Top ten things to do in Bhutan

  • Taktsang: They say you haven’t traveled to Bhutan if you have not hiked to the famous tiger’s nest perched on a cliff side overlooking the scenic Paro Valley.
  • Dzongs: Definitely visit one of the massive dzongs (monastery fortresses), the iconic architectural masterpieces that serve as administrative centers and clergy houses.
  • Tsechu: Partake in a tsechu festival in one of these ancient fortresses to experience the authenticity and feel the pulse of the living culture of Bhutan. It is also an opportunity to observe Bhutanese in their finest garbs and jewelries and witness the unfurling of giant hand crafted thankas (cloth scrolls).
  • Chime Lhakhag: Visit the monastery if you want an insight into those giant erect penises you see on walls and eaves of Bhutanese houses. The monastery is dedicated to the ‘divine madman’ whose eccentricities drove Buddhism to the core of the Bhutanese and Tibetans.
  • Chilies and cheese: Ema Datshi is a must do dish of chili and cheese but there are other indigenous foods for an experiential palate. The local ara, bangchang or sinchang (local brews) are not to be missed either.
  • Farm House: Spend a night in a farmhouse or a home stay with a local family. It cannot get more authentic than dining on ema datsi (there will be other dishes served too) with the family and waking up to the call of a rooster while churning cheese and butter the Bhutanese way.
  • Museums: While the whole country would serve as a living museum, there are specialized ones showcasing historical conflicts, ancient communication, unique textiles, natural history, and the 13 arts and crafts of Bhutan.
  • Weekend market: If your palates agree with the Bhutanese cuisine, visit the weekend farmer’s market in Thimphu to look at regional organic foods, but also incense and crafts from across Bhutan and the Asia.
  • Hotstone Bath: Try a hotstone bath after a long hike or a ride across the mountainous terrains. It soaks and cleanses away physical and emotional overloads.
  • Traditional medicine institute: Visit the traditional medicine institude (gSo-ba Rig-pa), an indigenous medical centre that bases its diagnosis on balance in the elements and treats with some 300 different herbs harvested from the sacred and pristine Himalayan mountains.