Bhutan Tour – Travel Beyond the Ordinary

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Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

The Kingdom of Bhutan is nestled high in the Himalayas between China and India. Its storied history, unique culture and pristine environment are inextricably linked, and make it one of the few destinations left on Earth where people and nature exist in harmony. Come and join us on a journey to happiness with unprecedented access to the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan!

Mural in Paro, Bhutan. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Travel Beyond the Ordinary
Dates: TBD

Spirituality and the strong-rooted Bhutanese culture can be found in almost everything the Bhutanese people do on a daily basis, including how they eat, how they work, and how they relate with the natural environment. They have immense love and respect for their King, their country, their people, and other beings. Due to the strong belief in Rebirth and Karma, Bhutanese people are usually contended, peace-loving, non-violent, and amiable.

2022 tour participant Christine T. felt that on the tour, ” The volume of direct access to Bhutanese people was exceptional every day.”

Itinerary Overview

Day 01: Paro & Thimphu
Day 02: Thimphu
Day 03: Thimphu & Punakha
Day 04: Punakha
Day 05: Punakha & Thimphu
Day 06: Thimphu, Paro & Haa
Day 07: Haa & Paro
Day 08: Paro
Day 09: Departure from Paro
Optional Extension: Laya (6 days)
Optional Extension: Merak (5 days)

Bhutan Forest Retreat interior
Interior of Bhutan Forest Retreat. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Tour Details

DAY 01: Paro & Thimphu

  • Arrive Paro International Airport
  • Receive welcome blessings and a spiritual cleansing from high lama at Dungtse Monastery (contributes to preserving ancient art and relics. A lama is a higher rank and more spiritually accomplished individual compared to monks)
  • Drive to Thimphu (1 hour)
  • Observe or join nuns in prayer at nunnery
  • Dinner with Dasho Tshering Dorji to learn about Bhutan’s history, culture, and happiness policy (Dash Tshering is His Majesty’s special projects strategic advisor).
  • Overnight: The Willows Hotel, Thimphu
Bhutanese prayer wheel - Bhutan tour
Bhutanese monk at prayer wheel. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Today we’ll arrive at Paro International Airport. Our first stop will be at Dungtse Monastery to receive welcome blessings and a spiritual cleansing from the high lama, before making our way to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan (about a 1 hour drive.) Once in town, we’ll take time to immerse in Bhutanese culture by observing (or joining) nuns in prayer at a local nunnery. Afterward, we’ll conclude the day with dinner and a conversation with Dasho Tshering Dorji, a notable nation builder of Bhutan and expert on the country’s policy of Gross National Happiness.

2022 tour participant Melodye G. said that dinner with Dasho Tshering Dorji was, “Wonderful! Great experience to get to talk to him.”

Tshering Dorji was elected as a Member of Parliament in the National Council for the last two terms and served as the Deputy Chairperson of the National Council in his last term. Prior to his election in the Parliament, he was a Lecturer at Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan.

“Dasho” is a title similar to the title “Sir” in British Monarchy.

Bhutan tour - group crossing suspension bridge.
2022 Tour group crossing suspension bridge in Bhutan. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

DAY 02: Thimphu

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Begana Lemon Grass processing unit
  • Hike the Ancient Takin Trail (the only hiking trail in Thimphu city)
  • Meet Bhutan’s national animal, the takin
  • Traditional cooking lesson and lunch with Aum Kesang
  • Visit one of the world’s largest sitting Buddha statues
  • Kira shopping
  • Traditional dyeing and weaving lesson at Secret Garden
  • Dinner at Secret Garden
  • Overnight: The Willows Hotel, Thimphu

Bhutan’s Lemon Grass is known for its high citral content. It’s used as an odor neutralizer and for medicinal purposes. We will explore how this Lemon Grass is processed. Afterward, we will hike the Ancient Takin Trail. The takin is Bhutan’s national animal, which eats grass, buds and leaves. They are a large species of ungulate (large mammals with hooves) and are similar to goats and sheep.

Next, we’ll head to Aum Kesang’s family home in the mountains to learn how to cook some of Bhutan’s traditional foods and learn why their ingredients are so good for our health.

2022 tour participant Pam K. said about Aum Kesang, “She was fascinating and really opened my eyes to the country’s food desert challenges and how she helped address them. She’s also very creative.”

With a unique food culture unlike anywhere else, Bhutanese cuisine offers a variety of choices and a very unique taste. Restaurants and farm homes serve locally sourced organic farm produce, making every meal a fresh and healthy one (Bhutan has committed to being the first nation in the world to go 100% organic).

“Aum” is a phrase that indicates respect towards a woman of seniority in Bhutanese culture, similar to “Madam” in English.

After lunch, we will visit one of the world’s largest sitting Buddha statues, the Great Buddha Dordenma, and spend some time shopping for kiras, the traditional dress of women in Bhutan. Next, we will learn some of the traditional fabric dyeing and weaving techniques at Secret Garden, where we will also have dinner.

Bhutan sacred dancers.
Bhutanese sacred dancers. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Day 03: Thimphu & Punakha

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Drive to Punakha (2 hours)
  • Plant a tree sapling in Lamperi Park (Dochula Pass) with Green Bhutan.
  • Meet the children at Gakhid Village School
  • Stop at Dochula Pass (3100m altitude)
  • Stop at Chimi Lhakhang (temple of fertility)
  • Lunch at local restaurant
  • Time on own before dinner
  • Dinner at hotel
  • Overnight: Spirit Village Lodge, Punakha

Today we’ll head to Punakha, which was the capital of Bhutan until 1955. On the way we will stop at Dochula Pass, where we will enjoy striking, panoramic views of the Himalayan vista. We will stop to plant a tree sapling in Lamperi Park, the first botanical park in Bhutan and also to meet the children at Gakhid Village School. Our next stop will be at Chimi Lhakhang, a Buddhist monastery and fertility temple. We will then enjoy lunch at a local favorite restaurant and have time on our own to explore before dinner.

Dinner and overnight will be at the Spirit Valley Lodge in Punakha.

Mountains in Bhutan.
Mountains in Bhutan. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Day 04: Punakha

  • Light hike to Khamsum Yuelley Monastery (1 hour)
  • Lunch at local restaurant
  • Explore Punakha Dzong with acclaimed Bhutanese architect
  • Time on own before dinner
  • Dinner at hotel
  • Overnight: Spirit Village Lodge, Punakha

Today we will visit the Khamsum Yuelley Chorten, built in dedication to the 5th King (Bhutan’s current King), to protect the country from evil forces and for the welfare of sentient beings. We will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then explore the Punakha Dzong (a type of fortified monastery) with an acclaimed Bhutanese architect.

We will again have time on our own to explore before dinner. Dinner and overnight will be at the Spirit Valley Lodge in Punakha.

Tiger's Nest Monastery in Bhutan.
Kim Orlando near the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

DAY 05: Punahka & Thimphu

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Drive to Thimphu (2 hours)
  • Lunch at Ambient Cafe, known for roasting their own coffee
  • Visit Thuktro and Chuningding, a local health food store
  • Friendly co-ed softball game with youth at national stadium
  • Overnight: The Willows Hotel, Thimphu

In the morning, we will drive back to Thimphu and enjoy lunch at Ambient Cafe. Afterward, we will visit Thuktro and Chuningding, a local health food store.

Baseball and softball are new to Bhutan and a huge hit! In the afternoon, we’ll participate in a casual, friendly game of co-ed softball with some of Bhutan’s young players.

2022 tour participant Tina D. loved meeting the young players and said, “They were absolutely wonderful and I’m still in touch with a few on social media.” Pam K. also added, “The young ladies were amazing and inspirational.”

Tonight we will stay at The Willows Hotel in Thimphu.

Bhutanese men celebrating festival. Bhutan tour
Bhutanese men celebrating festival. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Day 06: Thimphu, Paro & Haa

  • Drive to Paro (1 hour)
  • Drive to Haa (2 hours)
  • Riverside Picnic
  • Overnight at Comfort Camp
    • Traditional Bhutanese games
    • Sacred dances and folkloric songs by performers from the largest festivals
    • Bonfire and Bhutanese whiskey tasting

Today we will drive to Paro and afterward, we leave for Haa Valley. On the way, we cross over Chelela Pass which is the highest motorway in Bhutan. Lunch will be a riverside picnic. We will overnight at a Comfort Camp in Haa, where we will experience the traditional Bhutanese games of archery and darts. We will also enjoy sacred dances and folkloric songs, by performers from the largest festivals, as well as a bonfire and Bhutanese whiskey tasting.

2022 tour participant Christine T. thought the sacred song and dance ceremony was, “extraordinary. Much admired and appreciated.” Melodye G. also loved the dancers. Tina D. felt that, “The team went over and above with dinner and accomodations. It was wonderful.”

Bhutan is the only carbon negative country in the world, and the Bhutanese are dedicated to keeping it that way. The Comfort Camp is luxurious, fully solar-powered and keeps an environmentally-friendly waste policies to reduce or completely eliminate waste from the site. The Comfort Camp was made with design-forward textiles made by hand in Bhutan.

Festival in Paro, Bhutan.
Festival in Paro. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

DAY 07: Haa & Paro

  • Breakfast at camp
  • Hike local farmer’s trail to remote countryside village
  • Optional: Cycle the breathtaking Haa Valley
  • Taste the local delicacy, Hoentey (buckwheat dumplings)
  • Drive to Paro (2 hours)
  • Check in to hotel
  • Traditional Hot Stone Bath
  • Overnight: Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary

After breakfast at the Comfort Camp, we will enjoy hiking and cycling experiences in the Haa Valley, and also taste hoentay, a type of dumpling popular here in Bhutan. We will then return to Paro and check in to the Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary, where we will receive a traditional medicine consultation and herbal treatment. Then we will have a traditional hot stone bath and overnight at the sanctuary.

2022 tour participant Christine T. felt that the added day is important, “Excellent place and intended for multiple days with depth participation. I think context can be given to make a brief stop worthwhile, but that perspective is important.”

Bhutan tour
Learning about Bhutan. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Day 08: Paro

Today we will hike to the sacred Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang) monastery in search of the cave where Guru Rinpoche (the founder of the monastery) meditated.

2022 tour participant Christine T. didn’t experience the hike but said, “I was there at the base but never hiked. The feeling of delight among those entering the forest, and returning was palpable. I can confirm this is an important and exceptional opportunity.”

After a picnic lunch we will have some time to relax and shop in Paro. Tonight’s stay will also be at the Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary.

2022 tour participant Pam K. felt that, “The picnic was lovely and a good chance to interact with the locals who prepared it for us.” and Melodye G. said, “Loved the luxury stay.”

Day 09: Paro

Depart via Paro International Airport. Departures to Laya and Merak.

Punakha in Bhutan.
Punakha, Bhutan. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Tour Pricing…………..$8,995 (does not include airfare or airport xfrs).  Single supplement…Coming Soon 

Contact: Kim Orlando at or (203) 912-9099 with any questions and to register.  Space is limited to 10 guests.

SheBuysTravel will provide visa protocols.

There are no direct flights from the US or Europe to Bhutan.  We recommend flying to Delhi or Bangkok and connecting from there.  It is best to arrive at the gate for the flight to Bhutan at least 3 hours before departure. Flights to Bhutan are available 1-2 times per day. They usually depart in the morning.  Our local partner is happy to help arrange all or part of the flight itinerary for you at no additional cost than the rate published on the airline’s website. If arranged through them, they will also provide dedicated support if the flight experiences any delays or cancellations.  We can also arrange a hotel night stay should you prefer to arrive into Delhi or Bangkok a day early.

Chela Pass in Bhutan
Chelala Pass. Photo credit: Kim Orlando

Cost Includes:

  • All activities described in the above itinerary
  • Private local guide, professional driver, and touring van
  • Airport transfers in Bhutan
  • Accommodations
  • Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Sustainable development fee (helps to support social and environmental wellness in Bhutan). Mandatory $200/day for all visitors.
  • Flight booking assistance
  • Bhutan’s constitution requires that over 60% of its land always remain forested. You will be gifted a tree sapling to plant in the place that is most special to you during your time in the Kingdom.

Cost does not include:

  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers in connecting country cities (i.e., Bangkok, Delhi, etc.)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Beverages
  • Laundry
  • Items of personal nature


What to pack for Bhutan


  • Passport
  • Visa Clearance Letter
  • Airline Ticket(s)


One of Each:

  • Walking Shoes (review our list of best travel shoes here)
  • Rain Jacket
  • Sun Hat/Cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera & Camera Accessories
  • Fleece Jacket

Enough to Last the Trip:

  • Long Sleeved Shirts
  • Pants
  • T-Shirts
  • Socks
  • Undergarments



One of Each:

Enough to Last the Trip:

  • Base Layer
  • Insulation Layer
  • Wind Jacket
  • Trekking/Hiking Pants
  • Underwear
  • Trekking/Hiking Socks
  • Rain Clothing
  • Trekking/Hiking Gloves

We love shopping for these items from They have some great deals on quality products for adventure wear.


… and your sense of Adventure!

Suggested reading about Bhutan:

YouTube video

Kim Orlando, founder of SheBuysTravel, is a lifelong traveler, an entrepreneur and a sought-after social media and marketing consultant. She has made hundreds of appearances on TV and in digital and print media, sharing advice and tips built on decades of travel experiences. Hailing from the hills of Kentucky and taking her story to New York, Los Angeles, and beyond, Kim built an online platform, the original TravelingMom, that has reached millions of moms and empowered them to explore the world with their families. Today, TravelingMom has evolved into SheBuysTravel. Kim has been featured on “News Nation,” “Today,” “Good Morning America” and on numerous satellite media tours. She has contributed travel guidance to outlets including The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and more. (Read more about Kim’s media appearances here) Her travel mantra is simple: All travel counts. “You don’t have to go far. Leaving your home is travel,” Kim says. “Wherever you go, even just to the next town over, you can learn something new, see someone and something you haven’t seen before. “It’s good for the brain and good for the soul.” An epiphany in early parenthood started Kim on the journey that led to SheBuysTravel. She’d been a fan of a newsletter for women travelers, and she saw an opportunity. “I thought something like that for moms could be extraordinarily helpful,” she said. “I was traveling for work, traveling for fun, and I was looking for support.” That seed grew into the award-winning website TravelingMom, created as a resource for traveling families of all stripes. Today, TravelingMom has evolved into SheBuysTravel, with an expanded mission to serve women travelers at any stage of life. Millions of readers have visited the site for trip planning help, travel secrets, destination information and gear recommendations. What sets SheBuysTravel’s content apart, Kim says, is its foundation in real-world experience. “Our writers and editors have actually gone out there and done this stuff,” she says. “They’ve booked the flights, tried the tour, tested travel clothing, visited that new hot spot to see if it’s worth the hype. It’s all real.” Memorable Adventures A 2022 tour Kim guided to Bhutan was a particularly standout experience. “Bhutan sounds so exotic, of course,” she said. “But the part where my heart just glows and warms is thinking of the people we met – amazing women doing amazing things in Bhutan.” Their ranks included a former police officer whose ventures into food science helped mitigate food insecurity for residents of Bhutan’s highlands. Top Tips Planning for travel can be daunting, Kim acknowledges. “I always say: Go anyway. No trip is going to be perfect. There’s always going to be something you didn’t expect, something that doesn’t go the way you pictured or planned it. And that something is what’s going to make it a great trip.” And on a practical note: “Go early! Getting to the airport or hitting the road just an hour earlier relieves so much stress.” Kim’s Background Kim, a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, holds degrees in finance and entrepreneurship and has deep experience in developing and running businesses. Her previous work includes developing and running communications workshops and overseeing document management for corporations. SheBuysTravel hits a sweet spot where Kim’s two loves of travel and entrepreneurship meet. “The longer I work in this field, I only want to do more,” she says. “I find the travel world so exciting – not just the trips, but the whole online world of travel. There are still so many opportunities.” The World Awaits “The ‘best trip ever’ probably won’t be the same for an empty-nester or mom of three versus a single woman celebrating a bachelorette party with her friends,” Kim says. “We want to keep it real for traveling women, no matter what their age, life stage, where they came from or where they’re going. “We want to inspire women to travel in any shape or form.” In her free time, Kim enjoys visiting her adult kids, creating trips and traveling with her BFFs to explore the world. Her most recent adventures can be found on InstagramFacebook and LinkedIn.
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