Introduction to Bhutan
A Week in Bhutan
Thimphu, Punakha, Paro
Highlights of Bhutan
Paro, Thimphu, Punakha
Essence of Bhutan
Thimphu, Punakha, Paro
Paro, Bumthang, Thimphu, Punakha
Journey Through Bhutan
Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Bumthang, Gangtey
Luxury Adventure Tour of Bhutan
Paro, Thimphu, Punakha
Discover Thailand & Bhutan
Bangkok, Thimphu, Punakha, Paro, Chiang Mai
Best of the Himalayas: Bhutan, Nepal & Tibet
Thimphu, Punakha, Paro, Kathmandu & Kathmandu Valley, Lhasa
Best of Bhutan & India
Delhi, Thimphu, Punakha, Paro, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Mumbai
Journey Through Myanmar & Bhutan
Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Bangkok, Thimphu, Punakha, Paro
Essence of Nepal & Bhutan
Kathmandu & Kathmandu Valley, Chitwan National Park, Thimphu, Punakha, Paro
Hiking and Wellness Tour of Bhutan & India
Delhi, Thimphu, Punakha, Paro, Himalayas & Rishikesh
(13 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)
Kathmandu, Chitwan, Thimphu, Punakha, Paro
This private tour is the perfect introduction to the Himalayan countries of Nepal and Bhutan. Stay at the best luxury hotels, experience the rich local culture and traditions, and see incredible landscapes and wildlife. All touring is private, with your own private guides and drivers.
Begin in Kathmandu, the endlessly fascinating capital of Nepal. During private touring with your expert guide and driver, walk through the lively backstreets of Old Kathmandu to see artisans' workshops, traditional markets, and active Buddhist and Hindu temples. Explore the cultural highlights in the numerous UNESCO World Heritage-listed monument zones around the city and in the surrounding Kathmandu Valley. Tour the beautiful courtyards, palaces and historic monuments of Kathmandu's Durbar Square. Circumambulate the mammoth white stupa at Boudhanath, the most important Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet, with throngs of pilgrims and worshippers, and perhaps duck into one of the smaller temple buildings to light a candle or spin a giant prayer wheel among the faithful. Venture to the hilltop Swayambhunath, another important and photogenic Buddhist temple with an iconic white stupa, flapping prayer flags, and panoramic views of Kathmandu and the foothills of the Himalayas. Observe ceremonies at Pashupatinath, a sprawling Hindu temple complex that's the oldest and most revered Hindu site in Kathmandu. Other highlights include seeing Kumari Devi—a living goddess—and relaxing in the Garden of Dreams, a soothing green oasis.
In the Kathmandu Valley, tour the extensive palace districts in the former royal capitals of Patan and Bhaktapur. See beautiful traditional brick buildings with finely carved wooden windows. Visit the Patan Museum, a former palace and one of the best museums of traditional Nepalese art in the country. Peruse fine metal crafts such as singing bowls, brass tableware and gold-leafed religious icons produced in the small workshops of Patan. Browse for woodwork and ceramics created by artisans in Bhaktapur. Find the perfect shawl made of the finest Nepalese pashmina (cashmere). Learn about the iconography in Buddhist thangka paintings, and perhaps select one to take home. You will have ample time to shop for these and other typical Nepalese products, such as handmade paper and prayer wheels during your tour. Also sample local foods such as juju dhau, Bhaktapur's unique "king yogurt." One morning, enjoy a fixed-wing scenic flight to see Mount Everest and other snow-capped high Himalayan peaks, a truly memorable experience.
Next, fly to Chitwan National Park, a beautiful landscape of subtropical forests and grasslands filled with wildlife. Stay at a luxury lodge on the banks of the Rapti River with easy access to the best of Chitwan. During safaris through this UNESCO World Heritage-designated nature reserve, look for one-horned rhinos, which are regularly seen, and elusive Bengal tigers and sloth bears. Spot herds of deer, wild boars, gharials and other animals. Chitwan is also a birder's paradise, a biodiversity hotspot with hundreds of colorful and unusual avian species, including hornbills, darters and kingfishers. Enjoy other activities in and around Chitwan National Park according to your interests and timing, such as interacting with elephants, a walking safari, scenic boat rides on the beautiful Rapti River, visiting a village to learn about the local Tharu people and their lifestyle, and biking through local villages and farmland.
Return to Kathmandu for an overnight stay before flying to Bhutan and transferring to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. During comprehensive private touring, experience cultural highlights such as important Buddhist sites, local markets, and various museums specializing in textiles, folk heritage, and traditional arts and crafts. Artisans of Leisure will also arrange a meeting with a local astrologer, an important figure in Bhutanese daily life, as well as a visit to Tashichho Dzong, an impressive traditional fortress that houses the Bhutanese civil government. If desired, enjoy a private hike to rural villages and monasteries tucked into the foothills of the Himalayas. Upon request, we can also arrange for special experiences such as a private Bhutanese cooking lesson at a local home or a private meditation session with monks.
Next, enjoy a scenic transfer through the mountains to Punakha, the ancient winter capital of Bhutan. Stop en route at Dochula Pass to see its 108 chortens and take in views of the Himalayas. Descend into Punakha, a subtropical valley filled with rhododendrons, citrus trees and banana plants. During private touring, enjoy peaceful walks through rural farming villages, light a butter lamp at a local temple, opt to hike up a mountain for beautiful panoramic views of the valley, tour the stunning Punakha Dzong, and visit a Buddhist nunnery overlooking the valley. Accommodation will be at a luxurious hotel overlooking the Mo Chhu River set among rice terraces, chili and cabbage fields and traditional Bhutanese farmhouses.
The tour concludes in Paro, a picturesque town in a verdant river valley with a charming main street brimming with shops and cafes. During private touring, visit the National Museum, browse for locally made crafts and Buddhist items, and take an excursion to breathtaking Tiger's Nest, a cliffside Buddhist monastery that's a highlight of Bhutan. Also enjoy a private lesson in archery, Bhutan's national sport. Other activities can be incorporated based on your interests, such as yoga, a biking excursion, or traditional Bhutanese spa treatments.
Upon request, we can incorporate activities such as meetings with local specialists, farm visits, monastery visits, soft-adventure activities (hiking, biking, archery, rafting or golf), shopping, cooking classes, blessings and meditations led by monks, and more.
Bhutan is beautiful and fascinating. Our guide and our driver are absolutely the A-Team! They are amazing. You got us the very best with these two.
~ S.F., Chicago, IL
Our trip to Thailand and Bhutan was terrific. We really appreciate that Artisans of Leisure’s staff is so knowledgeable about the destinations, and that your trips are so thorough. We feel that really benefited as a result.
~ A.R., New York, NY
Our tour of Southeast Asia and Bhutan was outstanding. It truly was the trip of a lifetime for us. I believe that you get what you pay for, and oh my gosh did you deliver!
~ G.G., Newtown Square, PA
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