Bhutan, or Druk Yul, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is one of the beautiful but rarely visited destinations in Asia. For centuries, this tiny landlocked kingdom was cut off from the rest of the world. It was only in the early seventies that the country introduced tourism, and foreign visitors were allowed inside the country.
Ringed by snow-covered mountains and covered by fertile valleys and lush forests, the Bhutanese landscape is picture perfect. With pristine forests covering seventy percent of the country’s surface area, Bhutan is the only carbon neutral country in the world. Deeply spiritual and believing in living harmoniously with their surroundings, the Bhutanese measure their country’s growth using the unique ‘Gross Happiness Index’ instead of GDP (gross domestic product).
Bhutan is the only Buddhist kingdom in the world, and one can see the influence of Buddhism throughout the country. While massive gompas or monasteries dominate the landscape of the major cities and towns, one comes across prayer flags, prayer wheels, chortens, and stupas at almost every bend and square.
Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Bumthang, and Phobjika are the kingdom’s cultural hubs. These cities have some of the oldest and most important lakhangs (Buddhist temples), monasteries, and dzongs (fortresses) in the country. The impressive dzongs, or traditional fortresses, are venues for the annual Tsechus, or monastic dance festivals. We offer a variety of cultural tours that will allow you to immerse yourself in Bhutan’s rich culture.
You can take short day hikes to hilltop monasteries or stroll around traditional villages, interacting with the locals. Taktsang Monastery, or Tiger’s Nest hike, which takes you to an iconic Buddhist monastery built on the face of a rocky cliff, is one of the most popular day hikes among tourists.
For those who love adventure, Bhutan offers some of the best high-altitude trekking. The trails weave past the foothills of 7000 and 6000 meter peaks and, pristine forests with no human settlements or villages en route. The Druk Path Trek, Laya Gasa Trek, Chomolhari Trek, and the Snowman Trek are some of the popular treks in Bhutan.
There are off-road trails snaking past terraced fields and dense forests for those who love cycling or mountain biking. Bhutan has a multitude of fast flowing glacial rivers which are ideal for water activities like rafting, canyoning, and kayaking.
The festivals in Bhutan are lively, and colorful affairs. Held usually at the monasteries or dzongs, Bhutanese festivals are mostly religious in nature and are observed to celebrate an auspicious occasion or in remembrance of a saint or a holy figure. People congregate at the dzongs and monasteries to witness the lamas (Buddhist monks) perform masked dances, skits, and rituals.
To boost tourism in the country, the Bhutanese government has also introduced some cultural festivals like the Haa Summer Festival and the Jomolhari Mountain Festival, which showcase the rich culture and heritage of those regions. Scheduling your holiday at the time of a particular festival will enhance your Bhutan travel experience.
Come and discover this hidden paradise in the eastern Himalayas. A natural utopia in a world threatened by pollution, Bhutan is the perfect oasis for those seeking a blissful and harmonious break.