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Bhutan, A Paradise On Earth

Discussion in 'Bhutan' started by ChaiNashta, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. ChaiNashta

    ChaiNashta Active Member

    “Druk Yu” is the name given to this small land of happiness that translates to “Land Of The Thunder Dragon”. Bhutan is still considered as the last point of the landmass or the foothills of the Great Himalaya, often referred as the last of “Shangri-La's” in the Himalayan region owing to its utter remoteness, strikingly beautiful mountainous terrain, varied flora and fauna adaptable to only harsh cold climate. No wonder, it creates that enthusiasm and curiosity among people all round the world. Here is a comprehensive list of the most sought points of interest and other related information about accommodation and travel.

    How To Get There?

    In fact, the names of the places fill one with curiosity. The best way to get into Bhutan is to fly through their national carrier managed and operated by the Royal Government of Bhutan, Druk Airways. It is also known as Drukair, Royal Bhutan Airlines. It operates in twelve stations in five different countries with its home base being the Paro International Airport. It operates in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand and Singapore. The IATA code is KB, ICAO code is DRK and the call sign at any airport is Royal Bhutan. So, in case you happen to reach any of these five places from your country, you can easily catch a Drukair and take a break until you reach Paro. Your journey is just about to begin. The way to get back is essentially the same, but you also have the options to get into India through Sikkim or Darjeeling, which are two hill stations and very popular tourist attractions in India. The best part is that Royal Government of Bhutan provides a lot of packages for tourists varying with the length of stay. It covers accommodation, food and all other basic amenities. The experience is really awesome.

    Paro Taktsang

    The first chapter begins in Paro, after you land in Bhutan. You need to complete all your immigration and custom formalities and then accompanied to the hotel. All these facilities are exclusively for previously booked tourism packages. In case you want to make your own arrangements, a few notable places of residence at cheap and affordable prices are in a hand's distance. Uma by COMO comprises of merely 20 rooms and offers luxury right at the heart of Butan. The 38 acre estate offers splendid view of the sky touching Himalayas and is located nearby the Paro Airport, in Paro Town. It starts at a tag of $796 and offers the most exquisite experience like free Wi-Fi, free spa, breakfast, lunch and dinner, bar and lounge facility, indoor games and free tours in the local markets.. Then, there are other options for low and affordable stay. Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa is also a nice place close by and gets a lot of visitors owing to its hospitality. The costs per night start at $182. There is a Tashi Namgay Resort that offers a decent stay at $113. If you are a drifter then you can also get a stay for just $72 at Hotel Taktshang View.

    Now, once you have booked a stay, it's time to book a local tourism provider or buy a package from the government website that helps you with all the assistance starting from the first day till your departure. There are a lot of places beginning with a visit to the ancient monastery called Taktsang Monastary. It is also known as The Tiger's Nest. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche came riding on the back of a tigress and meditated here and later became the preacher and the father of the Bhutanese strain of Buddhism. The next place is the Ta Dzong, which is the national museum of Bhutan and contains the ancient artifacts, weapons, cultural remnants and exquisite postage stamps used in the kingdom. Then, the best thing is to take a trekking along the trails of Rinpung Dzong, which is at a brilliant height and overlooks the entire Paro Valley. It is believed to be the point of religious and secular of the whole valley since ages. There are several traditional farm houses in this area and they are a suitable hub for visits during the evenings as you get to know and meet the local people, play with the kids, taste a cusine or two and see their local market and feel the lifestyle of a common person.

    Punakha Paro

    The next place of interest in Bhutan is surely this remotely located mountainous terrain at the distance of 190 kms that would roughly take about 4 hours by a car or a bus. There are the ancient fortress of Drukgyel Dzong, which served as the crucial and strategic point of hold to repel the invaders from Nepal and Tibet during the 17th century. Kyichu Lakhang is one of the oldest and most sacred temples located in Bhutan that holds the secret to the introduction of the sacred religious beliefs of Buddhism. There is a famous trail along this area that takes you to the Dochula Pass situated at an elevation of 3080 meters and gives you an incredible view of entire Bhutan. It is really an amazing experience to be able to get just one look and capture in with your camera. The dusky scene drenched in the mist of the trespassing clouds offer an enchanting experience of a lifetime. Punakha used to be the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and still remains the winter capital of Je Kenpo.

    Punakha Dzong is a scared and memorable architectural location that was built in the early 17th century by the kings of Bhutan at the confluence of Po Chuu and Mo Chuu rivers. It has been destructed by several floods and earthquakes, but still is the most sought site by history lovers. There are a few luxurious hotels including a branch of Uma by COMO and offers the same luxurious appeal at all locations. There are other places like Le Meridien Thimpu that starts at $251 per night, accompanied by Hotel Pedling beginning its rooms at just $72. You also have some beautiful reports with spa facilities and hot water massage and baths at $72, however, they are unattended. Gakyil Thimpu offers an enjoyable stay with fooding and hygienic complex in $67. The Paro Airport is just 50Kms from this place and in case you wanted to begin your journey from Punakha, you can always book a cab or taxi at the Paro Airport to drive you to Punakha in about 1 and 1/2 hours. The evening delight at Punakha is also breathtaking and merely walks down a trail with the cloudy mist surrounding you in a gradual manner seems fantastic.


    This is the next most sought locations in Bhutan and remains a mandatory visiting location by all tourism companies. It holds some of the precious sites and scenes that you cannot miss. This is the final frontier of Bhutan before the Himalayan terraces and is the western limit of the kingdom and drives you directly towards the central Bhutan. Wangduw is just a small Bhutanese town and its most formidable structure or location is Wangdue Dzong. A site endowed with serenity and peace of mind and it really explains the desire of monks and hermits to stay here forever. It has its roots in the 17th century, when most parts of the kingdom were scattered and controlled by small landlords. Wangdue, being the industrial or the business center of the entire kingdom was responsible for the unification of the western, central and the southern districts. This also has the trail to nearby but fairly popular site called Thimpu. This attracts a lot of trekking expeditions and excursions starting from Paro to Thimpu and covering all that falls in between. This is also the most busiest locations of Bhutan considering that it encompasses points of interest fro all ages and taste of people.

    It is a small charming city where foreigners are heartily welcomed and greeted by the local people. This town is small but has numerous small and big museums which become the main source of attraction for visitors with specific historical interests. They can identify points of archaeological theories and discoveries. The local lifestyle is also one of the most promising attractions that tend to mesmerize people into staying a bit longer. Even though you do not have all that advanced and modern country culture, it still has the ability to provide a habitat for a peaceful stay, even for a lifetime. Nature lovers are sure to find a lot of things to spend their time and keep busy. You have a lot of self-established and self-proclaimed guides who can take you to small tours to nearby trekking sites in the mountains as these people and the native residents and they know the terrain much better than anyone else. Thimpu usually is the end point or the destination for a lot of excursions teams as it serves as the resting place with adequate facilities of transport to other places in the kingdom. There are numerous shops that sell local handicrafts and has always been a point of interest for many filmmakers.


    In the morning you can start a visit to a local site called Trashichhoedzong, which although is a tongue twister, essentially is a mind twister as well. It is a beautiful location on the banks of Wang Chuu. This also serves as the National Assembly and summer residence of a monastic community. This serves as an amazing architectural site built during the reign of the third king, HM Jigme Dorji Wangchuck making Dzong a wonderful piece of building. Thimpu is Bhutan's permanent capital since then. Thangkha is an art school located in the heart of Bhutan, in Thimpu. The Bhutan National Library is also close to this academic institution, which undoubtedly holds the most ancient cultural and religious literature of the Himalayan monks and sadhus and is unanimously believed to be in the most pristine quality. Apart from the historical literature, there is the Textile & Folk Heritage Museum that opened in 2001 and offers a fascinating history of material culture and traditions followed since centuries. The Memorial Chhorten is another holy landmark in this capital that was erected in 1974 by the mother of the Third King in the loving memory of her son.


    This is another mountainous terrain about a distance of 179 kms from Thimpu. One could get the local cab or taxi services to drive you to this site in about 6 hours and it really takes a bit longer than usual because of the terrain, of course, but also because of the climate. There are beautiful fortresses built in 1627 AD that has been converted into a School of Buddhist Studies and it attracts a lot of foreign students as well. This also serves as the center of cultural and traditional studies that enlighten students about their literature and early Buddhism. The current road that takes you from Thimpu to Dantek, the strategic location of Phuentsholing was built by the Indian Border Organization in 1962. This gesture has provided Bhutan with a lot of support for their tourism industry and also has made it easier for commuters between the countries. There is another sacred monastery called Kharbandi Goemba, which is believed to be built around 1967 AD. This is one of the largest monasteries in Bhutan and has signs of modern architecture.

    There are very huge statues of some of the most famous Buddhist preachers, that is, Shabdrug Nbawang, Sakyamuni, Namgyal and Guru Rinpoche. These were one of the earliest preachers who introduced Buddhism to the folks of Bhutan and formed the foundation of religious enlightenment. Thus, a lot of places in Bhutan provides a wonderful opportunity for stressed and busy citizens to have a peace of mind. There are immense modes of transport and accommodation at strategic locations and you can always find small inns and hotels in small towns. These towns usually welcome visitors and are the cheapest and most affordable when on a solo tour.

  2. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Member

    This thread seems to be a complete guide to Bhutan. I had a colleague in one seminar that I attended in Singapore. He is from Bhutan. I was really amused with his stories that Bhutan's main industry is electricity. The country sells electric power to the neighboring Nepal (I hope I remember it correctly). And one thing that I couldn't forget is when he said that only those with invitation to Bhutan can enter their country. So an ordinary tourist like me should have an invitation from a Bhutanese (is this term correct?). Although I have no plans of visiting Bhutan for now, i am really amused with that hermit country.

  3. Chahal

    Chahal ਜੱਟ ਕੀ ਤੇ ਘੱਟ ਕੀ Staff Member

    Bhutan has a lot of hydro electric power plants and that produces a lot of surplus which they sell to India. I am not too sure about Nepal though.

    You do not need an invitation if you are a tourist. You just have to book your tour through a government authorized tour operator. There used to be a minimum spend per night back in the days but I have not looked recently so not too sure if such a restriction still exists.
    Indians do not have such restrictions.
    Alexandoy likes this.
  4. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Member

    Gee, thanks for that quick reply, @Chahal, very much appreciated. But anyway, my plan now is to visit India next year but before I scout for a plane ticket, I am researching on the ins and outs of India so I would not be that ignorant. But for Bhutan, it is my dream to visit that country and I'm glad you said that invitation is not needed. And I understand that Bhutan is quite an expensive country so I better prepare a bigger budget than the budget I intend to spend in India.

    Thanks again for the informative reply.
    Chahal likes this.
  5. Untamed13

    Untamed13 New Member

    @ChaiNashta great write up! Bhutan is another place that I would totally love to visit sometimes. I've only seen it in documentaries but it looks absolutely incredible, I just love those isolated, peaceful countries far from technology. Not counting air fare, roughly how much money do you think I would I need if I wanted to spend a couple of months there (including accommodation and food)? (cheapest accommodation is totally fine with me, I don't need anything fancy) Also what months would be best? Thanks!
    I'm not gonna post any links but for those interested, I found a nice Bhutan travel documentary by 'Expoza Travel' on Youtube.
  6. Gabydi

    Gabydi Member

    How is it possible that I was missing this part of the forum? I wasn’t aware of this part and it’s amazing. This year I’ve been doing a lot of research of Bhutan because I want to do the Snowman’s Trek. For many is the most challenging trek in the world and I want to do it before I’m too old.

    I was in contact with a guy who organizes expeditions to Bhutan and he told me tourists have to pay for every day they’re in Bhutan and also the permissions are restricted. They don’t allow thousands of visitors every day. I find this amazing because it has kept the essence of its people intact.

    I’m glad I found this thread!
    Tanmaya likes this.
  7. xeylonfm

    xeylonfm New Member

    Wow! One of the reason I love visiting forums is to learn more and lend an ear to explorers who have gone beyond the lands I have gone. The country Bhutan has not been heard by very many people and I don’t recall any political event that placed it on the map. A country like Kenya was quiet until the 2007 post poll violence that landed in almost every major media on the globe. Bhutan however is indeed the land at the frontier of the Himalayas that is really quiet. I would love to be there someday. Are the natives friendly enough? And what are some options about trekking in countryside Bhutan?
  8. RajaApull

    RajaApull New Member

    This thread seems to be a consummate guide to Bhutan. I had a colleague in one seminar that I attended in Singapore. He emanates from Bhutan. I was authentically regaled with his stories that Bhutan's main industry is electricity. The country sells electric power to the neighboring Nepal . And one thing that I couldn't forget is when he verbally expressed that only those with invitation to Bhutan can enter their country. So a mundane tourist like me should have an invitation from a Bhutanese. Albeit I have no plans of visiting Bhutan for now, i am genuinely regaled with that hermit country.
  9. Aja

    Aja Member

    I love the sound of a paradise on earth! I seem to find that with most vacation resorts I visit, though. I wish I could live there and never have to go back to the humdrum of home.
  10. Tyson

    Tyson New Member

    What an excellent guide. It seems once you reach India there are so many places to visit all within reach, I wonder if spending more time in and around India would be worth a longer stay. I;d love to visit some of the surrounding countries that boarder India. I'm just not sure if I'd need a visa for each of them. I wonder how hard it would be to get all these papers in order so I could leave India for a few day to visit one of it's boarder countries. Would they allow me back in on the same visa or would I have to get a new one.
  11. Aja

    Aja Member

    There is so much to India, you could make several trips and never see it all. The hard part is, where do you start?
  12. Sammie

    Sammie Member

    That is a pretty comprehensive description of Bhutan. Thanks ChaiNashta, this is really helpful. I love to hear about the things to see in an area and your post certainly helped. It seems India is a real jewel with all the different places to visit.
  13. Joanne

    Joanne New Member

    Your guide is outstanding and offers so much information. This sounds like a lovely place to visit. I think the next time I visit India, I should only stay one or two days, Then fly off to Bhutan and stay there for a few days.
  14. jnorth88

    jnorth88 Active Member

    It is a very religious country, too. As a matter of fact, depending on where you go, you may be subject to some religious laws. I know someone involved in a documentary in Bhutan who said they had to get blessings to continue filming. Also, there were areas of the country they could not go due to religious exclusions.
  15. ladydaydream

    ladydaydream New Member

    Wow, I didn't even realize this part of the forum was here! This post is incredibly educational; visiting Bhutan is one of my life's dreams, as the country is so scenic, gorgeous, and culturally enriching. As one of the few countries on this planet with a green footprint on this Earth, I hope tourism there is only a positive influence there and that people educate themselves with posts such as yours before going!
  16. Trevlr

    Trevlr New Member

    I have always loved Bhutan because it is a peaceful country. I wish that I will one day visit Bhutan to witness it's hilly country side. I will also like to know more about their traditions and eat their traditional foods. How do they manage their infrastructure since there are a lot of hills in the country? I read about their population which is under a million people and I keep wondering how small the country is.