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Things To Do In Bhutan
Set among the majestic Himalayas with rugged and untouched forests and pristine rivers, Bhutan is a prime destination for adventure sports, nature gawking and cultural and culinary explorations. A peaceful country perched between India and China, Bhutan offers a lot to curious travelers. If you have decided to visit, read on for a comprehensive list of things to do in Bhutan.
One of the remotest kingdoms on earth, with altitude difference that can range from 2500 meters to 6000 meters, Bhutan’s trekking routes are truly unique and magical. There are treks that last a day and there are treks that can last up to a month. The numerous routes have something to offer for amateurs and experts alike. The Jomolhari treks introduce you to the diverse flora and fauna of Bhutan, the Snowman treks will leave you spellbound at the sight of the Bhutanese Himalayan ranges, the cultural treks will let you soak in the traditions and culture of these peaceful people and the hot spring treks will reward you with a day-long rest in the hot springs of Bhutan.
Bhutan is a treasure trove of flora and fauna. Although it has very little landmass Bhutan is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet. The country has around 72 percent of forest and it strongly dictates that a minimum of 60 percent must remain forested. Given its strict policies to preserve its natural resources, Bhutan’s biodiversity is truly a fortune to mankind.
With snowy mountains in the north, subalpine and broadleaf forests in the central regions and subtropical forests in the south, Bhutan houses a range of rare plant and animal species. So if you are planning a trip to Bhutan, make sure to visit the national parks and sanctuaries here. The Jigme Dorji National Park, The Royal Manas National Park, Torsa Strict Nature Reserve, Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary are only a few of the many establishments set up to protect Bhutan’s forests and their inhabitants.
The region is covered with a variety of flowers such as the edelweiss, orchids, the national flower of Bhutan blue and rhododendrons. There are various plant species that make Bhutan their home. The Snow leopard, the Bengal Tiger, Takin, Black Bear, Blue Sheep and Red Pandas inhabit the forests of Bhutan. Bhutan is, in fact, the only place where the Bengal Tiger and the Snow leopard habitats overlap. The kingdom is also a hotspot for rare bird species like the Pallas’s Fish Eagle, White-bellied Heron, grey bellied Tragopan, the iconic Black-necked Crane, and the Blyth’s Kingfisher.
As the only country with a Happiness Index, Bhutan remains festive almost throughout the year. The celebration of the birthday of Guru Rimpoche known as the Tshechu is one of the biggest celebrations in Bhutan. The exact day can differ from place to place and also temples. So there are Tshechus in different regions at different times of the year. With colorful masked dances that play out stories of the Guru, Tshechus can be a lot of fun.
The Nomad festival is one of the best times to visit the country. It allows visitors a close peek into the lives and culture of the Bhutanese people. Women with colorful hand-aprons and men in their costumes spun out of yak hair, the delicious traditional food and much more create the grandeur you will witness only in Bhutan.
Bhutan also celebrates several other festivals, some celebrating and protecting its wildlife and forests such as the Jomolhari Mountain festival, some celebrating the traditions and cultures of its communities and some the rich history of Bhutan. Festivals are as much a part of the experience of Bhutan as its beautiful landscapes.
The mountainous terrains of Bhutan create a perfect destination for on and off-road mountain biking. With roads that allow riders to experience the breath taking views of the landscape, to exciting off-road trails winding through rugged and challenging terrain, Bhutan has it all. Cycling in Bhutan can be one of the best ways to travel the region whilst enjoying the untouched, serene environment here.
Kayaking and Rafting
Cutting through high valleys and low plains, the crystal clear waters of the Bhutanese rivers create a kayaking and rafting paradise. The glacial-melt fed rivers are calm and pristine at some places while fierce and raging at others. Flowing through varied terrains and with differences in flow, these rivers are perfect for kayaking and rafting both for beginners and experts.
Visit the Monasteries
With Buddhism being the primary religion of Bhutan, the country is dotted with many monasteries. Make sure your visit the oldest and most popular ones to catch up on the culture and traditions of the land. The monasteries are also a great place to find peace and tranquility if that's what you seek. Trek up to the Paro Taktsang monastery, visit the Tamzhing monastery and watch the confluence of the Pho and Mo rivers by Punakha Dzong.