Bhutan: Explore the Land of Happiness in 8 days!

Bhutan is a beautiful country located in the Himalayas. This land of serene landscapes and vibrant culture offers a unique experience for travelers. In this travel blog, we will take you through our journey in Bhutan, covering various destinations and experiences. Join us as we delve into the highlights of this extraordinary journey, filled with adventure, culture, and beautiful sights.

5 facts about Bhutan:

  • Seventy-two percent of land in Bhutan is covered by forest. And it’s going to stay that way. By constitutional law, at least 60 percent of the country should be covered by trees. This commitment to maintaining ample forested area has allowed rich biodiversity to flourish. Over 5,500 plant varieties (300 known to be medicinal) and 165 species of mammals (including the snow leopard and the red panda) can be found in the country.
  • “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product.” His Majesty Jingme Singye Wangchuck, former King of Bhutan, is the creator of Gross National Happiness. Rather than base the economic success of Bhutan on how much money the country earned, he believed it should be measured by factors that contribute to the quality of life for the Bhutanese people.
  • Bhutan is home to the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. But don’t get too excited if you’re a climber. Gangkhar Puensum has an elevation of 24,836 feet and is off limits to mountaineering. In 1994, the Bhutanese government prohibited climbing mountains above 18,000 feet due to the belief that these areas are sacred.
  • You can make your own stamps! Bhutan has some of the most intricately designed stamps in the world. In various colors and shapes (even 3D), new stamps are often released to celebrate festivals, anniversaries, even the royal family wedding. And you can join in on the cultural tradition by making your own stamp at the National Post Office in the country’s capital, Thimphu. It’s the icing on the cake for sending a postcard to friends and family.
  • Bhutan is the only country in the world that doesn’t have a single traffic light in its capital city. Instead, policemen in Thimphu stand at major intersections and direct traffic. Supposedly a set was installed, and then quickly removed because the Bhutanese preferred the policemen.

Visa & Documents Requirements for Bhutan Travel:

Indian nationals intending to visit Bhutan are required to carry any of the two valid ‘Travel Documents’ (a) Valid Indian Passport having a validity of minimum 6 months; and/or (b) Voter Identity Card, issued by the Election Commission of India. No Visa is required to visit Bhutan.

All foreigners (except for citizens of Bangladesh, India, and the Maldives) must obtain a visa before visiting Bhutan. The visa is then stamped into their passport. Foreign tourists must use a licensed Bhutanese tour operator or one of their international partners to pre-arrange their visa and book their holiday.

Permits for Bhutan Travel:

Indians need a permit to visit Bhutan. The permits for Paro & Thimpu are available at the Immigration Office in Phuentsholing. The office stays closed on Weekends (Saturdays & Sundays) and Public Holidays. It is advisable to reach the office at 9 am to receive the permit within an hour.

For visiting Punakha, Haa Valley etc. you need to obtain the permits from the Department of Immigration at Thimpu

Cost of Bhutan Travel:

In Bhutan, there is a fee called the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) that tourists are required to pay as a means of promoting sustainable tourism and contributing to the country’s development. Indian tourists are required to pay an SDF of 1200 per person per day during their stay in Bhutan. It covers a range of services and amenities, including accommodation, transportation, and tour guide services. Therefore, the SDF is not just a fee but also includes valuable services that enhance the overall experience of the visitors. This fee is relatively lower than the SDF for tourists from other countries.

Currency Details:

All Indian currency notes (all denominations) are now accepted in Bhutan at equivalent value. ATM and cards are also facilitated but there will be around 3-5% transaction charges based on which bank facility you use. You could also swipe cards but charges are like ATM withdrawals again.

Cultural Sensitivity:

Bhutanese culture is deeply rooted in Buddhism, so visitors should be respectful of religious customs and traditions. For example, it’s considered rude to touch or point your feet at religious statues or offerings, and you should ask permission before taking photographs of people or religious sites.

Dress code:

Please pack a full sleeves or color shirt and full pants for entry to Dzongs and some temples. Other times you could wear any casuals.


Dzongkha is the official language of Bhutan, but English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas. Hindi is also understood by many people in the city areas. However, learning a few basic phrases in Dzongkha can help you connect with locals and show respect for their culture.

Airlines for Bhutan Travel:

The two national carriers of Bhutan are Drukair and Bhutan Airlines who fly regularly to Paro, Bhutan’s only international airport, from several cities in the region, including Bangkok, Dhaka, Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Guwahati, Kathmandu, and Singapore.

Best Time to visit Bhutan:

October to December is the ideal time to visit Bhutan as the air is clear and fresh with sunny skies. January and February are colder, but from then until April the climate remains dry and pleasant and in late spring the famous rhododendrons bloom spectacularly, flooding the valleys with color.

Day Wise Itinerary for 8 days:

Day 1: Jaigaon

After arriving at Bagdogra airport, we hired a cab to Jaigaon, the Indian border town of Bhutan. Our vehicle of choice was a Maruti Brezza SUV, and our driver’s name was Kilab Lama. He can be reached at 9593310190.

The journey from Bagdogra to Jaigaon took around four hours. Along the way, we enjoyed the scenic views of the beautiful landscape and passed through several towns and villages. 

We had the pleasure of dining at Red Chilli Restaurant during our stay in Jaigaon. The restaurant offers a cozy and welcoming ambiance and serves a variety of delicious Indian and Bhutanese cuisines.

As for our accommodation, we stayed at Sheetal Residency, a comfortable and well-appointed hotel in Jaigaon. The hotel offers spacious and clean rooms with all necessary amenities, including comfortable beds, clean linens, and modern bathrooms. 

Day 2: Transfer to Thimpu

Our tour guide, Tobgay Bandu (+975 17 27 51 81), provided us with a seamless and enjoyable journey from Phuentsholing to Thimpu. On the way, he took us to visit some of the most scenic and culturally significant locations in Bhutan.

Our first stop was the Kharbondi Gompa, a beautiful and ancient monastery that offers stunning views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. Next, we visited the majestic Wankha Waterfalls, where we were able to witness the raw power of nature in all its glory.

We then stopped for some hot drinks at Divine Midway cafe, where we were greeted with warm hospitality and a cozy atmosphere. Later that evening, we dined at Zombala 2, where we savored the delectable local dish of potato cheese curry. The restaurant offered a welcoming ambiance and friendly service that added to the overall dining experience.

After dinner, we headed to Mojo Park and Catch.34 for some late-night entertainment. The entry fee was 300, and we enjoyed local beer Lager along with Korean alcohol Soju (Blueberry, Apple flavors).

Our stay at The Dragon Boutique in Thimpu was a comfortable and luxurious experience. The hotel offered well-appointed and spacious rooms with modern amenities and excellent service. 

Day 3: Thimpu sightseeing

We started our day by visiting Simply Bhutan, a cultural village that offered us an authentic glimpse into the country’s rich heritage. The entry fee of 1,000 Bhutanese Ngultrum also included a traditional dress that we wore to experience the local culture fully. We were served butter tea (Suja) with corn and rice, a typical Bhutanese refreshment that was a unique and memorable taste. Danced with the locals, it was a wonderful and soul satisfying experience. 🙂

We then visited the magnificent Golden Buddha Dordenma, a stunning statue that stands at an impressive height of 169 feet. The monument offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding valleys and mountains, and it was an unforgettable experience.

For lunch, we dined at the Tandin hotel in Thimpu, where we relished a variety of delicious Bhutanese and Indian cuisine. The restaurant was clean and comfortable, and the staff was friendly and attentive.

In the evening, we witnessed the flag-lowering ceremony at Tashichho Dzong, an iconic fortress-monastery and the seat of the Bhutanese government. The entry fee was 500 Bhutanese Ngultrum, and it was worth it for the spectacular view and cultural experience. We also visited the View Point of Dzong, Palace, and Thimpu city, where we enjoyed a stunning panoramic view of the city.

We also saw the national animal of Bhutan, Takin, in its enclosure, and Cyprus, the national tree, along with Cherry Blossom trees, which were a beautiful sight to behold.

For dinner, we dined at FnBee, a cozy and charming restaurant that offered a wide variety of delectable cuisine. The restaurant had a welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff that made us feel right at home.

Day 4: Transfer to Punakha

We visited the Bhutan Post Office to check out the personalized stamps, which was a unique and memorable experience. 

Next, we drove through Dochula Pass and stopped at the Druk Wangyel Cafe, where we enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea while taking in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

We then visited the charming villages of Swopsokha and Yowakha, where we got a glimpse of Bhutanese rural life. We also visited a painting shop, where we saw the intricate and beautiful artwork created by local artists.

Then we explored the Temple of Fertility, also known as the Temple of Divine Madman. The entry fee was 500 Bhutanese Ngultrum, and it was a fascinating cultural experience. The temple is known for its phallic symbols and is believed to bring good luck and fertility to couples.

For lunch, we dined at Raven restaurant, where we savored delicious Bhutanese and Indian cuisine. The restaurant had a cozy and comfortable atmosphere, and the staff was friendly and welcoming.

We then drove to Bajo town in Wangdue, covering a distance of 13 kilometers one way. The town was charming, and we enjoyed exploring the local markets and shops.

For dinner, we dined at the White Dragon hotel, where we relished a variety of delicious Bhutanese and Indian cuisine. The hotel had a warm and welcoming ambiance, and the staff was friendly and attentive.

Our stay at the White Dragon hotel in Punakha was comfortable and luxurious, and we were provided with excellent service by the hotel staff.

Day 5: Transfer to Paro

We visited the Punakha Dzong, a magnificent fortress that is both a religious and administrative center. The entry fee was 500 Bhutanese Ngultrum, and it was worth every penny. The dzong’s architecture was breathtaking, and we were fascinated by the intricate details and rich history behind it. We also walked across the Suspension Bridge, which provided us with stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

For lunch, we dined at the Raven restaurant, which served us delicious Bhutanese and Indian cuisine. The restaurant’s ambiance was warm and welcoming, and the staff was friendly and attentive.

Next, we visited the Lamperi Botanical Garden, which was a delight for nature lovers. The entry fee was 100 Bhutanese Ngultrum, and we enjoyed the beautiful flora and fauna on display. We also visited Dochula Pass once again, as the view was too beautiful to miss twice, and we stopped by the Divine Midway Cafe for some hot drinks and refreshments.

In the evening, we visited the Paro Dzong, which was beautifully lit up at night, providing us with an ethereal experience. We were fascinated by the dzong’s beauty and its cultural significance.

For dinner, we dined at the Mountain cafe, which served us some of the best food we had during our trip. The restaurant had a cozy and relaxed atmosphere, and the staff was friendly and attentive.

Our stay at the Penchu Boutique hotel in Paro was luxurious and comfortable, and we were impressed by the hotel’s attention to detail and excellent service. 

Day 6: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery

It was the most exciting day of the trip, as we hiked up to Tiger’s Nest Monastery/Taktsang Monastery. Most people take a taxi to the base of the mountain and then commence on the trek. It was an ascent of 2.5 hours and a descent of 1 hour 45 mins. The trek includes a total of 19,000 steps, covering a distance of 7.6 kilometers, with an entry fee of 1,000 at the monastery. There is a breathtaking view from the top, and only once you reach the monastery, you get to know why Tiger’s Nest is Bhutan’s most loved monument.

Comfort your eyes and soul with the stunning views of the scenic surroundings and the valley lying underneath. Dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava (widely regarded as the Second Buddha), it is a stunning monument, built on the very top and edge of a steep cliff, and is easily the highlight of the trip.

We relished a delicious lunch at Paro dhaba and shop for souvenirs at Pema Choden at Nyma Zampa, Paro. Finally, retired for the night at the comfortable and luxurious Penchu Boutique hotel.

Day 7: Drive to Jaigaon

We visited the National Museum of Bhutan, where we got to explore the rich cultural heritage of the country, with an entry fee of 300. We also visited the stunning Paro Dzong, which was free. For our meals, we relished a delicious lunch at Divine Midway cafe and enjoyed a scrumptious dinner at Rajasthan Bhojnalaya in Jaigaon. We stayed overnight at the comfortable and cozy Sheetal Residency in Jaigaon.

Day 8: Drive to Bagdogra

On the last day of our trip, we drove back from Jaigaon to Bagdogra. On the way, we indulged in some mouth-watering momos and coffee at Masala Twist in Bagdogra. Later, we boarded our flight from Bagdogra to Mumbai, which was scheduled to depart in the evening at 4:30 PM.

Exploring Bhutan was a fantastic experience, with each day bringing new surprises and beautiful sights. From the colorful festivals to the serene landscapes, Bhutan truly is a land of happiness. Our trip was made more enjoyable by the friendly locals, delicious cuisine, and comfortable accommodations. We hope that our travel blog has inspired you to visit Bhutan and experience the country’s unique culture and stunning beauty. So why wait? Pack your bags, put on your traditional Bhutanese dress, and head to Bhutan for a journey that you will never forget!

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