Experiential Guide: Places to Visit and What to Do in Bhutan

Have you ever dreamed of traveling to Bhutan or wondered what it’s like to visit this remote kingdom tucked away in the Himalayan mountains? From Buddhist temples and fortress visits, to Bhutanese cuisine to trekking in the Himalayas — all with the Buddhist mysticism and legend that surrounds it — we cover the essential Bhutan travel experiences and places to visit. In addition, we address all the questions from readers about traveling in Bhutan including when to visit, daily package costs, Bhutan visas, and Gross National Happiness.

Bhutan Travel, Tiger’s Nest on G Adventures Tour
Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan’s most famous site. And one of its most sacred Buddhist temples.
Prior to our visit, Bhutan was a destination that, for us, held the space of the protected, the preserved, the unknown.

Upon landing in Bhutan, we grasped how our experience would reflect that notion. We were removed physically but also mentally from the day-to-day, tucked away in this mysterious place. It is perhaps rather fitting that Bhutan was the last trip we took prior to the pandemic so that we were able to take away some of its lessons regarding the value of a community approach that by protecting others we protect ourselves and everyone benefits.

Covid-19 Update for Bhutan: Borders are still currently closed, but you can check for updates as they are expected to open later in 2021. Bhutan used its focus on community and trusted leadership to manage the pandemic quite well, with only one death and 900 cases. In early April 2021, Bhutan was able to vaccinate 85% of adults (first shot) in just one week, showing the country’s commitment to public health and protecting its people. Find more Covid-19 travel resources and recommendations on how to travel responsibly with care towards local populations.

Known as the Land of the Thunder Dragon because of the alpine storms which sweep in from the Himalayas, Bhutan understands the value of protecting itself — just as it did when marauding Tibetans historically rolled in from the plateau seeking coveted Buddhist relics. The Kingdom of Bhutan, forged from fortress-bound kingdoms, was for much of its history off limits. In fact, international tourism only began in the 1970s and there are still limits on the number of visitors allowed per year to manage this.

Even now, open yet careful, Bhutan feels somehow out of reach — yet it’s not. It’s accessible. But it is one-of-a-kind with all the cultural facets one might expect from a place flush with a complicated royal family history, monasteries stitched into Himalayan hillsides, and a pervasive mysticism which does not find distinction from the state.

That’s the allure of visiting, especially as the country and its people define their place in the world and teach others through its example as the first carbon-negative country in the world and its focus on prioritizing community.

This is what we encountered in Bhutan. And why you may want to consider adding Bhutan to your travel wish list when it is safe to travel again.

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