Luxury Holidays In BHUTAN

If Shangri La exists in the modern world, it must look an awful lot like Bhutan. With a pristine mountain environment, fairy-tale clifftop monasteries and a famous preference for Gross National Product, the last Himalayan kingdom has admirably managed to conserve its unique Buddhist identity. Yet change is slowly afoot. Hand over the substantial wad of dollars it takes to travel here and you’ll see noblemen in 15th-century traditional robes chatting on their mobile phones and saffron-robed monks paying their respects to bloodthirsty demons while discussing the recent elections. It’s all part of the charm of a country that offers travelers an alternative vision of what ‘development’ truly means.

Best time to visit in Bhutan

March to May, October to November

Places to visit in Bhutan

  • Taktshang Goemba (Tiger’s Nest) attached to the cliff-face by the hairs of angels.
  • The monastic buildings of Paro Dzong and the nearby National Museum.
  • The weekend market, museums aand bars of Thimpu, Bhutan’s only real town.
  • Punakha Dzong, Bhutan’s most beautiful building, set at the junction of the Mo (Mother) and Po (Father) rivers.
  • Bumthang Valley, a circuit of ancient 7th-century temples, sacred sites and hikes through rhododendron forests.

Top things to do in Bhutan

  • Trek along Himalayan trade routes to the sacred peak of Jhomolhari bordering Tibet.
  • Take in the banter and the boasting of an archery tournament in Thimpu.
  • Spot rare black-necked cranes in the glacier-carved Phobjikha Valley.
  • Watch snow lions dance and monks pacify demons during one of the country’s colourful tsechu (religious festivals).

Discover Bhutan

  • Read Beyond the Sky and Earth by Jamie Zeppa or Buttertea at Sunrise: A year in the Bhutan Himalaya by Brittle Das, for insights into Bhutanese culture from two women who lived there.
  • Listen to Endless songs from Bhutan by Jigme Drukpa, a timeless collection of traditional Bhutanese folk songs accomplished by lute and flute.
  • Watch Travellers ad Magicians, a stylish ‘film within a film’, directed by the reincarnated lama Khyentse Norbu.
  • Eat mouth-melting ema datse (green chillies and cheese) with Bhutanese pink rice.
  • Drink Red Panda beer, a delicious wheat beer brewed in the Bumthang valley.

Bhutan Highlights

Gross National Happiness, Shangri La, national dress, argyle socks, dzongs (monasteries), rhododendrons, expensive daily fees, archery, prayer flags, monks

One word for Bhutan Tourism

Kuzuzangbo la (Hello)

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