Do you need passport to visit BHUTAN ?
Indian nationals intending to visit Bhutan are required to carry any of the two valid ‘Travel Documents’ (a) Valid Indian Passport having validity of minimum 6 months; and/or (b) Voter Identity Card, issued by the Election Commission of India. No Visa is required to visit Bhutan.
Being tender at age , this was my first tour ever outside India. We chose the land route over the aerial to make it more adventurous. The latter experiences that are spoken , are generalized , when I grew up .
What the fuss is all about ?
Is Bhutan a part of India ?
Bhutan was a part of India during the reign of Indian King Ashoka. No Bhutan has never been a part of India. Bhutan became a protectorate of British India after signing a treaty in 1910 allowing the British to “guide” its foreign affairs and defense.
Where To :
Country in South Asia
A little History :
Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. In the High Himalayan, peaks such as 7,326m Jomolhari are popular trekking destinations.
Paro Taktsang monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest) clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley.
The Capital :
The capital, Thimphu, is home to a bustling weekend market and the ornate Tashichho Dzong, which serves as the government seat. The historic Punakha Dzong, built in 1637, sits at the juncture of 2 rivers and hosts a lavish, multi day religious festival that features masked dances and music. The Phobjikha Valley, habitat for rare black-necked cranes, is a bird-watching destination. As independent travel to Bhutan is not allowed, most visitors book through a tour operator.
The path was full turbulence due to poor road maintenance but the only pleasure among the hooks and crooks was the green and sublime forest. Nights were cold and dark but our car and eyes went running through the enigma.
We ultimately were spellbound to see the cloud kissed hills and small huts which looked like dollhouses from our sight.
The never ending hilly road seemed boring……….until we caught the sight of a magnificent statue of Buddha which wholeheartedly welcomed us to the cold and sunny capital Thimphu.
It was a feeling of sheer bliss and over enjoyment as we travelled a distance of 1975 kms of road which had only two breaks successfully to reach this beauty.
After the ‘very elongated’ journey , some of our co-travellers were panting to go to the hotel.
So, they went off to have their naps and taps while we caught a bird’s eye view of the triumph of Thimphu , i.e , the majesty’s palace. The guide acclaimed that their majesty is a very loyal king and treated his countrymen with no demands. Maybe autocracy took a new shape.
When to visit ?
Popular month for visitors are Mar–Apr (the peak period for blooming rhododendrons) and Oct–Nov (for mild weather, trekking and clear views). A good time for viewing black-necked cranes is Oct–Feb. Key events include the Black-Necked Crane Festival (Gangtey, Nov), which celebrates the arrival of the migrating birds. The rainy monsoon period is June–Sep.
Low Volume, High Value Tourism :
The Bhutanese pride themselves on a sustainable approach to tourism in line with the philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Foreign visitors famously pay a minimum tariff of US$250 per day, making it seem one of the world’s more expensive destinations. However, this fee is all-inclusive – accommodation, food, transport and an official guide are all provided, so it’s not a bad deal. You don’t have to travel in a large group and you can arrange your own itinerary. What you won’t find is budget backpacker-style travel.
BHUTAN : TOP 10 PLACES TO VISIT :
Offering a kaleidoscope of sceneries and experiences, the best tourist places in Bhutan must feature on your itinerary while visiting the land of the thunder dragon. If not all, at least a few of them.
1. Rinpung Dzong, Paro
Key attractions: Beautiful temple and wall paintings related to Buddhism
Opening hours: 9 am – 5 pm
- Chele La Pass, Paro
Key attractions: Magnificent panoramic view of the valleys, gushing waterfalls, alpine flowers, and clouds drifting above the hills
- Punakha Dzong
Key attractions: The intricate paintings and the architecture of the fort, sacred relics of the southern Drukpa Lineage of Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, and the sacred remains of Ngawang Namgyal and the tertön Pema Lingpa.
Opening hours: 8 am – 5 pm
- Buddha Dordenma Statue, Thimphu
Key attractions: The 169 feet tall Buddha statue, thousands of smaller bronze and gold statues of Lord Buddha, and the surrounding Kuensel Phodrang nature park
- Dochula Pass
Key attractions: Panoramic view that gives a glimpse of the peak of the sacred Himalayan mountain – Chomolhari, Druk Wangyel Lhakhang temple, and the fusion paintings on the temple walls
- Tiger’s Nest, Paro
Key attractions: The tiger’s nest, the cave temple inside the monastery, the majestic views, and the many small temples inside the premises of the monastery
- Phobjikha Valley, Phobjikha
Key attractions: Black-necked cranes migrate to Phobjikha from November, and the hike through the valleys to witness spectacular views of the birds and the amazing greenery
Key attractions: The glacial lakes, the snow capped mountains and splendid views of the landscapes are a treat to the eyes
- Norzin Lam Street, Thimphu
Key attractions: Textile building and the textile shops in the middle lane of Norzin Lam for buying some of the best handmade textiles, including Gho and Kira – the traditional attire of Bhutan for men and women respectively
- Main Street, Paro
Key attractions: Scrumptious local food, wonderful bounty of nature, lots of tourist attractions in the vicinity, and the welcoming locals
If you’re a travel enthusiastic person , don’t wait to visit the land of dragons Bhutan , an exceptional beauty , an autocracy yet democratic , a peaceful Divine to dig into.