Detailed Itinerary


Day 01-02: Depart today from Los Angeles
Depart from Los Angeles late today and make your way to Thailand. Lose a day as you cross the International Date Line.

Day 03: Bangkok, Thailand
Upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport, you will be met and greeted by a local representative and transferred to your nearby airport hotel for check-in and overnight.

Overnight:  Novotel Airport Hotel (or similar)

Day 04: Welcome to Bhutan

Head back to the airport early this morning for your flight to Paro. The Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan is the last of the Buddhist kingdoms that once occupied a vast area of the Himalayas. Meal service will be provided on the flight.

Upon arrival in Paro, drive the two hours to Thimphu, through spectacular mountain scenery and serene countryside to Bhutan’s capital. Sandwiched in the heart of the Himalayas, Thimphu is a small, charming city, with all the buildings constructed and painted in the traditional Bhutanese style.

Afternoon orientation and welcome. All travelers will gather this afternoon with your guide and receive further information on the program and the program activities.

Lunch and a welcome dinner will be provided today.

Overnight:  Khang Residency Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Day 05: Professional Exchange  - Thimpu
Professional members of the program will begin your journey with representatives from the Ministry of Health. The primary objective of this group is to understand how Bhutan delivers healthcare to its population given its relative isolation. We will learn about current efforts to reduce infant mortality rates, to reduce morbidity and deaths from infectious diseases and provide access to care. Focus also on their widespread use of traditional medicine and herbs.

Guest program: This morning guests will visit the Zorig Choesum School of arts and crafts where students train for 4-6 years to master traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. From there make your way to see the giant 150-foot-tall Buddha Dordenma statue at Kuensel Phodrang. The statue itself houses over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues made of bronze and gilded in gold.

After lunch, the group will wind your way through one of Bhutan’s loveliest valleys enjoying one of the most beautiful drives you will ever experience. Along the way we’ll see intact landscapes, idyllic farmhouses and small monasteries, crowned by crystal clear mountain views. The great fortresses, known as Dzong, are among the most striking examples of Bhutanese architecture. Visit Tashichhodzong, the “fortress of the glorious religion,” initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. Tashichhodzong houses ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk-body. Stop for a photo opportunity at the giant stupa of Buddha on your way back to the hotel.

Those interested may further explore the handicraft markets of Thimphu as you have the evening free to relax or explore independently.

Dinner is on your own arrangement this evening.

Overnight: Khang Residency Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 06: Professional Exchange
Professional members of the program will interact with professional counterparts this morning for a meeting at a local hospital or clinic. Discussion topics will include the major causes of morbidity and mortality in Bhutan and allow you an opportunity to see and tour a local medical facility.

Later this morning you will meet with representatives from the non-profit Gross National Happiness Centre. GNH is a holistic and sustainable approach to development that balances material and non-material values with the conviction that humans want to search for happiness. The objective of GNH is to achieve a balanced development in all the facets of life that are essential for Bhutan’s happiness. They will share information on how the country is monitoring and measuring the GNH level of the people and meeting the requirements outlined by the government.

Guest program: After breakfast guests will enjoy an optional hike to Tango Goemba. It takes about 60-90 minutes from the foot of the hill to the only Buddhist University in Bhutan. Once on the top, you will feel rewarded with the serene atmosphere and impressive architecture. Visit the monastery and if the monks are at recess, you will have an opportunity to chat with them and learn about the monastic lifestyle. This afternoon you will explore the Textile Museum.

After lunch, the group will take part in a humanitarian visit in Thimphu at a local non-profit or community program such as Draktsho. They are a non-profit organization and the only one of its kind in the country with aspirations to enhance the living standard of children and youth with disabilities through empowerment by training and eventual integration with the mainstream population.

Time permitting the group will also visit the Takin Zoo. The preserve was established to protect the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan.

Dinner is by your own arrangement this evening.​

Overnight: Khang Residency Hotel​ (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast,  Lunch


Day 07: Cultural Exploration - Punakha
Depart this morning for the 3.5-hour drive to Punakha. In route, traverse and stop for a photo opportunity at Dochula Pass (10,500 ft.). This morning you will see one of Bhutanʹs most breathtaking views: a plethora of colorful rhododendron blossoms and soft green wild herbs and forest trees dot a canvas of alpine snow. Enjoy panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges and the fertile valley of Punakha (4,430 feet).

This afternoon you will arrive in Punakha, formerly established as Bhutan’s winter capital because of its more temperate valley climate. Lunch will be provided after arrival in Punakha.

This afternoon, explore Punakha including an excursion to Chimi Lhakhang, also known as the temple of fertility. Situated on a hillock in the center of the valley. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children should pray at this temple and are usually blessed with a child very soon.

Lunch and dinner will be provided today.

Overnight: Drubchu Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 08: Cultural Program & Rural Clinic Visit
This morning, the entire group will visit a rural health clinic in Punakha to talk to the staff and learn about health care in rural areas of Bhutan. Discussions will touch on access to care issues and provide an opportunity to assess the differences in care in this setting vs. a larger town.

Next, visit Punakha Dzong, the winter capital of Bhutan until 1958. Even today, the Je Khenpo (spiritual leader) head of the central monastic body reside in Punakha Dzong during the winter months and in Thimphu during the summer. Walk over the longest suspension to countryside remote village of Mendhagang.

Depart Punakha for the scenic drive back to Paro, arriving at your hotel in the late afternoon. Lunch will be provided in Thimphu in route.

Your hotel. The Raven’s Nest has a business center, a currency exchange desk, 24-hour front desk services, laundry, safe deposit boxes at reception, a spa and fitness center, an onsite restaurant and free Wi-Fi.

After a chance to check in the group will visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”, which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore.

Dinner is by individual arrangement this evening.

Overnight: Ravens Nest (or simialr) *no website
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 09: Paro - Hike to the Tigers Next
This morning, your guide leads you on a hike to the enchanting ʺTigers Nest” the Taktsang Monastery viewpoint. Built around a cave where the Guru Rinpoche meditated, this monastery impossibly seems to cling to a cliff of rock 3,000

feet above the valley floor. The Taktsang Monastery is

one of the most venerated pilgrim sites of the

Himalayan world, containing 13 holy places. Taktsang,

the “Tiger’s Lair”, gets its name from the Bhutanese

legend. In the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche came to

Taktsang in a miraculous manner, flying on the back of a

tigress from Khenpajong in the region of Kurteop. The

hike takes about 5 hours roundtrip, and is challenging,

but unforgettably thrilling and mystical.

Please note: The hike takes about 5 hours (round trip) and is challenging although unforgettably thrilling and mystical. *Transport by pony is available on the ascent if you do not wish to hike. Walking is mandatory on the descent.*

Lunch is by individual arrangement today. The group will have a variety of options to choose from.

A farewell dinner will be provided this evening at a local restaurant including a delightful Folk performance showcasing their famous mask dance.

Overnight: Ravens Nest (or similar) *no website
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Say Goodbye to Bhutan

Depart for the airport late this morning to fly back to Bangkok. Check back into your airport hotel this evening.

Lunch is on your own this afternoon. Meal service should be included on your flight to Bangkok.

Overnight: Novotel Airport Hotel (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast

Day 11: Arrive back in US

Depart for the U.S. with arrival on the same day.

Professional Participants - As this Nanda Journey is focused primarily on professional development, costs associated with your participation on the program may be tax deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense. Consult with a tax professional to determine eligibility.

Please note: All itineraries are subject to change based on availability of hotels, flights and hosting organizations at the time of finalization of booking. Comparable meetings and activities will be arranged should an itinerary change be necessary. 30 days before departure, a finalized itinerary will be available and reflect final details.​​

Understanding Healthcare Journey to Bhutan led by Dr. Janelle Gardner

IncludedNot Included
Information and support  to aid in your travel preparation

Costs to obtain a passport

Exclusively developed professional program in collaboration with Journey leader

International airfare (from designated US gateway city)

Airfare for domestic flight to gateway city

All in-country transportation for the group (including airport transfers)

Accommodations in four to five star hotels

24/7 professional English speaking guide

Individual departure taxes (where applicable)

Fees for all services, most tips and taxes

Professionally led daily program – see itinerary for full details

Travel insurance

Daily breakfast and most lunches & dinner, as specified in the itinerary

10-20 Hours of professional exchanges with counterparts in host  country

Formal and informal meetings with your peers to increase your global knowledge of your profession

Unique insight and knowledge about current issues and challenges related to your profession

24-hour support from US Nanda Journeys office and in-country support

Partnerships in every country to which we travel

Make a Payment

The US State Department provides a wealth of information for US travelers. You can browse visa and passport information,  Emergency information and much more. Rest assured though, Nanda Journeys will always remain abreast of all relevent traveler information for your chosen destination!

Dr. Janelle Gardner
Dr. Gardner’s specialty is Obstetrics and she taught in the School of Nursing at California State University, Chico for over 20 years. She is an avid traveler, has explored 30 countries, and has led groups of physicians, nurses, and nursing students to India, Kenya, Cuba, China, Costa Rica, and Mexico. Dr. Gardner has also participated in medical volunteer work in Haiti, Thailand, Kenya, and Fiji. She is on the Board of Directors of the Perinatal Rescue Network, which teaches perinatal classes to health professionals in resource limited countries. Dr. Gardner is actively developing a partnership between the School of Nursing at California State University, Chico and a nursing program at a university in Tanzania.

  • Has given presentations at six international conferences and 10 national conferences
  • Published 12 articles in scholarly peer reviewed journals
  • Received 2 Outstanding Nursing Research Awards
  • Eighteen years of clinical                            experience in Obstetrics
  • Affiliated with the Association                                   of Women’s Health,                                               Obstetric, and Neonatal                                             Nurses (AWHONN) and the                                           Nursing Honor Society,                                               Sigma Theta Tau International

What's Included

You are invited to become part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience: Enjoy the unique culture and traditions of Bhutan while you spend time with the locals. This special journey is like taking a step back in time to explore this still little traveled land described as one of the happiest on earth! Go beyond the tourist guide books and experience Bhutan through the eyes of a community. This adventure includes a very special experience visiting local hospitals and clinics and engaging with your medical counterparts. Take a challenging hike to the enchanting Taktsang Monastery for an unbelievable viewpoint of the surrounding valley. Built around a cave where the Guru Rinpoche meditated, this monastery clings to a cliff of rock 3,000 feet above the valley floor. 

6.0 Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits will be sought for this journey.

Bhutan: Thimphu, Punakha & Paro | 11 days | April 19 - 29, 2018 | $6,499


Quick Links

Call Us 1-888-747-7501

6.0 Continuing Medical Education Credits will be sought for this journey. ​ 

** This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint providership of the Wilderness Medical Society and Nanda Journeys. The Wilderness Medical Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. **

CME Credits

Rooming Options