When we recently announced that National Geographic Expeditions is taking travelers to Bhutan beginning in 2024, a friend immediately called me and said it was on her bucket list. And she wasn’t the only one!
Visiting this country on the Himalayan mountains’ eastern edge offers views of dramatic landscapes and stunning architecture. You’ll be immersed in centuries-old traditions ardently protected by its government and its people, and you’ll meet with Bhutanese dignitaries offering once-in-a-lifetime conversations as you learn about this unique country. National Geographic’s trusted reputation has opened doors, and National Geographic Expeditions has developed an amazing itinerary for you.
Let’s take a look at what you will experience in Bhutan with National Geographic Expeditions. These are just highlights of all the amazing sights and experiences you’ll encounter, so be sure to see our website for a complete and detailed itinerary.
Bhutan: Land of Mysticism and Mythology
Your first day in Bhutan includes a visit to a monastery where a monk will offer a blessing for safe travels. This blessing is a common Bhutanese practice and is your introduction to the local culture.
Your journey on this 11-day excursion continues to Thimphu, the Phobjika Valley, Punakha and Paro.
In Thimphu, you’ll stop at the Zangdok Pelri Temple, see the 169-foot Buddha Dordenma statue, hear from Buddhist practitioners and even participate in a butter lamp lighting ceremony. Following lunch, at the Institute of Thirteen Arts and Crafts, you’ll see amazing artwork and a traditional painting demonstration. One of the most significant elements of this trip happens at the Folk Heritage Museum. Here you’ll meet with a member of the King’s Court for a question-and-answer session followed by dinner at the museum.
Next, the beautiful Dochula Pass and its spectacular views will greet you as you stand in awe of the Himalayan mountains. In the Phobjikha Valley, touring a 450-year-old monastery, hiking in the forested areas to spot birds and wildlife, plus visiting a local farming community and having butter tea and lunch with a local farmer are just a few of the special moments in this region. You’ll also learn about the Black-Necked Crane and the local efforts to preserve and protect their roosting areas.
In Punakha, you’ll engage with local villagers as you explore the countryside, Buddhist monasteries, the 520-foot suspension bridge, and the Punakha Dzong, an architectural wonder and the most important fortress in Bhutan.
Paro is also a delight. Here, you’ll tour the National Museum to view the finest Bhutanese art collection of more than 3,000 pieces spanning 1,500 years of the country’s history, and you’ll visit the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
This is a dream trip for many reasons — the country has long protected its culture and has limited tourism. Known for its Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index, tourism and overall lifestyle are closely monitored by the government to contribute to the collective happiness of its people. For example, there are nine key markers that are measured, including culture, community and the environment.
To learn more, visit National Geographic Expeditions.