Bhutan, despite its small size, is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Only since 1974 foreign tourists are allowed to visit this country. Bhutan can be considered a prime example of how a person needs to live in harmony with nature. Tourists are waiting for Buddhist monasteries, temples, Buddha statues, amazing nature, mountain rivers with waterfalls, valleys with blooming rhododendrons, and, of course, the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas.
Geography of Bhutan
The Kingdom of Bhutan is located in South Asia, in the eastern part of the Himalayas. In the north, Bhutan borders on China, and on all other sides – on India. The country has no access to the sea. Total area – 38,394 sq. km., and the total length of the state border is 1,075 km.
The territory of Bhutan is occupied mainly by mountains (Eastern Himalayas), which are crossed by fast rivers, but there are also small beautiful valleys. Almost 73% of the country’s territory is covered with dense forests. The highest peak is Mount Gangkhar Puensum, whose height reaches 7,570 m.
According to itypemba.com, the capital of Bhutan is Thimphu, which is now home to more than 100 thousand people. Until the 1960s, Thimphu was just a group of villages in the valley.
Official language of Bhutan
The official language of the population of Bhutan is Dzongkha, belonging to the Sino-Tibetan language family.
About 76% of the people of Bhutan practice Vajrayana Buddhism, and about 23% are Hindus.
Government of Bhutan
According to equzhou.net, Bhutan is a constitutional monarchy, headed by a King. Executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers (Lhengye Zhungtshog). The legislative initiative belongs to the government and the Parliament, which consists of the National Council (27 people) and the National Assembly (47 people).
The main political parties are People’s Democratic Party and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa.
Climate and weather
Bhutan has three main climatic zones: subtropical in the south, temperate in the central regions, and alpine in the north. The rainy season is June-September.
The best time to visit Bhutan is spring and autumn. At this time in Bhutan, not only the weather is favorable, but also all the main festivals are held there. Connoisseurs say that the most ideal time to visit this country is autumn, when the snow-capped Himalayan peaks are visible due to the clear blue sky. However, some tourists like to come to Bhutan in the spring, when many beautiful flowers bloom in the valleys (for example, rhododendrons).
Rivers and lakes
In the Himalayas, the Manas, Sankosh, Wang Chu and Amo rivers originate, which, flowing through the territory of Bhutan, flow into the Brahmaputra River. In summer, due to the melting of glaciers, most rivers overflow their banks, which leads to floods.
Culture of Bhutan
The customs and traditions in Bhutan are very unique, they have remained unchanged for a thousand years. Religion, Buddhism, plays a huge role in the life of local residents. With great reverence, the inhabitants of this country treat dogs, which are considered the highest form of life. Bhutanese believe that dogs have the best chance of being reborn as humans in their next life.
In the monasteries of Bhutan, very colorful festivals are held every month with musical performances and dances. The most popular local festivals are Bumthang Tsechu and Thimphu Tsechu.
Cuisine in Bhutan is very exotic. The staple food is rice. In cities, dishes are prepared with white rice, and in rural areas, with red rice. The fact is that in Bhutan, in the highlands, only red rice grows. In addition, in this country, buckwheat and corn are used for cooking. The inhabitants of Bhutan cook meat dishes well, although killing animals is prohibited there.
Bhutanese cuisine cannot be imagined without spices – curry, cardamom, ginger, chili, garlic, turmeric, cumin.
Tourists in this country are recommended to try ema-datse stewed hot peppers with spices, call shungo rice with vegetables, shamu-datse mushrooms baked with cheese, pork with fing peppers, kangchu-maru pork legs.
Traditional soft drinks are butter tea, black tea, herbal tea (Tsheringma). The inhabitants of Bhutan brew beer and wine from rice.
Attractions of Bhutan
Any traveler will be shocked by the sights of Bhutan. The most interesting local attractions are Buddhist monasteries, temples and pagodas. Local monasteries were built to protect its guests from enemy attacks, and therefore they are real fortresses – “dzongs”. The top 10 best attractions in Bhutan, in our opinion, may include the following:
- Trashi Cho Dzon Monastery in Thimphu
- Pajodin monastery near Thimphu
- Cheri Monastery
- Punakha Dzong Temple
- Simtokha Dzong Monastery
- Sangyagang Tower
- Tiger’s Lair Monastery in Paro
- Tala Monastery
- Trongsa Dzong fortress
- Paro Dzong Monastery in Paro
Cities and resorts
The largest Bhutanese cities are Puntsholing, Paro, Dampu, Mongar, Punakha, and the capital is Thimphu.
Tourists come to Bhutan for interesting excursions, local Buddhist holidays, nature of the Himalayas and outdoor activities, including rafting, kayaking and trekking. But rock climbing is prohibited in this country.
Sightseeing tours in Bhutan are on foot, horseback, they can go for 3 days or even 3 weeks, depending on the chosen route.
Tourists from Bhutan bring handicrafts, postage stamps, fabrics, carved masks, woven bamboo baskets, wooden bowls, handmade paper, incense sticks, local herbal tea, honey. Please note that it is illegal to sell and buy antiques in Bhutan.
Mon-Fri: 09:00-13:00 On Saturday, banks are open until 11:00
Ukrainians need to get a visa to visit Bhutan.
Currency of Bhutan
Ngultrum is the official currency in Bhutan (its international designation is BTN). One ngultrum = 100 chetrum. Credit cards are not common, there are no ATMs in the cities.
You can bring foreign currency into Bhutan without restrictions, but it must be declared. But the local currency from Bhutan cannot be exported (as well as transported). The Bhutanese authorities strictly control the export of any religious antiquities. Antiquities can be taken out only if there is a special permit for this.
Useful phone numbers and addresses
For all questions about visiting Bhutan, it is recommended to contact the Russian Embassy in India:
Postcode: 110021, New Delhi, Chanakyapuri, Shantipath
Т: (91-11) 26-873-799
Email. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
110 – Call the Fire Brigade
112 – Call the Ambulance Brigade
113 – Call the Police
The difference with time in Kyiv is +4 hours. those. if in Kyiv 10:00, then in Thimphu – 14:00.
Tipping is not common in Bhutan. However, it is customary to tip the driver and guide. The driver is given $5/day and the guide is $8/day.
Doctors recommend tourists before traveling to Bhutan to make several vaccinations for prevention (against typhoid fever, rabies, hepatitis A and B, as well as against malaria).
Crimes in Bhutan, if they happen, are not violent, thieves can pull out a purse from a gaping tourist or steal a camera from him. Use mosquito nets and mosquito repellent cream, don’t go barefoot, drink only bottled water.
Please note that foreigners are not allowed to visit some Bhutanese monasteries, as well as rock climbing in the country.
The Bhutanese have great respect for their king, so it is better for foreigners to refrain from any criticism of the royal family.