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Bhutan
3:23 AM
Thimphu25°C
Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bhutan

Simple living and high thinking is the mantra for the Bhutanese people. A nation that assigns statistical peg to its happiness (Gross National Happiness) and is delightfully cut off from Western influences, Bhutan is an otherworldly experience. It’s hilltop monasteries, vibrant local life, festivals and rich bio diversity makes it one of the most coveted destinations for the offbeat traveller. It is a fascinating place, which still holds its King in reverence with heartwarmingly charismatic simplicity.

A mix of deciduous forests, mountains and partial plains, Bhutan’s temperature remains unchanged on an average. Expect warm summers and very cold winters. The monsoons arrive in May when the country breaks out into a green. Though typically this is not recommended to travel in, this also means lesser tourists to bump into. The tropical weather has a relief in the winters when the higher reaches are covered in snow.

Major Cities / Tourist Places

major-city

The delightful ambience of all the towns of Bhutan is what makes the country, the happiest nation in the world. Thimphu and Paro, the most popular of all are the expected ones on the itineraries. But apart from these, Punakha, Phuentsholing, Gangtey and many more offer a peek into local life and history. Tread towards the obvious and some of the offbeat to get a true sense of Bhutan.

Iconic Places

tiger-nest

Apart from the capital, Thimphu, towns like Paro and Punakha figure second on the list for travellers. In Paro, sights like Paro Dzong, Drukgyel Dzong, the National museum and the bazaar are the top draws. In Punakha Valley, one is likely to get regaled by the stunning views. The Dochula pass between Thimphu and Punakha offers brilliant views of the towering peaks. Phuntsholing, Trongsa and Bumthang are the other places that one must not miss.

Experiences

experience

Of the many adventure and culture filled experiences, climbing the Tiger Nest Monastery (Taktsang Palphug Monastery) is the highlight in Bhutan. Others include visits to the many monasteries and the Buddhist festivals that are held regularly through the year. These are called ‘tshechu’ in local language and are a good place to see masked dancers and whole towns draped in vibrant colours. The Bumthang valley is great for mild and tough treks. Bhutan has a wholesome offering of experiences for different tastes of travellers.

Festivals

festiva

A festival or ‘Tshechu’ is the most vibrant time in Bhutan. Most of the festivals are held in monasteries where masked dancers and local musicians take to the stage, as locals sit in rapt attention. Travelling to Bhutan during these festivals is sure to add a great dimension to your travels. Many of Bhutan’s festivals are spiritual in nature, commemorating the great Buddhist teachers of the land. Monasteries and villages around them are the best places to see the full scope of the reverence that people still feel. The most unique festival is the Black Necked Crane Festival held in November at the Gangtey Gonpa in Phobjikha.

Festivals Calendar 2016

Jan
10th
Traditional Day of Offerings
Feb
08th
Public Holiday
Feb
09th
Losar (New Year)
Apr
16th
Shabdrung Kuchoe
May
21st
Lord Buddha’s Parinirvana
Sep
22nd
Blessed Rainy Day
Oct
07th
Thimphu Tshechu
Nov
20th
Day of Lord Buddha
Dec
17th
National Day

Top Stays

stay

Accommodation is Bhutan ranges from top end resorts with an Ayurveda plug, heritage stays, luxury campsites, top star hotels, unassuming lodges, forest accommodations and homestays. With a wide variety of accommodation to choose from, the experience is bound to amplify your travel to the country. The warm demeanour of the locals resonates in the hospitality at the hotels as well.