Tourism, Places, Visa, Food & Travel Tips
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Bhutan, the country with the purest air, perfect valleys, awe-inspiring mountains, colourful villages and peaceful monasteries is always set to mesmerise all its tourists with warm Bhutanese hospitality. And if you are excited to know everything about this alluring place, here is our exclusive Bhutan travel guide to help and guide you.

Holidays for women- Surreal landscapes of Bhutan

Enjoy the surreal landscapes of Bhutan

Bhutan Travel Guide

 

Best Time To Visit Bhutan

Bhutan travel during best season

Travel during the time of Bhutanese festivals to get the best of Bhutan culture

The best time to visit Bhutan is between September and December. Boasting distinctive seasonal variations, Bhutan is a perfect year-round destination. Whether it is the vibrant and colourful festivals of Bhutan or the blooming Himalayan flora and fauna or the picturesque view of the beautiful snowfall, the country guarantees to make you have a great time amidst scenic beauty and ensures that you take back home a cherished memory for your lifetime. That being said, let’s have a look at the seasons of Bhutan.

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Summer

Bhutan travel guide - Bhutanese festivals

Annual Tsechus/festivals are celebrated with masked performances at the Dzongs (temples)

The summer season starts in the month of June and lasts till about August. The weather is clear with mild clamminess. It is a good time to catch up with the mighty Himalayas and be amazed by its flourishing green paddy fields and landscapes. Summer season is also a great time to enjoy the Haa festival which is a celebration of the Bhutanese culture, traditions and way of life. This season witnesses a low level of tourists as many have this mistaken belief that Bhutan is surrounded by heavy clouds of rain around this time. In fact, monsoon in Bhutan is confined to mild afternoon showers that occur once in every two or three days and the country is moderately dry during these months.

Bhutan travel guide tips: It is advisable to carry a mix of light cotton clothes, raincoats and umbrellas. If you are visiting the southern part of the country be sure to carry winter garments as it may get really cold.

Winter

Travel Bhutan - Monks celebrating Tshechu

Witness the monks celebrating Tshechu

Winters begin in December and extend till February. The weather is amazing and although the entire country remains dry, cities such as Thimpu and Paro may experience mild snowfall in the months of January and February. Winter is the season of Punakha  Dromche and Tshechu, a week- long celebration of the founding of Bhutan during the 16th century. The festivities take place around the very old capital of Bhutan- Punakha, which proves to be a great winter escape for the Bhutanese.

Bhutan travel guide tips: Be sure to carry your woolen clothes and thermals.

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Spring

Trekking in Bhutan

Trekking in Bhutan takes you high up in the clouds, literally!

The Spring season in Bhutan starts in March and extends till the month of May. Spring is the best time to visit Bhutan as the weather is dry with very less humidity making it perfect for activities like trekking and hiking. Treks to Jomolhari and Drukpath begin and nature lovers can witness the Jacaranda flower bloom. It is a great time to meet the King of Bhutan during the Paro Tshechu, as he makes his way towards the various festivities.

Bhutan travel guide tips: Spring is one of the peak seasons in Bhutan, so it is advisable to book your flight tickets and hotels in advance.

Fall

Travel to Bhutan - The gorgeous Haa Valley in the Land of the Thunder Dragon

The gorgeous Haa Valley in the Land of the Thunder Dragon

Fall is also a very popular and a high season in Bhutan which starts in September and lasts till November. The weather is mild with pleasant sunny days and just the right amount of chill. It is a good time to enjoy various festivals such as the Black Necked Crane Festival that happens around  Phobjikha Valley and the Thimpu Tshechu around Thimpu.

Bhutan travel guide tips: Planning in advance is recommended if you are visiting Bhutan around this time.

Bhutan is magical in each and every season. So, regardless of when you visit this beautiful country, you will always feel it is the right time.

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Also Read: 5 Mind Blowing Things To Do In Bhutan

5 Unusual & Mind-Blowing Things To Do In Bhutan

 

Bhutan Visa And Other Travel Documents

Bhutan tourism - Bhutan visa

The country welcomes you with a smiling face to witness the Bhutanese way of life

Travellers need the following documents for their Bhutan tour:

  • A valid passport having a validity of minimum six months from the date of travel or Voter Identity Card, issued by the Election Commission of India.
  • Bhutan visa is not required for Indian nationals.
  • All Indians coming to Bhutan by road are required to obtain an Entry Permit on the basis of valid Travel Document from the Immigration Office of Royal Government of Bhutan at Phuentsholing.
  • Adequate travel insurance is important for a safe travel.

 

Where To Stay In Bhutan

Bhutan trip - where to stay

Enjoy the serene vistas while you stay in this gorgeous country

Bhutan has a wide variety of accommodation options to choose from. Whether it’s the luxurious 5- star hotels of Bhutan that offer incredible services or the cosy little budget hotels that charm you with their simplicity. There are perfect traditional Bhutanese home stays as well that welcome you with utmost warmth and comfort. Hotels in Bhutan offer a fascinating blend of new age facilities, unequalled beauty and rustic charisma. Taj Tashi (Thimpu), Uma by COMO (Punakha), Le Meridian (Thimpu) and Amankora (Thimpu, Paro, Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang) are some of the best hotels in Bhutan.

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Also Read: Discover The Colourful Birds Of Bhutan

The Colourful Birds Of Bhutan

 

Travelling Within Bhutan

bhutan tourism - travel in bhutan

Tread on off the beaten paths to discover Bhutan

In view of the fact that Bhutan does not have a railway network, the only way to explore the country is either by air or by road.

By Air: Bhutan has limited domestic air services which are restricted to Bhumtang, Paro and Gelephu. The Royal Bhutan Helicopter Service operates charter flights and sightseeing from its base at Paro.

By Bus: Public buses in Bhutan are very crowded and uncomfortable. Moreover, the winding roads of Bhutan make them even more painful.

Travelling within Bhutan

Do not be surprised to see yaks while you travel on the beautiful roads of Bhutan

By Taxi: You will find taxis in Paro, Phuentsholing, Thimpu and Jakar. Almost all taxis are metered but most drivers would seldom use them. So, it is advisable to negotiate the rate before you set off to avoid unnecessary hassle.

By Car: Hiring a car is the best way to explore Bhutan. The local drivers are well versed with the roads and you do not have to concern yourself with driving.

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Things To Do In Bhutan

1. Explore Tiger’s Nest Monastery

Things to do in Bhutan tourist spot tiget nest

Get mesmerised by the stunning view of Paro Taktsang

The Tiger’s Nest Monastery, also known as Paro Taktsang is one of the most esteemed pilgrimage places in Bhutan. This place has great traditional values and it is one of the best things to do in Bhutan. Located at the side of a steep cliff wall, about 900 metres above the Paro valley, this monastery is extremely beautiful. The sight of milky white building topped with shining golden roof amidst blue sky and thriving green mountains is simply beyond comparison.

Bhutan travel - Tiger's nest

Marvel at the sight of milky white building topped with shining golden roof amidst blue sky

Although it is a steep two hours hike up to the monastery but it is absolutely worth it. You can also hire a horse to take you up but horses go up to a certain point beyond which you have to walk, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. There are several view points where you can stop to take rest or click pictures and a lovely cafeteria where you can enjoy snacks and tea. Bhutan sightseeing would be incomplete without a visit to this incredible place.

2. Visit The Punakha Dzong

Things to do in Bhutan tourist spot - monastery

It’s definitely one the most impressive buildings anywhere in the world

Bhutan is blessed with many dzongs (fortresses), but out of the lot, Punakha Dzong is a must see. It is the most beautiful dzong in the country and offers an eye-catching sight of the dazzling aura of the white walls on a clear sunny day. Ornate wood carvings and intricate paintings  add to the charm of this remarkable architecture.

Bhutan travel - the exotic scenery

Soak in the spectacular natural view as you visit the Punakha Dzong

The dzong is surrounded by flourishing green hills and in spring the lavender coloured jacaranda trees adds a beautiful contrast to its white-washed walls. Apart from the structural beauty, the dzong also holds great historical and traditional importance in Bhutan. It contains the preserved remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the unifier of Bhutan and a sacred relic of Ranjubg Karsapani.

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3. Try River Rafting

River Raft in the deep, pristine gorges of Arunachal Pradesh

River Raft in the deep, pristine gorges of Bhutan

To add some thrill and excitement to your Bhutan trip gush into the rivers of the country. It is always fun to go for white water rafting and the rapids of Po and Mo rivers are ideal for moderate to high difficulty levels of white water rafting. The whole adventure becomes even more impressive and memorable by the serene beauty and pristine waters as you go under suspension bridges seeing various dzongs and chortens.

Bhutan travel guide tips: The best time for rafting is from March to May or from October to November.

Must Watch: Bhutan, The Land Of The Dragons

Video: Unveil Bhutan, The Land Of The Dragons!

 

Places To Visit In Bhutan

1. Thimphu

At Dochula Pass, 108 stupas stand divinely against a backdrop of the Himalayas

At Dochula Pass, 108 stupas stand divinely against a backdrop of the Himalayas, Thimphu

Nestled in the western part of central Bhutan, Thimphu is the captivating capital of the country. The city is an interesting mix of the old world charms and modernity. It is the melting pot of the matchless treasures of the Bhutanese culture, cuisine and lifestyle that maintains a strong character in its architectural style. Do visit Buddha Dordenma, a 51 metre gold plated statue of Buddha which is entirely made up of steel and get a strong hold on peace and solace. Get high on life with Memorial Chorten, the tallest monument in Thimphu.

Bhutan travel tourism - Budhha statue

Get rejuvenated by the Bronze Buddha Dordenma statue overlooking Thimphu City in Bhutan

This place will mesmerise you with its beautiful architecture, great art work, awe-inspiring sculptures and wall carvings. Other places of interest include the Dechencholing Palace, Clock Tower Square, Motithang Taking Preserve and monasteries like Dechen Phodrang, Tango and Cheri. Thimphu also offers a great assortment of cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs to socialise and mingle. Shopaholics can check out a wide collection of colourful hand woven textiles and other handicrafts at the government run Handicraft Emporium.

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2. Paro

It takes a 2 hour climb to reach the monastery on the cliff

It takes a 2 hour climb to reach the monastery on the cliff

Blissful serene beauty, fresh clean air, lush green flora and fauna and stunning historical buildings make Paro one of the most loved Bhutan tourist places. The city is home to many temples, monasteries and museums. Do visit Paro Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest Monastery perched on the side of a cliff, 900 metres above the Paro valley. It is one of the most sacred places to visit in Bhutan.

Bhutan travel - Paro

The Rinpung Dzong in Paro. Gorgeous, right?

Get a chance to walk along the shores of Paro Chhu and explore the vibrant city of Paro through its crystal clear water. Other mind blowing places that are absolutely worth visiting are Rinpung Dzong, Drukgyel Dzong, National Museum and  Kyichu Lhakhang. The main street of the city is filled with traditional Bhutanese houses and various colourful shops, cafes and restaurants. Paro is an admired place to buy antiques and Buddhist souvenirs.

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3. Punakha

Bhutan travel guide - Punakha

Punakha’s appeal is unmatched.

Punakha, the initial capital of Bhutan is an astounding destination and a hub for adventure seekers. It is the best place to enjoy activities like river rafting. Do not miss visiting the 17th century fortress Punakha Dzong that sits royally between the Pho and Mo rivers. Chimi Lakhang, a monastery that was constructed in the 15th century is certainly worth a visit. Also visit Jigme Dorji National Park and Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. The city is also well known to celebrate traditional masked dances and music during religious festivals of Bhutan. This place has a unique charm that is so dreamlike which make many travellers visit it again and again.

 

Bhutanese Food – What To Eat In Bhutan

As with most other Bhutanese dishes, Jasha Maroo tastes absolutely delicious with the red rice.

As with most other Bhutanese dishes, Jasha Maroo tastes absolutely delicious with the red rice.

Bhutan is unique in each and every way. The country will blow your mind with its majestic valleys, charming scenic beauty, splendid monasteries, rich culture and traditions and most importantly the flavoursome and very delicious Bhutanese food. The aroma of the spices and the zestful punch of the chillies will definitely leave you salivating and you will see yourself diving deep in the authentic cuisine of Bhutan.

Indulge your taste buds in Bhutan with this glorious pork dish!

Indulge your taste buds in Bhutan with this glorious pork dish!

  • Start your gastronomic journey with Ema Datshi, the national dish of Bhutan. It is a very popular stew dish made with cheese, chillies and vegetables like potatoes, ferns, mushrooms with plenty of butter. It goes best with the red rice.
  • Phaksha paa is one of the most famous dishes in Bhutanese food which will certainly make you say wow! This classic Bhutanese stew is made with strips of boneless pork or yak or beef and served with buckwheat dumplings along with seasonal greens.
Just like bread is a staple food of the Americans, red rice is the staple food of the Bhutanese.

Just like bread is a staple food of the Americans, red rice is the staple food of the Bhutanese.

  • Red Rice is one of the staple foods of the Bhutanese people. It is a medium grain variety of rice which acquires a reddish brown hue after being cooked. The earthy, nutty flavour of this rice is pretty much unique in its own way and it goes very well with dishes such as Ema Datshi, Khewa Datshi and Shamu Datshi.
  • Jasha Maroo is a spicy stew made with diced onions, chicken, tomatoes, chillies, garlic, ginger and coriander leaves. It is usually served with a hearty portion of chicken broth and red rice.
Your trip to Bhutan is incomplete without trying the Ema Datshi, the most famous Bhutanese dish

Your trip to Bhutan is incomplete without trying the Ema Datshi, the most famous Bhutanese dish

  • You simply cannot leave Bhutan without tasting Suja or the Bhutanese butter tea. This tea is usually served after the meals and proves to be very comforting especially in the cold weather. It is a frothy drink which actually tastes more like butter as it is made with the fermented yak butter and it has a salty taste.
  • Do try Ara, the traditional alcoholic beverage in Bhutan. It is prepared by fermenting rice, wheat, maize, barley or buckwheat and is generally creamy in appearance.
  • Other celebrated dishes include Zow Shungo, Goep, Jasha Tshoem, Hoentay, Khur-Le, Puta, Lom, Khatem, Jaju and Momos.

Isn’t your stomach already growling?  Well, if you are keen to satisfy your stomach and be happy, start planning your own Bhutan travel guide.

Also Read: 5 Dishes To Try In Bhutan

5 Dishes To Try In Bhutan

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Nightlife In Bhutan

Bhutan tourism - nightlife

Nights in Bhutan last forever

Bhutan may seem to be a tiny place popular for its rugged landscapes, monasteries and a laid back lifestyle. But, very few people know that it packs a punch when it comes to nightlife. From casual bars to noisy nightclubs, the country has it all. If good electronic music and superb lighting attracts you, then head straight to Club Ace (Paro). If you are looking for brilliant music and live performances, Mojo Park (Thimpu) is the place for you. Space 34 (Thimpu) is a favoured destination for party animals and is loved by all age groups.

Bhutan tourism - the scenic nature

With such an amazing natural beauty, Bhutan is no ordinary place

With a live music bar, a smoking bar and a rocking dance floor, this place is always sizzling. If you are looking for a place that is forever buzzing with food, drinks and dance, look no further than Vivacity (Thimpu). This place also has a big lounge where you can sit back and enjoy your drink. Other happening places include Club K (Paro), Millennium Club (Paro), Zest Bar and Lounge (Thimpu) and Benez Bar (Thimpu). With so much to do, nightlife in Bhutan is surely quite eventful and action-packed!

 

Communications And Connectivity In Bhutan

Bhutan trip - Paro

Bhutan is one of the best places to visit if you’re looking for an unperturbed and relaxing holiday

Bhutan has a well-organized telecommunication system. If you intend to carry your own mobile phone to Bhutan, you will need to check with your home service provider and verify the charges of incoming and outgoing calls. Alternatively, you can also buy a local SIM card and use it. For this, you will need a GSM phone that is unlocked.

Also Read: The Ever Enchating Bhutan Festivals and Culture

The Ever – Enchanting Bhutan Festivals And Cultures

 

Money In Bhutan

Bhutanese vendors open up their boxes of Pandoras at the Weekend Market

Bhutanese vendors open up their boxes of Pandoras at the Weekend Market

The official currency of Bhutan is Ngultrum(Nu), which is equivalent to the value of Indian currency, that is INR 1=Nu 1. The notes of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 of Indian denominations are widely used; however, notes of 500 and 2000 are not valid in the country. Credit cards have restricted acceptability and payment through credit card is only accepted in big hotels and restaurants located in larger towns. ATMs are available only in major towns and travellers can withdraw the local currency in limited quantity. Travellers Cheque can be easily withdrawn and exchanged in Bhutanese currency. Currencies can be exchanged in banks and hotels.

 

Bhutan Travel Guide – Tips For Bhutan Tour

Rich in culture and high on beauty, Bhutan is the last Buddhist Kingdom

Rich in culture and high on beauty, Bhutan is the last Buddhist Kingdom

  • The official language of Bhutan is Dzongkha. But most Bhutanese are quite fluent in English.
  • Bhutan has banned the sale and consumption of tobacco. Smoking is strictly prohibited in public places. However, consumption is not completely forbidden, so in case you want to smoke please carry your own cigarettes.
  • Tuesdays are considered as the national ‘dry day’, and so the sale of alcohol is absolutely forbidden.
  • Tuesdays are also considered as ‘Pedestrian Day’ and no private vehicles are allowed on road and people are encouraged to use bicycles or walk.
  • Do not drink tap water in Bhutan, make use of bottled water.
  • Voltage in the country is 220/240 volts AC, 50 Hz.
  • The country has winding roads, so be sure to carry motion sickness medicines.
  • While visiting temples and other places of worship, be sure to dress modestly and respectfully.
  • In case of an emergency, dial 112 (Ambulance) or 113 (Police).
Bhutan travel guide

The people of Bhutan are a mosaic of different happy beings who continue to live in valleys isolated from one another

Bhutan is definitely not a conventional holiday destination, but do not let it stop you from visiting this spectacular country. The world’s happiest country is the key to all your answers. So, plan your Bhutan travel as soon as possible and do not forget to keep our Bhutan travel guide handy.

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