Bhutan received over 63,000 tourists (excluding those from the region) in 2018. A survey of a sample of over 1,700 tourists conducted by the Tourism Council of Bhutan found that most were very satisfied with their trip to Bhutan and the services of the tourism industry.
Over 96% indicated that they would recommend Bhutan as a holiday destination, and over 60% indicated their intention to revisit Bhutan. This is testament to Bhutan’s approach to tourism over the last three decades and what Bhutan has to offer.
Here are the top five things visitors do in Bhutan.
Sightseeing – Given Bhutan’s pristine environment, rich culture and beautiful villages, many tourists visit Bhutan to soak in the beauty and get to know the country up close. Sightseeing is the easiest way to get a good idea and feel of the country and the Bhutanese. One can combine this with some trekking and hiking, attending festivals and visiting monasteries.
Hiking & Trekking – Bhutan is a trekker’s paradise with over 18 trekking routes suitable for all levels of expertise and physical fitness. Bhutan also boasts of one of the world’s most rigorous trek called the Snowman’s treks. One can start off with the most popular and easier Bumdra Trek and the Druk Path Trek, both in Western Bhutan. Plan your trekking holidays in Spring and Autumn which are the best months for these activities. Most recently, Bhutan has opened up the Trans Bhutan Trail which is is a 403km route, spanning from Haa in the West of Bhutan to Trashigang in the East. It is considered one of the world’s greatest walks and one of the best hiking routes in Asia.
Visiting ancient monasteries and monuments – Bhutan, the only Mahayana Buddhist Kingdom, is home to many important Buddhist monasteries, temples and monuments. One could include visits to some of the popular Dzongs and monasteries. However visits to the Chimi Lkakhang (the temple of fertility) and the hike up to the iconic Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang) monastery are a must.
National parks – Bhutan, with over 70% of the land under forest cover with more than 26% under protected areas including four national parks, is one of the world’s ten most important biodiversity ‘hotspots’, Bhutan has a rich ecosystem of over 165 mammals, 612 species of birds and more than 5000 species of plants, including 600 species of orchids and 50 species of beautiful rhododendrons. It is a paradise for nature lovers from all over the world.
Attending festivals – There are many festivals throughout the country which celebrate famous legends and significant historical events. These religious festivals give an insight into how Buddhism is at the core of the lives of the Bhutanese people. One can opt for the popular Paro Tshechu, Thimphu Tsechu and the Jambay Lhakhang festival (in Bumthang), or target a smaller but more intimate festival. For those into nature, the mushroom and the black-necked crane festivals which celebrate the richness of Bhutan’s natural ecosystem, are good options.
In addition, we also organise activities targeted at mindfulness such as meditation and yoga and engagements with local artists and craftspeople to get an intimate knowledge of Bhutan’s culture. Bhutan also offer adventure tourism including mountain biking.
For someone visiting Bhutan or planning to visit Bhutan, there is something for everyone and we work with our guests to bespoke holidays and get the best out of Bhutan.