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Home » Bhutan
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General information on bhutan (the dragon kingdom)
Bhutan often revered as the 'Land of the Peaceful Dragon', or Drug Yul, is still regarded as one of the last 'Shangri-La’s' in the Himalayan region because of its remoteness, it's spectacular mountain terrain, varied flora and fauna and its unique ancient Buddhist monasteries. It is in the relatively unexplored pockets of Asia, which allows only limited number of discerning travelers to enter the country in order to protect its fragile environment and culture. Bhutan imposes strict environmental standards; a staggering 65% of the land remains under forest cover.

Bhutan a purely Buddhist Himalayan Kingdom opened up its doors to the world in the early 1960s is unsurpassed in its scenic majesty and vibrant culture.  The kingdom shares with Nepal the world's greatest concentration of mountains and living heritage of Buddhism.  The fifty minutes flight from Kathmandu to Paro can truly be described as a flight into fantasy.  During the flight a first hand close up view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and other famous peaks become reality.  Biweekly flights between these two kingdoms have made easier travel to the long isolated Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan.

It lies east of Nepal and west of Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.  It is south of the Tibetan hinterland and north of the Indian territories of Assam and West Bengal.

The tantric form of Mahayana Buddhism. The Bhutanese way of life is greatly influenced by religion.  Every Bhutanese home has a special room used for prayers, which is known as Chosum.

The monsoon starts in mid June and last until the end of September. The climate within the mountains varies greatly according to precipitation and wind conditions. In the Duars plain and up to 1500m. The climate is sub-tropical with high humidity and heavy rainfall. The climate of mid-mountain belt varies, such that low-lying parts of Punakha, Mongar, Tashigang and Lhuntse have cool winter and hot summers, whereas the higher valleys of Ha, Paro, Thimpu, Tongsa and Bumthang ranging from 2,500 - 4,500m. Endure a temperate climate with cold snowy winters and some-what cooler summers.

Spring is rhododendron season in Bhutan.  The mountainsides all over the country are ablaze in shades of red and orange.  Days are warm but nights are still cold.  As the monsoon rises from the Bay of Bengal, spring turns to summer and three months of heavy monsoon rains.  Arguably the loveliest time of the year in Bhutan, autumn brings clear skies & warm days.

Agriculture & livestock rising is the mainstay of the economy. It contributes about 45% to GNP. More than 90% of the people live on subsistence farming. The farms are narrow pieces of land cut into terraces on hill slopes.  Forestry contributes 15% to GNP & industry & mining 10%.

The National currency is Ngultrum (Nu) 100 Chetrum = 1 Nu. Exchange rate is approximately US$ 1- Nu 53/- Indian Rupees circulate at par.

Paro valley

Generally visitors enter the Kingdom at Paro by the National Airline, Druk Air. This beautiful valley, if ever a place exists here nature and man consulted to create their dearest image, it must be the valley of Paro. Mt. Chomolhari 7320m reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial waters plunge through deep gorges to form the Pa - Chu (Paro river). Paro is one of the most fertile valleys in the kingdom producing a bulk of the famous red rice from its terraced fields home to some of Bhutan's oldest temples & monasteries.

The modern capital of Bhutan lies at an elevation of 2300m in a valley traversed by the Wang chu (river). Tashichho dzong the main Secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty and a summer residence of the central monk body. Although not what one expects from a capital city, Thimphu is a fitting and lively place. Home to civil servants, expatriates and the monk body, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style. It is also an ideal spot for day walks.  Phajoding monastery is a 4hrs hike from the motithang area; Tango & Cheri monasteries are also another 3/4hrs hike from the capital or all the way to the top of telegraph hill where thousands of prayer flags obscure the view over Thimphu.

Punakha Dzong built between two rivers in the 17th century by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel served as capital of Bhutan until 1955 and is still the winter residence of the central monk body. In spite of four catastrophic fires and an earthquake that destroyed many historic documents, Punakha Dzong houses sacred artifacts and embalmed body of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. Punakha's climate and warmer temperatures make its valley one of the most fertile in Bhutan. Chime Lhakhang located on a hillock among the rice fields is picturesque and is a pilgrimage site for childless couples. The temple is associated with the famous saint Drukpa Kuenlay "The Divine Madman" who has built a chorten on the site during the 14th century.

To the south of Punakha lies Wangdiphodrang Dzong at an elevation of 1300m. It is the last town on the highway before entering central Bhutan. This Dzong built during the 17th century played a critical role in unifying the western, central and southern Bhutanese districts. Further up is Gangtey Gompa, an old monastery dating from the 16th century. It is infact the only monastery which follows the Nyingmapa sect of school. This valley of Phobjikha is also a home of the rare Black Necked Crane, an endangered species which migrate from the Tibetan plateau in winter. There are about 450 - 500 cranes residing in Bhutan out of which 250 - 300 live in this beautiful valley.

Trongsa at an altitude of 2200m forms the central hub of the nation and is historically the place from where attempts at unifying the country were launched. The Royal family has strong links with Trongsa. Both His Majesty King Ugyen Wangchuck and his successor, King Jigme Wangchuck ruled the country from this Dzong.

To the east of Trongsa lies the Bumthang valley at an altitude of 2,600m, has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprised of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend. Here tales of Guru Padmasambhava and his re-incarnation known as Tertons still linger in most nooks and corners. The town of Jakar is the largest between Thimphu in the west and Trashigang in the east. Jakar is famous for its honey production, cheese, apple juice and apricots. Visitors to Bumthang should plan to spend a few days taking advantage of the valley's relatively gentle slopes to walk nearby medieval temples and glimpse Bhutan's mostly rural population. It is also known for its woolen material (yathra) which can be seen hung outside of houses for sale. Further east there is the Ura valley with the village of Ura in its center. A small but old dzong and cobblestone paths give the village a medieval feel. Many excursions can be done at this valley like Tharpaling monastery, Kunzangdra, Tang Mebartso and many more....

Arriving in Mongar is a great relief from the turns and heights of the journey over the pass. The town is small with a sprinkling of shops. Mongar Dzong is modern compared to others in the Kingdom. It was reconstructed by the order of the Third King. No drawings and nails have been used. A visit to the dzong gives visitors an impression of how traditional Bhutanese architecture has continued to thrive through the centuries. A hydroelectric project is under way and after completion it will have the capacity to output 60 megawatts of hydroelectricity which will change the industrial emphasis of the eastern area.

Trashigang lies above the Gumri river and is the largest district in Bhutan. It is much busier than other Bhutanese towns due to its proximity to Samdrup Jongkhar in the south has enabled it to grow as a center of commerce. Trashigang is used as the market place for the hill people from Merak & Sakteng who are known for their exceptional features and for their costume made of Sheepskin and Yak wool. The hat that they wear is unusual but has a significance of its own. It is very different from customary Bhutanese clothing. The 17th century Dzong is built on top of a cliff and serves as an administrative center.

The road from Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar was completed in the early 1960s. This town is small and bustling and acts as a commercial hub and entry and exit point in the southeast.

Phuntsholing, a border town to the south bordering the Indian state of West Bengal. It is a hub of commercial activity. Jaigaon, a small Indian town is located near Phuntsholing and you can make road connections from Jaigoan or Phuntsholing to the airport in Bagdogra or the railway station in Siliguri, both in the state of West Bengal which is 170 kilometers from Phuntsholing. There are also convenient connections to the Nepal border at Kakarvitta or hill stations of Darjeeling, Sikkim and Kalimpong.

Festivals (Tshechus) are held in Bhutan throughout the year at different locations.  These festivals are celebrations of faith, legends, myths and history of Bhutan in ancient rituals of colorful dance and music.  The most popular for tourists are those held in Thimphu, Paro and Bumthang.  They mark the busiest time of the year for tourism and reservation are difficult to come by.  Festival time is one of the only periods during a year when tourists are permitted inside the courtyard of the dzongs.  The dzongs come to life with colour, music and dancing as valley dwellers and townsfolk dress in their best clothes and join together to exorcise evil spirits and rejoice in a new harvest.  Rare masked and sword dances and other rituals are performed in the dzong's courtyards and temples.  Each dance has its own significance and can be performed by monks or lay village leaders dressed in bright costumes.  Certain festivals end with the unveiling and worship of huge religious appliques or thongdrels.  The moment of the unveiling is shrouded in secrecy and creates great excitement amongst all the participants.

Cultural tour programmes
Bhutan is a remote independent kingdom in the eastern Himalaya and the last bastion of the Tibetan Buddhist culture and religion in its purest form. Despite opening up to tourism in the late '70's it has managed to minimize the effect of outside influences and the country is virtually untouched, in terms of the environment, religion, architecture and lifestyle. Bhutan has the youngest reigning monarch in the world, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who guards Bhutan's culture and national identity fiercely.

It is a remarkable country and this journey offers the opportunity to see not only Bhutan's exquisite Himalayan scenery but to experience its rich and ancient traditions in Thimphu, the capital and Paro, its second largest town. Few people have the privilege of experiencing Bhutan and in the light of the fragility of such a small nation and traditional culture in this age of superpowers this slice of an old world may, in the future, be denied us.

Visa Formalities:
Visa is required for traveling to Bhutan and it is processed & arranged by travel agents. No foreign mission grants Bhutan tourist Visa. All Passport details should be forwarded at least 3 weeks prior to the date of arrival and can be mailed or faxed. Actual visa is stamped on arrival in Bhutan while it is cleared in advance and a visa clearance number is issue For all travelers entering Bhutan by Druk Air, the Visa clearance number is forwarded to the concerned overseas Druk Air stations and without clearance number passengers are not allowed to board the flight.

It is mandatory to fly one way by flight & one cannot do both ways overland tour.
For travelers entering into the country by surface through Phuntsholing (Border in South Bhutan) the visa clearance number is forwarded to Foreign Ministry's office in Phuntsholing for reference.

Two copies of original passport size photographs are required on arrival.
Visa-Please consult with us for the current applicable visa fees.

There are comfortable hotels & lodges at all tourist destinations. Western Bhutan has better hotels while central and eastern part have fewer but are simple and clean. There are limited number of Hotels and lodges in that area and will not be able to cater to all tourist during peak season so please be prepared to camp incase there is shortage of rooms. There is no star categorizations of hotels but from time to time Tourism Authority of Bhutan checks that the hygiene facilities are properly maintained.

Our Agent in Bhutan, maintains fleets of modern Toyota vehicles for instance; cars, land cruisers, hilux, hiace vans, coaster buses. There will be extra cost for 4 x 4 wheel drives.

Usually Bhutanese delicacies are rich with spicy chilies and cheese but prepared in a mild way for tourist. Other choice like Chinese, Continental and Indian cuisine is also served. During treks, well-trained cooks prepare dishes suitable to western taste from continental, Chinese, Indian and Bhutanese.

The southern part of Bhutan is tropical and is the border to the Indian plains. Eastern part enjoy a warmer climate than the west. The central valley of Punakha, Wangdue, Mongar, Trashigang and Lhuntsi are semi tropical and cool winters. Thimphu, Trongsa, Paro, Bumthang have pleasant summer and very cold winters with occasional snowfalls blocking the passes leading into central parts. The monsoon usually arrives in mid June till the end of August. From mid September, after the last rains, autumn arrives and is a best time for trekking which last till end of November.

Due to wide range of temperature and climatic conditions it is advisable to bring appropriate clothing. For protection against cold a layered clothing is better than tick ones. You will be offending people if you walk around in skimpy or tight fitting clothes although there are opportunities to wear shorts. We would advise women to wear skirts or loose trousers. During visit of festivals, monasteries, Dzongs and other religious
Institutions please do not wear shorts or hats.

Arts & crafts
Bhutan is known for handicraft items in bronze silver & other metals. Sculpting of religious figures is widely practiced and every temple contains large brightly painted & gilded statues of Buddha & other saints.

The national sport of Bhutan is archery. Other traditional sports include digor – a kind of short put, darts & wrestling. Today most international sports such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis & table tennis are becoming popular.

Kuensel, a weekly published in Dzongkha, English & Nepalese is the only newspaper.
BBS (Bhutan Broadcasting Service) is government owned radio station which broadcasts news in English, Dzongkha & Nepalese.





1. KICHU RESORT                  


1. TOURIST LODGE ,Wangdicholing                  
2. MOUNTAIN LODGE(KARMA TOBDEN) :                   


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