Bhutan is a land of breath-taking, far reaching, mountain views, terraced farmland, dramatic river valleys and glittering streams, of people who are never in a hurry but are full of life, of unique architecture and impressive and colourful Dzongs.
I can confidently say that anyone who visits this incredible land cannot fail to be affected by its beauty, spirituality and uniqueness. It left an everlasting impression on me.
Here are my five reasons to visit to Bhutan.
1) Spirituality and Gross National Happiness
Setting it apart and adding to its intrigue is Bhutan’s exceptional determination to preserve its culture and tradition and protect its natural environment above all else, in a world where everywhere is changing so fast. Their priority, and rightly so, is Gross National Happiness, a development philosophy based on Buddhist values which measures the quality of life by looking at the spiritual and mental well-being of its people. Every decision is carefully considered for the benefit of its people, with a high value, low volume tourism policy, external modern influence is kept at bay while nurturing Bhutanese values at home.
2) Festivals (Tsechus)
Major annual Buddhist festivals are hugely impressive and take place in most towns across Bhutan. If there is a festival on, make sure you take part in the festivities. Dance ceremonies are performed by monks in spectacular costumes and are watched by the local people, who dress up in their finest clothes. Incredible displays of art, textiles and music are also part of the celebrations.
3) Forts and Monasteries (Dzongs)
Impressive and vast, Bhutan is strewn with huge, imposing structures housing political and administrative centres, the Royal Family and the Buddhist monk communities. Some of the most rewarding to visit are; Tiger’s Nest (Taksang), located in the cliffside of the Paro Valley, a prominent Buddhist sacred site and temple complex and the Punakha Dzong, arguably the most beautiful dzong in Bhutan, particularly in spring when the lilac-coloured jacaranda trees are in full bloom. The monastery is situated on the confluence of two rivers and is the administrative centre of the region. It is also full of life with monks and people going about their daily lives.
4) Mountains and trekking
Without a doubt Bhutan offers some of the most spectacular scenery and trekking terrain on earth. There is a huge range of day walks to full-on treks offering some of the most exceptional, description-defying views you could imagine. Trek teams and equipment have improved hugely and easily compete with trekking in Nepal, and also avoid the crowds and litter.
5) Special places to stay
Having somewhere incredibly beautiful and comfortable to stay with great food makes a holiday and Bhutan offers some very special places to stay. Como Hotels and Aman Resorts have a number of lodges spread across the country, both located in unique positions offering first class service, comfortable bedrooms and delicious cuisine. There are a number of privately run, boutique hotels too like Gangtey Goenpa Lodge, which overlooks one of the most picturesque valleys in Bhutan.