Bhutan continues to be a much sought after travel destination. It regularly features as one of the best places to visit in travel publications and specialist magazines. Bhutan is often misconceived as a difficult place to get to. Prior to the pandemic, over 270,000 tourists visited Bhutan each year, and the number of visitors has been increasing manifold in the last decade, as infrastructure has improved including the opening of a new airline.
Since Bhutan opened after the pandemic, visitors continue to grow.
The tiny kingdom, nestled in the eastern Himalayas, has many attractions such as rich culture and tradition, pristine environment, avenues for nature-based activities (e.g. trekking, walking, and bird watching) and Bhutan’s approach to development – the gross national happiness. Bhutan is one of the three carbon negative countries in the world and is considered a top sustainable travel destination (recently winning the ‘Earth Award’ at the ITB Berlin Travel Show).
No wonder, Bhutan is high on the bucket lists of travel enthusiasts. So, if you have Bhutan on your mind, here are five tips for you to consider:
Plan ahead as much as possible – Air travel and good accommodation gets booked far ahead of time. It is recommended to book your holidays at least six months in advance. You are recommended to use a Bhutan-based travel company to arrange everything, including your visa. Most international travel companies work with Bhutan-based travel companies.
Ask for a mix of culture and (short) trekking holidays – If you are planning your first Bhutan trip, we generally recommend a holiday which has a good mix of cultural activities and walking / trekking. Plan to visit one / few of the festivals held in ancient monasteries and Dzongs (fortresses) across the country at different times. Bhutan is best seen on foot – so incorporate a few days of walk / trek in the villages. If you have specific interest in nature, your travel company should be able to offer you a more tailor-made tours.
Visit during spring or autumn – The spring months of March, April & May and the autumn months of September, October & November are best times to visit. The weather is perfect with no rain and warm sunny days, and is good for treks / walks or venture into some adrenaline-pumping adventures. In addition, popular festivals also take place during these months. Having said that, every season has its own charm and you can visit in the summer to see the lush green valleys or the lovely snow-laden mountains in winter.
Plan to be in Bhutan for at least 8 days – Bhutan has a lot to offer, and to thoroughly enjoy the country at leisure, we suggest planning a trip of at least 8 days. This will give you enough time to see a part of the country (generally Western Bhutan) well. It is important to consider that a lot of road travel is involved, too. Domestic flights are also available between Bumthang in central Bhutan and Paro in the West.
Flying into Bhutan via New Delhi, Kathmandu or Bangkok is the most convenient mode of travel – Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines fly daily from New Delhi, Kathmandu and Bangkok into Bhutan. There are also limited flights from Kolkata and Singapore. You can also travel by road via India. These are convenient entry/exit points if you visit the states of Sikkim, West Bengal and Assam in India.
Hope these few points help your plan your holidays to Bhutan better.