If you read this blog post fully which reveals some of the best places to visit in Bhutan, you will start searching for cheap flights to Bhutan. Additionally, you would also look for hotels with a view.
Though Bhutan is a stunningly beautiful country at the foothills of the Himalayas, not many tourists prefer to visit it. The neighboring country Nepal garners the limelight in spite of sporting fewer places to see than it.
It is located sandwiched between India and China. It is a predominantly Buddhist country with a strikingly different culture than its neighbors Sikkim and Nepal.
How to Get to Bhutan?
You can fly into Thimphu, the capital of it from several Asian countries that include India, Singapore, Bangladesh, and Thailand.
I think the most preferred gateway to it for international travelers is Thailand because of its high popularity as a touristy nation.
There is another international airport in Paro. However, few flights from other countries are connected to it because of its location in a valley.
What to Eat in Bhutan?
I think the western tourists would find it difficult to eat while touring it because the country’s staple is red rice. It neither looks appetizing nor is it tastier than white rice.
Of course, you always get to eat chicken, lamb, and the exotic ‘yak’ meat.
Try to taste the butter and cheese made from Yak’s milk and give your feedback in the comments section. It will help your fellow travelers.
Here is how the yak cheese looks:
The national dish of Bhutan is called “Ema Datshi”.
This is made of chili peppers and cheese though there is no way to find out whether it’s yak cheese.
Just replace the chili peppers in the Ema Datshi with potato and you get Kewa Datshi. So,m the common word ‘datshi’ must point to the cheese.
Don’t be surprised if you are offered a datshi that contains mushroom or beef instead of potato or chili peppers.
Keeping the datshi (cheese) common, you can be innovative in ordering a plate of datshi in a Bhutanese restaurant.
This is a ubiquitous Bhutanese dish, Sikkim, and Nepal. After seeing the number of roadside food kiosks selling the momos, you would wonder why momos are not their national dish.
In Bhutan’s restaurants, you will find this name on their menu cards. Though the pork chunks are the main ingredient, the accompanying vegetable varies. You will find chili peppers as the most used vegetable.
It can be exchanged with turnip, radish, or spinach
What an exotic Bhutanese dish!
A chicken stew that contains boneless chicken cubes and thick tomato sauce mixed with onions.
Suja ( a tea with salt)
Yes! This is a salted tea, buddy! In addition, it contained butter too.
Suja butter tea is a popular hot beverage here. It is a must-drink tea when you are touring this country.
Which Himalayan Mountain Peaks Are Seen From Bhutan?
You can see not only the well-known peaks that include Everest and Kanchenjunga but also a few unknown Himalayan peaks such as Gangkhar Peunsum which is incidentally, the highest in it.
It seems no one has ever climbed this Himalayan peak that stands at a height of nearly 25,000 feet!
Wildlife of Bhutan
It looks like a mix of goat and cattle. It has another name that goes by ‘Gnu Goat’. Takin is the national animal of it.
Yes, it emanates the musk odor during the mating period. We all have heard of musk deer but this is the first we come to know ‘musk cattle’.
No, this is not spotted here but the ‘Takin’ and the muskox are classified together.
My God! Look at its size! Can you call it a squirrel?
What a mammoth sheep!
Other common wild animals that you can see here and on its mountain slopes include:
- Red Panda
- Blue Sheep
- Black Bear
- Musk Deer
- Asian Elephant
- Bengal Tiger
- Birds of Bhutan
You cannot afford to say ‘no’ to bird watching as it is the abode of numerous Himalayan birds that are very to see in other parts of the world.
To name a few rare Himalayan birds of it:
- Black-necked Crane
- Imperial Heron (white-bellied Heron)
- Satyr Tragopan
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- Blyth’s Kingfisher
- Rufous-necked Hornbill
- Beautiful Nuthatch
Places to See and Best Things to Do In Bhutan
Among the places to visit in bhutan, I would rate the Paro Chhu as the best.
This is a typical natural attraction. The whole area is still and calm. I think even the river flows silently. When the river is not in full flow, the Bhutanese go kayaking in Paro Chhu.
Go River Rafting
It is known for its beautiful rivers. They mostly flow silently but during heavy rains, these Himalayan Rivers offer ideal rapids that entice the rafting enthusiast.
It depends on 4 major rivers for their agriculture and drinking.
- Drangme Chhu
- Torsa Chhu
- Wang Chhu
- Mo Chhu
The word ‘chhu’ appears as the common word and we can correctly guess its meaning. ‘Chhu’ means river.
Among these four lovely rivers in the country, the Mo Chhu River is somehow favored by river rafters.
The reason for Mo Chhu as the best river for rafting is its calmness. So, instead of the thrill of fighting against the rapids and currents, you can actually enjoy floating on the water. The scenery on both sides of the river is absolutely picture perfect.
Those who have ample time while touring here can be seen staying in tents pitched along the river’s shores. I firmly believe these campgrounds in that offer the most memorable nights and early mornings. The sound of the river and breeze, the call of Himalayan birds would make you wish the time stays still.
Go Trekking in the Mountains of Bhutan
Probably It is one of the best places in the world for trekking. It is because; you would be trekking in the Himalayas where the flora, the geography, deep gorgers, and the weather are simply the best for trekking.
Trekking is among the most enjoyable things to do in Bhutan.
While some trekking routes are moderately easy, some other trekking routes would challenge even the highly experienced mountaineers.
Be open-minded when you encounter the peasants of Bhutan who live wholly with nature.
Based on your age and fitness level, you can undertake the following treks here. I think some of the trekking would require you to plan an exclusive Himalayan Trekking trip in it.
Here Are A Few Trekking Routes.
- Snowman Trek-it involves 27 days of trekking, the longest trekking in the world. You would be walking on loose stone beds and through high mountain passes.
- For a very short trek that fits the fantasies of a beginner, choose the Dagala Thousand Lake trek.
- Owl Trekking route is also considered good for half a day trek.
- Laya Gasa Trek involves 12 days of intermittent walking in the sheer Himalayan wilderness. The endless green meadows will egg you on and on. Of course, you can think of cutting your trip short and return to the base camp.
- If you have a week of trekking time to enjoy, you can choose the Jumolhari Trek. Your guide will help you complete the trek in just six days. Do you want to see how beautiful this trekking route is?
The incredible and absolutely breathtaking Kanchenjunga Summit is clearly visible to the trekker.
Monasteries in Bhutan
This country is a sacred pilgrim center for Buddhism followers. And, it is known for almost inaccessible monasteries that seemed to be precariously hanging on the jagged cliffs.
There are as many as sixteen Buddhist monasteries here. The best and the most prominent among them is the so-called “Tiger’s Nest”. Its official name is Taktsang Monastery.
Look at the picture of Taktsang Monastery below. You would instantly nod your head in recognition.
It is the iconic identity of Bhutanese tourism. The location of this stunning monastery is known as Paro Valley.
When you have ascended the last of the steep steps on the cliff’s face, you would have climbed a dizzying height of 10,000 feet.
I believe visiting the Taktsang Monastery is one of the foremost things to do in Bhutan.
Another Buddhist monastery that is worth seeing is the ‘Chagri Monstery’.
The third most beautiful monastery is the Lhuentse Dzong Monastery.
While visiting monasteries as one of the places to visit in Bhutan, try to talk to a few monks when they are not meditating. You may enjoy the short conversation.
What beautiful surroundings! It is a typical natural beauty of it where the climate is one of the best in the world.
I think the cool and pleasant weather of it is essential for the meditating monks.
Buildings of such types are called ‘Dzongs’. This particular Dzong is believed to belong to the 17th Century.
A dzong is a kind of monastery that is fortified. The inner temple premises comprise long courtyards and numerous abodes.
The backdrop of towering green hills, the rivers, and the grasslands make this one of the most beautiful places to visit in Bhutan.
Oh, Man! What a beautiful location! It is surreal-right? This is not a hotel but a dzong. As I mentioned earlier, a dzong is a fortified Buddhist monastery. You can see these dzongs in Tibet also.
I have a burning desire to spend the rest of my life in a building that is facing a gorge. The Trongsa Dzong ideally suits my dream location.
This dzong belongs to the 17th Century. It is amazing that nearly 500 years before, they spotted this jaw-dropping location and managed to build such a series of buildings.
Trongsa Dzong is one of the must-see places in Bhutan. You simply should not ignore these fantastic tourist landmarks.
Punakha Suspension Bridge
Another must-visit tourist attraction in Bhutan is this spectacular Punakha Suspension Bridge.
I am sure walking on this suspended bridge will be one of the exciting things to do in Bhutan. Imagine crossing a gorge on a bridge that is hanging from high above the bottom of the abyss. You would be taking 100 snaps before you reach the other end of the Punakha bridge.
Just a few meters below, you will see the Po Chu
River that carries another name Tsang Chu River.
One can walk across this suspension bridge in under two minutes as the distance to cover is only 520 feet! Your binoculars would capture the sight of trekkers on the surrounding Himalayan Mountains.
When you are visiting the picturesque Punakha Dzong, you can quickly reach the Punakha Suspension Bridge.
Dacula Pass is obviously a mountain pass. More than an actual pass the connects the capital Thimphu with Punakha, the 108 stupas that are also known as chortens that would make open your mouth wide in awe.
Druk Wangyal Chortens as they are officially called was said to be built by the queen mother of Bhutan.
The altitude of the Dochula pass is 10,100 feet!
From Dochula Pass, one can see the stunning snow-clad peak called the Mount. Masanggang. It stands at a height of 23,484 ft. It is the same Gangkar Puensum peak.
Amidst the freezing mountains, nature has come forward to give warmth by way of Tsachus. I beg your pardon, I meant to say ‘hot springs’.
There are more than six natural hot water fountains in it but surprisingly, the Bhutanese don’t enter into them to warm themselves.
They treat the mineral hot water as medicinal and put it to such uses only. In addition, the locals attach some religious importance to the hot springs.
The Buddha statue’s height is 177 feet! This is an important landmark in Thimphu. In front of the giant statue, there is a sprawling open space with neatly laid out tiles. I believe people sit there and pray to Buddha.
This beautiful valley is one of the top places to visit in. Haa or Ha Valley is named after the Ha Chuu (Ha River).
Ha Valley is at the center of three districts. You could say it is the cradle of strong Buddhis culture and traditions.
There are a few Buddhis temples that are regarded as sacred. They are called White Temple and Black Temple.
Haa Valley is located dangerously close to the Indo-China border.
I think it is appropriate to say that Haa Valley’s other name is ‘pristine’. With incredible views and green landscape, it is the place to visit in Bhutan.
There are a few lodges and a resort where you can stay. Homestay options are also available in Haa Valley.
Interestingly, you have to traverse through Chele-la Pass to reach the Haa Valley.
To sum up, it has everything you would expect at the foothills of the Himalayas. Extraordinary places to see, stunning snow peaks, beautiful rivers, breathtaking monasteries, amazing birds plus strange cuisine are the hallmarks of Bhutan.