What does it feel like to travel to one of the happiest countries on Earth? Find out for yourself when you visit Bhutan, the last great Himalayan kingdom that is at once breathtakingly beautiful and enchantingly mysterious. Known to its locals as Druk Yul or the Land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan still remains one of the very last places on earth to remain virtually untouched by the clamour of Western civilization. Opened to travellers only since the last three decades, Bhutan still remains Asia’s most enigmatic and revered travel destinations.
For all its fame as a tourist haven, Bhutan’s sustainable approach to low volume, high value tourism means that you never have to jostle with eager hordes. Travel experiences are as diverse as viewing the footprints of saints in the ancient rock face, or learning about the land’s flying dragons and demons at the monasteries. A country of majestic mountains, dense forests, pure air and simple smiles, Bhutan is an experience quite unlike any other. Today, Bhutan is the only Vajrayna Buddhist nation in the world, a tradition that embellishes its locales, vistas and way of life.
A good way to begin exploring Bhutan’s past is through its several strategic fortresses known as dzongs (built without the use of cement, nails or plans), ancient temples, monasteries and stupas. Destinations of distinction include the Taktsang Monastery, an important Buddhist site that is believed to have been visited by Guru Rinpoche on the back of a winged tigress, and Kurje Lhakhang, a temple in Jakar that is built in cave whose walls are embedded with a body print of the Guru. If you’re feeling limber and want to breathe in the fresh mountain air, embark on a trek down Druk path, or the more scenic Jomolhari, and Laya Gasa treks. For particularly ambitious and adventurous travellers, the Snowman Trek is considered one of the toughest in the world and takes about 30 days. Family-friendly attractions abound, thanks to Bhutan’s spectacular biodiversity, which is well preserved in its protected national parks – in fact, 35 percent of Bhutan is made up of national parks and the government of Bhutan has taken strong steps towards preserving Bhutan’s green cover by enforcing a law that ensures that at least 60 percent of Bhutan’s forests will be maintained for all time.
Bhutan truly comes alive through its festivals, which are celebrated in various temples and dzongs around the country. The highlight of these festivals – the mask dance depicts interesting narratives and is fraught with religious symbolism. Archery is Bhutan’s national sport, and competitions are held over the weekends. Also popular are the hot stone baths, where burning rocks are gently dropped into wooden baths; the minerals from the rocks are believed to have relaxing and therapeutic properties.
Best Sellers for Bhutan
Bhutan can only be experienced via a planned tour, with the approval of the Bhutanese government. If you’re eager to visit the last Shangri-la, browse through our travel packages below, to find an option that works the best with your budget and requirements.
Bhutan Travel Guide
The more you learn about Bhutan, the more you’d like to know. We understand. This is why Musafir.com’s comprehensive travel guide covers all of Bhutan’s top attractions, tells you about the kingdom’s culture and nuances, and informs you about the most prominent experiences in the country.
Best time to visit
October to December is the best time to visit Bhutan, when the skies are clear and sunny. January through April see the valleys scattered with a riot of colour, as the rhododendrons come into bloom. Birders interested in viewing the rare black-necked cranes must visit Phobjikha Valley between November and February. Monsoons see the kingdom swamped with heavy showers and are hence, best avoided.
How to reach Bhutan
Air: Bhutan’s international airport is located in Paro and is serviced by two major carriers – Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. The flight from Kathmadu to Paro is spectacular with the aircraft flying over four of the five highest mountains in the world.
Road: The southern districts of Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar feature Bhutan’s only land borders open to tourists. The journey from the border to Bhutan’s capital of Thimphu can take anywhere between six hours and three days.