We truly fell in love with Bhutan and found it a perfect destination to travel with our 4 and 6 year old children.
Situated at 7,500 feet above sea level, Thimphu has been the capital city of Bhutan since 1961. As capital, Thimphu is home to several buildings of national importance, including the Institute of Traditional Medicine, the National Library, and the Botanical Garden. Despite its population of approximately 104,000, Thimphu is nonetheless remarkably free of traffic, and is ideal for exploring by foot or on bicycle.
Some of Thimphu's evocative sights include the National Institute for the Thirteen Arts, where students learn respected, centuries-old crafts; the comprehensive, beautiful grounds of the Royal Botanical Garden; and the invigorating, alternative Institute of Traditional Medicine, dedicated to traditional remedies for modern illnesses.
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Our co-founder Jay Tindall is a frequent visitor to Bhutan. As well as the village of Punakha, he loves the traditional architecture and the warmth of the Bhutanese people.
Pay special attention to the garden’s approximately 369 species of orchid, indigenous to the various micro-climates of this tiny Himalayan country, and which bloom at various times throughout the year. Opened in 1999, the Royal Botanical Garden offers an excellent look into Bhutan's varied flora. The Garden boasts one of the largest rhododendron collections in the world, as well as beautiful assemblages of various trees, bamboo, and medicinal plants, derivatives of which are used in roofing, paints, furniture-making, dyes and incense.
Have private lesson in archery, Bhutan's national sport. (Subject to availability, you can also attend an archery tournament at the local stadium.) Today, the Bhutanese use bows employing the latest technology, though historically hunting bows were crafted from bamboo and leather, and a version of this original bow still appears in local matches.
Institute of Traditional Medicine
Visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, established in 1967 to preserve the healing traditions of Bhutan – which, until now, have only been transmitted orally. A unique fusion of various elements, Bhutanese medicine combines Ayurvedic philosophy from India with Tibetan influences and Chinese techniques. Go for a medical checkup at the Institute, and tour its impressive laboratory for a primer in this ancient art.
Visit an orphanage or one of the programs run by the Tarayana Foundation, an organization set up by Her Majesty The Queen of Bhutan to alleviate poverty through training and education, meeting the children and the adults who care for them.
National Library of Thimphu
Discover the National Library and Archives of Bhutan, which houses many ancient Dzongkha and Tibetan texts and is a vibrant example of traditional Bhutanese architecture (built in 1967). The library’s raison d’etre is the preservation of holy Buddhist texts – it is not uncommon to see Bhutanese circumambulating the outside perimeter, due to the texts’ presence.
Motithang Takin Preserve
Visit the Motithang Takin Preserve. The national animal of Bhutan, the takin and is a large and somewhat clumsy animal that continues to fascinate taxonomists. Thimphu's preserve was originally a zoo, which was disbanded, but the freed takins simply wandered the streets of Thimphu, so they were returned to their present home to be cared for.
Meet with a professor of Buddhism and explore the Cheri Monastery, home to Bhutan’s first community of monks. Established in 1620, Cheri Monastery has hosted its share of distinguished guests, from visiting Tibetan lamas to the founder of the Bhutanese state. A short distance outside Thimphu, Cheri Monastery sits atop a hill, and offers striking views of the valley below.
Dinner with a Member of Parliament
Pending availability, have dinner with a member of Bhutan’s parliament who is also a close friend of Remote Lands. This is a great opportunity to learn firsthand about the challenges facing Bhutan as it seeks to balance modernization with tradition.
National Textile Museum
Visit the National Textile Museum. Still very much a living art, the weaving techniques you’ll glimpse here (there are sometimes actual weavers at their looms in addition to permanent exhibits) bear on everything from the simple gho and kira robes that are the national dress for men and women, to the giant thondroel (appliqué tapestries) that are unfurled at the holiest of the annual religious festivals.
The National Institute for the Thirteen Arts
Visit the National Institute for the Thirteen Arts, or the Zorig Chusum, Bhutan’s leading institution charged with preserving and promoting traditional aesthetics, and contributing to the country’s economy through production of high quality arts and crafts. Observe students’ lessons in painting, calligraphy, embroidery, wood and slate carving, sculpture, and boot making – among others.
Enjoy a classic tour of Bhutan’s beautiful countryside on this 14-day journey from Paro to Thimpu. You’ll visit such time-honored spots as Drukgyel Dzong, Tiger’s Nest Monastery, and Gangtey Monastery, step into the lush Tang Valley, all while staying in luxurious Amankora hotels dotted across the country.
Join Aman for an exclusive and unforgettable 17-day adventure across Asia. Prepare to be whisked across the continent aboard your private jet and stay at eight of their luxury properties in Beijing, Lijiang, Thimphu, Paro, Rajasthan, Ranthambore, Galle and Tangalle.
Aman and Remote Lands have put together an exclusive private jet journey across Asia including China, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka. Sixteen guests will fly on a private jet and stay at the eight Aman in Beijing, Hangzhou, Thimpu, Paro, Rajasthan, Ranthambore, Galle and Tangalle.
Explore the world’s most majestic peaks on this 22-day Himalayan adventure. You’ll trek through China, Nepal, Bhutan and India, staying at luxury hotels and lodges like the Amankora or Uma by COMO. You’ll walk along the Great Wall of China, visit the ancient Potala Palace, and search for Bengal Tigers in Chitwan.
See the contrast of two cultures as they’re juxtaposed before your eyes on this 16-day luxury journey through Thailand’s Bangkok and Bhutan. You’ll compare the glimmering Grand Palace and Wat Arun to the ancient architecture of Bhutan’s monasteries, raft the Mo Chu river, and spend nights at the luxurious Amankora.
Take in Bhutan’s lush landscape on this 16-day luxury bicycle adventure, pedalling past ancient Buddhist temples like the Taktsang Monastery, climbing Bhutan’s highest road pass, Thrumsing La, and gaining insight into local religion at a Buddhist festival in Jakar, while staying in luxe hotels like Uma by COMO.
Take a ride on the open road through Bhutan’s stunning countryside, as you’re chauffeured from Paro to Thimpu in your luxury vehicle. You’ll marvel at religious sites like Rimpung Dzong and Drukgyel Dzong, interact with local families at their farms, and enjoy luxury stays at luxurious Amankora hotels.
Reap the rewards of challenging yourself to this incredible 13-day trek through Bhutan’s majestic mountains. You’ll hike and camp in breathtaking spots like the base camp of Mount Chomolhari, visit historic landmarks in Paro like the Kyichu Lhakhang Temple, and stay in luxury at the Amankora or Uma by COMO.
Experience a whirlwind 6-day adventure through Bhutan’s rugged terrain. You’ll take in the natural beauty of Paro Valley and Simkota Lake, while you marvel at the ancient Tiger’s Nest Monastery, see the takin at an animal preserve, and sleep at the luxe Amankora, on this incredible journey.
Spend 22 days traveling from India to Bhutan on this luxurious adventure of a lifetime. Shop in New Delhi’s world-famous Chandni Chowk market, dine at the Calcutta Polo Club, and marvel at the ancient Tibetan Buddhist Ghoom Monastery, while staying in luxury hotels like Amankora and Oberoi.
Experience the natural beauty of Bhutan on this exciting 12-day trek through some of the country’s most picturesque scenery. You’ll step into the past at the ancient Kyichu Lhakhang Temple, explore the Kuri Chhu river on foot, and make a pilgrimage to Singye Dzong, while staying at luxury hotels like the Amankora.
Move across mountains as you spend 19 days trekking through some of the highest peaks in Nepal and Bhutan. You’ll visit unforgettable sites like the Monkey Temple and Gangtey Monastery, ride an elephant through Chitwan National Park, see Mt Everest up-close on a helicopter tour, and stay in luxury Amankora hotels.
Take an unforgettable trek through Bhutan’s charming rural communities on this 14-day journey. You’ll visit the incredible Tiger’s Nest monastery, along with Bumthang’s plentiful religious sites and temples, and trek to the Tang Chu river’s sacred Burning Lake, while staying at luxurious Amankora hotels along the way.
Amankora Thimpu is located on a hillside in a verdant pine forest far above Bhutan’s capital city. The hotel’s architecture is reminiscent of Bhutanese temples, or dzongs, and incorporates white-washed stone buildings around an enclosed courtyard. Sixteen suites are composed of living and sleeping areas, with views of the forest and nearby streams. The spacious terrazzo-tiled bathrooms have soaking tubs and twin vanities. Guests may dine either in an elegant dining room or on the adjacent terrace, both of which serve Bhutanese and international cuisine. Steam and sauna rooms are available, and massage and spa treatments are offered in private rooms nearby. Traditional hot stone baths can be scheduled. There is no fitness center. Fax and Internet are available. The resort is approximately 30 minutes from the airport in Paro.
Six Senses Bhutan
In Spring 2017, Six Senses will open five luxury lodges in Bhutan, creating a "Six Senses Journey" through Thimphu, Gangtey, Punakha, Bumthang and Paro. Built in a style sympathetic to their rural Himalayan surroundings, the Six Senses Bhutan lodges will offer guests total intimacy, with a mere 82 suites across all five lodges. Six Senses' keynote features - eco-friendly design, personal service and wellness - will of course characterise the new Six Senses Bhutan product, and we at Remote Lands look forward to offering these new properties to our clients.
Situated in the Thimphu Valley, this new property seamlessly blends Bhutan’s Dzong architecture and modern design. Adorned with classical hand-drawn Buddhist murals, its 52 deluxe rooms, 5 luxury rooms, 3 deluxe suites, 2 duplex suites and 4 luxury suites all afford guests an authentic peek into the region’s art and color. All accommodations have wired and wireless Internet access. Food and beverage options include an all-day, international cuisine restaurant, Ara Bar, an authentic Bhutanese restaurant, and a tea lounge. The Taj Spa is equipped with single and double treatment suites and has a menu featuring Indian holistic and signature treatments, specially designed to maintain physical, mental and spiritual equilibrium. There is a fitness center and a heated indoor swimming pool. The property is a two-hour drive from the airport in Paro, which is the only airport in the country. It is a six-hour drive to Phuntsholing and a 3.5-hour drive to Punakha.