Venture to the remote kingdom of Bhutan to discover Himalayan villages, historic monasteries and dzongs, and a rich culture that has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.

Request a Tailor-Made Itinerary Request Quote or Ask Us A Question or Call 855-215-8690
 Tiger's Nest Monastery, Bhutan  Cliff-side Taktsang Monastery with prayer flags, Bhutan  Buddhist Monastery Dzong, Thimphu  Paro Valley, Bhutan  Chorten Stupa, Bhutan  Punakha Dzong, Bhutan  Duchula Pass Prayer Flags  Taktsang Monastery, the Tiger's Nest, Bhutan  Punakha Monastery Buddhist Painting

Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan: A Tailor-Made Journey

8 days from $4,660

Venture to the remote kingdom of Bhutan to discover Himalayan villages, historic monasteries and dzongs, and a rich culture that has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.

Request a Tailor-Made Itinerary

or call 855-215-8690

Overview

Smithsonian Archivist Circle membership. Benefits include:

  • Recognition in the Friends of the Smithsonian Honor Roll displayed electronically on the National Mall in the Membership Reception Center
  • Invitation to a special welcome tour for new members at a Smithsonian venue
  • A Smithsonian Institution annual engagement calendar with full color images of exceptional art and artifacts
  • A complimentary Smithsonian museum guidebook
  • Subscription to the award-winning magazine Smithsonian
  • 20% discount at Smithsonian Museum Stores, 10% discount at selected dining facilities, at SmithsonianStore.com, and Folkways Recordings
  • Special member rate for tickets to the Smithsonian's IMAX® theaters and Einstein Planetarium
  • Admission to Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City
  • Weekday access to the Friends of the Smithsonian Reception Center

If you are already a member of the Archivist Circle or above, you will receive The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects by Richard Kurin.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1 - Paro, Bhutan and Thimpu

Fly to Paro, Bhutan via Bangkok or Kathmandu. You will be met at the airport by your driver and guide. Then set off into the emerald hills of the Himalaya on a scenic drive to the capital city of Thimpu. You’ll make stops along the way according  to your interests, visiting sites and villages on your route or getting out for a walk or to photograph panoramic views. Settle into your hotel and, if you wish, stroll through town as the evening prayers begin.

Day 2 - Thimpu

Spend a whole day discovering Thimpu with your driver and guide. The city is best explored on foot, but your driver is on hand if you wish to visit one of the sites of interest located in the surrounding hills. You might start the day at the National Memorial Chorten, dedicated to the country’s third king. Early in the morning, the chorten is full of activity: worshippers circumabulating and lighting butter lamps and elders spinning vibrant prayer wheels. Consider a visit to the National Textile Museum to learn about Bhutan’s artistic heritage and see students practicing traditional weaving and other timeless crafts. (B)

Day 3 - Punakha

A scenic drive brings you up to the Dochu La pass, where, dozens of picturesque stupas and an interesting temple perch at more than 10,000 feet above sea level. Weather permitting, take in extraordinary views of the Himalaya before continuing to Punakha. Along the way, stop to visit the Chimi Lhakhang temple. As the temple can't be reached by road, your guide will lead you on a short walk through rice paddies to the temple itself, a particularly memorable way to arrive. Check in to your hotel in Punakha and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. (B)

Day 4 - Punakha

Set amid vegetation that’s surprisingly subtropical, the massive Punakha Dzong overlooks the confluence of the Mo (Mother) and Pho (Father) rivers. Explore its temples, towers and courtyards with your private guide today, discovering the historic significance of this fortress-temple where every Bhutanese king has been crowned. Over the years it has suffered from fires, an earthquake, and flooding, but it remains one of the most spectacular dzongs in Bhutan. Go for a walk in the surrounding countryside this afternoon. (B)

Day 5 - Paro

Journey back to Paro today, passing through beautiful scenery and making stops as you wish on the way. During a free afternoon, consider a visit to Paro Dzong, a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture that houses both government offices and a working monastery. Continue to the national museum, set within a watchtower built in the 17th century to defend the dzong. (B)

Day 6 - Paro

We recommend an early rise today for your visit to the iconic Tiger's Nest Monastery, built into a cliff side high above the valley floor. The climb takes two to three hours depending on your pace, and you can stop off for tea or coffee at a lookout along the way. Once you have reached the hermitage itself, take in incredible views of the surrounding countryside. If you prefer not to hike the whole way, it is still worthwhile to climb part way up the trail for stunning views of the monastery. (B)

Day 7 - Paro

Journey to Cheli La today on Bhutan’s highest drivable road, winding through thick spruce and larch forests as you ascend to the pass at 13,000 feet. From here, some of Bhutan’s most important peaks are visible when skies are clear, including the sacred Jumolhari. There are a number of Buddhist sites to visit near Cheli La, and your guide will suggest walks to local villages, where you can get a taste of local life and admire the mountain views. (B)

Day 8 - Depart for home

Transfer to the airport today in time for your flight home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)