Things to do in Bhutan

  • Feb 23, 2024
  • Prathana

An unforgettable journey to the heart of the Himalayas begins with a visit to Bhutan, a mystical kingdom where culture, spirituality, and natural beauty intertwine to create a unique travel experience. Known as the Land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan offers a plethora of activities that cater to all types of adventurers. From the serene hikes to the iconic Paro Taktsang (Tiger's Nest Monastery) to the tranquil experience of hot spring therapy, the country provides an escape into a world that prioritises happiness and environmental conservation. Explore the rich tapestry of Bhutanese culture with visits to majestic dzongs (fortresses), traditional Bhutanese art workshops, and vibrant festivals that showcase the country's heritage and traditions. Adventure enthusiasts can indulge in mountain biking across rugged terrains, bird watching in pristine forests, and rafting on crystal-clear rivers. Bhutan's commitment to sustainability and preservation of its unique way of life makes it a destination like no other, offering visitors a chance to experience its untouched beauty, spiritual sanctity, and warm hospitality. Whether you're savouring the spicy flavours of Bhutanese cuisine, shopping for exquisite handicrafts in Thimphu's weekend market, or seeking spiritual solace in its ancient monasteries, Bhutan promises a journey filled with discovery and wonder at every turn.

At Relax Getaways, we pride ourselves on being the premier choice for travellers seeking to uncover the mystical charm of Bhutan. Our deep-rooted passion for this Himalayan kingdom, combined with our commitment to providing personalised and immersive experiences, sets us apart as the best company for exploring all the Things to do in Bhutan. Our expertly crafted itineraries are designed to introduce you to Bhutan's breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and spiritual depth. From the adrenaline-pumping adventure of mountain biking and rafting to the serene pleasure of hot spring therapy and spiritual retreats, we ensure that every aspect of Bhutan is explored. Our local guides are not only knowledgeable about Bhutan's history and traditions but are also deeply connected to the land, offering insights that go beyond the usual tourist experience. With Relax Getaways, you're not just visiting Bhutan; you're being woven into the fabric of its life, participating in ancient traditions, savoring authentic Bhutanese cuisine, and engaging with the local community in meaningful ways. We believe in sustainable tourism and work closely with local communities to ensure that your visit contributes positively to Bhutan's environmental conservation and cultural preservation efforts. Choose Relax Getaways for an unforgettable journey into the heart of Bhutan, where every moment is carefully curated to offer you the essence of this magical country.

Table of Contents

Visit Thimpu: The capital city of Bhutan

Visiting Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, offers a unique blend of the traditional and the modern, set against the backdrop of the majestic Himalayas. As the heart of Bhutanese culture, politics, and economy, Thimphu presents a fascinating array of experiences for every traveler. Relax Getaways invites you to explore this vibrant city, where ancient traditions seamlessly coexist with contemporary life.

  • Thimphu Sightseeing: Embark on a guided tour with us to uncover Thimphu's most iconic landmarks. The majestic Tashichho Dzong, a fortress that houses the throne room and offices of the King of Bhutan, is a must-visit for its architectural grandeur and historical significance. The National Memorial Chorten, dedicated to the third king of Bhutan, is another highlight, offering insights into the spiritual devotion of the Bhutanese people.

  • Cultural Immersion: Dive deep into Bhutanese culture with visits to the Folk Heritage Museum and the Royal Textile Academy. These institutions provide a detailed look at Bhutan's rich cultural heritage, from traditional Bhutanese lifestyles to the exquisite art of Bhutanese weaving. Relax Getaways ensures that your visit is both enlightening and engaging, with opportunities to interact with local artisans and learn about their crafts.

  • Spiritual Journey: Thimphu is also home to several monasteries and religious sites, offering a serene and spiritual experience. The Buddha Dordenma Statue, a massive, gilded figure of Buddha overlooking the valley, is not only a spiritual landmark but also offers panoramic views of the city. Visiting these sites with Relax Getaways allows for a peaceful exploration of Bhutanese Buddhism and its practices.

  • Local Cuisine: No visit to Thimphu is complete without tasting the local cuisine. Relax Getaways organizes culinary tours that introduce you to the flavors of Bhutanese dishes, such as Ema Datshi (chili and cheese stew) and Momos (dumplings), providing a taste of the local lifestyle and hospitality.

  • Thimphu Weekend Market: For a slice of local life, the Thimphu weekend market is the place to be. Here, you can browse through stalls selling everything from fresh produce and spices to handmade crafts and textiles. It's a perfect opportunity to pick up souvenirs and gifts, with Relax Getaways guides at your side to share stories and insights about the items on sale.

  • Adventure and Recreation: For those seeking a more active experience, Thimphu offers options like hiking, biking, and archery. Relax Getaways can arrange for mountain biking tours or hikes in the surrounding areas, offering breathtaking views and a chance to connect with nature.

Choosing Relax Getaways for your Thimphu visit means experiencing the best of Bhutan's capital with the assurance of expert guidance, comprehensive itineraries, and a deep commitment to providing a memorable and authentic Bhutanese experience. Join us to discover the soul of Thimphu, where the essence of Bhutan comes to life.

Visit Weekend Market of Thimpu

A visit to the weekend market in Thimphu is an essential experience for anyone wanting to immerse themselves in the vibrant local culture of Bhutan. This bustling marketplace, situated by the banks of the Wang Chhu River, offers a colourful and lively glimpse into the everyday lives of Bhutanese people. With Relax Getaways, you're not just a visitor; you're invited to engage deeply with the community and the rich tapestry of Bhutanese life.

  • Explore Authentic Bhutanese Produce: The Weekend Market is the heart of Thimphu's local commerce, where farmers from all over the country bring their freshest produce. Stroll through rows of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, discovering ingredients unique to Bhutanese cuisine. Our guides will help you understand the significance of these local products, both in the traditional diet and in the cultural practices of Bhutan.

  • Discover Traditional Bhutanese Crafts: Beyond the edible goods, the market is a treasure trove of Bhutanese handicrafts. Handwoven textiles, wooden bowls, handmade paper, and intricate jewelry are just some of the items you can find. Each piece tells a story of Bhutan's artistic heritage, making them perfect souvenirs to remember your journey. Relax Getaways ensures that you meet the artisans behind these crafts, offering insights into their methods and traditions.

  • Taste Bhutanese Street Food: The Weekend Market is also a great place to sample Bhutanese street food. From spicy ema datshi to steaming momos, the flavors of Bhutan come alive in this vibrant setting. Our guides will recommend the best stalls and dishes, giving you a taste of authentic Bhutanese cuisine that's hard to find anywhere else.

  • Engage with the Local Community: Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of visiting the Weekend Market with Relax Getaways is the opportunity to interact with the locals. Bhutanese people are known for their warmth and hospitality, and the market is a place where you can experience this firsthand. It's a chance to learn about the Bhutanese way of life, share stories, and make lasting connections.

  • Sustainable and Responsible Tourism: Relax Getaways is committed to sustainable tourism practices. By visiting the Weekend Market, you're supporting local farmers and artisans directly, contributing to the local economy in a meaningful way. We encourage respectful interaction with vendors and mindfulness about the environmental impact, ensuring that your visit is beneficial for both you and the community.

  • A Personalized Experience: Knowing that each traveler has unique interests, Relax Getaways tailors the visit to the Weekend Market to suit your preferences. Whether you're a foodie eager to explore Bhutanese flavors, an art lover curious about local crafts, or simply looking to soak in the lively atmosphere, we ensure your experience is unforgettable.

Join Relax Getaways for a visit to the Weekend Market of Thimphu, and dive into the heart of Bhutanese culture. It's more than just a market visit; it's a vibrant, sensory journey that offers a real taste of life in Bhutan.

Go For Bird Watching

Bird-watching adventure in Bhutan with Relax Getaways is an experience that transcends ordinary travel. This journey invites you into the heart of the Himalayas, where the diverse ecosystems harbour some of the world’s most exotic and rare bird species. Bhutan’s commitment to conservation and its status as a biodiversity hotspot make it an ideal destination for bird enthusiasts. With over 670 bird species, including several that are endemic and endangered, Bhutan offers unparalleled opportunities to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

  • Discover Bhutan’s Birding Paradises: Relax Getaways takes you to the prime bird watching spots across Bhutan, from the lush forests of Zhemgang to the alpine meadows of Phobjikha Valley. Each region boasts its own unique avian population, offering chances to spot the rare Black-necked Crane, the vibrant Himalayan Monal, and the elusive Satyr Tragopan among others. Our expert guides, well-versed in ornithology and the nuances of Bhutan’s ecosystems, ensure that your bird watching experience is both enriching and respectful towards nature.

  • Tailored Birding Expeditions: Understanding that every bird watcher has their own preferences and goals, Relax Getaways customizes your birding expedition to match your specific interests. Whether you’re a seasoned ornithologist looking to add rare sightings to your list or a nature lover seeking the tranquility of Bhutan’s pristine landscapes, we craft your journey to ensure it meets your expectations.

  • Sustainable and Ethical Bird Watching: As advocates for responsible tourism, Relax Getaways emphasizes the importance of sustainable and ethical bird watching practices. We ensure that our expeditions cause minimal disturbance to wildlife, promoting the preservation of Bhutan’s natural heritage. Our guides are trained to lead tours that respect the delicate balance of the ecosystems we explore, ensuring that your bird watching experience contributes positively to conservation efforts.

  • Cultural Integration and Conservation Awareness: Beyond the thrill of bird watching, Relax Getaways offers insights into Bhutan’s rich cultural tapestry and its pioneering approach to environmental conservation. Visits to local communities and interactions with conservation experts provide a deeper understanding of how Bhutan has become a global leader in sustainability. This holistic approach enriches your bird watching journey, making it a profound experience that goes beyond mere observation.

  • State-of-the-Art Equipment and Comfort: Relax Getaways equips you with state-of-the-art bird watching gear and ensures your comfort throughout the expedition. From high-quality binoculars to comfortable, eco-friendly accommodations, every aspect of your journey is designed to enhance your experience and immersion in Bhutan’s natural wonders.

Join Relax Getaways on a bird watching adventure in Bhutan, and immerse yourself in the serene beauty and biodiversity of this Himalayan kingdom. Witness the splendid avian life that thrives in one of the world’s most enchanting and untouched natural landscapes, all while enjoying the unparalleled hospitality and expertise that Relax Getaways is known for.

Explore Ancient Art

Exploring the ancient art of Bhutan is a journey into the heart of the kingdom's spiritual and cultural identity. With Relax Getaways, this exploration transcends the typical tourist experience, offering a deep dive into the rich tapestry of Bhutanese artistic heritage. From the intricate thangka paintings that depict Buddhist lore to the majestic dzongs adorned with traditional Bhutanese architecture, our guided tours unveil the essence of Bhutan's ancient art forms, offering a window into the soul of this mystical land.

  • Discover Thangka Painting and Sculpture: Relax Getaways arranges exclusive visits to monasteries and museums where you can admire thangka paintings, a unique form of Buddhist art that dates back centuries. These paintings, rich in symbolism and meticulously detailed, are not just art; they are a form of meditation and a guide to enlightenment. Similarly, our tours introduce you to traditional Bhutanese sculpture, showcasing the skill and devotion of local artisans who create spiritual figures and motifs using age-old techniques.

  • Experience Traditional Architecture: Bhutan is renowned for its distinctive architectural style, which harmoniously blends with the natural landscape. Our tours include visits to iconic fortresses, or dzongs, and traditional Bhutanese houses, allowing you to experience firsthand the architectural marvels that have stood the test of time. These structures, with their elaborate wood carvings, colorful paintings, and unique construction methods, are a testament to Bhutan's architectural ingenuity and aesthetic sensibility.

  • Learn from Master Artisans: Relax Getaways believes in the power of immersive experiences. We arrange workshops and interactive sessions with master artisans who are guardians of Bhutan's artistic traditions. Under their guidance, you can learn the basics of thangka painting, wood carving, or textile weaving, offering a hands-on understanding of the techniques and philosophies that underpin Bhutanese art.

  • Explore Bhutanese Textiles: Our tours also delve into the vibrant world of Bhutanese textiles, celebrated for their intricate patterns and weaving techniques. Visiting weaving centers and local markets, you'll discover how these textiles are more than mere clothing; they are a form of expression and a crucial aspect of Bhutanese cultural identity. Relax Getaways provides opportunities to meet with weavers, learn about the symbolism of different patterns, and perhaps even try your hand at the loom.

  • Cultural Preservation and Sustainability: In partnership with local communities and preservation experts, Relax Getaways is committed to promoting the sustainability of Bhutan's ancient art forms. By participating in our tours, you contribute to efforts that support artisans and ensure the continuation of these priceless traditions for future generations.

  • A Journey Through Time: With Relax Getaways, exploring Bhutan's ancient art is more than a tour; it's a journey through time. It's an opportunity to connect with the spiritual and artistic legacy of Bhutan, gaining insights into the beliefs and values that have shaped this unique culture. Our expertly curated experiences ensure that you leave with a profound appreciation for the beauty and depth of Bhutanese art.

Embark on an exploration of Bhutan's ancient art with Relax Getaways, and immerse yourself in the kingdom's rich artistic heritage. It's an adventure that promises not just to educate but to inspire, leaving you with lasting memories and a deep connection to Bhutan's cultural soul.

Get Hot Spring Therapy

Immersing yourself in the therapeutic hot springs of Bhutan is a deeply rejuvenating experience, one that blends the natural beauty of the Himalayas with traditional healing practices. Relax Getaways invites you to indulge in this ancient form of therapy, known locally as Tshachus, which has been revered for centuries for its health benefits. Our curated hot spring therapy tours are designed not just for relaxation but as a holistic journey towards physical and spiritual wellbeing, set against the backdrop of Bhutan's serene landscapes.

  • Discover Bhutan's Sacred Hot Springs: Bhutan is home to several hot springs, each situated in stunning natural environments and believed to possess healing properties. With Relax Getaways, you'll venture to these secluded spots, such as the Gasa Tshachu in the north or the Dur Tshachu in Bumthang. These springs are rich in minerals and are traditionally used by the Bhutanese for treating ailments ranging from arthritis to skin conditions.

  • A Blend of Nature and Tradition: Our hot spring therapy tours are more than a simple dip in warm waters; they are an immersive experience that combines the therapeutic aspects of the springs with the spiritual and cultural practices of Bhutan. You'll have the opportunity to learn about the traditional beliefs surrounding the Tshachus and how they are an integral part of Bhutanese wellness and medicinal practices.

  • Sustainable and Respectful Tourism: Relax Getaways is committed to preserving the natural and cultural integrity of the hot spring sites. We ensure that our visits are conducted with the utmost respect for the environment and the local communities that maintain these sacred spaces. By choosing Relax Getaways, you're not only experiencing the healing power of Bhutan's hot springs but also contributing to the sustainable and responsible tourism efforts in the kingdom.

  • Comfort and Convenience: Understanding the remote locations of many of Bhutan's hot springs, Relax Getaways arranges for all necessary logistics, including transportation and accommodations, ensuring your journey is comfortable and hassle-free. Our tours are designed to offer a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation, allowing you to unwind in the hot springs while being surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Himalayas.

  • Personalized Wellness Experience: We recognize that each traveler's wellness journey is unique. Relax Getaways offers personalized experiences at the hot springs, catering to your individual health and relaxation needs. Whether you're looking for a peaceful retreat to disconnect and recharge or a therapeutic experience to address specific health concerns, our team ensures your hot spring therapy is perfectly tailored to suit you.

  • Connect with Nature and Culture: Beyond the health benefits, our hot spring therapy tours offer a chance to connect with the natural beauty and cultural richness of Bhutan. The journey to the springs takes you through some of the kingdom's most breathtaking landscapes, offering opportunities for meditation, reflection, and a deeper appreciation of Bhutan's commitment to environmental conservation and cultural preservation.

Embark on a journey of rejuvenation and discovery with Relax Getaways. Our hot spring therapy tours in Bhutan promise not just a moment of relaxation but a profound experience of healing, set within the tranquil embrace of nature and tradition. Join us to unlock the restorative powers of Bhutan's sacred waters, and return home with a renewed sense of wellbeing and harmony.

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking in Bhutan with Relax Getaways offers an exhilarating blend of adventure and cultural immersion, set against the backdrop of the country's breathtaking landscapes. Bhutan's diverse terrain, from lush valleys to rugged mountain trails, provides an ideal setting for biking enthusiasts of all skill levels. Our guided mountain biking tours are designed to take you on an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Himalayas, where you'll experience the thrill of the ride and the serene beauty of Bhutan's natural and cultural heritage.

  • Tailored Mountain Biking Adventures: Understanding that every rider comes with different expectations and levels of experience, Relax Getaways customizes each mountain biking tour to fit your preferences. Whether you're seeking a challenging ride across steep mountain passes or a leisurely trek through scenic valleys, our team crafts the perfect itinerary for you. We offer routes that range from the historic trails of Paro to the spiritual paths of Bumthang, ensuring an adventure that combines physical challenge with spiritual and scenic rewards.

  • Expert Guides and Support: With Relax Getaways, you're in safe hands. Our mountain biking tours are led by experienced guides who are not only passionate bikers but also deeply knowledgeable about Bhutan's geography, culture, and history. They ensure your safety on the trails while enriching your journey with insights into the places you visit. Support vehicles accompany all tours, providing assistance and peace of mind, so you can focus on enjoying the ride.

  • Cultural Immersion on Two Wheels: Our mountain biking tours offer more than just physical adventure; they are a gateway to experiencing Bhutan's rich culture and traditions. Pedal through ancient villages, past traditional farmhouses, and into the heart of Bhutanese communities. Visit local monasteries, interact with the friendly locals, and immerse yourself in the daily life and spiritual practices of the people who call these mountains home.

  • Sustainable and Eco-friendly Exploration: At Relax Getaways, we are committed to responsible and sustainable tourism practices. Mountain biking is a low-impact way to explore Bhutan, allowing you to connect with nature without leaving a significant footprint. We ensure that our tours respect the environment and contribute positively to the conservation efforts of Bhutan's pristine landscapes.

  • All-Inclusive Mountain Biking Experience: Relax Getaways takes care of all the details, from high-quality mountain bikes and safety gear to accommodations and meals throughout your journey. Our all-inclusive approach means you can enjoy the adventure without any logistical worries. We select the best routes, accommodations, and dining experiences that reflect the local character and hospitality of Bhutan, ensuring a comfortable and authentic adventure.

  • Connecting with Nature: Beyond the adrenaline rush, mountain biking in Bhutan is an opportunity to connect with the natural world. Ride through rhododendron forests, along crystal-clear rivers, and under the shadow of majestic Himalayan peaks. These journeys offer moments of solitude and reflection, providing a deeper connection to the environment and yourself.

Join Relax Getaways on a mountain biking adventure in Bhutan and experience the thrill of the trails, the beauty of the landscape, and the warmth of Bhutanese hospitality. Whether you're an experienced mountain biker or looking to try something new, our tours promise an unforgettable journey through one of the world's most mystical and unspoiled destinations.

Experience Bhutanese Cuisine

Experiencing Bhutanese cuisine with Relax Getaways is a journey through the rich tapestry of flavors, aromas, and traditions that define this Himalayan kingdom. Bhutanese food is a reflection of the country's culture, environment, and spiritual values, offering a unique culinary experience that goes beyond mere dining. With Relax Getaways, you're invited to dive deep into the heart of Bhutanese culinary traditions, exploring the local ingredients, cooking techniques, and the communal joy that food brings in Bhutanese society.

  • Savor Authentic Bhutanese Dishes: Our culinary tours introduce you to the staples of Bhutanese cuisine, such as the fiery Ema Datshi (chili and cheese stew), succulent Momos (dumplings), and the hearty Red Rice. Each dish tells a story of Bhutan's agricultural practices, regional variations, and the influence of Buddhist principles on consumption and preparation of food.

  • Interactive Cooking Classes: Relax Getaways offers more than just tasting; we provide interactive cooking classes with local chefs and families. These sessions allow you to learn the secrets of Bhutanese cooking firsthand, from the proper way to blend the fiery chilies and indigenous cheese in Ema Datshi to the art of making perfect Momos. It's an opportunity to immerse yourself in the Bhutanese way of life and take home not just memories but skills you can share.

  • Visit Local Markets and Farms: To truly understand Bhutanese cuisine, one must start at the source. Our tours take you to vibrant local markets and farms where you can see the fresh, organic ingredients that form the basis of the cuisine. Bhutan's commitment to organic farming practices is evident as you wander through stalls laden with fresh produce, spices, and grains, providing insights into the country's sustainable food practices.

  • Dine in Traditional Settings: With Relax Getaways, dining is not just about food; it's about the experience. Enjoy meals in traditional Bhutanese homes, monasteries, and exclusive local restaurants that offer not just delicious dishes but also a glimpse into the Bhutanese way of dining. These experiences are complemented by the breathtaking views of the Himalayas, making each meal a memorable event.

  • Explore Regional Varieties: Bhutan's diverse geography and climate mean that each region has its culinary specialties. From the spicy meats of the east to the unique dairy products of the highlands, our tours are designed to give you a taste of the regional diversity of Bhutanese cuisine. This journey through the flavors of Bhutan is an exploration of the country's cultural and environmental diversity.

  • Festive Meals and Traditional Beverages: Participate in traditional Bhutanese feasts and try local beverages like Ara (a traditional alcohol made from rice or barley). These festive meals are an integral part of Bhutanese celebrations and offer a deeper understanding of the communal and celebratory aspects of Bhutanese food culture.

  • Sustainable and Responsible Culinary Experiences: Aligning with Bhutan's principles of environmental conservation and sustainable living, Relax Getaways ensures that your culinary journey contributes positively to the local community and ecosystem. We prioritize experiences that are authentic, sustainable, and respectful of Bhutan's traditions and values.

Embarking on a culinary journey with Relax Getaways in Bhutan is not just about tasting exotic dishes; it's about connecting with the land, its people, and their traditions. It's an invitation to experience the warmth of Bhutanese hospitality and the depth of its culinary heritage. Join us to discover the flavors of Bhutan, where every meal is a celebration of life and community.

Tiger Nest Monastery Hike

The Tiger's Nest Monastery, or Paro Taktsang, is one of Bhutan's most revered and breathtaking sites, perched precariously on the side of a cliff 900 meters (2,953 feet) above the Paro valley. This sacred monastery is not just a symbol of Bhutanese religious devotion but also a testament to the country's architectural marvels. Hiking to Tiger's Nest with Relax Getaways is more than a physical journey; it's a spiritual adventure that encapsulates the essence of Bhutan's mystical allure.

  • An Unforgettable Hike: The journey to Tiger's Nest begins early in the morning, with a hike that takes approximately 2 to 3 hours. The trail winds through beautiful pine forests adorned with Spanish moss and colorful prayer flags, which flutter in the wind, carrying prayers to the heavens. Relax Getaways ensures that every hiker is well-prepared and comfortable, providing guides who are not only experts in navigating the terrain but also in Bhutanese culture and spirituality, enriching your ascent with stories and insights into the monastery's history and significance.

  • Spiritual and Cultural Immersion: Upon reaching the monastery, you are rewarded with not only stunning views of the valley below but also a profound sense of peace and spiritual fulfillment. Relax Getaways arranges for a guided tour of the monastery, where you can witness the ancient murals, statues, and religious artifacts that adorn its interior. Visitors often have the opportunity to participate in a meditation session or receive a blessing from the resident monks, offering a deeper connection to Bhutan's Buddhist traditions.

  • Sustainable and Respectful Exploration: In line with Bhutan's principles of environmental conservation and cultural preservation, Relax Getaways is committed to ensuring that the hike to Tiger's Nest is conducted with the utmost respect for the natural surroundings and the monastery's sanctity. Group sizes are kept small to minimize impact, and hikers are briefed on the importance of leaving no trace and respecting the sacred site.

  • Personalized Experience: Understanding that every traveler has unique interests and physical capabilities, Relax Getaways offers personalized guidance for the hike to Tiger's Nest. Whether you require additional stops along the way to rest and soak in the views or wish to delve deeper into the monastery's history, our team tailors the experience to meet your needs and ensure a memorable journey.

  • Photographic Memories: The hike and the monastery itself offer unparalleled opportunities for photography, capturing the architectural wonder of Taktsang against the backdrop of the majestic Himalayas. Relax Getaways guides know the best spots for breathtaking photos, ensuring you leave with a collection of images that vividly capture the essence of your Bhutanese adventure.

  • A Journey of Discovery: The hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery with Relax Getaways is more than just a physical challenge; it's a journey of discovery that offers insights into Bhutan's spiritual heart, cultural richness, and natural beauty. It's an experience that stays with you long after you've descended from the cliffside, leaving you with a sense of accomplishment, wonder, and a deeper understanding of Bhutan's enduring allure.

Join Relax Getaways on the iconic hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery, and embark on a journey that combines adventure, spirituality, and the breathtaking beauty of Bhutan in one unforgettable experience.

Visit Paro International Airport

Visiting Paro International Airport with Relax Getaways is an experience unlike any other. Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, this airport is not just a gateway to the mystical kingdom of Bhutan but also one of the most challenging airports in the world for pilots to navigate. The journey to or from Paro International Airport offers passengers breathtaking views of the mountainous landscape, making it a memorable part of any trip to Bhutan.

  • A Scenic Arrival: As the only international airport in Bhutan, Paro International Airport serves as the first impression of the country for many visitors. Relax Getaways ensures that your arrival or departure is seamless and stress-free, providing assistance with airport procedures and transfers. The descent into Paro is spectacular, offering aerial views of the Himalayan peaks and valleys that are sure to leave you in awe. Our representatives will be there to welcome you upon arrival, ready to introduce you to the wonders of Bhutan.

  • Architectural Marvel: The airport itself is a marvel of Bhutanese architecture, blending traditional design elements with modern functionality. The terminal building, adorned with Bhutanese motifs and colors, stands as a testament to the country's commitment to preserving its cultural identity amidst modernization. Relax Getaways offers insights into the architectural significance of the airport, enriching your understanding of Bhutanese culture from the moment you land.

  • Exclusive Tours: For aviation enthusiasts or those interested in the unique aspects of this airport, Relax Getaways can arrange exclusive tours that provide a behind-the-scenes look at the operations of one of the world's most challenging airports. Learn about the rigorous training pilots undergo to navigate the narrow valleys leading to Paro and the sophisticated technologies that aid in safe landings and takeoffs.

  • Gateway to Adventure: Paro International Airport is not just a point of arrival or departure; it's the gateway to your Bhutanese adventure. Located close to many of Paro's attractions, including the iconic Tiger's Nest Monastery, Relax Getaways seamlessly integrates your airport experience with the start or end of your journey in Bhutan. Whether you're heading straight to the mountains or exploring the rich cultural heritage of Paro, the airport marks the beginning or culmination of an unforgettable journey.

  • Personalized Services: Understanding the nuances of traveling to and from Bhutan, Relax Getaways offers personalized services to make your airport experience as smooth as possible. From VIP meet-and-greet services to private transfers to your hotel or next destination, we take care of all the details, allowing you to relax and enjoy every moment of your Bhutanese adventure.

Visiting Paro International Airport with Relax Getaways is more than just a travel necessity; it's an integral part of the Bhutanese experience. With its unique location, architectural beauty, and the thrilling approach through the Himalayas, the airport is a fitting introduction or farewell to a country that prides itself on its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and warm hospitality. Let Relax Getaways make your journey through Paro International Airport a smooth, memorable, and integral part of your Bhutan adventure.

Punakha Dzong

Visiting Punakha Dzong with Relax Getaways is a journey into the heart of Bhutan's rich history and spiritual heritage. Known as the Palace of Great Happiness, Punakha Dzong stands majestically at the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers, serving as a symbol of unity and an architectural masterpiece of Bhutan. This ancient fortress is not only one of the most beautiful dzongs in the country but also holds great historical significance, having been the site of coronations for Bhutanese kings and a fortress of deep spiritual importance.

  • Architectural Grandeur and Spiritual Significance: Punakha Dzong is renowned for its stunning architecture, combining both fortification and monastic functions. Its strategic location and the artistic detail in its construction reflect the blend of divine and earthly realms. Relax Getaways guides you through the dzong's intricate labyrinths, pointing out the exquisite murals, wood carvings, and the sacred relics housed within its walls. Our knowledgeable guides share stories of the dzong's history, its spiritual significance, and its role in the unification of Bhutan.

  • Seasonal Beauty: The best times to visit Punakha Dzong with Relax Getaways are during the spring and autumn seasons when the jacaranda trees bloom with purple flowers, creating a mesmerizing contrast against the dzong's white-washed walls. Additionally, the Punakha Tshechu and Drubchen festivals, celebrated in the dzong's courtyard, offer a spectacular glimpse into Bhutanese culture, with masked dances and religious ceremonies that attract locals and tourists alike.

  • Cultural Immersion: Relax Getaways ensures that your visit to Punakha Dzong is more than just a tour; it's an immersive experience into Bhutanese culture and Buddhism. Visitors have the opportunity to witness monks in prayer, observe traditional rituals, and perhaps even participate in a meditation session, offering a deeper understanding of the spiritual practices that are central to Bhutanese life.

  • Sustainable and Respectful Exploration: In keeping with Bhutan's principles of environmental conservation and cultural preservation, Relax Getaways organizes tours to Punakha Dzong in a manner that respects the site's sanctity and minimizes environmental impact. We encourage visitors to embrace the ethos of respect and mindfulness, ensuring that the dzong remains a sacred space for future generations.

  • Photographic Opportunities: The majestic setting of Punakha Dzong, set against the backdrop of the Himalayas and at the confluence of two rivers, offers unparalleled opportunities for photography. Relax Getaways guides know the best spots and times of day to capture the dzong's beauty, ensuring that you leave with stunning photographs and memories of your visit.

  • A Gateway to Further Exploration: Visiting Punakha Dzong with Relax Getaways opens the door to further exploration of the Punakha Valley. The region is rich in natural beauty and cultural sites, from traditional villages to serene hikes through rice fields and forests. Our tailored itineraries can extend your adventure, connecting you with the land and people of this historic region.

Join Relax Getaways on a visit to Punakha Dzong, and experience the confluence of history, culture, and spirituality that defines this iconic Bhutanese landmark. It's an essential part of any journey to Bhutan, offering insights into the kingdom's past and present, and a profound connection to its spiritual heart.

Visa for Bhutan

Obtaining a visa for Bhutan is a unique process, reflecting the country's approach to tourism and its commitment to preserving its culture and environment. Unlike many countries, Bhutan does not allow independent travel for tourists from most nations. Here's a comprehensive guide to understanding the visa process for Bhutan, highlighting the importance of planning your visit through a registered tour operator like Relax Getaways.

Tourist Visa Requirement

  • All international tourists (except for citizens of India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives) need a visa to enter Bhutan.

  • The visa must be arranged through a Bhutanese tour operator or one of their international partners. Independent travel is not permitted, so your trip, including a visa, will be arranged as part of a package that includes accommodation, transportation, a guide, and meals.

Application Process

  • Your tour operator will handle the visa application process for you. You'll need to provide them with the required documentation, typically including a passport valid for at least six months beyond your date of entry and proof of travel insurance.

  • The tour operator submits your visa application to the Tourism Council of Bhutan once your trip is booked and paid for. This process can't be expedited, so it's recommended to plan well in advance.

Daily Minimum Spending Requirement

  • Bhutan has a unique policy that sets a daily minimum spending requirement for tourists, which varies depending on the time of year. This fee covers your accommodation, food, transportation within Bhutan, a guide, and a sustainable tourism royalty that goes towards free education, healthcare, and poverty alleviation.

  • The fee ensures that tourism is sustainable and benefits the local economy without overwhelming Bhutan's resources and culture.

Visa Approval and Entry

  • Once approved, the Tourism Council of Bhutan issues a visa clearance letter to your tour operator, who will then forward it to you. You'll need to show this document upon boarding your flight to Bhutan and upon arrival.

  • The actual visa is stamped into your passport when you arrive in Bhutan, either at Paro International Airport or (if you're entering by land) at the Phuentsholing border crossing.

Costs and Payments

  • The visa fee is typically USD 40, in addition to the daily minimum spending requirement. Payments for your trip and visa are usually made in advance through your tour operator.

Special Considerations for Indian, Bangladeshi, and Maldivian Citizens

  • Nationals of India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives can obtain a permit at the port of entry by presenting a valid passport with a minimum of 6 months validity. They are exempt from the daily minimum spending requirement but must still book their trip through a registered Bhutanese tour operator or travel agent.

Advice for Travellers

  • Engage with a reputable and registered Bhutanese tour operator like Relax Getaways. They will not only ensure that all visa requirements are met but also tailor your visit to your interests, providing a deep and authentic experience of Bhutan.

  • Start planning your trip well in advance, especially if you wish to visit during peak seasons (spring and autumn), as the visa process and tour arrangements require time to finalise.

By following these guidelines and working with an experienced tour operator, obtaining a visa for Bhutan can be a smooth part of preparing for an extraordinary journey into the heart of the Himalayas.

Tips for Things to do in Bhutan

Exploring Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, offers an immersive experience of a culture deeply rooted in tradition, spirituality, and the majesty of the Himalayas. Whether you're trekking to ancient monasteries, sampling the unique flavours of Bhutanese cuisine, or soaking in the serene beauty of its landscapes, Bhutan promises an unforgettable journey. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your things to do in Bhutan:

  • Plan Around Festivals: Bhutan is known for its vibrant festivals, especially the Tshechus with their masked dances and cultural performances. Check the Bhutanese festival dates to align your visit with these celebrations for a deeper insight into Bhutanese culture.

  • Respect Local Customs and Traditions: Bhutanese society is deeply traditional. Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites like monasteries and dzongs. Always ask permission before taking photographs of people or religious ceremonies.

  • Try the Local Cuisine: Bhutanese food is unique, with chilli and cheese (Ema Datshi) being staple ingredients. Experience Bhutanese cuisine tasting for a genuine taste of local flavours. Be cautious if you're not accustomed to spicy food.

  • Stay Hydrated and Acclimatise: Given Bhutan's elevation, it's crucial to acclimatise to avoid altitude sickness, especially if you're planning hikes like the Tiger Nest Monastery hike. Drink plenty of water and give yourself time to adjust.

  • Engage in Eco-Friendly Practices: Bhutan is the only carbon-negative country in the world. Participate in maintaining its pristine environment by following eco-friendly practices, like carrying a reusable water bottle and avoiding littering.

  • Explore Beyond the Tourist Trail: While iconic sites like Paro Taktsang and Punakha Dzong are must-visits, Bhutan's beauty also lies off the beaten path. Mountain biking in Bhutan or visiting remote villages offers a more intimate experience of the country's landscapes and culture.

  • Take Part in Traditional Arts and Crafts: Engaging in traditional Bhutanese art workshops can provide a hands-on understanding of the country's artistic heritage. It's also a great way to support local artisans.

  • Prepare for the weather: Bhutan's weather can change rapidly, especially in the mountains. Pack layers and waterproof clothing to ensure you're prepared for all conditions, whether you're bird-watching or exploring Bhutanese monasteries.

  • Learn Basic Dzongkha Phrases: While English is widely spoken in tourist areas, learning a few phrases in Dzongkha, Bhutan's official language, can enrich your interactions with locals and show respect for their culture.

  • Embrace the Slow Pace: Bhutan's approach to life is measured and mindful, reflecting its Buddhist traditions. Embrace this pace; it's an opportunity to disconnect, reflect, and truly engage with the environment and people around you.

Planning your trip with a reputable company like Relax Getaways can help ensure you have a seamless experience, allowing you to delve deep into the heart of Bhutanese culture, spirituality, and natural beauty. Remember, Bhutan's allure lies not just in its landscapes and monuments but in its people, traditions, and the peaceful way of life.

Best Time for Things to do in Bhutan

Choosing the best time to visit Bhutan largely depends on what you wish to experience in this serene and mystical kingdom. Bhutan's wide range of climates and elevations makes it a year-round destination, but each season offers something unique. Here's a guide to help you decide the best time for engaging in various activities in Bhutan:

Spring (March to May)

  • Ideal for: Nature lovers, trekkers, and festival-goers.

  • Why: Spring is when Bhutan's flora comes to life, with rhododendrons and wildflowers blooming across the valleys, making it a perfect time for hiking and photography. The weather is mild and clear, offering stunning views of the Himalayan peaks. It's also the season for some of Bhutan's most vibrant festivals, including Paro Tshechu, making it a great time for cultural exploration.

  • Activities: Paro Taktsang hike, Bhutanese festival dates, bird watching, and photography.

Summer (June to August)

  • Ideal for: Adventurous travelers and those interested in the cultural immersion.
  • Why: Summer, the monsoon season, brings lush greenery and swollen rivers, ideal for rafting and kayaking. While there might be occasional showers, the landscape is at its most vibrant. This season also sees fewer tourists, allowing for a more intimate experience of Bhutan's culture and daily life.
  • Activities: Rafting and kayaking in Bhutan, cultural tours of Bhutan, and visiting local markets.

Autumn (September to November)

  • Ideal for: Trekkers, cultural enthusiasts, and anyone seeking clear Himalayan views.

  • Why: Autumn is considered the best time for trekking as the weather is stable and clear, with minimal rainfall. This season offers excellent conditions for high-altitude treks and the best views of the Himalayas. It's also packed with festivals, including the famous Thimphu Tshechu, providing rich cultural experiences.

  • Activities: Mountain biking in Bhutan, Tiger Nest Monastery hike, Thimphu and Punakha Dzong tours, Bhutanese textiles shopping.

Winter (December to February)

  • Ideal for: Bird watchers, cultural enthusiasts, and those seeking solitude.

  • Why: Winter in Bhutan is cold, but the skies are clear, offering another opportunity for great Himalayan views. It's the best time for bird watching in the subtropical zones. The Punakha Dromche and Losar (New Year) celebrations occur in winter, offering insight into Bhutanese traditions without the crowds of the high season.

  • Activities: Bird watching, hot spring therapy, cultural and spiritual retreats, exploring ancient art.

Tips for Visiting Bhutan

  • Book Early: Regardless of the season, it's advisable to book your trip well in advance, especially if you're planning to visit during the spring or autumn festivals.

  • Be Prepared for Changing Weather: The weather in Bhutan can be unpredictable, so pack accordingly, with layers for warmth and rain gear just in case.

  • Engage with a Reputable Tour Operator: A local tour operator like Relax Getaways can provide invaluable advice on when to visit based on your interests and ensure you have the best possible experience.

Each season in Bhutan has its charm and offers different opportunities for visitors. Whether you're drawn to the cultural richness of festival season, the natural beauty of the blooming valleys, the adrenaline rush of monsoon-fed rivers, or the tranquil clarity of winter, Bhutan has something special to offer.

Bhutan, with its blend of natural beauty, spiritual depth, and rich culture, offers an unparalleled journey into the heart of the Himalayas. From the awe-inspiring hike to the Tiger's Nest Monastery and the serene beauty of Punakha Dzong to the unique flavours of Bhutanese cuisine and the vibrant tapestry of its festivals, Bhutan invites travellers to experience a world where happiness and harmony with nature are a way of life. Relax Getaways ensures every visitor a deep, respectful, and sustainable exploration of Bhutan's treasures. In essence, Bhutan isn't just a destination; it's an experience that enriches the soul, offering a profound connection to the joys of life against the majestic backdrop of the Himalayas.

FAQs for Things to do in Bhutan

Q. What is the best time to visit Bhutan?

A. The best time to visit Bhutan is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) months when the weather is clear and pleasant, and the country hosts many vibrant festivals.

Q. Do I need a visa to visit Bhutan?

A. Yes, all international visitors (except for citizens of India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives) need a visa to enter Bhutan, which can be arranged by a registered Bhutanese tour operator as part of a travel package.

Q. What are the must-visit places in Bhutan?

A. Must-visit places include the Tiger's Nest Monastery (Paro Taktsang), Punakha Dzong, Thimphu (the capital city), and the Phobjikha Valley. Each offers a unique glimpse into Bhutan's culture, history, and natural beauty.

Q. Is Bhutan expensive to visit?

A. Bhutan has a minimum daily spend requirement for tourists, which covers accommodation, food, transport, and an official guide. While it may seem expensive, it ensures a sustainable and comprehensive travel experience, contributing to the country's development and conservation efforts.

Q. What activities can I do in Bhutan?

A. Activities include trekking, cultural tours, festival visits, bird watching, mountain biking, experiencing Bhutanese cuisine, and participating in traditional arts and crafts workshops.

Q. How can I respect Bhutanese culture during my visit?

A. Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites; always ask permission before taking photos of people or religious ceremonies; and show respect towards local traditions and customs.

Q. Can I travel independently in Bhutan?

A. Independent travel in Bhutan is not permitted for most international tourists. You must book your trip through a registered Bhutanese tour operator, which will arrange your visa, itinerary, and guide.

Q. What should I pack for a trip to Bhutan?

A. Pack layers for changing weather conditions, comfortable walking shoes, a rain jacket, and sun protection. Also, include modest clothing for visiting religious sites.

Q. Are there any health considerations I should be aware of before travelling to Bhutan?

A. Visitors should be prepared for Bhutan's high altitudes. Acclimatise appropriately, stay hydrated, and consult with a healthcare provider about travel vaccinations and altitude sickness medication if necessary.

Q. How can I ensure my trip to Bhutan is sustainable?

A. Travel with a responsible mindset: minimise waste, respect wildlife and natural habitats, support local artisans by purchasing authentic souvenirs, and choose eco-friendly accommodations and transportation options when possible.

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