A landlocked country in south asia in the eastern end of the himalayas, Bhutan is known for its century old monastery and fortress with beautiful landscapes from breathtaking high mountains to lush green sub tropical plains.
Almost cut off for centuries, tourism in bhutan began in 1974 to promote the country’s unique culture and traditions to the outside world. Largely unexplored by the foreign tourist bhutan has no shortage of attractive tourist destination and is claimed to be the one of the beautiful country of the world.
All tourists must obtain a visa before arriving in Bhutan (except nationals of India, Bangladesh and Maldives). Visas are issued on receipt of full payment of your holiday by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.
The total cost for a Bhutanese visa would be generally about 250 USD per day which includes accommodations, transportation, meals, plenty of bottled water and special entry fees.
The daily tariff covers:
- A minimum of 3 star accommodation – Luxury hotels may incur an additional fee
- All meals – Breakfast, lunch, dinner
- A licensed Bhutanese Tour Guide for the extent of the stay
- All internal transport – excluding any internal flights
- Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
- All internal taxes and charges
- A royalty of $65 (which is included in the tariff price)
Paro International Airport, the sole international airport in Bhutan.
Paro International Airport is the only entry point to Bhutan by air. It is located 6 km from Paro on the bank of the river Paro Chhu.
Note: Make a pre arrangement with an approved tour operator, either directly or through an overseas agent as Foreigners are restricted to travel by themselves in Bhutan.
Geographically a small country, Bhutan’s climate varies from north to south.
- North of Bhutan which borders with Tibet is covered in snow throughout the year.
- Western, Central and Eastern Bhutan has an European-like weather, Winter lasts here from November to March.
- Southern Bhutan bordering with India is hot and humid with a sub-tropical climate.
Due to its pristine environment and harmonious society, the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan has been called “The Last Shangri La.”
The most important centres for tourism are in Bhutan’s capital Thimphu, and in the western city of Paro. The majority of tourists do “cultural tours” in Bhutan, however if you are adventurous and want to explore the unexplored then east Bhutan is the perfect place for you.
Paro Taktsang “Tiger’s Nest”
Paro Taktsang a famous Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and temple complex, located in the cliffside of the upper Paro valley, in Bhutan.
The temple is built on a 1,200 meter cliff and the hike up to the Tiger’s Nest can be very strenuous. Renting a horse is recommended if you are not very fit and may face altitude sickness. The ride is a one way trip and you have to make your way down on foot.
The Gangteng Monastery is an important monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism, located in the Wangdue Phodrang District in central Bhutan.
Dechen Phodrang Monastery
Dechen Phodrang meaning “Palace of Great Bliss” is a Buddhist monastery in Thimphu, Bhutan. It is located to the north of the city. The monastery contains a number of important historical Bhutanese artifacts including 12th century paintings.
Kyichu Lhakhang Monastery
Kyichu Lhakhang, is an important Himalayan Buddhist temple situated in Lango Gewog of Paro District in Bhutan. The Jowo Temple of Kyichu is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, originally built in the 7th century.
Perched high in the Himalayas, it is the world’s last remaining Buddhist Kingdom.
Trekking in bhutan is extremely popular and can be one of the best ways to experience the exotic mountains and landscapes.. The autumn and spring are the best seasons for undertaking a trek. In the summer, the paths are too muddy, while in winter they are snow covered. The recommended season for this trek is mid-June to mid-October.
- The Druk Path is the most commonly treked in Bhutan from Paro, to the capital Thimphu.
- The Jomolhari, and Laya Gasa trek are the very popular trek in Bhutan.
- The Snowman Trek is reported to be one of the toughest treks in the world, taking a approximately 30 days.
Here are some tips what you need to pack during your trek to Bhutan.
- Choose lightweight quick-dry clothing.
- Carry light and small Thermal underclothes due to cold in the mountains even in summer.
- Instead of carrying your documents such as boarding passes and other documents you can store it in your smartphones or other electronic devices.
Beside culture tours and trekking, Bhutan has much more to offer. Here are some interesting activities you can be a part of during your stay in Bhutan.
- Archery : This is the national sport of Bhutan and competitions are held throughout the country at most weekends.
- Biking : Biking is easily the most sociable way to and experience Bhutan.
- Festivals : Tshechu is the largest religious festival in Bhutan and is celebrated in the late Summer and Fall throughout the country. The highlight of the tshechu ceremonies is the masked dances by monks, which were developed according to precise instructions given by past Buddhist masters.
- Hot Stone Bath : The hot stone bath is a ritual in itself, riverside rocks are heated till red hot and gradually dropped into a wooden tub filled with water and scattered with Artemisia leaves.
- Ceremonial Buddhist Weddings : Bhutanese wedding is profound experience and commemorates the celestial union of mind, body and soul of two people.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Shorts are not allowed (except trekking/hiking). Shoulders and legs should be covered all the time or else you will be restricted from entering into religious buildings and monastery. (applies for both men & women)
- The sale of tobacco products is banned and smoking in public areas is an offence punished with fines.
- All personal videos, cameras, personal computers, portable telephones or any other electronic device should be registered with the customs authorities on arrival in Bhutan, and will be checked again on departure.
- Always pass mani stones, stupas and other religious objects with your right side nearest to the object, and turn prayer wheels in a clockwise direction. Never sit on mani stones or stupas.
The Land of Thunder Dragon, Bhutan is a trekker’s paradise and an environmentalist’s dream.
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