Bhutan, the country that measures development in Gross National Happiness, has gained high popularity with its expansion in tourist base. Being surrounded by land, it shares its border with China, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet and thus, it is a complete package for all the nature lovers. Situated at a prime location in South Asia, Bhutan is the second least populous nation after the Maldives.
With increased fame, Bhutan has now become a famous holiday spot. Here is a list of top places you need to include in your package to make the most of your holiday.
Tiger’s Nest Monastery: Also known as Taktsang Monastery, this place is located outside Paro and you must include it in your holiday package. This place is very close to the airport, thus you can avoid long travel. The steep road gives it a height of 3000 meters, and the beautiful trek gives a fantastic view of the monastery. Interestingly the monastery is still working, and you can spot various monks living in the mountains. This destination will surely make your holiday worth remembering.
Rinpung Dzong is a mesmerizing fort of Bhutan which was built in the 16th century. It is commonly known as the Fortress on a Heap of Jewels and thus is one of the popular inclusions in Bhutan holiday packages. It is a classic example of Bhutanese architecture and deep-rooted culture and traditions. Every year the annual fest of tshechu is celebrated at this place and it begins from the eleventh day to the fifteenth day of Bhutan’s lunar calendar or in common terms it is the months of March to April.
Chele la Pass
One of the highest points of Bhutan includes Chele La Pass and it is a very popular holiday destination. It is situated at an altitude of 3989 meters and has a magnificent pass en route to the Haa valley in Paro. If the weather is clear, then you can have a look at the Jomolhari Mountain, which is the country’s most sacred mountain and it’s over 22,000 feet. Apart from the beautiful view, this place is also famous for the Haa summer festival, which symbolizes the rich culture of the nomadic heaps. A lot of local hotels include a local tour of this place in your package only.
Drukgyel Dzong Ruins
If you are planning a holiday package to Bhutan, the Drukgyel Dzong Ruins can be a place that you can include in your package. It is a massive fort located in the upper district of Paro and was built by the famous Tenzin Drukdra in the year 1649.
This valley is located at a distance of 13 miles from the India- China border and it connects major villages of Bhutan like Chhuka, Paro, and Samtse. It is one of the top tourist places in Bhutan. Now it is commonly included in the holiday packages as they have opened it for the public since 2002 only.
Buddha Dordenma Status
One of the must-visit places in a holiday package for Bhutan, the Buddha statue is 169 feet tall, and it is constructed at the foot of the hills in Thimphu. The gigantic size of the statue makes it visible from almost everywhere in Thimphu. Being at the centre location, this place can be reached through a taxi from anywhere in Thimphu.
It is a spectacular pass consisting of 108 Stupas, which were constructed in the memory of the soldiers who lost their lives in a war against the insurgents from India. The alluring site gives a dazzling view of the snow-covered Himalayan mountain range. You can enjoy your holiday with a lot of locals here who come for family outings and picnics.
This place presents a magnificent view of valleys, mountains, and lush green landscapes. It has an elevation of 3000+ meters and is in the shape of a bowl. For all nature lovers and bird watchers, this place should not be missed in your holiday package of Bhutan. In winters black-necked crakes could be easily spotted here. Just by the side of this valley is a wildlife sanctuary where you can see leopards, wild boars, red foxes, black bears, and many other animals.
National Museum of Bhutan
The National Museum of Bhutan is an eminent attraction of this place. It was built in 1968, and mesmerizing Bhutanese art is displayed here. With famous ancient statues along with the latest art style, this place is a proud owner of 3000 masterpieces and has stored a cultural heritage of more than 1500 years. Before visiting this place, it is vital that the timings are checked as the museum closes at 5 pm. If you like history then don’t forget to add it to your tour package.
Punakha bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges of Bhutan and is built over the Po Chhu River. It is approximately 520 – feet long and is still very stable. It offers an exquisite view of the river and valley. It is draped with prayer flags, and hence the colourful style attracts a lot of photographers throughout the year. If you wish you have some adventure, then walking on this bridge should be on top of your holiday package list.
Main Street – Paro
The main street of Paro is the best place if you want to buy antique Buddhist souvenirs for your family and friends. You can find a plethora of options for shopping and the best time to visit this place is on a Sunday. The famous artefacts include weavings, handmade boots, dried Yak cheese, expensive jewellery, and traditional wear. Don't forget to include this in your holiday travel package itinerary and store some great memories.
Motithang Takin Preserve
Takin is one of those unique species that are present in Bhutan and is the national animal of this place. It is an uncommon animal that falls under the goat species, and they live in the eastern Himalayas. They are known to have been created by 15th-century saints. It is believed that that the saint joined the head of a goat at the top of a cow's skeleton and then this type of animal came into existence. In your holiday package, make sure you get time to spot them.
The second-largest Dzong of Bhutan is Punakha Dzong and is designed in an amazing way. It gives an exclusive traditional experience of Buddhist culture. This Dzong is located at an altitude of 1,200 meters and a perfect place for beginners to start hiking. It is considered as one of the most beautiful places in the country and should be there in your holiday package for sure. The first national assembly was held here in 1953 and is the second-largest fortress in Bhutan. This place is quite famous as the King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel got married to Queen Jetsun Pema in 2011.
Chomolhari is among the top tourist spots of Bhutan and is present in almost all the holiday packages. It is best for people who are interested in small treks. The beautiful view of alpine forests will take all the tiredness after the difficult path. The whole package of the trek is usually for 7- 15 days approximately. For all nature lovers, this place is a must-visit.
Tashichho is a popular fortress in the northern end of the city of Thimphu and is considered the largest landmark of this place. It is located 2 km away from the actual town and is very pertinent as this is the seat of the city head of Bhutan's civil government combined with the kingship. It is really fascinating to experience the 5 pm changing of the flag so plan it in your holiday trip package.
The Jowo Temple of Kyichu was founded by a Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo and it is located very near Paro. It is the oldest temple of Bhutan and was believed to keep the demons away from Tibet at that time. It is counted in the 108 border taming temples built by the emperor. In the 8th century, the temple was visited by Guru Rinpoche, and it is reckoned that he buried a lot of spiritual treasures here. People visit this place as part of their package itinerary to witness the cultural side of Bhutan.
This place is located in the South-Eastern region of Bhutan. It shares the borders with the Indian state of Assam. The lush green mountains are often referred to as the salt route. This place has historical importance and is a major trade centre of bhutan. It is known for its silk production and bamboo. If you are interested in buying some souvenirs for your loved ones then a visit to this place is a mandatory in your tour package.
While visiting the marvellous tourists' spots of Bhutan, don't forget to taste the delicious local cuisine. They are famous for their chilly based flavours, and they have a mix of Tibet, China and various styles of India. Red rice is a staple part of every meal, and the main course includes dishes prepared with pork, beef, chicken and vegetables. Cheese and chilly are primary ingredients of every dish and they love their food extremely spicy. The national dish of Bhutan is Ema Datshi, and you should try this when you are in Bhutan. Apart from this do try Kewa Datshi which is a mellow version made with potatoes and Jasha Maru made with diced chicken or beef. There are also Tibetan dumplings also known as momos stuffed with pork, beef or cabbage and the traditional Tibetan noodle soup, Thukpa. So get your taste buds ready for some spicy treat.
There are numerous holiday packages available for the best holiday in Bhutan, but the ideal trip should include two nights in Thimpu, one night in Punakha and three nights in Paro. You can select the package as per your convenience. The best time to visit Bhutan is during the spring months of March to May when the valleys are stocked with charming and splendid flowers. But if you are interested in having a clear view of the Himalayan peaks, then October should be the best time to avail your holiday package. This is the best for trekking as well as the temperature is a bit cooler.
The good news for Indian passport holders is that no visa is required to visit Bhutan. Indians entering Bhutan by road should have an Entry Permit which they need to take from the immigration office of the Royal Government of Bhutan at Phuentsholing. This office is located on the Indo – Bhutan border opposite Jaigaon, West Bengal. The entry permit gives permission to visit Thimphu and Paro only. But if any tourist wants to travel beyond Thimphu and Paro, then they need to take a 'Special Area Permit' from the RGoB Immigration Office at Thimphu on any of the working days. If you are taking the tour package from a commercialized company then they will include this in your package.
Many travel companies have come up with great holiday packages to serve their customers the best. Here are some hot holiday packages offered by travel company TourGenie:
This package gives you an amazing offer to spend your holiday in the arms of beautiful views and let you relax close to nature. In this package, all the major tourist spots are covered and it majorly covers the trekking destinations.
Enchanting Twins - Bhutan and Sikkim:
Bhutan, deeply into the Buddist culture, is a surprisingly attractive place where you can enjoy your holiday with your friends and loved ones. This package takes you on the fascinating journey of Bhutan, where you can relax in the beautiful land.
Bhutan and Sikkim Tour:
This package allows you to explore the two gorgeous places - Bhutan and Sikkim. This place is in the arms of the magical Himalayas. The two places included in this package are different from each other but truly worth a visit.
Bhutan Honeymoon Tour Package:
If you want to explore the history and have a lovely honeymoon in the mountains, Bhutan is an affordable and astonishing place to spend your holiday in. This package ensures that you experience the pretty sights in the magical country and create everlasting memories.
Tour of the Dragon:
For all the people who like adventure and want to experience it with a pinch of spirituality, this package is a great option. On this holiday package, you can relish the stunning countryside and adventure on the bike ride of the Himalayas.
Haa Summer Festival:
Haa Tshechu festival is a popular event in the Haa region and tourists enjoy their delightful stay in Bhutan. This is one of the best festivals and attractions for this package.