Bhutan- the tranquility and beauty of this Himalayan kingdom is unfathomable, you will only know the reason behind it being such a famous tourist spot, once you visit. This Buddhist land of Bhutan is a wonderland of sorts for travellers looking for some peace and seeking spirituality. For others, there is lots more to discover and do in Bhutan. Read on to find out:
Things to do in Bhutan
1) Admire the ancient architecture at the Punakha Dzong
Seated at the confluence of the beautiful rivers of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu in Punakha & Khuruthang , Bhutan the Dzong is resplendent in a gold, black and red, the Punakha’s whitewashed walls are a delight for visitos, especially when the sun’s ray’s bounce back as they hit these walls. After serving as the capital for the longest time, the Dzong now stands tall as one of the most beautiful architectural structures. Along with being the classic architectural Bhutanese structure, the Dzong is also home to the remains of the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and holy artefact Ranjung Karsapani.
2) Bring out your inner adventure freak and go kayaking
Bhutan has 6 main rivers which, along with their tributaries, offer great opportunities to experienced, as well as new kayakers. The best places to go Kayaking in Bhutan are the Paro Valley, Punakha Valley and Trongsa Valley. Make sure you choose your kayaking spot carefully as some of the rivers have violent currents, unsuitable for amateurs.
3) Walk down the Punakha Suspension Bridge
The suspension bridge is one of the most beautiful places that you can visit when in Bhutan. Located very close to the Punakha Dzong, this bridge is suspended over the gushing Po Chu river. The bridge is link between the Punakha Valley and many other neighbouring villages.
4) Rejuvenate at the Hot Springs in Bhutan
Popularly known as ‘Tshachus’, the Hot Springs of Bhutan are believed to have super healing property. The locals follow the tradition of visiting these hot springs in the months of winter, especially to cure themselves of aches or pains. The best way to get to a hot spring is to go trekking around the forests that surround these magical healing waters. While there are many hot springs in Bhutan, the main hot springs are the Gasa Tshachus (about a ten-hour trek from Punakha), Dur Tshachus (Bumthang) and the Duenmang Tshachus situated by the Mangde Chu and Gelephu Tshachu rivers.
5) Learn archery
The sport of archery has been played by the locals right from the 1920s. The equipments used in the sport have now evolved from bamboo-made arrows and bows to more modern equipment. Archery is considered to be one of the main sports in Bhutan, to the extent that any festival celebrated without archery, is considered incomplete. If you are looking at participating in an archery tournament in Bhutan, find out about the villages that would be holding these tournaments around the time of your trip.
6) Chele La Pass
Known as one of the highest and most accessible points, the Chele La Pass is perched at a height of 13000 feet, offering a very thrilling experience to travellers seeking some adventure on their trip to Bhutan. If you happen to visit in the winters, you would definitely be in for a treat as the sites of cascading waterfalls, frozen rivers and alpines make your trail even more visually enticing than they would, normally. Not too excited about trekking? The Chele La Pass is also very easily accessible by motorcycles. Make sure you pull out your cameras to capture the views of the Jomolhari and the Jichu Drake.
7) Sample authentic Bhutanese cuisine
As they say, you cannot totally experience another country and it’s culture till you don’t get your hands on the local cuisine. If you hear the locals going on and on about a local dish called the ‘Ema Datshi’, there has got to be something superb that the Bhutanese cuisine has, for you to taste. Ema Datshi is prepared with cheese and chilled, making it the most loved delicacy of the cuisine. Usually eaten with rice, you will find lots of varieties of Ema Datshi making their way to your plate, including some that are red, green and white.
Hotels in Bhutan:
1) Taj Tashi
Lined with mountains, the Taj Tashi is one of the most popular 5-star hotels in Bhutan. With archaic and traditional Dzong architecture, the hotel is also home to a hot stone bath within its Spa and offers some of the yummiest Bhutanese food for diners. One of the best things about the Taj Tashi is that it is centrally located, making the monasteries and local festivals, more easily accessible.
Where? Samten Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan.
2) RKPO Green Resort
The RKPO Green is decorated with intricate patterns in the Dragon colours of red, green and yellow. This resort is also home to a sprawling organic vegetable garden that produces some of the freshest vegetables, you can only imagine the quality of the food that the resort serves, using crisp veggies right from their farm. Apart from walking around the vegetable garden, you can also participate in archery, the Bhutanese dart sport and shake a leg with local mask dancers.
Where? Punakha, Bhutan.
3) The Swiss Guest House
Located around beautiful apple orchards, there’s plenty of things that you can do, when staying at the Swiss Guest House. Being one of the oldest lodging properties in Bumthang, the Swiss Guest House is a classic stay option in Bhutan if you are looking for great hospitality coupled with a cosy sojourn. The in-house restaurant also serves some of the yummiest food so you won’t have to worry about your meals when staying at this Guest House.
Where? Kharsumphe, Bumthang 32001, Bhutan.
As you might have realized, Bhutan is a melting pot of culture, beauty and spirituality clubbed into a beautiful heritage site. While it gives tourists a chance to explore the brightly coloured landscapes, it also gives those of us seeking some thrill, an opportunity to participate in trekking the mountain ranges and peaks around Bhutan.