Find out what lights up the faces of the residents of Bhutan, the only country in the world that measures its well-being in GNH—Gross National Happiness. On a 10-day adventure across this bastion of Buddhist culture, explore remote mountain villages and shrines and climb magnificent heights to the cliff-side Taktsang Monastery, 900 meters (2,953 feet) above the valley floor. Amid the soaring peaks and cultural delights of this ancient place, discover your own capacity for happiness.
Explore Bhutan’s capital city as
well as remote shrines and temples
nestled in the countryside.
Talk with a Buddhist monk, visit an
arts-and-crafts school, and enjoy
a home-cooked meal at a family
Hike to the legendary Taktsang
Lhakhang (Tiger’s Nest Temple).
Itinerary - 10 Days
Day 1 — Paro/Thimpu
Arrive at any time and drive to Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan and home to the royal family. Take an orientation walk, time permitting, and check in to our hotel. (D)
Days 2 & 3 — Punakha
Meet with a Buddhist monk and scholar to discuss Buddhist beliefs and traditions. Drive to Punakha, Bhutan’s ancient capital, crossing the Dochu La pass (10,000 feet) and enjoying stunning views of the Himalaya through flickering prayer flags. Stop for a short hike to the Chime Lhakhang temple. The next day, explore the working Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery and Punakha Dzong, an elaborate fortress guarding the southern end of the valley at the confluence of the Pho (male) and Mo (female) Rivers. From the town of Wangdue, hike through rice terraces and forests to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a spectacularly situated temple with sweeping views of the valley below (B,L,D)
Days 4 & 5 — Phobjikha Valley
In the Phobjikha Valley, learn about the endangered cranes that winter here at the Black-necked Crane Information Center. The next day, visit Gangtey Goemba, one of the oldest Nyingmapa monasteries in Bhutan, perched atop a hill amid a cluster of cottages. Explore the restored temple complex and examine some of the finest craftsmanship in Bhutan. Then take a scenic walk through the valley to an age-old temple and make an offering. Travel to the village of Khewa and visit the farm of a local family for a home-cooked dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Thimphu
Return to Thimpu and head to the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, an arts-and-crafts school where we can watch students practicing traditional arts such as woodworking, painting, and ceramics. Pay a visit to the Buddha Dordenma, an enormous golden statue perched on a mountaintop at the edge of the city. Later, gather for a talk about the country’s Gross National Happiness index. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Haa Valley
Observe pilgrims circling the beautiful National Memorial Chorten, a whitewashed stupa topped by a golden spire. Drive to the Haa Valley, one of the most remote and sacred valleys in Bhutan, via the Cheli La pass (12,500 feet). Visit the Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple) and Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple). (B,L,D)
Days 8 & 9 — Paro
Hike to the Kila Goemba nunnery and take in spectacular views from the temple complex, which was built on a steep cliff face. Visit the seventh-century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest temples, and walk the archery grounds. Return to Paro and explore the ruins of the Drukgyel Dzong fortress, which once defended this valley from invasions. Embark on a vigorous hike to the famed pilgrimage site of Taktsang Lhakhang or the Tiger’s Nest Temple, which clings to a vertical granite cliff nearly 3,000 feet above the valley floor. Take in some of the best views in the region. (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Paro
Depart at any time. Airport transfer is included. (B)
Offered in partnership with G Adventures, our National Geographic Journeys line blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.
Contact Us: 1-800-281-2354
Call to speak with a specialist about this trip.
All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy. If you're traveling on your own, we'll pair you up with a roommate of the same gender so that you can pay the same rate as other travelers. Prices are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.
My Own Room
During your trip, sometimes it's just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That's why we offer the "My Own Room" option - a single room all to yourself.
My Own Room Option: From $1,289
Arrival and departure
transfers, transport between destinations and
to/from included activities, and activities as
listed in the itinerary.
Accommodations Comfortable, mid-range
hotels and lodges that reflect the local character
Meals Included 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches,
Transportation Private vehicle, hiking
You can do whatever you wish during your free time on tour, but if you're in need of suggestions, we've got them. Details about any optional experiences for this trip will be available during the booking process. Please note, these are at an additional cost.