Set off on a discovery of the traditions that organise the lives of the inhabitants to this day. A privileged and authentic destination.
Start by observing Bhutanese traditional architecture: if construction materials have evolved, the style has not changed. Houses are still hand-painted today with popular colourful patterns such as flowers, animals or again the very famous Bhutanese phallus, a symbol of vitality.
During your trip to Bhutan, do not miss out on going to watch an archery tournament, the national sport. Introduce yourself to the art of the arrow as you sip a glass of ara, the rice alcohol which accompanies every local celebration. Do not hesitate to take part in the traditional dances that punctuate the tournament.
If you have the opportunity, try wearing Bhutanese traditional clothing, still worn today in all official buildings by all Bhutanese citizens. If the gho, a sort of Scottish kilt that covers the whole body including the legs, will not necessarily delight men due to its lack of comfort and heat, the elegance and shimmering colours of the kira will enchant women.
Bhutan is nestled between India and China in the middle of the Himalayan high peaks. If you are a mountain enthusiast, then Bhutan is made for you.
Set off to discover monasteries nestled on cliffs, like the very famous Taksang, or temples in remote nameless valleys. The scenery, the nature of which changes in each valley, will remain etched in your memories forever.
Do not miss out on trekking paths like the Dragon Path (Druk Path) or again the famous trek of the Snowman (Snowman trek). Go beyond 13 120 to 16 400 feet high on foot, on standard hiking paths, an exhilarating experience equal to none!
The four reasons listed previously will ensure, I have no doubt, that you spend an excellent time in the heart of Bhutan, in the company of its inhabitants. The philosophy of Gross National Happiness (strongly impregnated with Buddhist principles) has enabled Bhutan to remain an oasis of peace and tranquility.
If certain countries can exasperate by their mass tourism policy, where the locals demand exorbitant prices of tourists and where politeness is not always present, right from the start Bhutan banked on a regulated tourism policy with a high added value. Thus, travelling to Bhutan is the guarantee of a peaceful stay where the encounters you make are easy, genuine and warm. The honesty and kindness of the Bhutanese will convince you that Gross National Happiness is a real notion that each one of us can evaluate!
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Your passport and a visa are compulsory. Your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of entry into Bhutan. For any stay in Bhutan , you must request a visa from a recognised tour operator in Bhutan or through one of their foreign representatives. The tour operator will take care of everything, from the visa to the airplane ticket with Druk Air, the only airline going to the country.
For British citizens, formalities are the same as for other Europeans.
Bhutan's dialling code is +975.
Internet has recently become available in Bhutan . However, outside of the big towns, it is still mostly inaccessible.
British Deputy High Commission in Kolkata (there is no embassy in Bhutan)
1A Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata, India, 700071.
Honorary Consulate of Bhutan in the United Kingdom
2 Windacres, Warren Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 2HG