Why Travel Bhutan?

Bhutan is one from many places where you can choose as a holiday travel destination. If you decide to travel to Bhutan, you will take along many amazing memories which you will cherish throughout your life. Bhutan may be the smallest country but, is very beautiful and a happy country to live in. And for a reason its is called “the last shangri La on earth.”


Bhutan has been declared as best holiday packages in Asia as:

Tiger’s nest in term “Taktsang” is the most popular tourist’s destination located in Paro, few hours’ drive from the capital. It is because the monastery is located at the tip of mountain that the place sounds special. It is said that Guru Rinpoche a great saint, who lived in 700 AD, known for his eight manifestations, flew to this cliff on a flaming tigress and meditated there. If you happen to visit there, you will still see the cave and the images of Guru Rinpoche and you will be able to discover many histories based on Guru Rimpoche as well. Similarly there are numerous visiting sites across the country.

Thimphu the capital of Bhutan has a beautiful city and is the biggest city in the country. Many houses are built in western style however fewer houses still have traditional style houses with a roof top. In Thimphu, there lies a beautiful statue of Buddha, a castle or fortress of Trashichho dzong and memorial chorten (A temple) built in the memory of his majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk the third king and it is the most important religious site in the capital city.

Chimi Lhakhang which is the most honored temple is located between Thimphu and Punakha. The temple was built in dedication to the divine mad man ‘Lama Drukpa Kuenley’. It is famous for blessings couples with children. It is believed that if you are unable to reproduce, you can visit the temple and get blessing in the form of a child.

It was once named as ‘the land of medicinal herbs’ for having 300 different types of medicinal plants and 46 different varieties of rhododendrons. It has 90 mammals of species and some 770 species of birds. The Phobjikha valley is the one which is stunningly beautiful valley famous for black neck cranes.


What makes Bhutan so unique?

It is a country with many histories of great lamas and scholars, who contributed so much in nation building, such as introduction of Buddhism as a religion, built many monasteries and fortresses. Every year Tsechu (a Bhutanese festival) is being conducted. There people get to witness the traditional Bhutanese style masquerade dances, the re-enactment of history and also the journey from hell towards the heaven is clearly recited by the monks wearing masks. It is a special Bhutanese belief that the one who witness the Festival (Teschu) will receive blessings and all the sins will be cleansed.

If you are concerned with the diet of Bhutanese then you should better not worry. Agriculture is the back bone, where framers grows their own vegetables and crops with traditional methods. There are no chemicals used in producing foods and are 100 percent pure organic. The national dish “Ema Datshi”, is the fiery blend of green chili with some onion on locally produced cheese. It is very taste curry served with red rice along with butter tea ‘suja’.


Is alcohol available in Bhutan?

Yes it is available with all international and national brands of alcohols. It is sold at a very cheaper rate and there is no issue in drinking at public places. There are also locally produced traditional alcohols such as Ara which is produced out of fermented rice. It tastes very strong and recommended for those people who have experimental taste.


What is so special about Bhutan?

Bhutan is known to the outside world as the country of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which in another term is a country of happiness. It is a place where developments of mental and emotional well-being of citizens are given more importance rather than material development.

While the world is moving in a faster pace of development, Bhutan continues to remain as it was a century ago. The unique cultural and tradition preserved from generations can still be seen today. Bhutanese take pride in preserving and promoting its beautiful culture and traditions.

It is also listed as the only county which is carbon neutral. It takes bold promise to remain carbon neutral throughout life time by maintaining sixty percent of forest coverage as mentioned in the constitution and the fact is it is a carbon negative as of now.

The government strongly adhere to its policy of ‘high value, low impact’ tourism policy. It has served the purpose of creating an image of exclusivity and high yield with low impact on the country’s environment and culture.


How can I get visa to Bhutan?

If you are planning to visit the land of Thunder Dragon after knowing how beautiful is then you must get a visa to visit. You must obtain a visa clearance prior to travel. Visas are processed through online system by licensed Bhutanese tour operator directly through foreign travel agent. You are required to send photo page of your passport to your tour operator to apply for visa.

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Bhutan Geography

Bhutan Geography: The kingdom of Bhutan lies deep in the eastern Himalayas. It is surrounded by the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China to the north, and the Indian territories of Assam and West Bengal to the south, Arunachal Pradesh to the east and Sikkim to the west. The tiny landlocked kingdom has a total area of 46,500 km² and spreads between meridians 89°E and 93°E, and latitudes 27°N and 29°N.


The altitude zones of Bhutan

The relief of Bhutan geography can be divided into three altitude zones, namely, the the Greater Himalayas of the north, the hills and valleys of the the Inner Himalayas, and the foothills and plains of the Sub-Himalayan Foothills.

1. The Greater Himalayas

The towering Himalayan mountains of Bhutan dominate the north of the country, where peaks can easily reach 7,000 meters (22,966 ft) above the sea level. Some of the best known peaks are Jiwuchudrakey and Jumo Lhari. Permanent snow, glaciers and barren rocks form the main features of this zone. These snowy, glacial high lands are the sources for many of the rivers of Bhutan. At a little higher altitude, you will reach the tree line, the point where the vegetation changes from forest into small bushes of juniper and rhododendrons.

2. The Inner Himalayas

Rising continuously from the lower foothills to a height of about 4000 metres, the valleys of different heights and topography makes the country an ideal place for both native people and tourists within the mainland of Bhutan. The valleys of Bhutan are traversed by the country’s five major river systems and their tributaries which ultimately drain to the Brahmaputra River in India.

The valleys are linked by a series of passes (called “La” in Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan). Between the Haa valley and Paro valley is the Chele La (3,780 meters (12,402 ft), the highest pass crossed by a Bhutanese highway. The Lateral Road from Thimphu to Punakha crosses the Dochu La (3,116 meters (10,223 ft)), which features 108 chortens (stupas) built to commemorate the expulsion of Assamese guerrillas. To the east of Wangdue Phodrang is the Pele La (3,390 meters (11,122 ft).

Continuing to the east along the main highway, other major passes include the Yotang La, Thrumshing La and Kori La (2,298 meters (7,539 ft).

The vegetation in this zone is a mixture of broad-leaved and coniferous forest.

3. The Sub-Himalayan Foothills

Stretched along the southern border of the country, the Duar Plain drops sharply away from the Himalayas into the large tracts of sub-tropical forest, grasslands and bamboo jungle. The altitude of the southern foothills ranges from about 200 meters at the lowest point to 2000 meters. This zone is rich in dense and sub-tropical vegetation.

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Facts About Bhutan

Bhutan may be one of the smallest countries in the world with a population of just 7,50,000, but its unique cultural and traditional diversity and richness are still preserved and is actually thriving even at this modern world. The blend of age old tradition and culture with modern times in Bhutan is truly intriguing.

This is what Vikas Khanna, a Michelin Star Chef, who owns a Restaurant “Junnon” in New York, USA has to say:

5 reasons why Chef Vikas Khanna loves Thimphu

Award-winning chef, Vikas Khanna is the owner of New York’s Michelin star restaurant, Junoon. When he’s not cooking, he can be seen on TV judging people’s culinary skills on MasterChef India.

So, a strong emphasis has been laid out by the government to promote and preserve its unique Buddhist traditional culture. And by protecting and nurturing Bhutan’s living culture, it is believed that it will help project the face of the nation to the entire world, something like a living museum along with its happy citizens and a 70% green environment thereby creating (GNH) or Gross National Happiness as enshrined by the country’s constitution.


Traditional Bhutanese eating habits are simple and, in general, food is eaten with bare hands. Family members eat while sitting cross legged on the wooden floor of the traditional kitchen with food first being served to the head of the household.

It is usually women who serve the food and in most cases, the mother. Before eating, a short prayer is offered and a small morsel placed on the floor as an offering to the local spirits and deities. With rapid modernization, eating habits have however changed and in urban areas, people usually eat with the latest cutlery seating at regular dining tables.

Traditionally dishes were/are cooked in earthenware pots, but with the easy availability of modern goods, fancy pots and pans have largely replaced them. A typical Bhutanese meal consists of rice, which is the main dish and side dishes of Ema Datshi, the national dish of chili and cheese, various pork, beef dishes or lentils and the hot Bhutanese fiery Ezzay which is quite similar to the hot sambals of southeast Asia but with a nice generous dose of Sichuan pepper.

Bhutanese Food: 25 Best Dishes To Eat When You’re In Bhutan!

Mark Wiens is a World Famous Food and Travel Blogger based in Bangkok, Thailand.


The birth of a child is always welcomed like everywhere else in the world. In Bhutan, extended family members and guests are discouraged from visiting the child during the first three days after the birth.

On the third day, a short purification ritual is performed after which visitors are welcomed to visit the new born and mother. Bhutanese value children as progenitors of the future and therefore do not discriminate on the sex of the child. Traditionally various gifts are offered ranging from dairy products to cloth and money.

The child is not immediately named; this responsibility is usually entrusted to the Head Lama (Buddhist priest) of the local temple. The mother and child will also receive blessings from the local deity (natal deity) and it is traditional that the name associated with the deity is given. In some cases, the child is given the name of the day on which the child is born. Based on the Bhutanese calendar, a horoscope is written based on the time and date of the birth, this will detail the various rituals to be performed at different times in the life of the child and to an extent predict his or her future.


Until just a few decades ago, arranged marriages were common and many married among their relatives. In eastern Bhutan cross-cousin marriages were also once common., However, this practice is now becoming less common place among the .literate masses and most marriages are based on the choice of the individuals.

Marriages are simple affairs and are usually kept low-key. However, elaborate rituals are performed for lasting unions between the bride and the bridegroom. As the religious ceremony comes to an end, parents, relatives and friends of the couple present the newlyweds with traditional offerings of scarves along with gifts in the form of cash and goods.

In Western Bhutan, it is commonplace that the husband goes on to live in his wife’s house after marriage whereas the practice in Eastern Bhutan is for the wife to move into the husband’s home. Of course, the newlyweds may also choose to live on their own. Divorce is also an accepted norm and carries no ignominy or disgrace within the community.


One of the most distinctive features of the .Bhutanese is their traditional dress, unique garments that have evolved over thousands of years. Men wear the Gho, a knee-length robe somewhat resembling a kimono that is tied at the waist by a traditional belt known as Kera. The pouch which forms at the front traditionally was used for carrying food bowls and a small dagger. Today however it is more accustomed to carrying small articles such as wallets, mobile phones and Doma (beetle nut).

Women wear the Kira, a long ankle-length dress accompanied by a light outer jacket known as a Tego with an inner layer known as a Wonju.

However, some tribal and semi-nomadic people like the Bramis and Brokpas of eastern Bhutan generally wear clothing that differs from the rest of the Bhutanese population. The Brokpas and the Bramis both wear dresses woven either out of Yak or Sheep hair.

Bhutanese wear long scarves when visiting Dzongs and other administrative centers. The scarves worn vary in color, signifying the wearer’s status or rank. The scarf worn by men is known as Kabney while those worn by women are known as Rachus. .

The Rachu is hung over a woman’s shoulder and like the scarves worn by men, they too have specific rank associated with their color. Rachus are usually woven out of raw silk and embroidered with beautiful rich patterns.

Men’s DressFemale’s Dress (Click here to see it for yourself)

Driving Distance in Bhutan

Transportation in Bhutan

The Bhutanese National Highway is the only major connecting highway to when you are on a Bhutan Travel, it runs right from the West to East for several hundreds of kms, a 3.5 m-wide stretch of tarmac that winds its way up and down the hills and mountains at an excess of 2000 m.. across traditional bridges, alongside beautiful and astounding cliffs, a vibrant lush green environment and over high mountain passes with a good chill factor of the Himalayas.

There’s also the one that runs from the economic center of Phuentsholing City (300 m) near the Indian plains in the southeast to the capital city of Thimphu and there is also the one that connects Thimphu to Gelephu city in the south. The roads are currently being continuously upgraded up to a two lane highway (in the high mountains!) and therefore can be treacherous but thrilling at certain stretches.

The roads are steep and winding, making a journey of 100 km a fine morning adventure. Our contemporary fleet of 4WD SUVs, spacious Toyota station wagons, as well as our Toyota Coaster and Toyota Hi-Ace buses are perfectly suited and fitted to endure these long distances and winding roads.

For travelers who may be prone to “Motion Sickness”, we recommend you bringing ample medication with you as a precaution to counter the winding roads, but the stunning views you get to see on the way are to die for.

A relaxed attitude and a jest for thrilling adventure on your #Travel to Bhutan can get the most out of your exiting journey ahead.

Driving Distances in Bhutan

ParoThimphu City65 km01 hr
ParoHaa Valley65 km1.5 – 02 hrs
ThimphuHaa Valley115 km03 – 04 hrs
ThimphuPhuentsholing176 km07 – 08 hrs
ThimphuWangduephodrang70 km03 hrs
ThimphuPunakha77 km03 hrs
ThimphuPhobjhika (Gangtey)135 km5.5 – 06 hrs
PunakhaWangduephodrang13 km45 min
PunakhaPhobjhika (Gangtey)78 km03 hrs
PunakhaBumthang212 km08 hrs
BumthangGangtey (Phobjikha)188 km05 – 06 hrs
Gangtey (Phobjikha)Trongsa120 km4.5 – 05 hrs
PhobjikhaWangduephodrang65 km2.5 – 03 hrs
TrongsaWangduephodrang129 km4.5 – 05 hrs
TrongsaPunakha142 km06 hrs
TrongsaBumthang68 km02 hrs
BumthangMongar198 km07 – 08 hrs
MongarLhuentse76 km03 hrs
MongarTrashigang91 km03 – 04 hrs
TrashigangChorten Kora52 km02 hrs
TrashigangSamdrup Jongkhar180 km07 hrs
TrashigangTrashiyangtshe55 km02 hrs
Samdrup JongkharGuwahati (Assam, India)110 km03 hrs
Samdrup JongkharPhuentsholing400 km10 hrs
PhuentsholingBagdogra Airport (West Bengal, India)165 km4.5 hrs
PhuentsholingSiliguri City(West Bengal, India)155 km04 hrs
PhuentsholingDarjeeling City (West Bengal, India)200 km06 hrs
PhuentsholingKalimpong City (West Bengal, India)185 km05 hrs
PhuentsholingGangtok City (Sikkim, India)220 km07 hrs
PhuentsholingChalsa, Dooars (West Bengal, India)110 km2.5 hrs

Bhutan Altitude & Bhutan Elevation

When you Travel to BhutanThe Last Shangri La on Earth, the elevations and altitudes do happen to be on the higher side as is always consistent at all high Himalayan climes or in the entire world at large and at most times in Bhutan it averages 2000 m+ or even more higher, but the snow clad mountains and a lush green environment at your immediate visible foreground and background are always omnipresent, just about everywhere, and will indeed buffer your jittery thoughts about the cold trinket of the Himalayas. Average Bhutan Elevation is 8,000 feet above sea level..

And the 100% clean and rarified atmosphere of the pristine mountain air really clears the mind, heart and soul. It’s that kind of a soothing feeling that really gets about its business of refreshing all sort of humane things in you after it hits you at point blank range.. no Mexican standoff o’course!! It’s more about preparing yourself to be in the middle of it, all of a sudden, when you land at Paro Int’l Airport at 2280 m. The highest Bhutan elevation is 11,000 feet.

Snowman Trek roughly touches an altitude about 5350 meters. Most of the Bhutan elevation ranges from 1200 meters to 3773 meters.


Suggestive Altitude of Bhutan Precautions for your Trip to Bhutan:

  1. Acclimatization: Spend a day or two in Paro and Thimphu and get the hang of the climate and weather (acclimatize yourself!!). That will do a world of good to you and your body in particular.
  2. Carry all necessary stuff against: “High Altitude Sickness”. Consult your Doctor before embarking to Bhutan. Medicines, Clothes, other Paraphernalia as the Doctor suggests. Always remember the 2000 m+ barrier that you will have to cross.
  3. If you are from the equatorial region, please prepare a pre medicated thought process within yourself about the altitude of Bhutan and the consequences that lie ahead beforehand.
  4. If you are from Singapore (1° north of the equator), or thereabouts, don’t expect afternoon rainfalls, but an actually quite erratic cold climatic condition in Bhutan. The cold kind of creeps in and captures the whole scene as soon as the sun goes up! So carry a lot of woolens with you, and whenever you take off your shoes, don’t ever forget not to peel off your socks : it sure can be handy with it on you in the cold.
  5. If you ever suffer from “Altitude Sickness”, always descend to lower ground (altitude wise): repeat (always descend to lower ground) and detest yourself from consuming alcohol.
  6. If you suffer from severe “Altitude Sickness” during a trek, please advise your trek leader : asap, begin descending from your current altitude and drink plenty of fluids, water. Remember Trekking in Bhutan can go up to 5000 m or even more. It is recommended that visitors avoid any trekking or climbing until at least day 3 of their itinerary unless they are moderately fit and do not suffer from any lung related condition such as asthma.


Bhutan Elevations / Altitude of Bhutan

Paro City2,250 m / 7,382 ft.
Chelela Pass (Mountain Pass)3,980 m / 12,139 ft
Thimphu City2,350 m / 7,710 ft
Phuentsholing City300 m / 985 ft
Dochu La Pass (Mountain Pass)3,150 m / 10,334 ft
PunakhaTown1,310 m / 4,300 ft
Wangduephodrang Town1,310 m / 4,300 ft
Phobjhika (Gangtey) Valley2,900 m / 9,510 ft
Pele La Pass (Mountain Pass)3,420 m / 11,220 ft
Trongsa Town2,200 m / 7,215 ft
Yutong La Pass (Mountain Pass)3,425 m / 11,269 ft
Bumthang Valley2,800 m / 9,185 ft
Thrumshing La Pass (Mountain Pass)3,750 m / 12,303 ft
Mongar Town1,700 m / 5,580 ft
Korila Pass (Mountain Pass)2,450 m / 8038 ft
Trashigang Town3,773 m / 12,375 ft
Trashiyangtshe Town1,850 m / 6,070 ft