Bhutan family holidays
For those with wanderlust in their genes, who are eager to step beyond the ordinary, a family holiday in Bhutan combines one-off adventures with space to unwind.
Whether you’re craving holistic nurturing in nature, or off-the-trail explorations, this has to be the ultimate place to get both. Trek over stunning, forest-covered hills, try your hand at traditional archery, and focus on spending time together without the screens.
Remaining firmly off the radar for most mainstream travel, Bhutan is perfect for a family-focused retreat, with just the right balance of action and relaxation to keep everyone happy.
Highlights of a family holiday in Bhutan
Watch flocks of beautiful Black-necked Cranes landing in the Phobjikha Valley during winter.
Get caught up in the colour and energy of Bhutan’s numerous regional festivals.
Pull back your bow and let your arrows fly at events celebrating the national sport of archery.
Challenge your teens to tackle the famous trek to the Tiger’s Nest.
Step away from the usual 24/7 screen culture to find peaceful moments on remote hillsides.
With a UK based team of Destination Specialists with offices and partners across Asia, ensuring we focus on staying really local in our approach. Our specialists have travelled extensively in Bhutan and throughout Asia, many having also lived in the region.
Along with enjoying great travels, the team regularly inspect the best hotels, seek out new activities and design new routes – for inspiration we’d suggest taking a look through some of their Favourite Journeys. The weather during any of the kids' holidays is always an important consideration and we have that covered with our best time to visit Bhutan section.
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How to spend your time...
Three of our favourite family-friendly itineraries in Bhutan
Where to rest your head...
A few of our favourite family-friendly hotels in Bhutan
Bhutan with kids: what to expect?
At the core of every family holiday in Bhutan is serenity and space, surrounded by the sort of unspoiled wilderness you rarely see. There are plenty of pampering opportunities for grown-ups and older teenagers, matched with story-book style adventures to engage the young and young-at-heart!
It takes a little more planning to visit than some destinations, but it’s 100% worth every effort. You’ll have room to breathe deeply, reconnect with each other and reset from the urban rush. It’s also the ideal place to show climate-crisis-aware kids some positive ecological policy in action, as Bhutan is the only carbon negative country in the world.
Biking is a popular Bhutanese pastime, and it’s easy to hire mountain bikes and head off. Explore gentle trails around Bumthang, Paro and Thimphu for birdwatching encounters, or opt for longer routes and discover the forest’s hidden gems.
Take intrepid teenagers out of their comfort zones with a challenging, but rewarding, 6-hour trek to the Taktsang Monastery, also known as the Tiger’s Nest. Turn up the adventure even further by camping overnight above the monastery, and head down at first light to see the beauty of the place before anyone else.
For more man-made marvels, check out the famously impressive Punakha Dzong, or the striking, 51-metre tall statue of Buddha Dordenma in the hills outside Thimphu. Find cultural inspiration at the Institute for Zorig Chusum, where you can watch students demonstrate 13 traditional Bhutanese arts and crafts, including painting, wood carving, tailoring, and statue making.
If you’re keen to have a more hands-on experience, get involved in preparing a traditional meal under the guidance of a local farming family near Paro, or indulge your offspring’s inner Robin Hoods as you try out traditional archery.
Bhutan is a truly unique destination and a proper escape for families who need to take some dedicated time out.
To find out more about where to go in Bhutan with kids, head to our Bhutan Travel Guide Section.
Responsible Travel in Bhutan
Bhutan is the only country in the world to be carbon negative, absorbing three times the carbon it produces. Its focus on low number of visitors helps the tourism industry keep to good sustainable practices, thus protecting its environment and communities.
Bhutan's hotels all have an impeccable record when it comes to sustainability. From the luxurious Amankora and culturally immersive Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary to modest home stays by using local materials for their buildings, sourcing local ingredients for its dishes or using little to no plastic.
Our Bhutan Specialists' top tips for families
With quite a few parents among our well-travelled Destination Specialists, we know how important it is to get the finer details sorted before travelling with kids, and we always go the extra mile to make sure they are. We want everyone to enjoy each moment without sweating the small stuff.
If you have any questions, or want to have a chat about planning your family holiday to Bhutan, we'd love to have a chat. In the meantime, here are a few FAQs to help you get started…
- High altitude
It’s worth bearing in mind that Bhutan is a high-altitude country, and though you might not feel any significant effects, younger and older members of your party may tire more easily. Pace yourselves more than usual, and take plenty of rest stops on hikes and long walks.
- An unusual tradition
It may come as a bit of a surprise that this relatively quiet Buddhist nation has a historic, reverential and celebratory attitude towards a certain, er, key part of the male anatomy! Though no longer a major part of mainstream Bhutanese culture, historic phallic imagery is very much ‘about’, and has strong spiritual significance. You’ll find these images dotted about in statue and mural form in older monasteries and temples, in some rural homes and on the sides of buildings. It might be worth considering how to discuss this with younger members of your family in case you stumble upon any. Find out more about this unusual tradition here.
- When is the best time of year for a family holiday to Bhutan?
The best time to visit Bhutan is generally considered to be either in the spring, between March and May, or in the autumn from September to November, making it perfect for an Easter, May half-term or October half-term family break. During these months the weather tends to be pleasantly dry and mild, and the scenery is at its most glorious. It’s no surprise that the most popular visitor sites in Bhutan, such as Taktsang Goemba, the Punakha Dzong and the Tashichho Dzong, get a little more crowded during spring and autumn, although even then, since there are firm restrictions on visa numbers, we’re not talking lengthy queues! However, other than during July and August, when the weather can get very wet, you can enjoy visits to Bhutan all year round. It’s well worth considering a Christmas break in the lowland valleys - breakfast with monks followed by snowball fights, anyone?
- Do I need a guide in Bhutan?
Having an experienced, knowledgeable and welcoming local guide on hand during your trip is absolutely invaluable. They’ll meet you upon arrival, act as translator, transfer you between locations, and generally make everything go as smoothly as possible. We pride ourselves on using only the best guides, who are trained to the highest level, fully certified and licensed. The feedback we get from our clients is that the guides make a great trip into an outstanding one.
- Is Bhutan safe for families?
Bhutan is a lesser-chosen but fantastic destination for family travel, and one of the safest countries you could ever wish to visit. The premium every visitor pays to enter the country contributes towards a smooth and comfortable experience. Visits are highly coordinated by the tourist board, which takes any stress out of organising day-to-day details, and most of the accommodation options are chilled out and family friendly. The feedback we get is that it’s a safe, reassuring and supportive destination, the people you meet are friendly and helpful, and the infrastructure is easy to navigate. As with many unfamiliar places, some things may differ from what you’re used to, but most places feel totally secure and safe. If you need anything, or have any queries once you’re there, our guides are always on hand to help.
- What vaccinations do I need for Bhutan?
When planning a trip to Asia, it’s always important to consider the possible requirements for vaccinations and immunisations. Most importantly, we stress that you should contact your doctor or medical practitioner well before you depart to get their advice on any vaccinations you may need for your trip. If you’ve travelled recently and believe that you are already up-to-date, it’s still worth checking as vaccinations have a varying life span. The NHS Fit For Travel has declared Bhutan low to no risk for malaria. The NHS Travel Vaccinations site has lots of up-to-date information on travel vaccinations too.
- Do I need a visa to go to Bhutan?
All foreign nationals visiting Bhutan require a visa, with the exception of Indian, Bangladesh and Maldives passport holders. This must be arranged in advance of travel. The Bhutanese visa is arranged in advance of travel by our local team. You will need to provide us with a scanned copy of your passport to process the application. An approval letter will be issued which you will need to produce on arrival into Bhutan and the visa will then be stamped into your passport. The visa fee of US$40 per person is included in the cost of your holiday.It is essential that your passport is valid for a minimum of six months from your arrival into Bhutan.
- What should I pack for a trip to Bhutan?
Though you can pick up some of the things you might need in larger towns, we’d recommend taking supplies of any essentials, as well as your preferred brand of sunscreen and insect repellent. Light, long sleeved shirts, a light scarf or two, and long trousers or skirts will mean that you’re prepared for any eventuality, including modest dress codes at sites of religious significance. They’ll also help provide valuable protection against strong sunlight and mosquitoes. If you’re travelling with tinies, consider taking a really good baby carrier, as push-chairs might be a pain to get around with.
- What’s the best currency to take to Bhutan?
You cannot obtain Ngultrum (NU) outside of Bhutan. You can change money on arrival at the airport, in larger hotels and major banks. US Dollars are the most popular currency for this purpose. ATM’s are only available in Paro and Thimphu currently, so bear this in mind if you’re travelling into the countryside for a few days. Towards the end of your trip do not withdraw large amounts of NU as you will need to change it back before you leave the country and it will inevitably be at a poor exchange rate. Incidentally, the NU is pegged to the Indian Rupee and, as such, the rupee is widely accepted throughout Bhutan.