Bhutan, a tiny paradise tucked in the Himalayas, is a land of sheer happiness. Bhutan’s dramatic landscape speckled with history, mystery and monastery touch the heart of everyone who visits the royal kingdom. Interestingly, Bhutan is the world’s last great Himalayan kingdom, which has beautifully balanced the harmony among nature, Buddhist traditions and modern-day living. The kingdom is a land of surprises. Here, rice is red, chillies are considered to be a vegetable and the government measures development by Gross National Happiness and not by Gross National Product. The beauty of snow-clad Himalayas and striking flora and fauna, the warmth of peace-loving people, the unique architecture of Buddhist monasteries and taste of authentic Tibetan food are something you are going to see and experience during your Bhutan trip. With more and more tourists visiting Bhutan, Bhutan tourism has also witnessed a significant spike in last few years. Plan a Bhutan trip and do not leave the kingdom without doing and experiencing these six things:
1. Discover your Gross National Happiness
We all wanna be happy, right? Then you gotta go to Bhutan. This is the only country where development is measured on the lines of Gross National Happiness and not Gross National Product. The Royal Government of Bhutan defines tourism as a major means of achieving socio-economic development. It adheres strongly to a policy of ‘High Value, Low Impact’ tourism. Its mission is to promote the country’s cultural heritage, to safeguard its sovereign status, conserve the environment and promote Bhutan as a high-end tourist destination on the Lines of Gross Domestic Happiness.
2. Soak in the beauty of the mighty Himalayas
The view of the Himalayas from the passes in Bhutan is simply mesmerising and unforgettable. Leave the crowd behind and traverse through the spectacular passes of Bhutan, like the Chele La Pass and Dochula Pass. You will get a clear and more panoramic view of the Himalayas, all blanketed by snow. This is the sight to behold forever! You can even catch a sight of Mt. Everest and Kanchenjunga here.
3. Go on sightseeing tours to the monasteries
Bhutan is dotted with countless forts and monasteries. You need not be a history buff or one with a spiritual mind to explore the monasteries in Bhutan. Taktsang Monastery, perched at an altitude of nearly 3120 metres in upper Paro Valley is one of the recommended places to visit in Bhutan. Trek up to Taktsang Monastery and enjoy the breathtaking views of the unspoilt valley over delicious Bhutanese food. Tango and Cheri monasteries in Thimpu, Rinpung Dzong Monastery in Paro Valley, Rinpung Dzong Monastery in Paro Valley and Lhuentse Dzong Monastery in Lhuntse are other spectacular places to visit in Bhutan. Traverse through the zig-zag roads, catch a glimpse of traditional Buddhist practices and lose yourself in the world of all-pervading peace and happiness. Tiger’s Nest in Paro, Chele La Pass, Dochula Pass, Buddha Dordenma Statue in Thimphu and National Museum Of Bhutan, Paro are some other well-known places to visit in Bhutan.
4. Take a deep dive in adventure sports
There are plenty of mountain biking trails in Bhutan. One of the most popular mountain biking routes in Bhutan is the Paro to Bumthang route. Mountain biking is an excellent way to reach to those places which are not accessible by foot. Also, it brings you closer to nature and Bhutan is a paradise for nature lovers.
Trekking is another adventure activity that Bhutan is famous for. Embark on a trek in Bhutan and give yourself an opportunity to fall in love with the unparallel beauty of the Himalayas. Some of the greatest treks in Bhutan are Druk Path Trek, Snowman Trek and Gangtey Trek.
You need not be an expert to raft along Mo Chhu River in Bhutan. Cruise along the gushing waters of Mo Chhu River with your folks and catch a glimpse of some of Bhutan’s natural and artificial wonders. Bhutan tourism offers all such adventure activities for adventure enthusiasts.
A word of caution! Adventure activities in Bhutan are not for the faint-hearted.
5. Get to taste authentic Bhutanese cuisine
Bhutanese cuisine mainly comprises rice, pork, beef, chicken, cheese and chillies. The national food of Bhutan is Ema Datshi. It is a brilliant mix of chillies and local Bhutanese cheese. Hoentoe, Shakam paa, Sikam paa, Juma and Goep are some other popular dishes of the kingdom. No wonder, Bhutan is a haven for meat lovers! Are you fond of momos? Then your Bhutan trip can spoil you for choices. Fret not! There are several options for vegetarians too. So, spice up your life in Bhutan!
6. Go on a souvenir shopping spree
Bhutan can give you an extravagant shopping experience. Thimphu, Paro and Phuntsheoling are the main places for shopping in Bhutan. Tourists can buy Himalayan beads, sheathes and swords, rugs, wall- hangings, blankets, wooden mugs and lots of ornaments like necklaces, earrings and pins from Bhutan as souvenirs.
Do not leave Bhutan without staying in Paro. It is one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan speckled with rice paddies, monasteries, local shops and century-old houses.
September to November is the best time to visit Bhutan. The country experiences winter from December to February. Temperature drops to 5 degrees Celsius during winter and this is the ideal period to experience snowfall. You can also plan a Bhutan trip between March and May to catch a glimpse of Himalayan flowers and take part in different festivals.
The sight of uncountable prayer flags spread the air of spirituality in Bhutan. With cascading rice paddies, preserved forests, majestic Himalayan ranges, splendid monasteries, and the gushing Paro River, Bhutan is a delight for every type of traveller. Take a Bhutan trip and discover how the last ‘Shangri La’ leaves you speechless.