Trekking up 9000 feet to the amazing Tiger's Nest was a highlight for our kidlet, but she has a lot of energy and is very fit, so made it look super easy. She was the only kid and many were amazed at her gumption as some adults didn't make it to the top. This Taktsang Monastery, built in 1694, is percariously perched on the edge of a 1200 meter cliff so breathtaking, and the iconic symbol of Bhutan. I have mobility challenges so had to be content to see it from the bottom and DaVinci happened to pick up a very bad cold that day, so found it very challenging and harder to breathe with the altitude, but worth the effort nonetheless.
I explored some other areas in the enchanting valley while they were climbing and then took a sauna and just took in the peaceful beauty of the area. We're boomers in our late 50's so this would be easier for younger parents who are fit and Bhutan is a total paradise for those who like to trek and prefer pristine natural environments.
Bhutan is a fairytale place, but it is not Disneyland, or Legoland, ( nor are most countries) so don't expect that. Recently someone on Facebook who is planning a family trip to Bhutan asked me if it was worth it and what did we do with a kid there. This was my answer:
"Family travel is often about just doing ordinary things in extraordinary places...so that is mostly what we did and Bhutan is certainly an extraordinary place. There is no where else like it and it has only been open to world since the late seventies.
My 10 year old found Bhutan to be one of her favorite countries and I think that was partly because the people are extraordinarily kind and generous. In Bhutan one always has a guide and driver and she really loved both of ours. It's a great place to learn about another culture and nature and Buddhism. Just going to the huge market at Thimphu was fascinating...foods we have never seen before like dried fish and Yak cheese etc. The dress, the food, the architecture, the culture, the beauty is very different than any where we have been...so that made it bewtiching for all of us.
Just learning about the simple traditional lifestyle there is interesting and educational, plus observing and meeting the kids ( all schools are in English). They don't get a lot of tourists so they are very open and happy to connect. Watching archery as they do it was intriguing and part of the Bhutanese culture. Going to the ancient Buddhist temples and watching the monks..even child monks ...was very enlightening. There was sooo much about the culture in Bhutan that was fascinating.
Seeing a gigantic Buddha was fun for my child and she met a little girl who had a new adorable puppy that she enjoyed holding. Trying on Bhutanese celebration hats or blowing celebration horns was bliss for her. Seeing big families of wild moneys ( some with babies) along the road and running into nomads with yaks and many baby yaks was very exciting for her. The hotels and meals were very pleasing for her..even watching movies at night. She played in a park in Thimphu with local kids. Even visiting the ancient Buddhist temples was a joy for her..especially when she could do the prayer wheels which is fun for kids, going from one to another. Prayer in motion,something new to learn.
My kiddo really loved dressing up in traditional Bhutanese clothes. Watching them do the weaving was intrguing. Going to small markets and just watching every day life and learning things like the special herbal treats that they all take that's good for the high altitude and makes their mouths red. We found it such a compelling destination with wonderfully warm people that we found it ideal for our style of travel.
I wouldn't recommend the very long, treacherous mountain rode ride out to the heart of Buddhism in Bumthang like we did as I mentioned above, ( especially if you have vertigo like I do) but we are all glad we did it and my daughter actually enjoyed that a LOT as well.( As did my husband). She has vomited 3 times in her life I think, and twice it was in Bhutan on that long drive ( lost 2 lunches) but since it was such a novelty for her, she actually kind of enjoyed that too and luckily did it easily OUTSIDE of the car, then was fine again.
Soon they will have an airport there so you can fly to Bumthang and the East to avoid the long drive or just plan to stay more around Paro and Thimphu where there is plenty to do and see. The long ride has advantages ( pros and cons) but is for a more adventurous traveler and not for kids who hate car rides.
Our family is REALLY well traveled..so our kiddo enjoys it all and is usually quite the trooper, but we also only have one. So I would also say you probably will be impacted by how well traveled your kids are and how harmonious you travel together. If possible, I'd time it for the festival season, which we missed, so will have to return again. ;)
If you stay at the wonderful high end hotels ...and you will also have a driver and guide as everyone does there...and you like something different than any where in the world ..interested in Tibetian style Buddhism and a place that has been closed to the world ...a true shangri La ..I think you will enjoy it. BUT you know your self and your family better than me...so it's hard for me to advise. I will be doing more posts with photos and videos so maybe that will help your decision as well."
Any other questions about family travel in Bhutan?
Our trip to Bhutan was sponsored by The Touism Council of Bhutan but our opinions, photos and words are our own. We're very honored that Soultravelers3 was the first travel bloggers invited!