Cultural Travel | Tours of Exploration
Amazon Cruise on the Tucano
Cruise along the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest onboard the Tucano. Become an Amazon explorer on this expedition venturing far into the Amazon rainforest wilderness. Observe flora and fauna inaccessible to most visitors on this unforgettable Amazon cruise.
Arctic Circle: Herschel Island
An explorer's and photographer's dream - our Herschel Island tours in the Arctic Circle of Canada will leave you astounded. Incredible wildlife and birding opportunities, scenic, stretching landscapes, and rich cultural heritage and ways of knowing await you.
Argentina to Chile: The Southern Route
Experience the extraordinary landscapes and unusual floral and fauna of the region -- by land and by sea. This 18-day nature adventure consists of treks at Tierra del Fuego National Park, Perito Moreno Glacier, and Lago del Desierto. Included is a 5 day cruise through Patagonia's coastline with daily land excursions.
Argentina to Chile: The Northern Route
The colours and intriguing landscape of Northern Argentina and Chile are worth the visit as you discover the ancient culture, infinite deserts, arid Altiplano, and colourful gorges. A fabulous route awaits you through the landscapes of Northern Argentina and Chile including Salta, Humahuaca Gorge, and San Pedro de Atacama.
Great Ocean Road Australia
A heritage coast road between Adelaide and Melbourne to see unique scenery, small towns and wildlife along the Great Ocean Road.
Bears, whales, birds & First Nations culture
Whales, bears, birds, and Indigenous culture in the Pacific Northwest. Escorted by photographer and naturalist Liron Gertsman, and Tours of Exploration founder Catherine Evans.
Belize Culinary & Cultural
Explore southern Belize food culture, where Belizean, Maya, Creole, Garifuna and East Indian culture mingle together for flavours you will not experience anywhere else in the country. Expect all things cacao and spice during this culinary and culture tour.
Belize Nature and Archaeology
Discover nature preserves in Belize such as Caracol ruins, Lamanai, and Crooked Tree Bird Sanctuary. Be fascinated by Mayan archeology and culture in this unique week-long adventure.
Best of Panama
Travel to Panama for jungle scapes, coffee plantations, and rich indigenous culture. Our Panama travel packages and tours include visiting the new Agua Clara Locks of the Panama Canal Expansion, biking along the scenic Causeway Amador, and exploring the Chiriqui Highlands.
Enjoy the must-experience festivals of Bhutan that signify a new season or mark culturally significant occasions. Enjoy beautifully unique music, dance and social gaiety. Discover Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang, Central Bhutan with us!
Bhutan Tours to resume in 2024
Tour cost: $ 250 USD per person per night based on group size 3 or more persons plus sustainable development fee as imposed by the Royal Bhutan Government. Ask for details. Tour cost includes accommodation in 3 star Bhutanese hotels (upgrades available on request), transportation, entrance fees, all meals, and local throughout guide.
- All meals
- Road transportation in comfortable vans or micro-buses
- Travel with a licensed professional guide
- Sightseeing tours with entrance fees
- Camping equipment and haulage for treks
Airfare from Bangkok or Delhi additional. approx $ 900 USD. Air also available from Singapore and Kolkata
Suggested 10-day Itinerary
Day 1: Bangkok/Paro/Thimpu (L,D)
Morning flight into Paro, Bhutan from Bangkok or Delhi. On this flight, you can see breathtaking views of the Great Himalayas. Upon arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be welcomed to the Kingdom by your guide. Lunch served in Paro. After lunch drive to Thimphu 2 - 3 hours. The drive from Paro to Thimphu is spectacularly scenic. Magnificent monasteries and stupas in the valleys and mountaintops. Overnight Thimphu Hotel Pedling located in the center of town. Orientation talk and introduction video show on Bhutan with tea and snacks.
Day 2: Thimpu (B,L,D)
Full day of sightseeing. Some of the highlights of Thimphu include:
- Visit the weekly Thimphu market
- Change money at the Bhutan National Bank
- Purchase world's most beautiful postage stamps
- Visit the arts and crafts school and the Traditional Medicine Institute
- Visit Memorial Chorten to honour memory of Late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, popularly known as the Father of Modern Bhutan. A multi-storied stupa that will introduce you to the vitality of Tantric Buddhism.
- Observe traditional paper making from Daphnia and Edgeworthia
- Visit Botanical garden (Zoo) where one can see Yak and Takin, the National wild animal of Bhutan
- Drive up to viewpoint and take a hike beyond to see the clear picture of Thimphu Valley
- Downtown Thimphu on foot visiting Handicrafts Emporium and other Arts & Crafts stores. Buy stunning kiras which can be used and bed covers or wall decoration, jewelry's and many more
Day 3: Thimpu/Wangdi (B,L,D)
Morning sightseeing in Thimphu. Lunch and a 3-hour drive will take you across Dochula Pass (10,500 feet) to the valley of Wangdi Phodrang. Check in at Gangtey hotel located in a beautiful spot overlooking the whole Paro Valley.
Day 4: Excursion To Gangtey and Phobjikha Valley (B,L,D)
After breakfast drive to Gangtey and Phobjikha valley. Phobjikha valley has been declared as the first eco-tourism destination of Bhutan by the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN). The valley falls under the Black Mountain Natural Park. Phobjikha valley is the winter home to rare and endangered black necked cranes (grus nigricllis), which migrate, in large flocks to Bhutan from Tibet & Sikang, Yunnan and Tonkin in eastern China. For centuries the cranes have captured the human imagination with their intelligence, poise, sociality, beauty and freedom, which have given rise to several myths, legends, folktales and songs. In 1998 there were about 250 cranes and the numbers are increasing. Although the cranes fly back to their summer homes in mid - late February, there may be a couple of birds that have not yet flown to their summer homes in Tibet and China. There are lots of other wild animals in the surrounding valleys like wild boar, barking deer, Himalayan black bear, red fox, leopard and many species of birds. Also included are visits to the Nature Education center, the carpet factory and the Sacred Gangtey Monastery, which dominates the valley. Overnight
Day 5: To Trongsa (B,L,D)
Tongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan's Royal Family. Both the First and Second King ruled the Kingdom from this ancient seat. All the Kings of Bhutan has to become Tongsa Penlop (Honorary post of Governor) prior to being crowned as the Druk Gyalpo (King of Bhutan). Tongsa Dzong (fort), one of the largest in the country was first built is 1648 and later enlarged many times. Because of being situated on a highly commanding position on the only connecting route between the eastern and western sectors (where trail actually runs through the Dzong), the Tongsa Penlop was able to control the whole of eastern region very effectively for many centuries. Visit the ancient watch tower (Ta Dzong), which is situated just above the town. A half-day drive down of the town to till Kuenga Rabten, the Winter Palace of Second King, Jigme Wangchuck. The Palace is under the care of Special Commission for Cultural Affairs and it gives an intimate insight into the early days of Bhutanese Monarchy. Alongside the road are beautiful terraces of rice. We will continue south into the tropical area to watch for birds and some other wild animals like Golden Langurs. Overnight Trongsa
Day 6: Trongsa/Bumthang (Jakar) (B,L,D)
The drive to Bumthang takes 2-3 hrs. Tales of the great Guru Padmasambhava dominates this holy valley. View the JakarDzong "The Castle of White Bird". A stop will be made on the way in the Chumey Valley where one can see girls weaving Yatha the traditional woollen material used for different purpose on a traditional handloom. The finished products are all displayed in a shop and outside in open for sale. Lunch at the hotel. Overnight Jakar Village Lodge.
Day 7: Bumthang (B,L,D)
Different from all the other valleys in Bhutan, Bumthang is very spacious and open ranging in altitude from 2,600m to 4,000m. Bumthang is a heaven for hikers and trekkers, not to mention the numerous beautiful and important Buddhist monasteries and pilgrimage sites, making it the Cultural and Historic center of Bhutan. One could spend months exploring this fascinating valley. Almost every little valley or hill has a background of interesting myths and legends about Kings, Buddhist masters and Serpents. Bumthang is combined of four main valleys, Chumey, Tang, Ura and Choskhor (Jakar). Commonly known as Jakar valley where you can see a little bit of modern touch with Swiss Influences. Visits to the important cultural and historic sites in the special valley.
Day 8: Bumthang/Punakha (B,L,D)
Drive to Punakha. Overnight Zangdopelri Hotel.
Day 9: Punakha/Paro (B,L,D)
Punakha was the winter capital for over 300 years until the time of second King. Punakha Dzong, which dominates the whole area, was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel, and established the central monastic body with 600 monks. Today, Punakha is still the home for Je Khempo (Chief Abbot) and the central monastic body. Punakha Dzong is undergoing major re-construction after it was destroyed by fire in 1986. You can see the craftsman at work. It is one of the most impressive Dzongs in the country. Also drive through the Wangdi Valley to look for langurs, birds and other wildlife.In the afternoon drive to Paro. Overnight at Kychu Resort.
Day 10: Paro (B)
Morning optional trip to Taktsang Monastery viewpoint. Taktsang, meaning "Tiger's nest," is built around a cave in which Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhawa) mediated, clings seemingly impossible to a cliff of rock at 3,000 feet above the valley floor. For the local people it is a place of pilgrimage, but for a tourist, a hike up to the viewpoint opposite the monastery is exhausting, thrilling and mystical. The legend has it that Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown to the site of the monastery on the back of a tigress from Tibet and meditated in the cave there for three months. Although the main building of the temple was destroyed by fire on 19 April 1998, the hike up to the viewpoint is still worth a visit once in a lifetime. The reconstruction work is nearly complete. Options for walking or travel by horses is included. In the afternoon transfer to the airport for the departure flight.
Extensions in Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, Sikkim &Amp; Thailand are available on an individual basis
Access to Bhutan
Druk Air, the national carrier, flies into Paro from Bangkok (daily), Delhi (2 flights a week), Kolkata (4 flights a week), Singapore (2 flights a week), and Guwahait (three times a week). We will provide the air tickets on Druk Air as well as the arrangements for the necessary Pre-Visa requirements.
Any individual or group visiting Bhutan must obtain a Visa. Visa fee $ 40. It is necessary to submit the visa application two months in advance. Tours of Exploration will make the necessary arrangements to obtain your visa. Independent travel in Bhutan is forbidden.
Bolivia Andes Carnival and Uyuni Salt Flats
Visit Oruro and celebrate Carnival in the Andes, characterized by dances, music, street dramas, and a traditional parade. Adventure to the unspoilt Salt Flats of Uyuni, where you will encounter mutli-coloured landscapes, flora and fauna endemic to this unique world. While in Uyuni we stay in the Salt Hotels.
The Best of Bolivia
Begin your Bolivian adventure in La Paz, at the foot of majestic snow-capped Andean volcanoes. Hike amazing rock formations to see cave paintings from 2400 BC. Visit Bolivia's markets, where local indigenous people do business. See Incan ruins on the Sun Island on Lake Titicaca - the sacred centre of the Incan empire.
Bolivia's Culinary & Culture
Stroll through Bolivia -- find bazaars that make for South America’s broad culinary palette. Try a wide variety of international ethnic dishes, many of which date back to pre-Columbian times. Get closer to the local way of life by exploring little-known food and wine countries in the heart of South America.
Uyuni Overland to Atacama
Visit Bolivia's most sought-after sites. Begin your Bolivian adventure in La Paz, the world's highest city. Become immersed in Bolivia's markets, where local indigenous people do business. Embark to Uyuni, from where you venture to experience the salt flats, desert geysers, and hot springs.
Bolivia Uyuni Salt Flats Adventure
This Bolivian adventure takes us to an area surrounded by desert and extinct volcanoes where wild llamas and vicunas are abundant. Here we find vast salt flats, multi-coloured lagoons with rare flamingos, boiling mud pools, caves, fossils, glaciers, crimson lakes, and hot springs. Stay in Salt Hotels built out of salt!
Explore Borneo - an ideal island destination for nature lovers. Borneo is renowned for its rainforests that are home to a myriad of rare and endangered wildlife and plant species, along with an array of cultural groups whose traditions are rich. Let us connect you with the best that Borneo has to offer!
Borneo Wildlife Odyssey
Begin your discovery of Borneo - a nature lover's paradise - in Kota Kinabalu and Kinabalu National Park. Travel to Sandakan, Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, Selingan Island and the Sakau Rainforest. Experience the varied and abundant flora and fauna found in this rich tropical ecosystem!
Cambodia Angkor Wat
Explore the 200 temples are scattered across 400 square kilometers just north of the town of Siem Reap, dating back as early as the 9th century! A truly unique experience - the recommended 3 days exploring this UNESCO world heritage site will keep you wanting to come back for more!
Camino de Santiago Trail
The Camino de Santiago, or Compostela Trail, has for centuries represented an important pilgrimage route from France, across the Pyrenees and the north of Spain to the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela.