There are many reasons to visit Bhutan. For those who want a relaxing vacation, you will be treated like royalty with traditional massages and hot stone baths. Others may want to travel along the mountain ranges and bask in the glorious landscapes. Some may seek spiritual fulfillment. Visiting monasteries and temples may offer an air of enlightenment.
There are numerous reasons why many people are visiting Bhutan:
- Bhutan is recognized as not only the carbon sink of the neighboring countries, but as the world’s only carbon negative country. This is because Bhutan has about 70% with the forest covered.
- Unique and rich culture preserved.
- Scared heritage
- Rich in biodiversity
- Kind warmhearted, peace loving, smiley-happy people ready to greet and help.
- The only country that measures its success by happiness and not by the Gross Domestic Product(GDP)-only country known to outside world as Gross National Happiness Country.
- Bhutan still holds onto and tactfully balance with onslaught of globalization when rest of the world has lost it.
- 1. Tiger’s Nest – Also known as Taktsang, is said to be the most spiritual place in Bhutan. The temple sits on the edge of a mountainside above the Paro Valley. The walk is 3,000 feet over the valley where you can experience the peaceful and tranquil Bhutan landscape. The temple was built to commemorate Guru Rinpoche. He came to that location the back of a flying tigress. After meditating for 3 years, Rinpoche worked to convert the Bhutan people to Buddhism.
- 2. Punakha Dzong – Surrounded by Jacaranda trees, the Punakha Dzong is one of the most beautifully crafted dzongs in Bhutan. It was the second dzong built in the kingdom as its capital. Later in the 1950’s, Thimphu became the country’s capital city. The Punakha Dzong rests on the edge of the convergence of the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu Rivers. Over the years, a flood, an earthquake, and several fires have damaged he fortress, but it continues to be rebuilt with its ancient architectural integrity.
- 3. Festivals/Tshechu – Tschechus are religious festivals honoring Guru Rinpoche. Families gather to receive blessings and enjoy masked dancers as well as other performers that entertain the crowd. The festivals are held in several dzongs and goembas throughout the year. One of the most popular is the Punakha Tshechu and Drubchen, which is the only festival that reenacts the 1634 Battle of the Five Lamas.
- 4. Bumdra Trek – Bhutan offers a 2 or 3-day trek to the Bumdra Monastery. This guided tour is complete with the addition of a cook, assistant, and horses to carry your belongings. Starting at the Sang Choekhor Buddhist College, you will journey through a clearing that holds magnificent views of the Bhutan valleys and mountaintops. The first night will be spent in The Cave of a Thousand Prayers, which is just beneath the Bumdra Monastery. Visit the monastery and then travel on down the mountain to the Taktsang Monastery and on to the Paro Valley.
- 5. Soi Yaksa Trek – This trek is a 12-day tour of the Bhutan Kingdom. The trekking level is moderate, meaning that some of the terrain is smooth and easily travelled, while other parts are quite arduous. Reaching elevations of 4700 meters, you will explore wildlife, mountain peaks, and ancient temples.
- 6. Bumthang Valley – Bumthang Dzongkhag is a massive region that is made up of the Choekhor, Tang, Chhume, and the Ura Valleys. Choekhor Valley is the largest of the region as is considered the Bumthang Valley. This peaceful valley is filled with apple orchards, dairy farms, potato patches, and rice and buckwheat fields.The first Swiss cheese making facility in Bhutan began in Bumthang. The factory is also a brewery that houses the best beer in Bhutan named the Red Panda. Guests can tour the brewery and cheese factory during specified hours.
- 7. Uma Punakha – The Uma by COMO Punakha is a resort style retreat that offers 11 luxury rooms with exquisite views of the Punakha Valley. The hotel contains a romantic restaurant with intercontinental and traditional Bhutanese cuisine and a luxurious spa with relaxing hot stone bath treatments.
- 8. Black-Necked Crane – The crane is a wildlife creature that comes to the Phobjikha Valley every winter. It is an endangered species and is celebrated by the Bhutanese annually with the Black-Necked Crane Festival. This 9-day event is intended to bring awareness to the bird’s importance. The Crane Festival is held on the King’s birthday, November 11th.
- 9. Traditional Textiles – Traditional textiles are generally created by Bhutanese women. The material is handwoven and dyed with intricate patterns making each garment unique. The National Textile Museum is in Thimphu.
- 10. Gom Kora – The Gom Kora or Gomphu Kora is a beautifully erected temple that is covered with Buddhist carvings. This is the site where the Guru Rinpoche meditated. He left his impressions on a rock. It is said that Rinpoche was meditating in a cave and was so startled by an approaching demon that he left his imprint on a rock. Once he turned into a garuda, he left an imprint of his wings on nearby rocks. Guru Rinpoche struck a deal with the demon to allow him to finish his meditations. The deal was sealed with two fingerprints left on the rocks that can still be seen.