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Bhutan is a small, mountainous country between China and India in the eastern Himalayas. Its inaccessibility has meant it was isolated from the rest of the world for centuries. Nevertheless, it has helped preserve its unique culture and character and given it a special mystique among travellers. People know Bhutan as the last Shangri-La and a lost kingdom of great natural beauty and deep spiritual heritage.
To the question, “Is there a Heaven on Earth?” The travellers have answered that Bhutan is truly a Heaven on Earth. Hence, travellers have named Druk Yul or Land of the Peaceful Dragon. Bhutan offers a rare combination of peace and harmony amidst some of the world’s most stunning mountain scenery.
Veiled in its Himalayan mystery, in the grandeur of its icy mountain peaks and lush valleys, the people of Bhutan have no western cultural influences. However, there is pressure from western cultural influences in other countries such as India, Nepal, Bangladesh and the rest of the world.
Tourism, Culture and the Environment
Tourism is still limited here; visitors pay a minimum daily tariff of US$200 in the low season and US$250 in the peak season. It may make Bhutan seem like one of the most expensive destinations. Still, the figure includes accommodation, transport, food and official guides, plus a US$65 per day tax to fund free healthcare, education, and projects to alleviate poverty in the country.
For such a unique and unforgettable experience as any visit to Bhutan surely will be, the question of whether the trip represented value for money is never uppermost in the minds of departing visitors.
The people of Bhutan are extremely religious. It’s much in evidence even in the urban centres where the spinning of prayer wheels, the murmuring of mantras and the lighting of butter lamps, which represent the illumination of wisdom, are common features of daily life.
Buddhists comprise up to three-quarters of Bhutan’s population. Buddhism is the state religion. You can see monasteries, temples, and religious monuments throughout the country, bearing witness to their importance. You can also see young and old, red-robed monks and nuns mingling freely in the towns and village markets.
The landscape of Bhutan ranges from snow-covered peaks in the north through subalpine forests to subtropical plains in the south. Forests cover almost three-quarters of the land. The preservation of its great natural beauty and rich flora and fauna is enshrined in the constitution, and more than a quarter of its forested land is designated a protected area. In addition, Bhutan has committed to a high-value, low-impact tourism policy.
Join NepalHiking.com for your vacation in Bhutan, and our guides will accompany you to some of the most enthralling parts of the country and along paths well off the beaten track. You will leave with memories to treasure forever.
Useful Factors for Visitors
The official language of Bhutan is Dzongkha. And other languages widely spoken include Nepali, Sharchop, Bumthap and Hindi. However, most people in the major towns understand English.
There is only a one-time zone. Bhutan time is 15 minutes ahead of Nepal, 30 minutes ahead of India, 6 hours ahead of GMT, and 1 hour behind Thailand. The monsoon season is between June and August.
Many alcoholic and soft drinks are available in most towns’ shops, hotels and restaurants. In addition, many Bhutanese enjoy traditional homemade alcoholic drinks made from wheat, millet or rice. Similarly, boiled and filtered water is also available in the major cities. However, drinking only tea, soft drinks or bottled water or using water sterilisation tablets is advisable beyond the cities.
While in Bhutan, many tourists buy traditional Bhutanese arts and handicrafts produced by skilled artisans and generally of high quality. These include Buddhist paintings, statues, jewellery, textiles, wooden bowls, and carvings.
Most government offices are open 5 days a week from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm in summer or until 4.00 pm in winter. That’s why most shops are closed on weekends.
All towns in western Bhutan have a reliable 220/240-volt electricity supply. However, it is less reliable elsewhere, and many outlying areas lack electricity.
Most passenger and freight transport within the country and to the neighbouring Indian states is by road. Taxis are also available.
Bhutanese food is spicy. Chillies are an essential ingredient in most dishes. The typical Bhutanese meal consists of rice accompanied by one or more meat or vegetable side dishes. Restaurants also serve a variety of Indian and western dishes.
Bhutan tours and activities
At the time, we are working very hard to put some tours of Bhutan on this page. Now, we have just a few tours available such as the Cross Country tour of Nepal and Bhutan, which is available below. For any tailor-made tours, please don’t hesitate to contact us.