Exploring Bhutan on foot is a complete pleasure. The serenity and sheer beauty of the landscape makes for peaceful, inspiring walking. The destination for most walks in Bhutan is a temple, fortress, monastery or nunnery, some many centuries old, in incredible locations. Once inside you begin to grasp the deeply spiritual side of this extraordinary country: golden statues, colourful silk hangings, ornate and highly detailed paintings, butter lamps and symbolic mandalas. Even the wood of the floorboards is beautiful, as it has grown silky from use over the years.
All of our walking tours finish with a visit to the most iconic temple of them all, the wonderful Tiger’s Nest, situated on a cliff high above the Paro valley. We also take you to Thimphu, one of the smallest capital cities in the world and to Punakha, the seat of government until half a century ago and home to the most beautiful dzong or fortress, stunningly situated on the confluence of two rivers. You will encounter some steep gradients at times, as you would expect in the Himalayas but the climbs are well worth the effort.
The culture of Bhutan is quite unique, very different from its Himalayan neighbours, and the preservation of it is enshrined constitutionally in the principles of Gross National Happiness, the term coined by the fourth king that brought the world’s attention to this tiny country. You will still see most Bhutanese wearing traditional clothing: for women a kira and for men a gho, hand woven garments of intricate detail, made of cotton, wool or silk. You’ll also experience their unique style of cooking, from the red rice to the liberal use of chillies – optional, don’t panic! There’s also butter tea, buckwheat pancakes and delicious momos to try.
The small population of Bhutan makes for easy travelling, particularly in the company of our wonderful guides and drivers. In eastern Bhutan you might need a good head for heights sometimes but the scenery is simply breathtaking. At Rare Air we try and take you into the heart and soul of Bhutan on our cultural tours and offer authentic experiences that give an understanding of what makes this very interesting place tick.
Trekking in Bhutan is unlike anywhere else. In this deeply spiritual Buddhist kingdom it is forbidden to climb mountains over 6,000 metres and there is an absence of the whole mountaineering culture. Instead you get to experience Bhutan’s unique culture, whether it’s meeting the semi-nomadic yak herders of eastern Bhutan on the Merak-Sakteng trek or the Layaps of Lasa on the Tibetan border on the Jomolhari-Laya-Gasa trek.
You might see the flash of brilliant blue of the Himalayan monal (a native bird) or the deep pink of the blood pheasant on the Druk Path. You will see ancient temples and monasteries in remote locations and tiny villages that can only be accessed on foot. Some treks bring you up close and personal to some of the biggest mountains on earth while on others you can glimpse their snow-capped peaks in the distance. We choose our treks to capture the best of Bhutan and to create the perfect fit for your level of fitness and experience.
All of our treks are fully catered. You only need to carry a daypack with your camera, water and extra layers of warm clothing. All camping gear is provided and all meals are freshly prepared and delicious. We use only highly experienced government accredited English speaking guides. Our aim is simply for you to enjoy the journey.