Bhutan — An Unconquered Land.

On 23th September 2015, I got to check off one of my travel bucket list items: Visiting the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan. It is also known as Land of the Thunder Dragon.

While travelling, I get attracted by 4 major things: food, music, art & culture. In this medium story I will articulate: Why should you consider Bhutan as your next travel destination?

An unconquered land which is hidden deep in the folds of the great Himalaya mountains for years with the exotic sounds and mystical fragrance. The traditional heritage and the landscapes were a visual treat. It was such a joy to travel to Bhutan. I’ve been there for week and explored the dzongs (fortress), admired the beauty of Himalayas, went crazy while biting chilies, learned a bit about Buddhism.

Bhutan is multi-lingual society. Today about 18 languages and dialects are spoken all over the country.

The official language is Dzongkha which in the olden times was spoken by the people who worked in the Dzongs. Nepali is spoken throughout southern Bhutan. Many people will speak and understand English and Hindi.

Just as the kingdom’s history is characterised by religious landmarks, the influence of religion is highly evident in every day of life. Bhutan is less affected by modern civilization than other countries but that is beginning to change. If you want to see Bhutan before it gets to be modernized, go now. It will be a treat for your wandering soul.

Highlights 🌟

Tiger’s Nest, Paro

The Tiger’s Nest Monastery, clings precariously to a cliff of 3000ft above Paro valley. It is believed that in 8th century Guru Padmasambhava flew to the cliff on the back of tigress and meditated there for three months. Centuries later, a ruler of Bhutan, built a monastery and gave it the name Taktshang.

It’s worth the uphill hike to get here and the view was astonishing.

Thimpu
Thimpu is the capital and largest city of Bhutan. The city contains all major government offices.

There is a lot to do here. Visit the Cheri Monastery, see the Takin Preserve, spin prayer wheels at the Memorial Chorten, or gaze up at Buddha Dordenma, the largest sitting Buddha in the world.

Food
Bhutanese dishes are rich and spicy with a lot of cheese and chilli. It is advisable that visitors stick to these Indian, Chinese or Continental. It’s vegetarian friendly place too.

Lunch and dinner would consist of red rice (it really is red), noodles, chicken or beef, cabbage, vegetables, and green chillies cooked with yak cheese.

In evening you can try the Tibetan dumplings, popularly known as momos. If you want to challenge your taste buds, you may try ema datshi dish served with cheese and chilli.

Culture
Bhutan is a land of unique culture, rich traditions that loves festivals. Hence, the religious rituals and festivals have become an important attraction for the travellers.

Tshechu in Bhutan, is an annual festival which is most royally celebrated on every tenth day of the month. It is considered very auspicious. If you like to hop into these cultural festivals check the schedule and plan accordingly: https://www.bhutan.travel/events

Art
The traditional arts are known as zorig chusum — means The Thirteen Traditional Crafts of Bhutan.

These practices have been gradually developed through the centuries, often passed down through families with long-standing relations to a particular craft. These traditional crafts represent hundreds of years of knowledge and ability that has been passed down through generations.

Dress Code
Bhutan expects visitors to dress modestly and respectfully, it is advisable to avoid wearing caps, hats, shorts, skirts and half sleeves specially when you are visiting monasteries, Dzongs and other religious spots. Most of the time you will be asked remove your shoes in holy places.

As a mark of respect cover yourself like how typical bhutanese do.

Bhutan have their national dress, which is compulsory for their locals to where, it’s called Kira( for women) Gho (for men).

During Night
The great altitudinal variations weather is quite extreme in Bhutan. So be prepared to brace the extreme weather while you are wandering outdoors.

I would highly recommend you get woolen socks and gloves and a thick full sleeve jacket.

Alcohol (For people who drink responsibly)
Please forget your favourite brands, because you won’t get it. Instead you can try local wine, whiskey, rum and vodka it’s surprisingly cheap and good here.

If you are Vodka fan, try Raven, I didn’t try other liquor so I can’t comment on those part.

Visa Formalities
Other than Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals, all visitors to Bhutan require a visa; all visas are issues from Thimpu; visa are only issues to tourists booked with a local licensed tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent.

Applications for tourist visas are submitted by the tour operator. Visa clearance from Thimphu must be obtained before coming to Bhutan.It takes 10 days for the visa clearance. At your point of entry the visa will be stamped in your passport; two passport photos will also be required. Visas are issued for a 15-day period.

Bhutan is undoubtably a magical kingdom you should visit for it’s unparalleled scenic beauty of it’s majestic peaks and lush valleys.

Let’s plan our next trip soon.

From left to right: Meghna, Caroline, Aditya, Ramakrishna, Varadharajan, Sesha

If you enjoyed this story, then show your support by hitting clap 👏 icon down there to help others find it. I invite your comments 💬 .

Thank you for reading 🙏 .

About Author:
Hello! I’m Aditya Krishna a.k.a Aditya Dhotre, I have worked with a number of clients, both independently and through corporates. Sometimes, I’m fortunate to teach and give lectures. I’m fuelled by true passion, with an excellent eye for detail & craftsmanship. Currently Crafting Experiences at Freshworks.

You might also like: