Top 7 Experiences in Bhutan
In this country about the size of Switzerland is a place of mesmerizing peace and natural beauty. Here you will find otherworldly sights of sacred snow-capped peaks and deep valleys abundant with wildlife. You will find cultural marvels unlike anyplace else on Earth. Here you will experience wonders everywhere you go.
Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Hike on a well graded trail 2,000 feet up to the iconic Taktsang Monastery perched atop a sheer granite cliff and experience the site of one of the 13 tiger’s nests in historical Tibet where Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, once taught. Located just outside of Paro, this visit takes only a couple of hours to climb and offers a rewarding view, as well as the chance to meet the resident monks. While no photography is allowed inside the Tiger’s Nest, you can of course pose for pictures with the monastery in the background from a distance.
Trekking Jigme Dorji National Park
Jigme Dorji National Park is considered “the trekker’s paradise.” Trekking through the woodlands of Bhutan’s largest protected sanctuary, you experience dense foliage, steep terrain, and the chance to spot numerous exotic species such as Royal Bengal Tiger, Snow Leopard, Red Panda, Black Bear, and Himalayan musk deer. The park holds the headwaters of three of the country’s major rivers and has natural hot springs.
Mask Dances of Tamzhing Monastery
Tamzhing is the original home of unique sacred dances, called cham, that are celebrated during traditional Tshechu (festivals) throughout Bhutan. Religious dances are the living tradition by which Pema Lingpa sought to teach Buddhism in Bhutan. Tamzhing monastery is the site from where the sacred dances of Peling traditions originated.
National Institute for Zorig Chusum
The traditional handcraft arts of Bhutan are among the most revered in the world. Commonly known as “the painting school,” the national school provides instruction in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts. Students here are used to travelers observing the classrooms to appreciate the craftsmanship across furniture making, religious pictures, woodcarving (of masks, statues, bowls), embroidery (hangings, boots, clothes) and statue-making.
Religious festivals known as Tshechus are held annually in various temples, monasteries, and dzongs. They celebrate Guru Rinpoche who was born on the 10th day of the sixth Bhutanese lunar month. The event commemorates his great deeds in spreading and developing Buddhism. These events last three to five days and comprise great gatherings, the unfurling of a giant scroll painting called a throngdol, and brilliant festivities.
A Dzong in Bhutan is a complex of fortified buildings which serve as a principal seat of a Buddhist school. Built at the mesmerizing confluence of the Po Chu (Father) and Mo Chu (Mother) rivers, Punakha Dzong is one of the most beautiful examples in the world. While Bhutan has many other dzongs—Punakha is one of the top sites.
A major site where people gather, this Buddha statue stands more than 50 meters tall, is built of solid bronze, and overlooks the capital city of Thimpu. Completed in 2015, it has already become a pilgrimage site and its plaza hosts many events throughout the year. Travelers are very welcome here.