There is a famous saying – don’t listen to what they say…go see! and that definitely goes for Bhutan. This popular destination is one of the most influential countries in terms of environment and happiness and without a doubt; it is the best place you can visit. And if you plan on vacationing with family, there are plenty of reasons to choose Bhutan. There is not just one nor two but an array of wonders you can see, explore and savour. Expect to be welcomed by flamboyant Buddhist architecture, amazing dzongs, quiet streets, humble people and scrumptious food that will make you drool just by its aroma, Ema Datshi anyone?
Hiking is always an exciting activity that can be partaken by any adventurist, which means, even if you are holidaying with family. That been said, one exuberant destination called Paro in Bhutan, has various landmarks that serve as best places to hike. Amongst the many, Dongkola Lhakhang takes the lead. What people go to see here is the ancient temple of Dongkola where the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni is placed. A hike to about 3,370 meters may be challenging (if you are an old timer) but if you have children with some passion for trekking, well, you will get there.
This Lhakhang (temple) is located on a hilltop between Paro and Thimphu and the closest village to start ascending is Shaba in Paro. The beauty you will witness are of several stupas and charming villages, surrounded with coniferous forest that are emerald green. And once here at Dongkola Lhakhang, the sight you get to witness are the breathtaking valley of Paro with snow-clad Himalayan range. Also, the two historical places you can layover to admire are the temples of Phudu Goenpa and Mendhu temple.
Note: The hike may take around three to four hours (depending on your speed) and it is considered to be moderate.
For those who like to experience an adventure with their children and also explore Bhutan’s rich culture and agriculture, a hike at the Haa Planters Trail may be an ultimate thing to do. This activity offers an insight into the country’s cultivation and agronomy as you walk along the ancient mud path that was once accessed by the rice planters. As you ascend further on this famous hiking trail, the route will traverse to various riveting sights of paddy fields.
A hike up at the Haa Valley also takes you across various Buddhist villages of Paro where you get an opportunity to interact with the locals. And during this heritage tour, one most important element we can extract is ‘peace’ that is found everywhere in abundance. Also, while in Haa Valley, you get an opportunity to go out for hiking to places like Katsho Goemba and Jana Dingkha which are two old monasteries. Consider the months from March to June for trekking as the popular Rhododendron forests explode in vividness then.
One of the most treasured gem and a definite go-to place in Bhutan is Paro Taktsang or popularly known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. This place is a famous destination in Paro, so famous that an introduction may not be needed. It is probably visited by a large number of tourists visiting Bhutan every year and a stopover here during a family holiday can’t get any better. It has a moderate steep climb but pony/horses are also provided (only till the cafeteria) if your legs get too wobbly. A visit to Paro Taktsang can offer a divine experience that words cannot express and no trip in Paro is complete without visiting this excellent monastery that looks like it has been glued to the surface of a rock wall.
Note: Photography is not allowed inside the monastery nor any bags and shoes, however, they offer places where your stuff can be kept (and it’s pretty safe).
Another attraction that must be visited during your holiday in Bhutan is Kuensel Phodrang, located in the capital, Thimphu. This place treasures a 51 metre tall Buddha Dordenma Statue and is probably visible from all around the town. A visit to this popular tourist spot is best done when the first ray of the sun touches the surface of Thimphu. It is when the golden bronze statue shines brilliantly and looks divine; it is also an ideal time to take excellent photographs.
Note: The road (Buddha Point) that leads you to this park also serves as a popular mountain biking trail which is 3.5 km long.
One of the most stunning places to visit while holidaying in Bhutan is Gangtey Valley, which is also popularly known as Phobjikha Valley. Its unfiltered beauty is so pleasing that, you can keep exploring the valley and never get tired, especially if you are a nature lover always looking for peace and tranquility. This valley also has an excellent destination for educational tour purposes. Visit the Crane Information Centre where you can educate yourself and your kids about these endangered black necked crane species and know about the wetlands. The centre also provides a high powered telescope best for sighting these bird species in action. This valley that is as wide as the ocean also houses Gangtey Monastery, which is looked after by the families of Gomchens. Certainly, the ‘it’ place for exploration and education, and is indeed a must visit destination while holidaying in Bhutan.
This famous attraction located in Dochula (Mountain) pass can be easily covered during your visit from Thimpu to Punakha. Druk Wangyal Chortens are 108 memorial stupas that were built in the memory of the Bhutanese soldiers. The stupas are beautifully decorated by paintings and are located against the gorgeous Gangkar Puensum Peak. This beautiful place also treasures another attraction, the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (monastery) that stores beautiful statues and images of Buddhist gurus and deities. Druk Wangyal Lhakhang is one of the most picturesque Buddhist temples that speaks of elegance and glory.
Note: On a clear day, you can also get a grand sight of the Mount Everest from Druk Wangyal Lhakhang.
The oldest national park in Bhutan, Royal Manas National Park is one of the best wildlife places to visit during family vacation in this country. It not only offers a riveting ambience but can also be an excellent place to see various plant and animal species. The park’s main attractions are golden langurs, Asian elephants, clouded leopards and Bengal tigers, also, you can expect to find different medicinal plants and around 365 species of birds. A visit to this land will offer immense pleasure to your children and perhaps to your soul that has been lingering to various tourist destinations of Bhutan. While a visit to this excellent national park, can be embarked anytime of the year, plan your holiday in the period between November and March as it is best time to visit.
Another splendid existence in the mountain ranges of Bhutan is Jigme Dorji National Park which is the second largest National Park in the country. Covering an area of 4,349 square kilometre, this national park houses species of Blue Sheep, Snow Leopard, Royal Bengal Tiger, Takin, Black Bear and Red Panda. If you are family members are into adventure, then consider trekking because, Jigme Dorji National Park has some popular trekking routes. And perhaps, you will see amazing flora of this park like blue poppy, wild orchids, edelweiss and rhododendrons. During your wildlife tour, you can also get a chance to witness sacred mountains like Tshering Gang, Jomolhari and Jichu Drakey, also glacial lakes which are source of some of Bhutan’s main rivers.
Shopping is an endless discussion, the things you can buy are countless and one such favourite place for shopping is located in the capital at Norzin Lam Street. Here, you have to devote your time and energy visiting shop to shop looking for the best fit and price. The clothes that are often hand picked by families and other tourists while shopping are woolen sweaters, warm mink, long over-coats and also gold ornaments and Thangka paintings. Norzin Lam Street, also happens to be a popular hangout place that sells various street food and Bhutanese delicacies. It is an amicable place to embrace your holiday with family and sharing experiences while sitting in some cozy cafe slurping warm coffee.
For the much ‘art-appreciate’ tourist, a visit to Bhutanese Crafts also known as handicraft market is an ideal place to visit to explore the art and craft of Bhutan. The authenticity of this market is perhaps the shops all endowed in wooden shacks displaying vibrant souvenirs. You can expect to see items on sell like carpets, bamboo boxes, horse saddles, metal ewers, monastic trumpets and also the most popular item bought are the colourful masks and hand woven bamboo items. As you stroll through the market, you simply cannot ignore the royal clothes of king and queen of Bhutan. And also a few local products like purses made of colourful fabrics and statues of Buddha. In short, it is a cultural affair shopping in Bhutan.
The land of the thunder dragon certainly is a unique and peaceful country to visit and by far one of the richest in terms of nature and kindness of people. And if you have been waiting for a perfect place to visit with family, there is no better place then Bhutan. If you are having issues preparing a perfect itinerary, you can always call us at +91-9212553106 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org for our best Bhutan tour packages that will help save money and give you a tour of Bhutan that you will remember for a lifetime.