Luxury holidays in Bumthang

It may sound funny, but Bumthang’s no joke. Known as ‘little Switzerland’ among locals, this ancient district is the most historic and holy in Bhutan, full of ancient temples, sacred sites and fortress-like dzongs. The region is spread across four mountain valleys, each with its own dialect – proof that the journey between them was once long enough to make each one remote from the next. Between them, they’re home to more cultural sites than any other region in the country, including the fortified dzong in Jakar town; the Kurjey Lhakhang monastery, where Bhutan’s first three kings were laid to rest; and the ‘burning lake’ of Membar Tsho, where Bhutanese saint Pema Lingpa is said to have found scriptures by Padmasambhava, an 8th-century Buddhist master. But even after you’ve toured them all and attained Himalayan heights of peace, we’ll understand the desire to go below the belt with your instagram captions – that’s something we can all get behind.

When to go

October to December are considered the best months to visit, bringing clear skies and plenty sunshine. From May, things get more hot and humid; monsoons arrive from June to September, often hiding the mountains in thick cloud.

Getting there

  • Planes

    Unless you’re already in the country, you'll almost certainly be flying into Paro, Bhutan’s only international airport. Most people get there by flying to Delhi, Bangkok or Calcutta, then hopping on a Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines service. From Paro, you can either catch a Druk Air flight to Bumthang’s Bathpalathang Airport, or take a car, a journey of eight hours.
  • Automobiles

    Bhutan’s tourism laws make it essential to arrange your transport in advance, so it’s unlikely you’ll be doing any driving of your own. And if you were, you’d need to take into account that roads are often mountainous and winding, meaning they’re best tackled by locals.