Bhutan: The Land of Gross National Happiness and Breathtaking Beauty

Bhutan is a landlocked country located in the Eastern Himalayas of South Asia. It is bordered by China to the north and by India to the south, east, and west. Bhutan is known for its stunning mountain landscapes, rich biodiversity, and unique cultural heritage.

One of the remarkable aspects of Bhutan is its commitment to Gross National Happiness (GNH), which is prioritized over Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of development. GNH emphasizes the overall well-being and happiness of the Bhutanese people, considering factors such as sustainable development, cultural preservation, environmental conservation, and good governance.

Bhutan is also famous for its traditional Buddhist culture. Buddhism plays a significant role in the daily lives of the Bhutanese people, and the country is dotted with numerous monasteries, temples, and sacred sites. The iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched on a cliffside, is one of the most revered and popular tourist attractions in Bhutan.

The government of Bhutan has implemented strict regulations to preserve its natural environment and protect its cultural heritage. The country is known for its commitment to environmental conservation, with more than 70% of its land designated as protected areas, including national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Bhutan is renowned for its rich biodiversity, including endangered species such as the snow leopard, Bengal tiger, and black-necked crane.

Tourism in Bhutan is regulated through a “high-value, low-volume” approach, aiming to minimize the impact on the environment and preserve its unique culture. Visitors to Bhutan must travel with a licensed tour operator, and a daily fee is imposed to support the country’s sustainable development efforts.

Overall, Bhutan offers a blend of breathtaking landscapes, cultural authenticity, and a commitment to holistic well-being that sets it apart as a unique and special destination.

Bhutan Tourism

Bhutan, a small Himalayan kingdom nestled between India and Tibet, is a unique and enchanting destination for travelers seeking a blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and spiritual experiences. Here is an overview of Bhutan’s tourism offerings:

  1. Cultural Heritage:
    Bhutan is known for its rich cultural heritage and preservation of traditions. Explore the majestic dzongs (fortresses) such as Punakha Dzong and Trongsa Dzong, which serve as administrative and religious centers. Visit ancient temples and monasteries like Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) and Chimi Lhakhang to witness the country’s deep-rooted Buddhist traditions.
  2. Stunning Landscapes:
    Bhutan’s landscapes are breathtaking, with snow-capped mountains, lush valleys, and pristine forests. Explore the picturesque Paro Valley, the scenic Haa Valley, or the tranquil Gangtey Valley. Hike to high mountain passes, such as Dochula Pass, for panoramic views of the Himalayas. Don’t miss the chance to see Bhutan’s unique flora and fauna in national parks like Jigme Dorji and Royal Manas.
  3. Gross National Happiness:
    Bhutan is famously known for measuring its success based on Gross National Happiness (GNH) rather than GDP. Experience the Bhutanese philosophy of happiness through interactions with the friendly locals, engaging in community-based tourism, and participating in traditional festivals like the colorful Tshechu celebrations.
  4. Bhutanese Cuisine:
    Indulge in Bhutanese cuisine and savor dishes like ema datshi (chili and cheese stew), momo (dumplings), and suja (butter tea). Bhutanese food often incorporates local ingredients like red rice, buckwheat, and yak cheese. Enjoy meals in traditional farmhouses or local restaurants to experience the authentic flavors.
  5. Adventure and Outdoor Activities:
    Bhutan offers a range of adventure activities for thrill-seekers. Trekking enthusiasts can embark on trails like the famous Druk Path Trek or the challenging Snowman Trek. For nature lovers, Bhutan is a bird-watching paradise, with a diverse array of avian species. Additionally, river rafting, mountain biking, and wildlife excursions are available for those seeking outdoor adventures.
  6. Sustainable Tourism:
    Bhutan takes pride in its commitment to sustainable tourism and environmental conservation. The country has implemented a “High Value, Low Impact” tourism policy to preserve its pristine environment and unique culture. Visitors are required to book their travel through a licensed tour operator and pay a daily tariff that covers essential services, ensuring a responsible and controlled tourism experience.

Bhutan’s awe-inspiring landscapes, vibrant culture, and emphasis on happiness make it a truly extraordinary destination. As you explore this magical kingdom, you will be immersed in a world of tranquility, spirituality, and natural wonders that leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul.

Places to see in Bhutan

Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is a treasure trove of scenic landscapes and cultural gems. Here are some must-see places to visit in Bhutan:

  1. Paro:
    • Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest): A famous cliffside monastery perched on a steep mountain, offering breathtaking views.
    • Rinpung Dzong: A stunning fortress-monastery that houses beautiful murals and serves as an administrative center.
  2. Thimphu:
    • Buddha Dordenma: A colossal statue of Buddha overlooking the capital city, offering panoramic views.
    • Tashichho Dzong: The seat of Bhutan’s government, with impressive architecture and vibrant festivals.
    • National Memorial Chorten: A stupa dedicated to world peace and the memory of Bhutan’s third king.
  3. Punakha:
    • Punakha Dzong: A majestic fortress located at the confluence of two rivers, known for its intricate woodwork and stunning setting.
    • Chimi Lhakhang: A fertility temple dedicated to the “Divine Madman,” adorned with colorful phallus paintings.
  4. Bumthang:
    • Jakar Dzong: A picturesque fortress overlooking the valley, offering panoramic views and housing sacred artifacts.
    • Jambay Lhakhang: An ancient temple believed to be one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo.
  5. Gangtey Valley:
    • Gangtey Monastery: A serene monastery that is part of the Black Necked Crane Conservation area, offering a glimpse into Buddhist traditions.
  6. Haa Valley:
    • Haa Dzong: An ancient fortress that offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and hosts the annual Summer Festival.
  7. Trongsa:
    • Trongsa Dzong: A strategically located fortress that played a vital role in Bhutan’s history, now serving as a museum and administrative center.
  8. Phobjikha Valley:
    • Phobjikha Wildlife Sanctuary: A protected area known for its scenic beauty and as a wintering ground for the endangered black-necked cranes.

These are just a few of the remarkable places to explore in Bhutan. Each destination offers a unique blend of natural beauty, architectural wonders, and spiritual experiences, providing visitors with an unforgettable journey through Bhutan’s cultural and natural heritage.

Paro Taktsang

Paro Taktsang, also known as Tiger’s Nest, is one of the most iconic and revered landmarks in Bhutan. This spectacular monastery is perched on the edge of a cliff, around 900 meters (2,950 feet) above the Paro Valley floor. Here are some key details about Paro Taktsang:

Location: Paro Taktsang is located in the Paro Valley, approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from Paro town in western Bhutan.

Takshang Bhutan, Temple, bhutan tourism
Takshang Bhutan, Temple, bhutan tourism

Legend and Significance: According to legend, Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), the Indian saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, flew to this location on the back of a tigress, meditated in a cave, and subdued the local demons. Hence, the monastery is named “Tiger’s Nest.” It is considered a sacred site and an important pilgrimage destination for Bhutanese Buddhists.

Architecture: Paro Taktsang is built on a series of cliffside caves and structures. The monastery complex consists of several temples, prayer halls, living quarters for monks, and meditation caves. The buildings feature vibrant paintings, intricate woodwork, and sacred relics.

Hiking to Paro Taktsang: Visitors must hike to reach Paro Taktsang. The trail begins at the base of the mountain and winds through pine forests, offering scenic views along the way. It takes about 2-3 hours to reach the monastery, depending on the individual’s fitness level. Ponies are available for hire for those who prefer not to walk the entire way.

Visiting Paro Taktsang: Upon reaching the monastery, visitors can explore the various temples and soak in the spiritual ambiance. Photography inside the temples is not allowed. It is customary to offer butter lamps or prostrations as a sign of respect. Visitors are advised to dress modestly and remove hats and shoes while entering the temples.

Panoramic Views: The viewpoint located across the valley offers breathtaking panoramic views of Paro Taktsang. This vantage point allows visitors to admire the monastery’s stunning location and take memorable photographs.

Important Considerations: Due to the remote location and challenging terrain, it is recommended to carry drinking water, sunscreen, and wear comfortable shoes for the hike. The weather can change quickly, so it’s advisable to check the forecast and be prepared for varying conditions.

Visiting Paro Taktsang is a remarkable experience, blending natural beauty, spiritual significance, and Bhutanese cultural heritage. It is a testament to Bhutan’s devotion to Buddhism and offers visitors a glimpse into the country’s rich spiritual traditions.

Paro in Bhutan


Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, is a vibrant and charming destination that offers a mix of tradition and modernity. Here is an overview of Thimphu:

  1. Tashichho Dzong: This impressive fortress-monastery serves as the seat of the Bhutanese government and is a prominent landmark in Thimphu. It showcases traditional Bhutanese architecture and hosts various religious and administrative events.
  2. Buddha Dordenma: A colossal statue of Lord Buddha, standing at a height of 54 meters (177 feet), overlooks Thimphu. This iconic landmark offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains.
  3. Memorial Chorten: A stupa built in honor of the third king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. It is a popular place for locals to pray and offers a peaceful atmosphere for visitors.
  4. National Folk Heritage Museum: This museum showcases Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage and offers insights into traditional Bhutanese lifestyle, artifacts, and exhibits.
  5. Changangkha Lhakhang: A historic temple perched on a hilltop, it is a revered place of worship and also offers stunning views of Thimphu city.
  6. Simply Bhutan Museum: A living museum that provides an interactive experience of Bhutanese traditions, customs, and way of life. Visitors can try on traditional attire, participate in cultural activities, and learn about Bhutanese arts and crafts.
  7. Weekend Market: Explore the bustling weekend market where locals gather to sell fresh produce, handicrafts, and other goods. It’s a vibrant place to experience the local culture and try traditional Bhutanese food.
  8. Royal Textile Academy: Learn about Bhutan’s intricate weaving traditions and admire a collection of Bhutanese textiles, including the national dress, known as the “kira” for women and “gho” for men.
  9. Simtokha Dzong: Located just outside Thimphu, this ancient fortress houses a school for Buddhist studies and is adorned with beautiful murals.
  10. Dochula Pass: A scenic mountain pass located en route from Thimphu to Punakha, known for its panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain range and the 108 chortens (stupas) that dot the landscape.

Thimphu offers a mix of historical landmarks, cultural attractions, and a glimpse into the daily life of Bhutanese people. With its blend of tradition and modernity, the city provides a fascinating introduction to Bhutanese culture and serves as a gateway to exploring the rest of the country.


Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, is a picturesque valley town known for its stunning natural beauty and historical significance. Here is an overview of Punakha:

  1. Punakha Dzong: The highlight of Punakha is the magnificent Punakha Dzong, also known as the Palace of Great Happiness. This grand fortress-monastery is located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers. It is renowned for its beautiful architecture, intricate woodwork, and impressive collection of sacred relics. The annual Punakha Tshechu, a vibrant religious festival, is held here.
  2. Chimi Lhakhang: Located in the nearby village of Lobesa, Chimi Lhakhang is a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kunley, a revered Buddhist saint known as the Divine Madman. It is a pilgrimage site associated with fertility, and visitors often seek blessings for childbearing and good fortune. The temple is adorned with colorful phallus paintings and attracts visitors with its unique charm.
  3. Suspension Bridge: Punakha is home to the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan, known as the Punakha Suspension Bridge. Spanning the Mo Chhu river, the bridge offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and provides a thrilling experience as you walk across its swaying structure.
  4. Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery: Situated on a hilltop overlooking Punakha, this nunnery offers a serene atmosphere and panoramic views of the valley. Visitors can explore the temple, interact with the nuns, and admire the intricate statues and colorful murals.
  5. Punakha Rice Fields: Punakha is known for its fertile valleys and terraced rice fields. Take a leisurely stroll through the lush paddy fields and witness the traditional farming methods still practiced by the locals.
  6. Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten: Located on a hilltop above the Punakha Valley, this beautiful chorten offers panoramic views and houses elaborate wall paintings depicting Buddhist teachings. The hike to reach the chorten takes you through rural villages and scenic landscapes.
  7. Punakha Valley Rafting: For adventure enthusiasts, Punakha offers thrilling whitewater rafting opportunities along the Mo Chhu river. Experience the rush of navigating through rapids while surrounded by stunning natural scenery.

Punakha’s rich history, cultural landmarks, and breathtaking landscapes make it a must-visit destination in Bhutan. Whether you are exploring the iconic Punakha Dzong, seeking blessings at Chimi Lhakhang, or immersing yourself in the tranquil beauty of the rice fields, Punakha offers a captivating blend of natural and cultural wonders that will leave you with lasting memories.


Bumthang, located in central Bhutan, is a region renowned for its pristine natural beauty, ancient temples, and rich cultural heritage. Here is an overview of Bumthang:

  1. Jakar Dzong: Also known as Jakar Yugyal Dzong, this impressive fortress overlooks the Jakar Valley. It is the largest dzong in Bhutan and serves as the administrative center of the Bumthang district. The dzong showcases beautiful architecture and offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
  2. Jambay Lhakhang: One of the oldest and most sacred temples in Bhutan, Jambay Lhakhang is believed to have been built in the 7th century. It is one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo, to subdue an ogress. The temple hosts the famous Jambay Lhakhang Drup festival, known for its lively masked dances.
  3. Kurjey Lhakhang: This sacred site comprises three temples, with the main temple housing the body imprint of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava). It is a revered pilgrimage site for Bhutanese Buddhists and offers a tranquil atmosphere for meditation and reflection.
  4. Tamshing Lhakhang: Known for its unique collection of religious paintings, Tamshing Lhakhang is a treasure trove of Buddhist art and scriptures. The temple was founded by Terton Pema Lingpa, a renowned Bhutanese saint and treasure revealer.
  5. Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake): This sacred site holds historical and spiritual significance. According to legend, Terton Pema Lingpa discovered hidden treasures from the lake’s depths, demonstrating his spiritual powers. The picturesque surroundings and serene atmosphere make it a popular spot for contemplation.
  6. Swiss Farm: Visit the Swiss Farm in Bumthang to witness the local cheese and honey production. You can learn about traditional Bhutanese methods of farming and sample delicious organic products.
  7. Tang Valley: Explore the scenic Tang Valley, known for its apple orchards, traditional villages, and scenic hiking trails. The valley offers a glimpse into the rural lifestyle of Bhutan and provides an opportunity to interact with locals.
  8. Burning Lake (Mebar Tsho): According to legend, Terton Pema Lingpa retrieved sacred treasures from the lake’s depths, symbolizing his spiritual abilities. The tranquil atmosphere and natural beauty make it a serene spot for contemplation.

Bumthang’s ancient temples, pristine landscapes, and rich cultural heritage make it a captivating destination for travelers seeking a deeper understanding of Bhutan’s spiritual and historical roots. Whether exploring the sacred sites, immersing in the natural beauty, or experiencing the warm hospitality of the locals, Bumthang offers a unique and enriching journey through Bhutan’s cultural heartland.

Gangtey Valley

Gangtey Valley, located in central Bhutan, is a picturesque and serene destination known for its stunning landscapes, biodiversity, and the famous Gangtey Monastery. Here is an overview of Gangtey Valley:

  1. Gangtey Monastery: Also known as Gangtey Gonpa or Gangtey Sangacholing Monastery, this prominent Buddhist monastery sits atop a hill overlooking the valley. It is one of the main seats of the Pema Lingpa tradition and offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the expansive Phobjikha Valley.
  2. Phobjikha Valley: Nestled within Gangtey Valley, the Phobjikha Valley is a designated conservation area and winter home to the endangered black-necked cranes. The valley is blessed with stunning natural beauty, including vast grasslands, meandering rivers, and verdant hills, making it a haven for nature lovers.
  3. Crane Information Center: Learn about the black-necked cranes and their conservation efforts at the Crane Information Center. The center provides valuable insights into the migratory patterns and behaviors of these magnificent birds.
  4. Gangtey Nature Trail: Embark on the Gangtey Nature Trail, a gentle hike that takes you through the scenic valley, allowing you to immerse yourself in the tranquil surroundings and observe the rich biodiversity. The trail offers opportunities to spot various bird species, including the black-necked cranes.
  5. Gangtey Goempa: Located near Gangtey Monastery, Gangtey Goempa is a smaller temple known for its beautiful frescoes and peaceful ambiance. It provides a serene setting for meditation and reflection.
  6. Farmhouse Experience: Engage in a farmhouse experience where you can interact with local families, learn about their traditional way of life, and savor authentic Bhutanese cuisine. It’s an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and hospitality.
  7. Black-Necked Crane Festival: If you visit during November, you may have the chance to witness the Black-Necked Crane Festival held in Phobjikha Valley. The festival celebrates the arrival of these graceful birds and showcases traditional Bhutanese dances, songs, and cultural performances.

Gangtey Valley offers a tranquil escape into Bhutan’s natural beauty and spiritual traditions. Whether exploring the Gangtey Monastery, witnessing the majesty of the black-necked cranes, or simply soaking in the peaceful atmosphere, Gangtey Valley promises a serene and unforgettable experience in the heart of Bhutan.

Haa Valley

Haa Valley, located in western Bhutan, is a hidden gem known for its pristine beauty, traditional way of life, and cultural heritage. Here is an overview of Haa Valley:

  1. Haa Dzong: Haa Valley is home to Haa Dzong, a fortress-monastery perched on a hilltop. While the dzong is not open to visitors, its striking architecture and panoramic views of the valley make it a captivating sight.
  2. Lhakhang Karpo and Lhakhang Nagpo: These two ancient temples, known as the White Temple (Lhakhang Karpo) and the Black Temple (Lhakhang Nagpo), are located in Haa Valley. They are believed to have been built in the 7th century by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. The temples are considered sacred and hold historical and cultural significance.
  3. Haa Summer Festival: If you visit during July, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant Haa Summer Festival. The festival showcases the unique culture, traditions, and lifestyle of the Haa Valley through cultural performances, traditional sports, and local cuisine.
  4. Haa Nature Park: Explore the Haa Nature Park, a beautiful reserve that offers scenic hiking trails, pristine forests, and abundant wildlife. The park is home to various species of flora and fauna, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers.
  5. Homestay Experience: Experience the warm hospitality of the locals by staying in a traditional farmhouse. Homestays in Haa Valley provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, taste authentic Bhutanese cuisine, and witness the traditional way of life.
  6. Wangchulo Dzong: Located on a hilltop in Haa Valley, Wangchulo Dzong is a smaller fortress that offers panoramic views of the valley and surrounding mountains. It provides a peaceful setting for meditation and offers insights into Bhutan’s architectural heritage.
  7. Haa River: The Haa River flows through the valley, offering picturesque views and opportunities for leisurely walks along its banks. The river is also suitable for fishing and enjoying a picnic amidst nature.

Haa Valley’s unspoiled landscapes, cultural landmarks, and serene atmosphere make it a hidden paradise in Bhutan. Whether exploring the ancient temples, witnessing the vibrant Haa Summer Festival, or immersing in the natural beauty of the valley, Haa Valley promises a unique and memorable experience that will leave you enchanted with Bhutan’s charm.


Trongsa, located in central Bhutan, is a historic town that holds great significance in the country’s history and culture. Here is an overview of Trongsa:

  1. Trongsa Dzong: The majestic Trongsa Dzong is the largest dzong in Bhutan and an architectural masterpiece. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Mangde Chhu river, it served as the ancestral home of the royal family. The dzong’s strategic location made it a vital stronghold in defending the country in ancient times.
  2. Ta Dzong: Situated above Trongsa Dzong, Ta Dzong is a watchtower that has been converted into a museum. The museum showcases a rich collection of artifacts, textiles, and historical objects that provide insights into Bhutanese history, culture, and traditions.
  3. Thruepang Palace: Visit Thruepang Palace, the birthplace of the first king of Bhutan, King Ugyen Wangchuck. The palace is now a museum displaying personal belongings and artifacts related to the royal family.
  4. Trongsa Tshechu: Experience the vibrant Trongsa Tshechu, an annual religious festival held at Trongsa Dzong. The festival showcases colorful masked dances, religious rituals, and cultural performances, attracting both locals and tourists.
  5. Chendebji Chorten: Located on the highway to Trongsa, the Chendebji Chorten is a prominent stupa influenced by the architecture of Nepal. It is an important religious site for Bhutanese Buddhists and offers a serene environment for prayer and reflection.
  6. Trongsa Viewpoint: Visit the Trongsa Viewpoint to enjoy panoramic views of the town, the Mangde Chhu valley, and the surrounding mountain ranges. It provides a breathtaking vista of the scenic landscapes that characterize Bhutan.
  7. Trongsa Market: Explore the local market in Trongsa, where you can find traditional handicrafts, textiles, and local produce. It’s an excellent place to interact with the locals and immerse yourself in the everyday life of the town.

Trongsa’s historical significance, architectural marvels, and cultural festivities make it a captivating destination for travelers seeking a glimpse into Bhutan’s rich heritage. Whether exploring the grand Trongsa Dzong, delving into the exhibits of Ta Dzong, or witnessing the vibrant Trongsa Tshechu, Trongsa offers a memorable journey into Bhutan’s past and present.

Phobjikha Valley

Phobjikha Valley, located in central Bhutan, is a breathtakingly beautiful and ecologically significant destination known for its stunning landscapes and rich biodiversity. Here is an overview of Phobjikha Valley:

  1. Black-Necked Crane Conservation Center: Phobjikha Valley is renowned as the winter home of the endangered black-necked cranes, which migrate here from Tibet. The Black-Necked Crane Conservation Center provides information about these magnificent birds and their conservation efforts. You can observe the cranes in their natural habitat and learn about the local efforts to protect them.
  2. Gangtey Monastery: Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Phobjikha Valley, Gangtey Monastery is a prominent Buddhist monastery that offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the valley. It is a serene place for meditation and exploration of Bhutanese spiritual traditions.
  3. Gangtey Nature Trail: Embark on the Gangtey Nature Trail, a scenic hike that takes you through the picturesque valley. The trail offers breathtaking views of the valley, as well as opportunities to spot various bird species and other wildlife.
  4. Farmhouse Experience: Immerse yourself in the local culture by staying in a traditional farmhouse in Phobjikha Valley. Experience the warm hospitality of the locals, savor authentic Bhutanese cuisine, and learn about the traditional way of life.
  5. Phobjikha Valley Crane Festival: If you visit in November, you have the chance to witness the Phobjikha Valley Crane Festival. This vibrant festival celebrates the arrival of the black-necked cranes and showcases Bhutanese culture through traditional dances, music, and local performances.
  6. Gangtey Goempa: Located near Gangtey Monastery, Gangtey Goempa is a smaller temple known for its beautiful frescoes and peaceful ambiance. It provides a tranquil setting for meditation and offers insights into Bhutan’s religious heritage.
  7. Phobjikha Valley Cultural Landscape: The Phobjikha Valley is not only renowned for its natural beauty but also for its cultural significance. The valley is dotted with traditional Bhutanese houses and farmland, offering a glimpse into the rural lifestyle and agricultural practices of the local communities.

Phobjikha Valley’s pristine beauty, rich biodiversity, and cultural heritage make it a captivating destination for nature lovers and those seeking a deeper understanding of Bhutan’s spiritual and natural wonders. Whether witnessing the majestic black-necked cranes, exploring the Gangtey Monastery, or immersing in the serene landscapes, Phobjikha Valley promises a memorable and enlightening experience in the heart of Bhutan.

Best Time to Visit Bhutan

The best time to visit Bhutan is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons. Here’s why:

  1. Spring (March to May): During spring, Bhutan is adorned with colorful blooms as the rhododendrons, magnolias, and other flowers come into full bloom. The weather is generally pleasant with mild temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor activities and trekking. Spring is also a great time to witness traditional festivals and cultural events that showcase Bhutanese traditions and customs.
  2. Autumn (September to November): Autumn is another favorable time to visit Bhutan. The weather is usually clear and sunny, offering excellent visibility of the stunning landscapes. The skies are often crisp, and the temperature is pleasant, making it comfortable for exploring Bhutan’s monasteries, fortresses, and natural attractions. Autumn is also the time when major festivals, such as the Thimphu Tshechu and the Paro Tshechu, take place, providing a vibrant glimpse into Bhutanese culture.

It’s important to note that Bhutan experiences distinct climatic variations across different regions and altitudes. The higher regions, such as the mountainous areas, can be colder, especially during the winter months. Therefore, it’s advisable to check the weather conditions and pack accordingly if you plan to visit during the colder months.

While spring and autumn are considered the peak seasons, Bhutan’s charm extends throughout the year. The summer months (June to August) offer lush green landscapes and occasional rainfall, while the winter months (December to February) bring colder temperatures, especially in the higher regions. Each season in Bhutan has its unique beauty and attractions, so choose the time that aligns with your preferences and interests.

Ultimately, regardless of the season, Bhutan promises a captivating journey filled with stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, making it a truly unforgettable destination.

How to Reach Bhutan

To reach Bhutan, you have a few options. Here’s how you can travel to Bhutan:

  1. By Air: The most convenient way to reach Bhutan is by air. Paro International Airport is the only international airport in Bhutan, located in Paro, a town in western Bhutan. Drukair, the national carrier of Bhutan, operates flights to Paro from several cities in Asia, including Delhi, Kolkata, Bangkok, Kathmandu, and Singapore. Another option is to fly to Bagdogra Airport in India and then take a road journey to Bhutan.
  2. By Land: If you prefer to travel overland, you can enter Bhutan via its neighboring countries.
  • From India: Bhutan shares its borders with India, and there are several entry points. The most common entry points are Phuentsholing and Samdrup Jongkhar. Phuentsholing is located in the southwestern part of Bhutan, near the Indian state of West Bengal, while Samdrup Jongkhar is in the southeastern part, near the Indian state of Assam. From these border towns, you can continue your journey by road to different parts of Bhutan.
  • From Nepal: Bhutan can also be reached from Nepal. There are no direct land routes between Nepal and Bhutan, so you would need to fly from Kathmandu to Paro or take a flight to Bagdogra Airport in India and then proceed to Bhutan by road.

It’s important to note that traveling to Bhutan requires a visa. Visitors are required to obtain a visa clearance letter from the Tourism Council of Bhutan or a licensed Bhutanese tour operator. Once you have the visa clearance, you can then book your flights or make necessary arrangements to enter Bhutan.

Regardless of how you choose to travel, Bhutan offers a unique and enchanting experience with its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and warm Bhutanese hospitality.

Do and Don’ts

When visiting Bhutan, it’s important to be aware of the local customs and traditions. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:


  1. Respect Local Customs: Bhutan is a country deeply rooted in its culture and traditions. Respect the local customs and practices. Take off your shoes before entering temples and religious sites, and dress modestly, especially when visiting monasteries or dzongs.
  2. Observe Local Etiquette: Greet locals with a “Kuzuzangpo” (hello) and show respect towards elders and monks. Seek permission before taking photographs of people, especially monks and religious ceremonies. It’s polite to ask first.
  3. Follow Environmental Guidelines: Bhutan is known for its pristine environment and commitment to sustainability. Help preserve the natural beauty by refraining from littering, respecting wildlife, and following designated trekking paths.
  4. Participate in Festivals: Bhutanese festivals are colorful and vibrant celebrations of their culture and religion. If you have the opportunity, join in the festivities and observe the traditional dances and rituals. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in Bhutanese culture.
  5. Support Local Economy: Contribute to the local economy by purchasing locally made handicrafts and products. This supports local artisans and helps preserve Bhutanese arts and crafts.


  1. Avoid Disrespecting Religious Symbols: Bhutan is a deeply spiritual country, and it’s essential to show respect for religious symbols and objects. Avoid touching or disrespecting religious artifacts, prayer flags, and sacred objects.
  2. Don’t Disturb Wildlife: Bhutan is known for its diverse wildlife. Avoid disturbing or feeding animals in their natural habitats. Maintain a safe distance and follow any guidelines given by local authorities or guides.
  3. Refrain from Smoking in Public: Bhutan has strict regulations on smoking. Smoking in public places is prohibited, and it’s advised to smoke only in designated areas, if available.
  4. Avoid Disruptive Behavior: Behave in a respectful and considerate manner. Avoid loud or disruptive behavior, especially in sacred sites, monasteries, and during religious ceremonies.
  5. Don’t Pluck Plants or Flowers: Bhutan’s flora is rich and unique. Avoid plucking plants, flowers, or any natural resources. Leave the natural environment untouched for others to enjoy.

By following these do’s and don’ts, you will show respect for Bhutan’s culture, traditions, and natural heritage, and have a meaningful and memorable experience in the Land of the Thunder Dragon.

Culture, Religion and Custom of Bhutan

Bhutan, known as the “Land of the Thunder Dragon,” has a rich and distinct culture deeply influenced by its religion, Buddhism, and the principles of Gross National Happiness. Here are some key aspects of Bhutan’s culture, religion, and customs:

Culture, Religion and Custom of Bhutan
  1. Buddhism: Bhutan is predominantly Buddhist, and Buddhism plays a vital role in the lives of Bhutanese people. The teachings of Buddhism guide their daily lives, and you’ll find numerous monasteries, temples, and stupas throughout the country. The state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism, and the country’s spiritual leader is the Je Khenpo.
  2. Gross National Happiness (GNH): Bhutan is renowned for its unique development philosophy of Gross National Happiness. GNH emphasizes holistic well-being, cultural preservation, sustainable development, and the importance of happiness in people’s lives, rather than just economic growth.
  3. Dzongs: Dzongs are magnificent fortress-like structures that serve as religious, administrative, and social centers in Bhutan. They are architectural masterpieces, combining intricate woodwork and stonework. Dzongs often host important religious festivals and ceremonies.
  4. Traditional Dress: Bhutanese people wear their traditional dress, known as the “Kira” for women and “Gho” for men. These garments are vibrant and intricately woven, reflecting the rich textile heritage of Bhutan. Wearing traditional attire is compulsory for Bhutanese citizens in certain government offices and during formal occasions.
  5. Festivals: Bhutanese festivals, known as “Tsechus,” are vibrant and colorful celebrations held throughout the year. These festivals commemorate important events in Buddhism and Bhutanese history. Masked dances, music, and religious rituals are performed during Tsechus, attracting both locals and visitors.
  6. Prayer Flags: Colorful prayer flags, called “lungta,” are a common sight in Bhutan. These flags, inscribed with Buddhist prayers and symbols, are believed to spread good fortune and blessings to all beings. They are often hung at sacred sites, mountain passes, and high points.
  7. Traditional Arts and Crafts: Bhutan has a rich tradition of arts and crafts, including painting, sculpture, woodwork, and weaving. Thangka paintings, intricate wood carvings, and handwoven textiles are highly regarded and reflect the country’s deep artistic heritage.
  8. Archery: Archery is Bhutan’s national sport and a popular recreational activity. Archery competitions are held throughout the country, accompanied by lively music, dances, and celebrations.
  9. Respect for Nature: Bhutanese culture emphasizes respect for nature and the environment. The country is committed to preserving its biodiversity and maintaining a high percentage of forest cover. The Bhutanese people have a deep connection with nature and believe in living in harmony with the natural world.
Archery is Bhutan's national sport

These are just a few aspects that showcase the unique culture, religion, and customs of Bhutan. The Bhutanese people’s devotion to their traditions, spiritual practices, and sustainable development contributes to the country’s distinct identity and the preservation of its cultural heritage.

Food and Local Cuisine of Bhutan

Bhutanese cuisine offers a unique blend of flavors and is known for its simplicity and use of locally sourced ingredients. Here are some popular dishes and elements of Bhutanese cuisine:

  1. Ema Datshi: Considered the national dish of Bhutan, Ema Datshi is a spicy chili and cheese stew. It consists of green or red chilies cooked with local cheese, usually made from cow’s or yak’s milk. It is often served with red rice, a staple in Bhutan.
  2. Red Rice: Red rice is a common feature in Bhutanese meals. It has a nutty flavor and is highly nutritious. It is typically served alongside various dishes, providing a wholesome and filling base.
  3. Momos: Momos are dumplings filled with a mixture of minced meat (such as pork, beef, or chicken) or vegetables, flavored with spices and herbs. They are steamed or fried and often served with a spicy dipping sauce.
  4. Phaksha Paa: Phaksha Paa is a popular pork dish in Bhutan. It is made by stir-frying pork with red and green chilies, onions, and various spices. The dish is savory and spicy, and the meat is cooked until tender.
  5. Jasha Maroo: Jasha Maroo is a spicy chicken dish made with boneless chicken, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and a variety of local spices. It is usually served with rice or roti.
  6. Suja (Butter Tea): Suja is a traditional Bhutanese tea made with butter, salt, and tea leaves. It is a warm and comforting beverage that is popular among the locals.
  7. Datshi (Cheese): Bhutanese cuisine makes ample use of cheese, which is a key ingredient in many dishes. Besides Ema Datshi, cheese is also used in soups, salads, and as a filling in snacks.
  8. Ara: Ara is a traditional alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice or maize. It is often enjoyed during celebrations and festivals. The local variant called “bangchang” is made with wheat, millet, or barley.
  9. Suja Ko Roti: Suja Ko Roti is a buttery and flaky traditional Bhutanese bread. It is made with butter, flour, and water, and often enjoyed with tea or served with various dishes.
  10. Sikam Paa: Sikam Paa is a dried pork dish that is typically spiced and sun-dried. It can be eaten as a snack or used in various Bhutanese recipes.

Bhutanese cuisine reflects the country’s agricultural practices, love for spicy flavors, and the use of locally available ingredients. Exploring the local cuisine is an essential part of experiencing the rich cultural heritage of Bhutan.

Weather Condition in Bhutan

Bhutan experiences a wide range of climates due to its varied topography and altitude. The weather conditions in Bhutan can vary significantly from region to region. Here’s a general overview of the weather in Bhutan:

  1. Spring (March to May): Spring is a pleasant season in Bhutan, with mild temperatures and blooming flowers. The weather gradually gets warmer as the season progresses. The higher mountain areas may still have cool temperatures and occasional rainfall.
  2. Summer (June to August): Summer in Bhutan is characterized by warmer temperatures and higher humidity, especially in the southern regions. The central valleys and higher altitudes experience more moderate temperatures. The summer months also bring monsoon rains, particularly in the southern parts of the country.
  3. Autumn (September to November): Autumn is considered the best time to visit Bhutan due to its pleasant weather and clear skies. The temperatures are mild, and the landscapes are adorned with colorful autumn foliage. It’s an excellent time for trekking and outdoor activities.
  4. Winter (December to February): Winter in Bhutan can be cold, especially in the higher elevations. The temperatures drop, and mountain passes may experience snowfall. The central valleys and lower regions have milder temperatures during the daytime but can get chilly in the evenings.

It’s important to note that the weather can be unpredictable, and conditions can vary within different parts of Bhutan. The higher altitude areas, such as the mountain passes and northern regions, are generally colder than the lower valleys. It is advisable to check the specific weather forecasts and pack accordingly when planning a trip to Bhutan.

Regardless of the season, Bhutan offers breathtaking natural beauty and cultural experiences throughout the year. The best time to visit depends on your preferences and the activities you wish to engage in, whether it’s trekking, exploring festivals, or enjoying the serene landscapes.

Accommodation in Bhutan

When it comes to accommodation in Bhutan, there are various options available to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are some types of accommodations you can consider:

  1. Hotels: Bhutan has a range of hotels, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly options. These hotels offer comfortable rooms, modern amenities, and services to ensure a pleasant stay. The hotels are often designed to reflect Bhutanese architecture and provide a cultural ambiance.
  2. Guesthouses: Guesthouses, also known as “farm stays,” offer a more authentic and immersive experience. These accommodations are usually family-run establishments where you can stay with local families, experience their way of life, and savor home-cooked Bhutanese meals. Guesthouses are a great way to connect with the local culture and hospitality.
  3. Resorts: Bhutan boasts a few luxury resorts that provide a lavish and indulgent experience. These resorts are often located in picturesque settings and offer luxurious amenities such as spas, fine dining restaurants, and panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. They cater to those seeking a high-end stay with personalized services.
  4. Eco-lodges: For those looking for a sustainable and environmentally conscious accommodation option, Bhutan offers eco-lodges. These lodges are designed to have minimal impact on the environment and promote responsible tourism. They blend harmoniously with the natural surroundings and offer a unique experience for nature lovers.
  5. Homestays: Homestays are an excellent choice for travelers seeking an immersive cultural experience. You can stay with local families in their homes, participate in their daily activities, and gain insights into Bhutanese lifestyle and traditions. Homestays provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere, allowing you to forge connections with the local community.

When planning your trip to Bhutan, it’s advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak seasons. Licensed Bhutanese tour operators can assist in arranging accommodation that suits your preferences and budget. Whether you choose a hotel, guesthouse, resort, eco-lodge, or homestay, the accommodations in Bhutan aim to provide comfort, warmth, and an authentic experience that complements the overall journey through this beautiful country.

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Bhutan

  1. Q: Do I need a visa to visit Bhutan?

    A: Yes, all foreign visitors, except citizens of India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives, need a visa to enter Bhutan. Visa applications must be processed through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator.

  2. Q: How can I travel to Bhutan?

    A: Travel to Bhutan is primarily through air transport. The country has one international airport, Paro International Airport, which is well-connected to cities like Delhi, Kathmandu, Bangkok, and Singapore. Flights are operated by Bhutan's national carrier, Druk Air, and other international airlines.

  3. Q: What is the currency used in Bhutan?

    A: The official currency of Bhutan is the Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN). However, Indian Rupees (INR) are also widely accepted in Bhutan, as the two currencies have a 1:1 exchange rate.

  4. Q: Is it possible to travel independently in Bhutan?

    A: No, independent travel is not permitted in Bhutan. All visitors must book their travel through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator. This ensures that tourists have a guided experience and the necessary permits to visit various sites in the country.

  5. Q: Are there any restrictions on photography in Bhutan?

    A: While photography is generally allowed in Bhutan, there may be restrictions in certain religious sites and during religious ceremonies. It is respectful to seek permission before taking photographs of people, especially monks and religious events.

  6. Q: What is the official language of Bhutan?

    A: The official language of Bhutan is Dzongkha. English is also widely spoken, especially in urban areas, and is used as the medium of instruction in schools.

  7. Q: What are the popular festivals in Bhutan?

    A: Bhutanese festivals, known as Tsechus, are celebrated throughout the year. Some popular festivals include Paro Tsechu, Thimphu Tsechu, Punakha Drubchen, and Wangdue Phodrang Tshechu. These festivals showcase traditional mask dances, religious rituals, and cultural performances.

  8. Q: What should I pack for a trip to Bhutan?

    A: When visiting Bhutan, it's recommended to pack layers of clothing as the weather can vary. Depending on the season, include comfortable walking shoes, warm clothing, rain gear, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat. Don't forget to carry a valid passport and any necessary travel documents.

  9. Q: Are there any health precautions to take before visiting Bhutan?

    A: It's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or travel clinic for up-to-date information on recommended vaccinations and health precautions for Bhutan. Depending on your travel plans and medical history, they can provide guidance on necessary vaccinations, altitude sickness prevention, and general health tips.

  10. Q: What is the national symbol of Bhutan?

    A: The national symbol of Bhutan is the national animal, the Takin. It is a unique animal with the appearance of a goat and a cow, and it holds great significance in Bhutanese mythology and culture.

  11. Q: How much will Bhutan trip cost?

    The cost of a trip to Bhutan depends on various factors, such as the duration of your stay, the type of accommodation, the activities you plan to undertake, and the services you require. Bhutan operates on a “Minimum Daily Package” policy, which sets a minimum daily tariff for tourists. This tariff is inclusive of accommodation, meals, transportation within Bhutan, a licensed tour guide, and entry fees to tourist sites.

    The daily tariff varies depending on the season: USD 200-250 per person per day during the peak tourist seasons (March to May and September to November) and USD 200 per person per day during the off-peak seasons (December to February and June to August). For solo travelers or smaller groups (less than three people), an additional surcharge may apply.
    In addition to the daily tariff, there are other costs to consider, such as visa fees, airfare to and from Bhutan, travel insurance, personal expenses, optional activities or treks, and any extra services or upgrades you may require.

    It's worth noting that Bhutan follows a “High-Value, Low-Volume” tourism policy, focusing on sustainable tourism and preserving its unique culture and environment. The daily tariff contributes to this approach by ensuring that tourists have an immersive and curated experience while generating revenue for the country's development.
    To get a more accurate estimate of the cost for your specific travel plans, it is recommended to contact a licensed Bhutanese tour operator who can provide detailed information based on your preferences and requirements. They will assist in creating an itinerary that aligns with your interests and budget, ensuring a memorable and well-organized trip to Bhutan.

  12. Q: What is the international country code?

    The international country code for Bhutan is +975. When making an international call to Bhutan, you would need to dial this country code before entering the local phone number.

  13. Q: How long does it take to issue my visa?

    A correctly input visa application can take up to five days to process.

  14. Q: How much does the visa cost?

    There is a one-off fee of US$40 for the processing of your application. This is payable at the same time as your Sustainable Development Fee (SDF), as part of the process of submitting your visa application.

  15. Q: How long does my visa allow me to stay in Bhutan?

    The visa allows you to remain in Bhutan for a maximum of 90 days from the date of entry.

  16. Q: Can I use my international credit card to pay for my visa / SDF online?

    Yes, it is possible to use your credit card to pay for your visa and SDF online. However, we strongly recommend that you notify your bank prior to making the credit card transaction to ensure that the payment is processed successfully.  If they are not informed in advance, sometimes international banks will block online payments to Bhutan as part of the bank’s online security measures.

  17. Q: Do I need to use a tour operator to book my travel?

    No. In the past, all visitors needed to book their travel to and within Bhutan through an accredited tour operator. Any visitor travelling to Bhutan after our reopening on September 23rd 2022 can now book all aspects of the journey independently. Still, we warmly recommend our many accredited tour operators for their expert knowledge and excellent service.

Remember to check with the Bhutanese authorities or your tour operator for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding travel requirements, permits, and other regulations when planning your visit to Bhutan.


In conclusion, Bhutan offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality. From the majestic Paro Taktsang to the bustling streets of Thimphu, the country is home to numerous attractions that will leave you mesmerized.

The serene valleys, ancient monasteries, and vibrant festivals showcase the unique heritage of Bhutan. Whether you’re exploring the historic sites of Punakha or immersing yourself in the spiritual ambiance of Bumthang, Bhutan promises a truly unforgettable experience.

The friendly locals, traditional cuisine, and awe-inspiring landscapes add to the allure of this enchanting kingdom. With its emphasis on sustainable tourism and preservation of its cultural identity, Bhutan offers a remarkable destination for those seeking a truly authentic and immersive travel experience.

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