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The Essence of Bhutan

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Road Scholar
Program #19634RJ

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18 Days | 17 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. Minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding, and rewarding, programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Barbara from Bellmawr, NJ Number of programs attended: 11
Date attended: 11/29/15 - 12/16/15
This program far exceeded my expectations. The guides were outstanding, the forest covered mountains and terraced valleys were gorgeous. The advertised experiences were great, and the extra surprises were a bonus. This was a wonderful way to experience a unique culture.

Sue from Burnham, ME Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 11/04/15 - 11/21/15
This trip was truly extraordinary from the quality of the guides (highly informed, flexible, accommodating, helpful, and personable) and other presenters to the places visited, the beauty of the country, and the openness and friendliness of the people. I felt as though I came away with a significant grasp of the history and culture of Bhutan and the challenges it faces for the future… I also completed the program with a much more sophisticated understanding of the concept of gross national happiness.

Kenneth from Los Gatos, CA Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 11/04/15 - 11/21/15
Bhutan is a very interesting, unique country and culture. It would be very difficult to have such a fulfilling experience without the expert guides, lecturers and detailed program that Road Scholar has provided. The weather in early November was ideal for this largely outdoor program.

Louetta from Quinlan, TX Number of programs attended: 11
Date attended: 11/04/15 - 11/21/15
We took this fabulous trip in November 2015, the weather was perfect. Our guide, Tim, and his assistant and driver were very knowledgeable and catered to us in every way....even stopping on an 11000' mountain pass for hot tea and snacks. The love for their country is evident in many ways, from fact sharing to singing songs and dancing for us. I am so glad to be able to take this journey, thanks to Road Scholar.

Helen from Washington, DC Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 10/22/15 - 11/08/15
If you want to see a remote and beautiful country attempting to enter modernity in a mindful way; if you can tolerate a long and arduous trip there and high altitudes; if you are willing to spend hours on unpaved, often muddy and stony roads with hairpin curves; if you enjoy the challenge of several hikes: GO. You will be rewarded with natural beauty, shy wildlife and bold cows, gracious people, beautiful colorful and confounding Temples and shrines and a hopefulness about human nature that shines here more brightly than most anyplace else. Our guide, "Fin," is engaging, creative and very well informed. The driver, Tenzin, allowed us to feel safe on roads which do not induce relaxation. The additional speakers in the educational program were amazingly informed and well connected in this small country. And the food brought new flavors to simple produce and other ingredients. Having only just returned 11/8/15, I still have much sorting out and contemplating to do about this eye opening experience.

Isabel from Corvallis, OR Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 09/01/15 - 09/18/15
This was a unique experience and I highly recommend this trip. Bhutan is a fascinating country that is changing as it emerges and connects with the Western world. It has a culture that is entwined with Buddhism in all aspects of daily life and a government that is trying to honestly respond to the needs of the people. The people are warm and friendly and the scenery is beautiful. All of these things combine to make it an unforgettable and profound experience.

Kirsten from Lakewood, CA Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 06/15/15 - 07/02/15
Date attended 06/15 - 07/15 June program should be suspended due to the beginning of monsoon season. Too many days inside bus for 9 to 6 hours, mudslides, road blocks. Scenery much the same. Food rather simple and the same for 8 days: rice, brown beans, chili, vegetables in sauce and without, chickens cut into unrecognizable parts with little meat on. Improved at the end of trip.I lost 5 lbs and am skinny to start with. 2 great picnics. Guide and driver very good.

Ken from Pacific Palisades, CA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 06/15/15 - 07/02/15
This is a good program but June is the beginning of Monsoon season and not a good time to go. The rain, mud and landslide dangers on the winding mountain road are anxiety producing; the clouds cover the mountains. Also, there is too much driving (lengthy trips on the same highway)up to 9 hours for two days and 6 hours for several other days.

Helen from Berkeley, CA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 12/01/14 - 12/18/14
Bhutan was a fascinating country, and its people are committed to ensuring the Gross National Happiness. The landscape was beautiful, the people so friendly and open to conversation, the children full of energy, the Buddhist temples a central part of each community. If you like hiking, mountains, red rice, and chili peppers, nature, birding, colorful weavings, the chance to see a country in the process of developing, you will love Bhutan. If you are not familiar with the food and the mountains, you will learn to love them, too. Our guide, Fin, and our driver are completely bilingual, love their country, and were so happy to share it with us. They helped us acclimate to the altitude easily, so that the final climb to this monastery was within reach for most of us. I am thinking about returning to Bhutan for a second visit... so much more to see, so much more to learn about this beautiful country. What else? I would love to have had a cooking lesson - I haven't been able to find recipes, and I miss the healthy food.

Gail from Orangevale, CA Number of programs attended: 5
Date attended: 02/16/15 - 03/05/15
The Essence of Bhutan is a fascinating program that exceeded my expectations. The country is beautiful and it's Buddhist culture is rich and complex. Our guide, Fin, was exceptional and I am very grateful that he lead our tour.

Bonnie from Petaluma, CA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 12/01/14 - 12/18/14
I have wanted to travel to Bhutan for a long time, having just returned from this 18 day trip was a dream come true. Our guide Fin was so knowlegable, kind, available, and yes unflappable from all our questions and requests. Our driver, Tandin, was so skilled at very narrow tough roads, and very knowledgeable and exuberant about birds. They both work so well together as a team. Bhutan is a fabulous country, with kind soft spoken people who walk the talk of Buddhism. As an extra bonus, I was expecting the food to be plain and simple. Well, the vegetables were all spiced so well, AND VERY DELICIOUS. I expected Road Scholar to be a good travel company, with knowledgable, well travelled participants, this was true. What was surprising was how well everyone got along, and how much we laughed. That is a measure of a great trip. Now is a great time to visit Bhutan as they step into the 21st century, I wish them all the best. Bonnie San Francisco, Ca.

Beth from Wilmington, DE Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 12/01/14 - 12/18/14
This trip was a feast for the senses and provided ample food for thought as well. The team of Fin and Tandin, our driver, was impeccable, unflappable and great fun. Fellow travelers were wonderful. The landscape and people of Bhutan touched me in profound and positive ways that are continuing to reveal themselves to me. I highly recommend this!

Venancio from Seattle, WA Number of programs attended: 12
Date attended: 12/01/14 - 12/18/14
Most memorable trip of the 20+ years of traveling with Road Scholar (Elderhostel). Bhutan, so unique I won't need notes or photos to remember it (although I have many of both). Would have enjoyed everything so much more if I hadn't had a cold the whole time. Fin and Tandin our leader and driver added much information and enjoyment to the trip. The 14 members of our group played well together and made the trip even better. Thanks to all.

Marge from Corvallis, OR Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 12/01/14 - 12/18/14
I just returned from the December 2014 trip. Our guide, Fin and driver Tan were wonderful. Every day we got a new surprise (like wonderful picnics and interesting lectures). Fin and Tan were extremely helpful and willing to go out of their way so each person could experience things of particular interest to them. In my case, I was interested in seeing as many birds as possible. Luckily, our driver Tan, is a very good birder and pointed out many interesting birds while negotiating the difficult (but breathtaking) roads we traveled. Fin is a wonderful guide; he is personable, articulate and indefatigable. He made sure all our excursions and experiences unfolded seamlessly. This was my favorite trip that I have ever taken. Bhutan is gorgeous and interesting. The Bhutanese people are open and friendly and willing to engage with you as you walk through the villages, forests, and rice paddies on the tour. Also, the fact that the Buddhist principles are incorporated into the government structure probably accounts for the caring and enlightened policies. This is a culture from which we can learn a lot!

Suzanne from La Jolla, CA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 11/04/14 - 11/21/14
Just returned from the November trip to Bhutan and recommend it highly. Finn our guide leads most of the RS trips and he is both charismatic and wonderfully organized. The trip is beautiful and Bhutan was as fascinating as I had hoped. In Nov & Dec all you need are hiking boots,a fleece jacket and a walking stick. Weather was beautiful

DAWN from Eagle Point, OR Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/28/14 - 10/15/14
Just returned from Bhutan with Sharon and Lu below! Outstanding trip, beautiful and so fun. Our leaders were THE best! Coming from sea level in OR, I thought the altitude would be a challenge but they prepared us adequately. Yes, the hike to Tiger's Nest was challenging, but mostly the last 750 steps, and then you were there. I highly recommend this trip to experience the beauty and the culture.

Luan from Vancouver, WA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 09/28/14 - 10/15/14
This trip was everything it was advertised and more. It was educational, informative and downright fun!

Sharon from Camas, WA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/28/14 - 10/15/14
The "Essence of Bhutan" was a trip of a lifetime for me. A pure delight and manageable even for me as 75 year old. Challenging and exceptionally rewarding with quality guidance and educational information about this wonderful country, a model for us all.

Ruby from Rehoboth Bch, DE Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 05/05/14 - 05/22/14
My Bhutan travel adventure was quite wonderful in every aspect. Our tour guide and drivers were fabulous and Bhutan was exceptionally intriguing, being able to compare it to about 60 other countries and islands I've visited.

Michael from Califon, NJ Number of programs attended: 12
Date attended: 03/29/14 - 04/15/14
THe program was excellent and the guide, Fin, was outstanding. Bhutan is an extremely interesting country as it develops consistent with strong Buddhist beliefs and environmental principles.

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"November 2015 trip. Weather was lovely, fellow travelers congenial, local beer was good and Fin was a fantastic guide" Uploaded By: Suzanne
"November 2015 trip. Weather was lovely, fellow travelers congenial, local beer was good and Fin was a fantastic guide" Uploaded By: Suzanne

"Rice Harvest" Uploaded By: Al

"Rice Terraces" Uploaded By: Al

"Himalayas after takeoff from Paro" Uploaded By: Al

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"Road Scholars on trail to Ura Village" Uploaded By: Al

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

at no additional cost on this date ...
15 nights of accommodations
43 meals: 15 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 15 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
19 Field trips
2 Flights during the program
Visas: 1(out of 1 required)


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