• Punakha Dzong, Bhutan

Bhutan Holidays

Bhutan holidays offer more mystery, marvel and magic than almost anywhere else on Earth. Be prepared to be dazzled - the natural beauty of the country is second to none. Bhutan is covered in 90 percent of forest and features an abundance of magnificent mountains for you to explore or simply admire.

If you’re seeking a holiday focused on natural beauty and hiking, then Bhutan is the ideal country for you to visit. There are many lush hiking trails that wind their way through the mountains past untouched countryside. You’ll also find many of the country’s famous monasteries nestled high up in the peaks.

Visit Bhutan for a cultural experience

One of Bhutan’s main draws is the abundance of charming Buddhist monasteries, many of which are found hidden away in striking mountaintops. The most famous Buddhist monastery of the country is the Taktshang Goemba, which is also known as the Tiger’s Nest, and we highly recommend you visit during your Bhutan holiday. This renowned monastery site and temple complex sits atop a cliff, overlooking a sheer drop of over 900 metres which stretches beyond. Not only are the quaint temples of the complex a beautiful attraction, but the surrounding verdant views make this attraction look like a scene right out of a fairy tale.

For sublime 360 degree panoramic views of the snow-capped Himalayas, head to the Dochula Pass, which is set 3,100 metres into the mountains. The site is home to 108 sacred chortens, which typically contain the remains of Buddhist monks or nuns and serve as a spiritual spot for meditation.

Bhutan is considered one of the happiest nations in the world - and you can see this in the welcoming and polite communities you meet throughout your holiday. It’s not unusual to be stopped and greeted by friendly and curious local people, especially groups of school children.

As this charming nation is so small, around five days is long enough to explore Bhutan. This means there’s plenty of time to incorporate another adventure into your multicentre holiday in Bhutan. Your Bhutan holiday works well as part of a wider itinerary, as it can be combined with another country in the Indian Subcontinent or Southeast Asia.

Destination Highlights
  • Find solace and serenity in one of the many sacred Buddhist monasteries dotted across Bhutan
  • Explore the sacred site and temple complex of the renowned Tiger’s Nest, found perched on a charming cliffside
  • Marvel at the rich natural beauty of Bhutan, which features rugged landscapes, spectacular valleys, and majestic mountains
  • Visit the 108 shrines peeking over the snow-laden Himalayas from Dochula Pass, set 3,100 metres in the mountains

Time Zone

GMT+6

Flight Time

Approx. 10–12 hours indirect flight

Currency

Bhutan's official currency is Ngultrum. You can exchange major currencies like the UK Pound, US Dollars, Euros and Indian Rupees at Paro Airport, most banks and large hotels.

Visa Information

You will need a passport and visa to enter and exit Bhutan. Keep a photocopy of your passport visa pages and flight ticket separate from the originals when travelling. All visas are approved from Thimphu and are only issued to tourists booked with a local licensed tour operator, either directly or through a foreign travel agent. Applications for tourist visas are submitted by the tour operator.

Language

Dzongkha and English are widely spoken.

Health Information

We recommend that you get vaccinated against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid and Polio prior to departure, and that you take malaria tablets while visiting rural areas. All travellers should also be up-to-date with routine vaccinations.Drinking tap water in Bhutan should be avoided but you'll find bottled mineral water readily available. Also be aware that many of Bhutan's sights are situated at high altitude and you are likely to experience mild altitude sickness for a short period. If you suffer from high blood pressure or a heart condition, consult your doctor before travelling.

Bhutan is vast becoming a popular tourist destination, it can be difficult to know the best places to visit, and how to go about it. This is why a Hayes & Jarvis tour is a great way to ensure you don’t miss anything in this wonderful country.

  • This is a picture of Prayer Flags in Bhutan

    Trekking

    There’s no better way to truly comprehend Bhutan’s remoteness than a trek through the country’s incredible countryside.

  • Thimphu

    Taktsang Monastery

    Precariously perched on the side of a cliff face, the Taktsang Monastery is steeped in legend. Nicknamed the Tiger’s Nest.

  • Punakha Dzong, Bhutan

    Punakha Dzong

    Punakha Dzong is arguably the most beautiful due to its picturesque location where two rivers meet.

  • Punakha Dzong prayer flags

    Festivals in Bhutan

    Festivals, locally known as Tshechu, are colourful affairs, where people dressed in bright clothing and traditional masks tell age-old stories through energetic dance.

  • Market in Thimphu

    Weekend market

    A wonderful place to spend a leisurely morning while trying some local delicacies.

  • George, Destination Specialist

    George

    Destination Specialist

    Meet the locals: Did you know that Bhutan is said to be the happiest country on earth?”

  • a woman smiling for the camera

    Katie

    Destination Specialist

    “With its dramatic landscapes and abundant walking trails, you simply can’t visit Bhutan without trying some trekking. If you’re feeling adventurous, head up high to the mountain peaks for the best views of the natural scenery. Don’t forget to buy some proper walking boots!”

Events and Festivals

Festivals and events are wonderful to include during your Bhutan holiday, offering a glimpse into the country’s authentic culture and traditions.

  • Tshechu Festival

    Tshechu Festival, or the Mask Dance Festival, is the most significant religious festival in Bhutan. Tshechu is celebrated annually across various monasteries in honour of the guru Rinpoche and takes place during the tenth day of the Tibetan lunar calendar, which varies from region to region. Tshechu is the time for local people to take entertainment to the streets, receive blessings and wash away the sins of the past year. This wonderful festival highlights Bhutan’s unique culture, and a visit to Bhutan is made all the more special when you witness a traditional mask dance.

  • Royal Highlander Festival

    The Royal Highlander Festival is a relatively new festival, which takes place in the month of October. This event was started to promote highland culture and to introduce Bhutan’s visitors to life up high in the Himalayas. The king attends the festival every year, giving you the chance to interact with Bhutanese royalty.

Local Cuisine

Get a flavour of the local culture through your palate during your Bhutan holiday. Here are a few of our favourite dishes.

  • Ema Datshi

    A visit to Bhutan wouldn’t be complete without sampling ema datshi, the country’s mouthwatering national dish. This tasty spicy stew is full of chilli peppers, onions and local yak cheese. Ema means ‘chilli’ and datshi refers to ‘cheese’ in the Dzongkha language of Bhutan.

  • Jasha Maroo

    Jasha maroo is another traditional Bhutanese dish. Jasha maroo features diced chicken that is then gently cooked with garlic, ginger, chillies, and tomato sauce. Along with chilli peppers, rice is a key staple of the many traditional Bhutanese dishes, so this combination of ingredients is usually served on a steaming hot bed of red or brown rice. Like most Bhutanese dishes, jasha maroo is quite spicy, so make sure you’re prepared for the heat when ordering this plate.

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