Things to do in Bhutan

Here are some list of Things you can do to lose yourself while you are in Bhutan the Land of The Happiness.

1. Taktsang Goemba (Tiger’s Nest) – Go For A Trek

Taktsang Monastery - Paro

The trek to Taktsang monastery in Paro, popularly called the Tiger’s Nest, is one of the best adventure activities in Bhutan. After being destroyed by fire, the monastery was rebuilt in 1998. Rising 9480ft above the ground, it challenges the trekkers to walk the rocky winding path.

Taktsang Cafeteria is the only rest point on the way offering lip-smacking vegetarian Bhutanese food. The colorful prayer flags, the rattling sounds of prayer wheels, the view of Paro Valley, and the calming chants will accompany you throughout the trek. Remember to start your trek early as the monastery closes at 1:00 pm.

Duration of the trek: 3-4 hours
Suitable for: Beginners
Things to know: Cameras, phones, lighters, and backpacks are not allowed (Deposit at the entrance). Take off your shoes before you step inside the altar.

2. Bumthang Valley – Explore The Switzerland Of East

Bumthang Valley – The Bhutanese Switzerland

Among the best things to do in Bhutan is to take the Bumthang Cultural Trek and explore much more than the beauty of the Bumthang valley. The cultural trek offers picturesque views of the monasteries, temples, and the quaint villages. You also get to explore the beautiful villages and experience great hospitality. Until the 1970s, the area was only accessible by muddy trails and mules.

Ura Valley is another place lost in the mist of time in Bumthang. You’ll find quaint villages with clustered houses, potato fields, and sheep pastures. This is the kind of valley where you can go on a photo walk.

Besides the breathtaking mountains and the natural beauty, Bumthang valley is blessed with some of the oldest Buddhist temples in Bhutan. Bumthang is the place where Buddhism was first introduced and where saint Pema Lingpa was born.

3. Wildlife Sanctuaries – Go For Bird Watching

Oriental Pied Hornbill- Bhutan Bird Watch

Bhutan is a paradise for bird lovers, and bird-watching is one of the most popular attractions for many tourists seeking bird watching adventure. The country harbors many species of birds, including Himalayan MonalRufous-necked Hornbill, Black-necked Crane, Ward’s Trogon, and Snow Pigeon. It is beautiful to listen to the music of birds and see them soar high in the sky spreading those colorful, smooth wings.

There are many tour guides around the sanctuaries to take you on a bird-watching tour. Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, Jigme Dorji National ParkJigme Singye Wangchuck National ParkAdjoining India’s World Heritage, and Thrumshingla National Parks are some of the protected areas in Bhutan where you can also find migrating and endangered birds. Permit required: While Bhutan is open to tourists some areas are restricted. You’ll need a special permit from the Bhutanese government for visiting those areas.

4. Punakha & Semtokha Dzongs – See Ancient Art Come To Life

Bhutanese Wall and Window fresco in a Dzong

Bhutan focuses on preserving their culture, and their art is a major part of their culture. Bhutanese art is based on their religion and follows a certain style which is uniform. The craftworks follow traditional values rather than emphasizing innovation. The importance of their culture lies in their art and craft.

If you want to witness the beautiful art and craft, you must take a tour of the different dzongs of the kingdom, including Punakha Dzong and Semtokha Dzong. A DIY art and craft tour is one of the best things to do in Bhutan for every art lover.

Things to know: Dzongs are symbolic centers of religious and secular affairs, so one should dress modestly.

5. The Memorial Stupa – Rediscover Yourself

Memorial Chorten - Thimphu

If you want to get lost in the realm of peace, then head to The Memorial Stupa built in 1974 in the memory of the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The stupa is one of the best Bhutan attractions with its shining finial, beautifully carved sculptures of deities, vivid paintings attract, and ultimate peace. Some hermits and devoted Buddhists often walk into the mountains for months to meditate.

6. Bhutanese Cuisine – Relish The Delicacies

Bhutanese Dish

When we think of Bhutan, we generally imagine varieties of non-veg food offered in small & cozy cafes. While it’s true that you get various types of non-veg cuisine, there are also plenty of options for vegetarians. For instance, Datshi – a staple food of the people of Bhutan. Datshi is made in various forms and the most famous is Ema Datshi. Ema means chilli; Ema Datshi is made using cheese, chillies, vegetables, and pepper.

Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant (Thimphu), Zombala, Bukhari at Uma by COMO (Paro), Ambient Cafe (Thimphu), Galingkha (Thimphu), and Chig-ja-gye at Taj Tashi (Thimphu) are some of the best restaurants in Bhutan to try different flavours and textures of Bhutanese food.

A local food tour is amongst the best things to do in Bhutan and is highly recommended.

7. Try ArcheryChanglimithang Archery Ground

Archery at Changlimithang

If you are in Bhutan, you must attend the archery competitions that are one of the best Bhutan attractions and its national sport too. While sauntering the highways and byways of Bhutan, you’ll find colorful gatherings of men dressed in their traditional robes taking turns to shoot arrows.

The archery competitions draw many to this social event and competitions are organized between towns, villages, and amateur teams. It’s a fantastic glimpse into their culture.

8. River Rafting – Treat Your Adventurous Soul

Rafting Near Punakha Dzong

Unlike the regular river rafting in strong currents, rafting in Bhutan is a pleasurable ride while floating down the river. You will get to marvel at the lush greenery, rare birds, clear skies, and blue waters of Bhutan. The best time to do this activity is after the monsoon season as the flow of water increases. Thus, you can plan a vacation in October or November.

Location: Po Chu River and Mo Chu River

9. Kayaking – Try A New Adventure

River Rafting – Bhutan

Bhutan not only gives a chance to indulge in whitewater river rafting but also offers travelers to opt for kayaking. Six rivers in Bhutan give ample opportunity to water sports enthusiasts and amateur kayakers. You can opt for what kind of current flow you want from slow to violent.

Location: Near Paro Valley and Punakha Valley
Duration: March-April, October, November

10. Attend Festivals – Get Acquainted With Culture

Masked Dance at a Festival

It becomes a great pleasure if you get to learn about a country’s culture through their festivals. So, one of the top Bhutan travel tips that we can provide is to explore the festivals in Bhutan that are a great celebration of the heritage and culture. Bhutan is Buddhist state and the festivals are a combination of vibrancy, happiness and richness that let you explore the country in a unique way. Wouldn’t you agree that this is one of the top things to do in Bhutan for cultural exploration! 

Several major Bhutanese festivals are Thimphu Tsechu Festival, Haa Summer Festival, Matsutake Festival, Ura Yakchoe, Jomolhari Mountain Festival and so much more.

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