In the Paro Valley you can admire the Takstang (»Tiger’s Nest«) monastery, which seems to be glued to the cliff face of a 900 m deep gorge. Further up the hill are the ruins of the fortified monastery of Drukgyul Dzong, which was sadly destroyed by an earthquake in 1954. From here Bhutan was defended against the attacks of the Tibetans. Today the National Museum is housed in the Paro watchtower. From the 3100 m high Dochu La Pass, the view of the mountains of the eastern Himalayas is breathtaking. Bumthang is the starting point for four to seven day cultural tours through the villages of the region. In the district of Wangdiphodrang slate engravings and wickerwork are made from bamboo. More information is available from Bhutan Yodsel Tours and Treks (website: www.bhutaan.com ) or Yarkay Tours & Treks (website: www.aaboutbhutan.com ).
- Topmbadirectory: Offers information about politics, geography, and known people in Bhutan.
Tongsa and the Manas Game Sanctuary
Tongsa is the traditional seat of the royal family. From the Dzong (a fortified monastery) there is a magnificent panoramic view over the river valley. The Manas Game Sanctuary (game reserve) in south-eastern Bhutan is home to numerous wildlife species. A special permit is required to visit the reserve.
The small town of Phuntsholing is not only a commercial and industrial center but also the gateway to Bhutan. 5 km outside the city is the Kharbandi Monastery. Bhutanese stamps, which are highly sought after by collectors, are best bought from the Philatelic Authority, which has its main office here. The country’s first and only department store is also located in Phuntsholing.
The capital Thimphu is 2400 m above sea level. i.e. M. and actually looks more like a large, sprawling village. The Wang Chu flows through the fertile valley. Tashichhodzong Palace is the country’s main administrative and religious center. The palace has 100 great halls housing all the ministries, the National Assembly Hall, the King’s throne room and the largest monastery in the country. The monastery is the summer residence of Je Khempo and 2000 of his monks. The annual Thimphu Festival is held in the courtyard just outside the National Assembly Hall. Beautiful handwoven keepsakes and craft items are available for purchase at the Handicraft Emporium.
Punakha was once the capital of the country. The city is not very high and enjoys a relatively mild climate. At the Punakha Dzong Monastery, you can visit the Machin Lhakhag Temple, which houses the tomb of Ngawang Namgyal, who unified Bhutan.
On Sundays you can visit markets selling local clothes, jewelry and food. The Handicraft Emporium in the capital, Thimphu, is located on the city’s main street. It is open every day except Sunday and sells handwovens and other handicrafts. A souvenir shop has recently opened at Hotel Motithang in Thimphu. Thimphu Valley gold and silversmiths craft handcrafted items to order. Shop opening hours: Almost all shops are open every day except Tuesday 09.00-20.00.
Rice is the staple food, along with lentils or spicy vegetable curry. Omelettes, cheese, pork and yak, sometimes chicken are on the menu. This is served with sweet tea, with yak butter on feast days, or fruit juice. Chang and temka brewed from grain are low in alcohol, while distilled arak is quite strong. Restaurants are rare in Bhutan and most tourists eat at their hotels. Meals are mainly served in the form of a vegetarian buffet.
Mahayana Buddhism (75%), mostly the Drukpe school of the Kagyupa sect, is the state religion. Nepalese immigrants, who make up a large part of the population (in southern Bhutan), are mostly adherents of Hinduism (25%), Muslim minority.
Social Rules of Conduct
The many Buddhist shrines and prayer wheels are a sign of the religion’s all-encompassing influence on everyday life. The majority of the population lives in rural communities. Kadrinche means “thank you” in Dzongkha. Smoking: Smoking in public is prohibited in Bhutan. Since then, tobacco products can no longer be bought anywhere in the country. Photography: Photography is permitted during Buddhist festivals. If in doubt, ask permission first. Tipping is not customary. At your discretion, 5-10% can be given.
Best travel time
Tropical in the south, towards the north and increasingly colder with increasing altitude. Monsoon between early June and September. During the day it is mostly sunny and clear; Especially in winter it can get very cold at night. October, November and April to mid-June are the best holiday months with little rainfall and pleasant temperatures. In the southern foothills of the Himalayas it is not particularly cold even in winter.
Area (sq km)
771,608 (Source: homosociety)
Population density (per square km)
Population statistics year
Main emergency number