Inspiring • Authentic • Tailor-Made

Inspiring • Authentic • Tailor-Made

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Bhutan Holidays

Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon, is a tiny, mountainous land-locked nation – a country wrapped in myth and legend that remains little-known to most in the wider world. Virtually untouched and nestled deep in the eastern Himalaya between China and India, Bhutan is a stunningly beautiful, mysterious and peaceful country where supernatural beings and ancient monastic fortresses share pristine landscapes with a warm-hearted, welcoming and proud people.

As a bastion of Tibetan Buddhism, Bhutan is arguably best known for the many religious festivals, known locally as tshechus, that take place at regular intervals throughout the calendar year. Tshechus are generally characterised by colourful mask dances and religious performances that depict the distinct cultural heritage of the country. Another defining feature of the country is that nearly all settlements in Bhutan have a Dzong – a fortress-type structure that serves as the seat of both civil and religious power and one that is unique to Bhutan.

A series of north-south valleys run at intervals across the country. Fascinatingly these valleys are incredibly distinct from one another which, in turn, imparts a specific personality and appearance to each region. Over the course of a week or so it is possible to experience not only subtropical Punakha with its spectacular Dzong and the stunning high-altitude scenery of Gangtey but also the remote and forested far-flung valleys of central and eastern Bhutan. Pettitts Travel has specialised in providing quality, tailor-made holidays and tours to Bhutan for over 35 years. 

Bhutan TAILOR-MADE ITINERARIES



Your holiday in Bhutan

Your holiday in Bhutan

Whether new to the Indian subcontinent or a returning traveller, Pettitts Travel have been arranging tailor-made holidays to Bhutan for over 30 years. Remote and little-visited, Bhutan is in many ways a unique destination and our knowledge and expertise will allow you to unlock this fascinating and diverse country. The Bhutan itineraries that are featured on our website are an ideal starting point – they provide a selection of different routings which can then be fully customised depending on your personal interests and requirements. All of our Bhutanese holidays include hotels and transport, sightseeing and entrance fees. Most travellers to Bhutan arrive by air and these flights, which can only be booked by a travel company, will also be included. When in Bhutan, and throughout your entire time in the country, you will have a private car and driver as well as an English-speaking escort who will act as your guide for all sightseeing visits. It is also worth noting that if staying in local hotels your tour will also include all meals. Additionally, whilst on holiday you will also have the support and assistance of our both our UK office and our partners on the ground in Bhutan.

When planning your holiday to Bhutan a good place to start are the itineraries featured on our website which have been carefully designed to illustrate the different types of journeys that can be undertaken. These act as a guide and can be adjusted to ensure that specific needs or interests are met. Landlocked and with a largely mountainous interior, a holiday to Bhutan begins with travel to the country. Paro, in western Bhutan, has the only international airport and offers a limited number of airlinks to neighbouring countries including India, Nepal and Thailand. It is also possible to travel overland from India with two border crossings – the busier at Phuentsholing and the more remote eastern crossing of Samdrup Jongkhar. Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon is an ideal itinerary for the first-time visitor and includes the main highlights of western Bhutan including Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Gangtey. A Journey through Bhutan explores the far-flung valleys of eastern Bhutan whilst, for the more active, the excellent Druk Path Trek can also be incorporated. For those wishing to experience the entire Himalayan region, Himalayan Kingdoms combines Bhutan with India and Nepal.

Places to visit in Bhutan

Bhutan is series of valleys, each geographically unique and with their own administrative centre or Dzong. The southern border regions are at a lower elevation whilst the mountainous north and eastern settlements are both remote and challenging to reach. Paro, with its international airport, is the main entrance to the kingdom and the starting point of not only the famous hike to Taktsang Monastery but also the longer Druk Path Trek. The beautiful Punakha Valley and its ancient Dzong are reached from capital Thimphu by crossing the precipitous Dochu-La Pass whilst Gangtey and the Phobjikha Valley provide a refuge for the endangered black-necked crane. Secluded central and eastern Bhutan is the location of many isolated settlements including Bumthang, Mongar, Lhuentse and Trashigang – each with their own monasteries and Gompas, myths and legends. For those travelling overland from India the main border towns are Phuentsholing in the west and Samdrup Jongkhar in the east.

MAP OF BHUTAN

When to Visit bhutan

The best time to visit Bhutan is either during the spring or autumn although the country can be a year-round destination. From March to May Bhutan is at its prettiest with spring flowers, rhododendron and azalea all in bloom whilst the clear autumn skies of October and November provide unblemished mountain views. Snowfall is common at higher altitudes, especially during December and January, and you should expect it to be cold. Between October and early March central and eastern Bhutan also sees the arrival of the rare black-necked crane. June, July and August feel the effects of the Indian monsoon although this is largely confined to Bhutan’s southern border region.

JAN
FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
JUN
JUL
AUG
SEP
OCT
NOV
DEC
Best Times
Good Times
This is a general overview suggesting when to travel in the country. Please note that this may not directly apply to any specific itinerary or region.

Essential Information

flag of Bhutan Capital: Thimphu

Main Language: Dzongkha

Time Zone: GMT + 6

Currency: Ngultrum (BTN)

Dzongs of Bhutan

Dzongs of Bhutan

Spectacularly sited, Dzongs are a distinguishing feature of the landscape of Bhutan. These multi-purpose buildings have evolved over the centuries to become regional centres for both religious, administrative and cultural activities but were originally fortified complexes constructed in places of strategic military importance. Today these grand buildings serve as the heart of a region’s community, house important Buddhist relics and host a range of festivals and celebrations. One of the highlights of a holiday to Bhutan is the opportunity to spend time in a Dzong and, as they can be found throughout the country, a visit can easily be incorporated. Famous Dzongs include the one in Paro which is accessed by a wooden cantilevered bridge, the picturesque 17th century Punakha Dzong which has a beautiful riverside setting, Jakar Dzong that originally started life as a monastic centre, remote Lhuentse Dzong which is located in the east of the country and Trongsa Dzong, set high on a ridge above the Mangde Chhu River with panoramic far-reaching views.

Festivals in Bhutan

Held throughout the country, festivals, which are known in Bhutan as tshechus, form an integral part of Bhutanese life. All of Bhutan’s administrative regions hold their own annual festivities and these, conveniently, take place throughout the year so there is a good chance that visitors may, at some point on their holiday, have the opportunity to attend. Tshechus have a dual purpose – first and foremost a religious event, they are also important social occasions attracting huge crowds and drawing people from remote village communities, bringing them together and providing an opportunity to celebrate, relax and, importantly, to see friends and family. Nearly all tshechus take place in the local Dzong, are held over a number of days and are characterised by traditional costumed dances, ancient rituals, music and religious teachings. Although occurring throughout the country some of the better known tshechus include Bhutan’s largest festival the Thimphu Tshechu, the popular Paro Tshechu which is held in March or April, February’s colourful Punakha Tshechu, Bumthang’s Tamzhing Lhakhang and the Haa summer festival.

Festivals in Bhutan

 

Bhutan Holiday Review

We just wanted to thank you for a marvellous itinerary; our trip to Bhutan was exactly what we'd hoped it would be. The visit to Paro Tsechu was incredibly interesting. The mixture of fabulous cultural and religious sites, the wonderful scenery and the chance to walk and see some interesting wildlife was all excellent. Our guide, Ugyen Wangchuk, and our driver, Sonam, took fantastic care of us and made the whole trip a real joy. Please pass on our thanks to Ugyen and Sonam.

HR & PR - Bhutan - April 2024

Accommodation in Bhutan

The Kingdom of Bhutan has limited hotel accommodation but as the country increasingly opens to the world this situation is improving. Most visitors to Bhutan will stay in standard hotels which are locally owned and run. In general these properties are small and simple but clean and comfortable and you will be sure of a warm Bhutanese welcome. Some of these hotels have a modern touch with others more akin to a heritage property but all will have a distinct Bhutanese feel and style. Bhutan is also home to a small number of luxurious hotels, the best known of which are the exceptional Amankora properties in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang and the Uma resorts that can be found in Paro and Punakha. Overnight treks use tented accommodation.

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