Bhutan, officially the Kingdom of Bhutan is a beautiful country with green valleys, snow capped peaks, cool climate and appealing heritage, and culture. This impressive country is bordering the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh in the East, Nepal in the West, and Tibet in the North.
Bhutan is popularly known as the last Sanghri la or the ideal paradise on the earth. This tiny country or the Bhutan Kingdom offers many attractions to the tourists, from snowcapped mountain peaks to cultural and historical relics, to spectacular landscapes. Today Bhutan is slowly becoming a great tourist destination for many tourists. Bhutan has mystical landscapes that are yet to explore and has become a preferred tourist destination for the inquisitive and adventurous traveller.
You will never be in short of activities when you are in Bhutan. The breathtaking valleys, the ancient temples, handicraft emporiums and monasteries are some of the popular attractions among the tourists.
There are many attractive places to explore when you are in Bhutan, some of them are:
Thimpu : the capital of Bhutan
Paro : is the most developed city in Bhutan situated in central Bhutan
Punakha located in east of Bhutan depicts the beauty of eastern Himalayan range.
For culture buffs, National Museum located in Central Bhutan is a good place to visit. Also, visiting historic temple at Kurje Lhakhang near Bumthang, then the oldest shrine in Kyichu Lhakhang in central Bhutan will help you to understand the fascinating and unique cultural heritage that existed in ancient Bhutan.
For many visiting tourists, Thimpu and Paro Valley have been the most popular tourist attractions in Bhutan. The capital of Bhutan is Thimpu is the capital and it depicts the old historical identity with less modernization. The city Paro is the most developed city of Bhutan. Paro is a beautiful city surrounded by natural landscape and it is called the Paro Valley which posses many historical monuments which explain a lot about the heritage of Bhutan.
Close to majestic Himalayan Mountain range, Bhutan has many sensational mountain views and unique terrain, unbelievable scenic beauty and an exceptional culture and lifestyle. Any discerning traveller looking for attractions, he will not be disappointed as he can witness gorges Buddhist monasteries, fine crafts and majestically carved wooden houses.
One should travel to Bhutan, so that he will have a delightful and a memorable vacation in the country which still retains its age-old traditions in the contemporary world. You can enjoy the rich cultural heritage of Bhutan with its beautiful natural environment.
Besides above, Bhutan has many other attractions:
Similar to other South Asian Countries, Bhutan's people are deeply associated with their age-long customs and festivals with huge fanfare and pageant. These festival not only bring smile on their faces but also make them closely united. Many festivals are celebrated throughout the year and these festivals are associated with dance, sing and eat, and follow plethora of customs. It's a delightful, and a spectacular sight when Bhutanese participate at these colorful festivals.
As we know, Bhutan is blessed with a land of mountains. It is therefore a trekking is a popular sport in Bhutan. There are many number of treks and guided tours which bring lot of joy and excitement to discerning traveller looking for adventure. It is well known, trekking in Bhutan. brings fun and thrill.
This is a prominent place in Bhutan which house some of the country's oldest temples and monasteries. Bhutan's only airport is located in Paro Valley. It is one of the most fertile lands in the country that produces the popular red rice from its picturesque terraced fields.
This is located at an elevation of 2,300 meters above mean sea level. The main secretariat building called Taschichho Dzong is located in this valley. Also, Thimpu Valley houses the throne rooms of the King and the summer retreat of the central monk body.
Wangdi dzong was built in the 17th century and it is situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters to the south of Punakha, at the convergence of Punakhachu and Tang-chu Rivers. This is a sought after place by tourists and it has rich pastureland for cattle.
Tongsa boasts vast expanse of spectacular and fascinating landscape that will delight you.
This valley is located at an elevation of 2,600 meters to the east of Tongsa. This is known as the religious hub of Bhutan that houses some of the oldest Buddhist temples in the world.
One visiting this place will realize how traditional Bhutanese architecture has continued to preserve or prosper throughout the centuries.
Flora & Fauna
Bhutan is a popular destination or a paradise for many botanists. It has a rich and diverse variety of the floral species such as Rhododendrons, Junipers, magnolias, rare orchids, carnivorous plants, blue poppy (the national flower), edelweiss, gentian, medicinal plants, Daphne, giant rhubarb, high-altitude plants, tropical trees, pine and oak.
For the discerning wild life enthusiast will have the opportunity to see some of the worlds endemic and exotic faunas or animals found in Bhutan. The rare animals that are available are: golden langur, red pandas, black-necked crane, snow leopard, takin, musk deer, Himalayan brown bear, Himalayan marten, tiger, hornbills, pheasants, mountain goats and timid blue sheep.
There are many tourist attractions in Bhutan and it is a never ending list. You will certainly get a chance to visit the most breathtaking and amazing natural and man made attractions on your visit to Bhutan. A rare treat is awaiting for the discerning traveller and Bhutan is one of the attractive destination for any visitor any time of the year. Do not forget to take your camera, there are many memorable and exciting photo opportunities to capture on your visit.
Travel to Bhutan
Getting to Bhutan
Today the main points of entry are through Phuentsholing in the south that links Bhutan with the Indian plains of West Bengal, through Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar that links with the Indian state of Assam and through Paro, where the entry is through Druk Air, the National airline of Bhutan.
Bhutan Entry Permit
You will be endorsed by the immigration officers upon your arrival before you are issued with a permit. Make sure you go personally. You may have to carry your passport (also some passport photographs) or voter’s registration card. If you plan to travel by road, the endorsement is done at the entry points in Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar, and Gelephu. If by flight, you will enter from the Paro Airport.
Bhutan Travel by Air
The country has so far only one airport that caters to the needs of visitors coming in through flight. However, an international airport is under construction in Gelephu that will eventually provide passengers with a choice of their entry to Bhutan. The Bhutan’s only international airport at Paro, is located at a height of 7300 ft above sea level and surrounded by mountains and hills as high as 16,000 feet. Druk Air is the national air operating with two A319. It flies to destinations that include Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Bodh Gaya, Dacca, Kathmandu and Guwahati in Assam and Plans are also underway to invite other private airliners.
National carrier of the Royal Government of Bhutan
Buddha Air services
Beginning August 2010, a new commercial flight entered Bhutan. Known as the Buddha Airlines, it has now begun operation between Kathmandu, Nepal and Paro, Bhutan. It is currently run on an 18-seater, twin propelled aircraft. The fares are relatively lower as compared to the fares charged by Druk Air and currently operate four flights a week which it plans to go daily with the full flow of tourists visiting Bhutan. It has also plans to link Paro airport with the Indian cities of Bagdogra, Guwahati and Kolkatta in India and even Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Travel by Land
Phuntsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar in eastern Bhutan are the only land border areas open for international tourists. The town of Phuntsholing is located approximately 170 km east of the Indian national airport Bagdogra. After crossing Phuntsholing, your journey then begins its mountainous climb through endless turns and hair-pin bends till you enter Thimphu, the capital city. The travel time for the 176 km stretch can be more than 6 hours.
Gelephu in South-Central Bhutan is another entry point to Bhutan. It is approximately 250 kms from Thimphu and the journey will take you through the sub-tropical areas of Bhutan before entering the alpine zone and then finally into Thimphu. One will have to traverse across three Dzongkhags and the travel time will be about ten hours.
Samdrup Jongkhar is the only entry point in eastern Bhutan. The town borders the Indian district of Darranga, Assam and is approximately 150 kms away from Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. The journey from Guwahati is about three hours. Tourists entering Bhutan through Samdrup Jongkhar will take you to Trashigang, the largest Dzongkhag in the country, and from there over the lateral route to Mongar, Bumthang, Trongsa, Wangde Phodrang and then finally into Thimphu. The distance is about 700 kms and will take you a minimum of three days to reach Thimphu.