Must do Things in Bhutan
Rafting in Mo Chhu River
Instead of the thrilling adrenaline rush throughout the rafting, you will get time to marvel at the exquisiteness of the lush green valleys and watching rare birds while also enjoying the exciting time as you run the rapids.
Location: Approximately 16 km of rafting route of Po Chu River with moderate rapids and 10 km of rafting route of Mo Chu River are the most popular rafting courses in Bhutan.
Best time/season: March to May and October to November.
Difficulty Level: Moderate.
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The famous Trongsa Dzong lying atop a steep ridge at the southern end of the Bumthang town should not be skipped from your bucket list. It is also a favourite destination for amateur trekkers for the short trails passing through turbulent streams and rolling pastures.
Price: 12926.49 BTN
Timings: March-May, September-November
Go To Taktsang Palphug Monastery (Paro)
Uniquely located on top of the mountain 1200 meters above the Paro Valley, this monastery is surrounded by the scenic beauty. This white building topped with the golden roof on the back drop of blue sky and lush green hills look stunning and is considered as one of the best places to visit in Bhutan. The centuries old legend of this monastery makes it more mystical. The isolated location of Tiger’s Nest can only be reached by following the gruelling mountain paths.
Location: The Tiger’s Nest Monastery is located in Paro, approximately 10 kilometres away from the city.
Best time/season: March to May and September to November.
Difficulty Level: Moderately challenging.
Bike Trip to Bhutan
The best biking trails in Bhutan include Paro Valley, Punakha, Wangthang La, Wamrong, Trongsa and many more.
Price: 300,000BTN approx.
Timings: March-May, September-November
Visit Rinpung Dzong (Paro)
Located in Paro, Rinpung Dzong is an exquisite piece of architecture combined with breathtaking spiritual vibes. It is known to have many pictures which illustrate the life of Buddha beautifully. One can reach here after hiking up to the top and enjoy the impressive views of the Park Valley that come along the way.
When visiting here, one can look forward to attending their amazing annual festival called Paro Tshechu. Offering a rejuvenating getaway, visiting Rinpung Dzong is one of the best things to do in Bhutan.
Location: Rinpung Dzong, Paro District, Bhutan
Best time/season: May to November
Experience Nimalung Tsechu Festival
One of the fascinating things about this country is the beautiful culture that it has managed to preserve the history. And every year in Bumthang happens the Nimalung Tshechu festival for celebrating the culture of the country.
A 10-day celebration, attending this festival is easily one of the best things to do in Bhutan, no matter who you are coming here with. The Bhutanese display their devotion to various gods through colourful dances and singing with different attires and props.
It is at this time that the Dzongs or the Monasteries are the best places to visit in Bhutan for a renewed sense of spirituality
Where- Bumthang, which is also claimed to be the most beautiful valley of the country
Best time- It is celebrated in the first fifteen days of the Bhutanese Calender, which usually fall in the month of June. in 2018, the festival begins from 21st June
Explore the Ancient Punakha Dzong (Punakha)
The Dzong is surrounded by the splendid natural beauty with lush green hills and clear blue sky as a backdrop and is considered as one of the best places to visit in Bhutan. The Dzong is also of historical and traditional importance in Bhutan. For a long time it served as the capital. It also preserves the remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and holy artefact Ranjung Karsapani.
Location: Located at the confluence of beautiful rivers of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu in Punakha & Khuruthang , Bhutan.
Best time/season: The best time to visit the Punakha Dzong is mid-May when lavender coloured jacaranda trees blossom.
Enjoy a Drive at Dochula Pass (Thimphu)
The place offers a panoramic view of the surrounding snow laden mountains and the breathtaking view of the colourful flags fluttering in the wind and 108 Chortens and is considered as one of the best places to visit in Bhutan. Druk Wangyal Chorten was constructed by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk.
The chortens and Druk Wangyal Lhakhang temple with beautiful ornate details against the lush green forest backdrop make this spot famous among locals and tourists alike. The Dochu La Wangyal Festival where the colourful mask dance can be witnessed also makes this place illustrious.
Location: The Pass is located at a height of 10,171 ft on east-west Road from Thimpu to Punakha.
Best time/season: March to May and September to November.
Experience Staying in a Homestay
The Namgay Homestay, Haa Valley Homestay and Paro Village View Homestay are some of the best homestays in Bhutan that are well worth your money.
Price: 1952.61 BTN
Weekend Market of Thimphu
The prominent place in Bhutan where one can get the fresh produce is the weekend market of Thimphu. A visit to the market should not be avoided from the list of things to do in Bhutan. It starts in the after-noon every Friday and ends on Sunday in the afternoon. Vendors with the best and the cheapest vegetables and fruits come and settle on their permanent stall on Friday. People from all sorts come here to grab the fresh stuff at the best price and this is the time the society catches up the weekly buzzes happening around.
The collection of goods varies from different types of vegetables to pulses, cereals, fruits, fish and meat. Along with edibles, one can easily find handicrafts, textiles, religious stuff, baskets and other similar things. From Friday 07:00 AM to Sunday 07:00 PM, anyone can enter the market and get the things.
Location: Chhogyal Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Price: Entry is fee
Hot Spring Therapy
There are many hot springs across the country. Small treks surrounded by beautiful forests on a backdrop of snowy mountains will take you to one of the hot springs where the bath houses are made with bathing facilities.
Location: The hot springs are located throughout the country. The main hot springs are Gasa Tshachus which is ten hour trek from Punakha, Dur Tshachu located in Bumthang, Duenmang Tshachu located on the riverside of Mangde Chu and Gelephu Tshachu in southern Bhutan.
Best time/season: Winters
Approx Price: Price for 10 day hot spring tour is 200,000 BTN.
Visit Buddha Dordenma (Thimphu)
Sitting royally atop a great meditation hall, this Buddha statue exudes peace and tranquillity and is considered as one of the best places to visit in Bhutan. The project has been believed to be prophesized as early as eight century in a sacred treasure kept by Guru Padmasambhava.
It is a representation of manifestation of human faith and everlasting peace and happiness for all human beings.
Location: The Statue is on top of a mount in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and marks the southern entrance to the valley of Thimphu.
Best time/season: The early morning light makes it best for clicking photographs and enjoying the beauty.
Attend The Annual Black-Necked Crane Festival
The festival generates awareness towards the preservation of these amazing birds, and the best way for the Bhutanese to do that is to organize dances, shows and singing of folk songs in the praise of the rare bird. Masked performances by the locals are somewhat the highlight of the whole festival, and to attend that is surely the best thing to do in Bhutan
Visit Trongsa Dzong
Trongsa Dzong is famous for being the largest dzong fortress in Bhutan overlooking the mind blowing gorge of the Mangde River. A temple was established first in 1543 and in 1647, the first dzong replaced it. This dzong has a lot of importance in terms of administration and it is the headquarters of Trongza Government.
This extensive complex possesses some exemplary architectural nuances set on different levels. It houses 25 temples as well along with the beautiful courtyards, passageways, corridors and scenic surrounding. December or January will host a five day festival at the temple which symbolizes the victory of Buddhism over evil and every monastery in Bhutan takes part in this festival.
Location: Trongsa District, Bhutan
Timings: 06:00 AM to 05:00 PM and till 04:00 PM in winter
Price: Entry is free
Explore Chele La Pass
Termed as one of the highest motor-able passes in Bhutan which is at a height of 13000 feet, the Chele La pass goes through lush green forests extending an amazing view of the serene nature. Trekking to the view point is considered to be one of the exciting things to do in Bhutan. The majestic views of Jomolhari and Jichu Drake will also be a visual treat while you cross the trails.
During the winter, the beauty of the pass just heightens up and one will get to behold a mélange of waterfalls, frozen rivers, alpine flowers and much more snow. Visitors are allowed any time to enter and explore the pass. As winter adds more charm to the whole surrounding, trekkers prefer to face adventure at its best at Chele La Pass.
Location: Paro, Bhutan
Visit Simply Bhutan
If you're looking for what to do in Bhutan for an offbeat experience, then visiting Simply Bhutan should not be missed at all. It is one of its kind and hailed as 'living' museum which depicts the little nitty-gritties of Bhutanese way of life.
It allows you to cherish the culture and heritage of Bhutan and offers a guided tour where you can dress in traditional clothes, try archery, enjoy a shot of local rice spirit and so on. It is a wonderful place to escape the worries and have a carefree experience with your loved ones appreciating Bhutan.
Location: Simply Bhutan, Genyen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Best time/season: Months of spring and autumn season.
Adventurous Things to Do in Bhutan
Camping in Thimphu
Camping in the lap of Himalayas and amidst the green forests of towering trees is one of the most mesmerizing experience. And Bhutan is one of the best places to experience what it feels like to camp in the high mountains and wake up to a great sunrise.
Camping is one of the best activities in Bhutan that will rejuvenate you completely and that too overnight, so why miss out on it all?
Where- There are many trekking trails near Paro and Thimphu where you can camp with local guides arranging everything for you
Best time- Camping in Bhutan can be best experienced in the months before and after winters in Bhutan. Summers and rains are usually a little too the extreme and tend to ruin experiences
Trek to Dagala Trail
One of the best things to do in Bhutan to have a pulse racing getaway is to go on Dagala trek. This trek is known to enchant the visitors with its dazzling lakes and the most incredible views of the Himalayan ranges. This adventurous activity allows you a glimpse of Bhutanese villages which are located along the highest mountain peaks in the world as it is high altitude trek.
This trek tests your spirits as it is a moderate to difficult level trek, however, it is a wonderful way to appreciate the pristine natural beauty of Bhutan.One can catch a glimpse of some famous Himalayan peaks on this trek like Mt Everest, Mt Kanchenjunga, Tshering Gang, Jichu Drake, Jomolhari, Gangche Ta, etc.
Location: Dagala Trail, Bhutan
Best time/season: April to June or September to October
Go for Pilgrim’s Valley Trek
Live an unforgettable experience when you go for the Pilgrim's Valley trek on your vacation in Bhutan. This trek is a great combination of luxury and adventure. The trek takes you to the rural hinterlands of Bhutan where you can witness the colorful cultural side of the country.
This trek covers many important religious places in Bhutan like Paro, Bumthang, Thimphu, etc. Pilgrim's Valley trek in Bhutan is a remarkable activity to explore some of the most breathtaking places in Bhutan.
Location: Paro, Bhutan To Paro, Bhutan
Best time/season: N/A
Kayaking at Wang Chhu
The downstream view from the confluence of the Wang Chhu and Paro Chhu rivers is breath-taking and invites kayakers across the country.
Location: The capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu is located on the bank of Wang Chhu.
Timings: every day between 9:30am -7pm
Rock Climbing at The Nose
Price: 5,600 BTN
Take a Walk at Punakha Suspension Bridge
One of the best things about this piece of architecture here is that despite being a suspension bridge and having such a great length, the bridge does not shake even the slightest bit, which might result in a high amount of panic on the visitors and commuters, as the bridge also is a connecting link between the nearby villages.
Try Your Hand at Archery
Traditionally the archers use the bamboo made arrows and bows. However, the participants of the tournament use modern equipment. The archery tournament completes by the colorful and vibrant dancing. The sport has become a way to celebrate the life of Bhutanese people.
Location: The archery tournaments are held throughout the Bhutan. Each and every village organizes and competes in these tournaments.
The downhill rides are also available for those looking for some adrenaline rush. The unspoiled natural beauty and the ancient Buddhist culture that colours this land offers an amazing experience to all mountain bikers. The guided tours are available and the bikes can be rented.
Location: Paro Valley, Punakha, Phobjikha Valley, Tongsa, Wangthang La, Wamrong and many other locations in Bhutan are ideal for mountain biking.
Best time/season: March to May and September to November.
Approx Price: Average price for mountain biking tour is 300,000 BTN.
Difficulty Level: Moderate to extremely challenging
Bhutan is a pretty open country in terms of the wild open riding grounds. One of the best adventure sports in Bhutan is horse riding. A religious land and a hotspot for tourism lately, many of Bhutan’s treks also include the option of riding a horse through the plains and valleys here.
And there are many riding clubs and ranches here as well, where you can learn under the supervision of an expert rider. With so many different options in one adventure, why wouldn’t one experience at least one.
Where- There are many ranches and horseback treks in Punakha and Bumthang
Best time- April to June and September to October
Hike Around Haa Valley
Just choose a day and it is guaranteed that you will find the valley quiet and the perfect place to take a walk by the river that so lovingly flows through it. Some of the famous hiking trails here are the Hike to Katsho Goemba (Buddhist Monastery) and Hike to Jana Dingkha
Other Things to Do in Bhutan
With over six hundred bird species including the endemic and endangered, the country has been considered a paradise for the bird watchers. Imperial Heron and rare Black-Necked Crane both of which are endangered bird species can be spotted in the country along with Beautiful Nuthatch and Blyth’s Kingfisher.
Location: Phobjikha Valley, Bumthang, Bomdeling, Trongsa, Tingtibi, Punakha and Thimphu among others places are ideal for bird watching.
Best time/season: The spring season from mid March to late May.
Approx Price: Average price for 18 day birding tour is 400,000 BTN.
Difficulty Level: Easy
Dance with Monks
Bhutan is a country that loves its festivals. And Bhutan is also a country that loves to dance when it comes to celebrating these festivals. And in this Buddhist country, even the monks are not untouched by the fervour of dancing. During many of the festivals here, which they already have a lot of, the local monks of the monasteries and Dzongs (temple fortresses) come together to dance and celebrate the occasion.
And if you happen to visit one such monastery, you can also be lucky enough to join in the celebration and that will one of the most fun and memorable activities in Bhutan for you. But remember that photography is a big no inside the sanctorum, so it’s just enjoying the flow of the dance
Where- Monks dance in many of the monasteries and Dzongs of Bhutan, including the Trongsa province Dzong and Rinpung Dzong
Dine at Babesa Village Restaurant
One of the best activities to do in Bhutan for the foodies is to grab a meal at Babesa Village Restaurant. This place is known to enchant you with the sumptuous local dishes of Bhutan in the most flavourful way. It is unique in a way as this restaurant was once a Bhutanese house which is now converted into a restaurant and thus allows you to cherish the cozy ambience of this place.
It is visited by the tourists for it's rustic ambience and mouthwatering food with a traditional Bhutanese experience.
Location: Babesa Village Restaurant, Thimphu Expressway, Thimphu, Bhutan
Best time/season: Any time of the year
Shop at The Handicrafts Market
You can buy bowls, amulets, prayer beads, badges and even printing blocks. But above all what you will love here the most is the polite attitude of the shop owners who will always welcome you with a warm smile. Shopping for handicrafts here is probably going to be one of the most memorable activities in Bhutan for you
Take Blessing at Gangtey Monastery
If you're wondering what to do in Bhutan to soak in the spiritual ambience of the country, then visiting the Gangteng Monastery comes highly recommended. It is the biggest Nyingmapa Monastery in Bhutan and offers a glimpse of the religious tradition of Pema Lingpa.
It is built in the style of Tibetan architecture and boasts of some intricate woodwork in it's massive hall. Gangteng Monastery is one of the important historical tourist attractions of Bhutan which was built in 1613 by Pema Tinley. It is also known to host the Blacked-Necked Crane festival in the month of November.
Location: Gangtey Monastery, Wangdue Phodrang District, Bhutan
Best time/season: October to December
Spot Snow Leopards at Jigme Dorji National Park
Some of the most amazing sights here are the resident animals, namely, Takins, Snow Leopard, Bengal Tiger, Himalayan black bear, Red Panda and over 300 species of birds.
One of the best adventure sports in Bhutan, that is trekking, is such a big craze in the Jigme Dorji National Park, that one of the most famous signboards here says ‘Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories’.
Check out The Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong), Thimphu
The impressive structure with white washed walls, golden, red and black wood and lush gardens on a backdrop of blue sky and flourishing green valleys, emanates a look of splendour.
The Dzong was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung on the grounds of Dho Ngon Dzong which was earlier built by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa. The Dzong caught fire a few times in the history first in 1968 and later again in 1869, which could be considered a mystery. You must check the 5 Days Bhutan Tour Package (Flat 11% Off) and visit Tashichho Dzong to get a glimpse of Bhutan's Culture.
Location: The Tashichho Dzong is located near the Thimphu town on the west bank of Wangchhu River and offers magnificent view.
Best time/season: March to May and September to November.
Pray at Chimi Lhakhang Temple (Punakha)
People from all across the country come to the temple to pray for children. The couples visiting the temple are sanctified with a wooden phallus, the imitation of the saint’s iron bow and arrows and his scriptures. Surrounded by the abundant paddy fields this temple is a must visit.
Location: The temple lies on the edge of the Lobesa valley on the confluence of the borders of Thimphu, Punakha and Wangduephodrang.
Best time/season: The best time to visit the Chimi L'hakhang Temple is spring and autumn.
Experience Bhutanese Cuisine - Ema Datshi
The Bhutanese people use a lot of variety in chillies while making Ema Datshi, ranging from green to red and white. And the best way to consume and enjoy this is considered to eat it with rice.
Witness the Beauty of Kyichu Lhakhan
The beautiful Paro district in Bhutan has a lot of attractions within it but Kyichu Lhakhang prompts a lot of tourists toward it every time. This Himalayan Buddhist temple is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan which was built in the 7th century by the Tibetan Emperor Songstan Gampo. It is believed to have a lot of precious stuff inside the temple hidden by the ancient rulers. It possesses another belief as well that says the two orange trees in the courtyard bear fruits throughout the year.
Tributes to the deities named Vahrasattva, Palchen Heruka, Vajrakilaya, etc have been done here from the earlier times. Located amidst the scenic nature, the temple holds 11 Buddha statues and other architecturally intriguing stuff. A visit to Paro will give you the opportunity to spend almost one hour at the temple offering prayers and enjoying the surrounding.
Location: Lamgong Gewog, Paro 12001, Bhutan
Visit Simtokha Dzonga
Located in the southern part of Thimphu, Simtokha Dzonga is another Buddhist temple that was built in the year of 1629 under the guidance of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Mark the temple as a must visit and it could be counted as one of the best things to do in Bhutan. The temple houses Yeshay Gonpo or Mahakala which is belived to be the chief protective deity of Bhutan. It is placed inside the 12 sided central tower or Utse as people call it.
A number of different types of paintings, statues etc of Buddha are displayed inside the temple such as the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rimpoche, Shakya Gyalpo, the Buddha of Compassion etc and many other carvings which are explicitly portrayed. There is a belief about the temple saying it was constructed to subdue an evil spirit that had disturbed the travelers of this region continuously.
Location: Semtokha, Bhutan
Price: Entry is free
Explore National Memorial Chorten
National Memorial Chorten is one of the important religious center in Bhutan. This building holds the remarkable features of Tibetan architectural style. A bunch of Bhutanese comes on a regular basis to offer prayers at this temple. Built as a memorial to Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, the temple extends such a peaceful ambience equally adopting elder people and children.
The architecture itself makes the temple one of the most visited landmarks of Bhutan. The structure has a classical stupa with golden spirals and bells along with a pyramidal pillar that has a crescent and sun on the top. Also, the alluring annexes facing the four directions bring forth a specific charm.
Location: Doeboom Lam, Thimphu
Visit National Institute for Zorig Chusum
13 traditional arts of Bhutan have been included in the course subjects at National Institute for Zorig Chusum which provides four to six years courses in each topic. But the institute bears the name of ‘the painting school’ in general. The students coming to attend the courses mainly focus on painting, embroidery, sculpturing, clay modeling, wood carving etc.
The incomparable skills and enduring passion the students at this institute are to be appreciated well. From March to June and from August to September are the best times to visit the institute. Visitors are allowed to explore the institution from 10:00 AM to noon and from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM on working days (Monday to Friday). On Saturdays, the timing is from 10:00 AM to noon.
Location: Pedzoe Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Price: For SAARC and adults it is Nu 100
Go for Antique Shopping
And with the population hailing from different cultural backgrounds that have survived here for centuries, you can rest assured about the originality and authenticity of the products that you will be buying here. One of the best ways to collect souvenirs of your trip here is to make a run in the local markets of Paro and Thimphu.
Where- Local markets of Thimphu and Paro are pretty well known to people looking to collect souvenirs
Admire the National Folk Heritage Museum
The 19th century home was opened for public in the year 2001 after the long-term efforts of the royal family, and has since then, served as one of the premier Bhutan Tourist Spots. It is a must visit if you are looking for something to explore in an hour. What is even more amazing is that the founder of the museum is none other than the Queen Mother of Bhutan, Ashi Dorji Wangmo
See Mount Everest
If you arrive here on a clear day, you can clearly see as far as the Everest mountain range of Nepal, which is sure going to be one of the best things to do in Bhutan. Also, another great way of seeing the giant is to look out of your window as you are on a flight between Kathmandu and Paro.
Sometimes even the Pilot announces in the flight that you can see the Everest, which you would feel like is on almost eye level with you as they fly past the diamond-shaped rock jutting out of the ground.
Philately Counter at the National Post Office
Just bring one of your pictures at the counter and see the team work on it. Or if you wish, you can also have the team here take a picture of you on the spot to work with. After a short span of time, you will be handed a complete sheet of stamps with your picture on it. That for sure is one of the best things to do in Bhutan.
Home to the Trashigang Dzong and the amazing yearly Tsechu of the district, this place is definitely a must visit while coming to Bhutan. It is also the place where the very first college of Bhutan was opened
It is more renowned for the Lhuentse Dzong which lies on the banks of Kuri River on top of a small hill jutting out at the end of the valley. The Dzong and Chortens are connected to the main city with the help of a Suspension Bridge over the Kuri Chhu River.
Marvel at Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary
It has been internationally recognized as an important bird area for the conservation efforts that this place has put into the protection of the endangered black-necked cranes, wood snipes and the grey-crowned prinias. With sightings of many other rare birds, this place in Bhutan is a must visit for bird and nature lovers.