Bhutan
The land of delightful surprises!

Welcome to Bhutan

Unfold the magic and mysteries of Bhutan, officially known as the Kingdom of Bhutan, which is a fascinating country of rolling hills, pristine natural beauty, towering Himalayas, dense forests, cascading waterfalls, ancient temples and monasteries and rich cultural heritage. It is a land of surprises where the rice is red and chillies aren’t just a seasoning but the main ingredient. This beautiful kingdom is a remarkable amalgamation of ancient and modern.

Located in South Asia, the country is majorly mountainous and Thimphu is its capital. The sight of the prayer flags fluttering along the high ridges is a common sight here as Buddhism is intricately woven into the culture of Bhutan and plays an important role in the people’s life. It is a great country where Gross National Happiness is considered more important than Gross National Product. By the country laws, at least 60 percent of the county must remain forested for all future generations. They have high reverence for Mother Nature which is commendable.

Why is Bhutan quite expensive? However, it is worth it…

In order to protect and preserve the culture and environment of Bhutan, the Government of Bhutan has imposed a minimum fee of around $200 USD per day per person during low season and $250 USD per day per person in high season for travelers and visitors in Bhutan.

Bhutan Attractions

Tashichhodzong

It is a Buddhist monastery and fortress which also serves as the office of the Kingh, ministers and different government organizations. It also serves as the venue for the famous Thimphu (religious) Festival every year. It is the biggest cultural event of the country.

Taktsang Ihakhang

This monastery located on a rocky mountain is also known as the Tiger’s Nest. Built in the 8th century, it is believed to be the site where the 2nd Buddha, Guru Rimpoche meditated. It is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the Himalayas.

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Adventure in Bhutan

Trekking and hiking are the adventurous ways to see the charm of Bhutan. The treks give you an opportunity to discovery natural beauty of the country and to acquaint with the culture and lifestyle of the people. On the treks you will pass through gorgeous vegetation to river valleys and icy slopes of the Himalayas. You can also enjoy mountain biking here.

Cuisine of Bhutan

Spices are vital ingredients in the cuisine of Bhutan. The Bhutan people love eating chillies. Rice is an important part of the meals apart from the side dishes like meat or vegetables. The rice is red in colour and is very nutritious. Ema Dasti, a mix of chillies and tasty local cheese, is the national dish of the country. Momos, Phaksha Paa (pork cooked with red chillies), Jasha Maru (spicy minced chicken) are the other popular dishes.

Fairs and Festivals

The enthusiasm of the people of Bhutan can be vividly seen in its colourful fairs and festivals. One of the main festivals is Tshechu and every city celebrates its own Tshechu which spans over 3-5 days. It is held in a Dzong( the great fortress) where people come together for a celebration. The festival is marked with the famous Mask Dance or Chham. Laymen and monks sport animal masks and silk attires and re-enact the scenes from the life of Guru Rinpoche. It is truly a treat for the eyes.

The famous traditional dance of Bhutan is the lama dance that symbolizes the destruction of evil spirits. Music, paintings, poetry and other art forms in Bhutan are inspired from the Buddhist religion.

Culture of Bhutan

The rich cultural heritage of Bhutan is one of its main attractions. It is amazing to see that the people of Bhutan, as well as the government, show great dedication in preserving and promoting their cultural values. You go to any place in Bhutan and you will find the essence of the culture everywhere. Buddhism is the predominant religion here.

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The enthusiasm of the people of Bhutan can be vividly seen in its colourful fairs and festivals. One of the main festivals is Tshechu and every city celebrates its own Tshechu which spans over 3-5 days. It is held in a Dzong( the great fortress) where people come together for a celebration. The festival is marked with the famous Mask Dance or Chham. Laymen and monks sport animal masks and silk attires and re-enact the scenes from the life of Guru Rinpoche. It is truly a treat for the eyes.

The famous traditional dance of Bhutan is the lama dance that symbolizes the destruction of evil spirits. Music, paintings, poetry and other art forms in Bhutan are inspired from the Buddhist religion.

Wildlife of Bhutan

Bhutan is ideally located in the southern slopes of the Eastern Himalayas which have been recognized as a global biodiversity hotspot. WWF counts it among the 234 globally outstanding eco-regions of the world. The country is home to more than 5,400 plant species and 770 bird species. Some of the best wildlife destinations of Bhutan are Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary, Royal Manas National Park and many more.

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Shopping in Bhutan

The markets of Bhutan are full of beautiful handicrafts like shawls, sweaters, coats, trinklets, Thanka paintings, Bhutanese stamps printed on silk and metal foil, etc.

Bhutan Destinations

Thimpu

Thimpu is the capital city of Bhutan and is the only capital in the world without traffic lights. It’s a clean and lively place with attractions like stupas, dzong, National Library, Institute for Zorig Chusum(arts and crafts school), the Folk Heritage Museum, National Textile Museum, Buddha Point etc. There is so much to explore and experience in this city.

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Dochu La Pass

A visit to this Pass will bring to face to face with breathtaking views of the majestic Himalayas and fluttering prayer flags. It is located on the way to Punakha from Thimphu.  The Pass is dotted with 108 chortens which were built in honour of the Bhutanese soldiers. It is very popular with tourists.

Punakha Dzong

Also known as The Palace of Great Bliss, Punakha Dzong is a must-visit destination. It was built in 1637 and faced damange six times. Today it stands as one of the most arresting dzongs in the country. Its wonderful assembly hall is open to tourists. As you move to the far end of the Dzong you will find a Kuenrey, a temple housing huge statue of the Buddha. The ceiling of the temple is decorated with amazingly painted dragons. The Kuenrey has the most mesmerizing painting of the twelve episodes of the life of the Buddha.

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Paro

Paro valley extends from the confluence of the Paro Chhu and the Wang Chhu rivers at Chuzom up to Mt. Jomolhari at the Tibetan border to the North. This picturesque region is one of the widest valleys in the kingdom and is covered in fertile rice fields and has a beautiful, crystalline river meandering down the valley.

Accentuating the natural beauty are the elegant, traditional-style houses that dot the valley and surrounding hills. One of the distinctive features of Paro town is that it is situated in a flat valley bottom and follows a grid-like pattern. The central plaza is adorned with a large prayer wheel and a small amphitheater where events are held throughout the year.

Punakha

“The former capital of Bhutan, a quaint little town with much to offer.  Average elevation of 1,200 meters above sea level’”

It’s located in the Bhutanese State and formerly named Pungtang Dechen Photrang Dzong that translates to “the palace of bliss or great happiness,” Punakha Dzong was built in 1637. The founder of Bhutanese State, Zhabdrung Ngawayang Namgyel himself chose the location and built this emblem of the Bhutanese religious architecture.

It has been inextricably linked with momentous occasions in Bhutanese history. It served as the capital of the country from 1637 to 1907 and the first national assembly was hosted here in 1953. Punakha Dzong is not only the second oldest and second largest dzong but it also has one of the most majestic structures in the country.

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Best time to visit

Although you can visit Bhutan at any time of the year but the most favourable time to travel to Bhutan is from October to December. The weather is pleasant, skies are clear and the air is fresh. It becomes a little cold in January and February. In April, the valley teems up with colourful flowers making it look like heaven. Monsoon season which spans from June to September is not so ideal to visit Bhutan.

How to Reach

Druk Air is the National Air carrier of Bhutan which operates regular flights from Paro airport in Bhutan to Delhi (India), Kolkatta (India), Gaya (India), Kathmandu (Nepal), Dhaka (Bangladesh), and Bangkok (Thailand).

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Five  interesting things that you must do in Bhutan

  1. Try your hand at the national sport of Bhutan- Archery. In stadiums, on hills and in fields, you will find people taking turns to shoot arrows. In every village of Bhutan, you will find a field for archery.
  2. Visit the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. It is located at a sheer cliff face and looks picture-perfect. It features on every website and magazines of Bhutan Travel.
  3. Look for a yeti (locally known as migoi- a wild creature). Well, interact with the villagers as every one of them will have their own story of an encounter with a yeti.
  4. Dance along with monks at a Tsechu festival.
  5. Learn to add to your Gross National Happiness by improving the quality of your life. Bhutan is well known across the world for focusing on ‘quality’ of life.

Some important Do’s and Don’ts while in Bhutan

  • Always ask your guide if you are not sure of anything while traveling in Bhutan.
  • The sale of cigarette and tobacco products are banned in Bhutan, so never consume any tobacco products in public places. Visitors can bring with them 100 cigarettes in the country, however, they will be charged 200% tax on them.
  • Take permission before you click pictures of religious things, private property or people.
  • Remove your hats when you are at dzongs, monasteries, and in front of the National Flag.  
  • Bhutan follows stringent rules when it comes to antiques. So make sure you have valid bills when you buy any antiques from there.
  • Clicking pictures in some areas of the monasteries, temples and dzongs are prohibited. Make sure you consult your guide in this regard.
  • Whenever you tip any guide, driver or hotel staff, make sure you give it in an envelope.
  • Since it is a hilly area and you will be travelling in a car a lot of times, you are advised to carry Dramamine or any other medication prescribed by a doctor for motion sickness/nausea.
  • Do carry Bhutanese currency with you as most of the small shops don’t accept credit cards.
  • Don't wear short clothes in religious places. It is considered as disrespect.

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