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Handcrafted Bhutan Tour Packages

Visiting Bhutan is like taking a journey into a different reality where temples uncomfortably dangle on the edge of cliffs 4,000 feet in the air, fortresses are built without nails, snow-capped peaks enhance primeval forests and spectacular dances commemorate important actions of the Great Sage.  Images of chilies decorating rooftops, red rice served at every meal, reincarnated lamas blessing passersby, and great sages who transform into lotus blossoms in their next life implore weary sightseers to find rest in their own Shangri La.

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The spirits of Bhutan

From: $1,840
per person

6 days/5 nights Paro - Thimphu - Punakha - Paro

UMA by COMO Bhutan Luxury Experience

From: $4,760
per person

6 days/5 nights Paro - Punakha - Thimphu

Art of the Bhutanese

From: $1,440
per person

4 days/3 nights Thimphu - Paro

Essential Bhutan

From: $3,876
per person

12 Days / 11 Nights Bangkok - Paro - Thimphu - Phobjikha - Punakha

Bhutan at A Glance

From: $2,568
per person

7 Days / 6 Nights Bangkok - Paro - Thimphu - Phobjikha - Punakha

The Razor’s Edge: A Spiritual and Cultural Quest

From: $53,000
per person

111 Days/ 110 Nights

Compact Bhutan

From: $2,021
per person

5 Days / 4 Nights Bangkok - Paro - Thimphu

Testimonials What Travellers Say!

4.9 stars based on 130 reviews

Handcrafted Bhutan Tour Packages
Rating:(4.9 out of 5)
Total votes: 130 (130 reviews)

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“Brilliant holiday to Vietnam - largely thanks to Exotic Voyages” Exotic voyages booked every single part of my trip to Vietnam - internal flights, transfers and private drivers, tours (including tours of Saigon on Vespas and the tunnel tours via speed boat!) with guides and all...
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Helen N London, UK

“We really can’t thank or recommend them high enough.” My mom and I have just returned from a 3 week trip to Myanmar and Vietnam. We had a wonderful time there. Now really want to say thank you to Exotic Voyages, they helped our trip become...
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Ddenise903 Los Angeles, California

“Exotic Voyages Myanmar Tour” We recently completed a 22 day tour of Myanmar organised by Exotic Voyages and can thoroughly recommend them. Although we have travelled extensively in South East Asia (and elsewhere), this was the first time we have used an agent to make our...
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Australianwoman London, UK

I can't thank Exotic Voyages enough for the care and attention they gave to us Exotic Voyages booked every single part of my trip to Vietnam - internal flights, transfers and private drivers, tours (including tours of Saigon on Vespas and the tunnel tours via speed...
Helen Newman

Helen Newman

For Bhutanese, life is all about balance and the belief in Gross National Happiness, which states that the well being of the people is more important than Gross National Product numbers. Besides the fact that Bhutan is the last remaining pocket of pristine life, the government limits – by law – the number of tourists allowed into visit their country making a vacation in Bhutan the most exclusive trip of a lifetime.

People and Culture

The philosophy of the Gross National Happiness described above is part of the Vajrayana Buddhist religion, which exerts the strongest of influences on all aspects of life in Bhutan.  This belief includes the Bhutanese view that protecting the environment is part of their cultural preservation. A law was recently passed which mandates that a minimum of 60% of the nation must remain forested at all times and for all future generations.

When to Go

In spite of attempts to market Bhutan tourism in October, the truth is that any time of year is an excellent choice to visit the place, depending on where you wish to go and what you want to do.

For example, since July and August are both fairly wet months, hiking and biking expeditions are ill advised. November and December, on the other hand, are ideal for photography since the light is softened by winter light and skies are crystal clear – and cold.  If you want to enjoy flowers and fauna, you must plan to go between March and May.  If you would like to see the traditional way of life such as rice harvesting, September and October are your best bets.

But, for the most exciting and memorable experiences, choose one of the many festivals and plan your visit around those.

Tshechus, is a festival celebrating an important event in the life of the second Buddha, Guru Rinpoche who is also known as The Precious Gem.  Even though to the outsider these festivals look like a secular celebration or one that is ancient and performed for tourists, they are not. Each one of these is a sacred religious feast and social gathering sometimes performed by monks only and at other times, performed by monks and specially designated men of the village. For that reason, spectators are welcome but asked to be appropriately respectful of the people.

A chart of all the festivals, their locations and dates for 2017, is included at the end of this article.

Simtokha Dzong – a fortress with the only tower with 12 sides and a large statue of Mahakala, the Buddhist deity that protects the household

Jakar – a tiny “one street town” in Central Bhutan that has plenty of restaurants and small gift shops as well as an Internet Café and espresso bar!

Shopping

Since there is a moratorium on the number of tourists allowed to enter Bhutan each year, shopping districts as are common in other countries are equally as minimal. The products made in Bhutan are primarily for the use of those who live and work there.

Sleeping and Eating

There are plenty of good hotels in Bhutan, namely:

  • Taj Tashi in Samten Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
  • Amankora Lodges – consisting of 5 lodges across Bhutan and the only foreign hotelier in the country
  • Hotel Gangtey Place – Paro, Bhutan
  • Meri Puensum Resort, Woolakha, Punakha, Bhutan
  • Como Uma Paro – Paro, Bhutan **this hotel was once owned by the Uma group and has been recently purchased by Como Hotels

The restaurants at the Amankora Lodges and Como Uma Paro hotels offer some of the best food in all of Bhutan. You will need a reservation for either one and, may have to wait anyway, but it is worth the wait.

Bhutanese food is similar to Chinese, Tibetan and Indian foods with slight differences.  It’s not as oily as Chinese and Indian and less spicy than Tibetan – which doesn’t say a whole lot since Bhutanese cuisine is loaded with red peppers and designed to make you sweat (a good thing for cold climates!)

If you like fresh mushrooms, Bhutan has more than 400 varieties that are identified as safe to eat. There is even a festival dance dedicated to celebrating the Matsutake mushroom.

You’ll definitely want to try the Red Rice of Bhutan which is grown in fields irrigated by glacier waters high in manganese and phosphorus that make it very red when raw.  (It turns a pink color when cooked so don’t be put off by the color.)  Bhutan’s red rice is the ultimate in sticky rice and full of antioxidants!

Momos are likely something you’ve heard of or tried in some other Asian cuisine, but Momo is an authentic and original dish of Bhutan that was transported to China, India, Tibet and Thailand over the years. These are usually eaten as snacks or treats between meals.

Jasha Maroo (Jasha Maru) is a spicy chicken dish made with diced chicken, hot, hot, hot chilies, onion, garlic, coriander and ginger. It’s a soup laden at the end of the cooking time with chicken broth. If you don’t like spicy food, be sure to let your server know this in advance  – or order several portions of yogurt to cool your mouth.

A Country Too Big For One Trip

The actual square mileage of Bhutan may be small but getting around on mountain roads – even those that are paved – takes longer than it would in more cosmopolitan nations.  Once you’ve been to this fantastic country, you’ll want to go back again and again.

Be sure to book well in advance for your second trip.

SN FESTIVAL PLACE 2017
1 TAKIN FESTIVAL Damji, GASA
2 NOMAD FESTIVAL Nagsephel, BUMTHANG
3 Bhutan International Marathon (Annual Event organized by BOC)
4 PUNAKHA DRUBCHEN Punakha Dzong, PUNAKHA 4th – 6th March
5 PUNAKHA TSHECHU Punakha Dzong, PUNAKHA 7th – 9th March
6 THARPALING THONGDROL TharpalingLhakhang, Chummi, BUMTHANG 12th March
7 CHHORTEN KORA Chorten Kora, TRASHIYANGTSHE 11th April & 26th April
8 GOMPHUKORA Gom Kora Lhakhang,TRASHIGANG 4th – 6th April
9 TALO TSHECHU TaloGonpa,PUNAKHA 4th –6th April
10 GASA TSHECHU Gasa Dzong, GASA 3rd – 6th April
11 ZHEMGANG TSHECHU Zhemgang Dzong, ZHEMGANG 4th –7th April
12 PARO TSHECHU Rinpung Dzong, PARO 7th – 11th April
12 Chhukha Tshechu Chhukha Dzong, Chhukha 9th – 11th Apri
13 RHODODENDRON FESTIVAL Lamperi Botanical Garden, Dochula, THIMPHU 14th – 16th April
14 DOMKHAR TSHECHU Domkhar, Chummi, BUMTHANG 5th – 7th May
15 URA YAKCHOE UraLhakhang, BUMTHANG 7th – 10th May
16 NIMALUNG TSHECHU NimalungDratshang, Chummi, BUMTHANG 1st – 3rd July
17 KURJEY TSHECHU KurjeyLhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG 3rd July
18 HAA SUMMER FESTIVAL Town Festival Ground, HAA 5th July
18 Mushroom Festival Genekha, Thimphu 15th –16th August
19 MATSUTAKE MUSHROOM FESTIVAL Ura, BUMTHANG 23rd –24th August
20 TOUR OF THE DRAGON (BICYCLE RACE) Bumthang to Thimphu 2nd September
21 THIMPHU DRUBCHEN TashiChhodzong, THIMPHU 25th – 29th September
22 WANGDUE TSHECHU Tencholing Army Ground, WANGDUEPHODRANG 29th September-2nd October
23 GANGTEY TSHECHU GangteyGonpa, Phobjikha, WANGDUEPHODRANG 3rd–5th October
24 TAMSHING PHALA CHHOEPA TamshingLhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG 29th September – 1st October
25 THIMPHU TSHECHU TashiChhodzong, THIMPHU 30th Sept. – 2nd Oct.
27 Jhomolhari Mountain Festival Jhomolhari 14th –15th October
27 THANGBI MANI TangbiLhakhang, Choekor, BUMTHANG 4th –6th October
29 JAKAR TSHECHU Jakar Dzong, Choekhor, BUMTHANG 29th – 31st October
29 Dechenphu Tshechu DechenphuLhakhang, Thimphu 30th October
30 PEMAGATSHEL TSHECHU Pemagatshel Dzong, PEMAGATSHEL 26th – 28th November
31 JAMBAY LHAKHANG DRUP JambayLhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG 3rd – 7th November
32 PRAKHAR DUCHHOED PrakarLhakhang, Chummi, BUMTHANG 4th – 6th November
33 BLACK NECKED CRANE FESTIVAL GangteyGonpa, Phobjikha, WANGDUEPHODRANG 11th November
34 MONGAR TSHECHU Mongar Dzong, MONGAR 26th – 28th November
35 TRASHIGANG TSHECHU Trashigang Dzong, TRASHIGANG 27th – 29th November
36 JAMBAY LAKHANG SINGYE CHAM JambayLhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG 3rd December
37 NALAKHAR TSHECHU NgaaLhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG 3rd – 5th December
38 DRUK WANGYEL TSHECHU Dochula, Thimphu 13th December
39 TRONGSA TSHECHU Trongsa Dzong, TRONGSA 26th – 28th December
40 LHUENTSE TSHECHU Lhuentse Dzong, LHUENTSE 26th – 28th December
41 NABJI LHAKHANG DRUP NabjiLhakhang, Nabji, TRONGSA 2nd – 4th January 2018

 

Unforgettable Journeys, Carefully Crafted For You