Secretive and seductive, a visit to Bhutan is like stepping back in time, a hidden and exclusive gem that few others can claim to have visited. Tourists were only allowed to visit from 1974, and even then it was restricted to those travellers wanting to visit Bhutan on luxury high-end tours and treks, so it has retained all of its magic and authenticity. Bhutan is a Himalayan Kingdom sandwiched between India and Tibet, retaining its own distinct Buddhist way of life. Traverse rolling Himalayan foothills under snow-capped peaks, past fast-flowing glacial rivers and meandering through alpine meadows; Bhutan is staggeringly beautiful. But it gets better than that. The local culture and customs revolving around time-old Buddhist beliefs have left countless fortified monasteries (or Dzongs), colourful festivals with masked-dancers and a distinct architecture that luckily haven’t embraced modern western monstrosities. There is one road that leads from Paro in the west, through the capital Thimphu, the lush valley of Punakha, the glacial valley of Gangtey towards ‘mini Switzerland’ of Bumthang in the east and beyond. For those wanting a wonderful luxury holiday to Bhutan, the hotels that are opening are superb from the wonderful Amankora lodges or Uma or Six Senses hotels to more boutique and characterful hotels in remote locations. Bhutan makes for an amazing honeymoon (maybe combining the beaches of Thailand), and families will enjoy getting off-the-beaten track on a family adventure to Bhutan. There are countless trekking and walking holidays to Bhutan that are possible, from short day treks, or longer hikes in the mountains. Many come for a cultural tour of Bhutan, just taking in the views and the remoteness of it all. At Millis Potter, we will tailor an itinerary to suit your particular interests allowing you to immerse yourself in the destination, providing exclusive experiences from the best guides in Bhutan and using our extensive first-hand knowledge to give you honest and practical travel advice to Bhutan.
This is just an overview of the hotels and lodges we feature, from characterful boutique lodges to luxury hotels. We do have a range of other hotels that we use, so if you don't see from our portfolio what you are looking for, we almost certainly know about it and can help plan an itinerary using it.
This is a selection of experiences that allow you to see the destination in new and interesting ways. Almost all our experiences include a private guide, and can be then tailored to your particular interests. Indeed, many of the experiences we offer are created individually for our guests, so this list is by no means conclusive. In fact, we leave a couple of our best ideas up our sleeves for when you enquire with us.
Bumthang is located to the east of Gangtey, and is generally the furthest you get along the road in Bhutan before turning back or flying to Paro (although you can continue to Tashigang and Mongor and finish in Assam in India).
Gangtey is a small village located overlooking the stunning Phobjikha Valley in Bhutan and is between the towns of Trongsa and Punakha. Gangtey is one or the more rural places you will stay at on a tour of Bhutan
Punakha is located between Thimphu and Gangtey in Bhutan, and is located at a lower altitude of 1,250m on the intersection of the Mo Chhu River (meaning Female) and Po Chhu (meaning Male). The proximity to the river and low altitude has made the valley exceptionally fertile, with sweeping paddy-fields rising up from the river, terraced into the side of the valley.
Thimphu is Bhutan’s capital city, but only has a population of about 100,000 meaning that it is more like a town and still retains the unique Bhutanese architecture rather than allowing modern western styles to take over. It is located just a short drive away from Paro where you find Bhutan’s International Airport.
Paro is where Bhutan’s International Airport is located, and as such acts as either a starting point or end for a tour of Bhutan. It has a hugely impressive Dzong, as well as having the National Museum located in its watchtower, Ta Dzong.
Flying Time: Only Bhutanese Airlines fly into Bhutan, and they fly from Kathmandu, Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Bangkok and Singapore. It usually means having a night or two either side to ensure you make the connection.
Visiting Bhutan in January
January is a good month to visit Bhutan, although it can get chilly in the evenings and at higher altitudes. The views of the mountains are clear, and by day, they are perfect for taking day walks.
Visiting Bhutan in February
February is one of the most popular months as the temperatures are starting to get a little warmer, but it is still fairly cold at night.
Visiting Bhutan in March
March is the most popular month to visit Bhutan, partly due to the Paro Festival that takes places this month, or in early April. Temperatures are lovely, and the views are good, although it starts to get a little cloudy in the afternoons. The flowers start to bloom.
Visiting Bhutan in April
April is another great month to visit Bhutan, with lovely day and night-time temperatures. The rhododendrons are still in full bloom.
Visiting Bhutan in May
May starts to get a little warmer, and with it come cloudier mountains and short afternoon showers. It is still very much possible to visit Bhutan, and many of the hotels lower their prices.
Visiting Bhutan in June
The monsoon generally arrives towards to middle and end of June in Bhutan, and in this part of the Himalayas, it really rains hard!
Visiting Bhutan in July
July is another month for the monsoon, leaving the country green and lush.
Visiting Bhutan in August
August is still a monsoon month, but historically the rains ease off a little meaning you might have two or three days when it pours (usually at night anyway) with a chance to explore by day (but remember the rain coat). Some of the treks won't be possible, but seeing the culture and monasteries certainly will be fine.
Visiting Bhutan in September
The monsoon starts to ease off, but only really towards the end of the month so if you are rain-shy then try and move your travelling plans into October if possible, or the end of September. Needless to say, the country is wonderfully green and lush, and many festivals take place.
Visiting Bhutan in October
October is a perfect time to visit Bhutan, with lovely day-time temperatures in the mid-20s. However, it is incredibly popular, so aim to book your Bhutan holiday at least six months in advance to ensure you get the first-choice of your hotels. The trekking is great, given how green it still is post the monsoon. The views are clear of the high mountains.
Visiting Bhutan in November
November is another wonderful month to visit Bhutan, and the black-neck cranes arrive into the Phobjikha Valley near Gangtey, they even conduct a festival to welcome them each year.
Visiting Bhutan in December
It starts to get chillier in December, but it is still a great month to visit, especially in the lower valleys like Punakha when temperatures still reach the low 20s in the daytime. As its not too hot, the walk up Tiger's Nest Monastery isn't too challenging due to the heat.