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Things should not miss when visiting Bhutan

Peace, spirituality, and natural beauty, these three words are enough to describe the kingdom of Bhutan! Hidden in a lap of the Eastern Himalayas, full of myths, legends and numerous folklore, this scenic country prides itself on its colourful and resonant history.

Bhutan-The name is thought to be derived from "Bhotant"; a Sanskrit word meaning "end of Tibet". Some also believe that the name is derived from another original word, "Bhu-uttan", which translates to "highland" in the local language. However, regardless of the legends, the locals often refer to their homeland as "Druk", which means "dragon" in the local Bhutanese language; thus, this scenic country is often revered as the "land of thunder dragons".

Although Bhutan or "Happiest Himalayan Kingdom" is one of the smallest countries in the world and the least visited tourist destination, it is now gaining a lot of momentum in the international tourism industry. Its unspoiled natural beauty, scenic towns and valleys, iconic landmarks, and other majestic views attract tourists from all over the world. Next, let's introduce the experiences you can't miss when traveling to Bhutan!

1. Hike to Paro Taktsang

Paro Taktsang or Tiger's Nest is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating places in Bhutan! Sitting gracefully on the stunning cliffs of the Paro Valley, hiking to this enchanting monastery is one of the must-do things in Bhutan.

Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew to this area riding a tigress and subdued the local demons. Locals also claim to have seen a tigress near the nest. Hence the name. To reach the monastery, one should complete an exhilarating trek of about two hours. While horses can complete the journey, trekking to the Tiger's Nest has always been one of the most popular things to do in Bhutan!


Hiking to Paro Takstang

2. Go to Punakha Dzong to experience the devotional happiness

While Dzong (or fortress monasteries) are common in Bhutan, Punakha Dzong is revered as the most fascinating Dzong! In the Land of Thunder Dragon, don't miss a visit to this sacred fortress monastery affectionately known as the "Daifuku Palace".

Located at the confluence of the Po Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in Punakha, this shrine is also known for its architectural splendor. Decorated with exquisite paintings, immaculately carved wood murals depicting the life of the Buddha, protected by huge white walls and surrounded by lush greenery, this dzong was also once the capital of Bhutan. All of this makes Punakha Dzong a must-see in Bhutan, and visiting this devout site is one of the best things to do in Bhutan.


Punakha Dzong

3. Relax and rejuvenate at Koma Spa in Punakha

Bhutan, the land of the Thunder Dragon, is truly a land of hidden wonders; Koma Tsachu (or Koma Hot Springs) is one of them! Visitors to Bhutan often visit these natural hot springs to relax and rejuvenate in the embrace of nature!

Located in the remote village of Koma in the Punakha Valley, these hot springs are also known for their magical healing powers. Spring water is believed to treat a variety of skin conditions, joint pains, headaches, and several other common ailments. So when visiting Bhutan, be sure to visit the Punakha Valley and embark on a journey to the village of Koma, where you can enjoy the most relaxing activity in Bhutan - soaking in hot springs!


Hot spring in Bhutan

4. Experience the archery of Bhutanese warriors

Bhutan has eternal ties to its national sport, archery. Almost all Bhutanese are playing this game! Whether it's competition or sportsmanship, in almost every corner of this quaint joyful kingdom, you can see locals practicing bows and arrows.

Well, if you are planning a trip to this heavenly country, you must try the traditional bamboo bow and arrow. Believe it or not, archery is considered a test of manhood for Bhutanese. So next time you're here, be sure to be like a Bhutanese and sip traditional wine while indulging in this amazing thing to do in Bhutan!


The archery of Bhutanese

5. Explore the magical beauty of Bhutan by kayak

Kayaking is the calling for those looking to uncover the magical beauty while gently paddling through the waters of Bhutan! Rated as one of the most popular and enjoyable activities in Bhutan, this thrilling activity takes thrill seekers into gentle waters while offering countless opportunities to witness the unspoiled beauty of the last Himalayan kingdom.

To enjoy Bhutan, head to destinations like Paro Valley, Punakha Valley, and Trongsa. Visit these places between March-April and October-November; during these months, these areas receive a lot of water as the Himalayan glaciers begin to melt. This makes these destinations ideal for enjoying kayaking in Bhutan.


Kayaking in Bhutan

6. Tribute to the martyrs while cycling at Dochula Pass

Bhutan is located inland in the Eastern Himalayas and is a suitable destination for cycling. Its tricky hikes, captivating descents, exhilarating turns, scenic plains, and gorgeous landscape make it an amazing ride. Wanderers who want to indulge in most of the fascinating things Bhutan has to offer must take these bike tours and discover the pristine beauty of the last Himalayan kingdom.

To experience the best of cycling in Bhutan, one must cycle to Dochu La Pass near the Punakha Valley. Located at 3,100m above sea level, cycling around this pass introduces riders to the 108 Chortens (or shrines) built to honor the martyrs. Cyclists can also enjoy stunning views of the surrounding Himalayas and the picturesque valley below while cycling. Bhutan's Paro Valley, Bumthang, and Ura also offer promising cycle paths.


Dochula Pass 108 Chortens

7. Trekking Challenge Himalayas

Nestled among the stunning peaks of the Himalayas, Bhutan is a hiker's paradise! Be it a beginner or an expert, this Himalayan kingdom offers some of the most admirable and adrenaline-pumping treks in the world! For avid hikers heading to Bhutan, they can join the Jhomolhari Trek, which winds through Jigme Dorji National Park, eventually taking hikers closer to the great Jhomolhari Peak (7,314m). This trek is undoubtedly one of the most difficult things to do in Bhutan and is only recommended for experienced trekkers.


Bhutan Himalaya Journey Trekking

8. Experience traditional arts and crafts

Art and culture have always been an integral part of Bhutan! Currently, the country is one of the few places where 13 different forms of handicrafts are preserved. In fact, the country has several traditional learning centers that provide training to local youth to master these art forms and pass on the knowledge to future generations.

When you visit Bhutan, be sure to visit these training institutes to learn more about the country's traditional art forms and how it has preserved them since ancient times. You can also buy souvenirs, take part in cultural exchange programs and learn some new artistic skills at these learning centers.


Bhutan Traditional Arts and Crafts

9. Meet the mythical takin in Thimphu

Do you know what the national animal of Bhutan is? It is a takin, a legendary animal believed to have been created by a Tibetan saint named Drukpa Kunley. These herbivores are regarded as mythical beasts in the whole country, and their appearance is very unique; their head is like the head of a goat, and their body is like that of a cow.

If you're in Thimphu, you should visit the Motithang Takin Reserve, which has been declared a sanctuary for this quirky creature. The 8.4-acre protected sanctuary also has collective populations of sambar and barking deer and unspoiled greenery.


Motithang Takin Preserve Bhutan

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