Explore Bhutan - Land of the Thunder Dragon
November 2 - 16, 2022
Group size - 12
Trip Leader - Gene Goldberg | Assistant Leader - Deirdre Butler
The small Kingdom of Bhutan sits balanced in the valleys of the Himalayas, balanced between the giants of China and India, balanced between an ancient past and a modern future, balanced between a manual, rural lifestyle and a digital urban one, balanced between Buddhist traditions and the industrial age.
Now is a good time to explore this Land of the Thunder Dragon with us, to visit its countryside, its ancient temples, its humble villages, and to see it in transition as its people engage in a conscious struggle to enter the modern world without losing their traditional values.
In my homeland I possess one hundred horses, yet if I go, I go on foot. –Bhutanese proverb
Bhutan is about the same size as Switzerland, with about 1/10 the population, 800,000, or about the same as Albuquerque, NM. It is one of the few countries in the world that has been independent throughout its history. The first paved road was built in 1964, and the first foreign tourists permitted in 1974. In 2008 the country became a constitutional monarchy with the adoption of the current constitution and the ascension of the current king, Jigme Keshar Namgyel Wangchuck.
“There is no colonial history or architecture to get in the way of what is Bhutanese.”
On our trip we will explore western and central Bhutan. We will be taking short walks to richly decorated temples, monasteries perched on cliff sides, impregnable fortresses, and traditional villages. We will visit people in their homes and important cultural sites such as the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Taktsang Goempa.) We will watch the national sport of archery, partake in the daily life of the Bhutanese in their homes, and also their festive celebrations as we attend a Drubchen, a traditional festival honoring local deities.
This trip is suited for active walkers who like to hike 2-3 miles daily in hilly and sometimes steep and maybe muddy conditions. We have one hike of 4.5 miles with 2,100 feet of elevation gain on rocky trails with steep drop offs. That day it is possible to rent a horse to ride 2/3 of the way up, but not down. Our elevations vary from 7,200 feet to 10,200 feet. All hikes are optional.
All lodging in three-star hotels (twin occupancy with ensuite bath).
International return flight Bangkok-Paro-Bangkok.
Domestic flight from Bumthang to Paro.
Full time English speaking local guide.
Group airport transfers.
All on-trip land transportation in a private air-conditioned bus including luggage transfers.
Processing and purchase of Bhutanese Visitor Pass for US citizens, others please inquire.
All on-trip meals including non-alcoholic beverages.
Bottled water on the private bus and in the hotels.
All entrance fees for listed activities.
Gratuities for local service providers.
All hikes and activities as described in the itinerary.
What’s not included:
International flights to/ from your home to Bangkok.
Tips for trip leaders are at your discretion.
Our trip begins with an included return round trip flight from Bangkok. The flight will leave Bangkok on the morning of November 2 and return there from Paro on November 16.
Remember in your planning, that flights crossing the Pacific from the US cross the International Date Line, so it takes three calendar days to get to Bangkok. For example, if you leave California on the evening of October 30 on an overnight flight, you will skip the 31st instantly as you cross the date line, thus arriving in Bangkok on the evening of November 1st. Then you can make our flight to Paro on the morning of the 2nd. On your return home, even though your flight is 12 hours long, because you cross the date line again you may well land earlier than your departure time! You are strongly encouraged to arrive in Bangkok a day or two early to enjoy the city and help overcome jet lag before our trip begins and especially to allow for any flight delays or lost baggage.
Trip Dates November 2 - 16, 2022 | 15 days
Trip Price and Deposit:
Land Cost: $6,000 *
Air Cost: $1,200 **
Total Cost: tbc
* Trip cost may be subject to change in the event local land costs are increased by government mandate upon Bhutan reopening post pandemic.
** International return flight Bangkok-Paro-Bangkok cost in 2021. Subject to change for 2022.
Remainder to be paid by August 1st, 2022.
Price is based on double occupancy of rooms. Same gender roommate will be assigned to participants traveling solo. Single supplements are limited. Your non-refundable deposit will hold your reservation. Either pay on line (credit/ debit cards accepted) using our secure PayPal payment system or write a check, payable to “Big Round World”, and mail it to: PO Box 1337, Lyons, CO 80540.
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