Bhutan Experience

April 2025

$7,100 per person for dual occupancy 

Limited number of single supplements are available for an additional $1000 for solo travelers who prefer a private room. A limited number of scholarships are also available for teachers, students, and life-long learners. Click here to apply.

Bookings For This 11-Day Trip Will Open Soon.

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Welcome to Bhutan!

Tucked away in the calming silence of the Himalayan Mountains, is the Land of the Thunder Dragon – Bhutan – an intriguing kingdom characterized by dramatic mountain landscapes, vibrant customs and unparalleled devotion to happiness. Largely untouched by global influences and closed to international tourism until recent decades, Bhutan’s authentic centuries-old culture is alive in all aspects of daily life from food and dress to art and architecture to recreation and spirituality.  

 

This is a unique opportunity to broaden the frontier of your perspectives; experience a lush mountain realm of colorful and rich traditions; discover a new viewpoint on happiness, and immerse yourself in the mesmerizing Paro Tshechu Festival.  Come along to explore the awe-inspiring surrounds and cultures in the valleys of Thimphu, Paro and Punakha with a fascinating group of fellow travelers including guest speakers Robert Sapolsky, Peter Singer, Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek, and your host Lawrence Krauss.  

A Path Less Traveled

The Origins Project is proud to offer this trip in partnership with Bhutan Best Inbound Tour – a local tour agency that is headquartered in the capital city of Thimphu. Their business was founded in 2005 and since then has accumulated impressive reviews for their exceptional service and customized tour packages.  They are certified by the Bhutan Tourism Council and recognized by several industry awards.  

 

The Bhutanese government manages its sustainable tourism industry tightly so as to provide excellent experiences for visitors in a way that also enhances local communities.  Its magnificent beauty and character can be difficult to access outside a guided group tour. For many reasons, it is a path less travelled and remains an undiscovered gem for most seasoned explorers. 

Trip Highlights

Tiger’s Nest Monastery – Paro Tshechu Festival  

Buddha Dordenma – Dochula Pass – Punakha Dzong 

Tashichoe Dzong – Namgyal Chorten – Cheri Monastery – Chimi Lhakhang 

Jigme Dorji National Park 

Himalayan mountains – authentic cuisine – the 13 arts – archery 

hiking – meditation – relaxation

happiness

Meet Your Speakers

Peter Singer

Robert Sapolsky

Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek

Lawrence Krauss

Travel Itinerary

Day 1

Gather and greet 

Arrive in Bangkok this afternoon and check into your room at the Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport. Meet the Origins special guest speakers and fellow travelers at the welcome reception tonight, followed by group dinner and a good rest.  Tomorrow is a busy day! 

Day 2

Enter the Kingdom of Bhutan  

Behold breathtaking Himalayan peaks as you fly into Paro valley this morning.  On the way to Thimphu, stop at Tachog Lhakhang, a temple located across the famous iron chain bridge built over the meandering Paro River.  Pause at Wangsisina to light 108 butter lamps to infuse the beginning of your jorney with positive energy.  Stop at Simtokha Dzong, Bhutan’s first fortress built by Zhabdrung, the founder of Bhutanese culture.  Lunch today is a Bhutanese meal at the heritage house Babesa village restaurant. Last stop on the tour today is the gigantic statue of Buddha Dordenma atop the Kuenselphodrang mountain, where it sits gazing across the Thimphu valley.

Day 3

Explore Thimphu Valley 

This morning, witness the traditional art of Bhutanese handmade papermaking at the Jungshi Paper Factory, then visit Pangri Zampa School – the only college of astrology in Bhutan. An alternative morning option for hikers is a trek to the Cheri Monastery. Lunch today is a riverside picnic in the Jigme Dorji National Park.  This afternoon, tour the Zorig Chusum school of arts and crafts, where artisans study the 13 traditional Bhutanese arts, each with great cultural and historic value that is guarded with dedication and respect.  A short walk from the school of arts and crafts is the Folk Heritage Museum, where we will dine together tonight before returning to the hotel for an evening lecture and discussion.  

Day 4

Enriching Trails and Cultural Immersion in Thimphu 

This morning at Motithang Reserve meet the rare goat-antelope that is Bhutan’s national animal and the subject of much mythology – the Takin. Next, witness the delightful site of young monks studying at the “palace of great bliss” – Dechenphodrang Monastery.  An alternative morning option for hikers is the Wangditse or Chokhortse hike from the scenic BBS tower along the colorful Sangaygang Phajoding trail through pine forests and spectacular views to Dechenphodrang monastery.  After group lunch at Simply Bhutan, browse an explosion of color and craftsmanship at the Royal Textile Museum. Lastly visit the “fortress of the glorious religion” –  Tashichoe Dzong. This unique complex of traditional architecture and construction is the seat of the Bhutanese government, location of the throne room and offices of the king, as well as home to monks. This evening, gather for a group dinner at the hotel followed by another enlightening lecture and discussion. 

Day 5

Thimphu to Punakha via Dochula Pass

One of many highlights today is a scenic drive to Punakha. On the way stop at the 108 chortens at Dochula Pass, hoist prayer flags and enjoy the mesmerizing panoramic view of the Himalayan mountains. Next stop is the peculiar phallus village and “Fertility Temple” Chimi Lhakhang, also known as the temple of the Divine Mad Monk. Walk along the trail that passes by typical Yuwakha village homes and savor an authentic Bhutanese meal prepared by a local host. This evening, enjoy lively discussions and beautiful views at your hotel in the scenic Punakha valley.  

Day 6

Golden Punakha valley

This morning begins with a scenic drive along the Mo Chu River towards Nyzergang in the northern end of Punakha valley, to the enchanting Chorten Nyingpo Lhakhang, an ancient monastery steeped in history dating back to the 17th century. Learn about the fascinating history of this site, meet the monks and join them for class and lunch. An alternative morning option for hikers is the trek through picturesque rice fields to the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. After class and lunch with the monks, stay on for a Dharma discussion with a Buddhist master or head back into town to browse or rest this afternoon.  Back at the hotel this evening, exchange highlights from the day, dine together and enjoy an evening lecture/discussion.  

Day 7

Punakha highlights and drive to Paro

Today starts with a close-up look at the stunning architecture of the magnificent Punakha Dzong, located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu River and Mo Chhu River. This fortified monastery is arguably Bhutan’s most beautiful, both inside and out, especially in the spring when the jacaranda trees are in bloom. Before saying goodbye to Punakha, walk across Pho Chu suspension bridge (Bhutan’s longest at 160m), take in the breeze and enjoy the lush village on the other side of the bridge. Enjoy the scenic drive to Paro, stopping for lunch in Thimphu. Enjoy a rest and dinner with fellow travelers tonight in festive Paro.  

Day 8

Witness the Paro Festival!

Be a part of the vibrant Paro Tshechu festival that unveils Bhutan’s cultural richness. Amid vibrant prayer flags and traditional attire, the event showcases sacred mask dances. It is an enchanting cultural festival celebrated annually at Paro Dzong, captivating everyone with its vibrant colors and music. The highlight of the festival is the mesmerizing mask dances, performed by monks and locals in elaborate costumes and masks, conveying tales of triumph, celestial battles, and life’s cycle. Accompanied by rhythmic beats and chants, these story-telling dances offer a captivating glimpse into Bhutan’s spiritual core and artistic grandeur.  This evening explore Paro main street and market area, visit the archery ground and watch a National Game played by the locals before joining fellow travelers for a delicious meal and evening lecture/discussion.  

Day 9

Paro Taktsang Hike – Tiger’s Nest Hike Monastery

The highlight for hikers starts early this morning. Get your energy up at breakfast for a trek to the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery (4-6 hour return). Resting on a rocky cliff edge 3100 meters above sea level the view from the monastery is an overwhelming sight to behold.  Finish your day with a hot-stone bath and local delicacies at the Tshering Farmhouse.  

 

Alternatives for non-hikers are plenty.  More of the Paro festival, the weekend farmers’ market, visit Kichu Lankhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, and learn about its amazing history, and enjoy a cooking demonstration at Tshering Farmhouse.  You can also practice your archery skills, take a hot stone bath, and watch traditional meals being prepared before meeting the hikers after their return from Tiger’s Nest Monastery.  

Day 10

Choose your perfect finish to Bhutan  

Start your day with a thought-provoking lecture and discussion after breakfast, and peruse tonight’s auction items. Then enjoy one or more of a variety of options for activities today.  The festival is still on and there are still many things to do in Paro.  Take in more of the Paro festival activities, take a guided hike, take a wander in town, or take a rest.  

 

The Trans Bhutan Trail Paro is a medium strenuous hike that crosses rice terraces, ascends pine slopes and offers breathtaking views from Lamgong Settlement to the historic village of Dopshari. Enjoy a cooking demonstration and a typical Bhutanese lunch at a farm in Dopshari, where you can also try archery or a fast game of traditional “khuru”.  On the way back into town, visit the “watchtower” Ta Dzong, now home of the National Museum.  

 

Alternatively, take a less strenuous walk or drive with your guide and find out more about the historical features and contemporary character of this intriguing city. And don’t forget to take a rest.  The wellness center at your hotel offers an oasis of serenity treatments and signature massage packages from head to foot.  Celebrate all that you’ve seen and learned and shared during tonight’s farewell dinner at the spectacular Zhiwa Ling Heritage hotel.  

Day 11

Departure

After one last delicious breakfast, our devoted guides will accompany us to the airport.  Farewell Bhutan! 

Inclusions

  • Hotel accommodation and welcome reception at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel on the first day
  • Airfare Bangkok – Paro return  
  • All-inclusive guided tour package in Bhutan from arrival in the morning of 28 March to departure in the morning of 6 April 
  • Mandatory daily sustainable development fee to the government of Bhutan 
  • Tourist visa 
  • English speaking tour guides leading groups of no more than six on daily excursions as per the itinerary. 
  • All ground transportation in comfortable vehicles and mineral water while traveling 
  • Four-star accommodation in Thimphu, Punakha and Paro 
  • All meals – breakfast at hotels, lunch in various locations during daily excursions, and group dinner either at the hotel or unique restaurant each night 
  • All internal taxes and tourism charges including entry fees for parks and cultural sites, butter lamp offerings 
  • Tax receipt for your charitable contribution to The Origins Project Foundation 
  • Lectures and discussions with Origins guest speakers 

Exclusions

  • Travel insurance and health insurance.  
  • Travel expenses to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel for start of trip  
  • Travel expenses from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport at the end of the trip 
  • Travel documentation for entry into Thailand (most countries are exempt from visa requirements to enter Thailand for tourism less than 60 days. Check with the Thai embassy in your country) 
  • Tips and gratuities (advice on local customs will be provided in the lead up to travel time) 
  • Alcohol and beverages other than welcome reception and farewell dinner 
  • Excess baggage charges 

Bookings for this 11-day Bhutan Experience will be open soon.  

$7,100 per person for dual occupancy 

Limited number of single supplements are available for an additional $1000 for solo travelers who prefer their own room.  

A limited number of scholarships are also available for teachers and students. Click here to apply.

Need More Information?

If you’d like to talk with one of our Origins Travel Experts before your reserve your spot, please reach out to us with the form below.

Peter Singer

Peter Singer is one of the world’s most influential philosophers. Born in Melbourne in 1946, he has been professor of bioethics at Princeton University since 1999. His many books include Animal Liberation (1975) – often credited for triggering the modern animal rights movement – Practical Ethics, The Life You Can Save, The Most Good You Can Do, and Ethics in the Real World. In 2023, he published Animal Liberation Now, a fully revised and updated version of the 1975 original, and in 2024, Consider the Turkey. Singer’s writings have also inspired the movement known as effective altruism, and he is the founder of the charity The Life You Can Save. In 2021 he was awarded the $1 million Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture, which he donated to nonprofit organizations working for the causes he supports. In 2023 he received the Frontiers of Knowledge Prize for the Humanities, from the Spanish BBVA Foundation.

Robert Sapolsky

Robert Sapolsky is a professor of biology, neurology, neurological sciences and neurosurgery at Stanford University. He was dedicated to primatology from a young age and was in Africa studying baboons by his early twenties. His research interests include neurochemistry of stress and neuron degeneration and impairment. He has written extensively about stress and compulsive behaviors, and has received numerous awards for his research, writing and popularizing of behavioral science. His unique perspective on the human condition comes from his thirty plus years as both a field primatologist and a laboratory neuroscientist. He is the author of Stress: the aging brain and the mechanisms of neuron death (1992), and best-sellers Behave: the biology of humans at our best and worst (2017), and Determined: a science of life without free will (2023).

Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek

Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek is a professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Lodz, Poland. She is a hedonistic utilitarian. Her main research interest focuses on the philosophy of Henry Sidgwick, the concept of wellbeing, and pleasure. Together with Peter Singer she wrote two books: The Point of View of the Universe (2014) and Utilitarianism – A Very Short Introduction (2017) and edited J.S. Mill’s Utilitarianism (2021). Her latest book The Philosophy of Pleasure – an introduction was published in 2024. Apart from academic work, she is keen to convey philosophical ideas to a popular audience, and has written magazine articles on how to live a good life.

Lawrence Krauss

Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist, President of The Origins Project Foundation, and host of The Origins Podcast. He is a prolific researcher, and author of over 600 scientific and popular articles, and 12 bestselling books. His research spans the smallest to the largest scales in the universe. He has been an active advocate of rigorous science and reasoned decision-making on issues related to education, public policy, climate change, nuclear arms; and a persistent combatant against superstition and misinformation. He was Chair of the Board of Sponsors for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which sets the Doomsday Clock, from 2008-2018. In his latest book The Edge of Knowledge (2023), he explores remaining mysteries of science on space, time, matter, life and consciousness.