If you are looking forward to adventure tourism, Bhutan is undoubtedly one of the best places on earth you should be heading for! This tiny Himalayan Kingdom has so many things in the offing for you that it will leave you virtually perplexed, if you are looking for some real thrill and adventure! Thanks to the variety in landscapes of the majestic Himalayas, along with the wide variety of flora and fauna Bhutan today is one of the most adored destinations of the world when it comes to adventure tourism. You have a lot to choose from – Mountain Biking, Hiking, Kayaking, Fishing, Trekking, and a lot more!
The craggy mountainous topography of the county and the most spectacular landscapes provide you some breathtaking biking opportunities that will leave you virtually spellbound!
Kayaking & Rafting
There are a number of rivers that tumble down the valleys and plains, crisscrossing the country by its length & breath before they all converge into the mighty Brahmaputra. All these rivers set up a perfect backdrop if you are looking for some kayaking and rafting adventures of your lifetime.
Other facets of adventure sport that you can indulge yourself in include rock climbing and fishing. You will find a number of rock climbing programs that are arranged from time to time all throughout the year depending upon the weather. All these programs are conducted the strict guidance and mentorship of experienced mountaineers and rock climbers. Again, if you are not interested in height, but looking for something that is less demanding, there are the Bhutanese rivers, which are the heaven with a variety of sweet water fishes that not only give you a good fishing opportunity but a treat for your taste buds as well!
For the bravehearts looking for some real adventure, there are rock climbing sessions available under the guidance and mentorship of experienced mountaineers and rock climbers.
For those who are fond of fishing, the Bhutanese rivers are the heaven with a variety of sweet water fishes that not only give you a good fishing opportunity but a treat for your taste buds.
Bhutan is home to over 770 genuses of birds including some of the rarest species and the most famous winter migrants. This is the sole reason why the country has been declared one of the 221 Endemic Bird Areas or EBAs of the world today. This is enough for attracting the bird watchers to comb the plains, meadows, & terrains of the country, the broadleaf forests, the slopes of the mountains, which form the perfect backdrops for the ornithologists and the amateur bird watchers. Some of the most common species of birds of Bhutan include Satyr Tragopan, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Blyth’s King Fisher, Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Yellow-rumped Honey Guide, Wood Snipe, Dark-rumped Swift, Blyth’s Trogon, and many more.
Following are some of the list of the endangered birds of Bhutan:
- Baer’s Pochard
- Beautiful Nuthatch
- Black-necked Stork
- Blackish-breasted Babbler
- Blyth’s Kingfisher
- Chestnut-breasted Partridge
- Dark-rumped Swift
- Eurasian Curlew
- Eurasian Peregrine Falcon
- Ferruginous Duck
- Gray-crowned Prinia
- Great Hornbill
- Lesser Fish-eagle
- Palla’s Fish-eagle
- Pallid Harrier
- Rufous-necked Hornbill
- Rufous-throated Wren-babbler
- Satyr Tragopan
- Ward’s Trogon
- White-rumped Vulture
- White-throated Bushcat
- Yellow-rumped Honeyguide
- Black-necked Crane
- Imperial Heron
- White-bellied Heron
Bhutan is regarded as one of the most pious and religious countries amongst the followers of Buddhism. In fact, Bhutan is famous for its religious celebrations, which attract tourists from all over the world – both Buddhists as well as people of other religious beliefs. Frankly speaking, whenever you visit Bhutan, there will be no dearth of religious and social festivals that will offer you an excellent idea about the local cultures and customs.
Festivals in Bhutan are celebrated all throughout the year, with the major ones being the two day event at Mt. Jomolahari base called Jomolahari festival, Monger Tshechu, the festival that is celebrated by the Kurtoeps and the Tshanglas, who are the locals of the Monger region in Eastern Bhutan. Other festivals include the Takin, Nimalung and the Nomad Festivals, Pema Gatshel, Trongsa, Paro, Thimpu, and Punaka Tshechu and a lot of other minor and major festivals.
Jomolahari Mountain Festival
This festival is organized jointly by the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Park, NRED & the Bhutan Foundation at Jhomolhari Base Camp at the foot of Mt. Jhomolhari. The festival mainly involves people from the Soe Yutey community from Thimpu and Soe Yaksa community from Paro. A number of events are organized for the purpose of the festivals. These events include exhibitions of local cuisines, different types of cultural and traditional performance by the locals, displaying the local traditions and culture, and so on.
It is one of the most significant of all the local Tshechus that are celebrated in the region all throughout the year. Each of these Teshechus is unique in character & style and exhibits dances along with traditions and Monger Tshechu is no different. This Tchechu is performed over a period of 3 days during the early part of the month of November, and is witnessed by people who come even from far off places like Lhuentse as well as Trashigang.
Flora and Fauna
Bhutan, due to its geographical location can very well be termed as one of the greatest mishmash of nature’s wonders when it comes to its biological diversity that is pregnant with an indomitable richness of flora and fauna. The climatic conditions of the country that vary every now and then with altitude make the country, the perfect home to some of the most enchanting species of the plant as well as the animal kingdom.
From the geographical point of view the country is divided into 3 separate zones – Subtropical Zone that starts at 150 meters and extends up to 200 meters and is rich with tropical and subtropical plantations, Temperate Zone, that starts from 2000 meters and extends up to 4000 meters, and rich in conifer forests, and the Alpine Zone that starts at an altitude of 4000 meters and is devoid of any vegetation whatsoever.
You will find nearly 46 species of Rhododendrons and more than 300 varieties of medicinal plants, not to mention the Junipers, Orchids, Magnolias, Edelweiss, Blue Poppies (Bhutan’s national flower), Gentian, medicinal herbs, Giant Rhubarb, Daphne, Oak, Pine, and many more!
Amongst animals, Bhutan is home to snow leopards, red pandas, blue sheep, takin, musk deer marmots, gorals, gray langurs, Himalayan black bears, sambars, red pandas, wild pigs, golden langurs, elephants, barking deer, clouded leopards, one horned water Rhinoceros, horn bills, swamp deer, buffalos, hog deer, gaurs, and many other species along with a wide variety of local and over 50 species of migratory birds.
Tourists can visit places like Jigme Dorji National Park, Royal Manas National Park, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, TrumshingLa National Park, Torsa Strict Nature Reserve, Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, Wangchuck Wildlife Sanctuary, to get a glimpse of the animals. And if you are lucky enough, you can even come across Bengal tigers between the altitude of 3000 and 4000 meters!
Jigme Dorji National Park
This is the Bhutan’s 2nd largest National sanctuary that is home to 37 species of animals that include some of the endangered ones like snow leopard, takin, clouded leopard, bharal, Bengal Tiger, Himalayan black bear, red panda, black musk deer, Indian wild dog or dhole, marmot and so on, and over 300 species of birds. It is only in this park, where you will come across the national animal (takin), the national flower (blue poppy), the national bird (raven), and the national tree (cypress) of Bhutan – all cohabiting together!
Royal Manas National Park
This is the oldest national sanctuary of Bhutan, and is comprised of a total area of 408 sq miles.
The park houses tropical forests as well as ice fields and hence is home to a diverse range of animal species that include gaurs, Bengal Tigers, elephants, golden langur that is an extremely rare species, pygmy hog, Ganges River Dolphins, one-horned rhinos, water buffaloes, and innumerable types of birds including 4 types of Hornbills (Great Indian Hornbills, Wreathed Hornbills, Rufous-necked Hornbills and Pied Hornbills). The park also houses the Manas River as well as its tributaries that are home to some rare migratory fishes like Tor tor or deep-bodied mahseer, Tor putitora or golden mahseer, and the Katle or Chocolate mahseer.
Spirituality & Wellness
If you are in search of ultimate peace, tranquility, and spirituality, Bhutan is the place that will offer you a perfect combination of all three! With some impeccable natural treatment methods offered by the meditation and retreat centers and the traditional Hot Spring Therapy (locally called Tshachus), Bhutan is the place where you can find some mental solace and ways of mental and physical healing that will leave you a different person altogether by the time you get back to your own world!
Meditation and Retreat
If you are looking for some mental peace and tranquility – away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, what better place can you opt for than the meditation and retreat centers of Bhutan? Located into the lap of the mighty Himalayas, these centers are ideal place for meditation and serenity, and that has been our tradition for years and ages! Come to Bhutan and enjoy the peace and quietness in these centers, against the backdrop of the Himalayas and century old Buddhist traditions that are based upon the concept of peace, harmony, and meditation!
Hot Spring Therapy
Bhutan is a place where you will find a lot of hot springs or Tshachus. The locals and even animals have been using these springs for centuries for healing various physical issues. Amongst the well known springs of Bhutan, the one that is located at Gasa by the banks of River Mo Chu is the most famous one. Along with men, a number of animals like Takins are found to take dip in it, to get rid of physical ailments in a natural way.