Bhutan is one of the richest places on the planet when it comes to revered, holy sites.
Take Taktsang Monastery, also known as the Tiger’s Nest, for example. It clings delicately to a clifftop 3,120 metres above sea level and is one of the most famous – and sacred – sites in all of Bhutan. The hike to it, up steep paths lined with brightly coloured prayer flags, is challenging. But the views across the mountain tops and emerald green valleys are well worth it. If a two-hour hike is too much, you can always ride on horseback for a good two-thirds of the route.
Aside from the holy shrines, there’s plenty to see and do. You can take long walks through the lush forests, go white water rafting on one of the many fast-flowing rivers or explore lively local cities such as Thimphu.
One thing you’re certain to notice is that many people still wear traditional dress. It’s down, in part, to the policy of isolation Bhutan’s rulers have maintained for many years. It’s what’s preserved its way of life and culture.
However, it isn’t their traditional attire that’s the most striking about the Bhutanese people: it’s how friendly and welcoming they are. Instead of measuring prosperity in monetary terms, the Bhutan government gauges its citizens’ happiness levels. Gross National Happiness is the country’s philosophy and it shows. Wherever you go in this enigmatic, private and perfectly preserved country, you’re guaranteed a warm welcome.
When to go
We recommend avoiding Bhutan during the June to August monsoon season. Aside from these months, the scenery looks stunning in every season. We love the late spring sunshine from March to May. Visit from September to November for endless clear skies and fresh air. Or wrap up warm and travel from December to February for blankets of snow and frosted mountain tops.