GMT +6 hours
A unique and highly guarded culture is complemented by striking natural landscapes.
This once secretive Himalayan kingdom, off limits to tourists until the 1970s, takes much pride in, and holds steadfastly onto its unique customs and traditions, and strives to retain the charm of the old world with a passion you are unlikely to see anywhere else in the world. The only country to measure its Gross National Happiness, tiny and mountainous Bhutan is certainly a one-off, and the opportunity to be one of those lucky few to experience this unique outlook on life, shaped by Buddha’s teachings, is too incredible to miss.
- Although there is no limit on the number of visitors to Bhutan low volume tourism is the focus
- The cost of your holiday includes all your meals, transport, fees, sightseeing accompanied by an English-speaking guide, and of course your accommodation
- The iconic image of Bhutan – the cliff-side Taktsang Monastery
- Bhutan’s famous festivals – held in many of the nation’s cities and towns – are a riot of colour and tell stories of the ancient world
- You can easily combine a holiday in Nepal or India with time spent in Bhutan
Best time to visit Bhutan
• Bhutan has a dry season followed by heavy monsoon rains between June and September
• October and November are the best months to visit as the monsoon rains have ended and the skies clear, allowing the best views of the Himalayas
• Spring is also a lovely time to travel as rhododendrons create a riot of colour in the mountain valleys.
Bhutan holiday highlights
Living in harmony with their beautiful landscape, the Bhutanese people believe the natural environment is home to their most revered Gods and spirits and also the source of all life, of which there is a huge variety.
Thimphu is Bhutan’s capital and a place where the nation’s highly regarded culture is reflected in its customs, religion and national dress. Locals go about their daily work dressed in traditional clothes and meet at the bustling weekend market to trade produce and tales. On the banks of the Thimpu River, the city is resplendent in natural beauty and Bhutanese architecture with a number of monasteries, dzongs (fortress type structures) and chortens (stupas). Marvel at the white-washed Tashichhoe Dzong which contains the throne room and offices of the King of Bhutan or the imposing Memorial of Thimphu Chorten which was built to honour the Third King of Bhutan.
Set deep within a charming valley, in the shadow of the peaks of the eastern Himalayas is the quiet town of Paro which features many sacred sights and striking fortresses. Highlights include the Paro Dzong, a 17th-Century fortress and religious site looking out over the beautiful valley, and the subject of the iconic Bhutanese image – Taktsang Monastery, or the 'Tiger’s Nest', perched precariously on a cliff ledge high above the town.
Bhutan’s old capital Punakha is located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers and boasts the most beautiful dzong in the country, which dominates the valley floor. The exquisite 17th Century Punakha Dzong, also known as the Palace of Great Happiness, is the winter retreat for the leaders of Bhutan due to the more temperate climate that the town enjoys.