Bhutan - Land of the Thunder Dragon
Hidden in the Eastern Himalayas, tucked in by China and India, the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan is no doubt one of the most exclusive destinations in the world.
Bhutan only opened its doors for international tourism in the seventies and even now only a small number of tourists travel to Bhutan every year.
Bhutanese authorities impose high tourist taxes on those who want to visit, just to make sure the country is not overrun by masstourism. The high entry fee (the so-called 'Royalty) is well spent on public services like health care, education and nature conservation.
Bhutanese society is deeply rooted in their traditional Buddhist beliefs. The whole country breaths spirituality in innumerable temples, dzongs, monasteries, retreats and other holy places. Statues of Guru Rinpoche, the Buddhist saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, are found all over the country. A great way to really feel the Bhutanese spirit is to sit down near a temple or chorten for a couple of hours and just absorb the coming and going of the Bhutanese.
Next to that the concept of Gross National Happiness is the main pillar on which the Bhutanese social system is founded. Collective happiness is seen as the goal of governance, rather than Gross National Product. By living in harmony with nature and according to traditional values the Bhutanese government strives to create a better world to live in for its people.
Most Bhutanese make a living by farming. There is almost no industry and a lot of basic supplies are imported from neighbouring countries. More than 60% of the country is covered with forests which makes Bhutan the only carbon negative country in the world.
What to do in Bhutan ?
Bhutan attracts various kind of travellers, although they have all one thing in common: they are in search of an authentic travelexperience.
Bhutan is a country to 'Experience': go with the flow, live on the peaceful rythm of nature and take your time to fully immerse in the way Bhutanese think about the world and about society.
Most travellers come for a general tour, a combination of light hikes, cultural sightseeing, local experiences and some pampering in one of the exclusive hotelspa's.
Those who want to make it more active can take hikes and mountaintreks from about 3 - 4 days to more than a month. Crossing high passes, visiting glacier lakes, meeting nomadic people and secluded monks in the high Himalayas, camping at magnificent spots,... In recent years also cycling tours through Bhutan are an exhilarating way to discover the Kingdom.
Spiritual journeys to Bhutan are getting more and more popular. Meditation and yoga-classes, wellness holidays and spiritual retreats attract quite a number of westerners who want to get out of the ratrace.
Travel to Bhutan
Bhutan is easily accessible by regular flights from Bangkok, Delhi, Kathmandu, Singapore and some other major hubs in Asia. It is perfectly possible to combine a trip to Bhutan with other countries in the region. There are no direct flights from Europe to Bhutan.
Overland entry is only possible at a few border checkpoints through India. It sometimes involves long driving, but can be considered as an option for those who want to visit East Bhutan or for travellers coming from Sikkim / Darjeeling in India.
Best Time to go to Bhutan
Basically Bhutan is a year round destination. Most travellers however come from February to May, and from September to November. In these period one can expect mild temperatures and allmost no rainfall. It can be busy though, especially during the festival times. For trekking in the mountains these are the best periods
Winters can be cold in Bhutan, although snowfall is limited to higher altitudes. Crispy blue skies offer beautiful photo opportunities. For a cultural tour with highend hotels and visiting the main 3 valleys (Thimphu, Paro, Punakha) it is a good alternative for the highseason.
Summer (july - august) tends to be wet, especially in the South. There few tourists around and the whole country is coloured in fifty shades of green. It is a great period for those who like abundant flowers, lush green rice paddies and mist shredded valleys.
Bhutan with Asia Travel Design
About 20 years ago we first entered the Kingdom and immediately were struck by the sheer beauty of this remarkable country. Since then, we returned almost every year and explored the country from West to East. We have built a longlasting relationship with a professional team of Bhutanese guides and drivers, openminded guys (and girls) who will show you the 'real Bhutan'. Our personal expertise allows us to offer you completely tailormade tours and treks in Bhutan., away from the classic tourist trails.
We make Bhutan tours for single travellers, couples, families and small groups. All tours are carefully designed around your personal interests, desired hotelstandards and available time.
Get inspired by some of our travel experiences in Bhutan