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Bhutan Tourism And Travel Guide
15.8° C / 60.4° F
October to May
4 to 8 Days
The Bhutanese people have mastered the art of living in harmony with nature. The serene landscapes of Bhutan are second only to the happy and peaceful lives of its citizens. The bubbling water of its rivers and the low rumble of the trees in the wind will certainly put you at ease. Here we have laid out all the information you will need for tourism in Bhutan. Read on for a travel guide and pack your bags to fly to Bhutan!
How to Reach
Over the years Bhutan has made every effort to make its land accessible for people around the globe. This has led to the successful establishment of three domestic, one international airport and a series of efficient roadways that connect cities within the country and in India.
By Air: A great way to reach Bhutan is via air as this includes a spectacular aerial view of the mountains and valleys of the Himalayas. The International airport at Paro has services to most important cities in the world. In India, there are flight services to cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Guwahati, and Bagdogra. Within Bhutan domestic airports are situated in Yonphula, Bumthang, and Gelephu.
By Land: There are three main road routes from India, two from the state of Assam ( the Bongaigaon/Gelephu Route and the Darangamela/Samdrup Jongkhar Route) and one from the state of West Bengal ( the Jaigaon/Phuentsholing Route) the latter being the more popular route. The Jaigaon/Phuentsholing route can be reached either from New Jalpaiguri, which is an important junction and has many trains connecting it to various parts of the country or from Hasimara, a small town very close to the border. You can avail bus or taxi services but make sure you have your permits ready.
Best time to Visit
Winter (December to February): this is generally regarded as the winter. The temperatures drop but the skies are clear and the view becomes even more magical. There are also fewer people around this time of the year. Although the mountains can be very chilly, the valleys can be pleasant and welcoming.
Spring (March to May): This is a popular season with tourists. The treks to various places happen during this time of the year. It is also the time when the lovely Rhododendrons bloom carpeting the hillside. There are lots of activities that happen around this time of the year and the famous Paro Tshechu festival also takes place around this time. It is important to book flights and accommodation early as a lot of people travel to Bhutan during this season.
Summer (June to September): This is generally regarded as the monsoon in Bhutan. There aren’t a lot of people around. Although the showers occur mostly during the nights leaving daytime for sight-seeing and explorations, a raincoat is always handy. This is a good time to be in Bhutan if you like the rain; it has the potential to create a perfect romantic getaway.
Autumn (October to November): This is regarded as the most crowded season. Majority of tourists arrive in Bhutan in this season. The temperatures are perfect, the skies are clear and there's a tourism buzz in Bhutan around this time. This is also considered a good season for treks. The famous Black-necked Crane Festival also happens around now.
Things To Do
Land of adventures: The mountainous landscape of Bhutan, its rugged terrain and its lush green vegetation makes it a fantastic place for sports like cycling, trekking, kayaking, and rafting. While the Jomolhari treks and the snowman treks take you through the enchanting forests of Bhutan you will be thrilled to know there are also a number of cultural treks that will help you understand and participate in the rich traditions of Bhutan. The landscape of Bhutan is crisscrossed by a number of glacier fed rivers giving rise to a wonderful opportunity to experience the gushing waters while Kayaking and rafting.
The lap of Nature: The determination of the Bhutanese Government to preserve its forests and wildlife has effectively made Bhutan one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. This gives a feeling that Bhutan has remained untouched by time and remains pristine and vibrant. The Jigme Dorji National Park, The Royal Manas National Park, Torsa Strict Nature Reserve, Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary are a few of the many national parks and sanctuaries the country has established.
Festivals: During festivals, the mountains take on a different color. There are temporary stalls in place selling traditional food and a variety of other things. There is also an exciting display of cultural events like the famous masked dance and a parade of vibrant costumes. Among the popular festivals are the Tshechu Fest celebrating the birthday of Guru Rimpoche, the colorful Nomad Festival and a number of regional festivals.
What To Eat
You will notice that the texture of Bhutanese food is dominated by chilly and cheese so much so that their dishes literally carry the names of these ingredients. Cheese and butter made from Yak milk are a specialty of Bhutan. Kewa Datshi and Ema Datshi are tasty preparations of potato and chilly in cheese respectively. Yak meat is a delicacy served with side dishes prepared from freshly grown vegetables and rice. Phaksha Paa is an aromatic spicy pork preparation that is bound to get you hooked. To beat the cold you should also have the amazing butter tea that is flavored with yak butter and tea leaves.
Bhutanese markets have the most exquisite souvenirs you can find. You can buy hand woven clothes and warm clothes, jewelry, paintings, traditional clothes, hand crafted bamboo boxes and carpets. The most popular markets in Bhutan are at Norzim Lam Street and Centenary Farmer’s Weekend market at Thimphu, but you will find many shops all over the land where you can pick up gorgeous souvenirs.