Mountaintop Temples of Bhutan: Thimphu Festival - Atlas Obscura Trips
Photo Credit: Zachary Collier
Photo Credit: Tao Tao Holmes
Photo Credit: Tao Tao Holmes

Mountaintop Temples of Bhutan: Thimphu Festival

from $3,890 USD per person for 11 days, 10 nights
See Dates
  • 16 People Maximum
  • Moderate Activity Level
  • Overland Adventure
See Dates
Trip Overview
Overview

On this immersive journey, we’ll take in the breathtaking sights of western and central Bhutan. Beginning in Bumthang, the country's spiritual heartland, we’ll travel through the country's alpine regions and into the Phobjikha Valley, with stops at nearby farms and fortresses. Traveling west, we arrive in the modern-day capital of Thimphu in time for one of the kingdom's liveliest annual celebrations, the Thimphu Tsechu. Our adventure ends with a pilgrimage to Taktsang Lhakhang, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. 

Highlights
  • Thimphu Festival
  • Ancient Buddhist temples
  • Himalayan Landscapes
  • Wildlife and Conservation

Itinerary

Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.
World Expeditions
In Partnership with World Expeditions

Additional Info

Arrival and Departure

Once you have signed up for the trip, we will get in touch to help book your Druk Air flights in and out of Bhutan. While our group itinerary begins in Paro, Bhutan on October 1, you should plan to arrive and overnight in Bangkok by September 30 in order to connect with your onward flight to Bhutan the following morning. Flights in and out of Bhutan are prone to schedule changes and tend to sell out, so we do not recommend a tight connection in Bangkok. 

The trip ends in Paro, Bhutan on October 11. Again, we will be in touch to assist in booking your flight out of Bhutan. You should plan to depart Bangkok any time after 9 p.m. on October 11, leaving plenty of time for schedule changes or delays on the flight out of Bhutan. 

Activity Level

We recommend a medium level of physical fitness, since we'll be embarking on very active days together. You should be comfortable walking between three and five miles per day without difficulty, and spending extended periods of time on your feet. For those interested in trekking, there will be opportunities for longer and more challenging hikes on certain days of the trip. Some of the places visited on this trip are extremely remote. It can take days to reach the nearest modern medical facility. If you're uncertain about whether this trip is a good fit, please contact us and we'd be happy to discuss with you further. 

Elevation, Health, and Safety

The elevations reached on this trip range from approximately 4,000 feet in Punakha to approximately 11,000 feet when crossing the journey's highest pass, the Dochu La, by road. Travelers should speak with their doctors about appropriate precautions to take, and consider spending an extra night en route to rest and recover from jetlag before continuing on to Bhutan. It's important to bear in mind that high-quality emergency medical care may be a day or more way due to the remoteness of some of the areas we'll visit. 

Accommodations

We'll be spending twelve nights in a range of local accommodations, from rustic (but clean and comfortable) lodges in Gangtey and Bumthang to a beautifully designed upscale Bhutanese-style hotel in Paro. Single travelers should be prepared to share a room with another traveler of the same gender, depending on the composition of the group. Single travelers who would like to have a room to themselves can book private accommodations with a single supplement of $325. 

Included
  • 10 nights of accommodation as listed in the itinerary. 
  • Domestic flight from Paro to Bumthang. 
  • All meals during the trip as listed in the itinerary. 
  • All entrance fees and group activities.
  • Private transfers and excursions with your local guides.
  • Airport transfers in Bhutan. 
  • Your Bhutan visa.
  • The company of an expert bilingual trip leader. 
Excluded
  • International airfare to/from Bhutan. We'll assist with booking your Druk Air flights in and out of Paro (to be paid separately).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings.
  • Tips and gratuities.
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
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Trip FAQs

Yes, a visa is required for travel to Bhutan, but we will secure it on your behalf. 

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Magical, serene and continually interesting.
—Jim B. (October 2018)

Upcoming Departures

  • Oct 1–Oct 11, 2019
    from $3,890 per person
Booking and payment processing partners may vary with departure date.
We’re here to help. If you still have questions about the trip, just ask.
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