An unplanned trip to a planned destination in a different country may sound strange, but trust me it was worth a shot! One thing that rapidly becomes apparent when you arrive in this country, is that it is no Shangri-La. Bhutan captures the imagination with serene landscapes.
Bhutan is home to the few most peaceful and liberal mankind one can find on earth. Bhutan is the only country that uses Gross National Happiness as an indicator to measure its prosperity. Almost 72% of Bhutan’s land is covered with forest. Each and every town of Bhutan is its center of attraction. They are surrounded by mountains from all directions which is rare and a beauty in itself. It is also the first no-smoking country in the world. Bhutan is like an innocent child who lives in his own world, and I say this because it is very much in its own cultural domain, the outside world seems distant when traveling to Bhutan. When you look at the people, popularly known as the Bhutanese, you will see them in their most preferred attire: kira for women and gho for men. This attire is above and beyond the western clothes for them.
Must Do’s: There are many on the list but will only list the one you can’t miss.
1)Tiger’s Nest – a 10,200 feet trek
On the top of every list should be this beautiful monastery which is 10,200 feet above the city of Paro. An early morning trek to taktsang is one of the best experience anyone can get here as it is the most sacred place in the country. A two and a half hour trek would definitely need some mental preparation. Before starting this trek it is imporant for one to remember that the journey is beautiful and the reward is even greater. The beauty of this trek is that, throughout the journey, you will be enveloped with a deep sense of calmness and peace. SO JUST GO FOR IT!
2)The Town called Paro:
Paro came across as the most calm and refreshing town. It is also known as the gateway of the last himalayan kingdom. The Town of Paro lies on the banks of the Paro (or Pa) Chhu. Paro remains as one of the best towns of Bhutan to explore on foot. One thing you cannot forget to do, is to just relax on the banks of Paro and let the atmosphere take your breathe away!
Punakha Dzong is arguably the most beautiful dzong in the country, commanding the river junction. All of Bhutan’s kings have been crowned here. An evening walk on the bridge is a must in Punakha!
There are many other tourist attractions in Bhutan that one can list. But rather than simply visiting Bhutan and exploring different places, one must just enjoy the mankind and their different yet, better way of living. People in Bhutan are satisfied and contented with their lives in the country. They don’t believe in taking part in the rat race like other countries, which leads to violence, disregard for environment and an unhappy habitat. The Bhutanese prefer living close to their roots with less materialistic things. They love their king! Why else would they have planted 1,08,000 trees in the honor of the birth of Bhutan’s prince.
Yes, there is poverty. As humans, we always think poverty brings crime and greediness. But Bhutan proved me wrong. You will never see such helpful and non greedy creatures on earth. Bhutan mainly earns through tourism and when I asked a local guy, he said that, the profits from tourism pay directly for free healthcare and education up to university level for all. This perhaps heightens the sense of equality, in contrast to our caste systems.
“While i was pursuing my engineering I realized that there is a big competition to outperform others. My batch mates used to work hard for getting top grades, over participation in not just lectures but everything. On the contrary I felt something very odd doing that. People there are only concerned about survival, without knowing how to live. I could not live in a world like that. I am happy earning less here with my family close to me rather than just earning money for our survival.” His words proved to me that indeed, happy living is all about enjoying small pleasures of Life!
When to go:
Some say July-Oct,other say Dec-Feb but if you ask me, the best time is when you want a change in yourself. When you want peaceful days away from the crowded cities. When you are eager to know and understand what happiness actually is…then Bhutan is heaven for you!