The Tourism policy of Bhutan is guided by one statement “low volume, high quality”. Which makes it not so affordable for many travelers. It will cost you a whopping US$250 per day per person to experience and travel into Bhutan. Even though it sounds like a hefty sum of money to visit just another destination (Until you know Bhutan and have been there, as things usually change after you visit Bhutan and you will feel it was worth it), It is inclusive of all major costs including land transport, accommodations, food and guide service.
The Government of Bhutan aims at keeping the country from being overrun by mass tourism, which helps them ensure that the visitors who come to this tiny Himalayan nation get the most value out of their trips.
So is it worthy??? Let’s find out!
- The lifestyle of Bhutan cultural authenticity is one of the major features of Bhutan, the only Mahayana Buddhist country in the world (Just remember that Buddhism has numerous sects and Mahayana is one of them). Although Bhutan remained isolated for many years it opened itself for foreigners in the 1970’s. The government of Bhutan is very conscious of maintaining its cultural identity and traditional dress is the preferred attire of locals, regardless of their age. Government employees must wear it to the office though, as a rule. Even though a lot of Bhutanese can speak English, the Dzongkha and Sharchop are the languages you hear most of the times. Native Dzongka-style architectural features still grace every building and Buddhism colors just about every aspect of life. Even though people in Bhutan are not untouched by modern developments such as internet and television, they believe that well-managed use of modern technology and a balance between modernization and culture helps to keep them safe culturally.
- The Buddhist Influence! You hate the climb or love it, you love hiking or not, not a single traveler who has ever been to Bhutan leaves without making a trek to the Taktsang Palphug, commonly referred as the Tiger’s Nest. It’s location, mystic beauty and the architecture makes it a special Buddhist monument. It is situated at around 900 meters above the rice fields of Paro, this 300 plus years old scared site is also Bhutan’s most visited religious sites. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism also known as the Padmasamva, meditated in this area for a long time. It is believed by Buddhist that the temple site had a cave and that was the adobe of Guru Rinpoche or the first Dalai Lama. The hike up to the Tiger’s Nest monastery is about one and a half hours, in oxygen level half that you are used to! So take it slow and easy!
- Bhutanese food or Chilly food! The Bhutanese are so fond of their chilies that they consider them veggies not spice! So wait for some of the most chilly hot food of your lifetime in Bhutan. Emma Datshi, an incredibly hot dish of boiled chilies and native Bhutanese cheese is the most famous dish an equivalent of the Italian Pizza or the fish and chips. So you will enjoy it as a mainstay in every meal while in Bhutan. But don’t worry too much the Local Chefs in the Boutique 3-star hotels of Bhutan are aware of your taste and it is blended in foreign taste in terms of spices!
- Unexpected attractionsPhallic murals might be a funny sight for foreigners visiting Bhutan but they are something sacred, for the very religious and traditional Bhutanese people, and most importantly you can see In Punakha, there is a shrine of Chimi Lhakhang, which is dedicated to the Drukpa Kenley, a saint of the tantric Buddhist sect, who blessed his devotees with sex. It is believed that the saint made love with more the 5000 women in his lifetime and it is also believed that by doing so he helped them attain enlighten.
- Nightlife, Bhutan-styleIf you ask local Bhutanese what they do during the night, then a common answer is ‘sleep’. Evenings or night in Bhutan can be Tame but there are few traditional singing and dancing that you can be a part of and what’s good about this singing and dancing are they are truly Bhutanese and still not very touristy. Drawing is Bhutanese style homegrown nightclubs come complete with disco balls and flickering lights set amid simple wooden interiors. You can go in with a cheap entry ticket and have some fun in some of these!