Wilderness Travel - vacations and travel

Hidden Bhutan

Bhutan, Asia

from $5,195* per person 12 Days March, September-November
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 4
Operator: Wilderness Travel 15 people max
  • Paro, bhutan
  • Active & Adventure trips
In the serene, secluded Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, spirituality permeates every aspect of daily life, festivals are living manifestations of a national faith, and the king decrees “Gross National Happiness” as the standard by which to measure the country’s wealth. On this cultural walking journey, we discover this unique culture in a mystical Shangri La setting as we hike to tiny villages and mountainside chortens (shrines) bedecked with prayer flags, explore riverside markets, and meet red-robed monks in fortress-monasteries reigning over wooded valleys. Our March and September trips feature fascinating Tsechu festivals; the November departure offers a chance to see migrating black-necked cranes in the high Phobjikha Valley.

Locations visited/nearby

Bhutan, Asia

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Special information

  • May accommodate certain types of disabilities. Contact the operator for more information.


Days 1-3
Paro / Haa Valley

Arriving in Paro, we head to the mountain-ringed Haa Valley in westernmost Bhutan. The Haa Valley has only been open to foreign travelers since 2001, and in this deeply traditional cultural enclave, we hike to exquisite 8th century temples nestled on wooded hillsides, share butter tea with the locals, and camp beside a rushing river. Our camp staff can even set up a Bhutanese hot-stone bath for a relaxing soak!

Days 4-6
Thimphu / Phobjikha Valley

In Thimphu, Bhutan’s tiny capital, our explorations include a hike up to Tango Monastery, a monastic school and retreat built in the 15th century. We also visit the Folk Heritage Museum, housed in a 17th century Bhutanese house of rammed earth and timber. A drive across the Dochu La Pass (10,200'), marked by fluttering prayer flags, brings us to the Phobjikha Valley at 9,500 feet. In this alpine setting, we hike to the ethereal, golden-roofed Gangtey Monastery and, in November, have a chance to see migrating black-necked cranes.

Days 7-9
Punakha Valley / Thimphu

En route to the Punakha Valley, we visit the spectacular Wangdue Phodrang, a 17th century fortress perched on a spur above a river. In Punakha, our village-to-village hike brings us into a tranquil region of small farming hamlets set amid terraced rice and wheat fields. We also enjoy a hike to Chimi Lhakhang, a monastery and fertility temple dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint and folk hero known popularly as “the divine madman” for his unconventional ways. Another highlight is the architectural wonder of the 17th century Punakha Dzong, seat of the Je Khenpo, Bhutan’s highest lama. It is one of the most striking buildings in Bhutan, with a spectacular riverside setting. We return to Thimphu on Day 9.

Days 10-12

In lovely Paro, we hike up to the Taktsang Monastery, the “Tiger’s Nest,” and explore the magnificent Paro Dzong. Depart on Day 12.

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