilt culture. Colourful festivals with mask dances liven up the spartan life in its numerous monasteries. Majestic fortresses, called ...
Mountain Kingdoms of Nepal & Bhutan
Tailor-made Tour 16 days from £5245 per person
The Himalayan kingdoms of Bhutan and Nepal share a great deal in common – not least their astounding mountain landscapes and Tibetan-Buddhist heritage. They are also, however, distinctly different in atmosphere and on this exciting journey through t...
Group Tour 10 days from £2145 per person
Discover the magic and mystery of Bhutan on this interesting tour covering the sights of Paro and Thimphu, and taking in the astonishing fortified monastic complexes at Punakha. Also included is the beautiful valley of Gangtey, famous for its popula...
Talk to the Experts
At TransIndus we are committed to quality and determined to ensure every one of our clients enjoys the best holiday possible. Having lived or worked, and travelled extensively in their specialist countries, our consultants are experts whose advice can be depended on. To make an enquiry, call us on 0208 566 3739
020 8566 3739