Top Things to Do in Bhutan
Top Things to Do in Bhutan depends entirely on individuals’ interests. However, we have compiled the following for your reference.
The tranquil ‘Kingdom of Bhutan’ which is officially called Bhutan is a South Asian country that lies in the eastern end of the Himalayas. It shares its borders with China in the north and with India from its eastern, western, and southern sides. Bhutan is a simple yet mesmerizing land that somehow manages to touch your soul.
The soothing climate and breathtaking views add to the beauty of Bhutan. While you travel through Bhutan you will find high mountains crisscrossing by networks of swift rivers. The extraordinary geographical diversity and the diverse climate conditions play an important role in contributing to Bhutan’s outstanding range of biodiversity and ecosystems, which are worth seeing.
To make your Bhutan vacation a remarkably memorable one, we have compiled Top 15 Things To Do In Bhutan.
1. Join The Festival of Bhutan: Experience the Mysticism of the Himalayas
The festival in Bhutan usually takes place for 3 to 5 Days. The tapestry of colors, rainbow-hued mask dancers against the striking white monastery, decorated singers make the Bhutan Festival worth witnessing. The best place to experience Gross National Happiness in action.
The dates and duration of the festivals vary from one district to another but they always take place on or around the 10th day of the month according to the Bhutanese calendar. Check out Bhutan Festival Calendar to choose a festival that coincides with your visit to Bhutan. During Tshechu, the dances are performed by monks as well as laymen wearing ornate costumes and masks; each aspect of dance has a symbolic meaning. Bhutanese believe that one gains merit by attending any of these festivals. Some of the festivals are observed to purify the souls and ward off evil spirits, not necessarily with religious mask dance. Moreover, it is also a yearly social gathering where the Bhutanese people, dressed in all their finery, come together to rejoice, taking a break from their everyday lives.
2. Tiger Nest Hike
A visit to the Kingdom of Bhutan is never complete without a mention of the majestic Taktsang, the Tiger Lair. Seemingly perched in an impossible granite cliff face, the glorious Taktsang temple rises about 900meter from the valley floor at Paro.
There are lots of myths and magic associated with the Taktsang monastery. Guru Rinpoche, the prime deity of Bhutan, and the one who brought Buddhism to Bhutan have flown to this monastery on the back of the winged Tigress. The Tigress is supposedly the manifestation of female Dakini.
While the hike could be a bit strenuous, the view at the top is simply out of ordinary. There are pony rides available if one wishes to escape the uphill climb. Or you have the option to go to the cafeteria (halfway to Taktsang) from where you can get a good view of Tiger Nest. You can take some photographs and return them.
3. Camping-Bumdra Trek: Feel the Aroma of Pristine Environment
“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain but all the happiness and growth occurs while you are climbing it”. This quote itself narrates the beauty of the mountains, the adventurous journey, and the joy of camping on the hilltop.
Bumdra Camping spot rests at an elevation of 3800 m. The trek starts at Sangchen Choekhor Shedra and ends at Ramthangkha (Basement of Tiger Nest). It takes about 4 to 6 hours to reach the Bumdra camping site. The terrain can be challenging due to steep ascents and sharp descents along the route. You will be traversing through the alpine forests and high altitudes. But the difficulty will be rewarded with picturesque views of snow-covered peaks, star-lit skies. It also provides you with an ample of opportunity to commune with nature.
Once at the campsite, you can freshen up and enjoy the tranquility of the place.
Next day you can visit the holy Bumdra monastery and if energetic then you can take a walk to the sky burial.
While returning you can come out through the Tiger nest route. You can also stop at Tiger Nest for some time.
There are many secluded monasteries along the trail which are off-beaten and worth visiting.
The best time to go for this trek is Mid-February to May, September , October and November. Going to a spiritual place like Bumdra Monastery will ignite the spark of peace which is inside you.
4. Spiritual & Wellness: Take stock of the deeper meaning of our lives
Spirituality not only enhances your levels of happiness but also increases your focus. It also provides you with the cosmic view of things to the deeper meaning of lives. And which place in the world can be better than Bhutan to give you the taste of Spiritualism?
Bhutan is the last Vajrayana country. Bhutan has nothing better to offer than spiritualism. The dotted monasteries hidden within the folds of the Himalayas, the sound of the bell, the fluttering prayer flags are conducive to someone seeking solace in Bhutan. Check out our Bhutan Spiritual Tour to transform imagination into reality.
5. Homestay Experiences: Be a Local
If you want to experience authentic Bhutan, Homestay is one of the best options you can go for. There is nothing more authentic than getting up with the crowing of the crows, milking cows, learning the art of preparing traditional tea Suja, and savoring the locally brewed alcohol, Ara, fried in eggs.
Moreover, at homestays, you will get personalized service as you become the center of attraction of the hosts of the family. If you are one of those who miss home-cooked meals while traveling then you should give it a try to stay at the homestay for once. You get the opportunity to meet the local people which is indeed much more beneficial for you as locals can tell you various other historical places to visit around, which even Google fails to detect.
Staying at the homestay can be a very enriching experience for you and will give you a glimpse of Bhutanese day-to-day way of living.
6. Shopping for Traditional Textiles
When you have traveled all the way to the Kingdom of Bhutan, there is no question that you will want to take home a few Bhutanese souvenirs for yourself and your loved ones. The ABC Bazaar or the Authentic Bhutanese Craft Bazaar in Thimphu offers various ranges of gifts and souvenirs ranging from Bhutanese textiles, paintings, wooden bowls, traditional masks, hand stitched purses and bags to Bhutanese badges. Be sure to visit the bamboo huts of Authentic Bhutanese Craft Bazaar along with other Places to visit in Thimphu.
7. Try Bhutan’s Traditional Herbal & Stone Baths
An itinerary list number that is increasingly becoming quite popular is the many traditional spa therapies available in Bhutan. Hot-stone bath is a very popular form of medication practiced in Bhutan. A large wooden trough of about 4-4.5 feet length, one and half feet breadth and 2-2.5 feet height (usually vary) is filled with fresh cold spring water. Red hot mineral stones are immersed from one end. Hot-stone-bath is effective when the water temperature is relatively high. It is also believed to cure diseases like joint pains, stomach disorder, skin disease and other minor diseases.
8. Jigme Dorji National Parks: Feel the diversity of Nature
Jigme Dorji National Parks is one of the most famous and largest protected areas of 4,349 sq. km. This biologically rich area of the Eastern Himalayas starts from forests and ends in ice glaciers on the northern-west border of the country. Jigme Dorji National park is 7000 m above sea level and is named after the King of Bhutan Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. It should be on the top of your bucket list if you love to visit adventurous places. Glaciers and lakes are scattered among the mountains making this an exotic place.
Peaks like Jomolhari, Tsherimgang, and Jichu Drakey are well known and considered pious landscapes in Bhutan. Its alpine region consists of many flowers like blue poppy, edelweiss, orchids, and rhododendrons. Rare species of animals like Snow Leopard, Takin, Tiger, Balck Bear, Blue Sheep, Royal Bengal Tiger, and Red Panda. Bhutan’s most famous trekking routes lie in the Jigme Dorji National Parks.
In order to get the best of Bhutan National Parks we suggest you to take up few days Trekking Tours like Laya Gasa Trek or Jomolhari Trek. However, if you are not a trekking person you can ask your tour operator to include a short hike to Jigme Dorji National Parks from Dodena in the North of Thimphu or a hike to Tango or Cheri Monastery.
9. Farm Lunches: Enjoy Organic Meals
Bhutan is the only 100% organic nation in the whole world. The farm lunches organized in the various areas of Bhutan are special for the travelers specifically because the food which reaches their tables are organic and consists of almost 0% of fertilizers. Many farm lunches are also organized on the farm to give a feel of freshness to the tourists. Often these meals are organized in the presence of farmers where they describe the procedure of growing these vegetables and the obstacles faced by them in doing so. These collaborative lunches give an insight to the tourists about the culture and the farming methods followed in Bhutan. Based on the ‘the primary nine grains ‘ of Bhutan”, Bhutanese food includes many unique flavors and ingredients such as wild foraged bitter cane as well as a range of fermented foods.
There are several other restaurants and hotels as well which also offers fresh food directly came from the farms. Bhutan is famous for fruits like peaches, plums and pears. Apart from these other fruits which are grown in Bhutan are apples, apricots, Nashis and cherries. The vegetables which you should include in your plate when you visit Bhutan are Bamboo shoots, Fiddlehead Fern, Bhutanese Spinach, Mushroom and Bitter gourd.
10. Check Out Dzongs and Monasteries of Bhutan
Check out Dzongs and monasteries in your Bhutan tour. The castle-like Dzongs, with their gently tapering walls, classic lines, large courtyards and beautiful galleries, are among the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. You should at least a visit to one Dzong in your Bhutan Tour Itinerary. You may find out that religion has an overwhelming influence in Bhutanese architecture.
Read more on Dzongs of Bhutan, the architectural treat of Bhutan
11. Get on the Trekking Trail
Hop off your vehicle and take a trek through some of Bhutan’s most beautiful trails. The 5-day Drukpath Trek, 9-day Jomolhari Trek, and epic 24-day Snowman Trek are some of the highlights of trekking in the mystical kingdom of Bhutan. But if your trip to Bhutan is a short one then try some of the shorter day hikes around the capital like trails to Wangditse and to Phajoding which are equally exhilarating.
12. Meet the Nomads of Bhutan: Best Things to Do in Bhutan
Merak and Sakten present Bhutan travelers with the unique opportunity to see two of the least known valleys in the kingdom. There are many things to do in Merak and Sakteng. Some includes
- Take a trek to the sacred mountain of Jomo Kuengkhar in Merak
- Witness the yak dances unique to the region
- Catch a performance of the famous nomadic opera, Ache-Lhamo
- Experience the stark wilderness and the simple generosity of the Brokpa people
- Learn how their traditional garb is still fashioned from yak skin
- Listen to timeless tales of the yeti which form an inseparable part of Brokpa lore.
Journey into the hidden valleys of Merak and Sakteng and discover the exquisite eastern wilderness of Bhutan
13. Bhutan Cultural Experience: Discover Unique Culture
Bhutan is “The Last Shangrila’-a paradise on earth. Our geo-location keeps us physically isolated from the rest of the world, thus making us a natural ‘Cultural Haven’ .
Once you are in Bhutan you need to experience a few of Bhutan’s rich culture and traditional heritage. Some of them can be:
Interacting with locals and monks
Visiting Dzongs and witnessing Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage
Trying out Bhutanese Outfit
Rural life experience
14. Try Bhutanese Archery
A tourist’s stay in Bhutan can often feel like being in a living museum. That is until you watch a spirited archery match where the locals use a bow and shoot at a distance more than a local farmer’s field. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and is one outdoor activity you must not miss trying, you might have to work on your aim though.
15. Royal Bhutan Helicopter & Mountain Biking Tour
Experience Bhutan’s epic rural region by mountain bike with our Royal Bhutan Helicopter Tour. Get the bird’s flight view of the cycling ground from the helicopter before you ride down through the elevated alpine landscapes. There are a variety of trips downhill to suit every proficient mountain biker. Bhutan Best Inbound Tour will take you on an unforgettable backcountry riding adventure. There’s a ride to suit every mountain biker and if there’s not something that excites you, get in touch with us to create a personalized tour just for you.