Bhutan has always been on the top of everyone’s travel list. So, here are the list of things to do while you are in Bhutan.
Adventure and Trekking Tour
Adventure trips to Bhutan provide the mouth-watering prospect of exploring the extremely challenging terrain of the eastern Himalayas. Bhutan has almost everything that a wilderness enthusiast would look for: snow-capped mountains, virgin forest, hair-raising gorges, stunning meadows, valley, streams and rivers, rare flora and fauna, and a natural landscape that has changed little or none for millions of years. The country is, therefore, ideal for hiking, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking.
Attend Festival with Locals
The most popular attractions for visitors and citizens alike in Bhutan is the annual festival called the tshechu. Festival in the Land of Thunder Dragon are rich and happy expressions of its ancient Buddhist culture. These festivals are held in all districts in Honour of Guru Rinpoche, the saint who introduce Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century. Tshechu are held on auspicious days and months in the Bhutanese calendar, and last up to four days in which a series of highly stylised masked dance rituals are performed.
Bhutan Cultural Tour
Bhutan has a profound cultural diversity. With more than 80 percent of the country being Buddhist, the way of the Buddhist Practice has had a huge impact on the Bhutanese culture. The influence of the
Buddhism is very visible in the everyday life of the Bhutanese people. The country boasts of thousands of monasteries and the landscape is dotted with stupas, prayer wheels, prayer flags and many other insignias celebrating the Buddhist religion.
The preservation of the culture has always been accorded the highest of priorities and it was outline as one of the four main pillars of the country’s unique development philosophy of Gross National Happiness.
Explore Eastern Bhutan
For those with enough time on their hands, venture in to eastern Bhutan for something quite different. The simplicity of eastern Bhutanese people, rugged terrains, and trek routes makes eastern Bhutan the most sought-after region in Bhutan. This is the land of the Sharchops who speaks their own language and nurture their own culture. Semi-nomadic twin village of Merak and Sakten, rich textiles weaving of cultures of Lhuntse, raw silk in Radhi village and wood works of Trashiyangtse makes the east worth exploring.
Try Traditional Bhutanese Games (Archery and Khuru)
Archery is highly popular game played throughout Bhutan, especially during festivals and public holidays. Using bamboo bows, teams of archers shoot at target only 30 centimeters in diameter from a distance of 120-130 meters. Each players gets two arrows to shoot from one range and the opposition players take the next shot alternative system. With every hit on the target, teammates celebrate by dancing on both the ranges. Traditional dart throwing (Khuru) is payed between teams of players like archery but on a much shorter range.
Try Traditional dress (Gho and Kira)
Bhutanese men wear a heavy knee-length rob tied with belt, called Gho, folded in such a way to form a pocket in front of the stomach. Women wear colorful blouses over which they fold and clasp a large rectangular cloth called Kira, thereby creating an ankle-length dress. A short silk Jacket, or Toego may be worn over the kira.
Additional rules of protocol apply when visiting a Dzong or a temple. Man wear a white slash (Kabney) from left shoulder to opposite hip. Officials, government ministers, members of parliament, and the King himself each wear their own coloured Kabney. Women wear a narrow embroidered cloth draped over the left shoulder called Rachu.
One of the best way to experience Bhutanese way of life is to visit a farmhouse. Bhutanese farmhouse are an architectural marvel on their –built with only mud, timber, no nails, stones with distinct Bhutanese wood design paintings. Visitors have an option of spending a night in the traditional farmhouse. You’ll enjoy delicious home-cooked meals and the unparalleled hospitality of a Bhutanese host. All officially sanctioned and listed Bhutanese farmhouse / farm stays are located in the gorgeous Bhutanese countryside, far from the noise and crowds of population centers.
Try Traditional Bhutanese food
Bhutanese generally eat with their hands. The family members eat sitting crossed-legged on the wooden floors with food being food served to the head of the household. It is usually women who served food and in most cases the mother.
Chili and Cheese are essential ingredient in Bhutanese cuisine. A curry conjured up with chili and cheese locally known as Ema Datshi is worth tasting. A meal of red rice, dried beef and ema datshi is the staple diet of Bhutanese and will excite your taste buds with delicious flavors.
Suja or the butter tea is one of the specialties in Bhutanese recipes. Butter tea is served in all occasions with other traditional meals. Traditional tea leaves is boiled in water, churned in a bamboo churner with fresh cow or yak butter and salt.
Before eating, a short prayer is chanted and a small morsel placed on the wooden floor as offerings to the deities and spirits. Traditionally dishes were cooked in earthenware. With modernization, eating habits are changing.
Traditional Hot stone Bath
Traditional hot stone bath is an ancient way of healing common ailments such as body aches, wound and stomach diseases. Certain types of stones are heated until red hot in fire built by wood, then put inside a wooden tub containing cold water. Slowly, cold water in the tub will get heated by the stones. You will dip into the water, and take a nap as you feel your body muscles relax.
Hiking in Bhutan involve treading through passes as high as 5500 meters with spectacular landscape and breathtaking views of the mighty Himalayan Mountains and valleys. Possibilities of day hikes are enormous all over Bhutan. Some of the hikes and walks lead you to remote and ancient Buddhist monasteries, through deep forests and close to some of the beautiful villages.
Rafting and Kayaking in Bhutan
The crystal clear rivers of Bhutan are one of the kingdom’s best kept open secrets. Fed by the glacial-melt of the Eastern Himalayas, six major rivers (Wang Chhu, Sunkosh, Puna Tsang Chhu, Mangde Chhu, Kuri Chhu and Dangme Chhu and their tributaries), have been scouted for kayaking and rafting.
Bhutanese rafting and kayaking guides are well trained and will do everything to ensure that you enjoy the adventure while minimizing the risks. The rivers of Bhutan were first surveyed for potential routes for water sports in 1997 by Gerry Mofatt and Peter Knowles, both experienced rafters/kayakers at the invitation of the Royal Government and the Department of Tourism.
They trained the first batch of Bhutanese river-guides and conducted surveys to grade the rivers. Since then, other rivers have been surveyed including the Punatsang Chhu, Manas and Amo Chhu. TCB guidelines ensure that all operators use well maintained professional equipment and maintain a reasonable guide-client ratio.
Royal Manas National Park Tour
The Royal Manas National Park (RMNP) in south-central Bhutan has the highest tiger density in the world-one in every 25 square kilometers- and eight cat species in all within an area of roughly 1,000 square kilometers. The area constitute one of the largest landscape level protected areas in the eastern Himalayas. Together, this region is considered as one of the global biodiversity “Hot spot” and is under consideration by UNESCO to be accorded that status of World Heritage Site.
Hot spring Therapy
In Bhutan, hot springs are known as Tsha chu (Hot spring) and are found all over the Kingdom. The medicinal properties of these hot springs have been used by the Bhutanese people for centuries to cure various ailments ranging from arthritis to body aches and even sinuses. It is a popular tradition among Bhutanese to visit hot springs during the winter months.