Bhutan is not your regular Himalayan destination. It is the land of tradition and transnational development. It is a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern periphery, is famous for its monasteries, fortresses or dzongs and spectacular landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. It is also known as “Switzerland of Asia” due to its natural descent beauty and is supposed to be the happiest country in the world.
Between the high Himalayas, peaks such as 7,326m Jomolhari are popular trekking destinations. Saving the environment is not only a part of the rule, but Bhutanese believe that conservation of the environment is the way of life. Further, conservation of the environment is one of the basic pillars of their happiness index. Buddhist importance encourages people to focus more on what they already have than what they don’t. Possibly, this is why people are incredibly friendly, peaceful and hospitable. The people are peace-loving and disciplined.
Do not mistake Bhutan as just a museum of intriguing traditions. It is the land, which lives tradition and dreams. This high altitude destination with trekking trails, amazing nature and spiritual destination is not just the entire part of the Bhutan holiday. The land is perforated with multiple activities, which are one-of-a-kind. Here are the top things for you to do in Bhutan.
1. Hiking to Taktsang Monastery
The iconic Tiger’s Monastery is also known as the Tiger’s Nest is a trekking spot that takes around two hours or so to cover. Once there, look down at Paro Valley, you would witness a sight that would simply be mesmerizing and unforgettable.
2. Pay homage to Buddha Dordenma
Buddha Dordenma is a giant sculpture of Buddha in a sitting stance. Buddhist people go to this statue for pilgrimage travel in the Thimphu region of Bhutan. The statue is a significant attraction for tourists visiting Bhutan. Completed in 2015, it was built to get prosperity to the country. Don’t forget to walk around behind the Buddha statue to have a view from the top of it.
3. Visit the Dochu La Pass
On a clear day, Dochu La pass with its prayer flags and sights over the glorious Himalayas takes your breath away. See the highly elaborate Drukwangyal Lhakhang (temple) and the 108 chortens, constructed by the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to honour the Bhutanese troopers who were killed when battling the Indian rebels in the year 2003.
4. Experience the wildlife at the Phobjikha Valley
This stunning glacial valley lies at 2,900m. Post climbing up via dense forests dribbling with lychen, the vast, open stretch of dwarf bamboo can come as an amazement. The valley boasts two handsome meandering rivers, Nakay Chhu and Gay Chhu. Roosted overlooking this lovely, bowl-shaped valley is the village and monastery of Gangtey. As well as the holy black-necked cranes that perch here in the winter, there are also wild boar, barking deer, red fox, Himalayan black bear and leopard.
5. Explore the Gangtey Monastery
The Gangtey Monastery is right at the top of the hill and gives a spectacular view of Phobjikha Valley. The tranquil ambience soothes the mind and gives a chance to have a peek at yaks or black neck cranes.
6. Indulge in the tranquillity of the Royal Manas National Park
An extension of its Indian half, the Royal Manas National Park is a wildlife reserve and a nature park that is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna, including various indigenous species. It is a nursery to more than 900 classes of plants and trees and 365 species of birds across 1057 sq. km. So, do include binoculars in your bags to get a glimpse of the wildlife.
7. Punakha Suspension Bridge
Experiencing the nation’s second-longest suspension bridge is one of the most things to do in Bhutan. It spans the Mo Chhu and Po Chhu (rivers) and measures 160-180 metres in length. Punakha Dzongkhag is linked to the rest of the valley by one of the world’s oldest suspension bridges. This arched wooden bridge, constructed high above the river Po Chu, connects the Punakha Dzong with Punakha City and the other villages spread around the valley. If you’re looking for a gush of thrill and an adrenaline rush while being enveloped by stunning natural beauty, paying a visit to this Bridge is a must-do.
8. Wangdue Phodrang
Wangdue Phodrang is one of the largest dzongkhags in the country. As the district enfolds 4,308 sq. km and runs from 800-5800 m in altitude. It is a peaceful and serene town known for its slate and stone carvings, and bamboo products. Its picturesque backdrop and mesmerising views leave you spellbound.
9. Relive the history at the National Museum of Bhutan
Housing more than 3000 artefacts dating back to 1500 years, the National Museum of Bhutan has made Ta Dzong a must-visit place in Paro Valley for the inquisitive travellers visiting Bhutan. In a conch shell-shaped building, there is a collection of festival masks, religious statues and thangkas – scroll painting.
10. Few other must-visit attractions in the Happiest country of the world
- Punakha Dzong is a well known 17th-century fortress that is beside the Pho and Mo Chhu rivers. Its grand majestic architecture makes it a breathtaking sight.
- Jigme Dorji National Park is an ideal place for trekking and hiking. It is inhabitant by some of the endangered animals such as the red panda, snow leopard and Asiatic wild dog.
- Jakar Dzong, also known as Chamkhar, Jakar resides near the foothills of Chokhor Valley. It is the largest Dzong all over Bhutan. It is a seat to the administrative offices for the Bumthang district.
- Trashi Chhoe Dzong – Built in the 18th century, it acts as a monastery, administrative centre but is constructed like a fortress. It is the most visited Bhutan tourist attraction.