Bhutan Cultural Tours

Discover the spirit of the Bhutanese people, visit sacred monasteries and temples, and experience awe-inspiring landscapes

Our range of suggested Bhutan cultural tours are designed to bring you into close contact with an unspoiled land that is home to a vibrant Buddhist way of life, and as close in spirit to ‘Shambala’ – or paradise – as an earth bound kingdom can be.

The mysterious mountain kingdom of Bhutan was isolated from the rest of the world until very recently, preserving its rich culture and traditions. It is a deeply devout country steeped in the ancient traditions of Mahayana Buddhism. Dzongs, monasteries and temples are at the heart of every town and village while prayer flags flutter from chortens or the tops of hills. People still predominantly wear traditional garb, with men in a kimono style Gho, and women in an ankle-length dress called a Kira. Our tours are designed to bring clients into close contact with this unspoiled land and its vibrant Buddhist way of life. Tours visit numerous sacred sites: dzongs, temples, landmarks, monasteries, markets, farmhouses, schools and museums. Specialty programs include photography, biking, bird watching, festival and pilgrimage tours.

To find out more about our range of recommended Bhutan cultural tours, please download pages below or click here to download the full Bhutan cultural tours section of our Bhutan e-brochure.

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Bhutan Cultural

Taktsang Monastery

Taktsang Monastery

Clinging precariously to a rocky cliff above a 900m sheer drop, the Taktsang Monastery is one of the most sacred and iconic sights in Bhutan.

According to legend, Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century flew to this site on the back of a tigress to subdue a local demon and meditated there in a cave for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours. A temple was built here in 1692 and then a monastery. This spectacular site, also known as ‘Tifer’s Nest’ is 3,120 m above sea level and reaching it requires a fairly energetic hike of 2 to 3 hours through pine and rhododendron forest. Another temple en route provides famous views of Taktsang from across the valley.
Bhutan Cultural Tours temples and fortresses

Ancient temples, monasteries and fortresses

The once hidden mountain kingdom of Bhutan has a long, rich architectural heritage, evident in the country’s many ancient fortresses and monasteries.

Religion is part of everyday life, and Buddhist chortens (stupas), temples and monasteries are found throughout the country. Spectacular fortresses (dzongs) with massive defensive walls are found on hilltops or along rivers. Their massive defensive walls provided protection for local rulers, administrators and monks. Most contain temples and monasteries. The magnificent Punakha Dzong in Bhutan’s ancient capital Punakha, was built in 1637 and has a stunning three-storey temple.
Buddhist Festival

Attend a Tsechu, a Buddhist Festival

Experience a genuine Buddhist festival (Tsechu), a religious celebration in honour of Guru Rimpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan.

Local people gather in a spirit of festivity and deep faith to witness unique dances, celebrations and spiritual rituals. These colourful ceremonies with masks, elaborate costumes, cultural dances and music, provide a fascinating and moving insight into Bhutanese culture.

Bumthang, Bhutan’s spiritual heartland

The historic district of Bumthang is the country’s spiritual heartland and the first place Buddhism was introduced to Bhutan by Guru Rimpoche.

Its undulating green valleys are renowned for their natural beauty, historic palaces and numerous temples. Some of these include Kurje Lhakhang, home to a rock featuring the imprint of Guru Rimpoche’s body, Jambay Lhakhang temple dating from the 7th century, and the Tamshing Monastery containing some of the oldest wall paintings in Bhutan.
Black-necked crane

Phobjikha – Winter home to the black-necked crane

The Phobjikha Valley (2,900m) is often described as “the most beautiful valley in the most beautiful country in the Himalayas”.

Every winter, rare and graceful Black-necked Cranes return from Tibet to the safety of this quiet and remote wilderness and can usually be seen between November and March. A festival is held every year in honour of the cranes – please see our Festivals page. Apart from the Black-necked Crane Sanctuary, the valley is also home to the historic 17th century Gangtey Goema Monastery.
Bhutan wildlife

Countless rare animals and endemic plants

Bhutan is 72% forest and is considered to be one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots. Altitudes vary from 150 to 7,000 metres.

Habitats range from snow-covered Himalayan peaks, glaciers and high alpine meadows to lowland tropical forests. The Jigme Dorji National Park is the largest in Bhutan and covers many habitats, harbouring fascinating wildlife such as takin (a rare goat-antelope), snow leopard, black bear, red panda and even the Bengal tiger. Tropical areas like the Royal Manas National Park are home to tiger, leopard, one-horned rhino, elephant, swamp deer, golden langur monkey and over 360 species of bird.
Bhutan landscapes

Inspiring landscapes of mountains, valleys, forests and streams

From soaring Himalayan peaks and rhododendron forests to tropical grasslands, Bhutan has spectacular landscapes.

Rugged mountains, steep river valleys, terraced fields and traditional villages make for picturesque scenery. Monasteries cling to sheer cliff faces and dzong fortresses perch on mountaintops. Your camera shutter will never stop clicking as one amazing view is swiftly followed by another.

Bhutan Itineraries

We have a unique selection of suggested Bhutan cultural tours designed to help you discover the unique spirit of this Himalayan kingdom. All of our tours are completely tailor made featuring a range of accommodation styles customised to suit our clients interests, budget, and timeframe. To find out more about the type of Bhutan tour we can put together for you, please download pages below.

Spirit of Bhutan

Spirit of Bhutan

Discover the uniquely preserved culture and natural beauty of the kingdom of Bhutan. Tour the popular western valleys, visiting historic fortresses, ancient monasteries and sacred temples set against a dramatic Himalayan backdrop.

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Dragon Kingdom

Dragon Kingdom

Explore ‘The Dragon Kingdom’ on this in-depth tour, which offers insight into the ancient way of life that still thrives in Bhutan today. Discover the historic valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Bhutan’s spiritual heartland, Bumthang.

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Gateway to Bhutan

Gateway to Bhutan

This 7 day tour is ideal for those wishing to enter Bhutan overland from India. Enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayan foothills as you venture into Bhutan’s spectacular western valleys, dotted with sacred sites.

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The Last Shangri-La

Journey Across Bhutan

This comprehensive tour is designed for those who seek deeper insight into Bhutan. It begins in the gentle valleys of the west and journeys across spiritual central Bhutan before exploring the sights of the rugged, rarely visited east.

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