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The Essence of Bhutan

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Road Scholar
Program #19634RJ
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. There’s 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.
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.

Barry from Blackfalds, AB Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/23/13 - 10/10/13
This program exceeded my expectations. Our group leader was excellent, and our group was interesting and friendly. The scenery and culture of Bhutan is unique! Thoroughly enjoyed and recommended.

Carol from Blackfalds, AB Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 09/23/13 - 10/10/13
Our trip to Bhutan was a wonderful experience. The country itself is amazing culturally, physically, politically and socially. Fin, our guide, provided a variety of experiences and clear explanations on topics that were new and unfamiliar.. I came away with an incredible amount of information on Bhutan and Buddhism.

Fran from Courtenay, BC Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 04/14/13 - 05/01/13
Have just lost my review, so will try again BHUTAN Bangkok, overnight take a swim suit as you cannot go anywhere to site see from the hotel, it is not near anything whatever RS says! They are difficult about changing money - so charge your drinks My primary interest were the Rhododendrons, RS were unable to give me any idea of when they bloomed, in fact didnt really know anything about Rhodos (!), so I picked last 2 weeks of April , the same as in my part of the world. I got lucky they were AMAZING Accommodation excellent, food plentiful but plain - suited me fine especially as asparaus and fiddle head ferns were in season. Not a lot of walk about, but easy enough. The Tigers Nest is however, a 3 hour CLIMB. There is a stop half way coming and going. For those with height problems (me) the steps Down are ok, the bridge at the bottom one can barely see it is a bridge so no problem there - and the steps up the last bit tho steep were fine. This was something I was totally unable to find out about, hearing anything from ~easy~ to~~ 9 hours one way ~..

Marilynn from Aurora, CO Number of programs attended: 50
Date attended: 03/18/13 - 04/04/13
Marilynn Date attended: 03/18/13 - 04/04/13 Spectacular. The scenery was brathtaking and just went on and on. The people are wonderful, the speckers were most informative and one of the best put togerher programs. Fin, our guide, was out standing along with our driver, Lapka. This was a great adventure.

Christian from Palm Desert, CA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 03/18/13 - 04/04/13
I doubt there is anyplace in the world I could go that has more friendly people. Scenery is breathtaking, political and educational systems so very interesting and admirable. Leader and driver excellent and safe.

Linda from Waterbury, VT Number of programs attended: 59
Date attended: 03/18/13 - 04/04/13
I have been on this program twice, it is marveleous for the person who can climb many stairs, hills and will sit on a bus for many hours, looking at the wonderful views. In over 50 pro- grams I have never had such a well done program. The sponsor and the main guide Phuntsho Norbu does everything possible to meet everyones needs and desires including spontaneous activities.

Ken from Arlington, TX Number of programs attended: 5
Date attended: 03/18/13 - 04/04/13
Go to Bhutan and experience heights: of the Himalayas; of an old but rapidly changing culture; of an indigenous and welcoming people; and a growing self awareness and development!

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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

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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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