Tour Program Summary
Bhutan, the land of the “Thunder Dragon”, is a pristine and idyllic bastion of solitude nestled high in the Himalayas. Its rich history of Buddhist art and architecture pervades all aspects of life in a nation which has fiercely maintained its ancient culture and traditions and remains a repository of priceless Buddhist art relics. Buddhist festivals in the numerous “Dzongs” (fortress temples) are still an integral part of Bhutanese life.
With varying climatic zones from 600 feet to 24,000 feet in altitude (including the tallest unclimbed mountain on earth), Bhutan offers a great deal of variety packed in a small nation. It is about the size of Connecticut and Maryland combined and has a mere 720,000 inhabitants. Buddhism arrived in the 8th century and has played an integral part in life and culture to this day. Bhutan modernizes slowly and carefully, the king had given up most of the power in 2006 in favor of a parliamentary democracy. Tourism is strictly limited and cultural and environmental protections are prime governmental concerns.
Travel the entire length of this subtropical alpine paradise to examine the Buddhist architecture, statuary, Thangkas, textiles and national parks as well as the breathtaking natural scenery. Explore Thimphu, Phobjika Punakha, and Paro, each town has its own unique natural surrounding and local characters. You will be able to hike some of the most enchanting trails in Asia and interact with local Bhutanese people.
Continue the tour in Thailand, a teeming tropical nation of modernity and commerce that has also been shaped by the tenets of Buddhism and its art and architecture over the millennia. As the Kingdom of Siam, Thailand alone resisted the colonial occupations of Southeast Asia and maintained its devout Buddhist beliefs and artistic influence. Observe Thailand’s unique expression of the Buddha in statuary and its elaborate gilded temples.
See the current capital metropolis of Bangkok and visit Ayutthaya, the ancient capital with most of its past grandeur in semi ruin but captivating nonetheless. Enjoy privately guide tours of ancient and contemporary sites of the kingdom while enjoying deluxe accommodations and sampling delicious Thai cuisine.
Fly home from Bangkok.