Best Shopping In Bhutan
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About Shopping Guide In Bhutan
One cannot simply come to the Land of the Thunder Dragon and leave without shopping. Bhutan is a prominent representative of east Himalayan art and culture. Shopping in Bhutan is more about the things to buy and less about the Bhutan shopping places. The main roads and the back alleys of Thimphu, Paro, Phuentsholing brims with lined up shops selling all sorts of products that are sourced and crafted locally. However, most people prefer buying them from the Bhutan government emporiums for a guarantee of authenticity.
Here are the various things to buy in Bhutan when you visit the country and want to bring home some Bhutan souvenirs:
1. Handicraft items
Bhutanese culture has their art and craft divided into thirteen categories called Zorig Chusum. The school for handicrafts is also known by the same name. This is a popular profession in the country and many local artisans and craftsmen have degrees from National Institute of Zorig Chusum. These categories represent history, culture, tradition and the intricate science of art. From the many places for shopping in Paro, Bhutan, you can find wooden crafts, bamboo products, paper and paper pulp products, wall hangings, bags and many other trinkets to buy. The wooden bowls or dappas, famous in the Trashiyangtse district as well as the rest of Bhutan, is one of the most popular gifts to buy in Bhutan. The National Handicraft Emporium in Thimphu has the best gallery to choose from.
Thangkas are a speciality of Bhutan. They are large drawings on cloth, made of cotton or silk, meant to be hanged like a painting on the wall. Thangkas have Buddhist roots and in many cases the painting is of the many forms of Lord Buddha. Usually they are vividly colourful, with hand-woven work with thread of every colour. One should most certainly pay a visit to the shop of Zorig Chusum institute to buy one of these iconic indigenous products of Bhutan and grace the walls of their homes with it.
3. Hand-woven textiles
Hand-woven textiles are great for shopping in Bhutan, Thimphu. They are not like the usual clothing pieces one can buy anywhere. Bhutanese villages have their own unique textiles which are different than regular cotton or silk. Adang village in Wangdue Phodrang district is especially known for the three textiles made only there – Adang Rachu, Adang Mathra and Adang Khamar. For warmer clothes, Yethra is a textile made from putting together several strips of wool and dyeing them with natural colours. Sweaters, jackets, blankets, rugs – things made from Yethra are all very soft, warm and comfortable.
4. Himalayan Dzi beads
Himalayan Dzi beads are yet another speciality of Bhutan. They are crystalline rocks made of agate and used as beads in necklace, bracelet or earrings. But more than fashion accessories, they are known for their spiritual properties. People believe the Dzi beads bring luck and fight off the evil forces. They can be bought in different shapes and sizes – ovals, squares, cylinders, spirals. They can be monochromatic or have lines, dots and stripes on them. Dzi beads are one of the most expensive beads on earth and are great Bhutan souvenirs for someone you love and want to keep safe.
5. Bhutanese masks
The colourful masks decked with fabrics, paints and other embellishments are recreations of the masks that the dancers and performers wear during the many cultural festivals. Bhutanese artists recreate them in wood for the tourists to take home as a memory. It is a special thing to buy in Bhutan since it represents the country’s tradition.
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FAQ's of Bhutan
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Spring and autumn seasons are best for visiting Bhutan. Try to make the trip between March-May or September-November.
Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Bagdogra airports have direct flights to Paro in Bhutan.
Indians do not need a visa to enter Bhutan. Traveling in Phuentsholing area is open for any Indian upon producing authentic ID card. However, to travel the rest of the country, permission is needed which can be retrieved by any agency for the same.
The main currency of Bhutan is Ngultrum. But Indian currency is accepted all over Bhutan except the new 500 and 2000 notes.
There are buses from Kolkata to Thimphu and from Siliguri bus station, NJP station or Bagdogra station to Phuentsholing border.
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