Bhutan has been on my Bucket-list for the Longest Time! Partly because I have always had a lot of Bhutanese friends, right from my college days. I would hear stories about Bhutan, their culture, lifestyle, and most importantly their Kings and Queens from my friends. I had almost a Narnia like fascination for Bhutan solely from hearing about the place.
My Bhutanese friends were always insisting that I visit Bhutan with them during our Holidays, but somehow it never worked out then. I did promise them that I would visit them as soon as I could.
Well, I did fulfill the promise, even if it took me 6 years to do so..
Honestly Bhutan is beautiful even beyond my wildest imagination. I cannot even begin to describe its beauty. It simply takes your breath away. Bhutan is by far the most beautiful place I have ever visited in my life. The country is like a Living Prayer. You can find Monasteries & Monks at almost every few blocks away. Prayer flags fluttering in the wind, scattering good wishes & prayers across the Land.
The Forests, the Mountains, the Streams & Rivers each seem to have a life of their own. The Himalayan Kingdom has an abundance of Flora & Fauna, still untouched & hidden away. I hope it remains that way for the sake of its beauty & nature.
I knew from my experience with me Bhutanese friends that the people of Bhutan are simple, sweet & very very kind. Buddhism, their religion seems to be a very important part of their life. You can see the teachings of the Buddha almost in the way they live.
The King of Bhutan says he is more interested in the Gross Domestic happiness of his people than the Gross domestic Product of his Country & I think he has succeeded.
The Bhutanese genuinely seem so content & happy with their lives that it rubs onto you while you are there. They happily go on with their everyday lives. No rush what so ever, like each in its own time kinda thing. It is very very fascinating.
The Bhutanese have a national dress, The men wear ‘Gho’ & the women wear ‘Kira’. Men & Women need to wear the Gho & Kira respectively everyday while going to Offices & Monasteries. They do look beautiful & come in various materials & colors & look really good.
Coming to General Information on Bhutan.
The best time to visit Bhutan is during the spring, Feb to April will be the best months. Although September to December is a great time too, it does rain during September which can hamper your travel plans. We were lucky to get a clear weather most days but did waste two days because of the rains. The locals who I became friends with insisted that Spring was the best time as the flowers are in full bloom & the weather is extremely beautiful & that I should visit again during spring. ( hopefully I will )
Residents of India & Bangladesh are the only nationals who do not need a Visa to visit Bhutan because of friendly relations between the countries. If you belong to any other Nationality, you need to contact the Bhutan embassy in your country for a Visa.
Again for countries other than India & Bangladesh, there is a clause that if you wish to visit Bhutan you are to spend on an average 250$ per day. There are special tours which cater to this and arrange tours for foreigners accordingly.
The Bhutanese have their own currency Ngultrum which is at par with Indian Rupees. Indian currency is widely accepted in Bhutan except that Rs 500 & Rs 1000 notes. Better get money in the multiples of Rs 100. For nationals of other countries, you have exchange counters in and around the Airport, where you can exchange the money.
The places I visited in Bhutan :
Pheuntsholing ( the first Bhutanese town as you cross in from the Indian border into Bhutan)
Thimpu (the Capital)
Paro ( where you have the Airport )
Punakha (the previous Capital of Bhutan, before it was changed to Thimpu )
Chelela Pass (the Highest motorable pass in Bhutan)
I will cover all of the above places in the coming posts!
I will start with my posts on Bhutan in the order of the places that I visited. Honestly no pictures & words in the world can do justice to the beauty of Bhutan I have witnessed through my eyes, but I will do my best. Bhutan for me has been a life-altering experience & it will be for whoever visits, I am sure of it. So Stay tuned for the coming posts of my #BhutanDiaries!!