MAKE IT HAPPEN
Reaching Bhutan involves first flying to Bangkok, Delhi, Kathmandu, Kolkata or Singapore (London to Delhi from £370; airindia.in), and then flying on to Paro with national airline Druk Air or private carrier Bhutan Airlines (Delhi to Paro from £270; drukair.com.bt).
All visitors must book via a licensed local or foreign tour operator in order to be approved for a visa, which costs £30 and must be arranged before arrival, via the operator. For more details, see tourism.gov.bt. Wild Frontiers’ eight-day Highlights of Bhutan trip includes visits to the former capital Punakha, plus Paro and Thimphu, and Paro Valley’s Tiger’s Nest Monastery (from £2,095 excl flights; wildfrontierstravel.com). Be aware that there is a minimum daily tariff for all visitors to Bhutan, which covers three-star accommodation, meals, transport (including internal flights), services of licensed guides and porters, and a sustainable development fee. The tariff for a visitor travelling in a group of three or more is £150 per night in low season (January, February, June–August and December), and £190 at other times.
The spring and autumn high seasons offer ideal weather, with Himalayan views at their best in October; prices are cheaper in the low season, though winter can be cold and summer brings monsoons. Many visitors plan their dates around Bhutan’s festivals, with the biggest in February and September – see tourism.gov.bt for more details.