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Bhutan Travel Guide

We will cover particulars like the best places to visit in Bhutan, what is the best time to visit Bhutan, how to reach Bhutan from India and some other necessary details.

  • 13 Jul 2023
  • min read
  • 850 views

Bhutan is where mystical mountains meet vibrant traditions and untouched natural beauty. Tucked away in the heart of the majestic Himalayas, Bhutan awaits those who crave adventure and cultural exploration. From ancient monasteries perched on cliffs to picturesque valleys adorned with prayer flags, this country has many hidden gems and must-see attractions that make Bhutan an unrivalled destination. In this blog, we will provide you with a detailed travel guide for Bhutan. We will cover particulars like the best places to visit in Bhutan, what is the best time to visit Bhutan, how to reach Bhutan from India and some other necessary details.

Top Places to Visit in Bhutan

Given below is a list of some of the top Bhutan tourist places that you can’t miss -

  1. Buddha Dordenma, Thimphu

     

    The Buddha Dordenma, standing majestically on a hilltop in the Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park, is one of the most revered Bhutan places to visit. The Buddha Dordenma statue stands at a height of 169 feet (51.5 meters). Inside the massive sculpture are 1,25,000 smaller Buddha statues, each measuring eight inches in height. These statues are carefully crafted and filled with sacred relics and scriptures. 

     

  2. Taktsang Palphug Monastery, Paro

     Taktsang Palphug Monastery is commonly known as Tiger's Nest – one of the most popular places to visit in Bhutan. The origins of Taktsang Monastery date back to the 8th century when Guru Padmasambhava, also called Guru Rinpoche, is said to have meditated in a cave on the site. The monastery complex comprises a series of temples and structures built on the edge of a cliff, about 900 meters (3,120 feet) above the Paro Valley. Reaching Tiger's Nest is an experience on its own. You will have to hike 3- 4 hours of the round trip through dense forest, cross a suspension bridge, and ascend into the mountainside

     

  3. Rinpung Dzong, Paro

    Rinpung Dzong, also known as Paro Dzong, is a magnificent fortress-monastery. Its construction dates back to the 17th century, made by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the spiritual and political leader who unified Bhutan. The Dzong was strategically built on a hilltop, serving as a defensive structure against potential invasions from Tibet. Rinpung Dzong is a perfect example of Bhutanese architecture and craftsmanship. Whitewashed walls, large wooden doors, and fortified walls characterise the fortress's exterior. 

     

  4. Simtokha Dzong, Thimphu
  5.  

    It is one of the oldest dzongs in the country and holds great significance in Bhutanese history and culture. Simtokha Dzong is one of the must-visit Bhutan tourist places. The name "Simtokha" translates to "Atop a Demon" in Bhutanese, reflecting the dzong's role in subduing evil spirits and protecting the region. The interior of Simtokha Dzong houses several temples, assembly halls, and administrative offices.

     

  6. Dochula Pass, Thimphu

    Dochula Pass is a breathtaking mountain pass about 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) from Thimphu. Situated at an elevation of 3,100 meters (10,170 feet) above sea level, it offers a mesmerising and panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountain range. The pass's summit is a beautifully landscaped area with 108 Chortens, or stupas, known as the Druk Wangyal Chortens. These Chortens were built by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, to honour the Bhutanese soldiers who lost their lives in a military conflict.

     

  7. Chomolhari

Standing at an elevation of 7,326 meters (24,035 feet), Chomolhari is the third-highest peak in Bhutan. Chomolhari translates to "the bride of Kangchenjunga" in Tibetan, symbolising its regal and pristine beauty. The mountain is part of the more extensive Chomolhari range, stretching across Bhutan and Tibet's border. Chomolhari offers an exhilarating and rewarding experience for those attempting to reach its peak. In addition to mountaineering, the Chomolhari region provides excellent opportunities for trekking and hiking. The Jomolhari Trek is a popular trekking route that takes adventurers through some of the most stunning landscapes in Bhutan. The trek encompasses alpine meadows, rhododendron forests, high mountain passes, and pristine lakes.

Things to Do in Bhutan

Now that we have discussed the prime places to visit in Bhutan, next, we will help you with things to do in Bhutan. Here are some top recommendations:

 

  • Enjoy Bhutanese cuisine: Taste traditional dishes like Ema Datshi (chilli and cheese stew) and Momos (dumplings) to experience the flavours of Bhutan.

 

  • Traditional archery: Try your hand at Bhutan's national sport, archery. You can participate in friendly matches or watch local tournaments.

 

  • Enjoy a hot stone bath: Unwind and rejuvenate in a traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath. It is believed to have therapeutic properties and provides a unique cultural experience.



  • Explore Bumthang: Known as Bhutan's spiritual heartland, Bumthang is a region of valleys, ancient temples, and monasteries. Visit Jakar Dzong, take a scenic hike to the Kurje Lhakhang, and immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere of this spiritual haven.

 

  • Engage in a farm stay: Experience rural life with a local family in one of Bhutan's villages. Participate in farming activities, learn about traditional Bhutanese cuisine, and immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the Bhutanese people.

  • Attend a festival: Bhutan is famous for its colourful and vibrant festivals. If you can, witness the Tshechu festival, where you can enjoy masked dances, music, and traditional performances.

Best Time to Visit Bhutan

The best time to visit Bhutan from India is spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). These months offer pleasant weather, with clear skies and moderate temperatures and are considered the best time to go to Bhutan. The valleys come alive in spring with colourful flowers and vibrant festivals like the Paro Tshechu. Autumn is equally delightful, with clear views of the Himalayas and the opportunity to witness celebrations like Thimphu Tshechu. 

These seasons provide ideal conditions for outdoor activities, such as trekking and exploring the country's natural beauty. Winter (December to February) can be cold, especially in the higher regions, while the monsoon season (June to August) brings heavy rainfall and limited visibility. 

 

Also read:

How to Reach Bhutan from India?

Wondering how to reach Bhutan from India? Don’t worry we got you covered. Reaching Bhutan from India is relatively straightforward -

  • The most convenient way to travel to Bhutan is by air. The country has a single international airport in Paro, which is well-connected to major cities in India. Several airlines operate regular flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bagdogra to Paro Airport. It is important to note that flights to Bhutan are limited and subject to weather conditions, so booking in advance is advisable.
  • Alternatively, you can also enter Bhutan by road. Phuentsholing is the primary land entry point. You can book a private taxi or take a bus to Thimphu or other destinations within Bhutan. Obtaining the required permits at the border is essential before proceeding further.

Bhutan Visa Process for Indians

Note the following aspects about the Bhutan visa

  • As an Indian national, you do not need a visa to travel to Bhutan.
  • However, an entry permit is mandatory to explore this country.
  • You can get entry permits from the Immigration Department in Phuentsholing's Pedestrian Terminal.
  • The concerned authority will issue the permit after verifying all your travel-related documents.

Things to Pack for Your Bhutan Trip

When preparing for your trip to Bhutan, it is essential to pack wisely to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here are some critical items to consider:

  • Clothing: Bhutan's weather can vary, so pack layers to accommodate temperature changes. Include lightweight, breathable clothes for the daytime and warmer layers for cooler evenings. Keep a waterproof jacket and sturdy walking shoes for outdoor activities.
  • Travel documents: Carry your passport, entry permit, and any other necessary identification or travel documents. It's also advisable to have photocopies or digital copies as backups.
  • Medications and first aid kit: If you have any prescription medications, ensure an adequate supply for your trip. Pack a basic first aid kit containing band-aids, pain relievers, antiseptic cream, and any personal medications you may need.
  • Travel adapters and chargers: Bhutan uses a Type D or Type F power plug, so bring suitable adapters for your electronic devices. Also, pack chargers for your phone, camera, and other gadgets.
  • Travel accessories: Include a sturdy backpack for day trips, a reusable water bottle, a hat or cap, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a travel towel.
  • Cash and cards: Carry enough Bhutanese currency (Ngultrum) for small purchases and tips. Usually, hotels and larger establishments accept debit and credit cards but having some cash on hand for smaller businesses and remote areas is advisable.
  • Electronics: Consider bringing a camera to capture stunning landscapes and cultural experiences. A portable charger can also be handy for charging your devices.

Indian Embassy in Bhutan

The Indian embassy in Bhutan serves as a crucial diplomatic mission and the primary link between the governments of India and Bhutan –

  • Located in the capital city of Thimphu, the embassy plays a vital role in fostering bilateral relations, promoting cultural exchange, and facilitating various aspects of cooperation between the two nations.
  • The 24x7 Consular Helpline / Emergency Contact of the Indian embassy in Bhutan is
  • There is also a Consulate Office of the Indian Government in Phuentsholing.

Currency of Bhutan

  •  Bhutan's official currency is the Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN).
  • The Ngultrum is linked to the Indian Rupee (INR) at a fixed exchange rate.
  • Both Bhutanese Ngultrum and Indian Rupees are widely used and easily exchangeable.
  • It is essential to note that Ngultrum is the only legal tender within Bhutan, and it is advisable to carry some amount of Ngultrum for smaller transactions and when travelling to more remote areas.
  • ATMs are available in major towns, allowing visitors to withdraw Bhutanese Ngultrum using their international debit or credit cards.

Top Delicacies of Bhutan

Bhutanese cuisine is known for its unique flavours and use of local ingredients. Here are some top delicacies of Bhutan:

  • Ema Datshi: Made with chilli peppers and local cheese, this is Bhutan's national dish. It is a spicy and flavorful dish that goes best with rice.
  • Red Rice: A staple in Bhutanese cuisine, red rice has a nutty flavour and is often paired with various meat or vegetable dishes.
  • Phaksha Paa: This dish consists of pork cooked with red chilli peppers, radishes, and other spices. It is a hearty and spicy dish commonly enjoyed in Bhutan.
  • Jasha Maroo: This is a delicious Bhutanese chicken dish with spices, garlic, ginger, and onions.
  • Momos: Similar to dumplings, momos are popular in Bhutan. They are filled with various ingredients, such as vegetables, cheese, or meat, and served with a spicy dip.
  • Suja: Suja is a traditional butter tea made with salt, butter, and tea leaves. It is a popular beverage in Bhutan and common at social gatherings.
  • Khuru: This is a traditional Bhutanese dish made of dried and roasted beef or pork strips. People typically eat this as a snack with a spicy dipping sauce.

List of International Airports in Bhutan

  • Paro Airport: Paro Airport is Bhutan's only international airport, inaugurated back in 1968. Despite its modest size, this airport provides flights to many major international destinations.
  • Bathpalathang Airport: This airport is located in the Jakar district and serves as a domestic hub. If your destination includes Bumthang or the scenic Chamkhar Valley, this airport offers convenient flight options for your travel needs.
  • Gelephu Airport: Situated in Samtenling Gewog, this domestic airport offers limited options, with only one airline operating here, Druk Air. Consider this airport if you plan to travel to Gyenyan Lhakhang or Tali Dratshang.
  • Yongphulla Airport: Yongphulla, situated in Trashigang, is a domestic airport currently undergoing development to transform into an international hub. What sets this airport apart is its unique origin, as the Indian Army constructed it. If you plan to travel to Thimphu or Jakar, selecting Yongphulla Airport as your destination would be a suitable choice.

Why Do You Need Travel Insurance for Bhutan? 

When planning a trip to Bhutan, it is essential to consider purchasing travel insurance to ensure a worry-free and protected journey. Here are some reasons why you need travel insurance for Bhutan:

  • Medical emergencies: Travel insurance covers medical expenses if you encounter unforeseen health issues or accidents during your trip. This includes hospitalisation, doctor's fees, medications, and emergency medical evacuation if needed.

 

  • Trip cancellation or interruption: Travel insurance safeguards your investment by reimbursing non-refundable expenses if you cancel or cut short your trip due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family emergencies, or natural disasters.

 

  • Lost or delayed baggage: Travel insurance covers the loss, theft, or damage of your baggage and personal belongings. It also compensates for essential items you may need to purchase if your luggage delay is for a significant period.

     

  • Travel delays: If your flight to Bhutan gets delayed due to harsh weather conditions or other unforeseen events, travel insurance can cover additional expenses like accommodation, meals, and transportation.

 

  • Emergency assistance: Travel insurance offers access to 24/7 emergency assistance services, providing support in various situations like locating the nearest medical facility, arranging transportation, or assisting with lost documents.



  • Personal Liability: If you accidentally cause property damage or injure someone during your trip, travel insurance can cover your legal expenses and potential liability claims.




 

 

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