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Bhutan, a Buddhist Country is also known as Kingdom Of Happiness, is famous for monasteries, unique culture and breathtaking landscapes of steep mountains and valleys. Bhutan is very popular tourist destination particularly for Indians as an international holiday destination yet budget friendly & easy accessibility. It is unlike any other holiday destination.
In Bhutan Buddhism is not just a religion but the way of life of its people. Dzongs are fortresses built during the 17th century to ward off invasions by the Indian & Chineese rulers and are important institutions of Buddhist education, administration and spirituality. The festivals and celebrations is an experience in itself of Bhutanese culture and traditions.
Till the mid of 19th century, Bhutan was not accessible from the rest of the world. However today Bhutan is accessible through both road and air and has made limited modernization and development. Bhutan is one of the safest countries to travel in the world where environmental protection and cultural preservation is seen as priority over economics.
The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked country in the Eastern Himalayas. It is bordered by China to the north and India to the south. Nepal and Bangladesh are located in proximity to Bhutan but do not share a land border. Bhutan is a constitutional monarchy with Mahayana Buddhism as the state religion.
The subalpine Himalayan mountains in the north rise from the country's lush subtropical plains in the south. In the Bhutanese Himalayas, there are peaks higher than 7,000 meters (23,000 ft) above sea level. Gangkhar Puensum is Bhutan's highest peak and may also be the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. The wildlife of Bhutan is notable for its diversity, including the Himalayan takin. The largest city in Bhutan is the capital Thimphu.
Bhutan and neighboring Tibet experienced the spread of Buddhism which originated in the Indian subcontinent during the lifetime of Gautama Buddha. In the first millennium, the Vajrayana school of Buddhism spread to Bhutan from the southern Pala Empire of Bengal. Tibet, Bhutan, Sikkim and parts of Nepal became the vestiges of the Mahayana schools amid the decline of Buddhism in India. Bhutan also came under the influence of the Tibetan Empire. During the 16th-century, Ngawang Namgyal unified the valleys of Bhutan into a single state. Namgyal defeated three Tibetan invasions, subjugated rival religious schools, codified the Tsa Yig legal system, and established a government of theocratic and civil administrators. Namgyal became the first Zhabdrung Rinpoche and his successors acted as the spiritual leaders of Bhutan like the Dalai Lama in Tibet. During the 17th century, Bhutan controlled large parts of northeast India, Sikkim and Nepal; it also wielded significant influence in Cooch Behar State. Bhutan ceded the Bengal Dooars to British India during the Bhutan War in the 19th century. The House of Wangchuck emerged as the monarchy and pursued closer ties with the British in the subcontinent. In 1910, a treaty guaranteed British advice in foreign policy in exchange for internal autonomy in Bhutan. The arrangement continued under a new treaty with India in 1949 in which both countries recognized each other's sovereignty. Bhutan joined the United Nations in 1971. It has since expanded relations with 55 countries, including Bangladesh, Israel, Kuwait, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, and Turkey; as well as the European Union. While dependent on the Indian military, Bhutan maintains its own military units.
The 2008 Constitution establishes a parliamentary government with an elected National Assembly and a National Council. Bhutan is a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). In 2020, Bhutan ranked third in South Asia after Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the Human Development Index. Bhutan is also a member of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, the Non-Aligned Movement, BIMSTEC, the IMF, the World Bank, UNESCO and the World Health Organization (WHO). Bhutan ranked first in SAARC in economic freedom, ease of doing business, peace and lack of corruption in 2016. Bhutan has one of the largest water reserves for hydropower in the world. Melting glaciers caused by climate change are a growing concern in Bhutan
The best way to reach Bhutan is by air. The only international airport in Bhutan is in Paro and it is called Paro International Airport. It is around 7 kms from the city. It has connecting flights from various cities such as Mumbai and Guwahati. Direct flights to Bhutan can be found from Kolkata, Bagdogra International Airport and Delhi. Bhutan’s national carrier is Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines. Druk Air operates regular flights from Paro to Kolkata, Delhi, Dhaka, Kathmandu and Bangkok.
Travelling to Bhutan by car is a popular way to reach Bhutan especially for those people who love going on road trips. India has three border points - Jaigaon – Phuentsholing Border, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar. Phuentsholing is the more preferred option for those trying to reach Bhutan by road. It is around 170 kms from Bagdogra in West Bengal. It is easily accessible and you can even halt here before you head on towards Bhutan.
Bhutan does not have a train network. From India visitors can reach stations like Siliguri(New Jalpaiguri), Hasimara, New Alipurduar etc. and then take a taxi or bus to reach Bhutan. Hasimara is only 17 kms away from Phuentsholing.
Is Bhutan worth the money?
Bhutan is very good and cool place to visit. Bhutan is very different from any other country and well worth the money - the culture is different as it has been shut off from the rest of the world for so long with the focus today on high value tourism that doesn't impact on its environment.
What is the best time to visit Bhutan?
Other than 3 monsoon months, Bhutan tour is enjoyable. October to December is the ideal time to visit Bhutan as the air is clear and fresh with sunny skies. January and February are colder, but from then until April the climate remains dry and pleasant and in late spring the famous rhododendrons bloom spectacularly, flooding the valleys with colour.
Is Passport required to go to Bhutan for Indians?
Indian nationals intending to visit Bhutan are required to carry any of the two valid Travel Documents Valid Indian Passport having validity of minimum 6 months; and/or Voter Identity Card, issued by the Election Commission of India. No Visa is required to visit Bhutan for Indians.
Why Bhutan is a Great Honeymoon Destination?
Bhutan is one of the most famous destinations for honeymooners which offer hill station atmosphere, the last Shangri-la, amazing sunset & sunrise, cool and comfortable atmosphere, ancient temples and forts, and much more. It is a perfect getaway for romantic destination and honeymoon.
How many days Indian can stay in Bhutan?
15 days, With the entry permits, Indian tourists can stay up to 15 days in Bhutan with possibility of extension subject to approval by the Immigration.
Is Bhutan a safe place to visit?
Bhutan is a remarkably safe destination, but note the following: Some treks climb to elevations where Acute Mountain Sickness can be a risk; take time to acclimatise. Street dogs make a lot of noise at night and rabies is a risk; always be cautious around guard dogs in the hills.
Is alcohol banned in Bhutan?
Yes, you can carry alcohol in Bhutan. It's not prohibited but you get any kind of alcohol brand in Bhutan cheaper. Many Indians choose to purchase alcohol, including the expensive brands, in duty free shops in Bhutan as they are cheaper.
Is smoking allowed in Bhutan?
Bhutan is the only country in the world that completely bans the sale and production of tobacco—and naturally, smoking is banned in public places. Tourists and the Bhutanese elite can bring in 200 cigarettes, but ask your guide to find a place to light up.