Perched high in the Himalayas, A small dreamy paradise known as Bhutan where rice is red and chilies are considered to be a vegetable, where development is measured not by Gross National Product, but by Gross National Happiness, It is the world’s last remaining the Buddhist Kingdom.
There is something magical about Bhutan, the simple yet mesmerizing land somehow manages to touch your soul, balm it with peace, and even mend the broken heart. The salubrious climate, the breathtaking views, and the majestic monasteries may seem a cliched way to describe the beauty of Bhutan. Here is An Ultimate Bhutan Travel Guide
After reading the blog you will say “Bhutan – The happiest place on Earth”.
When to Go:
September to November: The month of September marks the beginning of autumn in Bhutan and is considered great for visiting. Visitors are greeted with clear skies and pleasant weather. The maximum temperature rarely crosses 20 degrees Celsius and the minimum is around 4 degrees Celsius.
December to February: Winters in Bhutan are beautiful and less crowded. The maximum temperature during this time is 9 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature drops down to -10 degrees Celsius.
March to May: This time of the year is perfect to enjoy nature. Bird watchers will also be able to spot the abundant birdlife in the region.
June to August: The beginning of summer in Bhutan brings with it heavy rains. The maximum temperature is about 21 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature drops to 7 degrees Celsius.
By Air: Bhutan’s only international airport is in Paro, which is 6 kilometers away from the city. It is about an hour and a half away from Thimpu.
Road/Self Drive: Bhutan is well connected by roads. Thimpu has a city bus station from where inter-district buses depart and arrive. From Paro airport, Thimphu-bound taxis are available and can cost up to Nu 800. Self-driving from Phuentsholing is a scenic and enjoyable journey that takes about five hours (172 kilometers).
Taxi: To travel around, you can hire a taxi, which may be a little expensive. These tourist taxis charge about NU 15 per kilometer, with a minimum charge of about Nu 1,400 per day (which includes driver’s food, accommodation, and fees). Keep in mind that taxis don’t run on meter and you may have to negotiate the fares beforehand.
On foot: Walking is a great way to explore the cities of Bhutan. Also, some villages are not connected by road, so travel by foot or on a pony is recommended.
How to Get a Tourist Permit in Bhutan?
The Immigration Office in Phuentsholing issues permits (for SAARC nations). There are few documents that need to get verified before getting a tourist permit. Those travelers flying directly to Paro can get their permits from Paro International Airport.
List of Documents:
- A duly filled form
- Copy of Voter’s ID or Passport
- An Itinerary on an A4 Sheet
- Booked Hotel’s Voucher (It is mandatory to show hotel booking confirmation of at least one hotel in Thimphu/Paro)
- Passport Size Photo
- An Undertaking Letter (In case you are traveling solo)
Is Bhutan Worth the Money?
At a cost of $250 a day per person, a fee set by the Bhutanese government, and pretty much unavoidable, do you get $250 of value each day?
List of Highlights For Your Bhutan Itinerary
- Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan for Thimphu Dzong and The Memorial Stupa. The giant Buddha Dordenma statue above Thimphu is impressive but modern and not yet finished, we would have happily skipped visiting this one.
- Paro, The Tiger’s Nest ( Paro Taktsang) is above Paro. Paro Dzong is also well worth a visit as is the oldest monastery in Paro, Kyichu Lhakhang
- Punakha Dzong
- The Valley of the cranes, Probjikha Valley. The Crane conservation center was quite interesting and to be there when the cranes arrive in October must be pretty special. Only one injured crane, Karma, was there for our visit but the valley is beautiful.
- Gangtey Monastery was pretty special.
- The Haa Valley, we thought was missable if you’re short of time. The White Temple, Lhakang Karpo, was lovely and the architecture in town was special ( although you’ll see similar in Paro town), but we didn’t have time to explore.
- Bhutan has an obsession with the phallus, see houses plastered with phallic paintings ( see video) as well as masks and wooden effigies around Chimi Lhakhang, the “no dog” monastery, near Lobesa
- The short trek on the mountains between the Haa and Paro valleys, from Chele pass to isolated Kila Goenpa Nunnery ( Chele la Gompa), was very pleasant and this nunnery clinging to the cliff was a little Tiger’s Nest.