Offer: Village Ways offers Villages and Valleys of Bhutan from $3,742pp sharing (or from $3,211 in a party of 3 – 6), including 12 nights’ accommodation (including a mix of farmhouse, homestay, hotel and community guesthouse), all meals in the villages, transfers, and internal flights and guiding. International flights are extra. The trip is available all year round.
The highlight of this trip is spending time in a small village, witnessing first hand local customs and traditions. After transferring to Bumthang, with its collection of temples and palaces, guests head into the beautiful Ura Valley. Here, visitors stay five nights in a community guesthouse run by local youths, the only such guesthouse in the country, and ease into the rhythms of village life, spending time with the residents and enjoying short walks out into the surrounding hills. Highlights will include visiting yak herds, strolling through mushroom-carpeted forests, enjoying renditions of traditionally folk music and a highly-recommended hot stone bath, known locally as Ura Grakchu.
The holiday begins in Paro, a historic town set high up among the foothills of the Himalaya offering spectacular views. After meeting their guide and a trip to the hilltop fort of Rinpung Dzong, guests spend the second day visiting the Taktsang Monastery, a sacred site known as the Tiger’s Nest. This white-walled monastery is perched on a cliff edge, and it is believed that Guru Rinpoche, founding father of the Bhutanese form of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived here on the back of a tigress for meditation. Guests require rather less bravery, making the 2-3 hour journey on foot and horseback.
After leaving the Ura Valley, guests head slowly towards Thimpu, Bhutan’s captivating capital – the only capital in the world without traffic lights, their base for two nights. En route, there are stops at the Chhune Valley, home to the country’s famous Yatra weaving, and Phobjikha, the winter nesting site of black necked cranes.
Contributors: Hugh Collins from Julia Spence Public Relations