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20 Best things to do in Bhutan

 

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    • How about taking your backpack, camera and capturing all the amazing things to do in Bhutan. If you are a little inquisitive about the cultural and historic importance of the place then it is best to take a tour to Bhutan from Paro. But if sports is what excites you then it is best to be a part of Royal Thimphu Golf Club which is beautifully situated above Trashi Chhoe Dzong.

      You can make your trip adventurous by going in for a rock climbing expedition of Vertical Bhutan where people are enthusiastic to climb ‘The Nose’ which is located in the south west part of Thimphu.

      Here are some of the best things to do in Bhutan:

    • 01Kayaking

      Image Credit :  Zachary Collier
      The majestic rivers of Bhutan offer plenty of opportunity for adventure water sports like Kayaking. The six key rivers in Bhutan and their tributaries provide a variety of courses perfect for amateur as well as veteran kayakers. The water adventure sport tourism is relatively new in Bhutan. However, the bountiful rivers with currents ranging from slow to violent provide perfect opportunity to savour the adrenaline rush in the body amidst the beauty of nature.

      Image Credits : Zachary Collier



      Location
      : The six major rivers in Bhutan are fed by the melting Himalayan glaciers and provide excellent kayaking routes. Paro Valley, Trongsa and Punakha Valley are the places to go for Kayaking.

      Best time/season
      : March to April and October to November
      .

      Approx Price: The approximate price is 13,500 BTN for first two people and 2,500 BTN for each person after that.

      Difficulty Level
      : Easy to advance Kayak routes are available for beginners as well as veterans.
    • 02Rafting

      Image Credit :  Zachary Collier
      Unlike the typecast image of rafting where you are going against the rapids and strong currents while screaming with joy and thrill, rafting in Bhutan gives you the pleasure to gently float down the river while soaking in the surrounding beauty and moving through some modest yet exhilarating rapids.

      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.

      Image Credits : Zachary Collier



      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 most popular rafting courses in Bhutan.

      Best time/season
      : March to May and October to November.

      Approx Price
      : The approximate price for one raft which can hold eight people and a local guide is 30,000 BTN.

      Difficulty Level
      : Moderate.
    • 03Cycling

      The challenging climb and the exhilarating descent, dense mixed forest and lush meadows, traditional villages and ancient Dzongs, cycling in Bhutan is an amazing way to connect with the unspoiled nature of the country. It is also a unique way of experiencing the rich culture and tradition of the country and its warm countrymen. The mountainous and craggy landscape of Bhutan offers great opportunity for on road as well as off road cycling.

      The country has diverse cycling routes that are suitable for both beginners and experts alike. The smooth roads provide a smoother ride while the rough terrains challenge the bikers.



      Location
      : Most cycling tours in Bhutan start in Paro Valley and passes through Thimphu, Dochula, Punakha valley, Bumthang and Ura.

      Best time/season
      : March to May and September to November.

      Approx Price
      : The approximate price for a guided 13 days cycling tour start from 350,000 BTN.

      Difficulty Level
      : Challenging
    • 04Rock Climbing

      Image Credit : glenngould
      Rock Climbing is a sport which is full of adventure and thrill. In Bhutan, Rock Climbing was initiated by the “Vertical Bhutan Climbing Club” as early as 1998. Rock climbing in Bhutan is an amazing adventure that you can undertake amidst the breathtaking view of the country. The club offers all the climbing equipments and training to the climbers. The climbing rock is known as the Nose and is located right above the capital city Thimpu.

      Thirteen climbing routes with varying degree of difficulty, take you to the top. Dead Man Walking, Easy Peasy, Reach N Preach, Wedding Presentand Half Moon are some of the climbing routes to reach the Nose.

      Location
      : Vertical Bhutan Climbing Club is the only rock climbing club located in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan.

      Best time/season
      : March to May and September to November.

      Approx Price
      : Not available

      Difficulty Level
      : Moderate to challenging.
    • 05Fishing

      Image Credit :  smiley
      The unexplored and mystical land of Bhutan, with its glacier fed rivers and a number of rich lakes, is a great place for fishing tours. Since, the country has been isolated from the world outside, the numbers of fish species found here are not certain. Snow trout and brown trout are the most common type of fishes found. From large rivers to small streams, there are a number of fishing spots in Bhutan.

      However, you need to seek a permit to catch fishes in Bhutan. Moreover, there are a few law enactments for fishing that you need to know. For instance, the fishing is allowed only on catch and release basis.

      Image Credits : Sean Maurik



      Location
      : Paro Valley, Trongsa Region, Thimphu Valley, Lhuentse Region and Bumthang Valleys are the places where fishing is permitted.

      Best time/season
      : March to May and September to November.

      Approx Price
      : Fishing permit fee is approximately 700 BTN for a day.

      Difficulty Leve
      l: Easy
    • 06Trekking

      Image Credit : Deana Zabaldo
      With its stunning natural landscape, snow capped mountains, stretches of pastureland, lush green valleys, dense mixed forests and crystal clear lakes, Bhutan offers an excellent opportunity to undertake a trekking adventure. The varied landscape of Bhutan provide for easy to excruciating trekking opportunities for both beginners and experts.

      Some of the treks are demanding and require certain level of physical fitness. These treks take you to the most unspoiled and remote parts of the country where the beauty of the pristine landscape will enthral you. Interact with the local villagers and experience the rich culture and tradition of the country.

      Image Credits : Ian Cochrane



      Location: Druk Path Trek, Jomolhari Trek, Snowman Trek Nabji Korphu Trek, Merak Sakteng Trek and several other treks are available in Bhutan.

      Best time/season
      : March to May and September to November.

      Approx Price
      : Price varies depending upon the trek from 150,000 BTN to 900,000 BTN.

      Difficulty Level
      : Moderate to Challenging
    • 07Mountain Biking

      The culturally rich and naturally endowed land of Bhutan offers outstanding opportunity to savour the landscape, traditions and flora and fauna of the country while enjoying the adventures of mountain biking. There are ample climbs and thrilling descents as well as smooth paved roads to cater to the needs of all types of mountain bikers. 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
    • 08Bird Watching

      Image Credit : Brandi Korte
      The mystical land of Bhutan has been endowed with rich natural beauty and biodiversity. The prevalent Buddhist culture profoundly believed in preserving and deeply revering the nature. Today, this Himalayan province is one of the most important places of biological significance in the world. The country boasts of gamut of rare bird species and flora and fauna.

      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.

      Image Credits : Brandi Korte



      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
    • 09Hot Spring Therapy

      Hot springs, more commonly known as Tshachus in Bhutan, are believed to have healing properties. For centuries, the local people of Bhutan have visited these hot springs to cure themselves of body aches and sinus. They have the centuries old tradition to visit the hot springs in the months of winter.

      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.

      Difficulty Level
      : N/A
    • 10Meditation and Retreat

      Image Credit : Craig Allen
      With the prevalent Buddhist culture in Bhutan, yoga, meditation and meditation retreats are widespread. The undisturbed scenic beauty and meditation retreats on high hills, makes this country a paradise for those who are looking for some undisturbed silence and inner peace. There are meditation and yoga centres throughout the kingdom.

      Apart from the temple and monasteries, most hotels in Bhutan also provide for meditation and yoga session facilities.Whether you want a meditation and retreat tour or you want to take solitary route, Bhutan has a lot to offer you when it comes to connecting with your inner self and the nature.

      Image Credits : Lisa Haneberg



      Location
      : Almost all the hotels, temples and monasteries in Bhutan has meditation and yoga centres.

      Best time/season
      : March to May and September to November.

      Approx Price
      : Price for 15 day meditation retreat tour including meals, accommodation, transport, guide and visit to attractions, is 400,000 BTN.
    • 11Visit Taktsang Palphug Monastery (Paro)

      Image Credit : Arian Zwegers
      Taktsang Palphug Monastery or more popularly known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is one of the most revered pilgrimage place in the Himalayan province. It is also one of the most visited tourists destination in Bhutan and is a place that showcases the great traditional values of the country.

      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. 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.

      Image Credits : Arian Zwegers



      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.

      Approx Price: N/A

      Difficulty Level
      : Moderately challenging.
    • 12Archery

      Image Credit : Zachary Collier
      Archery was declared as the national sport in Bhutan in 1971. However, the history and tradition of archery in the country dates back to six hundred B.C. The sport has started gaining popularity in the late 1920s. Now the archery is an important part of life in Bhutan. There are many archery tournaments held in each and every village of Bhutan as a mark of festivities and competition. In fact, any festival in Bhutan is rendered incomplete without archery competition.

      Traditionally the archers use the bamboo made arrows and bows. However, the participants of the tournament use modern equipments. The archery tournament completes by the colourful and vibrant dancing. The sport has become a way to celebrate the life of Bhutanese people.

      Image Credits : Michael Foley



      Location
      : The archery tournaments are held throughout the Bhutan. Each and every village organizes and competes in these tournaments.

      Best time/season
      : N/A Approx

      Price
      : N/A

      Difficulty Level
      : N/A
    • 13Attend Festivals

      Image Credit :  Anja Disseldorp
      Bhutan was declared as the land of gross national happiness. The Bhutanese culture is coloured with a number of traditions and festivals that are celebrated throughout the country with much rigour and gusto. Taking a festival tour to this country of beautiful natural scenery and colourful celebrations offers you the opportunity to enjoy and experience the vibrant local traditions of the country.

      Tsechu is one of the most important cultural festivals and is held year round, throughout the country at various temples, monasteries and Dzongs. The festival is a blend of colours, dance, music, food and laughter. Famous mask dance is one of the biggest draw for tourists all around the world. Other than that you can also witness the sword dance or holy ceremonies.

      Image Credits : David Orgel



      Location
      : Throughout Bhutan

      Best time/season
      : A customized tour itinerary can be created according to the dates of the festivals.

      Approx Price
      : N/A

      Difficulty Level
      : N/A
    • 14Wildlife Safari

      Image Credit : Arijit_Roy
      Being isolated from the outside world and its modernization for too long and the deep seated Buddhist value of preserving and respecting the nature have made Bhutan one of the finest places in the world to witness the biodiversity of flora and fauna. Unarguably, this land of Himalayan kingdom is a paradise for those who love to connect with the wild.

      Asiatic elephants, black bear, leopards, tiger and golden langur among other mammals can be seen in their natural habitat. You also have the chance to get the glimpse of the mighty beast, Tiger. The wildlife safaris, tiger safaris and bird watching tours are held through the dense forests.

      Image Credits : International Fund for Animal Welfare Animal Rescue Blog



      Location
      : The dense forests of Mo Chhu River and various hills and mountains of Bhutan.

      Best time/season
      : April to June and September to November

      Approx Price
      : For 15 days Tiger Safari tour, the approximate price is 250,000 BTN.

      Difficulty Level
      : Easy.
    • 15Visit Punakha Dzong (Punakha)

      Image Credit : Birger Hoppe
      Bhutan is renowned for its marvellous ancient architecture scattered throughout the land. Punakha Dzong is one such beautiful architecture and offers a stunning sight of the luminous aura of the white washed walls on a bright sunny day. Golden, red and black painted woods add to the charisma of this striking architecture.

      The Dzong is surrounded by the splendid natural beauty with lush green hills and clear blue sky as a backdrop. 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.

       

      Image Credits : Bob Witlox



      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.

      Approx Price
      : N/A

      Difficulty Level
      : N/A
    • 16Visit Dochula Pass (Thimphu)

      Image Credit : Göran Höglund (Kartläsarn)
      Dochula Pass is a scenic spot located more than ten thousand feet above sea level, while going from Punakha to Thimphu. It is one of the most renowned destinations for tourists in Bhutan. 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. 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.

      Image Credits : Ratan Sebastian



      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

      Approx Price: N/A

      Difficulty Level
      : N/A
    • 17Visit Buddha Dordenma (Thimphu)

      Image Credit :  Michael Foley
      One of the largest Buddha statues in the world, Buddha Dordenma is a masterpiece of architectural wonder. The massive bronze statue is more than 50 meters in height and is gilded in gold. Apart from this it also houses 125,000 other Buddha statues that are placed surrounding the Buddha Dordenma statue. Sitting royally atop a great meditation hall, this Buddha statue exudes peace and tranquillity.

      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.

      Image Credits : Xiaojun Deng



      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.

      Approx Price
      : N/A

      Difficulty Level
      : N/A
    • 18Visit Tashichho Dzong (Thimpu Dzong) (Thimphu)

      Image Credit : Andrea Williams
      Tashichho Dzong is a remarkable architectural structure which currently is the house of the throne room and seat of the government. More commonly known as the Thimphu Dzong, it is also called the ‘fortress of glorious religion’. 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.

      Image Credits : Andrea Williams



      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.

      Approx Price
      : N/A

      Difficulty Level
      : N/A
    • 19 Visit Rinpung Dzong (Paro)

      Image Credit : Arian Zwegers
      One of the finest architectural structures of Bhutan is the impressive Rinpung Dzong, more commonly known as the Paro Dzong. The name of this renowned Dzong literally translates to ‘'Fortress on a Heap of Jewels'. Surrounded by the scenic beauty, this marvellous Dzong has a long history and is of significant traditional importance.

      The Dzong was constructed in 1644 on order of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and has historically contributed significantly in defending the Paro Valley. The white washed walls and golden, red and black painted and carved wood add to the elegance and royalty of the architecture. It is also the site of the famous masked dance of Tsechu festival of Paro.

      Image Credits : Gary Ashley



      Location
      : Rinpung Dzong is located atop the hill above Pachu in Paro.

      Best time/season
      : March to May and September to November. During the Tsechu festival you can enjoy the local masked dance.

      Approx Price
      : N/A

      Difficulty Level
      : N/A
    • 20Visit Chimi L'hakhang Temple (Punakha)

      Image Credit : Denis De Mesmaeker
      One of the most revered temples of Bhutan, Chimi L’hakhang is considered as the temple of fertility, dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as the Divine Madman. Lama Drukpa Kuenley is a legendry saint in Bhutan, who is much revered in the country but because of his unusual way of teaching, he is considered an eccentric.

      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.

      Image Credits : Olivier Lejade



      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.

      Approx Price
      : N/A

      Difficulty Level
      : N/A