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5 reasons to travel to Bhutan

Bhutan is a protected kingdom. Its geographical location has enabled it to resist all invaders, from Tibetan armies to the British colonial empire's troops. Its culture, history, monuments and traditions are intact and the kindness of its inhabitants is without equal. All of this combined makes Bhutan one of the most beautiful and interesting destinations to discover!

A one of kind spirituality

Buddhism, the state religion, is omnipresent in the lives of the inhabitants. Set out on the meditation trails and stop near the prayer flags that fly in the Himalayan winds. Share a cup of tea with the monks from the nearest monastery and do not miss the initiation to Buddhist rituals. This is how you will best grasp the spirituality, over a hundred years old, of the last kingdom of the Himalayas.

Intact traditions

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.

The Himalayas' sublime scenery

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 warmth of the Bhutanese welcome

If Bhutan has plenty to offer, it is very much due to its inhabitants! The Bhutanese, who are broad minded and who speak excellent English for the most part, will very willingly host you in their country. Proud of their nation, they are nonetheless quite happy to get to know tourists and western expatriates. Whatever the length of your stay, the Bhutanese will give you the best of themselves so that you can enjoy their country to the fullest, and this always with a ready smile!

Getting your fill of happiness

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!

François-Xavier Sahuc
7 contributions
Updated 26 October 2018
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