Mapplr Travel Guide to Bhutan

Bhutan

Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan

Bhutan “the land of the Thunder Dragon” is one of those places that you should visit quickly before it changes.  Tucked between India and China, Bhutan is an excellent place to experience a culture imbued with Tibetan-style Buddhism but which has not been damaged like Tibet has been. Unlike chaotic Nepal and polluted India, Bhutan is safe, the air is clean, education and health services are free to all and the local population is friendly and welcoming to tourists.

Why go

1) It is a spiritual place – Guru Rinpoche is venerated here and his adventures are painted on the walls of many monasteries.

2) The fortresses (Dzongs) and monasteries are incredibly preserved.

3) The hike up to Tiger’s Nest is a must for the journey and the views.

4) Where else is GNH (gross national happiness) more important than GDP?

5) The Himalayas

Travel Agencies

Travelling to Bhutan requires using a local tour guide. Moreover, tourists are required to spend $250 per day although that amount includes the guide, hotels, transportation and food. The daily spending requirement ensures a reasonable level of tourism, much different from the crowds that go to Kathmandu or Thailand. We used the travel agency Yu Druk which was excellent, but there are many other local agencies you can find via the Web.

How to get there

Druk Air is the official airline of Bhutan and the only airline currently flying to Paro airport. For those coming from Europe, one can catch flights from New Delhi or Kathmandu, while people from the US West cost and Australia can connect through Bangkok or Singapore.

When to go

Spring and fall are the best seasons.  In spring you will see flowers blooming, while the fall should offer the best mountain views and festivals.

Where to stay

The tour company will take care of hotels. Most hotels included in a standard tour are clean, comfortable 3-star hotels with free WiFi. Five star hotels do exist in Bhutan (such as the Amankora which charges over $750 per night).

What to do

Bhutan is first and foremost about the culture and the people. Visiting the main villages like Paro, Thimphu and Phunakha is a must.  Other activities include mountain biking, retreats and a variety of treks from short ones to the epic 3-week Snowman trek.

Thimpu buddha

Buddha statue in Thimpu

 

Monastery in Bhutan

Monastery in Bhutan

About Arnon Kohavi

Arnon is a tech entrepreneur and worldwide traveler. He writes hotel reviews and travel guides for Mapplr to help people find the best places and itineraries.