A small landlocked country in Asia that shares borders with China, and India, Bhutan is often referred to as the Last Shangri La. Sitting high in the mighty Himalayas, it is a spiritual land with plenty of cultural, historical, natural, and religious attractions and activities. It is also famously the nation that introduced to the world the concept of GNP: Gross National Happiness.
A fascinating land with rich traditions and a well-preserved unique cultural identity, getting to Bhutan independently isn’t so easy; all visitors need a pricey visa, and your visit and visa must be arranged through a Bhutantour operator. (Exceptions apply to people from India, the Maldives, and Bangladesh) Visa costs range from $200 in the low season to $250 in the high season. Prices are per day! But, the costs do include in-country transportation, accommodation, admission fees for attractions, meals, drinking water, and a tourist Bhutan Travel Guides.
Some tips to remember for a happy trip include
- Smoking is banned in all public areas and the sale of tobacco products is prohibited.
- Also, as a conservative Buddhist nation, visitors should remember to dress modestly.
- There are four seasons in Bhutan, with hot summers and cold winters. The best time to visit is usually between the months of October and December.
- Archery is the country’s national sport, and trekking and biking are great ways to appreciate the splendid natural beauty.
One of the country’s top tourist destinationsbhutan, Paro is an ideal base for people who want to get out and explore the glorious surrounding landscapes. Indeed, the Paro Valley is often said to be one of the most beautiful natural places in the whole of Bhutan!
The iconic Taktsang Monastery, also known as the Tiger’s Nest, is one of Paro’s most recognisable attractions. Sitting high up on a sheer cliff edge, you must hike for a couple of hours to reach this splendid religious site. A fairly challenging uphill hike, you’ll certainly feel that the effort was worth it when you reach the monastery. Drakhapo is another cliff-side monastery in Paro, especially interesting the hand and foot imprints in the rocks.
The town has several historic dzongs (fortresses) to explore, including RinpungDzong and DrukgyelDzong. The temple of JangsarbuLhakhang might look fairly unassuming from the outside, but its alls house a splendid Buddhist statue that was brought here from Tibet. The Museum of Bhutan offers insights into the country’s history and nature. If you visit between February and March you may be able to observe the religious ceremony of ParoTshechu.
The capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu was largely undeveloped until it became the capital in the 1960s. A stark contrast to the country’s ancient cities,Thimphu is, nonetheless, a great place to learn more about Bhutan in one its museums. They include the contemporary Alaya Gallery, the National Heritage Folk Museum, the Royal Textile Gallery, and the Water Dragon Gallery. Created to preserve traditional art forms, at ZorigChusum School of Traditional Arts you can watch as students perfect their skills in wood and bamboo carving, painting, carpentry, sculpting, casting, metal work, weaving, gold and silver work, embroidery, masonry, paper making, and leather work.
Changangkha Lhakhang is amongst the oldest temples in the Thimphu Valley, and other religious sites include the Sakyamuni Buddha Statue and ZangthoperiLhakhang. Take a stroll through the farmers’ market and observe the local way of life, relax in the Botanical Gardens, and see the country’s national animal in the Takin Preserve.
Jakar may only be a small one-street town, but its personality more than makes up for its small size. There are many handicraft stores and small restaurants to enjoy, as well as the magnificent fortress, JakarDzong to admire. The seat of the nation’s first king, the historical fortress, also known as the Castle of the White Bird, played a major role in defending the area and is the main reason that people visit the area today.
Zhemgang is a great place for keen bird watchers and fans of the great outdoors
Punakha is one of the country’s former ancient capitals, known for the dazzling Punakha Dzong and excellent hiking opportunities
Wangdue is also known for its old fortress and brilliant surrounding scenery.
Have a great time and explore Bhutan.