Bhutan is a great place for a family holiday. The everyday ordinary is extraordinary in this Himalayan kingdom and will capture the hearts and minds of young and old alike.
Bhutan is ideal for families who love exploring and being outdoors. The culture, food, dress, architecture and natural beauty is so wonderfully different to anywhere else you’re likely to have been, but there’s no overwhelming daily culture shock to contend with. Wide open spaces, hands-on culture, and superb flexible guiding add up for a great family adventure.
The government policy of high value low impact tourism means that few foreigners visit the kingdom and local people are extraordinarily kind and generous to visitors, even more so when you travel as a family. To make it even more appealing for families, children aged under 12 are exempt from the minimum daily tariff.
We can arrange a variety of experiences for active families from walking, trekking and camping, mountain biking, rafting and archery as well as a stay in a farmhouse, learning to cook Bhutanese cuisine or a visit to a school to join students creating the kingdom’s 13 traditional arts and handicrafts.
For many just witnessing and being part of another way of life will simply be enough; visiting temples and monasteries brightly decorated with vivid paintings of saints and demons, lighting ritual butter lamps, spinning prayer wheels to send thoughts to heaven and chatting or playing with monks as young as six. There are nomadic yak herders to meet on the road, national dress to try on or wear, giant khuru outdoor darts to play and new foods in the market to taste from dried fish and yak cheese to ferns and Panda beer. And the giant phallus symbols painted on every house and shop in villages is bound to stimulate some interesting conversations! (they’re for good luck and to drive away evil spirits)
Electricity and plumbing can sometimes be a little erratic but dinner by candle-light add another dimension. While teenagers in particular may be surprised by lack of fashion and make-up choices, Internet connection (which becomes less reliable the further east you go) and tobacco (its sale is forbidden), parents will probably take all of these things as positive reasons to visit.
Menu choices are a little limited unless you are staying in one of the best boutique hotels but there is usually a choice of an Indian, Chinese or continental dish and most places will be happy to prepare something specific on request if ordered by your guide in advance. However, again, one of the main reasons to visit a country like Bhutan is to experience its country in the round and that in our experience includes the food. The luxury Uma Paro and Uma Punakha offer a special menu for younger palates and among their options of family-friendly accommodation, offer two-bedroom villas.
We carefully plan your holiday to take your interests into account and work with flexible guides who accompany you throughout your trip and will adapt your daily activities as you prefer. Road journeys can be slow and winding, but plenty of stops can be made along the way. Alternatively, we recommend confining your trip to western Bhutan where there is still plenty to see and do.
The best time to visit Bhutan also coincides with UK spring and autumn school holidays and if you’re prepared to wrap up warm while outside and snuggle up around a log stove inside during the cold winter months, Bhutan also makes an unusual holiday destination at Christmas.
For ideas for a great family holiday in Bhutan get in touch now.