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history • 11 days, 10 nights

Festivals and Mountaintop Temples of Bhutan

history • 11 days, 10 nights

Festivals and Mountaintop Temples of Bhutan

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  • Group Size 12 People Maximum
  • Activity Level
  • Travel Style
    Overland Adventure
from $4,235 USD per person
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Trip Overview

Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, the Kingdom of Bhutan is a tiny country home to pristine forests, extraordinary architecture, and rich cultural traditions. Join us as we journey from bustling Thimphu to the Phobjikha Valley, lush with greenery and wildlife, and finally through the small village of Haa. We’ll witness an annual festival and visit ancient dzongs, art studios, incense factories, and nature preserves—meeting artisans, monks, and farmers along the way. Our adventure will culminate with an ascent to the Taktsang Lhakhang, also known as the “Tiger’s Nest”—the striking cliffside Buddhist temple where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for four months.

Note on trip dates and festivals: Each trip is centered around a different Bhutanese festival: the Paro Tsechu in April, the Thimphu Tsechu in October, the Black-Necked Crane Festival in November, and the Druk Wangyel Tsechu in December. The order of certain days and locations will slightly vary across trips; however, you can anticipate the same key activities and inclusions regardless of which date you choose. If you have specific questions, please contact us.

  • Centuries-old temples and monasteries
  • Conversations with artists, farmers, and spiritual leaders
  • Experience a traditional tsechu (festival)
  • Dramatic mountaintop views and natural wonders


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.

Additional Info


The listed price of the trip is per person based on double occupancy.

Traveling Solo?

You’re in good company. Solo travelers typically make up about half of our small groups. With curiosity at the center of our experiences, there’s a natural camaraderie that develops over the course of a trip. We have two options for you: 

Shared Room (subject to the latest Covid-19 guidelines): You'll be matched with another solo traveler of the same gender.

Private Room: Have your own room, subject to availability, for a supplemental cost of $425. After booking your trip, please request a single room when you fill out your traveler information form and we’ll send a separate invoice for the cost.

Activity Level

Travelers should be comfortable walking between three and five miles per day without difficulty, and spending extended periods of time on their 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. 

Arrival & Departure

Once you've signed up for the trip, we'll get in touch to help you book your Druk Air flights in and out of Bhutan. While our group itinerary begins in Paro, Bhutan, on Day 1, you should plan to arrive and overnight in Bangkok the prior night 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 don't recommend a tight connection in Bangkok. 

The trip ends in Paro, Bhutan on Day 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. that evening, leaving plenty of time for schedule changes or delays on the flight out of Bhutan. 

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 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 jet lag before continuing on to Bhutan. It's important to bear in mind that high-quality emergency medical care may be a day or more away due to the remoteness of some of the areas we'll visit. 


On this trip, we will be staying mostly in local 3* and 4* Bhutanese-style hotels and guesthouses. For the one night in Haa we will be hosted in a local farmstay. Our accommodations here will be comfortable, but rustic, with bedding consisting of mattresses placed on the floor, shared western toilet facilities, and a homecooked meal. While there is running water for washing, separate drinking water, tea, and coffee will be provided. There will be no shower or bathing facilities at the farmstay for this one night.

  • Accommodation throughout the trip at comfortable, three-and-four-star hotels, and one local farmstay.
  • All meals described in the itinerary.
  • Transportation throughout the trip. Travel within Bhutan will be by private van.
  • Experienced, bilingual local guides to accompany you for the duration of the trip, as well as special guests throughout.
  • Airport transfers.
  • Your Bhutan visa.
  • 24/7 emergency assistance during your trip, provided by Global Rescue.
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events.
  • A great group of fellow Atlas Obscura travelers, excited to explore all that Bhutan has to offer!
  • Special access to unique places and extraordinary experiences.
  • International airfare to and 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, including most alcoholic beverages.
  • Tips and gratuities. 
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations.
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Trip FAQ

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

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