Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is no ordinary place. It is a traveller’s ultimate dream; a Himalayan kingdom replete with myths and legends, where the best of traditional culture thrives and the latest global developments are enthusiastically embraced.
TIME YOUR VISIT
March to May and September to November are peak seasons in Bhutan, coinciding with the best weather and the clearest mountain views. Deep winter (November–March) can be bitterly cold, but there’ll be fewer tourists and savings to be made; the June–August monsoon brings cloudy skies and leeches on mountain trails. October offers peak visibility; rhododendrons paint the landscape in March and April.
ITINERARY One week in Bhutan
- Start in Paro with Paro Dzong, a fabulous fortress that is all whitewashed walls, carved timbers and rattling prayer wheels.
- Trek to Taktshang Goemba (Tiger’s Nest monastery), which seems to defy gravity and reality as it clings to its sheer mountain wall.
- A night in the Phobjikha valley will give you a chance to see Gangte Goemba, a tranquil eyrie overlooking the mountain home of black-necked cranes.
- Next visit Punakha Dzong, famed as Bhutan’s most beautiful fortress, framed by jacaranda trees at the confluence of two sacred rivers.
- Photographers will love the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, an esteemed Thimphu college where gifted Bhutanese youngsters train in the country’s 13 traditional arts.
- Climb to Taktshang Goemba – it’s the one must-see on almost every itinerary, yet your first glimpse of this magnificent monastery, winking through the pines from its precarious mountain vantage point, will more than justify the steep hike up here.
- Catch a tsechu – Bhutan’s fabulous festivals bring the whole population out into the streets in traditional garb. Expect masked dances featuring fearsome deities, mystical music, clowns armed with wooden phalluses and just a little mountain magic.
- Take a spectacular trek – even in Bhutan’s fast-growing capital, mountain trails are just minutes away, offering perfumed air and serene, sublime silence.