Bhutan Travel Guide 2023

Truly Bhutan
11 min readDec 21, 2022


Welcome to Bhutan, a small landlocked country nestled in the Himalayas between India and China. Known as the “Land of the Thunder Dragon,” Bhutan is a place of stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and ancient traditions. From its towering peaks and lush valleys to its monasteries and temples, Bhutan is a place like no other.

Bhutan is a place where modernity and tradition coexist in harmony. The Bhutanese people are deeply rooted in their culture and traditions, and the country’s unique way of life is carefully preserved and protected. Visitors to Bhutan will find a warm and welcoming culture, with a strong emphasis on respect and kindness.

Whether you’re interested in exploring the country’s natural beauty, immersing yourself in Bhutanese culture, or simply relaxing and rejuvenating, Bhutan has something for everyone. In this travel guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to plan your trip to Bhutan, including tips on where to go, what to see, and how to get around. So let’s start exploring this magical kingdom!

Getting to Bhutan

Getting to Bhutan is an exciting and unique experience as it is a landlocked country located in the Himalayas, surrounded by India, China, and Nepal. There are a few different ways to get to Bhutan, depending on where you are coming from and your preferred mode of transportation.

Here are some options for getting to Bhutan:

· By Air: The main international airport in Bhutan is Paro Airport, located in the western part of the country. Drukair & Bhutan airlines offer flights to Paro Airport from major cities in India, Nepal, and Thailand. From Paro Airport, you can take a taxi or hire a car to get to your final destination in Bhutan.

· By Road: Bhutan is connected to India by road, so if you are coming from India, you can take a bus or hire a car to get to Bhutan. The main entry points to Bhutan from India are Phuntsholing in the south and Samdrup Jongkhar in the east.

· By Rail: If you are coming from Kolkata in India, you can also travel to Bhutan by train. The nearest railway station to Bhutan is Hasimara, which is located in the Indian state of West Bengal. From Hasimara, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to get to Bhutan.

Regardless of how you choose to get to Bhutan, it is important to keep in mind that a visa is required for all visitors to Bhutan. It is also recommended to book your travel arrangements through a reputable tour operator or travel agency as they can help you with obtaining your visa and other travel-related matters.

Overall, getting to Bhutan is an exciting and unique experience that offers the opportunity to explore the beautiful and peaceful country nestled in the Himalayas. Whether you choose to fly, drive, or take the train, you are sure to have an unforgettable journey to this magical place.

Visas and Entry Requirements

Bhutan is a small country located in the Himalayas, bordered by India and China. It is known for its unique cultural and natural beauty, as well as its commitment to environmental sustainability and gross national happiness. If you are planning to visit Bhutan, it is important to know about the visa and entry requirements.

To visit Bhutan, you must obtain a visa in advance. This can be done online directly to the government visa portal, or through an authorized Bhutanese tour operator. You will need to provide a valid passport, two passport-sized photos, and a completed visa application form. The visa fee is $40 for a single-entry visa.

There are a few other entry requirements to consider when visiting Bhutan. You will need to provide proof of travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, and you may need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of your arrival (not mandatory with recent changes to government regulations but happens randomly at the airport). You should also be prepared to present your visa and travel documents upon arrival at the border or airport.

Bhutan is a unique and fascinating destination that is worth the extra effort to visit. By understanding and meeting the visa and entry requirements, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip to this beautiful country.

Horses on Bhutan Trekking

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Bhutan depends on what you want to do and see during your trip.

If you want to see Bhutan’s beautiful natural landscapes and visit its many cultural and religious sites, the best time to visit is from March to May and from September to November. These months offer mild temperatures and clear skies, making it the perfect time to go trekking or sightseeing.

For those who are interested in attending the annual festivals and celebrations, the best time to visit is from October to December. This is when Bhutan celebrates its biggest festivals, including the Thimphu Tshechu and the Paro Tshechu.

If you prefer warmer weather, the best time to visit is from January to March. However, keep in mind that the weather can be quite unpredictable during this time, with occasional rain showers and fog.

In general, it is best to avoid the monsoon season from June to August, as the heavy rainfall can make travel difficult and disrupt festival schedules.

Overall, the best time to visit Bhutan is during the spring and fall, when the weather is mild and the festivals are in full swing. No matter when you visit, Bhutan is a magical place that is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

Thimphu Tsechu

What to See and Do

Bhutan is a small, landlocked country in the Himalayas known for its unique cultural traditions and stunning natural beauty.

If you’re planning a trip to Bhutan, here are some top things to see and do:

· Visit the capital city of Thimphu: Thimphu is the largest city in Bhutan and home to many cultural attractions, including the National Library, the National Museum, and the Tashichho Dzong fortress. You can also visit the Bhutanese Handicrafts Emporium to buy souvenirs and try local food at the weekend market.

· Hike to the Taktshang Monastery: Located in the Paro Valley, the Taktshang Monastery is a must-see for any traveler to Bhutan. The hike up to the monastery takes about two hours and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valley.

· Go white-water rafting: Bhutan has some of the best white-water rafting in the world, with many rivers suitable for all levels of experience. You can choose from short, half-day trips or longer, multi-day adventures.

· Attend a cultural festival: Bhutan has many cultural festivals throughout the year, including the annual Tshechu festival, which features traditional dance performances and religious rituals.

· Visit the Punakha Dzong: Located in the Punakha Valley, the Punakha Dzong is a beautiful 17th-century fortress that served as the capital of Bhutan until the mid-1900s. It’s a great place to learn about Bhutan’s history and culture.

· Go birdwatching: Bhutan is home to over 700 species of birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. Some of the species you might see include the Himalayan Monal, the Satyr Tragopan, and the Rufous-necked Hornbill.

· Try Bhutanese cuisine: Bhutanese food is a blend of Tibetan and Indian flavors, with dishes like momos (dumplings), ema datshi (chilies and cheese), and red rice. Don’t forget to try some of Bhutan’s famous chili peppers — they’re known to be some of the hottest in the world.

Overall, Bhutan is a unique and magical destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in culture, adventure, or simply relaxing in nature, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do in this beautiful country.

Bhutanese Homestays

Where to Stay

Bhutan is a beautiful country located in the eastern Himalayas, known for its stunning landscape, rich culture, and unique approach to happiness. Whether you’re interested in exploring the country’s ancient temples, hiking through its lush forests, or simply relaxing in its peaceful atmosphere, Bhutan has something for everyone.

If you’re planning a trip to Bhutan and wondering where to stay, there are a few options to consider.

Here are some of the best places to stay in Bhutan:

· Paro: Located in the western region of Bhutan, Paro is home to the country’s only international airport and is a popular gateway to the rest of Bhutan. There is a range of accommodation options in Paro, including luxury resorts, hotels, and traditional Bhutanese homestays.

· Thimphu: The capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu is a bustling hub of culture, history, and modernity. From luxury hotels to budget hotels, there are plenty of accommodation options in Thimphu.

· Punakha: Located in the central region of Bhutan, Punakha is home to the iconic Punakha Dzong and is a great place to explore the country’s rich cultural heritage. From cozy hotels to luxury resorts, there are plenty of accommodation options in Punakha.

· Bumthang: Located in the eastern region of Bhutan, Bumthang is known for its beautiful valleys, stunning temples, and rich cultural history. From traditional Bhutanese homestays to luxury resorts, there is a range of accommodation options in Bumthang.

No matter where you choose to stay in Bhutan, you’ll be sure to find a warm, welcoming place to rest your head after a day of exploring this beautiful country. So, choose a place that best suits your interests and budget, and enjoy your stay in Bhutan.

Bhutan Trekking Experience

Food and Drink

Food and drink in Bhutan are influenced by the country’s cultural and geographical diversity. Located in the Himalayas, Bhutan has a varied climate that ranges from subtropical to alpine, which in turn affects the types of crops that can be grown and the ingredients that are used in Bhutanese cuisine.

One of the staple foods in Bhutan is maize & red rice, which is grown in the terraced fields of the country’s highland regions. It is typically accompanied by a dish called ema datshi, which is made with chili peppers and cheese. Another popular dish is momo, which is steamed dumplings filled with meat or vegetables.

Bhutanese cuisine also incorporates a variety of meats, including beef, pork, and chicken. Mutton, however, is the most commonly consumed meat in Bhutan. It is often served as a stew called Jasha maru, which is made with chicken, chili peppers, onions, and spices.

Drinks in Bhutan include tea, which is a popular beverage throughout the country. Bhutanese tea is typically served with butter and salt and is often served as part of a traditional Bhutanese tea ceremony. Alcoholic beverages, including beer and rice wine, are also popular in Bhutan.

Overall, Bhutanese food and drink are heavily influenced by the country’s cultural and geographical diversity, with a focus on rice, meat, dairy products, and chili peppers. A unique and flavorful culinary experience is definitely worth trying for those visiting Bhutan.

Safety and Health Concerns

Bhutan is generally a safe destination for travelers. However, it’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and take basic safety precautions, such as not carrying large amounts of cash and being aware of your belongings.

If you’re planning to do any hiking or trekking, it’s important to be in the good physical condition and to be prepared for the altitude. The highest point in Bhutan is over 7,000 meters (23,000 feet), so it’s important to acclimatize slowly and drink plenty of fluids to avoid altitude sickness.

It’s also a good idea to bring a first-aid kit and any necessary medications with you, as medical facilities may be limited in some areas.

Culture and Etiquette

Bhutan is a small country located in the Himalayas that is known for its unique culture and traditions. Bhutanese culture is deeply rooted in Buddhism and Bhutanese people are known for their strong sense of community and their strong cultural values.

One of the most important aspects of Bhutanese culture is their respect for elders. Bhutanese people are expected to show respect to their elders through gestures such as bowing or placing their hands together in a prayer-like position. They also follow a strict hierarchy in their society, with the King being at the top followed by other officials and then the general population.

Bhutanese culture is also heavily influenced by Buddhist beliefs. Bhutanese people are expected to follow certain moral and ethical codes, such as non-violence, honesty, and compassion. They also follow the traditional practice of offering prayers and offerings to the gods and deities.

Etiquette in Bhutan is also an important part of their culture. Bhutanese people are expected to dress modestly, with women covering their knees and shoulders. It is also considered disrespectful to show the soles of your feet or to point your feet at someone.

In Bhutan, it is also customary to remove your shoes before entering a temple or a home. When visiting someone’s home, it is considered polite to bring a small gift or offering as a sign of respect.

Bhutanese culture and etiquette are also heavily influenced by their traditional dance and music. Bhutanese people are known for their traditional dances, which are often performed at festivals and celebrations. These dances are also an important part of their cultural identity and are passed down from generation to generation.

Bhutanese culture is deeply rooted in Buddhist beliefs and values. Etiquette and respect for elders and traditions are an important part of their culture, as is the traditional music and dance. Understanding and respecting these cultural norms is essential when visiting or interacting with Bhutanese people.

In conclusion, Bhutan is a unique and enchanting destination that offers a rich cultural experience and breathtaking natural beauty. From the stunning mountain vistas to the ancient monasteries and temples, Bhutan has something to offer every traveler. Whether you are interested in exploring the country’s rich history and culture, or simply want to relax and take in the stunning views, Bhutan is an ideal destination. With its friendly locals, peaceful atmosphere, and commitment to sustainable tourism, Bhutan is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience something truly special.



Truly Bhutan

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