With its rich history, religious significance, and adventure activities, Bhutan is a hidden gem in the Himalayas and has something for everyone.
Bhutan is a truly one-of-a-kind travel destination that is well worth visiting. And if you’re planning a trip to Bhutan, here are 10 must-do activities in Bhutan in 2023 with Druk Heritage. We have decades of experience providing our guests with customized itineraries for a seamless travel experience.
10 Things To Do In Bhutan
If you’re looking for a truly special place, you need to add Bhutan to your travel bucket list. This Himalayan kingdom has a lot to offer, and it’s hard to describe everything that makes it so unique.
Here are just 10 of the many activities for you to do in Bhutan:
1. Hike To Tiger’s Nest
No trip to Bhutan is complete unless you hike to the world-famous Tiger’s Nest, also known as Paro Taktsang. This 16th-century monastery, also known as the Tiger’s Nest, is perched precariously on a cliff side some 2,600 feet above the Paro Valley. It’s a sight to behold and an experience you won’t forget.
Tiger’s Nest is a monastery rich in history and offers breathtaking views of the green Paro valley and mountain ranges. The trek to the sanctuary can take anywhere from 3.5 hours to 9 hours, depending on one’s fitness.
Travelers will pass through a dense forest and emerge on the edge of a rocky chasm, where they will need to climb down to a trickling waterfall and then back up the cliff face to the monastery on the other side.
2. Visit The Religious Heartland of Bhutan
Bumthang valley, located in central Bhutan at an elevation of 2,600-4,500 meters, is known as the “Switzerland of Bhutan” for its peace, serenity, and unrivaled landscapes.
It is dotted with numerous sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples and consists of four pictorial valleys: Choekhor, Ura, Chumey, and Tang. Choekhor is the largest of these four valleys and is typically referred to as the main Bumthang Valley.
Bumthang valley is the religious heartland of Bhutan and home to some of its oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries. Visitors to Bumthang can explore the ancient temples and monasteries, learn about Bhutan’s unique culture and history, and even participate in religious ceremonies.
The valley is nicknamed the ‘Shangri La of Bhutan’ owing to its stunning backdrop, rich abundance of nature, and laid-back ambiance. The climate here is also extremely pleasant, which makes it a perfect hideaway to relax and rejuvenate.
Every time you visit this valley, you will feel like time has stood still. This is truly a place where you can forget all your worries and soak in the beauty of nature.
3. Explore Bhutan’s Old Capital
Punakha Dzong (fortress) is arguably one of Bhutan’s most beautiful and majestic Dzongs. The whole area is covered in a blanket of beautiful lilac-colored Jacaranda trees during the spring. It’s an unforgettable sight that you won’t find anywhere else.
Located at the confluence of the Po Chu and Mo Chu rivers, the Dzong served as the seat of government and the capital until the 1950s.
The Dzong is home to the sacred relics of Rangjung Kasarpani, the remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, and the Terton Pema Lingpa.
Today, Punakha Dzong is one of the most popular destinations and a winter residence for Bhutan’s dratshang (official monk body).
The Dromche festival, also known as the Punakha festival, is held annually in either February/March at the Dzong. The festival attracts many tourists eager to see the impressive displays of Buddhist texts and the history of Bhutan.
4. Motorbiking Through Bhutan’s Winding Roads
It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience to ride a bike through Bhutan’s winding roads and enjoy the stunning scenery.
Bhutan is truly a paradise for bikers, with its pristine environment boasting breathtaking landscapes, majestic mountains, friendly locals, and just enough road challenges to keep the adrenaline pumping.
There’s no bad time to visit Bhutan, but the best times to come are between March and June or October and November. You’ll have an incredible time no matter what you do while you’re here.
Groups or solo riders will find plenty to enjoy in this one-of-a-kind destination.
5. Attend A Festival
There’s nothing quite like attending Bhutan’s rich and vibrant festivals. You’ll see monks dancing and chanting while wearing bright costumes and masks in the temple courtyard.
It’s an experience unlike anything you’ve seen before and one of the best parts of any trip to Bhutan.
Bhutanese festivals are the perfect opportunity to witness amazing performances, meet locals, and get a taste of the Bhutanese culture.
Travelers will have as much fun interacting with locals as watching the sacred mask dances. It’s a perfect way to learn more about the country and its people.
6. Try Archery
Bhutan is a country that is as beautiful as heaven itself. It is renowned for its vibrant festivals, vibrant culture, and diversity of sports. The national sport of Bhutan, Archery, is an important part of the country’s identity.
Archery is often thought of as the crown jewel of Bhutan because of the high level of enthusiasm that Bhutanese have for the sport. This is likely due partly to the fact that Bhutanese archers view their skill as an expression of their national identity.
Even tourists who visit Bhutan often enjoy one or more archery matches. There’s something special about watching an arrow leave the bow and hit the target 100 meters away.
The sense of sportsmanship found in cheerleading and dancing, along with the game itself, is quite a pleasant view to enjoy. When local people come out to watch the matches, it creates a great opportunity to interact with them and learn about their culture.
7. Bumdra Trek
Bumdra Trek is the ideal way to see everything Bhutan has to offer. This is the shortest trek in Bhutan, starting north of the Paro valley and ending at the Taktsang Monastery in the northwest.
The first day of the trek may be tough, but it’s worth it when you see the stunning views of the valley and mountains. The second day is much easier in comparison and mostly downhill. The tour starts with an incredible view of the tallest mountain range from the flight to the lush green valley of Paro.
Besides the scenic beauty of the Himalayan ranges, on this trek, you will visit two of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Bhutan: Bumdrak and Taktshang Monastery.
According to legend, Bumdra is ‘The Rock of One Hundred Thousand Footprints.’ It is believed that around 800 years ago, 100,000 Dakinis (angels) descended here and left their footprints on the stone.
8. Travel Back in Time with Brigdungla Trail
The vast moors of English Gothic literature come to life in Bhutan’s lost trail of Brigdungla. Surrounded by high ridges and hardened by centuries-old rocks, this is a place where people can easily lose their way.
The locals believe this place is home to the mystical yeti, making it a new and exciting destination for tourists.
Recently opened to the public, the only people who have been here before are yak herders who live in the highlands. Now, you can experience the beauty and mystery of this place during your Bhutan trip!
The Brigdungla trail is a four-day trek that will take you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Bhutan. You’ll traverse through scenic pine forests, vast rhododendron shrubs, and dozens of lakes to reach the highest point of about 4600m.
This mystical site is home to 108 scattered lakes, stunning valley views, and tiger habitat, making it a great choice for tourists looking to take advantage of Bhutan’s best.
9. Explore the Bowl-Shaped Valley
The Phobjikha valley is an expansive, bowl-shaped glacial valley formed centuries ago by a glacier. It is locally known as the Gangtey Valley, after the name of a monastery located on a ridge above the valley.
The Phobjikha valley separates Western Bhutan from Central Bhutan. It is located at an altitude of 3000m above sea level and is surrounded by the Black Mountains in the west.
The valley is home to miles and miles of flat, picturesque fields and the rare black-necked cranes(Grus nigricollis) that migrate to the valley from Tibet every winter.
Phobjikha valley is still relatively untouched by excessive tourism and is strictly a place for nature and trek lovers. One can witness the raw beauty of the land and its people when traveling through the valley.
10. Take Part In Gross National Happiness Session
If you’re looking for a different vacation, why try a GNH (Gross National Happiness) session in Bhutan?
A tour that allows you to interact with different natives from all walks of life and learn about Bhutan’s goal of Gross National Happiness. You may visit schools and monastic institutions, which will give you an insight into Bhutanese culture.
A tour that allows you to understand what happiness is and enables you to ask yourself what makes you happy.
Bhutan has long measured development progress by its citizens’ happiness rather than their wealth.
The government of Bhutan has developed policies over the years that aim to create enabling conditions for happiness rather than trying to provide happiness directly. This refined philosophy allows people to find happiness in their own lives rather than relying on the government to provide it for them.
Bhutan is the perfect travel destination for nature and culture enthusiasts and anyone looking for a new and unique experience. From stunning landscapes to fascinating cultural sites, Bhutan has something for everyone.
When planning your trip to Bhutan, include all the following experiences to make your trip truly memorable!
For hassle-free travel and to ensure you don’t miss any of Bhutan’s must-see sights, contact Druk Heritage – your favorite Bhutanese tour operator. We’ll be happy to assist you in planning an unforgettable trip to Bhutan!