1. See Mount Everest
The flight into Paro International Airport is one of the most spectacular landings you are ever likely to make because it gives you a breathtaking view of the Himalayan range and if you manage a seat on the left side of the aircraft, you can actually see Everest. The other mountain that you can see from the flight is Mount Kanchenjunga. All this, without lifting a finger! Make it your first priority if you are planning a trip to Bhutan
2. Rediscover Yourself, Take the Middle Path
Bhutan is just perfect if you want to get away from the daily drill of everyday life and reconnect with yourself. Buddhism is not a religion in Bhutan. It’s a way of life. You will realize this the moment you step into the country and interact with its people. In fact, if you notice Bhutanese architecture, you will realize that most homes in Bhutan are three-storeyed where the third floor would always have a shrine or prayer room.
If you want to feel this spiritual high as well, you could go for a session of meditation at one of the many monasteries or at your hotel itself. Or you could soak in a mineral spring bath or Tshachu for its medicinal properties. It is one of the most recommended things to do in Bhutan. But even if you don’t feel like indulging in any of this, just a walk by the river would prove to be therapeutic; it was for me at least.
3. Let Go of that City Stress in Nature’s Lap
Theuntouched natural beauty in Bhutan is unlike any hill station in India. It is so unbelievably peaceful that even when you are in the capital city of Thimphu, you will feel like you are in some kind of a retreat. An interesting thing I found out on my trip was that Bhutan has an official policy according to which 60% of the country’s landmass must remain forested.
If you want to explore the Himalayan flora and fauna closely (which you should), then visit one of the many national parks and sanctuaries. One of the largest protected areas in Bhutan is the Jigme Dorji National Park, which has prominent landmarks including sacred peaks such as Jomolhari, Tsherimgang and Jichu Drakey.
4. Get High on Adventure at 23,000 Feet
Its geographical location makes it a sweet spot for adventure activities like hiking, biking, trekking, kayaking and rafting. The rugged mountains, the magnificent lakes and glaciers make it a very exciting and of course stunning venue for tapping your adventurous side. There are a number of treks you can plan during your trip to Bhutan depending on the difficulty level that you are looking for.
Some of the popular treks in Bhutan include Druk Path Trek, the Jomolhari Laya Gasa Trek and the Snowman Trek. These are the longer treks lasting for days, but if you don’t have time for something that long, you can always go for a day hike.
5. Tickle Your Taste Buds with Chilies and Cheese
Ema Datshi! No, that’s not a Bhutanese greeting. This red hot mix of chillies and cheese is Bhutan’s favourite dish. You will see it in every meal, everywhere in the country. Apart from chillies, Bhutanese cuisine usually comprises chicken, pork and beef. Being a vegetarian, I was a bit sceptical but I found a whole lot of options like spinach, pumpkins, turnips, radishes, tomatoes and green beans; and some unique choices like nettles, orchids and fern fronds mostly cooked in cheese sauce and served with red rice. Other popular dishes are momos, Phaksha Paa (pork cooked with red chillies), Jasha Maru (Spicy minced chicken) and Goep (Tripe). Just one tip, order well in advance or you may have to wait for a long time.