Trip reference number: 104215
Yet to succumb to the allures of mass tourism, this remote Himalayan kingdom has an aura of mystery and magic rarely found anywhere else on earth. Discover dizzying Himalayan passes, forest-ringed monasteries, temple-strewn towns and royal fortress giant as you enjoy everything from expert-led hikes and delectable dining to private touring and the services of a private driver throughout. Along the way, you'll make stops at the nation's castle-studded capital, Thimpu, along with the charming towns of Punakha and Paro, where golden temples look out to sweepingly gorgeous valleys.
Day 1: Depart UK
Start your trip in comfort with VIP airport lounge access before you depart the UK on an overnight flight to Kolkata, boarding your connecting flight to Bhutan the following morning.
Days 2-3: Thimphu Valley
Descending through the Himalayas on one of the world’s most spectacular flights, you’ll be met and transferred by your private driver through forested hills to the Bhutanese capital. By way of introduction, your private guide, who’ll accompany you throughout, will bring you to kingly memorials, local markets, 50-metre-high Buddhas and hilltops with giant valley views. The next day, a hike through a rhododendron forest will bring you to Tango Goenpa, a near-thousand-year-old monastery of spectacular, towering beauty. Then, it’s on to an artists’ collective before a visit to the 350-year-old Tashichho Dzong, a true fortress colossus. End with a traditional dance performance back at your hotel.
Stay: Hotel Druk (Standard), Zhiwaling Ascent, Thimpu (Superior) or Taj Tashi (Deluxe)
Days 4-5: Punakha
Crossing the high Dochula Pass, you'll pause to take in its colourful prayer flags, shy Himalaya views and 108-strong collection of stupas, before hiking out to Chimi Lhakang – a pretty hilltop temple surrounded by verdant rice fields. You'll then end in with Punakha's 17th-century Palace of Great Happiness, a monolithic riverside fortification that once housed the government. Start the next day with a hike to a three-storey lhakhang temple for spectacular valley views, passing rice paddies and mountaintops to reach Giligang – a 300-year-old monastery. A final drive will then see you to a historic nunnery. Perched on a ridge amid reaching pine trees, it houses a spectacular collection of giant, bronze statues.
Stay: Zhingkham Resort (Standard), Dhensa Boutique Resort (Superior) or Uma by COMO Punakha (Deluxe)
Days 6-7: Paro
Tracing gurgling rivers, today's drive will bring you to Paro and Ta Dzong. This imposing, 17th-century watchtower serves as the National Museum, host to a fascinating collection of art and relics. You'll then walk down to Paro Dzong – a highpoint of Bhutanese architecture, not least for its buttressed walls that tower over the entire valley. Your next stop is an equally evocative Bhutanese village, formed of traditional farmhouses. On your last day, you'll be treated to a trip highlight – a hike through pine forests and groves of prayer flags to Taktsang Monastery. Precariously positioned on a cliff edge, some 900 metres above the valley floor, it's perhaps better known as the 'Tiger's Nest'.
Stay: Naksel Boutique Hotel & SPA (Standard), Le Meridien Paro (Superior) or Uma by COMO Paro (Deluxe)
Day 8: Depart Bhutan
A last private transfer will see you to the airport, in time for your evening flight.
Day 9: Arrive UK
Arrive back in the UK after your overnight flight and continue your onward journey home.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
** If you see this next to a price, a specific price in your currency has not been provided, this is an estimated-only price based on a currency conversion, the price you pay may be different to that shown
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