Still untouched, now is most definitely the time to discover this unspoilt mysterious Kingdom, the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’. We can arrange your visit to coincide with one of the Bhutanese Festivals to see the swirling colours, musical performances and masked dancers enjoying a magical simplicity.
Exploring Bhutan makes you feel like you have stepped back in time where archery is the national sport with local competitions every weekend and the country pursues Gross National Happiness as opposed to Gross National Product.
We suggest you end your Bhutanese journey with Paro and the incredible Tiger’s Nest Monastery, after exploring the valleys of Punakha, Bumthang, Gangte and Thimpu. The flight in and out of Paro is memorable for its spectacular surroundings with the route from Delhi offering wonderful views of Everest, weather permitting.
Join the crowds at the colourful festivals in Buddhist dzongs or trek into the wilderness surrounded by alpine forests and snowcapped mountains. Alternatively take an internal flight or helicopter to explore further east and shorten some of the longer road journeys.
Wix Squared has some exceptional guides to get you under the skin of the country including:
- A photography guide to capture this incredible country in the best light
- Private yoga instructors
- Professional archers to teach you the national sport
- Experienced cyclists
- Local Lamas to offer you a spiritual blessing
- Talented fly-fishermen
- Experts in flora and fauna
- A Buddhist astrologer
Itinerary Starting Price
From £2,500 per person, for 7 days including accommodation, full board, an accompanying driver and guide, entrance fees and visa (not including flights).
Thimpu, is the only capital city in the world without traffic lights.
The Punakha festival in February or the Paro festival in March/April are well worth a visit. Dates depend on the lunar calendar and the earlier you book the better.
What to Eat
Chili Cheese (Ema Datshi) is the national dish, but prepare yourself for a spicy kick hidden in the hot melted yak’s cheese.
What to Read
‘A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan about Living, Loving, and Waking Up’ by Linda Leaming. An American Author’s experience of living in Bhutan.
What to Buy
A painted wooden or papier-mâché mask used in the Bhutanese festivals.
Boutique hotels is what Bhutan is all about and this luxury lodge is no exception. Located in the Gangte valley, it is the perfect place from where to witness the black-necked crane migration, an annual festival, and at other times of the year enjoy the cosy fireplaces in each suite and the excellent homemade food.
The Aman hotel chain has built 5 hotels in 5 valleys (Paro, Thimpu, Punakha, Gangte and Bumthang). These are the most expensive hotels in the Kingdom and although spoiling, you will have a more rewarding experience by combining 1 or 2 of these hotels with other luxury hotels on your journey through Bhutan.
COMO Paro and COMO Punakha have the best views of their respective valleys and are overflowing with character. The 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom villas in each hotel are well worth the upgrade for more privacy and you can’t leave without sampling a hot stone bath in the Shambhala spa.
To get under the skin of the country we can arrange for you to stay in traditional local hotels and/or homestays. For the more adventurous we can set up remote campsites for anything from 1 night – 2 weeks, to take you totally off the beaten track.
These religious events are celebrated on the 10th day of the lunar calendar. Communities gather to witness entertainment and masked dances portraying various stories of Guru Padmasambhava. The Paro, Thimpu and black-necked crane festivals are some of the most popular in the Kingdom, so advance booking is necessary for us to secure the best seats, guides and rooms. That said, the smaller, lesser-known festivals are more intimate and easier to coincide with a less flexible itinerary.
This entire country has a spiritual vibe which can be gauged from the passive Buddhist approach to life. We can arrange visits to morning prayers in medieval monasteries, a blessing from a Lama or even a puja (pilgrimage) to a remote dzong. After a long trek, soothe your weary muscles in a traditional hot stone bath with heated river stones in a wooden tub of spring water, or let us organise a couple of hours of meditation or yoga overlooking one of the striking valleys with hundreds of prayer flags fluttering in the wind.
Although tigers do exist in Bhutan you are unlikely to see one on your travels. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew to Paro Taktsang on the back of a tigress, hence it’s nickname, ‘Tiger’s Nest’. We know a quieter route to ensure you reach this dramatic monastery, built into a cliff face, before the crowds arrive. There are numerous other day treks we can arrange or overnight hikes varying from 3-30 days with comfortable wilderness camping each night, ponies to carry your belongings and expert accompanying guides.
Embrace the local culture and spend a day or a night in a monastery, convent or homestay where you will eat your meals with monks, nuns or a local family. We will ensure your guide is close to hand to translate where necessary. Wix Squared can also arrange visits to local schools, weaving cooperatives, and honey and beer making factories where you can learn a new skill.
Bicycles are a popular form of transport in Bhutan both on and off-road. His Majesty the King and his brother are keen cyclists and the Thimpu police patrol on bicycles. We know plenty of off-road trails, cultural road rides, challenging single tracks, large descents and river valley circuits to explore. Not only can we provide high-tech bicycles, helmets, gloves and a support van, but all our cycle guides are first aiders, qualified mechanics and experienced cyclists.
Archery (Dha) is Bhutan’s national sport. In ancient times, the Bhutanese archers (Drukpa) fought off Tibetan invaders with bamboo longbows and arrows. Even the King is a keen archer. At weekends, tournaments occur throughout the Kingdom and are a real spectacle with plenty of singing and dancing. We can arrange archery lessons or even organise an informal tournament with a local team.
With direct flights between Kathmandu and Paro, break the journey to Bhutan with a quick scenic flight around Everest or venture deeper into the Kathmandu valley to visit Bhaktapur and Patan. We also offer some incredible trekking options in the Annapurnas and wildlife experiences in the national parks.
The flights from Paro are often delayed due to low cloud cover, hence we always suggest at least one night in India before taking a connecting flight. For a city break, New Delhi and Kolkata have direct flight options or for some r&r fly direct to Bagdogra to access the beautiful Glenburn Tea Estate.
To avoid having to apply for an Indian visa if you are only passing through, but still enjoy a stopover in a buzzing Asian capital, Bangkok is our city of choice. Let us reserve you a table at a great rooftop or riverside restaurant and have a guide show you the hidden gems of Bangkok, before you board your onward flight to Paro.
Given the handful of boutique hotels scattered across the country, Bhutan lends itself well to small groups. However the larger the group, the cheaper the per person daily government rate.
Depending on the occasion, you might like us to arrange a special blessing from the Lama, an archery tournament or we can time your dates with one of the colourful Bhutanese annual festivals to add to the celebrations.
Find out more about Events by Wix Squared
The best time to visit Bhutan is October-May.
It can get very cold in December/January with snow on the ground often making the mountain passes difficult or even impossible to cross.
There are numerous festivals throughout the year in Bhutan when visitor numbers increase so advanced bookings are strongly advised.
- This is one of the colder months of the year when you may experience snow on the ground, there are also less visitors and it is the best time for clear mountain views.
- February is a pleasant time of year to visit Bhutan and although it is still too cold for camping, time your visit with the Punakha festival for some incredible celebrations in the most beautiful Dzong in the country.
- This is one of the best months to visit Bhutan when the rhododendrons are in bloom and the famous Paro festival takes place, meaning the earlier you can book the better, to secure tickets as well as the best accommodation and guides.
- April is a wonderful month for nature lovers when the rhododendrons are still in bloom and the Paro Tshechu (festival) may occur in April depending on the lunar calendar.
- The temperatures are on the ‘up’ and it starts to get a little more humid but now is a good time to embark on the Jumolhari Trek which takes 2 weeks, though some training will be needed for this. We can also arrange shorter treks from a luxury lodge or private campsite.
- The monsoon arrives in June when you will experience regular light showers and there are some smaller festivals in Bumthang to enjoy when there are less tourists around.
- The monsoon rain continues meaning this is one of the most beautiful times to be in Bhutan with rolling green hillsides and the odd glimpse of the Himalayas as the cloud clears in the mornings on the high passes.
- This is prime time for the Matsutake season when you can join in the mushroom picking extravaganza or just enjoy some delicious ‘shroom’ based meals. The monsoon rain continues in Bhutan so it is best to stick to the lodges and hotels rather than sleeping under canvas.
- The rains lessen towards the end of the month and you won’t see the Himalayas in September but it is a quieter time of year when you can enjoy discounted rates and traditional hot stone massages.
- This is a great time of year for getting off the beaten track and camping. The rains have normally stopped by now and the Thimpu festival makes this an even more popular month to travel to Bhutan.
- November is famous for the Black-Necked Crane Festival, when these birds migrate from Tibet to the Phobjikha Valley in Gangte.
- The temperatures start to drop, so the earlier you travel in December, the better to ensure the best road access, or of course you can always resort to helicopter transfers if you want to avoid the long car journeys.