Bhutan is a small dreamy paradise, be located high in the Himalayas. Bhutan is a country where development is measured by Gross National Happiness, and not by Gross National Product, where rice is red and chillies are considered to be a vegetable, Bhutan is the world’s last leftover Buddhist Kingdom. A trip to Bhutan will bring you face to face with fortresses (called Dzongs), ancient monasteries, ancient temples with prayer flags flapping high and the warmth of its people.
Don’t leave this beautiful place before you:
1. Paro: The verdant Paro Valley is considered as one of the most beautiful place in Bhutan. Take in the history-laden grandiose and breath taking scenery, monasteries, sprinkled with traditional houses and ripening rice fields. If you are a nature lover looking for some peace, this is the place to be.
2. Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang Monastery): Placed on the border of a precariously high cliff, the iconic Taktsang Monastery is the unofficial symbol of Bhutan and one of the most divine pilgrimage sites. A pony ride is accessible till the ‘cafeteria’, a wooden teahouse-restaurant situated on the ridge, offering outstanding views of the monastery. Whether you are religious or the adventurous kind, this is an exciting journey offering you breathtaking views along the way. To enter the monastery, visitors require a special permit, which needs to be obtained in advance.
3. Trashi Chhoe Dzong: This place is a must-see on every visitor’s list, the amazing structure with big golden Bhutanese-style spires on top is the seat of the national government, the national library, throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and the nation’s largest monastery. Trashi Chhoe Dzong is also the venue of the Thimpu Tshechu, famous Buddhist religious celebration.
1. Trekking on the Snowman Trek: The Snowman Trek is one of the most challenging and adventurous treks in the world. The trek starts at Paro and takes you through Lingshi and Laya to the remote corner of the Lunana Valley. Walk over 5,400m crossing 4 different passes and camp at high altitudes. The best time to enjoy treks is between September and October.
2. Rafting and Kayaking: The lower Paro Chhu River stretches for about 7km and has many small boulder rapids. Mo Chhu on the other hand is more suitable for beginners and as the river flows through the valley, you get to see sights such as one of the queen’s and the king’s winter residences and attractive farmland.
When to Go:
1. September to November: The month of September is marked as the start of autumn in Bhutan. Visitors are welcomed with pleasant weather and clear sky. It is considered great to visit Bhutan during this time. This period is also a great time to enjoy adventure activities in Bhutan. It is advised to carry an umbrella along with you as rain showers are common during this time of the year.
2. December to February: Winters in Bhutan are very beautiful and less crowded. During this time of the year, it is easier to secure a great deal on hotels. Days are quite sunny, though nights can be very cold. December to February are ideal for white-water rafting and bird watching. The maximum and minimum temperature during this time is 9 degrees Celsius and -10 degrees Celsius respectively.
3. March to May: This time of the year is best to enjoy nature, and bird watchers will also be able to spot the lavish bird life in the region. Enjoy an clear view of the peaks and also the famous festival, Paro Tsechu. Don’t forget to carry woolen cloths with you, as it can be pretty cold .
4. June to August: The beginning of summer in Bhutan brings heavy rains with it. The mountains are covered with clouds and look absolutely unreal! The maximum temperature is about 21 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature drops around 7 degrees Celsius in Bhutan. Since this is the wettest time of the year, make sure you carry an umbrella with you.
What to Pack:
1. Heavy warm clothes when traveling in winter and autumn and a light jacket for the rest of the year
2. Walking shoes and trekking gear will come handy as the terrain is mountainous
3. Beginning of summer brings heavy rain and it is a good idea to carry a sturdy umbrella
Bhutan is a pastoral delight with beautiful valleys, cascading rice fields, humbling mountain ranges and something to offer for every traveler. So come and experience the charm of Bhutan, the ‘last Shangri La’.