Exploring the Dragon Kingdom's Arts and Culture
Moderate touring with day hikes
Next to hospitality, Bhutan's greatest art forms are its traditional textiles and crafts. While many places produce fine examples of both, Bhutan's superlative wood carvings, masks, gold- and silver works, paper, and religious paintings are near-unique, both in excellence and in the fact that they are made to be used by the people themselves, rather than snapped up by the busloads of tourists we're happy to avoid in this favored land. By looking closely at the Dragon Kingdom's crafts and textiles in the making, visiting world-class weavers and thangka painters, we find ourselves learning a tremendous lot about the broader culture. Ranging through the countryside, staying in local guesthouses, making day hikes to remote villages and hidden valleys, we get a good look at not only art-making, but also art-using. Bhutan's people wear these magnificent textiles and gold and silver ornaments; they proudly display and use the paintings and masks their fellow artisans make.