Bhutan vacation, Land of the thunder dragon

“A 5-day Himalayan trek across spectacular scenery sandwiched between historical highlights and a colourful cultural festival - this Bhutan adventure is like no other.”


Kathmandu | Paro | Paro Dzong | Ta Dzong National Museum | Paro Festival (March) | Thimpu Festival (Sept) | No Festival (Oct) | Hike to Taktsang Monastery | 5-day Himalayan Trek | Jele Dzong | Jangchu Laka | Camping by Jimi Langtsho Lake | Labana Pass | Thimpu Valley | Thimpu


Check dates, prices & availability

03 Apr 2017
US $ 4645
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 03 Apr 2017 departure
21 Sep 2017
US $ 4645
excluding flights
Click here to enquire about or book the 21 Sep 2017 departure
16 Oct 2017
US $ 4575
excluding flights
Click here to enquire about or book the 16 Oct 2017 departure
Our top tip:
Pack light layers - the temperature fluctuates.
Trip type:
Small group, 4-16 adults (min. age 16), plus tour leader.
Activity level:
7 nights hotel, 4 nights full service camping.
Solo travelers welcome. Single rooms available for a surcharge.
All breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 dinners.
Accommodation, transport, listed activities, tour leader.
Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Bhutan vacation, Land of the thunder dragon


Few vacations have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a walking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints, although this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants, use markets to purchase traditional gifts and crafts. Also in visiting landmarks and cultural sites, our fees contribute to the upkeep of these places e.g. Simtokha Dzong, Tashichho Dzong, and Memorial Chorten.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.


Accommodation & Meals:
During your trip to Bhutan you will spend most nights in hotels and 4 nights camping. The hotels and campsites employ local staff and try to source produce locally if possible in order to promote the area’s economy. The hotels usually offer buffet style food which is a mixture of Bhutanese and Chinese fare. All meals are provided, but clients are encouraged to stop in cafes as much as possible e.g. there is a small cafe opposite the Tiger’s Nest Monastery which has the perfect view of the buildings clinging to the mountain, so this is a good place to stop for a bite. Your local tour leader will be able to point out several authentic spots which are more off the tourist trail and would benefit from your commerce.

Local Craft & Culture:
This tour has a large focus on celebrating the culture of Bhutan and, of course, local crafts and traditions come into this. We visit multiple monasteries and workshops, for example the weaving center and handicraft school in Thimpu. Our tours benefit these small communities here as travelers purchase goods as souvenirs and often make donations. There is also the advantage of perpetuating these ancient ways of life and manners of producing goods. The most flamboyant display of culture we support on the trip is the Paro Festival, where hundreds gather to see monks dressed in colourful brocade and painted masks, re-enacting tales about gods with music and dance. Also by law, $70 of the daily cost of any trip in Bhutan goes towards education and health.

A Fair Deal:
We employ guides from the area for their insider’s knowledge and huge passion for Bhutan. In exchange for this local expertise, we are happy to give fair wages and treatment to all our staff. They are fully trained and also given refresher courses on responsible travel issues and so are able to convey this to clients in careful briefings. These might include advice on where and when to dispose of litter on a trekking trail or appropriate dress and donations when entering a temple.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

Reviews of Bhutan vacation, Land of the thunder dragon

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 16 Oct 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Popular similar vacations

Himalayan tours to Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal

Himalayan tours to Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal

Explore stunning Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan

From £2055 16 days excluding flights

Bhutan vacations, cultural tours

Bhutan vacations, cultural tours

Discover Bhutan for a once in a lifetime experience

From £1105 11 days excluding flights

Himalayan cultural tour, Bhutan and Nepal

Himalayan cultural tour, Bhutan and Nepal

Discover Bhutan, the land of the Thunder Dragon

From £1943 13 days excluding flights

Cultural tour of Bhutan

Cultural tour of Bhutan

Tailored experience to meet the people of Bhutan

From £1899 - £2199 9 days excluding flights

Convert currencies