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Unveiling the Mysteries of Bhutan: A Memorable Himalayan Journey

Published: 16th Aug, 2019

Bhutan is the only remaining Himalayan kingdom shrouded with mysteries and magic. Being born and bought up in Nepal, It is my dream to visit Bhutan “The Land of Thunder Dragon”. As there is a direct flight to Bhutan from Nepal, presumably this will be the best opportunity to board the Bhutan trip. I have read Bhutan holds many surprises, I have tried white rice and brown ones, but have never had a chance to see or try red rice, this will quite be a surprise. I am not into spices, however, I will be visiting a country, where chilies aren’t just used for seasoning but is the main dish.

For me price might be a little concerning as I try to do a budget trip, foreigner visitors will famously have to pay a minimum tariff of US$ 250 per day, making Bhutan one of the world’s most expensive destinations. Matter of fact, it seems Bhutanese pride on quality tourism rather than quantity tourism. However, the tariff is all-inclusive- accommodation, food, transport, and an official guide, after all, it is not a bad deal.

So the question is why am I planning my trip to this expensive destination?

First reason:

I would like to visit the miraculous and mysterious sights in this tiny Himalayan Kingdom. Hence, I have carefully designed my Bhutan itinerary to include all the important sights.

Owing to the only international airport, the most spectacular dzongs, Bhutanese architecture, and the infrastructure, the western region of Bhutan sees more visitors compared to the central and eastern parts of the country. For visitors traveling by air, Paro is the first destination as it has the only international airport.

Paro Dzong

Day 1 & Day 2:


As this will be my private trip, I will meet my guide at the Paro airport. After lunch, I will visit the famous Paro Dzong and National Museum. After one overnight at Paro, the next morning, I will venture to one of the most famous attractions in Bhutan Taktshang Monastery

Located 800 meters above the Paro floor, Taktsang Monastery or Tiger Nest is a sight. Further, this site is one of the most venerated religious sites in Bhutan. I would love to know about the flying tigers and Guru Rinpoche seducing the demons that seems like a fairy tale. This site must surely have a legendary history which I would like to know from an experienced local guide.

Day 3 & Day 4:


After two nights in Paro, my next destination will be Thimphu, the world’s most fascinating capital. Various famous attractions dots this capital. Among those, I will be visiting:

  1. Tashi Chhoe Dzong with a peaceful courtyard of its grand and tranquil fortress
  2. Buddha Dordenma, awe aspiring 50 m Buddha statue that gazes over the city
  3. National Institute for Zorig Chusum, to gain insight into the skill and artistry of Bhutanese arts and crafts and arts at this craft school
  4. Changangkha Lhakhang, which is Thimphu’s liveliest temple.
  5. National Memorial Chorten, a religious structure in Thimphu and a center for many Bhutanese worshipers

National Memorial Chorten

Day 5:


This day is my trip to Punakha over Dochu- La pass. The Bhutan trip is incomplete without a visit to beautiful Punakha Dzong.

I might stop at Dochu La for lunch. If the weather is good, I might take an opportunity for an hour’s hike through the colorful rhododendron forest above Dochu-La. The explanation behind making a trip to Punakha is to visit the wonderful Punakha Dzong.

Lying in a confluence of two rivers and commended by Punakha Dzong, undoubtedly one of the most dramatic and beautiful examples of Bhutanese architecture in the country. Furthermore, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking in this surreal valley.

Day 6:


On this day I will make my return to Paro after hiking to nearby Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of the ” Divine Madman”. After arriving in Paro, I will spend the day visiting the city.

Day 7:

I will take an early flight back to Nepal

Second Reason: Gross National Happiness (GNH) – An Elusive Philosophy

I would like to know how Gross National Happiness (GNH) has become the country’s philosophical banner and a gift to the world. In times when countries throughout the world are grappling with GDP, how have the Bhutanese managed their economy in terms of  GNP? Gauging their citizen’s happiness levels and not GDP without doubt the country wants their citizThis philosophy has certainly gained legendary status as a real-life Shangri-La, to a great extent for its dedicated and systematic quest of the most elusive concept of GNH.

In times when countries throughout the world are grappling with GDP, how have the Bhutanese managed their economy in terms of GNP?

Gauging its citizen’s level of Happiness rather than GDP is instead a revolutionary philosophy putting a value on the things like health, education, and individual well – among others. It is clear that Bhutan is placing the natural world at the heart of the policy leading to environmental protection being enshrined in the constitution.

Third  & Final Reason: Traditional Buddhist Culture

Youths in Cultural Attire

Bhutan is the only country in the world that carefully embraces its traditional Bhutanese culture. During my Bhutan trip, this sacred side of the country interested me the most. The fluttering prayer flags, domestic rituals, white chortens, and the portrait of the Buddhist saint are carved into the rocks.  Matter of fact, Buddhism is inscribed into the very landscape of Bhutan. Furthermore, Bhutan’s magnificent art, dance, music, and even architecture have their roots in Buddhism.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q: What makes Bhutan an expensive destination for travelers?

A: Bhutan imposes a minimum daily tariff for foreign visitors, which includes accommodation, food, transport, and an official guide. This minimum tariff contributes to the perception of Bhutan as an expensive destination.

Q: What are some must-visit attractions in Bhutan?

A: Some of the must-visit attractions in Bhutan include Paro Dzong, Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest), Tashi Chhoe Dzong, Buddha Dordenma, National Institute for Zorig Chusum, Changangkha Lhakhang, National Memorial Chorten, and Punakha Dzong.

Q: What is Gross National Happiness (GNH) and why is it important in Bhutan?

A: GNH is a philosophy embraced by Bhutan that prioritizes the well-being and happiness of its citizens over economic growth. It focuses on factors such as health, education, individual well-being, cultural preservation, and environmental protection. Bhutan's commitment to GNH sets it apart from countries that solely prioritize GDP.

Q: How has Bhutan managed its economy in terms of GNH instead of GDP?

A: Bhutan has implemented policies and initiatives that prioritize sustainable development, cultural preservation, environmental conservation, and good governance. The country follows a balanced approach that considers social and environmental factors alongside economic growth.

Q: What is the significance of Bhutanese traditional Buddhist culture?

A: Bhutan is known for carefully embracing its traditional Bhutanese culture, which is deeply intertwined with Buddhism. The country's art, dance, music, architecture, and even the landscape reflect its Buddhist heritage. Bhutan's cultural traditions, rituals, and reverence for Buddhism contribute to its unique identity.

Q: What is the best way to experience Bhutan's natural beauty and cultural heritage?

A: To experience Bhutan's natural beauty and cultural heritage, visiting attractions like Paro Dzong, Taktsang Monastery, Punakha Dzong, and exploring the traditional Buddhist culture through art, dance, and music is recommended. Engaging with experienced local guides can provide deeper insights into the country's rich history and traditions.

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