Call us: +44(0)1453 844400Email us: info@mountainkingdoms.com

Worldwide Small Group and Tailor Made Adventure Travel

What’s included

  • An English-speaking Bhutanese leader
  • Flights between Kathmandu and Paro, internal Bhutan flights and domestic transfers
  • Dwarika’s 5* hotel in Kathmandu, bed & breakfast on twin-share basis
  • In Bhutan, good standard hotel accommodation in main towns and best available hotels in outlying towns, on full board, twin-share basis.
  • All road transport by private vehicles
  • Bhutan Visa
  • Bhutan Departure Tax
  • Sightseeing where specified
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK & UK Departure Tax (flight inclusive only)
  • Single, timed group airport transfers for international flights on arrival and departure
  • Carbon offset flights (flight inclusive bookings)
  • A free Mountain Kingdoms Water-to-Go bottle or a Mountain Kingdoms fleece
  • The opportunity to attend one of our pre trip meets in the Cotswolds

Gentle Walking Bhutan Festivals

Walking & Trekking

Bhutan | Walking & Trekking

Gentle Walking Bhutan
Gentle

Suitable for people who enjoy easy-paced walks or exploring the countryside on foot.

Find out more...

Grade: Gentle ? Gentle
Duration:  15 days from the UK  
Walks on: 7, 8 or 9 days
Private Departures Available

Flight inclusive from £3,445,
Land only from £2,695

Book now or call 01453 844400

The best of Bhutan - gentle walks, cultural highlights and comfortable accommodation.

Highlights

  • Explore the cultural highlights of Bhutan including iconic Taktsang Monastery and Punakha Dzong
  • First-rate accommodation in Bhutan using comfortable hotels and lodges
  • Relax at Dwarika’s hotel in Kathmandu – a unique heritage property
  • Excellent and varied programme of gentle walks
  • Join the flamboyant celebrations at a Bhutanese festival

Reviews          

This was a wonderful trip and an experience I will remember for a long time, particularly the climb up to the Tiger's Nest Monastery! We were very lucky to have Tshering as our tour leader, a very experienced guide and a really nice man. Everything went smoothly, thanks to the hard work he put in behind the scenes. Thanks to Mountain Kingdoms for offering such a good trip.
Mrs L T, Oxfordshire

Personally the trip exceeded expectations in terms of accommodation, comfort, food etc and every day was just excellent. Bhutan has been a dream for a long time, and I was just in awe of the scenery, the wonderful people and all the special experiences.
Mrs P, Devon

This trip was well structured to provide a very interesting look at a beautiful country. The balance of culture, hiking and being in nature, culminating in the Paro festival and ascending the Tiger's Nest monastery worked well. The walks were challenging but provided the perfect build up to Tiger's Nest.
Mrs P H, London

A fantastic and memorable experience which exceeded all my expectations, superbly organised with excellent guides and drivers. A holiday of a lifetime, thank you all so very much.
Mr R G, Shropshire

Absolutely perfect introduction to Bhutan with a mix of walks, guided tours of temples and dzongs, and a festival. Hotels were of high standard of comfort. Guide was knowledgeable, personable and really made the trip. Even the driving was a fascinating experience.
Mr R A, Dorset

Bhutan is a magical experience - it surpassed our expectations. Excellent organisation. Superb attention to detail. This is the third time I have travelled with Mountain Kingdoms and every time the trips have been excellent. Mountain Kingdoms are our first choice of company for this type of trip.
Mr & Mrs S, West Sussex

View All

From our many years of experience in Bhutan we have created this outstanding itinerary, our most popular walking holiday with the aim of combining interesting walks, great scenery and comfortable accommodation. We have researched walks to give you the best possible experience, ranging from easy valley walking visiting temples, in effect sightseeing on foot, to more demanding walks offering a bit more of a challenge.

We will visit the main towns of Paro and Thimphu as well as Punakha with its fabulous dzong, and Bumthang, the cultural heart of the kingdom. You will also visit the lovely Gangtey Valley where in the winter months you may see the rare Black-Necked Crane. Finally no holiday to Bhutan would be complete without a visit to iconic Taktsang, the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery, clinging to a cliff.

This is a holiday that will be enjoyed to the full by those who enjoy weekend walks in the British countryside. As well as the main walk, on certain days a gentler or harder walk may also be possible. On certain days it is also possible to opt out of the walk, enabling you to relax in or around your hotel or lodge. There are also exciting road journeys following twisting mountain roads and crossing high passes in your comfortable mini-coach. By its nature this is an adventure with plenty of varied walking in a place that is only just emerging into the 21st Century. 

Each departure takes in a fabulous festival where you can mingle with the locals as they celebrate and socialise - a real highlight of any visit to Bhutan.

Private Departures

Gentle Walking Bhutan Private Departure

Gentle walking Bhutan Private Departure
We can offer a private departure of this Bhutan walking holiday for a minimum of two people sharing. Contact the office for further details or to book your private departure.


Call 01453 844400 or Email us


At a glance

Grade: Gentle
Gentle

Duration:  15 days from the UK  
Walks on: 7, 8 or 9 days

Max. Altitude: Cheli La Pass, 3,990m/13,090ft, Day 12

Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 4 clients

Maximum group size: 12

Land only joining city: Kathmandu

Accommodation types: Hotels

Festival:

The December 2019 departure attends Trongsa Tsechu

The March 2020 departure attends Punakha Tsechu 

The April 2020 departure attends Paro Tsechu

The September 2020 departure attends Thimphu Tsechu

The November 2020 departure attends Black-necked Crane Tsechu

The December 2020 departure attends Trongsa Tsechu

Meal arrangements: Bed and Breakfast in Kathmandu and full board elsewhere.

Itinerary overview
Day Activity
1-3
(This is the itinerary for our Dec 2019 departure. Detailed itineraries for all departures can be downloaded below). Fly to Kathmandu. Fly to Paro.
1-3
Fly to Kathmandu. Fly to Paro. Sightseeing.
4
Walk to Taktsang Monastery and visit Kyichu Lakhang.
5-6
Drive to Thimphu. Sightseeing in Thimphu.
6
Walk to Wangditse Monastery. Drive to Punakha and visit villages.
7
Punakha valley walk. Visit Punakha Dzong and Chimi Lakhang.
8
Drive to Longtey over the Pele La and walk to Gangtey valley.
9
Walk in Gangtey Valley. Drive to Trongsa.
10
Attend Trongsa Tsechu. Drive to Bumthang.
11
Walk to Swan Lakhang and visit temples in valley. Visit Jakar Dzong.
12
Fly to Paro. Drive to Haa over Cheli La with Kila Nunnery visit.
13
Haa Valley walk. Visit Dzong Drakha and return to Paro.
14-15
Fly to Kathmandu. Fly to London.
Leader: Local leader, Bhutan
Local leader, Bhutan

You will have an English speaking Bhutanese guide. Mountain Kingdoms have been working with the same partner in Bhutan since 1986. Their guides are some of the best in the Kingdom. They speak fluent English, as this is taught in all Bhutanese schools, and are fully qualified guides. The Tourism Authority of Bhutan insists that a Bhutanese trek or tour leader must pass his/her guiding exams in Thimphu before accompanying groups of foreign visitors. Guides receive regular ‘top-up’ training and 15 of our regular leaders have completed an extended training course run by Mountain Kingdoms in Bhutan.


  1. Day 1 - Fly London to Kathmandu

    Depart London on your overnight flight to Kathmandu.

    Overnight iconOvernight: In flight
  2. Day 2 - Arrive Kathmandu. Transfer to hotel.

    You will be met and transferred to the luxurious and stylish Dwarika's Hotel which is filled with Nepalese wooden carvings and statues and has a superb restaurant where you can eat in traditional style. It also has a cool, elegant courtyard and a swimming pool. After the long flight from London there's no better place to relax.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Dwarika's Hotel, Kathmandu
  3. Day 3 - Fly to Paro. Sightseeing in Paro as time allows.

    Transfer to the airport for the short flight up to Bhutan. On a clear day the panoramic views of the Himalaya are sensational, including Everest and Kangchenjunga, but particularly exciting is the approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro. Although you are at the mercy of the airline computer, if possible try to sit on the left hand side of the plane for the most spectacular views.

    On arrival you will be met by your guide and driver and driver to your hotel. Depending on your flight schedule you should have time for some sightseeing in the afternoon, perhaps visiting Paro's impressive dzong and the museum set above it. The Paro Valley has had a great strategic importance in the history of Bhutan and was in the past an important staging post on the trade routes with Tibet. Paro Dzong, situated on a rocky outcrop above the Paro Chu and with views down both sides of the valley was historically one of Bhutan's strongest and most strategic fortresses and before the rebuilding of the Tashidodzong in Thimphu it was also the seat of Bhutan's National Assembly.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar, Paro
  4. Day 4 - Walk to Taktsang, 3,110m/10,203ft, 4-5 hours. Visit Kyichu Lakhang.

    Today you will walk up to the famous Tiger's Nest, Taktsang Monastery - a spectacular start to your trip. The monastery is perched some 600m/2,000ft up on a cliff overlooking the valley and was said to be where the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tiger to defeat five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. It's a steep uphill walk through woods, of about 1½-2hrs, to reach a tea house (an ascent of 340m/1,115ft). Apart from offering welcome refreshment this tea house is one of the principle viewpoints of the monastery, and those who prefer not to climb any further can relax here whilst others continue on. If there is a particular religious gathering or VIP visit in progress, you will not be able to enter the monastery itself but in any case a further half an hour's ascent above the tea house is well worth it, as it brings you to a brilliant viewpoint directly across from the monastery. If you are able to make a visit then the final section of the walk from here takes you steeply down approximately 100m/330ft into the gorge that separates you from the monastery and then climbs back up again to reach the monastery gate.
    You will descend back to the valley floor by your outward route to where your vehicle will be waiting. The full walk to the monastery and back involves approximately 740m/2,428ft of ascent.

    Back in the valley you will visit the ancient temple of Kyichu Lakhang. This is one of Bhutan's oldest and most beautiful temples and was one of 108 temples built in the 7th century by Songtsen Gampo an important early Tibetan king, to pin down the Bon demon which was thought to hover over the whole of Tibet. If you didn't have time to visit the dzong and museum yesterday you may do so today.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar, Paro
  5. Day 5 - Drive to Thimphu. Overview of town from Buddha statue. Afternoon sightseeing in Thimphu.

    Today you drive to Thimphu. En route you can stop to visit Tachog Lakhang, a temple built in the 14th century. To reach it you have to walk across one of the ancient bridges built by the famous 'Iron Bridge' builder Thangthong Gyalpo. Thangtong Gyalpo was a great Buddhist master and also a pioneering civil engineer of the 15th century who is said to have built 58 iron chain suspension bridges around Tibet. He is often portrayed holding a section of iron chain in his right hand. This is just a short walk of about 15 minutes and the temple has a wonderful atmosphere of old Bhutan and is a lovely place to visit.

    Thimphu itself has an attractive valley location and is relatively small for a capital city but it has grown greatly in recent years. There are many places of interest to visit there and initially, before checking in at your hotel, you might drive up to the giant Buddha statue to enjoy the splendid views out over the town. After lunch you will have sightseeing in Thimphu. There are many places of interest to visit, including the Tashichhodzong (the main government buildings), the Textile Museum, the Heritage Museum, the late King's Memorial Chorten, the National Library, the School of Painting and the silversmiths and pottery workshops. The Government Handicrafts Emporium is possibly the best place to look for local handicraft. It is interesting to visit the handmade paper workshop to see the paper being made and there are some nice items made from handmade paper for sale there. You could also visit the Post Office to buy some of Bhutan's very attractive stamps, they will even print a valid stamp with your face on it while you wait! They also have good t-shirts on sale.

    While in Thimphu you might also like to visit the 'zoo'. This is in fact a very large enclosure (several acres) just above the town, containing only Takin, the very rare animal found exclusively in Bhutan and parts of China and possibly one of the most quirky and strangest looking animals you will ever see.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Phuntso Pelri Hotel or Similar, Thimphu
  6. Day 6 - Morning walk to Wangditse Monastery. Afternoon drive to Punakha and visit villages.

    This morning you will drive up to Sangaygang next to the Bhutan First Broadcasting Service tower, located in the North West of Thimphu. It is only about a mile drive up to the tower so if you feel like you would like to burn a bit more energy you can always walk up instead. From the tower you will have great views over Thimphu Dzong and the Thimphu valley as you start your walk contouring the beautiful hills to visit Wangditse Gompa. This walk should take around 1.5 hours. You will have time to visit the gompa before you walk down for another 30 minutes to reach Dechen Phodrang Monastery. This Monastery houses around 450 student monks enrolled on an 8 year course. The monastery is also home to some fantastic UNESCO monitored 12th century paintings. You then meet your vehicle and will be driven back to Thimphu.

    After lunch you will drive to Punakha. Leaving Thimphu you climb to cross the Dochu La Pass, 3,048m/10,000ft, a spot marked by 108 chortens. Here, weather permitting you may take in a magnificent mountain vista. On clear days there are fabulous views of the eastern Himalaya from here, but this is a beautiful spot even on misty days. You then drive down through varied forest into the lush Punakha Valley.

    After checking in at your hotel you will drive up to the charming village of Talo (altitude 2,800m). This attractive, well-kept village is well known for its pretty girls! First you will drive up to its fine gompa, built above the village and worth a visit for the spectacular views. After a visit there you walk down through the village and will see traditional village life going on. It's all very pretty - the beautiful farm houses of the village have their own neat flower gardens and corn and vegetables are also grown. There is an air of prosperity and contentment. You come out back onto the road below the village and then you have time to drive to the village of Nobgang, the birthplace of the four girls who in 1979 married King Jigme Singye Wangchuk, the current king's father, to become his four queens. After the king's abdication they became Bhutan's Queen Mothers. The Gompa in Nobgang is sponsored by their family. The two villages of Talo and Nobgang have a longstanding rivalry in archery.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Zhingkham Resort or Similar, Punakha
  7. Day 7 - Valley walk and visit Punakha Dzong. Afternoon visit to Chimi Lakhang.

    Today you will do a lovely walk in the Punakha Valley. You drive further up the valley and start your walk at a pedestrian suspension bridge that crosses the Mo Chu River and follow up through paddy fields to the base of the hill where Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten is sited. The climb to the top is then quite steep but takes only 45 minutes or so. This Chorten was consecrated in December 1999 and contains sacred relics donated from Punakha Dzong. Leaving the grounds of the chorten via a different gate you descend to join a contouring path which ultimately leads you to the small village of Yabesa and you then follow the Mo Chu downstream past Sonagasha, the King's Palace and on to Punakha Dzong.

    The fabulous Punakha Dzong, one of the most spectacular and important in the kingdom, is situated at the confluence of two rivers. In 1994 there was a major flood in the town which caused a lot of damage to the dzong but it has now been beautifully renovated and is a real showcase for Bhutanese craftsmanship and painting. You are normally allowed into the dzong unless there are VIPs visiting.

    In the afternoon you will visit Chimi Lakhang, a temple built by Drukpa Kunley. Known as the 'The Divine Madman', Drukpa Kunley was a 15th Century Bhutanese Lama and is Bhutan's most popular Saint and one of the most important figures in Bhutanese folklore. Despite the apparent conservatism of the Bhutanese people, Drukpa Kunley with his unconventional views on sex is a great favourite throughout the country - the phallus symbols painted on the outside walls of many houses date back to his teachings. Chimi Lakhang is especially popular with women who come here to make offerings and to pray for children. This charming temple is reached by a short walk across the paddy fields and the short excursion takes about 45 minutes each way.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Zhingkham Resort or Similar, Punakha
  8. Day 8 - Drive to Longtey. Walk from Longtey to Gangtey over the Giche La – 3-4 hours.

    After breakfast at the hotel you will drive down the Punakha Valley and up through the town of Wangdi Phodrang. Unfortunately the massive dzong here burnt down in 2012 - a great cultural loss. You then drive up the beautiful wooded valley of the Dang Chu to cross the Pele La Pass at 3,300m/10,827ft. From here there are good views. Descending from the pass you continue down to reach the village of Longtey.

    You alight from your vehicle at the village of Longtey, below the Pele La and your lovely walk to Gangtey starts from here. You drop down from the road on a trail to reach a large meadow where yaks graze in the winter months and then climb the short way to the pretty village of Kipche. Bypassing the village you climb in beautiful oak/rhododendron forest to the Giche Pass at 3,560m/11,680ft. From the pass you will have beautiful views right down to Gangtey Gompa and the wide Phobjika Valley below. Your descent from the pass is steep at first, but gentle as you descend, through the village of Kumbu, all the way to join the road near Gangtey Gompa. This impressive gompa was built in the seventeenth century and is situated on a small hilltop with delightful views over the valley. Your transport will be waiting here and you will drive to your accommodation.

    For those who prefer not to join today's walk, it will be possible to remain with the vehicle and drive straight to your overnight accommodation. Gangtey (or Phobjika as this area is sometimes called) is a beautiful wide, unspoilt glacial valley and is particularly famous as a major wintering ground for Black-necked cranes which arrive here in late October and stay till early spring before heading back to their bredding brounds in Siberia. These birds are particularly respected in local culture and feature in local tradition as 'heavenly birds'. The centre has interesting displays on the ecology of the valley, a small library on Bhutanese wildlife and some telescopes for observing the birdlife.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Gakiling Or Yo Lo Koe Lodge or Similar, Gangtey
  9. Day 9 - Gangtey Valley walk. Drive to Trongsa.

    Today you will doubtless see some of the Black-necked cranes which come to the Gangtey valley in the winter and are usually resident from November to February. They overnight in the marshy meadows below Gangtey village and then fly off in the morning to their feeding grounds, so it worthwhile arranging to go to see them before breakfast, before they fly off for the day. Speak to your guide about an early call and how best to arrange a visit.

    After breakfast you have the chance for a pleasant walk in the valley. In addition to glorious scenery, the valley boasts some wonderful legends surrounding events and places in the valley, including tales about two different types of Yeti, a large one and a small variety, as well as many other interesting legends. A number of different walks are possible and your guide will suggest a suitable one for your group.

    Firstly, it is a short 10-minute drive to reach the Black-necked crane Information Centre. The centre has interesting displays on the ecology of the valley, a small library on Bhutanese wildlife and birds and some telescopes for observing birdlife. From here it is another 10-15 minutes to reach the small hilltop settlement of Gangtey and its impressive gompa, built in the 17th Century. The gompa has been recently beautifully restored and is worth a visit. From the gompa you can follow a network of foot trails and farm tracks down from the hill top and along the valley visiting various small villages and gompas along the way.

    Later, you drive out of the valley and over the Pele La again to continue on to reach the town of Trongsa. You will see Trongsa's splendid Dzong long before you reach it because the road takes you up a long side valley before eventually turning back to Trongsa town. Trongsa has an exceptionally dramatic dzong, the ancestral home of the royal family. Because of its important strategic location this was one of the most important dzongs in the country. Set above the dzong is the Ta Dzong, the watchtower, a lovely old building which has been recently really beautifully renovated and houses an excellent museum with several floors of royal memorabilia and sacred artefacts. The views from the roof are worth the climb.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Yangkhil Resort Or Similar, Trongsa
  10. Day 10 - Attend Trongsa Tsechu and drive to Bumthang.
    gentle walking bhutan paro dzong n sloman 1.

    In the morning you will visit the Trongsa Tsechu (festival). This festival takes place in the winter when there are fewer tourists and has great rustic charm. Bhutanese festivals are welcome opportunities for the Bhutanese to get together, not only to socialise and have fun, but also because the very act of attending a festival is thought to confer merit and wash away sins. Village people from the area gather to participate in the festival and for the singing and dancing. Spectacular dances are performed which are intended to give moral instruction, drive away evil spirits, promote good crops and celebrate the Buddhist faith in its many guises. Watch out for the very jolly clowns who tease onlookers and dancers alike.

    After your morning at the festival you will drive to Bumthang, crossing the Yotong La. The Bumthang region encompasses four major valleys. Jakar town where you will stay for two nights is in the main valley called Chokhor. The other valleys are the Ura Valley which is to the east, Tang valley which is slightly more off the beaten track and the Chumey Valley, the first valley you pass through on your journey to Bumthang from the west. Depending on what time you left Trongsa you may have time to visit a couple of of small temples, Nyimaling Monastery and Prakhar on the way as well as Zugney, an important centre for weaving which is such an integral part of Bhutanese craftsmanship and culture. It is said that every home in Bhutan is equipped with a loom and that young girls become proficient in weaving before the age of 20. Finally you arrive at Jakar town, which lies in a pretty steep-sided valley overlooked by a distinctive dzong, the so called 'Castle of the White Bird', named after a bird that was said to have indicated the most auspicious place to build. You will drive to your hotel to check in.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Ugyenling Hotel Or Similar, Jakar
  11. Day 11 - Walk to Swan Lakhang. Afternoon valley walk to various temples.

    In the morning you will visit Ngang Lakhang, known as Swan Lakhang. First you drive the short distance to arrive at a long mani wall in Tangbi. You descend to cross the river by a suspension bridge and then have a pleasant walk of about 3 hours, up the river valley through forest and meadows to reach Ngang Lakhang, also known as 'Swan Temple'. This temple has an illustrious history. Guru Rimpoche is said to have visited here and the present temple, built in the 15th century is said to be named after swans supposedly seen on a nearby lake by the temple's founder, a Tibetan lama named Namkha Samdrup. After your visit to the temple you descend to cross the river to a road and will meet your vehicle to drive back to Jakar.

    In the afternoon you can make a short, almost entirely level walk taking in some of the principle sights of the valley. From the hotel you either walk or drive the short way to reach Jambay Lakhang. This is one of the country's oldest temples, built in the mid-7th Century. One interesting feature to look for is the set of three steps in the main temple. The first step, now hidden below floor level, is said to represent the time of the past or 'historical' Buddha. The second, very well worn, step represents the present Buddha, whilst the third step above, is said to represent the age of the future Buddha. The point at which the second step is worn down to ground level is held to be the time when the world as we currently know it will end.

    From Jambay you take a farm track along the valley floor and walk for 30 minutes to reach Kurjey Lakhang, a series of three large temples. The oldest of the temples here houses a rock indented with the body shape of Guru Rinpoche, whilst the most recent dates back just 25 years and was built by the Queen Mother - Ashi Kesang Wangchuck. Descending from the temples you cross a suspension bridge and walk downstream for 45 minutes to Tamshing Lakhang: the most important Nyingma gompa in the Kingdom, established in 1501 by Pemalingpa. Inside you can see a suit of chain-mail armour, which Buddhists believe will bring good fortune if worn and then walked around the inner temple three times. Your transport will meet you outside the gompa and return you to your hotel, with perhaps a stop in Jakhar town-ship or a visit to spectacular Jakar Dzong.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Ugyenling Hotel Or Similar, Jakar
  12. Day 12 - Fly to Paro. Drive over the the Cheli La, 3,990m/13,090ft, to Haa.
    gentle walking bhutan taktsang monastery paro skb.

    This morning you will fly back to Paro and then you drive over the Cheli La Pass to Haa. The drive to the pass takes about 1½ hrs and on the way you will pay a visit to Kila Gompa nunnery a walk of around 30 - 40 minutes. The Gompa is a peaceful retreat for Buddhist nuns who dedicate their lives to spiritual fulfilment. Here the nuns, live a life of contemplation and seclusion, with daily prayer and spiritual practice. The temple itself is surrounded by numerous meditation huts, and many hidden caves lie inside the rocky cliffs. The gompa is surrounded by a lush forest dominated by tall firs. Sparkling mountain streams wind down the slopes, which are covered with a variety of wildflowers and plants. About 30 nuns live here, ranging in age from about 20 to 80 years. The community is one of the oldest of seven nunneries in Bhutan, and was initially established in the early 9th century as a meditation site. After being destroyed by fire, the temple was rebuilt and officially established in 1986.

    Continuing up to the Cheli La pass, 3,990m/13,090ft, in clear weather you will have wonderful views of the snow-capped mountains to the west which mark the border with Tibet. You then descend on a long zig-zag road down into the Haa Valley. As you approach you will notice three almost identical conical hills in a line on the other side of the valley. These are believed by the locals to be the physical manifestations of three very important Buddhist saints. The left one is Manjushri (the god who holds the flaming sword which cuts the knot of ignorance), the middle one is Chenrizig (the Buddha of compassion of which the Dalai Lama is the human incarnation) and the right hand hill is Chana Dorji (this being the protector god of Bhutan). Collectively they are known as Rigsum (three hills). As you descend further you look down on the square yellow roof of the main monastery/fortress, Namgay Dzong. Spread around the dzong are the buildings of the Indian Army dating from the visit of President Nehru - the Indian army has a presence in Bhutan ostensibly to protect the kingdom from possible invasion from China. Although part of the dzong is used by the Indian Army the central tower of the Dzong is still used by the local people.

    The old town itself is just to the north-west and is really quite attractive with traditional two storey shops and a post office. There is a large school in Haa. Time permitting, you may be able to explore the town in the afternoon.

    (If the flight to Paro is cancelled you will drive back to Paro over the next two days).

    Overnight iconOvernight: Lechuna Heritage Lodge or Similar, Haa
  13. Day 13 - Explore Haa Valley. Return to Paro.

    This morning you will further explore the Haa valley with some local walks before reversing yesterday's drive and returning to Paro over the Cheli La stopping at the temple of Dzong Drakha, a beautiful cliff temple spectacularly located on a broad ledge with vertical limestone cliff above and below There are lovely views from here. You will then drop back down into Paro.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar, Paro
  14. Day 14 - Fly to Kathmandu.

    Again, a sensational take-off and scenic Himalayan flight past Chomolhari, Bhutan's second highest peak, past Kangchenjunga and Everest back to Kathmandu, where you transfer to the Dwarika's Hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure for sightseeing and shopping.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Dwarika's Hotel, Kathmandu
  15. Day 15 - Depart Kathmandu.

    After breakfast you will transfer to the airport for your international flight to London.

Map

Map Key

  • AirportAirport
  • General point of interestPoint of interest
  • Mountain RangeMountain Peak
  • TrekDay walk in this area
  • FlightsFlights
  • Internal TransfersInternal Transfers
  • Trek routeTrek

2019

Dates Availability Land Only Flight Inclusive from
Sun 29 Dec - Sun 12 Jan 2020 ! Available

Available

This departure attends the Trongsa Festival
£2695 Book£3445 Book

2020

Dates Availability Land Only Flight Inclusive from
Sun 1 Mar - Mon 16 Mar 2020 ! Available

Available

This departure attends the Punakha Festival
£3195 Book£3845 Book
Sat 4 Apr - Sun 19 Apr 2020 ! Available

Available

This departure attends the Paro Festival
£3195 Book£4145 Book
Fri 25 Sep - Sat 10 Oct 2020 ! Available

Available

This departure attends the Thimphu Festival
£3295 Book£4045 Book
Thu 5 Nov - Fri 20 Nov 2020 ! Available

Available

This departure attends the Black-necked Crane Festival
£3295 Book£4095 Book
Sat 5 Dec - Sun 20 Dec 2020 ! Available

Available

This departure attends the Trongsa Festival
£3295 Book£4195 Book

Hold your place

Not quite ready to book? Why not call us on 0044 (0)1453 844400 to hold a no obligation place while you make up your mind?

 
Optional supplements
  • Single room supplement
    From £555
  • Single Room Supplement
    From £575
Insurance
  • Cover starts from £134
No Surcharge Guarantee

No surcharges will be applied to your holiday after you book. Prices on this website are updated regularly. The Flight Inclusive holiday price, or Land Only holiday price, will be confirmed to you at the time you make your booking. There will be no surcharges after your booking has been confirmed.

Flight inclusive holidays

The 'flight inclusive' holiday prices shown on this website are based upon our preferred airlines and the best priced economy class fares we are able to secure at the time of publication.

We will be able to advise on fares with alternative airlines, upgrades to Business Class, and the options for flights from regional UK airports, please contact us for more details.

What’s included

  • An English-speaking Bhutanese leader
  • Flights between Kathmandu and Paro, internal Bhutan flights and domestic transfers
  • Dwarika’s 5* hotel in Kathmandu, bed & breakfast on twin-share basis
  • In Bhutan, good standard hotel accommodation in main towns and best available hotels in outlying towns, on full board, twin-share basis.
  • All road transport by private vehicles
  • Bhutan Visa
  • Bhutan Departure Tax
  • Sightseeing where specified
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK & UK Departure Tax (flight inclusive only)
  • Single, timed group airport transfers for international flights on arrival and departure
  • Carbon offset flights (flight inclusive bookings)
  • A free Mountain Kingdoms Water-to-Go bottle or a Mountain Kingdoms fleece
  • The opportunity to attend one of our pre trip meets in the Cotswolds

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fees for Nepal
  • Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu
  • Optional trips
  • Tips


Review your holiday

Reviews

Read holiday reviews by Mountain Kingdoms travellers.

Overall score:           (Based on 27 reviews)

What a treat Bhutan is!          

Bhutan is as friendly, colourful and quirky as we had hoped it may be, but with better infrastructure than we had dared hope. Some lovely walks in valleys and over ridges with far reaching views of the Himalaya. We stayed in some charming traditional houses, ate some good food, and enjoyed the company of an entertaining group, all aided by the expert leadership by our guide Bhim, and outstanding driver Ugyen who made everything run so easily, giving us lots of local insights and stories, as well as some top souvenir tips!

Gentle Walking Bhutan          

I think the ‘gentle’ part of your title could be reviewed! Either Gentle Trekking or Mountain Walks might give a better hint of the fairly strenuous days. Your altitude guide could perhaps be emphasised - though none of these comments detract from our huge enjoyment of an amazing and greatly enjoyed adventure.

A wonderful experience!          

This was a wonderful trip and an experience I will remember for a long time, particularly the climb up to the Tiger's Nest Monastery! We were very lucky to have Tshering as our tour leader, a very experienced guide and a really nice man. Everything went smoothly, thanks to the hard work he put in behind the scenes. Thanks to Mountain Kingdoms for offering such a good trip.

Bhutan, an experience!          

When you say that you are going to Bhutan, most people say, "Where's that?" but honestly what a place! Starting with a night at the Dwarika's Hotel in Kathmandu which was an oasis in the chaos of Kathmandu and on to Paro in Bhutan. From the moment you drive out of the airport you know that you are somewhere different, soaring mountain scenery and crashing rivers in the valleys. Most of the people you see and meet are in National costume and are very friendly. The local festivals are brilliant brightly coloured events for the locals to put on their Sunday best. Travelling high across mountain passes on roads (well almost) you would not believe, the skill and patients of the driver was incredible! The Dzongs and Temples are fascinating structures, but some such as 'Tiger's Nest' do take a bit of hiking uphill to get there, but it is worth it when you are there. If you are looking to go somewhere different, this is definitely the place to go, but hurry it won't stay this way forever!

Gentle Walking Bhutan          

Group size just right. A good mix of ages. The trip ran smoothly as far as meals were concerned everywhere, prompt and efficient.


Extend your holiday

Bumdra Trek Extension, Bhutan

Bumdra Trek Extension, Bhutan
  • A two-day trek that can be added to the end of your holiday in Bhutan
  • Camp beneath Bumdra Monastery in a beautiful, scenic spot
  • Enjoy views of the High Himalayan mountains
  • Trek to Taktsang Monastery on a path that few others take
  • Full service camping experience experience with porterage

More Details

If you would like to experience a night under canvas in the mountains of Bhutan this short, two-day trek is the perfect opportunity. Setting out from the Paro Valley you walk up 900m to a beautiful, scenic spot by Bumdra Monastery with wonderful views across the high Himalaya. Here you camp for the night before a leisurely descent the following morning to reach iconic Takstsang Monastery - enjoying a vantage point that very few others get to see.


The Pavilions Himalayas, Nepal

The Pavilions Himalayas, Nepal
  • Spend two or more tranquil nights in rural Pokhara
  • Sample the organic and locally sourced Nepali cuisine
  • Idyllic setting with mountain views
  • The resorts offers a swimming pool, spa and gym
  • Eco-friendly

More Details

We are delighted to offer this new luxury stay in a rural location just outside Pokhara.  We are sure this is set to become a favourite with our clients.

The Pavilions Himalayas is a luxury resort set in beautiful farmland amid paddy fields in a tranquil rural location approximately 5km outside Pokhara. There are dramatic mountain views from the resort as well as Pokhara’s famous Peace Pagoda seen on top of a nearby ridge.

The beautiful rooms are set in individual villas and are large and comfortable, all having whirlpool baths, separate rain shower cubicles, enormous beds and offering wonderful hand made soaps and shampoos made with herbs from their garden.

All facilities at the resort are top of the range and include a lovely swimming pool and spa.  From the resort it is just a short drive to explore Pokhara or there are pleasant walks from the hotel or you can just chill at the resort, have a massage and enjoy the facilities.


Kathmandu Valley sightseeing, Nepal

Kathmandu Valley sightseeing, Nepal
  • 8203;Visit the ancient cities of Bhaktapur, Patan, Kathmandu and Timi with their stunning art and architecture
  • Observe traditional crafts such as pottery, woodcarving and thangka painting
  • Choose from a selection of full and half day guided tours
  • Travel in a private car with a driver and an English-speaking guide

More Details

The Kathmandu Valley has a long and rich history and a vibrant culture and there is much that is worthwhile to see there - crowded bazaars, ancient temples, Buddhist stupas, crumbling shrines and picturesque palaces. The Malla kings who ruled in the valley created three major cities in the valley, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan and each of these cities has buildings that are showpieces for the art and architecture of local Newari craftsmen. We offer a selection of half day trips and full day trips to these sites the valley.


Koshi Tappu, Nepal

Koshi Tappu, Nepal
  • Koshi Tappu is home to over 500 species of birds
  • Look out for exciting wildlife like jungle cats, crocodiles and rare water buffalo
  • Explore the park by foot, raft and jeep
  • Stay in the pleasantly located Koshi Camp

More Details

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is one of the finest birdwatching and wildlife areas in all Asia. Located in south-east Nepal, the reserve covers 175 square kilometres with large expanses of open water created by the Koshi barrage, with marshes, lagoons, sandbanks and mudflats offering an outstanding wetland habitat. The reserve is home to over 500 species of birds, with the resident inhabitants being joined by large numbers of migratory species from Siberia and Tibet, which take up residence from November to February. The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve provides one of the best places in Nepal to view migratory water fowl, waders and shore birds with many species seen here which are not recorded elsewhere in the region.

There is also much wildlife to be seen in Koshi Tappu including blue bull, golden jackal, Bengal fox, fishing cat, jungle cat, mongoose, civet cat, porcupine, Indian flying foxes and rare Gangetic dolphins as well as rare Marsh Mugger crocodiles.  In addition, Koshi Tappu is the last habitat of the endangered Arna, a type of wild water buffalo.

During your visit you will explore the park with bird and animal spotting from a raft trip on the Koshi River, birdwatching walks, jungle walks and jeep trips. You will also have the opportunity to visit a family in one of the very interesting nearby local villages for a taste of rural Nepalese life. The Koshi Camp offers simple but comfortable accommodation and an expert staff of naturalists and birdwatchers to give you a comprehensive introduction to this wonderful area.


Dwarika’s Resort Dhulikhel, Nepal
  • Relax in luxuriously furnished accommodation with stunning Himalayan views
  • Relax and rejuvenate in the top of the range spa
  • Take a dip in the refreshing infinity pool
  • Enjoy locally sourced organic food at the resort's restaurant

More Details

Dwarika’s Resort is a charming hotel located just an hour’s drive from Kathmandu city and set on a ridge above the town of Dhulikhel. At an altitude of 1,700m/5,600ft and enjoying panoramic views of the mountains, Dwarika’s Resort is the perfect way to relax and feel revitalised and rejuvenated. The resort promises ‘a Himalayan approach to well-being in rustic luxury.’

Built in Dwarika’s own inimitable style the resort offers a relaxing atmosphere of complete harmony in the tradition of ancient Buddhist and Hindu beliefs. The rooms are spacious and luxurious and are set in lovely gardens with inspiring mountain views. Facilities include an infinity pool overlooking beautiful countryside, top of the range spa facilities, a fitness centre, a Chakra sound therapy centre and a Himalayan salt room and meditation room all inspired by a blend of Vedic Philosophy and Buddhist Medicine.

The resort offers an impressive range of ayurvedic treatments as well as yoga and meditation and classes. Its wonderful restaurants offer delicious food, sourced locally and from Dwarika’s own organic farm, with delicious menus carefully created to complement Dwarika’s philosophy and treatments. Other activities include lovely walks to visit their farm or to explore the surrounding area and visit traditional villages such as the legendary Namobuddha Monastery or the Newari village of Panauti, to experience the simple joys of Nepalese rural life.


Bhutan Hotel Upgrades
  • Upgrade your accommodation for your trip in Bhutan.
  • Choose from boutique and spa hotels in various destinations.
  • Stay in luxurious properties with first rate service and facilities
  • Enjoy fine dining and indulgent rooms

More Details

For our brochure trips to Bhutan we offer good standard tourist hotels and lodges, however, Bhutan also offers some lovely boutique and spa hotels which we are pleased to offer as upgrades on your trip. We offer a range of properties in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and other towns all of which provide excellent facilities and service as well as attractive locations.


Tibet Extension
  • Visit some of Tibet's most important historical and cultural sites and monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Offers a scenery completely different to that of Bhutan and Nepal.
  • Suitable to add to any holiday flying in/out of Kathmandu.

More Details

​A visit to Tibet offers an exciting extension to a visit to Nepal or Bhutan. Regular flights to Lhasa from Kathmandu make it possible to visit most of the major sights in and around Lhasa on an 8 day itinerary and a visit to Tibet will provide an exhilarating contrast to your trek or tour in Nepal or Bhutan. Tibet’s high plateau offers totally different and starker scenery to that of the other Himalayan countries. Here you will see some of the most important historical and cultural sites and monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism – the Potala Palace and Samye, Ganden and Drepung Monasteries.

If taking this extension you will need to spend an extra day beforehand in Kathmandu while our agents there process your Tibet visa. They will need your passport for the day for this purpose. You need to let us know in good time if you wish to take this extension as we need to put this process in hand and send your details to the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu well before your departure date.


Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge - Extension

Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge - Extension
  • Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara in the Annapurna range of Nepal
  • The lodge is an ideal base for you to relax in a rural mountain setting
  • Beautiful outdoor swimming pool reflecting view of the Annapurna range
  • Delicious Nepali dishes & continental specialities made from local fresh ingredients, home-grown herbs & garden salads

More Details

Why not extend your adventure in Nepal by visiting the beautiful Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge. Tiger Mountain Pokhara lodge is a lovely place, situated on a ridge half an hour outside Pokhara and enjoying the most stunning mountain views over the Annapurna range of mountains.

The lodge is an ideal base for you to relax in a rural mountain setting, away from the bustle of town. With a central lodge, bar and dining room, the comfortable rooms are arranged in clusters of cottages resembling a Nepali village. All have attached bathrooms, private verandas and Himalayan views. Daily menus feature a range of Nepali dishes as well as continental specialities made from local fresh ingredients and home-grown herbs and garden salads. You may enjoy lovely walks through the forests and villages of the lovely countryside surrounding the lodge, escorted by trained local guides. The beautiful swimming pool reflects the distant white peaks of the Annapurna range. The lodge also offers a range of Ayurvedic and shiatsu therapy and yoga and meditation sessions are also available (at additional cost). You may also venture further afield to visit Pokhara, Nepal’s second city located on a lovely lake and also enjoying spectacular views.


Everest Flight - extension

Everest Flight - extension
  • Fly within five nautical miles of Everest
  • As well as Everest, see views of other 8,000m giants; Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Cho Oyu and Lhotse
  • Flights operate in the early morning, when weather conditions are at their best.

More Details

While in Kathmandu, why not experience the spectacular sight of Mount Everest? Instead of trekking into the region to gain a good view of this must-see landmark you could see it in under an hour! We fly with either Buddha Air or Mountain Air who both operate modern Raytheon Beechcraft 1900 aircraft. These hold between 16 and 18 people and as the seating is only two abreast everyone is guaranteed a window seat. The excursion includes hotel transfers, a celebratory glass of bubbly and a certificate signed by your captain after you land.


Chitwan National Park extension

Chitwan National Park extension
  • Activities include; bird watching, elephant washing, canoe ride, elephant experience, landrover safari and jungle walks
  • Choice of accommodation from budget to luxury
  • Suitable to add to any holiday flying in/out of Kathmandu

More Details

Why not extend your adventure in Nepal by visiting Nepal’s jungle region for a complete contrast to the high mountains and the Kathmandu Valley. Chitwan is home to a rich and varied wildlife. Here are found wild elephant, rhinos, leopard, sambar, chital (spotted) deer, wild boar and
arguably the most magnificent of cats, the Royal Bengal Tiger. You may even see sloth bear, gaur (wild cattle) and crocodiles. Chitwan is also wonderful for birdlife especially in the spring, when the jungle rings day and night to the calls of several kinds of Asian cuckoo.


Bardia National Park extension

Bardia National Park extension
  • Jungle activities including an elephant experience, bird watching, rafting and nature walks
  • See wild elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, deer, wild boar and if you are lucky, the famous Royal Bengal Tiger
  • Stay at the delightful Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge situated on the edge of the park

More Details

After your adventurous time in the Himalaya why not add a relaxing Jungle Safari to your trip?
The Royal Bardia National Park is situated in the west of Nepal. We use Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge, which is acknowledged to be the best lodge in the area. Bardia’s remote geographic location and the fact that the lodge has only 12 rooms, lends a degree of exclusivity to the experience, in comparison to other more popular parks. From the lodge you will be able to participate in safaris and have the chance of seeing some of the country’s wonderful wildlife, for instance, wild elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, deer, wild boar and if you are lucky, the famous Royal Bengal Tiger. There is also the possibility of visiting the villages of the Tharu tribal people that surround the lodge. With its abundant wildlife, relaxing lodge and first class service, our Bardia extension is an experience you will savour!


Shivapuri Heights Cottage extension
  • Escape the crowds and hustle and bustle of Kathmandu
  • Walks available from the cottage - explore the nearby countryside
  • Single and double rooms available, or exclusive hire of the entire cottage
  • Breakfast and dinner included, plus unlimited tea and coffee

More Details

While in Kathmandu, why not experience an exclusive, private, home away from home? Shivapuri Heights Cottage is a “home-stay-style” property that offers a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the City. It is located in 2 acres of land at an altitude of 6,000ft /1,830m on the edge of the protected Shivapuri Reserve, with beautiful views looking down into the Kathmandu Valley.


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