Top 10 things to do in Bhutan

Bhutan

A mountainous and mysterious Buddhist kingdom that holds itself to the bar of Gross National Happiness

Bhutan is a country.

Bhutan (/buːˈtɑːn/; Dzongkha འབྲུག་ཡུལ Dru Ü, IPA: [ḍu yː]), officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in South Asia located at the eastern end of the Himalayas. It is bordered to the north by China and to the south, east and west by India. To the west, it is separated from Nepal by the Indian state of Sikkim, while further south it is separated from Bangladesh by the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal. Bhutan's capital and largest city is Thimphu.

Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefs until the early 17th century, when the lama and military leader Ngawang Namgyal, the 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche, who was fleeing religious persecution in Tibet, unified the area and cultivated a distinct Bhutanese identity. Later, in the early 20th century, Bhutan came into contact with the British Empire and retained strong bilateral relations with India upon its independence. In 2006, based on a global survey, Business Week rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world.

Bhutan's landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan heights in the north, where some peaks exceed 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). Its total area was reported as approximately 46,500 km2 (18,000 sq mi) in 1997 and 38,394 square kilometres (14,824 sq mi) in 2002. Bhutan's state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism and the population, now (as of 2012/2013) estimated to be nearly three-quarters of a million, is predominantly Buddhist. Hinduism is the second-largest religion.

In 2008, Bhutan made the transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy and held its first general election. As well as being a member of the United Nations, Bhutan is a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and hosted SAARC's sixteenth summit in April 2010.

Overall rating: 4.7
Country
Typical length of visit: 7 days

Top 10 things to do in Bhutan

Trongsa

Trongsa
Trongsa, previously Tongsa , is a town and capital of Trongsa District in central Bhutan. The name means "new village" in Dzongkha. The first temple was built in 1543 by ...

Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary

Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary
The Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary , which also contains the former Kulong Chu Wildlife Sanctuary, covers 1,520.61 square kilometres in north-eastern Bhutan at elevations between 1,500 metres and 6,000 metres . ...

Wangdue Phodrang

Wangdue Phodrang
Wangdue Phodrang is a town and capital of Wangdue Phodrang District in central Bhutan. It is located in Thedtsho Gewog.HistoryThe town shares its name with the dzong ...

Jigme Dorji National Park

Jigme Dorji National Park
The Jigme Dorji National Park, named after the late Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, is the second-largest National Park of Bhutan. It occupies almost the entire Gasa District, as well as the ...

Thrumshingla National Park

Thrumshingla National Park
Phrumsengla National Park in central Bhutan covers just over 905 square kilometres across four districts, but primarily in Mongar. It is bisected by the Lateral Road, and contains the Thrumshing ...

Thimphu

Thimphu
Thimphu , also in the past spelled as Thimpu, is the capital and largest city of Bhutan. It is situated in the western central part of Bhutan and the surrounding ...

Motithang

Motithang
Motithang is a north-western suburb of Thimphu, Bhutan. The Chubachu River divides the district from Kawajangsa further north and Chubachu district lies to the east.Meaning "the meadow of pearls", the ...

Paro, Bhutan

Paro, Bhutan
Paro is a town and seat of Paro District in the Paro Valley of Bhutan. It is home to Paro Airport, Bhutan's only international airport.HistoryRinpung Dzong a ...

Phuntsholing

Phuntsholing
Phuntsholing , or Phuentsholing, is a border town in southern Bhutan, and is the administrative seat of Chukha District. The town occupies parts of both Phuentsholing Gewog and Sampheling Gewog. ...

Jakar

Jakar
Jakar is a town in the central-eastern region of Bhutan. It is the district capital of Bumthang District and the location of Jakar Dzong, the regional dzong fortress. The name ...

Punakha

Punakha
Punakha is the administrative centre of Punakha dzongkhag, one of the 20 districts of Bhutan. Punakha was the capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955, when the ...

Tashichho Dzong

Tashichho Dzong
Tashichhoedzong བཀྲ་ཤིས་ཆོས་རྫོང is a Buddhist monastery and fortress on the northern edge of the city of Thimpu in Bhutan, on the western bank of the Wang Chu. It has traditionally ...

Paro Taktsang

Paro Taktsang
Paro Taktsang is the popular name of Taktsang Palphug Monastery , a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and temple complex, located in the cliffside of the upper Paro valley, in ...

Rinpung Dzong

Rinpung Dzong
Rinpung Dzong is a large dzong - Buddhist monastery and fortress - of the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school in Paro District in Bhutan. It houses the district Monastic ...

Gangteng Monastery

Gangteng Monastery
The Gangteng Monastery ,generally known as Gangtey Gonpa or Gangtey Monastery, is an important monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism, the main seat of the Pema Lingpa tradition. located in ...

Drukgyal Dzong

Drukgyal Dzong
Drukgyal Dzong was a fortress and Buddhist monastery, now in ruins, located in the upper part of the Paro District, Bhutan. The dzong was probably built by Tenzin Drukdra in ...

Dechen Phodrang Monastery

Dechen Phodrang Monastery
Dechen Phrodrang meaning "Palace of Great Bliss" is a Buddhist monastery in Thimphu, Bhutan. It is located to the north of the city.In 1971 it became a monastic school and ...

Royal Manas National Park

Royal Manas National Park
Royal Manas National Park is Bhutan's oldest national park, and the Royal government considers it the "conservation showpiece of the Kingdom" and a "genetic depository" for valuable plants. It has ...