The Kingdom of Bhutan is both small and remote, tucked away in the mighty Himalayan mountain range between India and China. Tourism has reached the country only recently and solo independent travel to Bhutan is discouraged so visitors must travel on a pre-arranged Bhutan tour package or group tour. Here at Encounters Travel we have a wealth of facts and information to create the perfect Bhutan travel guide for you and we offer excellent Bhutan group tours and Bhutan tour packages to suit all travellers.
The Kingdom of Bhutan only opened to tourists in 1974 and since then it has enacted a ‘low volume high value’ policy to ensure they can carefully manage the small numbers of visitors on a sustainable basis without compromising and unduly influencing their unique philosophy or traditions. Valuing their ‘gross national happiness’ index over their GDP is just one example of why Bhutan is unlike anywhere else in the world. The Bhutanese name for Bhutan, Druk Yul, translates as ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ and this magical and mysterious Kingdom remains largely unexplored by outsiders. Tourists who do make the effort to go on a Bhutan tour are rewarded with stunning scenery, ancient culture, a welcoming and vibrant people and warm hospitality from the Buddhist people. Colourful prayer flags flutter in the breeze and the traditional woven dress is worn throughout the country.
Here at Encounters our Bhutan group tours run throughout the year, often timed to fit in with some of Bhutan’s famous Tsechus, their important religious festivals. All Bhutan tours start of course in Paro where your first glimpse of Bhutanese architecture – the beautiful airport – sets the scene nicely. The fabulous architecture in and around Paro Dzong is a sight to behold and combines the dual functions of civic and spiritual life. Bhutan is full of beautiful monasteries for culture vultures and the Punakha and Phobjikha Valleys are fantastic places to explore, especially for nature lovers and bird watchers who will enjoy seeing the blood grouse and endangered black neck cranes that migrate here each year.
Often described as ‘otherworldly’, the landscapes of Bhutan are stunningly beautiful. Steep mountain roads wind through dense ancient forests, majestic snowcapped mountains rise above the treetops and terraced fields growing chillis and vegetables are scattered all around. No matter which Bhutan tour package you choose we will always try and visit the huge weekend market in the capital Thimphu which displays crafts and produce from all over the country. Don’t miss the balls of datse (homemade soft cheese)! All Bhutan travel guides will encourage you to visit the iconic Taktshang monastery which is perched on a sheer rock face high above the Paro valley and attracts pilgrims from all over the country. It is a magical place where the only sounds are birdsong and prayers and here at Encounters we include this wonderful historic site on all our Bhutan tours.
Our team will be delighted to put together a full Bhutan travel guide for you and help arrange your travel. It is possible to enter overland from India although most people fly into Bhutan from Delhi, Kathmandu, Bangkok or Singapore with the national airline Druk Air. At least one night in one of these cities is normally required at either end of the tour.