Thailand and Bhutan Trip

Dec 24, 2016 Avatar Susanne Hamer Susanne Hamer

This experience is one of the ultimate “bucket list” ones. We began our journey in LA, flying via Bangkok to Chiangmai, in the northern part of Thailand know as the Golden Triangle. Here you can stay at an elephant camp or elephant sanctuary and take part in their daily lives.

This is an amazing experience where you can observe these gentle animals. There are two resorts that care for the elephants, Four Seasons tented camp and the Anantara. My suggestion would be to stay for 3 nights for the best experience.

We then returned to Bangkok for one night before flying to Paro on Bhutan Airways. Descending into Paro you get a glimpse of magnificent Mount Everest in the distance.

Arriving in Paro we are at an altitude of around 7,500 ft, so taking it easy your first day is a must. We drive a short distance to the capital town of Thimphu, where we spent one night at the Taj Tashi hotel.

The next day we began our 6-hour drive over windy roads and mountain passes over 3,000 meters high to Gangtey Lodge in the Phobjikha Valley. As of this year, there’s a helicopter service available, which I would suggest you do at least one way.

We attended a 5am prayer service in one of the many Buddhist monasteries, which was an amazing and very spiritual experience.

This region has fantastic scenery and hiking, and I would suggest spending 2-3 nights. Sadly we had to leave for our next stop, Punakha, and a 4-hour drive away.

We are now at a lower altitude of 3,900 feet, in a semi-tropical area known for its abundance of fruits and vegetables as well as spectacular views of the Himalayas.

We visit the Phunaka Dzong, a huge structure built on the junction of two rivers. This was the former capital until 1955 and many ceremonies are held hear every year.

We spent the night at Uma by Como Phunaka, a lovely chalet-style resort overlooking the river and mountains.

We drive back to Paro, which is another 4-hour drive, making a stop at a local village for a traditional lunch with a Bhutanese family.

Once in Paro we visit the local town with its many handicraft shops; they are known for their hand weaving tapestries and I would suggest a visit to the textile museum and shop.

We stay overnight at Uma by Como Paro, which is close to the town and surrounded by pine tree. The resort has a large main lodge and chalet-style accommodations scattered around the extensive grounds.
The next morning we begin our hike to the Tiger’s Nest temple, which takes about 7 hours. This is one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan, and one of the most sacred places which every Bhutanese needs to visit once in their life. Perched on a cliff over 900 meters over the Paro valley, it is a spectacular site and a must for any visitor to Bhutan.
Our return flight took us through Bangkok back to LA. To plan your Thailand and Bhutan vacation, contact Susanne Hamer or one of our many expert travel advisors today!