If you are looking for the best things to do in Bhutan, you’ve come to the right place.
As someone who has organized numerous trips to Bhutan over the past few years, we perfectly know how to make the most of your Bhutan trip. We’ve compiled a list of the 15 best things to do there in this blogpost.
Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon is a small kingdom nestled in the heart of the Himalayas where happiness is not just a concept but a way of life. Did you know that this small country located in the Himalayas is one of the happiest places on earth? The people of Bhutan place great importance on preserving their culture, environment, and happiness, making it a truly unique and special place to visit.
Bhutan is a land of awe-inspiring landscapes, rich history, and colorful traditions. From the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the lush green valleys and pristine rivers, there is no shortage of natural beauty to be found here. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, culture enthusiast, or just looking to relax and unwind, Bhutan has something to offer for everyone.
So, if you’re wondering what are the best things to do in Bhutan, get ready to be amazed. With so much to see and experience, Bhutan is a destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Come and discover the wonders of Bhutan for yourself, and you’ll leave with memories that will last a lifetime.
If you’re looking for an experience that truly captures the spirit of Bhutan, then visiting the Paro Taktsang Monastery is a must. Also known as the Tiger’s Nest, this stunning monastery is perched on a cliff 900 meters above the Paro Valley. The trek to the monastery is challenging, but the breathtaking views of the valley and the surrounding mountains make it worth the effort.
Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava, flew to this location on the back of a tiger and meditated in a cave here for several years. The monastery was later built around the cave and has been an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists ever since.
The monastery itself is a remarkable feat of architecture, with its intricate woodwork, vibrant murals, and gold-plated statues. Visitors can explore the various halls and rooms, each of which has its own unique significance. The highlight, however, is the meditation cave, where Guru Rinpoche is believed to have meditated.
Famous for: The Paro Taktsang Monastery is one of the most iconic and revered sites in Bhutan. It is a testament to the country’s rich cultural heritage and spiritual traditions. The site is famous for its stunning location, rich history, and remarkable architecture. A visit to this monastery is an experience that is sure to stay with you for a lifetime.
Attending a Tshechu festival in Bhutan is an unforgettable cultural experience. These annual festivals are held in different districts throughout the year and showcase Bhutanese culture through dance, music, and traditional costumes. The Tshechu festival is celebrated to commemorate Guru Rinpoche’s birth, who is considered the second Buddha in Bhutan. The highlight of the festival is the Cham dance, which is performed by trained monks and laymen.
Famous For: The Tshechu festival is famous for its vibrant and colorful displays of Bhutanese culture, including dance, music, and traditional costumes. It is a time for the community to come together and celebrate their heritage.
Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, is a bustling city with a unique blend of modernity and tradition. The streets of Thimphu are lined with traditional Bhutanese architecture, cafes, shops, and restaurants. One of the most popular attractions in Thimphu is the Clock Tower Square, which is the city’s cultural and commercial center. Visitors can explore the markets, sample local cuisine, and learn about Bhutanese culture.
Famous For: Thimphu is famous for its traditional Bhutanese architecture, markets, and street food. It is a unique blend of modernity and tradition that showcases the country’s unique culture.
Tashichho Dzong, also known as the “fortress of the glorious religion,” is a grand monastery and fortress located in Thimphu. It is the seat of the Bhutanese government and houses the throne room and offices of the king and other government officials. The dzong also houses several temples, including the temple of the chief abbot of Bhutan. Visitors can explore the courtyards, temples, and gardens of the dzong and learn about Bhutanese culture and history.
Famous For: Tashichho Dzong is famous for its grand architecture, stunning courtyards and gardens, and its significance as the seat of the Bhutanese government. It is a symbol of Bhutanese identity and a must-visit destination for any traveler to the country.
One of the must-try dishes in Bhutan is Ema Datshi, a traditional Bhutanese dish made with chilies and cheese. The dish is so popular that it’s considered the national dish of Bhutan. The cheese used in Ema Datshi is made from the milk of the local yak, and the dish is usually served with red rice. Ema Datshi is a staple dish in Bhutan, and you’ll find it on almost every menu in the country.
Famous For – Ema Datshi is famous for its unique flavor, which comes from the combination of spicy chilies and tangy cheese. It’s a must-try dish for anyone visiting Bhutan, and you’ll find it on the menu of almost every restaurant in the country.
Another must-try food experience in Bhutan is savoring momos (dumplings) and thukpa (noodle soup). These dishes are popular across the Himalayan region, and each country has its own variation. In Bhutan, momos are filled with vegetables or meat and are usually served with a spicy dipping sauce. Thukpa, on the other hand, is a hearty noodle soup made with vegetables or meat and is perfect for cold weather.
Famous For – Momos and thukpa are famous for their comforting and delicious taste, making them perfect for a quick and satisfying meal. You’ll find them at local restaurants and street stalls all over Bhutan.
No food experience in Bhutan is complete without sampling the local brews. Two popular drinks in Bhutan are ara and suja. Ara is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from rice, wheat, or barley. It’s usually served in small wooden cups and is a popular drink during festivals and celebrations. Suja, on the other hand, is a salty butter tea that’s a staple drink in Bhutan. It’s made with tea leaves, yak butter, salt, and water and is perfect for warming up on a cold day.
Famous For – Ara and suja are famous for their unique taste and are an essential part of Bhutanese culture. They’re usually served during special occasions and festivals, and you’ll find locals drinking them all over the country.
Hiking to the Jomolhari Base Camp is an adventure seeker’s dream come true. Located at an altitude of 4,080 meters, this base camp is the starting point for trekking to the majestic Jomolhari Mountain. The trek is challenging and requires some level of fitness, but the rewards are incredible. You will be rewarded with stunning views of snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes, and beautiful valleys. The trail takes you through the remote and untouched parts of Bhutan, where you will encounter traditional villages and experience the local way of life.
Famous for: The Jomolhari Base Camp trek is famous for its breathtaking views of the Jomolhari Mountain and the surrounding landscapes. It is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Bhutan.
Rafting in the Pho Chhu River is an exhilarating experience that will give you a chance to experience the thrill of adventure. The river is located in Punakha and is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and majestic mountains. The rapids in the river range from class I to class IV, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced rafters. The rafting trip takes you through pristine forests and traditional villages, where you can witness the local way of life.
Famous for: Rafting in the Pho Chhu River is famous for its rapids and the stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.
Bhutan is a paradise for mountain biking enthusiasts, with its rugged terrains and challenging trails. The country offers a variety of trails that cater to different levels of expertise, ranging from easy to advanced. You can bike through the beautiful countryside, ancient forests, and traditional villages, where you can experience the local culture and way of life. The mountain biking expedition in Bhutan is not only a thrilling adventure but also a great way to explore the hidden gems of the country.
Famous for: Bhutan’s mountain biking trails are famous for their challenging terrains, stunning views, and cultural immersion opportunities.
The Phobjikha Valley is one of the most popular tourist sites in Bhutan. The valley located in central Bhutan, is a winter paradise for black-necked cranes. Every year, these beautiful birds migrate from Tibet to the Phobjikha Valley to spend the winter months.
The valley is also home to the Gangtey Monastery, a beautiful 17th-century monastery that overlooks the valley. Take a leisurely walk in the valley and observe the cranes, surrounded by a breathtakingly beautiful landscape.
Famous for: Being a winter paradise for black-necked cranes and the beautiful Gangtey Monastery.
Dochula Pass, located at an altitude of 3,100 meters, is one of the most beautiful mountain passes in Bhutan. The pass offers stunning panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain range, including Bhutan’s highest peak, Gangkhar Puensum.
At the pass, you’ll find the Dochula Druk Wangyel Chortens, a set of 108 chortens (Buddhist shrines) built in honor of Bhutanese soldiers who died in a 2003 military conflict.
Famous for: Its stunning panoramic views of the Himalayas and the Dochula Druk Wangyel Chortens.
The Bumthang Valley, located in central Bhutan, is a beautiful valley surrounded by pine forests and apple orchards. The valley is also home to several important Buddhist temples, including the Jambay Lhakhang and Kurjey Lhakhang.
Take a leisurely nature walk in the valley and explore the beautiful surroundings, including the Chumey Valley and the Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake).
Famous for: Being a beautiful valley surrounded by pine forests and apple orchards and home to important Buddhist temples.
Bhutan is known for its serene and peaceful environment, making it an ideal destination for meditation retreats. Several monasteries in Bhutan offer meditation retreats, where you can learn and practice meditation techniques in a peaceful and spiritual environment. Some popular monasteries for meditation retreats include the Tango Monastery and the Phajoding Monastery.
Famous for: Its serene and peaceful environment, making it an ideal destination for meditation retreats.
The Kyichu Lhakhang, located in Paro, is one of Bhutan’s oldest and most sacred temples. The temple was built in the 7th century by the Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo.
It is said that the temple was built on the left foot of a giant ogress that was suppressing the growth of Buddhism in the region. The temple is adorned with beautiful murals and sculptures and is considered one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Bhutan.
Famous for: Being one of Bhutan’s oldest and most sacred temples and adorned with beautiful murals and sculptures.
Traditional hot stone baths are a popular way to unwind and relax in Bhutan. The bath is made by heating stones in a wood-fired stove, which are then placed in a wooden tub filled with water.
The heat from the stones releases minerals and essential oils, which are believed to have healing properties. Bhutan also has a rich tradition of traditional healing therapies, including herbal medicine and acupuncture.
Famous for: Its traditional hot stone baths and rich tradition of traditional healing therapies.
In conclusion, Bhutan is a hidden gem that offers a unique and authentic travel experience. From the stunning natural landscapes to the rich cultural heritage, there is something for every type of traveler. The vibrant festivals, delicious local cuisine, and warm hospitality of the Bhutanese people make it an unforgettable destination.
Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Bhutan has it all. So why not take the leap and explore this beautiful country? Come and discover the best things to do in Bhutan for yourself and create memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the magic of Bhutan.
What are some cultural experiences to have in Bhutan?
Bhutan is rich in culture, and there are many experiences to be had. Some of the best cultural experiences in Bhutan include attending a Tshechu festival, visiting the Paro Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest), and exploring the streets of Thimphu and visiting Tashichho Dzong.
What is the best food to try in Bhutan?
Bhutanese cuisine is unique and delicious, and there are many local dishes to try. Ema Datshi, a dish made with chilies and cheese, is a must-try, along with momos (dumplings) and thukpa (noodle soup). You can also sample local brews such as ara and suja.
What are some outdoor activities to do in Bhutan?
Bhutan is known for its stunning natural beauty, and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Hiking to Jomolhari base camp, rafting in the Pho Chhu River, and going on a mountain biking expedition are just a few of the exciting activities to try.
What are some unique experiences to have in Bhutan?
Bhutan is a unique country with many experiences that you can’t have anywhere else. Observing black-necked cranes in the Phobjikha Valley, attending a meditation retreat in a monastery, and experiencing a hot stone bath and traditional healing therapies are some of the unique experiences that you can have in Bhutan.
What are some of the best natural attractions to see in Bhutan?
Bhutan is home to many natural attractions, including the Dochula Pass, the Bumthang Valley, and the Phobjikha Valley. These places offer stunning scenery, wildlife, and unique cultural experiences.
Is Bhutan expensive to visit?
Bhutan has a daily tourist tariff, but this covers most of the expenses of your trip, including accommodation, meals, and transportation. While Bhutan may be more expensive than other destinations, the experience is well worth it for the unique cultural and natural experiences you can have.
What is the best time to visit Bhutan?
The best time to visit Bhutan is during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) when the weather is mild, and the skies are clear. However, each season has its unique experiences, so it depends on what you want to do during your trip.
Do I need a visa to visit Bhutan?
Yes, all tourists visiting Bhutan need a visa, which is processed through an authorized travel agency. The visa fee is included in the daily tourist tariff.