The country of the Thunder Dragon is in the heart of great the Himalayas, which is named traditionally, Druk Yul, by its people. The kingdom is 70 percent covered with green forest and has a population of 700000 people. Therefore, it’s an environmentalist and trekker’s dream land. It is regarded as a last Shangri-La because of its remarkable climate and Eco-system. The Bhutanese are fiercely determined to preserve their living culture.
Though, the archaeological exploration of Bhutan has been limited, the artifacts of previous civilizations reveal that the history of Bhutan dates back to 2000 BC. The three different origins of the people has become intertwined over the years. The original Bhutanese are known as Monpa and claim to have migrated from Tibet. The traditional name of country is Druk Yul which has been in place since the 17th century. The kingdom is dominated by Tibetan Buddhism. Bhutan’s culture and traditions evolved isolated from outside influences.
Due to the formidable mountain passages, different environments played a crucial part in influencing various ethnic groups.
Language & People:-
The kingdom is shaped by three main ethnic groups such as Sharchopas, Ngalops and the Lotsampas. The Sharchopas are considered to be the earliest inhabitants of Bhutan and live in the eastern part of country. They are of Indo-Mongoloid origin. The Ngalops migrated from the Tibetan plateau and live in western Bhutan who brought the Tibetan Buddhism to Bhutan. The Lotsampas are of Nepalese origin and live in the southern foothill of Himalaya. They migrated to the region in the beginning of 20th century.
FLORA & FAUNA:
Bhutan is known as the kingdom of birds because it has 770 recorded species of birds. Other animals, snow leopard, blue ship, red panda, marmot and musk deer are found in the alpine zone. Goral, gray languor, black bear, one horned rhinoceros and water buffalo are found in the tropical temperature region. A rich variety of flora such as dense tropical jungles with oak, hazel and Sal exist there as does subtropical forests with Humid, Pine, Fir, Hazel and various rhododendrons in the dwarf alpine vegetation region.
The Major Attraction & Touring Places in Bhutan
PHENTSHOLING (300 m):
Phentsholing is situated in the giant Himalayan foothill. It is the perfect fusion of people and culture since it’s borded between the Indian states of West Bengal, Skim and Assam, which is the only entering and exit point of country.
Paro is a beautiful valley with rich culture and scenic beauty. Many old temples, monasteries, the National Museum reside here as well as the only international airport in Bhutan.
THIMPHU (2400 m):-
Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan, which is situated in the fertile valley of Wang Chu River. It was once a very rustic place with rural village but its now a crowded town with over 50,0000 people and several Government offices. It’s located around Tashichoe Dhang.
PUNAKHA (1300 m):-
Punakha was the former capital of Bhutan until 1955. This town is the most fertile valley in the country. It has a temperate climate with humid forest with many different pristine mountain and countless passes.
BHUMTANG (2600 m):-
Bhumtang is shaped like four small vales and is surrounded by religious legends and myths. This is the place where most of the ancient temples and monasteries took place.
Wangdue Phodrang is the last town along the highway entering central Bhutan. In the 17th Century, Wangdue played an important role in unifying western, central and southern Bhutan. Many fought against the separation of the country.
DOCHENPHULHAKHANG (2660 m):- This tall and imposing chapel is dedicated to the powerful deity Gyenyen. It is said to be able to supply weapons for an endless number of soldiers. We are always in your service and offering different tour sharing our experiences.
THE MAJOR TREKKING TRAIL IN BHUTAN
1. DUER HOT SORING TREKS (9 days treks):- This is the most beautiful natural hot spring trek in the Himalaya. This treks starts from Bumthang and ends in same place where it joins with the Snowman Treks. It offers mostly dramatic view of Bumthang valley.
2. GANGTE WINTER TREK (3 days trek):- The trek starts from Phbjikha and ends in Tikhe Zampa. This trek offers beautiful views of traditional villages, monasteries and bird watching. This is easiest and most wonderful trek in the kingdom.
3. DRUK PATH TREK (6 days trek):-This trek starts from Museum of Paro and ends in Thimpu, which offers beautiful views of lakes, glaciers, alpine dwarf forest with rhododendrons and mountain valleys.
4. LAYA GASA TREK (14 days Trek):- Bhutanese’s villages and their unique cultures. The trek is regarded as the most beautiful in Bhutan. It reaches above 50000 meters with experience of high elevation.
5. SNOWMAN TREK (25 days treks):- This trek is an extension of the Laya Grass trek and beginning in Paro and ending in Punakha. It offers the most beautiful treks that lead to the highest elevation of the mountain. This trek is regarded as the most difficult trek in the Himalaya as it reaches above 5350 meters. Summer season is the best season to do this trek due to snow and cold.
6. BLACK MOUNTAIN TREK (15 days trek):- This trek begins in Wangdue and stops in Punakha. It leads to the Tibetan border in the south. It’s rich with wild life and it passes through many unique villages and sanctuaries. This trek is medium to long in length.
VISA FORMALITIES OF BHUTAN
Tourist visas aren't issued from any of the Bhutanese Embassies Overseas. All tourists’ visas are processed by travel or tour agents through the Tourism Authority of Bhutan (TAB). After the visa clearance number is obtained, the visa is issued once the trip is booked and full payment is received. At first, only 14-day visas are granted, but it’s possible to extend the visa time period through the Bhutanese Tourism co-operation. This takes 10 days for visa clearance therefore it’s important to submit the visa application 60 days prior to arrival in Bhutan.
HOW TO GET IN BHUTAN
It is possible to travel by both air and land. There is only one international airport in Bhutan (Paro 2225 m), Duck Air, with has two modern air buses that operate several flights a week to Kathmandu, Bangkok, Delhi and Kolkata. If arriving from the east of India, a Darjeeling tourist can visit Bhutan by bus as long as they have an Indian visa. The bus enters through the south of Bhutan in a place called, Phuntaholing.