Bhutan

Bespoke holidays to Bhutan – tailor made specialists. 

The Kingdom of Bhutan is known as the Land of the Thunder Dragon and is part of the eastern end of the Himalayas, the tallest mountain range in the world.  It borders India, China and Tibet and is separated from Nepal by Sikkim, an Indian state and from Bangladesh in the south by West Bengal.

This is superb trekking country with dramatic mountains and dense forests, some peaks in the Himalayan regions exceed 7000m (23,000ft). The population here are mainly Vajrayana Buddhists and the capital city is Thimphu. As recently as 2007, Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy holding it’s first general elections. The number of tourists allowed to travel in certain regions of  Bhutan is carefully restricted, maintaining a spiritual belief that the people of Bhutan live in the last Shangri-La. This kingdom of Bhutan has lived an isolated life for centuries being cut off from other parts of Asia by the mighty Himalayas.

To the south of Bhutan are sub-tropical plains and green valleys and fields with a rich birdlife and culture. Everywhere you travel in Bhutan you will be met by smiling people and surrounded by dramatic landscapes and hills full of monasteries and fortresses, some impossibly clinging to steep cliffs and high mountains.  Take a natural history holiday to Bhutan for something very different. The wildlife of Bhutan is surprisingly varied with plenty of primates including the rare Golden Langur. In the tropical lowlands you can find Bengal Tigers, the One-horned Indian Rhino, Clouded Leopard (if you are very, very lucky!) and the Sloth Bear.  In the temperate middle zones, Indian Leopard and Grey Langurs can be seen. Fruit trees and bamboo forests are home to Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, Sambar, Wild Pig and Barking Deer, amongst others. The alpine slopes of the Himalayan mountains are home to the elusive Snow Leopard, Blue Sheep, Tibetan Wolf and Himalayan Musk Deer.  In addition to the mammals, there are 770 species of bird and around 5,400 types of plants!

Amongst the most visited areas on a holiday to Bhutan is Paro valley with the amazing Taktshang monastery hovering overhead, this is is one of the most holy sites in Bhutan and home to some of the oldest temples and monasteries including the impenetrable fortress of Rinpung Dzong. The spirtual heartland of Bhutan is found at Bumthang and believed to be the birthplace of Buddhism in this mountain kingdom. Jambey Lhakhang is one of 108 monasteries build to subdue evil spirits of the Himalayas in the seventh century and is a great place to base yourself to expolore quiet valleys and take easy day walks. East of Wangdu Phodrang is the pretty Phobjikha valley where the village is dominated by the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the black mountains, Gangtey gompa, built in the 17th century. Explore ancient villages and temples in this glacial valley.

Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan has a medieval feel in it’s style of architecture and the narrow streets are packed with shops and there is a busy market on the weekend. Stop to visit Taschichho Dzong which is the base for the central monastic body and the government, see the School of Arts and Crafts where wood carving and painting is taught.  There is also the textile museum, a paper factory, museum of folk heritage and the institute of traditional medicine to be found here.

Accommodation in Bhutan is varied, from small local guest house hotels to five star spas.  With a strong spiritual heritage, Bhutan is a great place for a spa and wellbeing holiday, with plenty of yoga retreats and treatments.

Many holidays to Bhutan involve flying into Kathmandu in Nepal and then a flight on to Bhutan or fly to Delhi and into Bhutan from India, ask us about combining a trip here with Nepal or other neighbouring countries and kingdoms.

So, whether you want a Himalayan trekking holiday, a yoga retreat or simply a tour through stunning mountain landscapes, contact us for your bespoke holiday to Bhutan.

 

One of the things I have come to love about you, Jules, is that you listen and take on board what makes me tick, and then tailor the holiday to fit me, not just try to convince me to fit a holiday in a brochure!
Ian Furbank
June 30, 2011

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