Bhutan is a small, landlocked nation in Asia, located in the eastern Himalayan Mountains, south of China, bordering the Indian states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh. It looks like a child peacefully sleeping on the lap of mother Himalaya. The landscape is mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savannah.
It has a strong ancient Buddhist culture. Bhutan is blessed with a very unique and rich heritage and culture that will mesmerize anyone visiting it.
The country’s natural ecosystem is one of the most intact ecosystems of the world because of the choice to remain untouched from the rest of the world for decades. In 1998, it was named in the top 10 biodiversity hot spots of the world.
Bhutan is still in a monarchy but it is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary form of government. The reigning monarch is Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. The Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) is the head of the state.
Earlier Bhutan was not a nation that was open about itself to the world and the outsiders but in 1991, the Royal Government of Bhutan privatized tourism. Although it is restricted like travel is only possible in some of the pre-arranged packages or guided tours. Even after the restrictions, we can still enjoy its beauty and can be amazed by its culture and tradition which is unique in its own way.
Things to do in Bhutan
The capital of Bhutan, Thimpu will be the first preference to visit. You can see a unique blend of modernity and antiquity showing a new world to unfold your curiosity. You will be stepped away from the typical tourist experience and be part of something wholly unique. It is the place where you can’t find traffic signals anywhere.
For the rescue of that, police beckoning and waving traffic along can be seen on the roads. Stately monks draped in blood-red robes weaving in and out magnificent monasteries are also commonplace in this spiritual city and a trip to see the Tashichho Dzong (fortress of Glorious Religion) is an absolute must.
Travelers arriving in Thimpu are sure to be pleasantly surprised regions’ natural beauty as well as by the range of amenities available such as cafes, bars, and nightclubs, all of which are transforming the international view of mysterious Bhutan. With so much an offer, it is hard to not to fall in love with this intriguing city.
Punakha fortress (dzong), is located in this place which stands high between the Mo Chhu and Pho chhu rivers. It was earlier the capital of Bhutan but then it changed to Thimpu. This fortress is one of the most beautiful things in this country. It has slid roofs with unique patterns. The walls are huge and whitewashed.
The sound effect of rivers when we walk through the hollow halls of the fortress makes the atmosphere calm and satisfying. Not mentioning “The Khamsum Yuley Temple”, when talking about Punakha will be an injustice because it is a must “to-see” spot to visit because it has the huge collection of antique paintings which reveals about the county’s culture in such a beautiful way that any art and history lover will be mind- blown.
Punakha is an adventurous destination for the people who love tracking because it is surrounded by rough green mountains. The climate of this region is yearlong with average cold breeze soothing our bodies and minds.
It is located in the heart of Bhutan. It has the most breathe taking view that offers sightseeing of the gorge and black mountains. It is famed for imposing Dzong in the town. The name translates to a “new village” in the Dzongkha language. It is also known as the most spectacular location in the country.
It is positioned right above the Mangde River. The buildings are connected with the corridors to make a maze. The steps are made up of stones and it has paved country -yards.
MANAS NATIONAL PARK
The beautiful heritage enriched national park is located in the southern-most-center of Bhutan. It is said to be the country’s crown jewel. It was not opened for the public a few years back, but now locals and tourists can explore this with the permission of the government.
It can be said that it is the oldest protected area and forms a part of the transnational conservational zone. It separates the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park in the north and world heritage-listed Manas Tiger Reserve in India. It is the home for the largest tropical and subtropical ecosystem in Bhutan.
It preserves the highly endangered Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, and greater one-horned Rhino. Many species of birds can be counted up to 426 and it contains over 900 flora. The parks are most biologically outstanding in the world. Tourism in this park can be done by walking on foot, by car or by boat or even the park’s eco trails, as they try to spot one of its rare inhabitants.
This is the district of Bhutan which is located in its northernmost part. It strikes its beauty to anyone visiting here and reserves an unforgettable memory of the elevations ranging from 1,500 to 4,500 meters. Built back in 1646, the Dzong defended Bhutan from several invasions in the 17th century and 18th centuries.
Even though being the most notable feature in this area, the people living here are the most who catch the eye of the tourist. They can be called the reason because of whom the culture of the country is still dominant out here. The main source of income comes from yaks, as they trade cheese, butter, meat or products made from their hair.
Here tracking is also very famous. It is one of the most demanding treks in the Himalayas, and its healing hot springs. The newly established Royal Highlander festival is becoming increasingly popular. It is the must-see for passing travelers.
It is also known as the ‘spiritual heartland of Bhutan’. Bumthang boats are some of the oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries. It is encrypted by four directions by four mountain valleys of Tang, Ura, Chhume, and Chokhor with later being the most well-known as it holds some of the most important temples and dzongs.
It is the place where Buddhism was first introduced to Bhutan. It is also the birthplace of Saint Pema Lingpa, to whom the Bhutanese royalty trace their descent. Wool products are also very famous here.
The colorful wools that are produced here are famous all around the world which is also known as yathra. And like every other location mentioned here, it also has a breath-taking view of mountains and greenery. Paddling is the best -known activity that is done by the tourist so that that can enjoy the beautiful view and connect with nature more closely.
The mixture of meadows forests, villages and sacred sites provide a picturesque showcase of Bhutan’s rural scenery.
Oh well, it can be also termed as the most beautiful destination in Bhutan, the Gangtey Valley is also known as Pobjika Valley. It is a Glacial Valley is surrounded by beautiful black mountains. It has the rarest and endangered black-necked cranes that arrive in the winters from Tibetan Plateau that’s why it is the most important conservation zones in the country.
Goemba Monastery is also a reason that it is counted as a few of the most tourist-friendly places. It was built back in the early 17th century. It is even the holiest Buddhist and also holds the proud position overlooking the rest of the valley. As it was built a long ago, it was renovated in 2008. This has the residential facility for the monks, and outlining meditation center and it also has guest houses.
People can come here and experience what true meditation is and by this, they can reconnect with their souls and find peace in their minds. Here they can also go for walking and exploring the mountainsides by trekking. By coming here one can find its inner peace that is the most beautiful and rare experience that one can achieve in their lifetime.
TIGER’S NEST MONASTERY
Tiger Nest monastery is also known as the Taksang Monastery. It has become the unofficial symbol of Bhutan. It is the most sacred place of pilgrimage in the country. It was built in 1692, around the Taktsang Senge standup cave where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for three years, three months, three days and three hours in the 8th century.
Perched on a sheer ridge at a dazzling height of 3,000m above sea level and appearing to cling to the side of the rugged cliff face, the sight of this unique holy building will leave you breathless in any way possible.
The building is located in a high location of the mountain so one can only reach there by trekking. The walls are painted beautifully with its history carved in it in the artistic form. The trekking will take probably three hours to reach the destination but the result is will be worth it. It was unfortunately burned by fire so it was rebuilt in 1998.
It is located in the heart of Bhutan, Wangdue is a delight for all the senses, encompassing pictures scenery, majestic architecture and ancient culture eager to be explored and experienced. Back in the years, Wangdue Dzong was the most famous monument of the city but unfortunately like Tiger Nest Monastery, it was also burned down by fire recently in 2012.
The reconstruction is in progress and is expected to take several more years to complete. The Dzong was basically built in this location because, whilst searching for a suitable building site, locals saw four different directions, this supposedly symbolized the spread of Buddhism to the four points of the compass. Here in Wangdue people can also connect with the monks to learn about the country’s tradition and culture more deeply. Here you can also learn about the inner working of Buddhism.
Paro And The Paro Valley
This city is blessed with a wealth of architecture and natural beauty. Yet another but worth seeing Dzong here is Rinpung Dzong. It has the most stunning unparallel views of lush Paro Valley.
Tourists can also take part in various activities like mountain biking, rafting, and hiking. But the most famous activity of all time here is snowman Trekking. It can be challenging for some people but will be one of the most memorable things done for everyone. It stretches over 5km through high altitude passes.
If these outdoor adventurous activities are not the options of the tourist, they have many other options like meditation outside the sun from behind the region’s dramatic peaks.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The altitude in the kingdom in Bhutan ranges from 180 m to 7800 on Himalayan Plateau and the climate varies accordingly. October to December is the best time in which one can visit Bhutan and experience the most of it as the air is clean and fresh with clear and sunny skies.
This time period is perfect for trekking. For the people who prefer winters most can go between January to February. But then in April, the climate becomes dry and pleasant spring comes to welcome the tourists.
BELOW IS THE TEMPERATURE AND RAINFALL CHART OF THE COUNTRY THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
ABOUT THE VISA
Bhutan has a unique policy for visa unlike other countries around the globe. The Bhutan visa card can only be applied through a licensed Bhutan tour operator that arranges the tour of Bhutan on behalf.
Indian Citizens, Bangladeshi Citizens, and Maldives Citizens need not to get a visa to visit Bhutan. But for the visa-free policy, here are some norms that have to be followed:-
- Indian Passport with month validity remaining
- Voter’s card
- Identification slip to provide adequate proof of Citizenship
Requirements for children under 17=>
- Birth certificate
- school ID
High season months (March, April, May, September, October, and November), the visiting Bhutan can cost upto $250 US per person a day. If there is a solo trip then there is a bill of up to $290 because of the surplus of $40 a day.