BHUTAN = SHANGRI-LA
On this unique tour of the tiny, far-away Kingdom of Bhutan, we travel from the western cities of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, with their beautiful Dzongs and markets, to remote villages of the Lhuntse District in eastern Bhutan, farther into the country than most visitors ever go. We take numerous day hikes and experience firsthand the cultural diversity of the Bhutanese—medieval and modern, with large doses of mysticism. We’ll immerse ourselves in the breathtaking natural splendor of Bhutan—a region of incomparable biological richness and beauty. Its lush, temperate cloud forests of pine and rhododendron provide sanctuary for a great variety of flora and fauna. Its high valleys are covered in forests and embrace small monasteries, chortens, traditional stone houses, and markets. We travel with Bhutanese guides who have deep connections throughout the country; they freely share with us their intimate understanding of the environment and their people.
For centuries, Bhutan was isolated by its geographical situation, bound to the south by dense tropical jungles and to the north by the mighty Himalaya. As one of the world’s last strongholds of Tibetan Buddhism, it is home to people for whom compassion and happiness are more important than productivity and material wealth. In the last fifteen years Bhutan has slowly opened its frontiers to a few privileged visitors. Last year, only 80,000 tourists were allowed in the country, and then only with a government-sanctioned travel agency. This is a fascinating time, as the Bhutanese deliberately incorporate modern technology while reverently protecting their rich cultural heritage.
This is a moderate tour—not a trek—but you must be in reasonably good shape to participate. We will be hiking at elevations that range between 4500′ and 11,000′ on steep trails that may not be well maintained. Nearly full.
COST: $6700 land costs. Non-refundable deposit $500
DATE: April 22 to May 10, 2018