Bhutan, the kingdom of the thunder dragon and the country with the highest happiness rate in the world is not usually among the tourist destinations of many foreigners but as it often happens, a trip without expectations is usually the best: a trip to Bhutan can be a full of surprises and cultural clashes.
Bhutan is one of those countries that built its first hotel in 1975 to host the guests to the coronation of the current king before the borders were closed, and the first car arrived in the country in 1999.
Bhutan in 1972 had developed the concept of gross national happiness, which would later become famous and would give notoriety to the entire country. Bhutan is just a ‘baby’, touristically speaking, that maintains its customs from always, almost isolated among some of the highest mountains on the planet. The kingdom of the thunder dragon will not fail to surprise you at any time if you are planning a trip to Bhutan.
1. Landing at one of the most dangerous airports in the world
The mountains surrounding the city of Paro - almost 5,500 meters high - make the approach and landing maneuver at the Paro International Airport somewhat reserved for a few pilots in the world. The plane has to make a series of turns - as if it were a corkscrew uncovering a wine - from the moment it overcomes the mountains to reach 2,235 meters above sea level on the runway of the airport considered the most complicated and dangerous in the world.
2. Admire the amazing landscapes of Bhutan’s Kingdom
Bhutan is a country surrounded by the highest mountains on Earth that serve as a natural frontier for this small kingdom, so that, no matter where you look, there is always a snowy peak on the horizon. Apart from that, you will find thawing rivers, wooden bridges and a lot of pure air to disconnect and rest.
3. Discover the colorful temples of Bhutan: The Dzongs
The landscapes of Bhutan include temples or dzongs - a mix between a fortress and a Buddhist temple. For many, undoubtedly, the most spectacular is the tiger's nest, Taktshang, hanging on a cliff over 700 meters high in the vicinity of Paro. Another magical temple of Bhutan is Dochula, on top of a hill.
The dzong has that air of European medieval castle of the cavalry religious orders, saving the distances. Instead of Templar knights, they are Buddhist monks in their red robes who you see walking between the buildings protected by the walls, built to defend against the invasions of the Chinese giant. If traveling through Bhutan seems like a journey in time, the dzongs would be the machines that take you to other centuries. One of the largest in the country is Paro, Rinpung Dzong, where the Paro tsechu is celebrated.
4. Attend typical Bhutan holidays, the Tsechus
Parties in Bhutan are lived in 360 degrees: not only is it about the dances and the performances of the artists but also to be surprised with the audience that is more impressive. Entire families dressed in traditional costumes come to the dzong courtyards to enjoy the Tsechus, the religious holidays where you can see grandparents playing with grandchildren, elderly monks laughing like children with clowns, children enjoying monks surrounded by people, etc. It may be the country with the highest index of gross national happiness in the world, at least in its festivals.
Making your trip to Bhutan coincide with one of these parties is a must-see and it is not too difficult because there are Tsechus festivals almost all year round in the country.
5. Know the traditions that survive in Bhutan: the typical costume
If you think that families wear their traditional costumes just to go to parties, you are very wrong. In Bhutan, the traditional dress is still seen on the street every day. It is not unusual to see a group of men talking on the street, all with their gho-a sort of knee-length robe-or women with their kira-a dress that is long to ankle-length. There is a dress code by which Bhutanese must dress their traditional costumes in public places.
6. Chat with a Bhutanese
It is inevitable not to be able to talk and exchange ideas and experiences with local people. In the same way that a tourist wants to know about the history of the region, the locals are also curious to know about your home country and ask the craziest questions that exist, from whether it was possible to meet David Beckham on the street in London, to what material my furniture was made of or whether there were clothing and footwear factories in my home country. That is a great way to spend some fun time because life in Bhutan is different.
7. Understand the clothes’ colors
The costumes indicated the position of the one who dressed them by the color of the cloth of the shawl/clothes: the yellow color is reserved for the king, the orange for his ministers, the garnet for the officers, and the cream color for the normal people.
8. See practicing archery
Archery is the national sport of Bhutan. Although the tradition is maintained almost nobody uses the traditional arch, they use modern ones.
9. Gastronomic tourism
If you are planning a trip to Bhutan let me tell you that the fast-food restaurants have not yet appeared here, so be prepared because Bhutanese food is spicy but it's worth trying.
The base of the Bhutan cuisine is cooked rice and potatoes, with chili and other spices. The momos stand out; small balls of dough stuffed with meat, usually pork, or cheese, and vegetarian dishes.
A trip to Bhutan is the confirmation that there is always something to see and that the motto "I have nowhere to go, so I will go anywhere" couldn't be more true. Of course, now you have nine reasons to put Bhutan on your list and enjoy the happiness of the kingdom of the thunder dragon.#tourism #photos #asia