Traveling in Bhutan with kids

What does Responsible Travel recommend?

The main problem with traveling in Bhutan with kids is the expense associated with it; children below the age of five are free, but children aged between five and 12 still pay 50% of the daily entry fee ($100-$125 per day). If you compare that to a family walking vacation in neighbouring Nepal then it’s pretty pricey, but if you compare it to a family safari vacation in Africa, for example, it looks more reasonable.
If you’re prepared for heat, hiking and the odd food standoff then Bhutan with kids is an endless adventure. If your kids are afraid of the unknown however, you might want to put Bhutan in reserve for when they’re a little older.

Things to do in Bhutan with kids

Activities for families

In Paro, Thimphu and even the smaller town of Trongsa, there are brilliant museums that don’t fulfill the old-fashioned image of being rather dull. Paro’s museum has some phenomenal depictions of ancient and cultural Bhutan from stuffed animals and birds, to traditional dresses, implements of war, spears and masks - touhy-feely things that kids like and that really engage their imaginations.
Tiny minds will be blown by the sheer amount of creativity going on at the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, a school that teaches students painting, woodcarving, embroidery and statue making across 13 traditional disciplines. Watch their mouths drop as they see things created in front of them that they have never seen before while you get some of the best pictures of your trip.
The Bhutanese encourage the stretching of little legs by making their National Parks extremely accessible. Jigme Dorgi National Park is packed with bright flowers, trees, birds and animals – in fact it’s the only park in Bhutan where the national animal (takin), flower (blue poppy), bird (raven) and tree (cypress) exist together, so you and your little people can while away a day in search of the elusive snow leopard.

Tips for families asks the experts

Rajat Kumar from our supplier, ExplorIndya shares his advice on shorter Bhutan treks for kids: “There are short nature walks of one or two hours available to families with young children that keep everyone occupied because the landscape is so dramatic. One shorter hike is the Taktsang, or Tiger’s Nest, Monastery, which clings to the edge of a cliff on a very small ledge of rock, and is actually very large although it looks tiny from a distance. There is a steeper, more challenging route for those that feel fit enough to take it on, but there is also a slightly longer route where younger visitors can get up to the incredible views on horseback. It isn’t unattainable and is engaging and lots of fun for children, plus there are plenty of places along the way to stop, have a drink of water, and admire the magnificent views of the Paro Valley.”
Ralph Foulds from our supplier, Uncover the World, shares his advice on fun activities for kids in Bhutan: “There are quite a lot of activities that you can do in Bhutan with children aged 6 and upwards and the types of families that travel to Bhutan are generally types that love to explore and get stuck in. Besides archery, which is probably a bit tricky for smaller hands, the other local sport is darts, but it’s played with bigger darts with no sharp ends exposed, which are then thrown at boards and other targets. This can be played all over the country in towns and villages and can be arranged for families through guides. You can light lamps in most of the temples during the evening - certainly at Bumthang – which can be organised through your guide and you can go and have a splash around in the Po Chu River at Punakha, which is great fun for kids.”
Photo credits: [Top box: Nagarjun Kandukuru] [Museums: Arian Zwegers] [Zorig Chusum: Stefan Krasowski] [National Parks - Blue poppy: TANAKA Juuyoh ] [Rafting: Zachary Collier]
Written by Polly Humphris
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