Things to do in Bhutan

Things to do in Bhutan

ALL ABOUT KINGDOM OF BHUTAN

Bhutan is situated in the folds of the eastern Himalayas, the only country in the world where Vajrayana Buddhism is a way of life every day and is often known as “The Last Shangri-La”. Welcome to Bhutan – the happiest place on earth! Famous for its concept of gross national happiness,

Things to do in bhutan

Bhutan is situated in the folds of the eastern Himalayas, the only country in the world where Vajrayana Buddhism is a way of life every day and is often known as “The Last Shangri-La”. There are many Things to do In Bhutan. Welcome to Bhutan – the happiest place on earth! Famous for its concept of Gross National Happiness. Bhutan is the best place to travel when you want to get away from the monotony of a busy, stressful lifestyle.

 

Whether it is the beauty of the magnificent Himalayas and the extensive landscape that has been spent with rice fields or the glorious architecture of centuries-old monasteries and houses, Bhutan is a treat for your eyes, brain, body and soul.

The two main cities are Thimphu, the capital city and the Paro, the city with only the international airport in the country. The second important city is PhuntSholing, which is the frontline city of Bhutan, India and is one of the entry points of Bhutan from India’s surface.

Location: Located in the eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is bordered by China in the north & Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Assam & West Bengal in the east, west & south.
Area: 38,398 sq. km.
Altitude: Varying from 180 m. to 7550 m. above sea level.
Population: Approx 8 hundred thousand
Capital: Thimphu
Local time: 6 hours ahead of GMT & 30 minutes ahead of IST.
Religion: Mahayana Buddhism & Hinduism.

Best time to Travel ;

Things to do in Bhutan has four distinct season – spring, monsoon, autumn and winter. Spring and autumn are the best time to visit Bhutan i.e. end of February till the end of March and September to November. If you love flowers, you will get plenty of them in May, June and July. November, December, January and February will be blessed with breathtaking mountain views, sunny days and the morning/evening chills.

Bhutan Specialty ;

People: Bhutanese are friendly & hospitable people. The large majority of Bhutanese people are a homogeneous group divided linguistically into three broad sub-groups. These are Sharchops, Ngalong & Lhotshampa.

Food: Staple diet is red rice, buckwheat, wheat, maize, pork, beef, chicken, yak meat, cheese & chillies (taken as a vegetable – not a spice).

Arts & Crafts: Bhutan is known for handicraft items in bronze, silver & other metals. Sculpting of religious figures is widely practised & every temple, houses are large brightly painted & gilded statues of the Buddha & other saints.

Architecture: The castle-like Dzongs, with their gently tapering walls classic lines, large courtyards & beautiful galleries, are among the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture.

Living Culture: In almost every Dzongs (fortresses that house both the monastic & the Govt. administrative wings) there is an annual traditional festival (tsechus) that normally spans 3-4 days. Colorful & well-choreographed mask dances are performed during the tsechus. Due to the nature of the lunar calendar, exact dates for tsechus vary from year to year.   

How to reach Bhutan ;

By Air:

Paro is the only International operational airport in Bhutan and is connected by Druk Air & Bhutan Airlines.  Druk Air is the national carrier of Bhutan, which operates flights from Indian cities of New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Gaya, Bagdogra & Guwahati. Bhutan Airlines operates regularly from Kolkata, Delhi and Gaya. During summer some chartered flights are operated from Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

By Road:

Bhutan is connected to India by surface through its South Western border town of Phuentsholing. The nearest Indian towns from Phuentsholing are Hasimara, Alipurdwar, Jalpaiguri & Siliguri. Bhutan is also connected to India through its South Eastern Border of Samdrup Jongkhar which is about two and half hours drive from Guwahati and Gelephu located in Sarpang District of Southern Bhutan.

By Rail:

Though Bhutan does not have any rail link but it is conveniently reached by road from nearest Indian Railway stations at New Jalpaiguri (Siliguri), Hasimara, Alipurdwar & Guwahati.

PLACES TO VISIT IN BHUTAN

Thimphu ( Altitude 2350 metres)

Thimphu is the capital and the largest city of Bhutan. The capital has an interesting combination of tradition and modernity, and includes some of the most advanced and remotest parts of the kingdom. It is the only capital city in the world that does not have traffic lights. It is the main center of Commerce, Religion and Government in the country. It is most modern city of Bhutan and has abundance of restaurants, internet cafes, nightclubs and shopping center. It is one of the few cities of Bhutan having ATM facilities.

Memorial Chorten

Also known as the Thimphu Chorten, it is situated in the center of Thimphu City. It is in a form of Stupa built in 1974 to honor the third Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. It is built in Tibetan Style pattern on design of Classical Stupa. The Chhorten depicts images of wrathful deities with their female consorts. Every morning till night old people and young people circumambulate the Chhorten. It is popularly known as “the most visible religious landmark in Bhutan”

things to do in bhutan 1

Changangkha Monastery

Changangkha Lhakhang is one of the oldest monasteries in the Thimphu valley. It was built in the 15th century by a descendant of Lama Phajo Drugom Zhipo, the man who spread the Sect Drukpa Kagyu in Bhutan. The main statue at the temple is of Avalokiteswara (the eleven-headed Buddha manifestation with 1000 arms and 1000 eyes). The temple courtyard offers good views over the city of Thimphu.

things to do in bhutan

National Zoo

: Popularly known as “Takin Reserve”, is one of the few places in Bhutan where we can see Takin, the National Animal of Bhutan and a unique combination of Goat and an Antelope

things to do in bhutan

National Library

The National Library was established in 1967 to preserve many ancient Dzongkha and Tibetan texts. (9am – 4pm, Closed on Sunday, Monday & National Holidays)

BBS Tower

It offers panoramic view of Thimphu Town and is situated at an elevation of 2,685 m. The place is perfect to have view of whole Thimphu valley and is also an ideal place for photography. In order to reach the Point, one has to walk through hundreds of colorful prayer flags that dot the hill overlooking the Thimphu valley.

things to do in bhutan

Folk Heritage Museum

It is a traditional house replicating a farmhouse giving an insight to the Bhutanese lifestyle, and artifacts from the rural households. The museum also organizes regular demonstrations of rural traditions, skills, habits and customs as well as hosting educational programs for children. The house design and many of the artifacts are also reminders of rural Bhutanese life. One should carry a torch (flashlight) as some of the rooms are quite dimly lit.

things to do in bhutan

National Textile Museum

This museum is worth a visit to get to know the living national art of weaving. Exhibitions introduce the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and textiles made by Bhutanese. (Everyday 9am – 4pm & Saturday 1pm – 4pm, Sunday 10am – 3pm, Closed on Monday & National Holidays)

things to do in bhutan 8

Institute of Zorig Chusom

 It is a Premier institute of traditional arts and crafts in Thimphu established with an objective of preserving “thirteen arts and crafts of Bhutan”. It is commonly known as Arts & Crafts School or Painting School. One of the 13 Arts is Tshem Zo which is the art of working with needles, threads and other necessary items to make clothes, boots, thangkas, and other items used for decorations and other household needs. (Everyday 2pm – 4pm & Saturday 9am – 12noon, Closed on Sunday & National Holidays)

 

things to do in bhutan 8

National Institute of Traditional Medicine

This institute was established in 1978. It prepares and dispenses traditional herbal and other medicines. There is an impressive laboratory and production facility that manufactures quality products. All kinds of pills, tablets, ointments and medicinal teas from here are distributed to regional health-care units around the country.

things to do in bhutan 8

Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory

things to do in bhutan 11

It is a 1 km drive from main city of Thimphu to the factory. The factory manufactures the traditional Bhutanese paper using the bark of two tree species in the manufacture of traditional paper the Daphne tree and Dhekap. The entire process of traditional manufacturing of the handmade paper can be observed. It was previously operated by the government. Now it is run by a private entrepreneur.

 

Kuensel Phodrang

things to do in bhutan 11

It is a gigantic Buddha Dordenma Statue located atop a hill in Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park. One can get good view of Thimphu Valley from here. The construction was completed on September 25th 2015 to celebrate their 60th anniversary of fourth king Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

Tashichho Dzong

things to do in bhutan 14

It is a 1 km drive from main city of Thimphu to the factory. The factory manufactures the traditional Bhutanese paper using the bark of two tree species in the manufacture of traditional paper the Daphne tree and Dhekap. The entire process of traditional manufacturing of the handmade paper can be observed. It was previously operated by the government. Now it is run by a private entrepreneur.

 

Weekend Market

things to do in bhutan

It is a gigantic Buddha Dordenma Statue located atop a hill in Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park. One can get good view of Thimphu Valley from here. The construction was completed on September 25th 2015 to celebrate their 60th anniversary of fourth king Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

Paro (Altitude: 2,280 Metres)

The beautiful valley is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries & temples. The country’s only international airport situated is in Paro. The valley is also home to Mount Jhomolhari (7300 meters.) situated at the northern end of the valley whose glacier, water forms the Pa Chu which is flowing through the valley. The valley has many isolated small villages and is known for red rice.

 

Ta Dzong

It is an ancient watch tower overlooking Rimpung Dzong built in 1951 which is now converted into national museum. It has an amazing collection of art, antiques and religious Thangkas. The round building is said to be in the shape of a conch shell. It has 2.5m-thick walls and was completed in 1656. Inside you can see Thangkas (Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, or silk usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala) depicting important saints and preachers. (9am – 4pm, Closed on Sunday, Monday & National Holidays)

things to do in bhutan 17

Rinpung Dzong

This “fortress of a heap of jewels” was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646. It houses Paro Monastic Body and also has the offices of civil administration of Paro. The Annual Paro Tshechu is held here. It is one of the finest examples of Bhutanese Architecture. Here you can see intricate wood work, large beams fitted into each other and held together without nails. The Tower of the Dzong is one of the most beautiful in Bhutan with its magnificent wood work.

things to do in bhutan 16

The Ruin of Drukgyel Dzong

The Dzong was built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan Invaders. This fort is fifteen minutes’ drive from Zhiwaling and set on a hill with a spectacular view of the valley. It provides a wonderful architectural insight to the structure of forts in Bhutan. The Dzong was destroyed by fire in 1951 and is now preserved as a heritage site. The Dzong is situated in Drukgyel, overlooking the beautiful village with Mountain Jomolhari in the background. Drukgyel is also the starting point of Bhutan’s most famous trekking routes.

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Kyichu Lhakhang (Monastery)

It is one of the oldest monasteries in the country built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a giant demoness lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. According to the legend, he established a temple here on the left knee of an ogress in order to subdue her. This is one of the oldest monasteries in Paro district. There’s a belief that the two orange trees here in Kyichu Lhakhang miraculously bears fruits throughout the year.

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Taktsang Monastery

 It is the abode of gods and monks situated at an altitude of 3100m on the Upper Paro Valley, Bhutan. As per the legend, Guru Padmasambhana (Guru Rinpoche), the tantrum mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, came in the form of Dorje Droloe riding a flying tigress to subdue the demon that was obstructing the spread of Buddhism in the Himalayas. On the left side of the monastery is the retreat place where the famous Tibetan Yogi Mache Lhabdenma attained enlightenment. During the hike, one can see you’re likely to see locals displaying handicrafts for sale along the route to the monastery—evidence of individual enterprise rarely seen until the past few years. The hike is moderate to strenuous. It is also known as “Tigers Nest”.

Chele-La-Pass

Chele-La-Pass, at an elevation of 13,088 ft., is considered to be one of the highest motorable pass in Bhutan. About an hour’s drive from Zhiwa Ling it passes through lush valleys, pine and rhododendron forest. The pass provides stunning views of the sacred mountain Jomolhari and Jichu Drake.

things to do in bhutan
things to do in bhutan

Punakha (Altitude: 1,310 Metres):

Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955. It’s the winter seat of the Je Khempo (Chief Abbot) & the monk body. It has a temperate climate & its rich fertile valley is fed by the Pho Chu & Mo Chu rivers. It is one of very few places in Bhutan which offers Rafting facilities

 

Dochu-La-Pass

It is the most known pass in Bhutan and is about 30 km drive from the Capital City Thimphu on the way to Punakha/Wangdue Phodrang. It lies at an elevation of around 3,150 Metres. On a clear day, spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges can be seen. From here you can admire the sterling view of snow-capped Himalayas and the hundreds of “broadcasting” prayer flags. During winters, road to Dochula pass is covered with mild snow. Prime attraction to visit Dochula pass is 108 chortens / stupas built under the patronage of Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk.

things to do in bhutan

Chimi Lhakhang

It is a very popular temple built in 15th century and revered temple that lies on the periphery of the fertile valley of Lobesa, where the borders of Thimphu, Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang districts meet. Being dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the Divine Madman, the temple is popularly considered to be a temple of fertility. The Lhakhang has a row of prayer wheels and its exterior walls are embedded with slates carved with images of saints. Images of Shabdrung, Sakyamuni Buddha and Chenresig are also deified in the monastery.

things to do in bhutan

Punakha Dzong

The Punakha Dzong was known in ancient times as the Druk Pungthang Dechhen Phrodang or “the palace of great happiness”. It was built in 1637 at the confluence the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers. This gigantic Dzong was damaged 6 times by fire, once by flood and once by an earthquake. It is the second Dzong to be built in Bhutan and was the seat of government when Punakha was the capital of Bhutan. Today, the Dzong is the winter home for the clergy. Closed in winter months when the monk body is in Punakha. The annual Punakha Tsechhu (Festival) is held here.

things to do in bhutan

Wandgue Dzong

things to do in bhutan

It’s an easy drive to the very impressive 17th century Wangdue Phodrang dzong, home of over 200 monks and a monastic school. The Dzong is the largest wood roofed dzong in Bhutan and the style and architecture is very grand.

Gantey Gompha & Phobjika Valley

things to do in bhutan

Situated south of the road and east of Wangdue Phodrang, is Gantey Gompa, an old monastery dating back to the 17th century. The gompa, on the valley floor, is the village of Phobjika. This is the winter home of the famous black-necked cranes. The cranes migrate from the high plains of the Tibetan plateau in winter to the milder climate of Phobjika.

Trongsa (Altitude: 2,300 Metres):

Trongsa forms the central hub of the kingdom & historical place from where attempts at unifying country were launched. It is also known as the Vanguard of the Warriors. The first and Second Kings of Bhutan ruled Bhutan from Trongsa. The Crown Prince normally holds the position of the Trongsa Penlop before ascending to the Throne.

 

Trongsa Dzong

things to do in bhutan

It is the seat of power over Central and Eastern Bhutan. It was built by Chogyal Minjur Tempa and was later enlarged at the end of the 17th century by Desi Tenzin Rabgay. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the present Royal Family. The first two hereditary kings ruled Bhutan from this Dzong. It is built on many levels into the side of the hill and can be seen from every approach to Trongsa showcasing its strength as a defensive stronghold

Ta Dzong

things to do in bhutan

Perched above the Trongsa Dzong, this is a watch tower which once stood guard over the Trongsa Dzong from the internal rebellion. It’s now being turned into a heritage museum. Some of the important items on display includes, a bronze statue of Pema Lingpa (which is said to be made by himself),a sacred image of Sung Joenma Dorji Chang (Self spoken Vajradharna), age old dance and ritual costumes, ancient prayer books, paintings, textiles, etc.

Bumthang (Altitude: 2,600 Metres)

This fascinating valley is the religious heartland of the nation & home to some of the oldest Buddhist temples & monasteries. Its gentle sloping hills offer plenty of walking opportunities to the many temples that dot this valley. The valley is also famous for its production of honey, cheese, apple & Yathra- a woolen material that has multiple uses. Literally, Bumthang directly translates to “beautiful field”. “Bum” is said to be the abbreviation for either “Bumpa” (a vessel for holy water) describing the shape and the nature of the Valley, or simply “Bum” meaning Girl, thang means field or ground.

 

Jambay Lhakhang

It is one of the 108 monasteries built by King Songtsen Goenpo in the 8th century to subdue evil spirits in the Himalayan region. In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here.

things to do in bhutan

Kurjey Lhakhang

Kurjey Lhakhang named after body print of Guru Rimpoche is located just a few meters beyond Jambay Lhakhang. It is dedicated to the saint Guru Padmasambhava who was supposed to have meditated there in 8th century.

places to visit bhutan

Tamshing Lhakhang

Literally meaning the Temple of the good message, this monastery lies on the other side of the river opposite the Kurjey Lhakhang. It was built in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa, a re-incarnation of Guru Padmasambhava.

things to do in bhutan

Jakar Dzong

Literally meaning the Castle of White Bird, the Dzong was initially built as a monastery in 1549 by the great grandfather of the Zhabdrung. It is now used as the administrative center for the Bumthang district. The Bumthang Tshechu is one of the most popular festivals is held here.

 

place to visit in bhutan

Meber Tsho "Lake of Burning Fire"

This is a sacred lake of the Bhutanese who believe that Terton Pema Lingpa discovered religious treasures from this lake in the 12th century. On auspicious days, many Bhutanese offer butter lamps on this fresh water lake.

 

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Ura Village

Ura lies in the Tang valley, one & half hours drive from Bumthang town. The drive is mainly through sheep pastures & along the way one can glimpse magnificent view of the Mount Gangkar Puensum from Ura la. The main characteristics of this village is the closely cluster houses of weavers and villagers. It is the last settlement before the climb to the highest road pass at Thrumsingla.

places to visit in bhutan

Festival of Bhutan 2019

  •  
 

Name

Town

Start Date

End Date

Punakha Drubchen

Punakha

12-Feb-19

14-Feb-19

Punakha Tshechu

Punakha

15-Feb-19

17-Feb-19

Tharpaling Thongdrol

Bumthang

19-Feb-19

 

Gomphukora

Trashigang

14-Mar-19

16-Mar-19

Talo Tshechu

Punakha

14-Mar-19

16-Mar-19

Gasa Tshechu

Gasa

14-Mar-19

16-Mar-19

Zhemgang Tshechu

Zhemgang

14-Mar-19

17-Mar-19

Paro Tshechu (Thongdral on last day)

Paro

17-Mar-19

21-Mar-19

Chhorten Kora

Trashiyangtshe

21-Mar-19

05-Apr-19

Rhododendron Festival

Thimphu

19-Apr-19

21-Apr-19

Domkhar Tshechu

Bumthang

14-Apr-19

16-Apr-19

Ura Yakchoe

Bumthang

16-Apr-19

20-Apr-19

Nimalung Tshechu

Bumthang

10-Jul-19

11-Jul-19

Kurjey Tshechu

Bumthang

11-Jul-19

 

Haa Summer Festival

Haa

13-Jul-19

14-Jul-19

Mushroom Festival

Thimphu

15-Aug-19

16-Aug-19

Masutaki  Mushroom Festival

Bumthang

23-Aug-19

24-Aug-19

Tour of the Dragon (Bicycle Race)

Bumthang to Thimphu

07-Sep-19

 

Thimphu  Drubchen

Thimphu

03-Oct-19

 

Wangdue Tshechu

Wangduephodrang

05-Oct-19

07-Oct-19

Tamshing Phala Chhoepa

Bumthang

07-Oct-19

09-Oct-19

Thimphu Tshechu

Thimphu

07-Oct-19

09-Oct-19

Gangtay Tshechu (Thongdral on last day)

Phobjikha, Wangduephodrang

10-Oct-19

13-Oct-19

Thangbi Mani

Bumthang

10-Oct-19

13-Oct-19

Jhomolhari Mountain Festival

Thimphu

14-Oct-19

15-Oct-19

Chhukha Tshechu

Chhukha

06-Nov-19

08-Nov-19

Jakar Tshechu

Bumthang

05-Nov-19

09-Nov-19

Jambay Lhakhang Drup

Bumthang

13-Nov-19

16-Nov-19

Prakhar Duchhoed

Bumthang

14-Nov-19

16-Nov-19 

Dechenphu Tshechu

Thimphu

08-Nov-19

 

Black Necked Crane Festival

Phobjikha, Wangduephodrang

11-Nov-19

 

Mongar Tshechu

Mongar

04-Dec-19

06-Dec-19

Trashigang Tshechu

Trashigang

05-Dec-19

07-Dec-19

Jambay Lhakang Singye Cham

Bumthang

12-Dec-19

 

Pemagatshel  Tshechu (Thongdral on last day)

Pemagatshel  

11-Nov-19

13-Nov-19

Nalakhar Tshechu

Bumthang

12-Dec-19

14-Dec-19

Druk Wangyel Tshechu

Thimphu

13-Dec-19

 

Trongsa Tshechu (Thongdral on last day)

Trongsa

04-Jan-20

07-Jan-20

Lhuentse Tshechu (Thongdral on last day)

Lhuentse

04-Jan-20

07-Jan-20

Nabji Lhakhang Drub

Trongsa

10-Jan-20

12-Jan-20

THINGS TO REMEMBER - DO’S & DON’TS

Photography (Please check with your guide):

  1. Request permission before taking photographs of people, events or objects.
  2. Inside the premises of temples, dzongs or monastery taking photographs is not permitted.
  3. Taking photographs is only permitted in the court yard area.

 

Religious Artifact / Antique:

  1. Please do not touch any religious artifact or antique.
  2. Purchase of religious items especially antiques is prohibited.
  3. Please do not climb on or do anything that would show lack of respect to Buddhist artifacts or antiques, large or small, ruined or not, they are regarded as sacred.

 

Dress Code:

  1. Please take off hats while entering dzongs, temples or monastery.
  2. Shorts / half pants / Slippers are not permitted while entering a dzong, temple or monastery.
  3. Full Sleeves T-Shirts or T -Shirt with collar must be worn to enter certains Dzongs & Monasteries.

 

Communication:

  1. Before entering a dzong, temple, monastery, please switch off all mobile phones or keep in the silent/vibrating mode.
  2. Please speak softly within the religious premises.

 

The Bhutanese Way:

  1. Always walk in clockwise direction while visiting religious places.
  2. Please remember not to point with a single finger but use an upturned flat extended hand specially to indicate a sacred object or place.
  3. Please throw rubbish only in designated areas.
  4. Please refrain from touching any ritual objects or mural paintings.
  5. Please do not walk over any clothes, books, hearth or materials left open in religious sites.
  6. Please refrain from smoking or drinking while visiting religious places.
  7. If you are not sure please ask the local people or the guide.
  8. Please do not be too close to the lake or river if you wish to avoid any accidents.

 

Smoking / Tobacco Products:

Any tobacco products and cigarettes are forbidden in the kingdom. For personal consumption passengers are permitted to bring 200 imported cigarettes (10 packets) on payment of 200 percent duty and 100 percent duty on Indian make tobacco products. Alcoholic beverage up to 1 liter for personal consumption is allowed.

 

Currency Notes:

Indian can carry denominations upto Rs 100 in Bhutan. Denominations of Rs 500 and above are legally banned in Bhutan.  Few ATM Machines are available in Thimpu & Paro only. Please check with your service provider. Credit Cards are not accepted everywhere barring few establishments.

Need to know about about Bhutan

National Emblem:

The National emblem, contained in a circle, is composed of a double diamond thunderbolt placed above a lotus, surmounted by a jewel & framed by two dragons. The double diamond thunderbolt represents the harmony between secular & religious power; which results from the Buddhist religion in its Vajrayana form. The lotus simbolises purity; the jewel – sovereign power; & the two dragons a male & female stand for the name of the country-the thunder dragon (Druk Yul).

 

National Flag:  

The national flag is rectangular & divided into two parts with a white dragon in the middle. The upper yellow half signifies the country’s secular authority of the King & the lower saffron-orange half signifies the religious practice & spiritual power of Buddhism.

 

National Symbols:  

 

National Tree        : Cyprus (Cupresses Corneyana).

National Flower    : Blue Poppy (Mecanopsis Grandis).

National Animal   : Takin (Budorcas Taxicolor).

National Bird         : Raven (Corvus Corax Tibetanus).

National Day          : 17th December, coronation of Gogsar Ughen Wangchuk as the first King of Bhutan

National Dress       : Gho for Men & Kira for Women

National Sports     : Archery

Currency                 : Ngultrum, same value as Indian Rupee

DISTANCE WITH TRAVEL TIME

 

From

To

Distance

Travel Time

 

 

 

 

Paro

Thimphu

65 Kms

1 hr 30 min

Haa

75 Kms

3 hrs

Phuentsholing

200 Kms

7 hrs

Thimphu

Phuentsholing

176 Kms

5 hrs

Wangdue Phodrang

70 Kms

2 hrs

Punakha

77 Kms

2 hrs 15 min

Punakha

Wangdue Phodrang

21 Kms

30 min

Paro

140 Kms

5 hrs

Bumthang

212 Kms

8 hrs

Trongsa

136 Kms

4 hrs 30 min

Gantey

70 Kms

3 hrs

Bumthang

Trongsa

68 Kms

2 hrs 30 min

PhuentsholiAng

Bagdogra (India)

170 Kms

5 hrs

Jaldapara (India)

35 Kms

1 hr

Lataguri (India)

110 Kms

2 hrs 30 min

Hasimara (India)

25 Kms

45 min

Darjeeling (India)

240 Kms

7 hrs

Kalimpong (India)

185 Kms

5 hrs

Gangtok (India)

255 Kms

8 hrs

ENTRY FORMALITIES FOR INDIAN TOURIST IN BHUTAN

Indian Tourist traveling to Bhutan does not require any visa. However, they need a travel Permit to visit Bhutan. . For Indians only a valid passport or Voter Id card are the valid documents for obtaining entry permit.

Permits: There are 03 types of PERMIT.

 

  1. Entry Permit: When you are entering Bhutan, you have to get the Entry Permit which can be procured at the entry point either in Paro airport (when travelling by flight) or in Phuentsholing Bhutan (when travelling overland either from Bagdogra or NJP). Entry permit is also a valid document to visit Thimphu and Paro.
  2. Special Permit: If you choose your Itinerary to visit places (Haa, Punakha, Wangdue, Bumthang, etc) beyond Paro and Thimphu, you need to have a Special Permit. We need the copy of either your passport or Voter ID card along with the copy of entry permit to make your Special Permit. Special permit will ONLY be made in Thimphu on the working days between 09.00 – 16.00 hrs.
  3. Advance Online Permits: If you are traveling with an Indian Passport (with a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of departure from Bhutan), you can avail advance online permits by sending us clear colour scanned passport copy .It should reach us before 10 working days. We shall not be responsible for any rejections or similar issues in regards to the permits due to improper documents or delay in arrival of documents.

 

Travel Documents required with physical presence of the guest:

  1. Valid Indian passport (above 6 months validity) or Voters Identity Card (anyone) is a must for 18 years and above.
  2. Child below 5 years (Original Birth certificate in English is required).
  3. Child between 6 – 17 years academic School Identity Card is required along with the Birth Certicate.

 

Entering Bhutan by Flight: While collecting your airlines boarding pass you are given 01 form at Airlines counter.

 

  1. Immigration form: You are required to fill and submit this form at the immigration counter while getting the entry permit at Bhutan airport.
  2. Bhutan Entry Permit:
  • Passport Holder: Bhutan entry permit are stamped on the passport itself. It is must to carry your passport while traveling & taking inter point connection. You will not be allowed to leave the country without stamping the exit on it.
  • A clear scanned copy of passport (in color) in JPEG or PDF format and the flight details is required to process the online permits. Please note that the permit gets rejected if the Scanned copies of the passports do not meet the standards. Online permits require the use of TCB certified hotels, Bhutanese vehicle and certified Bhutanese guide.
  • Proper travel documents shall be required at least 10 workings days prior to the date of travel. We shall not be responsible for any rejections or similar issues in regards to the permits due to improper documents or delay in arrival of documents.
  • Voter ID Card: Bhutan entry permit are issued separately on papers after verifying Voter ID card. This document must be carried while traveling & taking inter point connection. You are also advised to make photo copy of the paper permit and keep it in safe custody as you will not be allowed to leave the country without surrendering this paper permit in original. This permit is also required to make the pink permit for visiting any other area other than Thimphu & Paro.

 

Exiting Bhutan by Flight: While collecting your airlines boarding pass you are given 01 forms at the Airlines counter.

 

  1. Immigration Form: You are required to fill up this immigration form and this form has to be submitted at the immigration counter at the final port of Disembarkation, ie Bagdogra, Kolkata, Delhi and other airport connected by Druk air or Bhutan Airlines in India.
  2. Bhutan Entry Permit: This is the same Paper permit issued while entering Bhutan. You will not be allowed to leave the country without surrendering this paper permit in original.

 

Notes:

  1. Declaration form basically states that you are not carrying any prohibited items out of Bhutan
  2. Yellow form is basically a self-declaration of items carried by you on flight.i.e. number of check-in Baggage, hand baggage, duty & duty-free items.

 

Entering Bhutan by Surface:

Indian nationals do not require any visa for Bhutan. A permit will be issued at the entry point on production of a passport (with a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of departure) or Voter ID (only valid document for issuing the Bhutan Entry permit). The traveler also has to carry photocopy of the travel documents. For Children, Original Birth certificate in English and student ID is required.

If you are entering Bhutan via land, it is to be noted that the permits are issued only during working days and hours. (Monday to Friday between 9 am to 4 pm during winter and 5 pm during summer). It is suggested that the travelers arriving in Phuentsholing on Friday should arrive latest by 10 AM in order to complete the entry formalities on the same day. No permits are issued on Saturday, Sunday and Bhutan government holidays. During the peak season (depending upon the rush), immigration may take long time to issue the permit. We shall not be responsible for any delay during processing of permit by the immigration authority. Please keep your clients informed that they may have to stand on long queue during high season to obtain the permit if traveling via Phuentsholing.

The entry permit is valid for travel in Phuentsholing, Thimphu and Paro only. Special permit is required to travel in Haa, Punakha/Wangdue and beyond.

The special permit will have to be processed in Department of Immigrations, Thimphu; in production of the entry permit or the Passport (photocopies are required). This special permit is given only after guest has entered Bhutan. Permits are not issued on Saturday, Sunday & Bhutan Govt. holidays.

 

If you have sent us coloured scan passport copies in advance we will take all the permits in advance.

  1. You are required to visit the immigration office along with your guide / driver at the Bhutan entry gate to obtain your Bhutan entry permit (personal presence is a must for obtaining the permit).
  2. For surface traveler Bhutan entry permit are issued separately in papers after verifying the documents. This document must be carried while traveling and taking inner point connection. You are also advised to make photo copy of the paper permit and keep it in safe custody. As you will not be allowed to leave the country without surrendering the pink permit for visiting any other area other than Thimphu & Paro.

 

 

Exiting Bhutan by Surface:

While exiting from Phuentsholing you will have to surrender original entry permit which was given to you while entering Bhutan at immigration office, Karbandi, which is 5 km before Phuentsholing. You will not be allowed to leave the country without surrendering this paper permit in original, issued at Paro / Phuntsholing.