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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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.
The monastery suffered a disastrous fire in April 1998, but great efforts are being made to repair the extensive damage.
From the parking area it is a two hour walk, mostly through coniferous forest, up a steep path to the view point from where there are spectacular views of the monastery.
Drukgyel Dzong is situated some 15 km, (10 miles) north of Paro, close to the side valley where the Tigers Nest monastery is located. It was built in 1649 to protect the country against threatening Tibetans. One feature of the fort is a false entry to lure invaders into an enclosed courtyard, which along with other tactics helped the Bhutanese protect their country successfully through the 17th century.
Paro is a picturesque town with an impressive dzong and interesting national museum. Nearby is Bhutan's most famous site, Taktshang, or Tiger's Nest Monastery.
15 miles away in Thimpu
30 miles away in Punakha
67 miles away in Trongsa
Include Tiger's Nest Monastery & Drukgyel Dzong on your tailor-made trip around Bhutan by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in BhutanWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout BhutanCountry Guides
Other countries in The Indian Subcontinent:IndiaNepalSri LankaThe Maldives
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