Enlightened Bhutan

Find tranquility in the serene culture of this blissful kingdom.


Ride the rapids of the Pho Chhu River past Punakha Dzong, winter residence of the official Bhutanese monastic order. The imposing white-and-ochre structure is captivating, but don’t miss the river’s scarlet-streaked minivets or rare, white-bellied herons. Your paddling is rewarded with a catered lunch on shore — one of many indulgent comforts on this eight-day walking and cycling adventure that also includes hiking to the 700-yearold Chorten Nebu monastery, sipping tea at the cliffside Tiger’s Nest, and visiting a chorten built to commemorate the insects and rodents who lost their lives during construction of a highway. Trekking the mountainous terrain is demanding, but can be tailored for all ability levels.

Himalayan Riches

Wander the Thimphu markets in search of yak-tail dusters, Tibetan turquoise, wild honey, pungent blocks of camphor and fiery chiles before touring the painting school, where students learn the 13 traditional Bhutanese arts. Your six days in Bhutan also feature plenty of the country’s iconic hilltop temples and monasteries, wild mountain passes and scenic walks. It’s the tail end of a 20-day Himalayan odyssey that includes Tibet and Nepal, where you’ll explore Lhasa’s Potala Palace and the Yarlung Valley, considered the birthplace of Tibetan civilization. You will also visit Kathmandu’s bazaars and the lakeside city of Pokhara, in the shadow of some of the Himalaya’s mightiest peaks.