As a veteran traveler, you want to explore a truly “off the beaten path” location that is treasured by historians and cultural anthropologists but largely off limits to run of the mill tourists from western nations. Bhutan offers unimaginable vistas of mountains and rivers as well as intriguing cultural artifacts, such as seventh century monasteries and fortresses as well as high mountain passes, some of which take you well over 15,000 feet above sea level.

The country provides exotic biking, hiking and trekking opportunities. Enjoy native cheese chili, warm hospitality, and local lama dances, and bargain at vegetable markets and shopping centers for handmade trinkets and tasty delicacies.

From the cultural heartland of the country in the Bhumthang Valley of Central Bhutan to the more cosmopolitan centers of western Bhutan, to make the best of Bhutan you need ideally at least a 12-day experience that takes you from Paro and Thimphu to Phobjikha, Trongsa, Wangdue, and beyond, as far as Jakar and Ura.

Thanks to the Bhutanese government’s restrictive travel policies, it can be difficult to book tours and venture to the far-flung sights and festivals of this magical country. Fortunately, the travel restrictions assure to maintain the Shangri La effect found in this remote Himalayan country as at most only 25,000 tourists per year come to visit Bhutan.

You can defy the myths associated with travel to the country and have a trip that’s as unique as it is spectacular. For instance, most conventional wisdom suggests that the best time to visit is during either the fall or the spring. However, Bhutan offers exceptional scenery and scintillating snow-capped views also during early winter, and the country provides a lush, exotically rain-drenched atmosphere during the summer. Moreover, when you visit during the “off seasons,” you can pretty much have the country to yourself.

Included in most packages are transfers per itinerary, meal costs, accommodations, and entrance fees to all the monuments. Visit fortresses constructed to defend the kingdom from Tibetan invaders and feel the pull of history. These monuments, known as Dzongs, offer insight into an ancient culture reworked by the tides of modern history.

You can catch a glimpse of Bhutan in three to six days but for truly exceptional tours to this modern-day Shangri-La you need to traverse the entire country, from west to east, and for that you best consider a 14 to 17 days odyssey that will assure you’ll be touching most of the major landmarks in this South Asian gem.

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