Bhutan festivals small group holiday

“A 13 day, small group cultural tour of Bhutan's monasteries, dzongs and dramatic landscapes, travelling by coach. 2 days in Kathmandu.”

Highlights

Kathmandu | Paro | Punakha | Punakha Dzong | Thimpu | Tiger's Nest Monastery

Description of Bhutan festivals small group holiday

Discover the peaceful beauty of the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan with this two week tour of its natural and historic sights. This is a small group holiday is culture-packed, led by local Bhutanese guides, and we’ll aim to see and do as much as possible in the time we’re here!

Our tour starts and ends in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, where we will have the time to browse the dazzling bazaars and temples, before catching a connecting flight to the picturesque city of Paro. From here we’ll drive east, through terraced rice fields and beautiful mountain landscapes, to Punakha. We will visit the interior of the majestic Punakha Dzong, once the seat of the Bhutanese government, before taking an easy hike to a local farm house where we can try some of the yak butter tea, a local speciality.

Keeping our eyes peeled for Himalayan black bears and muntjaks, we’ll wind our way through Phobjika Valley, stopping to see the famous Gangtey Monastery, before arriving at the capital of Bhutan: Thimphu. If you choose a tour that departs in November, one day will be spent watching the celebratory songs and dances of the annual Black Necked Crane Festival, which honour the winter arrival of the graceful black necked cranes.

The highlight of the tour is a visit to the iconic Tiger's Nest Monastery, precariously perched on a sheer cliff face, 900m above Paro Valley. The hike to the monastery is a demanding one, but the spectacular views are worth the effort.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
01 Oct 2019
£3980
including UK flights
Full
 
05 Nov 2019
£3799
including UK flights
Full
 
02 Mar 2020
£4165
including UK flights
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Click here to enquire about or book the 02 Mar 2020 departure
29 Mar 2020
£4545
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 29 Mar 2020 departure
20 Sep 2020
£4270
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 20 Sep 2020 departure
05 Nov 2020
£4240
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 05 Nov 2020 departure
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

Bhutan festivals small group holiday

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

This incredible trip explores Bhutan – a small Himalayan Kingdom that not only works to maintain its traditions, but has pledged to be carbon neutral for all time. A lofty ideal, but one that it is currently surpassed by being carbon negative – and the most carbon negative country in the world!

The country has achieved this by a mixture of sustainable policies including promoting electric cars that now comprise over 10% of all cars in the country and a reliance on hydroelectric power that significantly reduces its carbon emission in energy production.

On the trip we support this achievement by traveling in small groups of 10-14 people in a bus. We also walk as much as possible in each destination to allow the opportunity to really experience the scenery and to reduce driving time. The food in Bhutan is generally locally grown and the meals that we provide on the trip are predominantly vegetarian, using the best of local produce.

Our trips are led by local Bhutanese guides chosen for their excellent indigenous knowledge of the area and training. Their understanding of the country's flora, fauna and local culture will guarantee an accurate insight to traditional Bhutanese life.

One of the festivals that is celebrated on some of our trips to Bhutan is the Black Neck Crane Festival, which is an essential way to learn about and to contribute to the survival of this endangered species.

As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. CoolEarth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in.

Community

All travellers to Bhutan contribute (through the cost of their trip) to a compulsory Royalty levy part of which goes into education and health projects. All of the services we use in Bhutan such as hotels, restaurants, guides and transport are provided by locally owned and operated businesses, thus ensuring the financial impact of our visit is a direct (and much needed) contribution to the economy.

The endearing qualities of Bhutan are exemplified in its ranking as first in economic freedom and peace and the least corrupt country in South Asia. It is however still a very undeveloped country and the few tourists that visit contribute significantly to its development and to hopefully maintaining the equilibrium that it has nurtured. Our own trip allows you to contribute but also to benefit from this way of life.

All of the accommodation that we use is locally managed and a great example is the Pedling hotel in Thimphu which is owned by a Buddhist Institute and all proceeds from the hotel go to meeting the expenses of the 400 monks that it supports.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our UK Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

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