Top travel experiences to try in Bhutan  

Friday 10th May 2024 |

With its golden-roofed temples, imposing monasteries, and timeless rural settlements the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan has long enjoyed an enviable reputation of being an exclusive remote tourist destination. 

Having said that, visiting paradise comes with a hefty price tag as the country’s tourism policy aims to maximize the financial benefits while at the same time minimizing its environmental impact in a country that considers happiness as a way of life. 

The country enforces strict travel regulations, so before you decide on your once-in-a-lifetime visit to Bhutan, here is what you should know on how to travel to this unique Himalayan country. 

Planning the trip 

As stated earlier, Bhutan is expensive as foreign tourists need to shell out anything between $350-$450 per person per day for a fully inclusive tour, up from the pre-Covid rates of $250 per day. 

Therefore it is best to book with a reputed travel agency like Experience Travel Group for a curative itinerary involving multiple overnight halts, cultural visits, day hikes trekking, guide services, etc 

Must try travel experiences in Bhutan  

No matter how long your trip is, you must try to fit in some of the following experiences to gain a well-rounded insight into Bhutan that will linger on in your memory for a lifetime. 

Attend a local festival  

Any festival held in this country reflects its identity and social impact, so you must plan a trip to attend at least one, especially the main event known as Tsechu

This festival involves religious masked dances which take place in the courtyard of Bhutan’s ancient dzongs where monks wear dragon masks to perform Buddhist parables and culminates in unveiling a large religious embroidery that is said to offer spiritual liberation to those who gaze upon it. 

Tiger’s Nest Monastery Trek 

Trekking to Tiger’s Nest, or Paro Takstang, is without doubt the most unmissable experience in Bhutan. Perched on the cliffside 900 m above the valley floor, the hike is an arduous one, but well worth the effort. 

The entire path leading up to the monastery is lined with Buddhist symbols which add to the spiritual essence of the trek. Upon reaching the monastery,one is rewarded with surreal views of the vast stretches of greenery and the surrounding countryside. 

Whitewater rafting in Punakha 

Bhutan offers an array of adventure activities for thrill seekers, rafting is one of the most popular ones. The two glacier fed rivers of Bhutan, Mo Chu and Pho Chu that flow in the stunning Punakha Valley are ideal for whitewater rafting and garner the attention of adventure sports lovers from all over the world. 

The bonus of rafting in these rivers is the splendid views of the valley and the plant and animal life that thrive there which truly elevates the overall rafting experience. Rafting in Mo Chu River is ideal for beginners and those with moderate experience in rafting. 

Go birding in the Phobjika Valley  

Bhutan is a paradise for birdwatchers and is a popular attractive of the country as it is home to some truly iconic species like the highly endangered black-necked crane, Himalayan monal, snow pigeon,rufous-necked hornbill, Ward’s trogon and many more. 

You can capture some stunning photos of these winged beauties in the Phobjika Valley in late Autumn when a flock of around 200 black-necked cranes migrate from Tibet to the valley. 

Pay obeisance at the temple of fertility  

The Temple of Fertility is a hillside Buddhist monastery by the name of Chimi Lhakang and is located near the town of Punakha. The structure was built by a tantric Buddhist monk,Drukpa Kunley hundreds of years ago. 

Kunley was rumoured to have sex with over 5000 women as he preached to his devotees that the path of enlightenment could only be achieved through sex. Today, all women who wish to conceive can come to this fertility temple for guidance. 

Go on the Jhomolhari Trek 

Nestled conveniently among some of the world’s highest mountain peaks, Bhutan is a virtual mecca for trekkers, free from the hordes you may come across in neighbouring Nepal. From gentle day-long walks to strenuous three-week hikes, Bhutan caters to trekkers of all levels. 

The Jhomolhari Trek, in particular, is one of the country’s most popular as it passes through ancient routes that traders from Tibet used, passing through the beautiful Jigme Dorji National Park, home to the sacred 7314 m high Jhomolhari Peak on the other side of the border with Tibet. 

See the most scenic fortress in Bhutan  

Built way back in 1647 the Trongsa Dzong was one of the two fortresses built by the kings of Bhutan which ruled over the country during that period. The fort is built strategically on a steep slope which affords commanding views of the countryside, including the Mangde River which flows in this central part of the country. 

Within the four walls of this impressive citadel are 25 temples dedicated to tantric dieties, an ancient watchtower, a printing shop and a museum holding articles of the Wangchuk dynasty. Apart from its military importance, the Dzong served as a religious home for around 200 monks who took shelter here during the summer months. 

Interact with the locals  

The Bhutanese are extremely simple and honest people who will rather have a conversation with you to teach you how to smile and be happy, rather than speak over a mobile phone or talk about films. Moreover, the locals are helpful and have innate kindness which we could learn from them. 

Neither the men nor the women try to compare the way they dress or ridicule each other in any manner. There is a sense of equality among them, even in those who live in bigger cities like Thimphu or Paro. Spend some time interacting with the locals and you will soon find out the rat race you are in back in your home country. 

Experience the local cuisine  

No trip to this Himalayan Kingdom could be deemed complete without savouring a local dish or two. The Bhutanese cuisine is known for its spicy flavour and use of chilli peppers in almost every dish. 

Some must-try dishes are Ema Datshi(Chilli and cheese) enjoyed with a round of traditional butter tea. Engage with the locals as you eat and you will learn a lot about their customs and traditions and general way of life. 

In conclusion  

Bhutan is a country of untouched beauty and warm hospitality and this guide can barely describe the scores of hidden gems that make this country an extraordinary destination. 

For an unforgettable and unique experience, pack your bags right now if you want to immerse yourself in the country’s charm and return back with happy memories of this magical kingdom. 

Author Bio: 

Moughees Butt 

“Thirst to learn and explore till he finds ecstasy” are Moughees’s pivot charms! He loves to craft and comprehend deeply anything that happens around him!