7 Tips To Know When Planning A Trip to Bhutan

5 Travel Tips to know before Visiting Bhutan

If you’re organized to execute that long again dream to visit the land of monks and monasteries, here are the best 7 guidelines to be aware of when planning a outing to Bhutan to help you put together before you go.

5 Travel Tips to understand before planning a visit to Bhutan in 2020

1. Do’s and Don’ts While Visiting Religious and Cultural Places in Bhutan 
Do’s

  • Have a printed Bhutan VISA clearance copy at the time of arrival for the flight to Kingdom of Bhutan
  • Follow the correct dress code while visiting Religious sites and Monasteries.
  • Carry some extra cash in hand if needed.
  • Take help from your Guide if you need anything.
  • Please beware of street dogs.
  • Make sure your luggage is always counted while checking out from hotel.
  • Remove your shoes before entering into temple.
  • Always carry your passports along with you.

Don’ts:

  • Avoid passing negative comments on religious sites.
  • Don’t climb on religious sites and take pictures.
  • As a tourist you can not drive in Bhutan.
  • Photography is not allowed inside religious places and monasteries.
  • Smoking in Public area is not allowed.
  • Not allowed to shout or speak loudly inside religious places.
  • Don’t wear hats and sunglasses inside religious places.

2. Top Tourist Attraction Places to visit in Bhutan

Paro, Thimphu and Punakha is the center point of tourist attraction places to visit in Bhutan.

7 best Places to visit in Paro are Drukgyal Dzong, Kyichu Lhakhang, Ta Dzong, Tiger`s Nest Monastery, Rinpung Dzong, Sang Chokhor Buddhist College & Tachog Lhakhang.

Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, occupies a valley in the country’s western interior. In addition to being the government seat, the city is known for its Buddhist sites. The massive Tashichho Dzong is a fortified monastery and government palace with gold-leaf roofs.

3. Peak & Non Peak Tourist Seasons in Bhutan

Bhutan’s peak tourist seasons are Spring: March –May and Fall: September –November. Particularly involving March, April, October and November. If you plan your trip to Bhutan in the middle of these months, book your tour package and flight tickets no less than 3 months in advance to make sure you book.

During Peak season travel cost to Bhutan is $250 (USD) per night per person and $200 (USD) in off season.

If you are planning your travel to Bhutan then note the price for peak and non peak seasons. During Paro Tshechu, Thimphu Tshechu and Punakha Tshechu, price of hotels are expensive so you have to pay some extra charges if you book your Bhutan trip in last minute.

4. How much do a solo traveler needs to Pay?

Travelers planning their trip to Bhutan as solo or as couple, the travel cost to Bhutan is different.

In Bhutan, extra Government fee (Surcharge) is application for traveler less than two. Single traveler has to pay US$40 every night (Surcharge) and for two travelers a fee of USD $30 per person per night.

The total cost for single traveler visiting Bhutan would be calculated as:

Peak Season: $250 + $40(visa fee) + $40(Surcharge/night)

Low Season: $200 + $40(visa fee) + $40(Surcharge/night)

Gathering of 3 traveler or more – No extra charge (so assemble 2 of your companions along, spare some cash and shape enduring recollections!).

5. Planning trip to Bhutan during Festival season.

Planning your trip to Bhutan during the festival time is the best way to explore the rich culture and tradition preserved. There are around thirty (30) festivals held annually in different parts of Bhutan. The most prominent tourist attraction festivals in Bhutan are Thimphu Tshechu, Paro Tshechu and Punakha Tshechu.

Various mask dances are performed during the festival (Tshechu), folk dances, traditional songs and many more. There are individual reasons behind every mask dances performed, which was first introduced by Guru Rimpoche to attract demons and subdue them. Different people come across wearing expensive dresses making the entire place colorful.

Aside from religious celebrations, there are some other festivals trying to preserve flora and fauna.  Some of the main festivals are like the Rhododendron festival, Black Necked Crane festival, Mushroom festival and many more.

Check our festival dates for 2018.

Best time to Visit Bhutan

Winter is a decent time to get the imperiled black necked crane in their winter home. The Phobjikha valley  is a magnificent time for mushroom picking & to get looks of rainbows over the valleys. In case you’re there to look for comfort or for deep sense of being reasons, whenever would be a decent time to go.

It truly relies upon what you need to see and do. In the event that you need to trek, April, May, September and October are the greatest months with ideal climate. In spite of the fact that it is colder, the skies are by and large clear and blue, and above all, it won’t be sloppy. Do take note of that the storm season in Bhutan is from July – August and amid this time, light rain (1-2 hours) toward the beginning of the day is average. Substantial deluges are uncommon, yet we by and large don’t prescribe trekking, unless they are short day climbs.

How much Discount can be availed for your Eastern Bhutan Tour?

If you Book your Bhutan tour to the eastern part of Bhutan, then you are omitted to pay $65 per day Royalty fee as surcharge to the Royal Government of Bhutan. The Tour cost to Bhutan will only be $160 in peak and $130 on off season. One time visa fee of $40 is additional.

National Parks and Protected Areas in Bhutan

National Parks and Protected Areas in Bhutan

National Parks and Protected Areas in Bhutan

National Parks in BhutanNational Parks and Protected Areas in Bhutan, the country is known for its environment. Environment preservation has been given due importance so that the future generations of the Bhutanese people benefit from them. Therefore a number of protected areas have been identified by the Government. There are today ten protected areas covering about 16,396.43 square kilometers.

  1. Wangchuck Centennial Park

The Wangchuck Centennial Park was lunched on 12th December 2008 as a tribute to our kings. Located in central-northern Bhutan, the national park covers an area of 4,194 square kilometers. It is a source of four major river systems in the country namely the Punatshang chu, Chamkhar Chu and Kuri Chu. The park has about 244 species of plants, 23 species of large mammals and 134 bird species. The Royal Bengal Tiger, the Snow leopard, Takin and the Himalayan Black bear are all found here.

  1. Jigme Dorji National Park

Jigme Dorji National park is the second largest protected area in the country. It covers an area of 4,316 square kilometres. The park hass many endangered species including the Royal Bengal Tiger, Snow leopard, Takin, Blue sheep, Musk deer, Himalayan Black bear, Marmot, Red panda all shelter here.

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  1. Royal Manas National Park

The Royal National Park is the oldest parks in Bhutan. It is located between Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park in the North, and the Manas National Park in Assam, India to the South. It is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, Elephant, Guar, the Glden Langur, Pygmy hoh, Hispid hare, the Ganges River Dolphin, the Greater one-horned rhinoceros and the Asiatic wild buffalo.

The park has 362 species of birds that includes Rufous-necked horn bill, Wreathed, Pied and the Great Indian horn bill. Several plant species are valued ass food crops, while a number are of commercial and medicinal significance.

  1. Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park covers an area of 1,730 square kilometers. It has a wide range of habitat. One can find broad-leaf forest at 600 meters to coniferous forests, alpine pasture and lakes, to permanent ice at 4,925 meters. The Black necked crane inhabits the Park along with more than 499 species of birds.

  1. Thrumshingla National Park

The Thrumsingla National Park is in central Bhutan. It covers 905 square kilometers. The altitude ranges from 700 to 4,400 meters. Six species of threatened birds found in the park are the Rufous necked horn-bill, Rufous-throated wren-babbler, Satyr Tragopan, Beautiful nuthatch, Ward’s trogon and Chestnut-breasted partridge.

  1. Bumdelling Wildlife Sanctuary

Bumdelling Wildlife Sanctuary is located in eastern Bhutan. It has a rich diversity of flora and fauna. It was established in 1995 and covers an area of 1,520.61 square kilometers. The bumdelling valley, in Trashi Yangtse falls within the Sanctuary and is one of the country’s two wintering spots for the blue sheep, snow leopard, red panda, tiger, leopard, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, wild boar, wild dog and fox.

  1. Sakten Wildlife Sanctuary

Sakten Wildlife sanctuary is the world’s only protected area known to harbor the highly reclusive Yeti or the snow man. It covers 740.60 square kilometers with altitude ranging from 1,800 to 4,400 meters. It is also home to the endemic species such as the Eastern blue pine and the Black-rumped magpie.

  1. Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary

Located in the south-eastern part of the country and covering a modest 334.73 square kilometers, Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary is Bhutan’s smallest protected area. The altitude in the sanctuary ranges between 400 to 2,200 meters, and is an important habitat for Elephant, Guar and other tropical wildlife species. It is home to the Pygmy hog and Hispid hare.

  1. Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary

The phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary is the second smallest park in the country and covers 268.93 square kilometers. The altitude ranges from 200 to 1,600 meters. It is the only area in the country to have Chital or the spotted deer, and the natural Sal forests. The sanctuary is home to Elephant, Royal Bengal Tiger, Gaur, Mahseer and the rare Ganges River dolphin.

Places to visit in Bhutan

Places to visit in Bhutan

Places to visit in Bhutan

Places to visit in Bhutan Within a small area of 46,500 sq km of Bhutan lie a whole range of places to visit or major tourist destinations

Paro:

The only airstrip is located at Paro. Paro Valley is one of the most populate areas of the whole country. Because of its proximity to the airport, there are hotels and tourist facilities close to the airstrip.

The valley of Paro contains a wealth of attractions are requires a few days to be properly explored. Casting a shadow across the town of Paro and controlling all secular and religious activities in its valley is the Rinpung Dzong, on the hillside, is the castle-shaped Ta Dzong. Onetime watch tower was built to defend Rinpung Dzong during civil wars of the 17th Century; Ta Dzong has housed the national’s heritage in Bhutan’s National Museum since 1967. The museum’s critical shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors.

Rinpung Dzong

From a Buddhist’s point of view, Paro was the first stop for Guru Rimpoche on his crusade from Tibet to Bhutan over one thousand years ago. Guru Rimpoche is said to have arrived on the back of a tigress and mediated at Taktshang Monastery pilgrims who travel from all over the land to pray as its temple. Eighteen kilometres from Paro town on the south side of the valley are the burnt ruins of Drukgyel Dzong (Victorious fortress). It was from this monastery that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century.

Thimphu:

Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan. A regal town, Thimphu is home to the revered Bhutanese Royal family and to several foreign missions and development projects.

On the bank of the river lies Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty the king of Bhutan. The National Assembly Hall is housed in a modern building on the other side of the river from the Dzong. Visitors are strictly prohibited from entering the government building at all during an active session.

Tashichho Dzong

Bhutan’s National Library is located close to the painting school and is also worth a look in. Housed in the library are some oldest records of Bhutanese history and religion. A wonderful day’s outing from Thimphu is a visit to Cheri and Tango Monasteries to the north of the town. They can be reached by road but many Thimphu residents go up to the monasteries for a daytrip by foot.

Five miles from Thimphu stands the 17th Century Simtokha Dzong in the land houses the school for Buddhist studies. The road to Dochula pass and on to eastern Bhutan winds its way upwards from Simtokha Dzong.

Punakha:

Punakha lies about two hours drive from Dochula down low in its valley. Commanding a spare population, Punakha Dzong is home to the central monk body and the Je Khenpo during the milder winter months.

A temperate climate and natural drainage from the Phochu (male) and Mochu (female) rivers, the fertile Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fertile Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fruit. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1995.

Punakha Dzong

Punakha Dzong was strategically built at the junction of the two rivers in the 17th Century by the first Zhabdrung to serve as the religious and administrative center. In spite of four catastrophic fires and a devastating earthquake that destroyed many historic documents, Punakha Dzong houses sacred temples including the Marchen where the embalmed body of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal lies in stat.

The dzong has been fully restored by the present king. In 1993 the largest thongdrel, a religious embroidery composed entirely of appliqué on silk brocade, that has ever been created was dedicated to the dzong and the people of the Punakha valley by His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and Je Khenpo at a three-day consecration which brought together Bhutan’s highest nobility.

Trongsa:

In the center of Bhutan four hours by road from Wangduephodrang lies the town of Trongsa. Like almost all towns in the kingdom, the secular and religious center, the dong, dominates the horizon.

Jakar Dzong History

The Royal Family’s ancestral home in Trongsa. His Majesty King Ugyen Wangchuck, the first king of Bhutan and his successor, King Jigme Wangchuck, ruled the country from Trongsa’s ancient Dzong. The Crown Prince of Bhutan normally holds the position of the Trongsa Penlop Prior to ascending the throne, including the present King who was appointed Penlop in 1972, shortly before his succession to the throne.

Protected from invaders by an impenetrable valley, Trongsa Dzong is an impregnable fortress. The dzong itself is a labyrinth of temples, corridors and offices holding court over the local community. It is built on many levels into the side of the hill and can be seen from every approach to Trongsa heralding its strength as a defensive stronghold. Above the dzong, a watchtower, Ta Dzong, used to administer its defence.

Although a temple originally stood on the spot, the dzong was built in earnest by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal who midway though the 17th century, recognized how Trongsa’s strategic location could help him his long and successful quest to unify the country.

Trongsa is one of quaintest of all Bhutanese towns. A number of hotels and cafes provide accommodation and refreshments to travelers who are crossing the country.

Bumthang:

The Yutongla Pass separates the valleys of Trongsa and Bumthang. Bumthang has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprising of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend.

Apart from the dzong at jakar smaller temples can be found throughout the hills. Tales of Padma Sambhava dominated these holy shrines. The valley is home to the sacred Jampa and Kuje Monasteries.

Bumthang is also the traditional home to the great Buddhist teacher Pema Lingpa. The town of Jakar is the largest between Thimphu in the west and Tashigang in the east. Jakar is famous for its honey production, cheese, apples and apricots. Its arable land and Swiss and German aid projects have helped the local economy to dramatically improve over recent years.

The eastern most valley in central Bhutan before the Thrumsingla pass is the Ura valley. A small but old dzong and cobble-stoned paths give the village a medieval feel. Ederly women can still have seen walking around Ura wearing sheepskins on their backs.

Ura is the settlement before the climb to the higest pass (12,465 feet) in the kingdom at Thrumsingla.

 

Jakar Dzong History

Jakar Dzong History

Jakar Dzong History (Jakar Yugyel Dzong)

Jakar Yugyel dzong, commonly known as the Jakar dzong is located in the capital Chamkhar valley of Bumthang, situated on a ledge above Bjakar village.

It was during this time that the younger brother of the 16th abbot of Ralung, Lam Ngagi Wangchuk (1517 – 1554) came to Bhutan to spread the teachings of the Drukpa Kayugpa order. His intentions were to construct a monastery on a rocky shelf, bordering the valley of Chamkhar.

Jakar Dzong History

It is said that, while the construction was in progress, a white bird emerged from the building site and perched where the Jakar dzong is now situated. This  was considered a good omen, and in 1549 Lam Ngagi Wangchuk built a small temple in the shape of a dzong and established a monastic center there.

This small dzong was named `Byakar Dzong’ which means the dzong of the White Bird but according to oral legend in Jakar Village, originally a small fort was built at the eastern end of the Bumthang valley, but as its position was not satisfactory from a strategic point of view, a group of Lamas, Knights and astrologers assembled for the purpose of finding more appropriate location. As they were sitting, a white bird, presumed to be the King of Geese, rose into the air and rested on a spur, which is now the present location of jakar Dzong.

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Jakar dzong was the foremost seat of Yongzin Ngagi Wangchuk. There was only a small temple in the shape of a dzong during his time but was renovated and expanded later by different personalities. In the past Jakar dzong was the center of the Bumthang region. It played an important role ass the fortress of defense of the whole eastern Dzongkhags. It also became the seat of the first King of Bhutan.

A special feature of the Bjakar dzong is the approximately fifty meter high Utse, which is distinct from most other dzongs in Bhutan. This dzong has no provision for persona viewing the base perimeter of the Utse, other than walking around the outer walls of the entire dzong. This may be in part due to the earthquake of 1897. The rebuilt structure is said to be smaller than the original. Another unique feature of the Jakar dzong is a sheltered passage, with two parallel walls, interconnected by fortified towers, which gave the population of the fortress access to water in the case of a siege. The protected water supply is still intact to this day.

Best season to trek in Bhutan

Best season to trek in Bhutan

Best season to trek in Bhutan

Best season to trek in Bhutan is spring and autumn. Tourists, looking to trek in Bhutan will have to decide on the seasons before hand.  Tourists, looking to trek in Bhutan will have to decide on the seasons before hand. Most travel agents in Bhutan recommend spring and autumn for trekking in Bhutan. Spring is the most preferred since one gets to enjoy the vast and diverse species of plants and flowers in its beautiful blossoming stage.

During spring, Bhutan’s wilderness will be filled with beautiful butterflies, the buzzing of dragon flies and the chirping of numerous species of birds.

The untouched and unspoiled pure natural beauty of Bhutan’s wilderness comes alive in the season of spring.

Spring and autumn is also the best season for trekking in Bhutan since there will be no heavy downpour during these season. In winter, trekking routes especially in the north will be covered by snow.

Interacting with the locals

Bhutan-Trek

Some of the trekking routes in Bhutan will also offer the unique opportunity to witness and interact with the Bhutanese rural life. One will see, along the way, typical two storied traditional Bhutanese houses. Almost every village will have a Buddhist temple.

Bhutanese people are highly hospitable and treat visitors in their villages with extreme generosity. One will also be able to observe the simple lifestyle enjoyed by people in the far flung villages of Bhutan.

Trekking in Bhutan is one of the best ways to experience Bhutan.

The Merak – Sakteng trek offers trekkers the opportunity to witness the unique nomadic lifestyle of the people. Nomads of Merak and Sakteng have their own unique lifestyle who migrate with their yaks during summer and winter. Known as Brokpas, they wear their own dress, completely different from the Bhutanese national dress.

Their economy is still very traditional. The nomads still practice the ancient barter system and exchange cheese, butter and incense for rice and other grains.