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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We can arrange a wide range of activities during your trip. Here is just a small selection of what's on offer.
Built in 1637, Punakha Dzong served as the seat of the government until the mid 20th century. Over the centuries it has suffered damage from several fires and flooding but still remains one of the most impressive dzongs in Bhutan.
The Ura Tsechu is a five day festival which attracts local villagers. Held in the courtyard of the Ura Lhakhang, the festival involves the same masked dancers and songs as the Thimpu and Paro festivals as well as the Yak Dance.
The Tiger's Nest Monastery is possibly the most famous in Bhutan, having been founded in the late 1600's, and perched on a high rocky ledge 900m above the valley floor allegedly at a place where Guru Rinpoche rested, travelling on a flying tiger.
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.
People from surrounding villages start arriving on Friday evening and come to buy and sell produce, ranging from dried chillies and yak butter to textiles and bamboo products.
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.
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Further reading:Tours in BhutanWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoAccommodationAbout BhutanCountry Guides
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