Trekking to sublime mountains, exploring the colorful villages, meditating inside the peaceful monasteries, and learning the history of the dzongs—there are plenty of things to do in Bhutan that are sure to leave you mesmerized. Tourist flocking to the happiest country in the world arelured by its natural beauty, old monasteries, its colorful festivals, and warm Bhutanese hospitality.
Top 25 Things To Do In Bhutan
India’s beautiful neighboring country has something for all; it attracts families, friends, and hundreds of bikers and solo travelers every year. A rare place on this planet Earth where one hardly sees any signs of commercialization, Bhutan is a perfect place to visit. And it is primarily because for travelers, there is no dearth of places to see and things to do in Bhutan.
- Taktsang Goemba (Tiger’s Nest) – Go For A Trek
- Trongsa Dzong – Dig Into Bhutan’s History
- Bumthang Valley – Explore The Switzerland Of East
- Trashiyangtse – Hike To This Heavenly Place
- Wildlife Sanctuaries – Go For Bird Watching
- Punakha & Semtokha Dzongs – See Ancient Art Come To Life
- The Memorial Stupa – Rediscover Yourself
- Bhutanese Cuisine – Relish The Delicacies
- Shopping – Explore The Local Stores Of Bhutan
- Changlimithang Archery Ground – Try Archery
- River Rafting – Treat Your Adventurous Soul
- Kayaking – Try A New Adventure
- Suspension Bridge – Capture Postcard-Worthy Images
- Wildlife Safari – Explore The Wildlife Of Bhutan
- Fishing – Go Catch Them
- Mountain Biking – The Adventure Ride
- Attend Festivals – Get Acquainted With Culture
- Dochula Pass – An Auspicious Destination
- Camping – Make Those Tents
- Cycling – Hustle To Perfection
- Enjoy The Hot Springs – For Ultimate Wellness
- Horse Riding – Ride Through A Grand Journey
- Tour The Museums – Learn More About Culture
- Haa Valley – Hike Through Dense Forests
1. Taktsang Goemba (Tiger’s Nest) – Go For A Trek
The trek to Taktsang monastery in Paro, popularly called the Tiger’s Nest, is one of the best adventure activities in Bhutan. After being destroyed by fire, the monastery was rebuilt in 1998. Rising 9480 ft above the ground, it challenges the trekkers to walk the rocky winding path.
Taktsang Cafeteria is the only rest point on the way offering lip-smacking vegetarian Bhutanese food. The colorful prayer flags, the rattling sounds of prayer wheels, the view of Paro Valley, and the calming chants will accompany you throughout the trek. Remember to start your trek early as the monastery closes at 1:00 pm.
Duration of the trek: 3-4 hours
Suitable for: Beginners
Things to know: Cameras, phones, lighters, and backpacks are not allowed (Deposit at the entrance). Take off your shoes before you step inside the altar.
2. Trongsa Dzong – Dig Into Bhutan’s History
If you love to explore historical places, then Trongsa Dzong – the ancestral home of the Royal Family is one of the best tourist places in Bhutan. Built approx 463 years ago during the times of Trongsa Penlop Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the fortress boasts of a great location overlooking the Mangde river. Also, it has witnessed many major events that have shaped the kingdom’s history.
As you wander through Trongsa Dzong, don’t miss visiting its 24 chapels and the museum in the watchtower. The street-like corridors, beautiful courtyards, and stone stairs tell you the tales of bygone times.
Timing: 06:00 am – 05:00 pm
How much time to spend in Trongsa Dzong: 2 hours
3. Bumthang Valley – Explore The Switzerland Of East
Among the best things to do in Bhutan is to take the Bumthang Cultural Trek and explore much more than the beauty of the Bumthang valley. The cultural trek offers picturesque views of the monasteries, temples, and the quaint villages. You also get to explore the beautiful villages and experience great hospitality. Until the 1970s, the area was only accessible by muddy trails and mules.
Ura Valley is another place lost in the mist of time in Bumthang. You’ll find quaint villages with clustered houses, potato fields, and sheep pastures. This is the kind of valley where you can go on a photo walk.
Besides the breathtaking mountains and the natural beauty, Bumthang valley is blessed with some of the oldest Buddhist temples in Bhutan. Bumthang is the place where Buddhism was first introduced and where saint Pema Lingpa was born.
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4. Trashiyangtse – Hike To This Heavenly Place
If nature mesmerizes you, a visit to Trashiyangtse is going to be captivating, to say the least. Born out of Trashigang district in 1992 as a separate district, it sits in the middle of a small river valley making it an ideal place for long refreshing walks in the countryside. Another one of the best things to do in Bhutan is exploring one of the most important stupas – Chorten Kora, situated next to the Kulong Chu River in Trashiyangtse.
Trashiyangtse is also a starting point for hikes to nature reserves, paper workshops, wood carving, and monasteries. If you’re interested in bird-watching nearby, then a long walk to Bomdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to Black-necked Cranes that migrate from Tibet in winter. Bomdeling is also popular for its brilliant woodcraft.
Best time to visit Trashiyangtse: Late October to mid February when the Black-necked Cranes visit Bhutan
5. Wildlife Sanctuaries – Go For Bird Watching
The kingdom of Bhutan is a paradise for bird lovers, and bird-watching is one of the most popular Bhutan attractions. The country harbors many species of birds, including Himalayan Monal, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Black-necked Crane, Ward’s Trogon, and Snow Pigeon. It is beautiful to listen to the music of birds and see them soar high in the sky spreading those colorful, smooth wings.
There are many tour guides around the sanctuaries to take you on a bird-watching tour. Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, Jigme Dorji National Park, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, Adjoining India’s World Heritage, and Thrumshingla National Parks are some of the protected areas in Bhutan where you can also find migrating and endangered birds.
Permit required: While Bhutan is open to tourists some areas are restricted. You’ll need a special permit from the Bhutanese government. Tour guides can help you obtain a permit.
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6. Punakha & Semtokha Dzongs – See Ancient Art Come To Life
Bhutan focuses on preserving their culture, and their art is a major part of their culture. Bhutanese art is based on their religion and follows a certain style which is uniform. The craftworks follow traditional values rather than emphasizing innovation. The importance of their culture lies in their art and craft.
If you want to witness the beautiful art and craft, you must take a tour of the different dzongs of the kingdom, including Punakha Dzong and Semtokha Dzong. A DIY art and craft tour is one of the best things to do in Bhutan for every art lover.
Things to know: Dzongs are symbolic centers of religious and secular affairs, so one should dress modestly.
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7. The Memorial Stupa – Rediscover Yourself
If you want to get lost in the realm of peace, then head to The Memorial Stupa built in 1974 in the memory of the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The stupa is one of the best Bhutan attractions with its shining finial, beautifully carved sculptures of deities, vivid paintings attract, and ultimate peace. Some hermits and devoted Buddhists often walk into the mountains for months to meditate.
8. Bhutanese Cuisine – Relish The Delicacies
When we think of Bhutan, we generally imagine varieties of non-veg food offered in small & cozy cafes. While it’s true that you get various types of non-veg cuisine, there are also plenty of options for vegetarians. For instance, Datshi – a staple food of the people of Bhutan. Datshi is made in various forms and the most famous is Ema Datshi. Ema means chilli; Ema Datshi is made using cheese, chillies, vegetables, and pepper.
Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant (Thimphu), Zombala, Bukhari at Uma by COMO (Paro), Ambient Cafe (Thimphu), Galingkha (Thimphu), and Chig-ja-gye at Taj Tashi (Thimphu) are some of the best restaurants in Bhutan to try different flavours and textures of Bhutanese food.
A local food tour is amongst the best things to do in Bhutan and is highly recommended.
9. Shopping – Explore The Local Stores Of Bhutan
Norzin Lam is the city’s major thoroughfare lined with hotels, cafes, stalls, and shops. It’s one of the best places to shop in Bhutan. You can get everything from embroidered boots to handmade papers. Some of the good things to buy in Bhutan include carpets, silver, colorful masks, jewelry, hand-woven bamboo items, and wooden products. The lively market offers a wonderful photo opportunity to tourists, explorers, and photographers.
10. Changlimithang Archery Ground – Try Archery
If you are in Bhutan, you must attend the archery competitions that are one of the best Bhutan attractions and its national sport too. While sauntering the highways and byways of Bhutan, you’ll find colorful gatherings of men dressed in their traditional robes taking turns to shoot arrows.
The archery competitions draw many to this social event and competitions are organized between towns, villages, and amateur teams. It’s a fantastic glimpse into their culture.
11. River Rafting – Treat Your Adventurous Soul
Unlike the regular river rafting in strong currents, rafting in Bhutan is a pleasurable ride while floating down the river. You will get to marvel at the lush greenery, rare birds, clear skies, and blue waters of Bhutan. The best time to do this activity is after the monsoon season as the flow of water increases. Thus, you can plan a vacation in October or November.
Location: Po Chu River and Mo Chu River
12. Kayaking – Try A New Adventure
Bhutan not only gives a chance to indulge in whitewater river rafting but also offers travelers to opt for kayaking. Six rivers in Bhutan give ample opportunity to water sports enthusiasts and amateur kayakers. You can opt for what kind of current flow you want from slow to violent.
Location: Near Paro Valley and Punakha Valley
Duration: March-April, October, November
13. Suspension Bridge – Capture Postcard-Worthy Images
Near Punakha Dzong, you will get to witness the beauty of one of the longest suspension bridges in Bhutan. Encircled by the mountains of Bhutan, the whole setting of the suspension bridge is captivating for any nature lover. You will be surprised to know that the bridge does not shake even a little despite being such a long bridge.
Location: Punakha, Bhutan
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14. Wildlife Safari – Explore The Wildlife Of Bhutan
Bhutan is one of the splendid places to witness the biodiversity in Asia. The thick forests of Bhutan give a chance to see an amalgamation of flora and fauna. You will get to see black bears, golden langurs, Asiatic lion, tigers, and a variety of birds. To get a better view of these animals without tiring, you can opt for a wildlife safari.
Location: Forests of Mo Chhu River
Duration: April-June, September-November
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15. Fishing – Go Catch Them
This might come as a surprise to you but Bhutan is also known for fishing as it is home to a number of species of fishes. The two most common types of fishes here are brown trout and snow trout. While exploring Bhutan, you can take a permit for fishing and go to one of the fishing spots.
Location: Thimpu Valley, Bumthang Valleys, and Paro Valley.
Duration: March-May, September-November
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16. Mountain Motorbiking – The Adventure Ride
The country of Bhutan is blessed with the existence of valleys and mountains with well-maintained roads. With that being said, mountain biking becomes the most preferred choice for adventure activities to do in Bhutan. If you are planning to ride solo, then do accompany yourself with a guide. If you are a group, then you should know better about motorbiking in a foreign country.
Either way mountain motorbiking in Bhutan is a supreme experience that will let you explore the heights of this magical world, give you a glimpse of the flora and fauna and let you taste the amazing local cuisine. Some amazing places for motorbiking include Punakha Valley, Phobjikha Valley, Khotokha Valley, Dobji Dzong and so much more.
17. Attend Festivals – Get Acquainted With Culture
It becomes a great pleasure if you get to learn about a country’s culture through their festivals. So, one of the top Bhutan travel tips that we can provide is to explore the festivals in Bhutan that are a great celebration of the heritage and culture. Bhutan is Buddhist state and the festivals are a combination of vibrancy, happiness and richness that let you explore the country in a unique way. Wouldn’t you agree that this is one of the top things to do in Bhutan for cultural exploration!
Several major Bhutanese festivals are Thimphu Tsechu Festival, Haa Summer Festival, Matsutake Festival, Ura Yakchoe, Jomolhari Mountain Festival and so much more.
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18. Visit The Rinpung Dzong – Gather Spiritual Greatness
The Rinpung Dzong is a large Buddhist monastery and fortress in the Paro district of Bhutan. If you are wondering about what to do in Bhutan, then this Dzong is the perfect place to be. Built in 1646, the literal conversion of the Dzong’s name means ‘the Fortress on a heap of Jewels’. The grand, harmonious and elegant structure overlooking the Paro valley charges you with a great sense of spirituality.
You can see some amazing things at the Dzong like the sacred Thogdel, the prayer hall with amazing murals, the intricate wooden designs of the walls and panoramic views of the Paro valley. The valley has a beautiful town and with multiple Dzongs which you can plan to spend on at least a 3 to 4 day trip to Paro. You can also plan to stay humbly at some of the best homestays in Paro.
19. Dochula Pass – An Auspicious Destination
Located at an elevation of 3,100 metres from the sea level, the Dochula Pass in Bhutan is a mountain pass located on the road between Thimpu and Punakha. Visiting here for a trek or hike can be one of the best things to do in Bhutan, considering the fact that you are an adventure freak. You will find the auspicious 108 memorial chortens also known as “Druk Wangyal Chortens”.
Some of the top reasons to visit the Dochula Pass are the 360-degree view of Himalayas, especially the Gangkar Puensum, which is the highest peak in Bhutan and the pass being one of the most beautiful passes in the world. Some other amazing attractions that you can find are the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang temple and Bhutan’s first Royal Botanical Park.
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20. Camping – Make Those Tents
It is no wonder that Bhutan is beautiful, serene and one of the most quaint destinations. Therefore, with a herd of destinations, camping is one of the best activities to do in Bhutan to get a sense of the scenery around. Imagine a bonfire under the pleasant sunset, local music, food and your loved one sitting right by your side. With a lovely set of rivers flowing around, fishing and boating is another crazy adventure you can hop onto while camping in Bhutan.
Some of the top sites where you can enjoy all the pleasures of camping in Bhutan are Phobjikha Falls, Bumthang valley, Punakha, Limukha, Tingtibi and Gangtey valley. So, with such auspicious locations, where are you planning your camp?
21. Cycling – Hustle To Perfection
Visiting Bhutan or not, cycling is a great recreational thing to do. While you are on a trip to Bhutan, the mysterious land of valleys, rivers and mountains, naturally, exploring it through two wheels is an experience of a lifetime. You can visit Bhutan for the endless amount of Himalayan roads, clear air and Buddhist temples that stretch from one corner of the country to another. Cycling in Bhutan is a refreshing task as your journey takes you through twisting roads, passes, ravines that eventually lead to a quaint town.
The best places to enjoy one of the challenging activities to do in Bhutan are the valleys, especially Paro, Jigme Dorji National Park, Punakha and Thimphu. Some amazing routes for cycling that let you witness beautiful scenes are Thimphu to Jangchhub Lam, Haa to Paro, Thimphu to Yandren Lam and so much more.
22. Enjoy The Hot Springs – For Ultimate Wellness
The hot springs have been pivoted as a popular wellness therapy solution by the locals for centuries. So, you, as a tourist can get to experience this treatment for a soulful rejuvenation. The local name for these hot springs are Tshachus with medicinal properties that cure ailments like arthritis and body aches. It is a well-known tradition for the locals to enjoy hot spring dips during the winter months.
One of the top things to do in Bhutan, you must note that you need to properly research and verify about the natural health therapy before proceeding to these hot springs. Some hot springs in Bhutan provide amazing views of the surroundings, located near the river banks like at Gasa Tshachu, Dhur Tshachu, Chuboog Tshachu and Duenmang Tshachu.
23. Horse Riding – Ride Through A Grand Journey
Well are you wondering about what to do in Bhutan, now that you have gone through this crazy list. Well, you will experience the best of tracks and some fabulous places on your way if you choose to ride horses in Bhutan. There are some grand Himalayan trails that cover the ancient trade routes, lakes, mountains and some picture-perfect destinations.
An important and popular riding path is the Druk Path Trekking route that is covered between Paro and Thimpu. This is a go-to adventure and a unique thing to do in Bhutan riding on Yueta horses along the royal trails of the country. You might get to see some popular attractions like the Taktshang Goemba, Punakha Dzong and Drukgyel Dzong, if you are lucky enough.
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24. Tour The Museums – Learn More About Culture
One of the top things to do in Bhutan is understanding and learning the grand heritage that the country is. And a tour to the several museums is a perfect way to do it. Witness through the struggles of the people by going through their past tradition, history and religion. For the culture aficionados, exploring museums in Bhutan is a great pastime.
Some amazing museums that inspire the culture enthusiast in you are the National Museum of Bhutan, the National Textile Museum and the Folk Heritage Museum. You can also visit Simply Bhutan, Bhutan Postal Museum, Royal Heritage Museum and National Handicraft Emporium.
25. Haa Valley – Hike Through Dense Forests
Visited monasteries, went for a camp, attended the festivals and still wondering about what to do in Bhutan? It is normal to feel that way but here enters Haa Valley, a sweet sensation in the country of Bhutan. A gorgeous landscape nestled between the hills, hiking in Bhutan is not complete without a trip to Haa Valley. While hiking, you will come across some amazing Buddhist temples, the Haa Chu riverbed and a plantation trail in the valley.
You can plan for a 7-8 day trip and stay at some amazing guest houses, resorts and lodges that nestle in this peaceful valley. The hike will pass through some glorious views of Paro and Haa. Apart from adventure, you are also acquainted with cultural touring within your trek.
Bhutan is the kind of place where you’ll find hand-painted wall murals, crimson chilies drying in the sun, and cozy cafes wherever you go. Explore its vibrant culture as you indulge in your favorite activities in Bhutan. Plan your vacation to Bhutan and convince all your friends to tick off this destination from your bucket list. Wait no more, pack your bags, and get set go!
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Frequently Asked Questions About Things To Do In Bhutan
A. Some of the must-do things in Bhutan include trekking, getting an insight into the history, exploring the various valleys, hiking, bird watching, visiting monasteries and temples, indulging in local food, shopping, trying out outdoor sports, and much more.
A. The best time to pay a visit to Bhutan is anytime between March to May. During this time the valleys are at their full bloom, one can clearly witness Himalayan peaks, and enjoy trekking without any hindrances.
A. The top places to visit in Bhutan are Thimphu, Paro, Trongsa, Phuentsholing, Manas National Park, Jakar, Dochula, Laya, Jigme Dorji National Park, Trashiyangtse, Gasa, Mongar, and Lhuntse.
A. For those who don’t have much time on their hands but still wish to witness the major landmarks of the country should visit Bhutan for at least 5 days minimum.
A. Bhutan is a hub for shopping. Some popular things to buy from this destination are handicrafts, silver jewelry, hand-woven textiles, wooden items, postal stamps, wooden bowls, Himalayan beads, and much more.
A. The must-try food of Bhutan includes Ema datshi, Kewa datshi, Shamu datshi, Shakam ema datshi, Shakam paa, Shakam Shukam datshi, Phaksha paa, Sikam paa, and more.
A. There are many things that have led to Bhutan gain fame including the natural beauty, culture, heritage, forest conservation, biodiversity, and the humble crowds.
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