Tucked away in the majesty and splendour of the eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is seen as an abode of Gods and spirits. With huge, lush valleys, the mystical mountain kingdom remains pristine and is being identified as one of the ten biodiversity spots in the world. Paro, the most beautiful and largest of Bhutan's valleys is one of the most astoundingly beautiful openings to the Buddhist country. 2250 meters above sea level, it is also the most popular destination spot for tourists in Bhutan. Most tourists often stay here. Make your bookings in advance, particularly if you plan to visit just around the spring festival of Paro Tshechu. That's the best way to demystify its cultural richness. Most Bhutanese festivals focus around sowing and reaping, and the highlight of this religious event is the mask dance performed by the monks. You can see them in their native best with special costumes and headgear. Hotel tariffs might go up to US $200.

After Paro, Thimpu is most sought after, as it is home to the Bhutanese Royal family and to several foreign missions and development projects. The Thangka painting school in the heart of Thimpu is worth a visit. The National Library located close to the painting school has some of the oldest records of Bhutanese history and religion. A little away from Thimpu is a visit to Cheri and Tango monasteries to the north of the town. They all make a part of Bhutan's living heritage. Often called the Land of the Dragon, Bhutan has gone through many dynasties. Numerous clans and families have ruled over bits of Bhutan.


Bhutan Thimphu Dzong Tashiccho/micamara.es

Trekking is the best way to discover Bhutan's fertile valleys and crystal clear lakes. But if you go expecting clearly marked trek trails, you'll be left disappointed. However the maps and guides provided by trek operators will be of great help. You shouldn't miss Bhutan's only golf course, a scenic nine-hole circuit. Pack light clothes for summer but throw in some warm wraps for the evening. Winters might get really cold. Anyhow, you'll find heaps of colourful shawls, coats, trinkets all around the 'Bhutia' markets.

You'll find a wide range of hand-woven goods and handicrafts. You can also order silver and gold ornaments to your taste at the Thimpu valley which is almost filled with goldsmiths and silversmiths. You can shop on all days, except Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. And as for food, you can expect to get Indian, Continental and Bhutanese cuisine. A wide variety of alcoholic beverages and bottled soft drinks are available in most restaurants, bars and pubs.

Getting there

You can get there either by air or road. There's no railroad. The airport is at Paro and Delhi, Kolkata, Nepal, Bangkok and Bangladesh have flights to Bhutan. You can otherwise opt to drive or take the bus from India to Bhutan via the border town of Phuntsholing.