Reasons to Visit
Buddhism is ingrained into Bhutan's landscape and daily life, with prayer flags, prayer wheels and white chortens. A basic understanding of Buddhism really does add to the experience of travelling through Bhutan, and helps one to really appreciate the complex visual tapestries that are found throughout the country.
Bhutan's dzongs are the most striking architectural feature of the country; large white washed forts with battered walls (inward sloping to appear larger than they actually are). They are the administrative and religious centres of authority in each region. Two of Bhutan's best known dzongs can be found at Punakha and Trongsa.
Festivals or 'tsechus' are a major part of Bhutanese life and offer a unique cultural insight into this Himalayan Kingdom. They are colourful affairs with lots of masked dancing and bright costumes offering wonderful photo opportunities. During the larger festivals Bhutan is very popular with tourists and some of its charm can be lost, so visiting the smaller festivals is advisable.
Gross National Happiness is a truly unique and very Bhutanese idea. It is a more holistic approach to development and is drawn from the Buddhist belief that the ultimate purpose of life is inner happiness. It has been used to measure Bhutan's development since 1972 when the fourth king proposed the idea.
Bhutan only has a fraction of visitors compared to most countries, with only a limited number of flights in and out of one airport. Visiting Bhutan you are able to experience a way of life that in the rural areas has largely remained unchanged for centuries. You may wish to visit a local farm or even stay in a simple traditional Bhutanese home.
Travelling through Bhutan it is easy to take the picturesque valleys for granted, but as soon as you leave you realise just how unspoilt Bhutan is. Although Thimpu, the capital, has expanded, the towns are very small - over each pass you descend into another beautiful and unspoilt landscape.
One of the best ways to explore Bhutan is by foot. There are numerous day walks that can be arranged and for those who want to trek we specialise in offering short two or three night treks.
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Prayer flags, fluttering in the wind, are a common sight in Bhutan.
Uncover the main highlights of Bhutan including Thimpu, Punakha and time in Paro to relax at the end of your tour.
Phobjikha is a glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountains. The valley is a designated conservation area and plays host to a flock of endangered black-necked cranes, which migrate here from Tibet each winter.
Bhutan's capital and largest town, Thimpu boasts an atmosphere that is relaxing and friendly. By wandering around the streets, you can begin to appreciate the Bhutanese way of life.
Visit Ura village, lying in the highest of Bumthang's valleys, at around 3100m. Ura leads into the easternmost regions of Bhutan and is located immediately below the Thrumshing La (pass) at 3800m.
In Trongsa by far the most impressive place to visit is Trongsa Dzong. The Dzong is one of the largest in Bhutan and is a fine example of Bhutanese architecture.
Bhutan is a truly amazing place with spectacular Himalayan scenery, colourful festivals, historic monasteries and a population who are more concerned with Gross Domestic Happiness than Gross Domestic Product. The people of Bhutan are warm, charming and gladly welcome you to discover their deeply Buddhist and traditional way of life. A journey through Bhutan will take you through deep valleys, high mountain passes and will certainly be a memorable experience.
11 Days from £3,270pp
13 Days from £3,990pp
Discover the highlights of Bhutan including Punakha and Paro and also Bumthang Valley in central Bhutan.
12 hours (via Delhi, Calcutta or Kathmandu)
The best time to travel.
A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of.
Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year.
Travel is not recommended.
Snow or ski season.
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Further reading:When to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout BhutanCountry Guides
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