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What You Should Know More About Things To Do in Bhutan
Bhutan is a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas is much known for its exquisite landscapes that vary from mountains to valleys, streams and rivers. It is also an architectural hub owing to its wondrous monasteries called Dzongs that are built usually over the cliffs covered by forests. Punakha Dzong and Taktsang Dzong are among famous monasteries in Bhutan. Bhutan is a great destination for adventurous activities like rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking and also trekking. Some infamous treks that start from Bhutan are Bumthang Owl Trek, Oomta Lake and Mt. Jomolhari among many others. The towns of Paro, Thimphu and Phuntsholing offer varied entertainment and sightseeing options for its tourists.
Bhutan is a great destination for adventure sports fanatics as it is a thriving hub for various adventurous activities like rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, biking and also trekking. Some infamous treks that start from Bhutan are Bumthang Owl Trek, Oomta Lake and Mt. Jomolhari among many others. Rafting is quite popular in Bhutan and takes place in the rapids of Po Chu River and Mo Chu River. Bhutan also offer great camping escapades and tourist can avail a camping in the wilderness tour visiting Paro, Thimphu and proceeding on to the serene landscapes of Punakha via Dochula pass.
Bhutan is still an unexplored territory and there are many areas which are still pristinely secured much away from the reach of tourists. There are several campsites that are frequented by both locals and tourists. Punakha located at an elevation of 1350m, offer great campsites and is surrounded by fertile Punastangchu valley and many little villages. Phobjikha falls in Wangdue Phodrang located at 2900m is also known as rhododendron garden, and offers spectacular camping experiences. Among other popular camping places, the valley of Bumthang which is also a sacred site has an average altitude of 2650 m and is colloquially referred as “Second Switzerland”, is apt for four season camping. Haa Valley also offers good camping spot for all seasons.
Trekking in Bhutan has always been a pleasure for seasoned trekkers, until recently more and more adventure enthusiasts have treaded into Bhutan to venture out exploring Bhutan’s breathtaking nature trails and trekking routes.
Bhutan offers spectacular treks, the much popular high altitude treks are Jumolhari Trek, Laya Gasa Trek and Druk Path Trek whereas the Snowman Trek that commences in Bhutan is known to be one of the most difficult treks in the world. The pristine beauty of Bhutan along with its verdant forests and abundant natural treasures of high passes, snow- capped mountains and ice-fed gushing streams is best explored by treading on the Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek where the trail runs through many high altitude lakes.
Bhutan is blessed with the Himalayas but not until recently in 1998 that an adventure sport like Rock Climbing has been introduced in Bhutan by a private club called Vertical Bhutan Climbing Club. The “Nose” is a climbing rock situated just above Bhutan's capital Thimphu. The rock face offers 13 safely bolted climbing routes and is a great spot for bouldering and other climbing related activities like Rappelling, Jumaring and Overhang Climbing.
Bhutan has the world’s largest region of protected natural areas in the country and the country has a wide system of national parks, protected areas and forest corridors which homes to endangered animals, birds and plants. The most rewarding parks are the Jigme Dorji National Park and the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park in the Black Mountains where one can find several animals only if they choose the right season to go. In Bhutan leopards are found in high altitude locations and Royal Bengal Tigers are also found at the altitude ranging from 3000 to 4000 meters. Trumshing La National Park, Royal Manas National Park, Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary are great destinations for a wildlife safari experience in Bhutan where one can see animals like Takin, Red Panda, Langur, Himalayan Black Bear, Sambar, Wild Pig, Barking Deer, Blue Sheep among many others.
Kayaking activities are quite common in Bhutan and is mostly conducted by the tourism council of Bhutan. The most popular places where one can try their hand in Kayaking are the rivers of Paro Chhu, Upper Pho Chhu, Mo Chhu – Tashitang Devil’s Gorge Section and Mangde Chhu. The best months to enjoy Kayaking in Bhutan are March – April and again between October – November.
Bhutanese Rivers are abundant of fishes where Brown Trouts and Golden Mahseers are commonly found in its rivers. Fishing is allowed in most of the rivers of Bhutan on special permit to be obtained from local forestry department. Best River for fishing is Tang chhu in charming Tang valley where valleys come down to meet with the flowing water. Haa Valley is also a great fishing spot but winters there get severe, fishing is best done on the months between March-May and September-October. Other notable fishing sites in Bhutan are Sankosh River, Manas river and Mangde chhu.
Bhutan is a landlocked country bearing stunning landscapes comprising of majestic mountains, beautiful architecture and deserted regions and the rough terrain makes the country a great place for adventure. Experiencing the spirit of Bhutan is best done via bike rides. Routes like Phuentsholing to Thimphu via Chunka and Phuentsholing to Paro are the most popular biking routes in Bhutan where either one rides to the capital of Thimpu or to the quaint little town of Paro, visiting the Rinchenling Monastery and Gedu University on the route. The route of Thimphu - Punakha – Phobjikha takes one across breath taking sceneries of lush vegetation, towering cliffs and blooming flowers, making the route one of the most fascinating biking routes in Bhutan. One can also go up till Bumthang by taking the beautiful Phobjikha – Bumthang valley route.
In Bhutan one can find abundant hot springs known as Tshachus, all over the Kingdom. These hot springs usually contain great medicinal properties and are frequented by both locals and tourists during the winter months. There are three bath houses at the Gasa Tshachu that can be reached after a short trek from the valley floor. Among other hot springs, the popular ones are Chubu Tshachu in Punakha, Dur Tsachu in Bumthang Dzongkhag, Duenmang Tshachu located by the banks of Mangde Chu River and Gelephu Tshachu in Southern Bhutan.
Bhutan is an amazing destination to find many meditation retreats that gives one respite from the cares and stress of everyday life. Many tourists visiting Bhutan come specifically for meditation and retreat tours. Start your spiritual journey from Rinopung Dzongs and Kichu Lhakhang temple and get acquainted with the teachings of the Buddha as delivered by learned Lamas. The Bumda Monastery offer incredible sceneries that can take one on a spiritual journey, enough to revive and rejuvenate the body and spirit. One can also embark on a spiritual self-trek to the infamous Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery that fall between Bumdra and Paro.
Bhutan is a place much characterised by its traditional roots that defines its cultures and aesthetics to an extreme that till today Bhutanese ensemble, arts and crafts bear intrinsic details of the country’s rich cultural flavours. The capital town of Thimphu is a great place for shopping that houses a bevy of markets like Hong Kong Market, Norzim Lam Street and Bhutanese Crafts Market that sell exquisite Bhutanese souvenirs and artefacts like Dzi beads, colourful masks, hand woven bamboo items, Walt Disney characters Bhutanese stamps and German unification stamps. The main market at Paro and its town square also houses row of shops selling apparels and souvenirs. There are also umpteen number of shops in Phuntsholing Main Market which sell t shirts, tops and other apparels at affordable prices.
Bhutan, the country famous for its great monasteries, Dzongs and the great Himalayas, offer differential experiences to its tourists. For a cultural experience, head to the small town of Paro that is lined with painted wooden shops, housing a town square by the banks of the river Paro Chhu. One can take a hike to the much revered Tiger’s Nest Monastery. The cultural experience would remain incomplete if one misses visit its incredible Dzongs or fortresses that still tell stories of its bygone era. Staying at a local farm in the Paro Valley or valley camping and indulging in local authentic flavours of Bhutanese Cuisine will give one a great cultural experience. The best way to experience the flavours of art and culture in Bhutan is by attending one of its most famous festivals, the most known among them are Paro Tshechu and Thimphu Tshechu.
Dochula Pass is an infamous mountain pass in the Himalayas of Bhutan which fall on the way to Punakha from Thimpu where 108 memorial chortens or stupas known as "Druk Wangyal Chortens" are built. The pass is situated at an elevation of 3,100 metres and offer beautiful views of snow clad peaks only if the weather is not to misty. Though the pass is open throughout the year, only between the months of October and February can on see panoramic views of the Bhutan Himalayas.
Bhutan is filled to its brim with monasteries but there are a handful of them which you must visit on your trip to Bhutan. The Taktsang Palphug Monastery in Bhutan is popularly known as the Tiger’s Nest is one of the famous monasteries of the world. The much known festival of Paro Tshechu takes place in Rinpung Dzong, also known as the Paro Dzong is located amidst nature and offer breathtaking views. The Tango Monastery located near the Cheri Mountain is a very peaceful place for all spiritual seekers and the Gangteng Monastery is one of the 2 main centres of the Nyingmapa School of Buddhism. Among other famous monasteries in Bhutan, Punakha Dzong is the second oldest and second largest monastery of Bhutan and Kurjey Lhakhang situated in the Bumthang Valley offer incredible spiritual and cultural experiences.
The rugged, rough and mountainous terrain of Bhutan is a much revered adventure sport destination. And it lends itself well to both on-road or off-road mountain biking which is quite popular among both local and visiting cyclists. One should start cycling from Thimphu after visiting Paro, and head east to Punakha. On the way cyclists will frequent dzongs (fortresses), monasteries and temples. Cycling is a best method of absorbing the Buddhist culture. Another beautiful cycling route goes till Bumthang from Paro, where cyclists can visit the remote Haa Valley on the way while crossing several passes over 3000m that delivers spectacular views of the Himalayas.
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