Bhutan has always been on the top of everyone’s travel list for as long as we can remember. But what exactly can you do there? other than trekking and cultural tour? Here are list of the top things to try when you are in Bhutan.
1. Go to Eastern Bhutan
Bhutan’s road-less-traveled is eastern Bhutan. Simplicity of eastern Bhutanese people, rugged terrains, unexplored festivals and trek routes make eastern Bhutan most sought-after regions in Bhutan. Semi-nomadic twin villages of Merak and Sakten, rich textile weaving cultures of Lhuntse, raw silk in Radhi villages and wood works of Trashiyangtse are worth exploring.
2. Rafting and Mountain Biking
River rafting is becoming increasingly popular because of the many rivers in Bhutan, ranging from turbulent alpine rivulets to staid wide sub-tropical rivers. These adventures offer splendid views of fortresses and people going about their daily chores as towns and villages are all located alongside rivers. Grades range from the basic to beyond the most dangerous.
Several new routes have been developed on ancient mule tracks that make mountain biking a wonderful experience in Bhutan. Just traversing Bhutan’s lateral highway is an exhilarating adventure in itself. Fresh air, limited traffic and the scenic beauty of the routes make mountain biking a most worthwhile way of enjoying Bhutan.
3. Try Ema Datse and Butter Tea
Chilli and cheese is the must do ingredients and its found in every Bhutanese dishes. A curry conjured up with Chilli and Cheese locally known as “ema datse” is worth tasting. A red rice, dried beef and ema datse is the staple diet of Bhutanese.
Suja or the butter tea is one of the specialities in Bhutanese recipes. Butter tea is served in all occasions with other traditional meals. Traditional tea leaves is being boiled in a water, put in bamboo churner, a fresh cow or yak butter and salt are churned together. It bears buttery salt taste.
4. Farmhouse visit, traditional dinner and hot stone bath
One of the best ways to experience Bhutanese way of life is to visit a farmhouse. Farmhouses are simple structures made up of locally available mud, timber and stones with a distinct Bhutanese wood designs and paintings. Time you visit with a dinner and a hot stone bath. Hot stone bath is ancient ways of healing common ailments such has bone aches, wounds and stomach diseases. A certain stones being heated to red hot by fire made out of wood, its then put inside tuff containing cold water. You will dip into water maintaining temperature.
5. Hiking and Trekking
Hiking and Trekking are very popular in Bhutan because it allows the traveler to get off the beaten track and on to the wondrous Bhutanese landscape. Just imagine wandering through a wilderness with a diversity of flora and fauna that has led to Bhutan being declared one of 10 global hot spots for environmental conservation. Treks range from short soothing walks through terraced fields and idyllic hamlets to some of the most arduous high altitude treks.
6. Craft Bazaar and Weekend Market
Opposite to Taj Tashi is the long line of temporary huts made up of bamboo mats. It should be interesting to check these hand craft stores as they sell genuine Bhutanese art works.
If it’s a weekend you can visit the vegetable market, which is locally known as centenary farmer’s market. Locals as far as from Paro, Punakha and Wangdue come hear to sell their farm produce. It offers wonderful opportunity for photography. The lower floor houses red rice or grain section, dry fish, fruits and vegetables and upper contains Bhutanese incense, local vegetables, betel nuts, dried meats, cheese and butter. Crossing the bridge on other site is the place where they sell hand crafts and imported garments.
7. Bar hopping in Thimphu
Thimphu, the only capital city in the world without traffic lights is a must-see place. It’s a unique city with mix of both tradition and modernism. Visit to bars, karaoke and discos will give you insight to Bhutanese inclination to different cultures. While exploring little outskirt of the city will take you to the life of rural settings.
8. Gho, Kira and Archery
Man’s dress Gho and woman’s Kira is most fascinating dresses in Bhutan. Its similar but different than the ones worn by Tibetans. Gho is a knee-length robe resembling a Scottish kilt. Its tied at the waist by traditional belt made of cotton weave.
Kira an ankle-length dress is a woven fabric. The rectangular piece is wrapped and folded around the body and pinned at both shoulders, usually with silver brooches. Its then tied at the waist with a long belt. Its worn with tego or the upper jacket.
9. Chit Chatting with Locals
“A night Guest is like a God” is an old Bhutanese saying. Foreigners are treated like guest in Bhutan. You can talk to locals – especially if you happen to chat with children, you will get information about them, school and families. Talking to seniors would give you insight into Bhutanese way of life, cultures, challenges and transitions.
10. Try Bhutanese alcohols
Bhutan produces one of the best beers and whiskies in the world. Druk 11000, Lager, Red Panda are best that can nourish your taste buds. While Special Courier, Highland and K5 are good whisky brands.