The Kingdom of Bhutan is nestled high in the Himalayas between China and India. Its storied history, unique culture and pristine environment are inextricably linked, and make it one of the few destinations left on Earth where people and nature exist in harmony. Come and join us on a journey to happiness with unprecedented access to the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan!
Travel Beyond the Ordinary
October 2 through October 8, 2022
TravelingMom has partnered with MyBhutan for this unique and special opportunity. MyBhutan was co-founded by childhood friends His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck and Matthew DeSantis to allow a select group of guests to explore deeper into Bhutan.
HRH Prince Jigyel and Matthew met at boarding school in the United States. They bonded over a shared passion for the outdoors, sports, international politics, philosophy and social causes. Later, Matthew moved permanently to Bhutan to support the Kingdom’s national development priorities. Like many good things that happen in life, MyBhutan formed naturally and quite unintentionally to provide experiences that were close to the heart of the nation. His Royal Highness and Matthew have always had this shared deep-seated commitment to local development and sustainability.
Spirituality and the strong rooted Bhutanese culture can be found in almost everything the Bhutanese people do on a daily basis, including how they eat, how they work, and how they relate with the natural environment. They have immense love and respect for their King, their country, their people, and other beings. Due to the strong belief in Rebirth and Karma, Bhutanese people are usually contended, peace loving, non-violent, and amiable.
Day 01: Paro & Thimphu
Day 02: Thimphu & Punakha
Day 03: Punakha & Thimphu
Day 04: Thimphu & Haa
Day 05: Paro
Day 06: Paro
Day 07: Departure from Paro
DAY 01: Paro & Thimphu
- Arrive at Paro International Airport
- National Museum of Bhutan
- Drive to Thimphu (one hour)
- Astrology Reading with the monks
- Kira Shopping (optional)
- Dinner with Dasho Tshering Dorji, Gross National Happiness expert
- Spend the evening at Norkhil Boutique Hotel & Spa in Thimphu, a recently-opened hotel whose decor takes inspiration from Bhutanese textiles.
Today we’ll arrive at Paro International Airport and enjoy an excursion to the National Museum of Bhutan before making our way to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan (about a 1 hour drive.) Once in town, we’ll take time to immerse in Bhutanese culture by having an astrology reading with a Lama who will help us understand how Bhutan’s traditional Bonism beliefs led to its unique approach to astrology. After the reading, we’ll do some (optional) shopping for a kira (traditional Bhutanese dress for women), which will be worn the day of the Paro Tsechu. We’ll conclude the day with dinner and a conversation with Dasho Tshering Dorji, a notable nation builder of Bhutan and expert on the country’s policy of Gross National Happiness.
Tshering Dorji was elected as a Member of Parliament in the National Council for the last two terms and served as the Deputy Chairperson of the National Council in his last term. Prior to his election in the Parliament, he was a Lecturer at Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan.
DAY 02: Thimphu & Punakha
- Friendly Game of Baseball with Local Kids
- Cooking Lesson with Aum Kesang
- Drive to Punakha (two hours), the former capital of Bhutan
- Visit Dochula Pass & 108 Chortens (memorial stupas) and Meditation Caves
- Chimi Lhakhang Monastery Hike (one-hour, easy)
- Spend the evening at Dhumra Farm Resort in Punakha
Baseball is new to Bhutan, introduced in 2013 by MyBhutan founder, Matt, and it’s a huge hit! After breakfast we’ll participate in a casual, friendly game of baseball with some of the young players from Bhutan’s baseball league. After the game, we’ll head to Aum Kesang’s personal home to learn how to cook some of Bhutan’s traditional foods and why their ingredients are so good for our health.
“Aum” is a phrase that indicates respect towards a woman of seniority in Bhutanese culture, similar to “Madam” in English.
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Lt. Colonel Kesang Choedon (Retd.) served the Royal Bhutan Police for 23 years as one of the first two women Police officers in Bhutan before her passion for Bhutanese food and desire to promote the local food culture empowered her to make a difference. A self-taught chef with decades of experience, she now specializes in Bhutanese cuisine and food culture.
With a unique food culture unlike anywhere else, Bhutanese cuisine offers a variety of choices and a very unique taste. Restaurants and farm homes serve locally sourced organic farm produce, making every meal a fresh and healthy one (Bhutan has committed to being the first nation in the world to go 100% organic).
After lunch, we’ll drive to Punakha, which was the capital of Bhutan until 1955. On the way we will stop at Dochula Pass, where we will enjoy striking views of the Himalayan vista. While there, we’ll explore meditation caves that are significant to the presence of a certain deity. In Punakha, we hike to the Chimi Lhakhang monastery and enjoy stories of the Divine Madman.
Day 03: Punakha & Thimphu
- Khamsum Yuelley Monastery hike (one-hour, easy)
- Punakha Mochhu River Rafting
- Punakha Dzong
- Longest Suspension Bridge Walk
- Lunch at Happiness Field Village Homestay with Aum Karma, a passionate designer and traditional dye expert of Bhutanese textiles
- Learn Traditional Dyeing
- Attend Wangdue Tsechu Festival
- Drive to Thimphu (two hours)
- Dinner and conversation with Dungtsho, an herbal medicine doctor
- Spend the night at Peaceful Resort, located in the hilly suburbs of Thimphu
Today we visit the Khamsum Yuelley Lhakhang, a monastery built in dedication to the 5th King (Bhutan’s current King.), to protect the country from evil forces and for the welfare of sentient beings. Next is a gentle rafting tour of the Mo Chhu River. Next, we visit Punakha Dzong, one of Bhutan’s many ancient fortresses (dzongs) and where the current King & Queen held their wedding ceremony. On the other side of Bhutan’s longest suspension bridge, we will meet Aum Karma and her family at their ancestral farm home. Aum Karma won the Seal of Excellence for her handcrafted products and she designed the Royal Gho for the King’s Coronation. She is also known for her cooking some of the best local dishes found in Bhutan.
Aum Karma will prepare a homemade lunch for us and then share the traditional natural dyeing process of textiles, which she does from her home.
The Wangdu Tsechu is a religious festival highlighted by dances performed by both monks and laypeople to commemorate Guru Padamasambhava, known for introducing Buddhism in Bhutan. To the Bhutanese, who crowd into the festival ground, dressed in their finest kiras and ghos, a tscheu confers blessings and spiritual protection to those in attendance.
Later we drive to Thimphu, where we will meet and enjoy dinner with Dungtsho, an herbal medicine doctor.
Day 04: Thimphu & Haa
- Private Yoga Session
- Attend Thimphu Tsechu, one of the largest festivals in Bhutan
- Drive to Haa Valley (two hours), a district in western Bhutan that only opened to visitors in 2002.
- Chelela Pass, highest motorway in Bhutan
- Lunch at Local Home
- Traditional Hot Stone Bath
- Arrive at the Himalayan Base Camp (beyond military checkpoint)
- Bonfire with Sacred Song & Dance Ceremony at Camp
- Dinner at Camp
- Spend evening at Camp
After a relaxing and rejuvenating yoga session in the morning, we will enjoy the Thimphu Tshechu where many dances, including mask dances, are performed. The Bhutanese spend the days and nights before this Tshechu in prayer and rituals to invoke the gods.
Afterward, we leave for Haa Valley. On the way, we cross over Chelela Pass which is the highest motorway in Bhutan. Lunch in Haa is at a local home and includes a traditional hot stone bath. Afterwards, we settle into our glampsite and end the day with a sacred song and dance ceremony that tells some of the many stories about Bhutan’s people and way of life.
Bhutan is the only carbon negative country in the world, and the Bhutanese are dedicated to keeping it that way. The Himalayan Base Camp is luxurious, fully solar-powered and keeps an environmentally-friendly waste policies to reduce or completely eliminate waste from the site. The Himalayan Base Camp was made with design-forward textiles made by hand in Bhutan.
DAY 05: Paro
- Drive to Paro (two hours)
- Relax and shopping
- Visit the Rinpung Dzong monastery and fortress
- Herbal Treatment at Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary
- Stay at either Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary (additional fees apply) or Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa, located on a forested hilltop just outside Paro with views of the Jumolhari mountain from almost every room
DAY 06: Paro
- Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery (moderate), Bhutan’s most iconic building.
- Enter Caves & Meditate at Monastery
- Tiger’s Nest Picnic Lunch
- Stay at either Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary (additional fees apply) or Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa.
Today we hike to the sacred Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang) monastery in Paro in search of the cave where Guru Rinpoche (the founder of the monastery) meditated. After a picnic lunch we receive a traditional medicine consultation and herbal treatment at the Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary.
Day 07: Paro
Depart via Paro International Airport. Departures to Laya.
Tour Pricing…………..$4,950** (does not include airfare or airport xfrs). Single supplement…+$1,300.
Contact: Kim Orlando at [email protected] or (203) 912-9099 with any questions and to register. Space is limited to 10 guests.
TravelingMom and MyBhutan will provide visa protocols as soon as that info is available.
There are no direct flights from the US or Europe to Bhutan. We recommend flying to Delhi or Bangkok and connecting from there. It is best to arrive at the gate for the flight to Bhutan at least 3 hours before departure. Flights to Bhutan are available 1-2 times per day. They usually depart in the morning. MyBhutan is happy to help arrange all or part of the flight itinerary for you at no additional cost than the rate published on the airline’s website. If arranged through MyBhutan, they will also provide dedicated support if the flight experiences any delays or cancellations. We can also arrange a hotel night stay should you prefer to arrive into Delhi or Bangkok a day early.
- All activites described in the above itinerary
- Private local guide, professional driver, and touring van
- Airport transfers in Bhutan
- Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
- Sustainable development fee (helps to support social and environmental wellness in Bhutan)
- Flight booking assistance
- Bhutan’s constitution requires that over 60% of its land always remain forested. You will be gifted a tree sapling to plant in the place that is most special to you during your time in the Kingdom.
Cost does not include:
- Airport transfers in connecting country cities (i.e., Bangkok, Delhi, etc.)
- Travel Insurance
- Items of personal nature
**CLICK HERE FOR TRAVELINGMOM BHUTAN TOUR CANCELLATION POLICY
What to pack for Bhutan
- Visa Clearance Letter
- Airline Ticket(s)
One of Each:
- Walking Shoes (review our list of best travel shoes here)
- Rain Jacket
- Sun Hat/Cap
- Camera & Camera Accessories
- Fleece Jacket
Enough to Last the Trip:
- Long Sleeved Shirts
One of Each:
Enough to Last the Trip:
- Base Layer
- Insulation Layer
- Wind Jacket
- Trekking/Hiking Pants
- Trekking/Hiking Socks
- Rain Clothing
- Trekking/Hiking Gloves
We love shopping for these items from REI.com. They have some great deals on quality products for adventure wear.
… and your sense of Adventure!