The Best of Bhutan: Hidden Treasures of a Himalayan Kingdom

Explore Bhutan, one of the world’s most isolated countries, with experts and locals who share their enduring culture, history and natural wonders.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19634RJ
17 days
Starts at
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at

At a Glance

Shrouded in mystique, the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan sits wedged amongst the mighty Himalayas in a mountainous landscape cut by deep river valleys and terraced rice fields. Known to its people as Druk Yul, or “Land of the Thunder Dragon,” it is the last bastion of authentic Himalayan Buddhism.

Extend Your Adventure

This program offers an optional program extension.

Extension: Nepal: The Best of the Kathmandu Valley

Delve deeper into the ancient spaces and sacred places of Kathmandu! Explore sites of Hindu and Buddhist importance and hike to the town of Changu in search of views of the Himalaya.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Walking up to two miles daily over varied terrain; some stairs without railings. Elevations of 7,000-10,000 feet. Some bus rides up to 6 hours with rest stops and sightseeing along the way
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Encounter the warmth and hospitality of Bhutanese people.
  • Learn about Bhutan's Gross National Happiness philosophy.
  • Hike to a remote village, a tiny monastery tucked in the midst of rice paddies and the awesome Tiger’s Nest.

General Notes

The elevation of areas traveled on this program range from 7,000-10,000 feet for the entire duration of the stay in Bhutan. This program has a maximum of 18 participants. Looking to extend your stay? This program has a post-extension on corresponding dates, program "Nepal: The Best of the Kathmandu Valley" (#22616). Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Married to Bhutan
by Linda Leaming
Enraptured by the customs, land and people of Bhutan, where she has lived and worked for ten years, Leaming writes with humor and candor about her often-bumpy cultural immersion, her romance with a Buddhist artist and her unexpected path to happiness.
Bhutan, A Trekker's Guide
by Bart Jordans
A compact, practical guide to 27 treks and walks throughout the mountain kingdom with color photographs and detailed sketch maps throughout.
Essential Tibetan Buddhism
by Robert Thurman
The foremost Western scholar of Tibetan Buddhism, Thurman has chosen well from that tradition's sacred literature and helpfully includes suggested further reading, explanatory notes and a directory of sacred sites.
Bhutan, The Land of Serenity
by Matthieu Ricard
A Buddhist monk, photographer, and French interpreter for the Dalai Lama, Ricard, draws on his time in Bhutan over the last 25 years for this intimate portrait. With illuminating chapters on the remarkable Khyentse Rinpoche, sacred art, architecture, dancing monks and ceremonies.
So Close to Heaven, The Vanishing Buddhist Kingdoms of the Himalayas
by Barbara Crossette
Asia correspondent for the New York Times, Crossette portrays Bhutan and neighboring Ladakh and Sikkim as strongholds of Tantric Buddhism in an increasingly homogenized world.
Photographic Guide to Birds of the Himalayas
by Bikram Grewal
A pocket guide to 250 birds found from the foothills up to high elevations ranging from the Hindu Kush and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh in the Eastern Himalayas. With brief descriptive information, maps and 260 full-color illustrations.
The Circle of Karma, A Novel
by Kunzang Choden
The first novel by a Bhutanese woman, this lyrical coming-of-age story explores the rituals of daily life in Bhutan. When Tsomo's mother suddenly dies, the young girl must travel alone across Bhutan and into India.
The Raven Crown
by Michael Aris
Aris chronicles the rise of the Wangchuk dynasty in this beautifully illustrated history of the kingdom and its 20th-century monarchy, featuring 106 rare photographs.
Bhutan Map
A double-sided traveler's map at an excellent scale of 1:345,000 with a larger scale map of Northern India on the reverse.
Turning the Mind Into an Ally
by Sakyong Mipham
A guide to meditation and practical introduction to teachings of the Shambhala Buddhist community, which has strong ties to Bhutan.
Beyond the Sky and the Earth
by Jamie Zeppa
Zeppa's memoir of her time as teacher in a remote village shows her growing love and commitment to the people and culture.
Travellers and Magicians
by Khyentse Norbu (Director)
The first feature shot on location in Bhutan, this film, directed by a respected lama, follows a young official on his odyssey across the country. Along the way he is joined by a mischievous monk, an elderly peddler and an old man with his daughter.
Radio Shangri-La
by Lisa Napoli
Napoli's memoir of her time working on a fledgling Bhutanese radion station. She writes with frankness and clarity about the contradictions, poverty and reality of much mythologized Bhutan.
The Blessings of Bhutan
by Russ and Blyth Carpenter
Head-over-heels in love with Bhutan, the Carpenters introduce their adopted home, its people, customs, religion and history.

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