Silvia Vizzoni, director of Bhutan Journeys, tells us why the mountain kingdom of Bhutan makes such a fascinating, one-of-a-kind luxury destination
“The most luxurious part of Bhutan, I believe, is how niche and unspoilt it is as a travel destination. Travellers have the authentic luxury of visiting a main attraction like Tiger’s Nest Monastery, and you may only bump into 20 tourists during the three-hour trek up to the monastery – which is quite incredible, especially compared with other places where you go trekking in Asia.
“The tourism that Bhutan is investing heavily in, is one with values at its core. And the main values refer back to the nation’s principle of Gross National Happiness Index (Bhutan’s alternative to Gross Domestic Product, which the former king of Bhutan believed to be too materialistic for measuring progress) which is based on the preservation of culture in Bhutan, and the sustainability of the region’s economic development.
“Because of Bhutan’s price tag, it’s always been seen as a slightly elitist type of travel experience (all tourists must pay an entry-level fee of $250 per person per day, covering basic accommodation, food, a guide, transport and entry to Bhutan). Because you can’t do it independently (you have to book with an operator like Bhutan Journeys) and because you can only access it with one airline, all of this makes it a pretty special place.
“Bhutan is also home to some of the most luxurious hotels in Asia – Aman Hotels and Resorts, Como Hotels and Taj Hotels, Resorts, Palaces and Safaris all have a presence in central and western Bhutan.
“The mountain kingdom also appeals to luxury travellers because of its unique culture. It’s the most incredible place, and it can really touch you spiritually, and you can truly get in touch with a very interesting culture and traditions – there are festivals happening every month, with more than 20 happening each year.
Bhutan Journeys can craft itineraries so that the passengers can truly experience the festivals in all their essence. We also arrange itineraries where travellers can stay, for example, in luxury camps the night before doing the Tiger’s Nest Monastery trek, so they can arrive at the monastery by mid-morning, before everyone else.
Wellness is very much on the agenda of any tour to Bhutan. We offer journeys across Bhutan, where we provide opportunities for daily practice of yoga and meditation coupled with travelling around to visit monasteries, temples and dzongs (Buddhist temples).”
Silvia attended our latest Connections Luxury in India last month.
To find out more about attending an upcoming Connections Luxury event, please contact Micaela Giacobbe on [email protected], or call her on 07852 557661