Why Bhutan as a Destination
We believe you are looking for some extraordinary places after roaming around the world. Bhutan is a hidden gem waiting for the world to discover her.
The country provides a glimpse of Tibetan Buddhism in the greater Himalaya area in its purest manner. Through its aggressive preservation policy, Bhutan has one of the greatest diversity in bio species in the world. Its air is free from both overcrowded population and industrial pollution. Bhutan soothes your souls and your body in ways found in no other places. The fresh air feeds your brain and frees up your mind.
Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms until the early 17th Century, when the Lama and military leader Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, fleeing religious persecution in Tibet, unified the area and cultivated a distinct Bhutanese identity. Later, in the early 20th century, Bhutan came into contact with British Empire and retained strong bilateral relation with India upon its independence. In 2006, based on global survey, business week rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and eighth-happiest in the world. Bhutan’s landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan heights in the north, where some peaks exceed 7000 metres. Its total area was reported as approximately 46500 km2 (18000 sq mi) in 1997 and 38394 square kilometres (14824 sq mi) in 2002. Bhutan’s state religion Vajrayana Buddhism and the population now (as of 2012/2013) estimated six hundred and fifty thousand , is predominantly Buddhist . Hinduism is the second –largest religion. In 2008, Bhutan made from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy and held its first general election. As well as being a member of the United Nations, Bhutan is member of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation( SAARC) and hosted SAARC’s sixteenth summit in April 2010.
Stone tools, weapons, elephants and remnants of large stone structures provide evidence that Bhutan was inhabited as early as 2000 BC, although there are no existing records from that time. Historians have theorized that the states of Lhomon (Literally, southern darkness), or Monyul (Dark Land, reference to the Monpa, the aboriginal peoples of Bhutan) may have existed between 500 BC and AD 600. The names Lhomon Tshendenjong( sandalwood country), the Lhomon Khashi, or Southern Mon( country of four approaches), have been found in ancient Bhutanese and Tibetan chronicles. The Dzong in the Paro valley, built in 1646 AD Buddhism was first introduced to Bhutan in the 7th century AD. Tibetan King Songtson Gompo( reigned 627-649), a convert to Buddhism, who actually had extended the Tibetan Empire into Sikkim and Bhutan, ordered the construction of two Buddhist Temples, at Bumthang in central Bhutan and at Kichu in western Bhutan(Paro). Bhuddhism was propagated in earnest in 746 under King Sindhu Raja( also known as Sendha Gyab) an exiled Indian King who had established a Government in Bumthang at Chakhar Gutho Palace.
Buddhist saint Padma Sambhava also known as Guru Rimpoche came to Bhutan in 747 AD. Much of early Bhutanese history is unclear because most of the records were destroyed when fire ravaged the ancient capital, Punakha, in 1827. By the tenth century, Bhutan’s political development was heavily influenced by its religious history. Various sub-sects of Buddhism emerged which were patronized by the various Mongol warlords. After the decline of the Yuan dynasty in fourteenth century, these sub-sects vide with each other for supremacy in the political and religious landscape, eventually leading to the ascendancy of the Drukpa sub-sect by the sixteenth century.
Bhutan is located on the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas, landlocked between the Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and the Indian States of Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradhesh to the west and south. It lies between latitudes 26 ° and 29° north, and longitudes 88° and 93° east. The land consists mostly of steep and high mountains crisscrossed by a network of swift rivers, which form deep valleys before draining into the Indian plains. Elevation rises from 200m (660ft) in the southern foothills to more than 7,000m (23,000ft). This great geographical diversity combined with equally diverse climate conditions contributes to Bhutan’s outstanding range of biodiversity and eco systems. The northern region of the country consists of an arc of Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows reaching up to glaciated mountain peaks with an extremely cold climate at the highest elevations. Most peaks in the north are over 7,000m (23,000ft) above sea level: The highest point in Bhutan is Gangkar Puensum at 7,570m (24,840ft), which has the distinction of being the highest unclimbed mountain the world. The lowest point, at 98m (32,22ft), is in the valley of Drangmachu, where the river crosses the border with India. Watered by snow-fed rivers, alpine valleys in this region provide pasture for livestock, tended by a sparse population of migratory sheep herds.
Best Time to Visit
Any time of the year is good to travel to Bhutan.
The ideal time for a visit to this beautiful country is from March to mid-June in spring and from September to December in the autumn.
Peak winter months of January till February are cold but with warm clothes, travelling here can be lots of fun.
Between March and May in Spring time or September and November in the autumn.
Coming around any festivals will make your trip most interesting, a chance to do people watching and to mingle with Bhutanese people. Festivals provide the rare window for any tourists interested in learning about Tibetan Buddhism traditions and history in a most entertaining way.
Since it is your own private tour, you may choose activities suitable to your taste. Most visitors follow one of our suggested itineraries and make some minor alterations. Programs are mainly divided into cultural tour, trekking tour, romantic tour and rejuvenating tour. Basically, all the itineraries can easily be modified to your personal preference or interests such as photography or bird watching.
Electricity – 230 volts.
Timezone – 2 hours behind Hong Kong.
Weather – April is spring time in Bhutan with temperatures ranging from 27 – 29°C (81 - 84°F) during the day and falling to approximately 18°C (64°F) at night.
Food – The Bhutanese diet is rich in meat and poultry, dairy, grain (particularly rice - red and white) and vegetables. Emadatse (chilli pepper and cheese stew) is considered the national dish with many interpretations to this recipe throughout the country. Poultry and meat dishes, pork, beef and yak, are lavishly spiced with chillies, and it is common to see bright red peppers drying on rooftops in the sun. Salted butter tea, or suja, is served on all social occasions. Chang, a local beer, and arra, a spirit distilled from rice, maize, wheat or barley are also common and widely favoured. Doma or betel nut is offered as a customary gesture of greeting.
Language – The national language of Bhutan is Dzongkha (the language of the dzongs), however English is spoken widely due to its use as the primary language for education.
Currency – The national currency, the ngultrum (Nu), is on par with the Indian rupee. In fact Indian rupees are freely usable in the Kingdom. The ngultrum is issued in notes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500. Prices in most destinations are quoted in ngultrum though US dollars are widely accepted and changed. Visitors are also advised to carry cash or travellers cheques as credit cards are not generally accepted in Bhutan. The cash advance fee is 7% via the Bank of Bhutan. There are no Automated Teller Machines to issue cash in Bhutan.
Health – The best facilities are available at the general hospital in Thimphu. Travellers are advised to avoid untreated or un-boiled water. Altitude sickness can be a problem for some travellers and efforts should be made to acclimatise before undertaking extensive activities or treks. General medicines are readily available but guests are advised to bring in their own requirements for the duration of their visit. Guests should consult with their doctors and arrange travel insurance prior to departure.
What to pack – Druk Air limits you to one checked bag at a maximum weight of 20kg for economy class and 30kg for business class, and hand luggage must not exceed 5kg. Clothing requirements vary greatly depending on the season. In April, warm clothes are required. During these times, long underwear worn under trousers combined with multi layering on top and fleece or down jackets, plus gloves are recommended. Comfortable sports shoes are ideal for light touring while hiking boots are recommended for anyone wishing to undertake a trek. Sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses are recommended for the high elevations.
Customs – All visitors will be handed a Customs form on their Druk Air flight and the completed customs form must be handed over to the Customs authorities on arrival.
Visa – Your visa will have been processed by the Department of Tourism in the Kingdom of Bhutan. A copy of your visa and Druk Air Etickets will be sent to through email before your depart from your home country. You will need to bring in the scan copy to produce at the Airport or at the immigration counter in Bhutan.
Mobile Telephone Coverage – Mobile telephone coverage under Bhutan Telecom and privately owned company called Tashi cell will be available in all the districts of Bhutan now and you can enjoy the facilities of 3G all over Bhutan. You can buy a temporary Tourist sim cards either from the Airport in Bhutan or any other authorised dealer shop of Bhutan Telecom and Tashi Cell.
Computer/Internet Advice – Almost 90% of the tourist hotels in Bhutan now have Wi-Fi facilities and you can enjoy the services right in or room. Therefore, if you have any urgent work to be finished while on holiday, it is adviscable to bring along any gadgets like Ipad and Tabs and finish over a free Wi-Fi in hotels.
DRIVING DISTANCES IN BHUTAN
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