Bhutan Holidays

Extraordinary journeys in the world's last Himalayan kingdom

Recently emerged from centuries of isolation, Bhutan remains largely untouched by the modern world, its pristine wilderness synonymous with its unique mountain culture.

Bhutan is an extraordinary country in a state of transition with a massive commitment to conservation that belies its diminutive size.

Travelling in Bhutan is an experience like no other. Bashfully opening its doors to outsiders in the 1980s the Bhutanese still have a unique way of doing things. The highest mountains remain largely unmapped, unnamed, unclimbed and unexplored; some are sacred and it’s taboo to climb them. Gross National Happiness is deemed more important than Gross National Product, smoking and plastic bags are forbidden and it’s enshrined in law that Bhutan will maintain at least 60% of its forest cover - forever.

Narrow roads tortuously snake their way between the hills and over high passes, often topped with chortens and prayer wheels that afford brief but far reaching views to distant snow-capped peaks. Leave the car behind you’ll very quickly find yourself in flower rich alpine meadows, beneath giant rhododendrons clinging to vertical cliffs or deep in virgin forests of blue pine and oak festooned with garlands of lichen.

Being on foot remains the best way to discover the kingdom ’s hidden treasures; a stride through a stunning glacial river valley, a  meander to hidden temples, their walls covered in demons and dwarves, or for the more ambitious, a complete wilderness experience that sets it apart from trekking anywhere else in the Himalaya - there are no lodges or tea houses and you stay in simple overnight camps pitched by your crew. Dinner is taken beneath a vast canopy of stars and sleep under canvas is accompanied by the sound of bells tied to your pack ponies.

THE LESS-IS-MORE FORMULA NATURAL HIGH ADVOCATES MAKES COMPLETE SENSE. LUXURY LIES IN EXPOSING THE SENSORY, INSTINCTIVE SELF TO THE SCENTS AND SOUNDS OF THE WILD”

- THE DAILY BEAST

Planning a trip to Bhutan? Talk to us
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OUR TOP EXPERIENCES

The secret path to the Tigers Nest

OFF GRID IN REMOTE BHUTAN

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OUR TOP EXPERIENCES

TREKKING ON BHUTAN'S ANCIENT DRUK PATH

PRISTINE WILDERNESS AND SPECTACULAR MOUNTAIN VIEWS

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Best time to go to Bhutan

Bhutan's spring and autumn are generally the best seasons to visit - but the weather is prone to sudden changes no matter when you travel

Bhutan’s climate is determined by the monsoon cycle and weather is dramatically affected by altitude. Sandwiched between Tibet and India the land sharply rises from a handful of fertile valleys to permanently frozen peaks of over 7000m and there are many local climatic variations. 

A popular time to explore Bhutan is autumn, from the end of September to early December when the skies are clear after the monsoon rains, giving fantastic views of the mountains. As winter progresses the chance of snow increases and higher passes may be blocked.

Although views are not quite as clear in spring, from March to May, this is the time to enjoy rhododendrons and magnolias in bloom in the mountains. In both these seasons days mainly are warm (mid 20sC) and dry and the sun strong when it’s out - but it's best to be prepared for rain at any time amd a variety of temperatures in one day as you ascend and descend again. Nights are cold.

Through June to August it’s cloudy, hot and humid with bursts of heavy rainfall making it too slippery underfoot to undertake treks but as rates are much lower the summer is worth considering for a more cultural based trip.

Rare black-necked cranes migrate to the Phobjikha Valley in late October and usually leave by mid-February.

START YOUR ADVENTURE TODAY Talk to Andrea about Bhutan

Where to stay in Bhutan

Many of the formerly woeful places that accommodated the first visitors to Bhutan have now seriously raised their game and are joined by a growing number of stylish lodges

Historically Bhutanese architecture was shaped by the topography and climate as well as cultural traditions and spiritual beliefs and government guidelines now ensure its conservation; today hotel buildings emulate flying gable roofs above elevations of stone or rammed earth whitewashed in lime and colourful floral, iconographic and spiritual paintings adorn walls both inside and out. 

In recent years service and comfort have hugely improved handful of more luxurious lodges the unpretentious COMO Uma Punakha with its excellent restaurant and setting over above the Mo Chuu River, and Gangtey Lodge with roaring fires and enormous bath tubs overlooking the valley are recommended.

For those with a spirit of adventure a night or two at a family farmstay offers a first-hand insight into rural life, though be prepared for limited electricity and running water. 

The Bhutanese hot stone bath

Don't miss the chance to try a traditional hot stone bath while you are in Bhutan. A blend of ancient Indian and Tibetan practices, the wooden bath is historically outside the house and near a river and the bathing itself an all day event with people taking it in turns to soak in the water.

Whether taking an authentic bath at a homestay, or in the more private surroundings of a lodge spa, large, round river boulders are heated for hours in a fire and slowly dropped into a chamber in a wooden bath of mountain water and herbs inlcuding artemisea leaves. The combination is believed to produce medicinal benefits for joint pains, hypertension, stomach disorders and arthritis – even better if you’ve consulted an astrologer to select an auspicious bathing day for maximum effect.

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OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY IN BHUTAN

UMA PARO

The perfect location for hikes to Tiger's Nest and beyond

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OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY IN BHUTAN

Gangtey Lodge

An effortless blend of vernacular architecture and spoiling luxury in the remote Phobjikha valley

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OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY IN BHUTAN

Uma Punakha

Sitting above the Mo Chuu River this little lodge has spectacular views and rooms warmed by wood burning stoves

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OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY IN BHUTAN

Amankora

Stylish lodges designed with total comfort in mind

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Blog

A typical day on a Bhutan trek

Days on trekking holidays have a reassuring rhythm. A typical day on a Bhutan trek starts with the trek crew making tea in the early morning. You’re...
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Blog

Bhutan Monasteries: where phallic symbols aren’t rude (or funny)

It’s not long since the only way to reach this region of saints and demon slayers was to cross the Black Mountains on horseback or on foot. There is...
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Blog

Bhutan Festivals. Why festivals are the high point of life in Bhutan

Most of Bhutan’s festivals are religious ones or tsechus, but everyone enjoys a good party and the Bhutanese are no exception – these are lively...
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Blog

Brokpa Style in Bhutan - More than a fashion statement

The twin valleys of Merak and Sakteng, hidden in the far flung regions of eastern Bhutan have only recently opened to visitors. Where the roads...
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+44 (0) 1747 830950

Our experienced travellers include:

Catherine Ronan
Catherine Ronan
Olly Williams
Olly Williams
Andrea Hulme
Andrea Hulme

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.

All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

Reviews

Another Perfect Trip

"Morocco was our fourth trip with Natural High and true to past trips, the itinerary was right on point for our interest and goals, all logistics went off without a hitch and the service throughout the trip was high end. Everyone we worked with were friendly and professional. We had a fantastic time...Thank you!"

Tom & Karen Holterhoff

Perfect holiday from start to finish.

"Absolutely excellent service. The itinerary was spot on and the whole holiday worked like clockwork. The pre holiday notes and briefing were most useful too. I would have no hesitation in recommending Natural High Safaris to others."

Angela R CR

Fabulous trip to Tanzania

"This is the second time we have used Natural High Safaris, and again they organised an outstanding holiday for us, this time in Tanzania, combining a safari and beach holiday that was top-notch. Highly recommend them, with huge range of experience and desire to really understand what it is their clients want - and then delivering! Thanks to Catherine Ronan."

Anonymous

An outstanding trip to the Himalayas superbly designed by Natural High.

"Natural High organised a 2 week family trip to Ladakh in August 2018. Andrea Hulme used her local knowledge to design an exciting trip that included a 5 day trek, white water rafting and numerous cultural visits and experiences. Their local partners Shakti were absolutely outstanding and we loved staying in the village houses as opposed to hotels. Their female Ladakhi guide Sonam was really one of the best we have every had on our travels."

Anonymous

Natural High

"Yet again another great holiday arranged by Natural High - Air France tried to ruin it but Natural High and their local agent were very helpful in resolving the problems caused. ."

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