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Bhutan

Bhutan is the last sacred kingdom tucked high away in the Himalayas that still has kept its culture and tradition throughout years of isolation. Bhutan has only slowly allowed an increasing number of visitors. It is a country that is different and mystic and holds many surprises. Not only does it measure its success in gross national Happiness it is carbon neutral and everyone still wears a traditional dress in public the elegant, ankle-length kira for women and the kimono-like gho for men. Add to this the presence of monks everywhere and you feel you are in a special place.

Highlights

Our most favorite destinations are:
  • Thimphu –the capital of Bhutan and known for its Buddhist sites.
  • The Phobjikha Valley –a magical hidden place about six or seven hours by road east of Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. It’s best to visit the valley in the fall when the cranes arrive, or in early spring before they leave.
  • Haa Valley – this remote area is relatively untouched and looks straight out of a well-cinematographed movie! It is also known as the Hidden-Land Rice Valley. There are several excellent hikes in the Haa valley.
  • Paro Valley – is the entry point for many visitors to Bhutan. It is very popular for its scenic beauty and rich cultural diversity.
  • Taktsang Lhakhang – this is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark. It is a Himalayan Buddhist sacred site, located in the cliff side of the upper Paro valley. To see this stunning temple you have to climb-up for 2 to 4 hours.

What to eat

Bhutans cuisine is characterized by a of lot of chilies, red peppers, yak, cabbage, and spinach. As probably many of you will enter Bhutan on a group tour everything is pre-arranged which means you will eat in hotels and restaurants that cater to tourists. Ask your guide upfront for places where they prepare Bhutanese dishes, especially something with mushrooms, as Bhutan has more than 400.

  • Ema Datshi –this is the national dish of Bhutan which you will find everywhere. It is similar o a curry with green, yellow or red chillies, onions, cheese and tomato. Be aware that it is hot!
  • Puta –Puta is a unique dish of buckhweat noodles served with curd from the area of Bumthang .
  • Red Rice – Red rice you will also find everywhere in Bhutan. It has been grown for thousands of years in the Paro valley and irrigated with mineral-rich glacier water. It has a nutty flavour and is packed with nutritional value.
  • Momos – how can you not been fond of this delicious snack that you can find on every street corner. You can find them filled with vegetables, chicken, beef, anything….you will simply love it!
  • Kewa-datshi – A chili dish with potatoes and cheese.

When to go

Bhutan has a wide variety of climates with the warm south and east and cooler central part. In general one can say that October to December the ideal time is to visit Bhutan as the air is clear and fresh with sunny skies. The winter period between January and February are colder. Also March and April is pleasant as it remains dry with in late spring the famous rhododendrons bloom.

What to know

For everyone who doesn’t come from Bangladesh, India or Maldives you have to obtain a visa, which costs around 40$. All travelers must pay US$250 per person per day (US$200 a day from December to February and June to August. This covers accommodation, transport in Bhutan, a guide, food and entry fees.


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