Bhutan: Highlander Trek

Save the Date | Departing Fall 2019

the magic kingdom

Our epic 13-day visit – much of it trekking in remote Jigme Dorji National Park – reaches snow-capped peaks and a one-of-a-kind Royal Highlander Festival where you may meet Bhutan’s king himself.

Mystical Bhutan feels like a different world, a world lost in ancient mountain times – not surprising, as Bhutan measures life by happiness, Buddha and the Himalayas themselves. Our 13-day journey is as much about trekking through the remote Jigme Dorji National Park, in the country’s northwest, as it is a deep cultural immersion. The country remained closed to the world until 1974, and still offers a window to the ages. We’ll visit dzongs (whitewashed fortress-monasteries), set triumphantly along roaring rivers, then relax in hot spring baths.

The highlight is the one-of-a-kind Royal Highlander Festival created by the Bhutan king, who’ll be here too. To get here, you must hike. Our two-day hike on the Laya Trek tackles towering passes and is rewarded by seeing dressed-up yaks, locals wrestle or race horses, and sampling local foods handed out by mountain folk in beaded hats and brightly colored kimono-like national robes. This is Bhutan at its most traditional, at a three-year-old event rarely seen by outsiders. Our trek continues on a steep hike up to Par Taktsang, or Tiger’s Nest, a 17th-century monastery build in a cave mid-cliff, where clouds often shroud the scene above a valley floor 3,000 feet below. You won’t forget this moment.

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