Luxury Bhutan Tours

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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While you won't need to pull strings to get a visa for Bhutan, which opened to the West only in 1974, strict laws do mean you must travel on a prearranged itinerary. Luxury Bhutan tours are a great way to toe the line and absorb this beautiful little country in the foothills just south of the Himalayas, bounded on one side by Tibet (China) and the other by India. Archaeology indicates that it was inhabited as long ago as 2000 BC. Buddhism, however, did not arrive until perhaps 200 AD.

Luxury Bhutan Tours: FAQ

The autumn is unquestionably the best time to visit on luxury Bhutan tours, specifically, from September through late November, after the monsoon season and before winter. This is the season of clear skies, visible mountain peaks, and numerous festivals. The largest and most colorful of these, the tsechus, are held annually in honor of Guru Rinpoche (the second Buddha) and are as much social gatherings as they are an important venue for Buddhist teachings.

Bhutan's capital city of Thimpu has the distinction of being the world's only capital city without traffic lights. Among its other attractions for visitors on luxury Bhutan tours are its landmark Trashi Chhoe Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion), poised on a hill above the city, the sacred religious paintings of the National Memorial Choten, its Weekend Market, and the archery grounds of Changlimithang.

Bumthang, an area about 90 miles from Thimpu, is the spiritual heartland of Bhutan and home to most of its Buddhist sites. Jakar Dzong, founded in 1549 in the Choskhor valley, is the largest in Bhutan and encompasses nearly 5,000 square feet. The fertile Paro valley, only some 35 miles from Thimpu, offers beautiful landscapes, historic buildings, and scenic villages. Off the track of conventional tourism, you'll find the largest and oldest of Bhutan's dzongs in this valley.

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