Trekking and Cultural Tours in Bhutan

A centuries-old Buddhist kingdom high in the Himalayas, Bhutan has never been conquered, and it only recently opened itself to tourism. And while it is tucked among the world’s tallest mountains, you don’t have to go on a difficult trek to sample the wonders of “the Land of the Thunder Dragon.” A tour of Bhutan is a window into an ancient, and perhaps slowly vanishing, culture.

Two hikers in front of a mountain temple in Bhutan
Old Tibetan woman holding buddhist prayer wheel.

Highlights

  • Visit the world’s last Buddhist kingdom
  • Experience a culture that was cut off from the world for hundreds of years
  • Hike to the Tiger’s Nest monastery, located 3,000 feet up a cliff
  • Explore to Bhutan’s National Museums and cultural centers in Paro, Punaka, and the capital Thimphu

Description

If you’ve always wanted to go to the Kingdom of Bhutan, what better way to experience it than as a customized, private journey?

We at Embark Adventures are ready to work with you to design a trip around your own interests, needs, and schedule. Whether you want to explore a Buddhist culture unchanged for centuries, festivals that inspire your spirit, a simple lifestyle that touches a calm place within, or mountains that challenge your body and thrill your soul, this magical kingdom in the mountains has much to offer.

A tour of Bhutan will leave you with a lifetime worth of memories: of the breathtaking scenery, the ancient lifestyle, and the wonderful people, not to mention the sense of visiting a magical mountain kingdom while you still can.

Itinerary Summary

Contact us today to build your custom itinerary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I travel with Embark?

We are a team that lives and breathes travel; we know what our clients want, and as such we see them as travelers, not tourists. We have organized hundreds of adventures around the world, focusing on destinations we know and understand. Ask us for some of our references.

Many companies provide region-standard trips; Embark goes above and beyond. We organize unique itineraries along the roads less traveled, designing adventures that allow our travelers to be pioneers and explore the depth of any given destination.

We focus on finding and training the best guides in the industry, with specialists who are prominent in several fields – mountain guides, historians, archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, and much more.

What is being on trek like?

Upon arrival in country, you will be met by an Embark representative at the airport exit and driven by private vehicle to your lodge or hotel.

On trek, each day you will be awakened by the porters, who will bring warm wash water and a hot drink to your tent. Breakfast is typically around 7 a.m., and you will hit the trail by 8 a.m. You will be given a pack lunch for the trail, and during the day the porters will pass you on the trail, then have camp waiting for you at the end of the day.

How hard is it?

While we believe that anyone in good physical condition can complete our treks, this trip is strenuous. While travel always entails some level of adventure and challenge, when we say “strenuous” we mean there will be long, difficult hikes; occasional significant physical barriers such as climbing; sleeping outside; and the chance of falling or some other injury. To complete this trip, especially with any enjoyment, one must be in good physical shape – in particular, able to handle strenuous hikes on several consecutive days.


What do we eat?

Tea house meals are basic, filling, and don’t vary much from place to place. Breakfast will typically be pancakes, porridge, eggs and bread. Lunch and dinner are also pretty consistent, although the spices and flavoring will vary. The main meal is daal baht: rice, vegetables (often spinach and potato), and lentil soup. This is usually all-you-can-eat.

There will be other options available at dinner, such as fried rice, soups, noodles, potatoes, and occasionally such extravagances as pizza, spring rolls or dumplings.

In Kathmandu, hotel meals will be much more standard tourist fare, particularly at breakfast. For dinner we will typically eat out as a group or on our own.

Not included are snacks such as bars, trail mix, and electrolyte drink mixes. If you like to those or other snacks, bring them!

Do I need a visa?

All US citizens entering Bhutan do need a visa. You can get this ahead of time from a consulate or embassy, and this is something Embark will be glad to help with.

What is the sleeping arrangement?

While on trek, we will be staying in tea houses. These are family-run, very traditional places, featuring rooms with two twin beds, and sometimes a double. (You may have a private room if you wish). The room may have a shelf, coat hooks, a chair, or a small table. Each tea house also has a common area where meals are served.

What is included in the trip cost?

Your cost includes transportation, lodging, guide and porter fees, and most meals. While on the trek, all your meals are included, although you might want to bring some snacks that you like to have during the day. Before and after the trek you will have some time (and meals) on your own in town. Also not included in the cost is your airfare, souvenirs, and tips for the guides and porters.

How far ahead should I book this trip?

You want to commit to this trip at least six months ahead of time. It takes a lot of preparation, both logistical and physical. Beginning at this point, you should be booking your airplane tickets and planning your training regimen.

What is the best time of year for weather?

The main tourist season in the Himalayas is the fall, September and October. This is when the weather is clearest and most moderate, and the summer monsoons have washed away the dirt and dust and left snow on the mountains. There are also two major festivals during this time. Of course, this means that fall is also the most crowded and expensive time.

The next most popular time is spring, which here is from February to mid-April. This time is warmer than fall, with longer days, and the rhododendrons are blooming in the high country. It will be ever warmer during these months, and often a haze will obstruct the view of mountains from the low country. Most trekking routes are above this, however.

Summer, roughly June through September, is monsoon season, when the rain falls, fields come alive, flowers bloom … and bugs are out in force, roads get blocked by landslide, and often flights are cancelled due to weather.

Winter is a wonderful time to visit the lower elevations, but the higher regions are extremely cold (though clear), and much of the tourist infrastructure will be closed.

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