Explore the Land of the Thunder Dragon

March 25, 2014

The kingdom of Bhutan perches high on the lofty ridges of the eastern Himalayans, choosing to remain a hidden paradise, accessible only to a fortunate few. The hermit kingdom has preserved its rich cultural identity throughout years of isolation. It is a country with a strong ancient Buddhist culture which was almost completely cut off for centuries safeguarding its historic culture and tradition. Bhutan is home to more than 10,000 stupas or chortens and more than 2,000 sacred monasteries that were built centuries ago in honor of the Buddhist teachings. Druk Yul or the ‘Land of Thunder Dragon’, the country as called by Bhutanese is a land replete with myths and legends. It is a place that can remind us of the true meaning of cultural authenticity.

Bhutan

Bhutan is equally marked by raw natural beauty renowned for complex gorges and valleys, soaring snow-peaked mountains and steep slopes, humid jungles and foothills, magnificent lakes, waterfalls, fast flowing rivers and streams and the richest biodiversity of flora and fauna. This pristine environment is home to exotic wild life and is a last refuge for endangered species like the Black-Necked Crane, the Blue Sheep, the Golden Langur, even the Royal Bengal Tiger. This kingdom, often referred to as the last Shangri-la, is a land of spiritual people, remarkable scenery, natural wonders, and a proud and vibrant culture. Bhutan’s strategy of “low volume, high quality” tourism has made it a highly regarded destination among discerning travelers. Himalayan Glacier gives you the best of Bhutan allowing you to submerge within the scenic natural landscape, rich culture, ancient history, exquisite heritage and traditions warily secured within this mystical kingdom.

For a soul-cleansing experience on the last Shangri-La on earth, please refer to the following link:

http://www.himalayanglacier.com/trips/asia/bhutan

The Bhutan Trips: 2014

January 21, 2014

Behold the glory of admiring Himalayas, timeless cultures, diverse flora and fauna scattered throughout Bhutan. Step into the world of true spirit of Bhutanese culture and countryside. Wedged between two Asian giants – India and China, Bhutan is blessed by nature with a diverse topography and rich culture in the Himalayas. Bhutanese call their country the Druk Yul and follow their own trademark of Mahayana Buddhism with exotic monasteries and lifestyle. Join with us throughout 2014 to explore the hidden treasures of Bhutan. Our trips in Bhutan explore the famous cultural routes to off-the-beaten trails that traverse through remote Bhutanese Himalayas.

Bhutan

Bhutan

  • Bhutan Insight tour, one of the best escapes in the Himalayas, gives you cultural and natural exposure to Bhutan’s rugged terrain and steep mountain valleys. You travel around the monasteries, dzongs, temples, chortens and museums of Bhutan during this tour. Besides observing the unique Bhutanese culture, you will also experience the various breathtaking views of Himalayas. The Paro Valley, capital Thimphu and the central Bhutan are the major attractions of this trip. To the most the trip hikes to Taktsang Monastery – Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at a height of above 3120 m. Similarly, strolling through the traditional market places, observing Bhutanese handicrafts and household items, discovering unique religious festivals and gaining firsthand experience of proud Bhutanese people enhance you to intermingle with nature, religion, language and culture of Bhutan.
  • Bhutan Tour with Paro Festival and Hikes, the top trip of Bhutan for festive experience, combines Bhutan’s cultural and natural grandeur. The trip commencing from the scenic Paro Valley covers numerous cultural rich towns of Bhutan and some of them are Punakha, Gangtey, and Thimphu.  To the most the trip takes you to the site of Tiger’s Nest Monastery-Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at 3120 m. Then the Paro Festival is one of the major highlights of this tour. During the journey, you enjoy breath-taking view of the Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks including the sacred Jumolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan.
  • Bhutan Cultural Tour, an excellent escape for capturing the real color of Bhutan, introduces you to the imposing Dzongs, or temple fortresses, that are intrinsic to Bhutanese cultural way of life. You begin this cultural tour from undoubtedly the most beautiful valley in Bhutan, Paro. The masterpieces of Paro like Tiger’s Nest Monastery, 8th century Kichu Monastery, and the national museum will be the prime attractions of this tour. In addition to this, following north along the Thimphu river, you will arrive Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan which is a assortment of traditional and modern culture. After making excursion of Thimphu, you drive to Punakha valley across picturesque Dochula Pass (3150m) for great views of Himalayan ranges. Beyond exploring Punakha valley, you walk for the Dzong- the famous fertility temple in the region.
  • Glimpses of Bhutan Tour encompasses the western Bhutan’s ‘must see’ highlights. The state of Bhutan offers a mesmerizing and unspoiled cultural and natural grandeur. The tour begins in the scenic Paro Valley with a hike to the famous Tiger`s Nest monastery. After visiting Thimphu, a unique capital city that has a blend of traditional and modern touch, you drive across the picturesque Dochu La Pass into the subtropical valleys of Punakha and Wangdue. You too visit around the ancient capital of Bhutan, a medieval Dzong of Wangdue and return to Paro. During the journey, you experience breath-taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks including the sacred Jumolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan.
  • Bhutan Tour with Trekking includes cultural tours to important Bhutan towns, day hikes to the monasteries and trekking along a soothingly calm Himalayan trail. The tour begins in the scenic Paro Valley with a hike to the famous Taktsang monastery. Then, you trek for the next few days. After visiting Thimphu, a unique capital city that has a blend of traditional and modern touch, you drive across the picturesque Dochu La Pass into the subtropical valleys of Punakha.  En route you can relish the startling views of Jichu Drake (6,989m) and Tshrim Khang (6,789m), among others. Throughout this trip you can traverse through rugged mountain terrains and also make a journey into the mystical Buddhist cultural towns.
  • Bhutan Tour, one of the top trips of Bhutan, is a special tour to the living masterpiece of ecological conservation of the world today in which you will be introduced to the mystical and unspoiled cultural and natural grandeur of Bhutan. Filled with rugged terrain and steep mountain valleys from subtropical plains in the south through temperate zone to the sub-alpine Himalayas exceeding 7,000 meters, Bhutan is sandwiched between Tibet and India. Along with exploring the rich coniferous forests, glacial lakes, beautiful passes, and amazing views of snow-capped mountains, this tour traverses through various Dzongs, monastic sites and religious landmarks of Bhutan.

10 things you didn’t know about Bhutan

December 16, 2013

Bhutan’s king has married his commoner bride in a colourful ceremony in the tiny Himalayan country. Here are 10 unusual facts about the nation:

  1. Bhutan is the happiest country in Asia, and the eighth in the world, despite widespread poverty and illiteracy. A survey pointed to the landlocked Himalayan kingdom’s beautiful mountain scenery, isolated culture and strong sense of national identity as reasons for the contentment of its citizens.
  2. The national identity was strictly and sometimes brutally enforced by the country’s ruling monarchy by banning foreign tourism, expelling thousands of ethnic Nepalese and Gurkhas, and by forcing its people to wear national costume – a tartan judo-style jacket known as Driglam Namzha – during daylight hours.
  3. Television was banned until 1999, when King Jigme Singye Wangchuck decided it would help to modernize his isolated kingdom.
  4. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck had a democratic epiphany in the late 1990s, introduced a new constitution in 2005 and abdicated in favour of his young son, today’s royal groom, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, in 2008.
  5. The former King’s greatest legacy was his concept of the ‘Gross National Happiness’ to measure of a nation’s wellbeing as an alternative to the Gross National Product. Bhutan is rated as far more ‘happy’ on a range of indicators than its powerful and wealthy neighbour India, which is ranked as only the 125th happiest country ion the world. The idea has inspired similar approaches in France and by David Cameron in Britain.
  6. The nation’s strong sense of identity grew in high altitude isolation and amid fear of invasion by Tibetan armies or colonization by Britain.
  7. Bhutan was unified under Tibetan warlord and lama Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal who fled Tibet in the 17th century and built the country’s famous Dzong fortresses to defend against foreign invaders.
  8. The country was never colonised by Britain but its forces were defeated in North Bengal and Bhutan was forced to sign a treaty which gave Britain control of its foreign relations. India inherited that power when it became independent in 1947 and remains a powerful influence over the country.
  9. Bhutan is overwhelmingly Buddhist, with a large Hindu minority, but remains deeply superstitious. Traditional homes have carved wooden erect phalluses protruding from the main door lintels to ward off evil spirits.
  10. Bhutan’s national sport is a form of archery in which rival teams face each other across a field, and fire sharp arrows at one another, while each team waves its arms to distract their opponents. Players battle it out wearing national costume.

source: The Telegraph, 13 OCT 2011

Bhutan looks to become world’s first 100% organic country

December 9, 2013

Bhutan is renowned for espousing Gross National Happiness but now the isolated Himalayan nation is also looking to become known as a world leader in organic farming.  “We are nearly all Buddhists. Being kind to the environment and the planet has a central meaning for us,” says Kesang Tshomo, co-ordinator of the Ministry of Agriculture’s national organic programme.
Pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilisers have found little acceptance among Bhutan’s population and have only been used on around 1.5% of the country’s agricultural land.

Soon it is hoped this figure will drop to zero, allowing Bhutan to be recognised as the first country to be 100% organic. “We had this idea several years ago: the air was clean, the soil uncontaminated and the rivers were not yet polluted,” explains Kesang Tshome. “It would be a real pity if we did not keep things this way.”

The small country of approximately 700,000 inhabitants located between China and India was virtually closed off to the outside world until the 1960s but has begun opening up in recent decades.

Television and Internet were made available to its citizens in 1999 while Bhutan has been ruled by a democratic government since 2008. The unusual approach to economic development, centred on protecting the environment, was made public six years ago but there is still no set time-frame in place.

“We might achieve it by 2020,” says Kesang Tshomo.

“We would love to be a fully organic country tomorrow but we have to be practical and consider the realities facing farmers.” Chencho Dorji from the village of Khariphu, which is a two-hour walk to the nearest road, is one of Bhutan’s farmers and faces many of the problems that are preventing a speedy implementation of the project.

“Life is difficult for us in the valley because the slopes are so steep and fields so small,” explains the 27-year-old. Like most farmers in the country, Chencho Dorji uses oxen as an investment in agricultural machinery is not economically viable.
Around 70% of Bhutan’s people make a living from agriculture but many still have to buy wheat and vegetables. The population is growing rapidly while large numbers are migrating to urban centres in search of work.

Over half of the country’s rice is now imported from neighbouring India. “We are going to have to increase productivity along with the switch to organic farming. This is the greatest challenge,” admits Kesang Tshomo.

Farmers are learning different composting methods as well as how to handle farm manure correctly so that nutrients are not lost through evaporation and leaks.  “We are also making an extract from chillies, garlic, onions and pepper that can drive off pests,” says Thinlay, who works in the area of plant protection for the Ministry of Agriculture.

Products such as neem oil protect against insects while if there is a snake plague the creatures are trapped, thrown in a hole and sprinkled with salt. “This way, they dehydrate and die,” explains Thinlay.

Farmer Lotto Zam would love to grow all her crops organically but the 45-year-old believes that sometimes it is impossible to get by without the use of pesticides, citing the example of the spread of the army worm through the rice crops in her valley.
“We had no other choice. We had to buy pesticide sprays from the government,” Lotto Zam explains as she sits in front of her market stall in the village of Shaba selling organic peaches, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, chillies, peas, garlic and cucumbers.

Pesticides are not manufactured in Bhutan and are imported by the Ministry of Agriculture. They can only be sourced through official outlets.“We only give out herbicides and insecticides in emergency situations and not on a routine basis,” says Thinlay.

This type of policy is only possible because for decades Bhutan has put the population’s “gross national happiness” above economic growth by looking at the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment. As part of Bhutan’s environmental protection measures, the country is constitutionally bound to ensure at least 60% of Bhutan remains forested. The figure currently stands at 72%.

Bhutan has also set itself the target of remaining carbon neutral and is currently actually carbon negative. “The next logical step was obviously to promote organic agriculture,” says Peldon Tshering, chief strategist of Bhutan’s environmental commission.

Kesang Tshomo believes Bhutan has to prioritise the export of niche products. Due to the lack of mechanisation in agriculture and the small size of fields, which are for the most part tended by independent farmers, only small amounts can be produced. “Ginger powder, herbal teas or homemade soaps made from mustard oil are examples of some the products we could export,” she says.

Source & References

Fiedler, D. 2013. Bhutan looks to become world’s first 100% organic country. GULF TIMES, 09th September.

See our top 15 picks in the Himalayas

November 13, 2013

Still waiting to get wanderlust adventure? We have got your adventure dream of the year in the Himalayas. Himalayan Glacier’s top 15 picks present this year’s must-trek adventures. Our top 15 picks cover cross-border trek of India, Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet. What could be your interest for travelling in the Himalayan region – cultural, recreational or adventure – our top picks garnish your dream of adventuring in this region. The adventure treks in the Himalayan region will be a once in a lifetime adventure in the company of inspiring and breathtaking scenery. See our top 15 picks to find yourself encircled by majestic vistas of eight-thousanders.

EBC Trek via Gokyo Lakes

EBC Trek via Gokyo Lakes

 

  1. Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek from Nepal (EBC), one of our top epic walks in the Himalayas, offers a huge sense of accomplishment and unbeatable views of beautiful forests, Sherpa villages, glacial moraines and foothills that surround the Everest region. Likewise, the trek takes you closer to the rich Sherpa culture while following the trail of Sir Edmund Hillary to EBC. It will also take you to some of the most popular places in the region like Kala Pathar which provides a stunning view of Everest along with other high mountains and the very famous Tengboche monastery, which is the largest monastery of the region of Nepal. Of course we will be at our final destination, EBC. Overall, the trek materializes the dream of reaching to the base camp of highest peak in the world.
  2. The Annapurna Base Camp Trek, the most stunning treks in the world, leaves you just being in the company of some of the highest mountains on earth and the splendor of the sunrise over the snow-capped Himalayas. This invigorating trek passes through waterfalls, villages, farmlands, rhododendron forests, and mountain vistas. You also pass through a diverse geographical and cultural variation with amazing ranges of flora and fauna in between. Throughout the trek you enjoy the sheer magnificence of the Himalayas, including two mountains that are above eight thousand meters – Annapurna and Dhaulagiri; hospitality and rich culture of the local community and the brilliance of nature.
  3. EBC Trek via Gokyo Lakes, one of the top adventurous treks in the Everest region, takes you to fabulous Gokyo Valley, the large Ngojumba Glacier, the famous Cho La pass, and the celebrated view points of Gokyo Ri and Kala Patthar along with Everest Base Camp (EBC). The trek further traverses through the landmarks of Everest region in the company of majestically soaring mountains, friendly Sherpas, colorful monasteries and prayer flags, the Namche Bazzar, the Sagarmatha National Park, and many more. Beyond the tranquil glacial lakes, you can enjoy 360 degree panoramic views of four above 8000 m massifs and other mighty mountain ranges from the best view point of Everest Region, the Gokyo Ri.
  4. Makalu Base Camp Trek, one of our top 15 picks in the Himalayas, makes a trek to the base camp of world’s fifth highest mountain. Mount Makalu is a close neighbor of Mt Everest, lying in the northeast region of Nepal. Following the beautiful Barun river valley in the Makalu Barun National Park, you cross various high passes and lakes. While trekking, you rise from lowland of Tumlingtar on the Arun River to one of the highest Base Camps on earth, the Makalu Base Camp at 5000m. While on the way, you will enjoy the views of the highest mountains such as Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Chamlang, Mt. Baruntse and other mighty Himalayan mountains along with Makalu (8481m) itself.
  5. EBC Trek in Tibet, one of the top adventure walks in Tibet, enhances you to experience the beautiful mountainous landscape of Tibet, while exposing you to its rich culture and history. Beyond acquainted with Tibetan culture and history, the trek will also be full of adventure and fun. Besides, you will visit popular landmarks in Tibet like Dalai Lama’s Potala and Norbulingka Palaces, ancient monasteries like Tashilhunpo, Sera, Drepung, Rongbuk, and Sakya, explore Namtso Lake, and finally reach the Everest Advanced Base Camp. Basically, the trek begins from Lhasa and ends in Kathmandu. In nutshell, the trek takes you to the advanced base camp of the north face of Mt. Everest (in Tibet) – the highest mountain in the world.
  6. Everest View Trek, one of our best picks, offers a wide range of spectacular scenery combined with unique cultural encounters with the Sherpa people who inhabit in the high altitude regions of the world. The trek continues through the lush vegetation of Sagarmatha National Park, with pine forests, rhododendron flowers and an abundance of wildlife, to Namche Bazaar (3440m). Furthermore, the trek brings you to the village of Tengboche (3930m), home to the highest Buddhist monastery in the world (4100m) and also reputed by photographers as one of the best places to capture the awesome beauty of Mt. Everest (8848m) and its neighboring peaks.
  7. Bhutan Tour is a special cultural tour to the living masterpiece of ecological conservation of the world today in which you will be introduced to the mystical and unspoiled cultural and natural grandeur of Bhutan. Filled with rugged terrain and steep mountain valleys, Bhutan is sandwiched between Tibet and India. Predominantly a Buddhist country with Vajrayana Buddhism being state religion, Bhutan deliberately preserves its unique way of life, culture and flora and fauna. Along with exploring the rich coniferous forests, glacial lakes, beautiful passes, and amazing views of snow-capped mountains, this tour traverses through various Dzongs, monastic sites and religious legends of Bhutan.
  8. Bhutan Cultural Tour introduces you to the imposing Dzongs, or temple fortresses, that are intrinsic to Bhutanese cultural way of life. You begin this tour from undoubtedly the most beautiful valley in Bhutan, Paro. The masterpieces of Paro like Tiger’s Nest Monastery, 8th century Kichu Monastery, and the national museum will be the prime attractions of this tour. Furthermore, following north along the Thimphu River, you will arrive Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan which is a potpourri of traditional and modern culture. After making excursion of Thimphu, you drive to Punakha valley across picturesque Dochula Pass (3150m) for great views of Himalayan ranges. Beyond exploring Punakha valley, you walk for the Dzong- the famous fertility temple in the region.
  9. Annapurna Circuit Trek, one of our best picks for magical trek, takes you around the entire Annapurna massif reaching the Zenith at Thorong La Pass (5,416m). During the trek, you pass through a diverse geographical and cultural variation with an amazing range of flora and fauna of the region. Just imagine the thrills of walking through world’s deepest Kali Gandaki Gorge, with Annapurna I rising to 8091m to the east and Dhaulagiri hovering at 8167m to the west! Cross the highest pass, Thorong La on the way from Manang to Muktinath, savor the fabulous mountain views from Poon Hill (3,210m) and discover more than ten different culturally rich ethnic groups that reside in different climate zones of Annapurna Circuit.
  10. View of Mt. Kanchendzonga also known as Dzongri Trek is the best choice for an extraordinary mountain adventure into the hinterlands of Mt. Kanchendzonga. The trek lies in Sikkim in the Eastern-Himalayan foothills bordering with Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. The attractions of the trek includes the great preview of a variety of Sikkim’s biodiversity encompassing beautiful rhododendron flowers, bird population and some amazing views landscapes and of course the majestic Himalayan peaks. The trail runs through the meadows of Dzongri at 4,000m with exceptional mountain views. The snow covered mountains, lush dense green valleys, and the extravaganza of nature’s beauty bewilder one’s soul.
  11. Jomsom Muktinath Trek helps you to explore the years old monastery, caves, local tribes and scenic beauties of Annapurna region. The trek will be the most rewarding once the visitors make an adventurous start from world’s deepest gorge to the world’s highest regions passing through an almost tree-less barren landscape, and panoramic views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several other peaks. The trek gets interesting once the trekkers pass through Jomsom and Kagbeni, the entry point of upper Mustang. The grandeur of the region intensifies as the first glimpse of the windy Tibetan Plateau on the way to the holy Hindu pilgrimage site of Muktinath (3800m) emerges. From Muktinatht downhill to Jomsom, travelers land into the land of “Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang”, and get a glimpse of the ancient traditions still in practice.
  12. Upper Mustang Trek encompasses a spectacular remote Trans-Himalayan mountain area with Tibetan cultural influence. The Upper Mustang region also known as the “Last Forbidden Kingdom” is a treasure trove of thousand years’ old monastery, caves, local tribes and scenic beauties of the different landscapes. The great adventure journey starting from world’s deepest gorge to the world’s highest regions of  Lo-Mangthang Valley passes through an almost tree-less barren landscape, a steep rocky trails and astounding views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several other peaks. The surprising fact of this region is that the thousands years of isolation has kept the culture, lifestyle and heritage of this region intact.
  13. Explore Tibet, one of our best picks, is for those who are interested to experience the people, culture, monks, monasteries, land and palaces of Tibet. In Tibet, you will travel around Tsedang, Yumbulakhang, Thandruk, Samye, Tsurpu, and Ganden monasteries. Potala and Norbulingka Palaces, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Bazaaar, Sera and Drepung Monasteries, and Tibetan Nunnery and Tibetan Medicine Center will be the prime attractions of this tour while you are strolling around Lhasa. Of course, you will also cover Tibet’s famous turquoise lake, Yamadroke Lake.
  14. Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, one of our top picks for spiritual walks in the Himalayas, is basically known for its religious value, cultural significance, spiritual importance and thrilling nature. The celestial beauty of Mount Kailash is not only fascinating, it is also one of the greatest pilgrimage destinations for Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Bon religions from around the world. The Kailash region also includes the two turquoise-blue, pristine high-altitude lakes and that are Mansarovar and Rakshesa. Another uniquely contributing fact to the spiritual aspect of Kailash is that four most sacred rivers of the Indian sub-continent begin from here and those are Sutlej, Karnili, Brahmaputra and Indus.
  15. Nepal Sunrise Tour encompasses some of the most spectaculars natural and cultural destinations of Nepal and you will enjoy the company of dozens of waterfalls and mountains, flora and fauna, and rural villages sprawled over the mountains. The tour starts from Kathmandu valley. The valley holds high number of places recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, and contains three medieval cities famous for their arts and architectures – Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. There are also some interesting cultural centers on the outskirt of the valley: Dhulikhel and Panauti. You make a visit to all these places and end your Kathmandu valley tour with the mesmerizing sunrise views over the Himalayas from Nagarkot. Then, you drive deep into the mountains to the resort town of Daman for a typical mountain experience. Driving further deep into the mountains, you spend a day at Bandipur and continue your journey to the fantastic Lake City, Pokhara.

Top 15 Travel Sites in Thimpu

October 28, 2013

Thimpu (2,350m), the capital of Bhutan, is the centre of government, religion and commerce. The open valley has an interesting combination of tradition and modernity, and includes some of the most advanced and remotest parts of the kingdom. It is home to the Kings and the Royal family members, civil servants, politicians, business persons and monks. The clean and small hill town is encircled by high mountains.

Bhutan

Bhutan

 

If you are planning for Bhutan Tour then definitively capture the top travel sites of Thimpu. While making Bhutan Cultural Tour you can even encounter different temples, Dzong’s, chortens, museums, handicraft stores, parks and many more in Thimpu. The top 15 travel attractions in Thimphu are included here.

  1. The Memorial Chorten, a must see travel site in Thimpu, was built in 1974 in the memory of Bhutan’s third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. The stupa-styled monument is dedicated to the late King Jigme Wangchuck considered as the father of modern Bhutan. The structure houses statues and paintings which provide insight into the Buddhist way of life.
  2. Simtokha Dzong, one of the top travel sites in Thimpu, was built in 1627 by Shabdrung Namgyal. It is situated on a low ridge 8 km down the Thimphu valley and houses the Institute for Language and Cultural Studies. This dzong is the oldest Dzong in Thimphu and gateway to the Thimphu valley. The dzong still enjoys the strategic importance as it did in 1627. Unique features found here include hundreds of finely made slate carvings and beautiful frescos placed behind wheels used for prayers in the courtyard.
  3. Tashichho Dzong, a must see landmark of Thimpu, is Bhutan’s arguably the most impressive building. It houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and is the summer residence of the venerated monastic community. The current dzong is the impressive result of a redesign of the original medieval structure sanctioned by the third King, His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, when he moved the capital to Thimpu from Punakha. Furthermore, The Fortress of the glorious religion houses the main secretariat building and the central monk body. Its courtyard is open to visitors during the Thimphu Tshechu.
  4. Traditional Medicine Institute, a must visit site in Thimpu, is a training school for traditional medicine practitioners. Bhutan places a lot of emphasis on both traditional and allopathic medicines. Here you can see most of the herbal medicines prepared from medicinal plants that abound in this kingdom. The rich herbal medicines made up from medicinal plants abundant in the kingdom are prepared and dispensed at this institute. The medicinal complex is closed to visitors due to considerations of hygiene, but one can still walk around and view it from outside.
  5. National Library, one of the top visitors’ sites in Thimpu established in 1967, houses archaic texts about Bhutan history. Apart from thousands of ancient texts and manuscripts the library also contains modern academic books as well as blocks for printing prayer flags. For tourists it is of interest mainly as a fine example of traditional Bhutanese architecture, but it is also a good resource for books about Bhutan. Traditional books and historic manuscripts are kept on the top floor and include texts from the famous Tibetan printing presses of Derge and Narthang. Scriptures from all religious schools are represented, including the Bön tradition. Most of the books are Tibetan-style, printed or written on long strips of handmade paper stacked between pieces of wood and wrapped in silken cloth.
  6. Thimphu Street Life, one of the top avenues of Thimpu tour, provides you vibrant experience of inner Thimpu. The most enjoyable experience of being in Thimphu is to taking strolls around the streets here. Weekend markets of Thimphu sell everything under the sun that is being created in Bhutan. Hordes of villagers sell vegetables, newspapers, red chilies, traditional Bhutanese masks, and carpets. Norzim Lam is the main street and contains several small hotels and shops. Other major structures include the National Library, the Bhuttan Textile Museum, the Wangchuck hotel and the Swiss Bakery. The square comprises of an open-air theatre, Tashi supermarket as well as art and craft stores. Likewise, the Drentoen Lam Street and Doebum Lam road are also must see streets in Thimpu.
  7. Zorig Chusum Institute, another attraction of Bhutan Tour, is also known as the painting or art and crafts school of Thimpu. The institute has students learning the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. The institute offers an eight-year course in the techniques of traditional art in 13 traditional arts such as painting, woodcarving, clay sculpture, mask making and so on. The institute also teaches traditional Thangkha painting and a few foreigners come to Bhutan to learn the art. It has a showroom where works of students are sold at reasonable price.
  8. Buddha Viewpoint also recognized as The Giant Buddha, one of the largest statues of the Buddha in the world, attracts visitors to Thimpu towards it. The Buddha Dordenma statue (50m tall steel) commands the entry to the Thimphu valley. The huge three storey throne holds several chapels, while the body itself is filled with 125,000 smaller statues of Buddha. The statue was made in China (of course), cut into pieces and then shipped and trucked in from Phuentsholing. The impressive construction will be great view for travelers in Thimpu alone.
  9. National Textile Museum in Thimphu showcases Bhutanese textile which has become recognized as one of the most distinct art forms. The museum has six major themes that include weft pattern weaves, warp weaves, role of textile in religion, textile on indigenous fibers, achievement in textiles arts and royal collections. Here you will find the crowns of Bhutan’s Kings, the first replica of the royal crown as well as other accessories that belonged to the royal family. The museum seeks to gradually become a centre for textile studies. The textile museum is getting popular for carrying out research studies and documentation on Bhutanese textiles.
  10. Changangkha Lhakhang, a big experience of Thimpu travel, is situated on a small hill overlooking the Thimphu valley. The monastery was built in the 13th century by Lam Phajo Dugom Zhigpo. Children born in Thimphu are taken to this temple because it is considered the spiritual home of the children born in Chang valley. Names such as Tandin and Sonam are given from this temple to new born babies taken for blessings from the protector deity Tamdrin. Besides, the central statue in the temple is Avaloketesvara, Buddha of compassion, in his manifestation with 11 heads, a thousand hands and eyes.
  11. Takin Preserve, an unavoidable site in Thimpu, houses the Takin – a unique, endangered species found only in Bhutan, Nepal, China and Burma. Bhutan has chosen it as the national animal due to its significance in the country’s religious and cultural history. Legend has it that the animal was created by the great Buddhist yogi, Drupa Kunley, and it can be found only in Bhutan and nearby areas.
  12. The Folk Heritage Museum, a window into traditional Bhutanese life, is dedicated to connect people to the Bhutanese rural past through exhibitions, demonstrations, and documentation of rural life. The principal exhibition in the museum is a restored three storey traditional rammed mud and timber house, which dates back to the mid 19th century. The design and form of house is that of an average household in the Wang area during that era. From ground to top floor, household objects, typical domestic tools and equipments that would have been used by a family during that period are put on display.
  13. Craft Bazaar, one of the interesting sites in Thimpu, usually comes alive on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in centenary Farmer’s market. It is held under the patronage of department of cottage and small industries collaborating with department of culture. The market also assists in promotion and protection of traditional arts. A wide assortment of colorful, hand woven textiles and other craft products is available for purchase at the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and many smaller crafts shops around the town.
  14. Changlimithang Stadium and Archery Ground are two must visit sites in Thimpu. The national stadium occupies the site of the 1885 battle that helped establish the political supremacy of Ugyen Wangchuck, Bhutan’s first King. It was also the location of the 2008 coronation celebrations. Besides, the archery ground here is much more fun. It is worth checking to see if there is an archery tournament going on: whether it’s traditional bamboo or high-tech carbon-fiber bows, the skill, camaraderie and good-humoured ribbing are always entertaining. Traditional songs and victory dances are all part of the fun.
  15. Weekend Market, the best way to intermingle with local community in Thimpu, is crammed into a set of stalls on both banks of the Wang Chhu, just north of Changlimithang Stadium. Vendors from throughout the region arrive on Thursday and Friday, setting up evening stalls in Norzin Lam, and remain until Sunday night. The most interesting selection is upstairs. Across the newly constructed cantilever footbridge, known as the Kundeyling Baazam, on the west bank, is a collection of clothing stalls as well as a handicraft market. Products include wooden bowls, mala beads, printing blocks, amulets, yak tails and prayer wheels, some of which are made in Nepal. There are some gems amid the junk. Overall, it is an interesting place to visit and provides opportunity to mingle with the local people.

Top 10 must see places in Bhutan

October 27, 2013

Embark on Bhutan Tour and capture the top 10 must see places in Bhutan. Bhutan – the last true Illusion of Shangri-La is known for its beautiful landscape and Buddhist monasteries. Bhutan is certainly a place where the spectacular mountains help you breathe a fresh air of life within you. In fact, Bhutan is considered the best getaway for families, friends, romantic travelers, adventure lovers and nature lovers.

Bhutan

Bhutan

 

Make a Bhutan Insight tour and explore how The Land of Thundering Dragon has been a mountaineer’s paradise for many years. Besides, you will be thrilled by the Bhutanese hospitality and their delicious cuisines. Furthermore, the famous places such as Thimphu, Paro, Phuentsholing, Bumthang, Mongar, Lhuntse, Phobjikha, Gangtey, Haa, and Punakha  are known for gorgeous natural beauty, monasteries, nunneries and great mountain valleys. Here are presented the 10 must see places in Bhutan.

  1. Taktsang Monastery also recognized as Tiger’s Nest in Paro is one of the holiest places in Bhutan. The monastery is mounted on a high granite cliff and was established for meditation. The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800m, and overlooks the Paro valley and the river. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava known as the second Buddha in Bhutan, meditated at the spot where the monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress. It is also an ideal place for a short trek. Since, make a Glimpses of Bhutan Tour and capture the essence of Paro, Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
  2. Thimphu, one of the culturally must see places in Bhutan, is charming capital city nestled in the Himalayas with the beautiful sights of the Chuu River flowing through it. Interestingly, it is the only city in the world with no traffic lights. Thimphu has retained its culture and old world charm as modern development is closely monitored and new buildings can be built only in Bhutanese style and up to a certain height. Go for Bhutan Cultural Tour and explore the top landmarks of Bhutanese capital. Basically, Tashichho Dzong, National Memorial Chorten and Motithang Takin Preserve are the top attractions of Thimphu for visitors.
  3. Paro, the foremost must see place in Bhutan, is a gorgeous beautiful valley, surrounded by lush green rice fields. Paro is a historic town with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered through the area. Along with Jakar and Punakha, Paro forms the ‘golden triangle’ of popular tourist destinations in Bhutan. Likewise, craggy mountain hills and undisturbed serene beauty, the clean air and peaceful atmosphere make it a must visit place in Bhutan. In Paro, Rinpung Dzong mostly attracts the visitor. Rinpung Dzong is one of the finest examples of a Bhutanese monastery. The Dzong hosts the Paro Tsechu i.e festival of masks. Beyond this, National Museum of Paro holds the visitors in Paro. The museum exhibits rich stamp collections, slate carvings, Thangka paintings, prehistoric items, jewellery, traditional weapons and other articles reflecting Bhutanese culture.
  4. Phuentsholing, another must visit place in Bhutan, is a small town with clean environment. The chief tourist attractions of Phuentsholing are Amo Chuu, the Crocodile Breeding Center, Chukha Hydrothermal Project, the gate at the border (called Bhutan Gate) and Karbandi Monastery. The natural beauty of Phuentsholing forcefully captivates you. It is perfect place to visit for those people who love nature and want to remain in solitude.
  5. Bumthang Valley, the spiritual heartland of Bhutan, is full of most ancient and precious Buddhist sites. Located at an altitude of 2,600 meters, the religious hub of Bhutan houses some of the oldest Buddhist temples. Besides, Jakar is the main town in Bumthang Valley and its undulating terrain, which is filled with apple trees and numerous temples, is a tourist’s delight.
  6. Wangduephodrang, another popular place in Bhutan, is the last town on the central highway before central Bhutan. Located in the south of Punakha, the higher reaches of the Wangduephodrang valley provide rich pastureland for cattle. This district is also famous for its fine bamboo products, slate and stone carvings. Wangduephodrang Dzong, sitting on top of the hill at the confluence of Punakha Chhu and Tang Chhu rivers, is the attractive landmark of Wangduephodrang. The Dzong is open for visitors during Wangduephodrang Tsechu celebration in autumn.
  7. Mongar and Lhuntse, as other must see sites these two places are also mostly preferred places in Bhutan by travelers. Mongar lies in the eastern Bhutan. The journey from Bumthang to Mongar is one of the most beautiful in the Himalayas, crossing 3800m high Thrumshing La. Mongar is located on the hill top. Mongar Dzong is the newest of Dzongs in Bhutan built in 1930s. This Dzong was built to replace the Zongkar Dzong which has remained in ruins. Mongar Dzong is built in keeping with the tradition of Bhutan where no drawings or nails were used. Likewise, Lhuntse at the elevation of 1460 m is a very rural and isolated district in Bhutan. The kurtoe region of Lhuntse is the ancestral home of the Royal Family.
  8. Phobjikha and Gangtey Valley, both the places are also must see locations in Bhutan. The Gangtey and Phobjikha are glacial valleys with a stream flowing through their open grasslands presenting one of the most beautiful landscapes in Bhutan. It is home to endangered black necked crane. The famous Black mountain national park, home to diverse specie of flora and fauna is also nearby. It is around 6 hours drive from Thimpu. The drive among Dochula Chortens and Rhodos is mind-blowing. The entire region is sometimes called Gangtey. Gangtey Monastery and Jigme Singye National Park are famous among visitors in the region.
  9. Haa Valley, a relatively new but must see destination in Bhutan, is popular for virgin beauty of nature. Along with scenic sights, you will also find some temples and fortresses around this valley. Lhakhang Karpo and Nagpo-the famous White and Black temples, Shekhar Drak-an unique temple, Tagchu Goemba-a100 year old temple and Dobji Dzong- a five storeyed fortress on a hilltop are the things that engage you in the valley.
  10. Punakha, the breathtaking destination in Bhutan, has been inextricably linked to some of the most momentous events in the Bhutanese history and deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful and significant regions at the heart of Bhutanese culture. This district, leveling from 1300m at the valley floor rises to almost 3000m around Dochhula pass, served as the capital of Bhutan from 1637 till 1907. People visit this place mostly to understand the Bhutanese history and to enjoy its natural beauty. Punakha Dzong, Chhimi Lhakhang and Limbhukha are the things you love to see in this beautiful area.

Top 6 Bhutan Escapes

October 23, 2013

Are you chasing a dream of making a tour into the land of tranquil nature, spectacular landscape, and vibrant cultural heritage! Bhutan without doubt a most mysterious country in the world is a traveler’s paradise. Browse the Top 6 Bhutan Escapes that take you to the yard of the rare mountain trails, unspoiled culture, and uninhabited landscapes. While exploring Bhutan’s natural grandeur, you immerse into the natural flora and fauna found at the high Himalayas. Besides, walking through the ancient streets and monasteries of Bhutan you truly experience the cultural treasures of the “Land of Thunder Dragon”. The top 6 Bhutan Escapes are listed here.

1Bhutan Tour with Trekking

Bhutan Tour with Trekking

Bhutan Tour with Trekking

 

Go for Bhutan Tour with Trekking to explore the true spirit of Bhutanese culture and countryside. Wedged between two Asian giants – India and China, Bhutan is blessed by nature with a diverse topography and rich culture in the Himalayas. Bhutanese call their country the Druk Yul and follow their own trademark of Mahayana Buddhism with exotic monasteries and lifestyle. The trip includes cultural tours to important Bhutan towns, day hikes to the monasteries and trekking along a soothingly calm Himalayan trail. The tour begins in the scenic Paro Valley with a hike to the famous Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang) monastery. Then, you trek for the next few days. After visiting Thimphu, a unique capital city that has a blend of traditional and modern touch, you drive across the picturesque Dochu La Pass into the subtropical valleys of Punakha.  En route relish the startling views of of Jichu Drake (6989m) and Tshrim Khang (6789m), among others. To brief, throughout your explorative tour of Bhutan, you traverse through rugged mountain terrains and also make a journey into the mystical Buddhist cultural towns.

2. Bhutan Insight tour

Bhutan Insight tour

Bhutan Insight tour

 

Bhutan Insight Tour, another best escape in the Himalayas, gives you cultural and natural exposure to Bhutan’s rugged terrain and steep mountain valleys. You travel around the monasteries, dzongs, temples, chortens and museums of Bhutan during this tour. Besides observing the unique Bhutanese culture, you will also experience the various breathtaking views of Himalaya mountains. The Paro Valley, capital Thimphu and the central Bhutan are the major attractions of this Insight Tour. In this tour you also cover Punakha to have with unique Bhutanese culture and lifestyle. An excursion into the Gangtey Valley will pass through dense forests of fir, hemlock, oak trees and rhododendrons. Moreover, you enjoy the hike to Taktsang Monastery – Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at a height of above 3120 m. Similarly, strolling through the traditional market places, observing Bhutanese handicrafts and household items, discovering unique religious festivals and gaining firsthand experience of proud Bhutanese people enhance you to intermingle with nature, religion, language and culture of Bhutan.

3. Bhutan Tour with Paro Festival and Hikes

Bhutan Tour with Paro Festival and Hikes,

Bhutan Tour with Paro Festival and Hikes

 

Bhutan Tour with Paro Festival and Hikes, the fantastic escape for festive experience, combines Bhutan’s cultural and natural grandeur including cultural tours and festivals to important Bhutanese towns as well as day hikes to the famous monasteries. The tour begins in the scenic Paro Valley. You also visit Punakha, Gangtey, and Thimphu to experience the unique Bhutanese culture and lifestyle. You can not ignore the joy of hiking to Tiger’s Nest Monastery-Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at 3120 m. The Paro Festival is one of the major attractions of this tour. During the journey, you enjoy breath-taking view of the Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks including the sacred Jumolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan.

4. Bhutan Cultural Tour

Bhutan Cultural Tour

Bhutan Cultural Tour

 

Bhutan Cultural Tour, an outstanding escape for capturing the real color of Bhutan, introduces you to the imposing Dzongs, or temple fortresses, that are intrinsic to Bhutanese cultural way of life. You begin this cultural tour from undoubtedly the most beautiful valley in Bhutan, Paro. The masterpieces of Paro like Tiger’s Nest Monastery, 8th century Kichu Monastery, and the national museum will be the prime attractions of this tour. Furthermore, following north along the Thimphu river, you will arrive Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan which is a potpourri of traditional and modern culture. After making excursion of Thimphu, you drive to Punakha valley across picturesque Dochula Pass (3150m) for great views of Himalayan ranges. Beyond exploring Punakha valley, you walk for the Dzong- the famous fertility temple in the region.

5. Bhutan Tour

Bhutan Tour

Bhutan Tour

 

Bhutan Tour, one of the great escapes to sketch out the treasures of Bhutan, is a special cultural tour to the living masterpiece of ecological conservation of the world today in which you will be introduced to the mystical and unspoiled cultural and natural grandeur of Bhutan. Filled with rugged terrain and steep mountain valleys from subtropical plains in the south through temperate zone to the sub-alpine Himalayas exceeding 7000 meters, Bhutan is sandwiched between Tibet and India. Predominantly a Buddhist country with Vajrayana Buddhism being state religion, Bhutan deliberately preserves its unique way of life, culture and flora and fauna. Along with exploring the rich coniferous forests, glacial lakes, beautiful passes, and amazing views of snow-capped mountains, this tour traverses through various Dzongs, monastic sites and religious legends of Bhutan.

6. Glimpses of Bhutan Tour 

Glimpses of Bhutan Tour

Glimpses of Bhutan Tour

 

Embark for Glimpses of Bhutan Tour and encompass the western Bhutan’s ‘must see’ highlights. The state of Bhutan offers a mesmerizing and unspoiled cultural and natural grandeur. The tour begins in the scenic Paro Valley with a hike to the famous Tiger`s Nest monastery. After visiting Thimphu, a unique capital city that has a blend of traditional and modern touch, you drive across the picturesque Dochu La Pass into the subtropical valleys of Punakha and Wangdue. You too travel around the ancient Capital of Bhutan, a medieval Dzong of Wangdue and return to Paro. During the journey, you experience breath-taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks including the sacred Jumolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan.