7 things you may not know about Bhutan

Think you know Bhutan? This Asian gem boasts more than just stunning views of the Himalayas. Read on for a handful of interesting facts about this wonderful country
Bhutan dancer
Bhutan dancer. Photo: Elzbieta Sekowska/Shutterstock

Masked dancer. Photo: Elzbieta Sekowska/ Shutterstock


1. It's world-famous for its incredible monasteries

Bhutan has a reputation for being rich with sacred temples and revered monasteries. Taktsang Dzong, also known as "Tiger's Nest," is perhaps the most famous one. Tucked into a cliff and surrounded by astounding natural beauty, this holy destination is a must-visit and is included in Insight Guides' Mountains and Monasteries trip. And there are plenty of others. The dzong in Trongsa in the Black Mountains, for instance, has certainly earned the nickname "Door to Heaven."

Taktsang Palphug Monastery. Photo: TanArt/ShutterstockTaktsang Palphug Monastery. Photo: TanArt/ Shutterstock


2. Over-the-top festivals are the norm

No one does a festival quite like the people of Bhutan. Part-religious, part-entertainment, these over-the-top affairs bring the community together with dancing, blessings, and fun. The Tshechu is one of the most celebrated festivals. The annual event is known for its masked dancers, putting unique Bhutanese culture on display. Experience a Bhutanese festival for yourself with Insight Guides' Splendour in Bhutan trip.

Masked Dancer from Bhutan. Photo: Dylan Haskin/ShutterstockMasked Bhutanese dancers. Photo: Dylan Haskin/ Shutterstock


3. It's one of the happiest places on earth

All the world over, Bhutan is known for its happy citizens. In fact, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) isn't even considered the best measure of progress here. Instead, the country turns to GNH — Gross National Happiness — as the most accurate indicator.


Buddhist pilgrims flock to the Chorten of King Wangchuk during the festival in Thimphu, Bhutan. Photo: Attila JANDI/ShutterstockBuddhist pilgrims flock to the Chorten of King Wangchuck in Thimpu. Photo: Attila Jandi/ Shutterstock 


4. Cuisine and nightlife are alive in Thimphu

Bhutan offers up more than monasteries. For those looking to take in local cuisine and entertainment, the capital city of Thimphu has much to offer. You'll find locals enjoying moonlit lounges, lively nightclubs, and invigorating music in downtown Thimphu. Why not enjoy Insight guides' Family Adventure in Bhutan trip and experience it for yourself?

Food of Bhutan. Photo: arisara chaorakam/ShutterstockSteamed momos. Photo: Shutterstock


5. Thrill-seekers are welcome

Between its towering mountains and rugged landscapes, Bhutan has gradually become a buzzing hub for adventure sports. Visitors can experience everything from rock climbing expeditions to hikes throughout the Himalayas, which allow for encounters with natural wildlife and small, traditional villages. Those who prefer water sports will feel at home rafting or kayaking on rushing rivers. The Tourism Council of Bhutan also recommends mountain biking and fishing. There's plenty of time for outdoor pursuits in Insight Guides' Family Adventure in Bhutan trip.


Mountain biking in Bhutan with snow mountain in the background. Photo: Dylan Haskin/ShutterstockMountain biking in Bhutan. Photo: Dylan Haskin/ Shutterstock


6. Fascinating museums are all around

Those looking to take in the textured history and unique culture of Bhutan are likely to enjoy the country's many enthralling museums. The National Museum of Bhutan showcases a variety of exhibits, displaying everything from ancient artefacts to educational galleries. Thimphu is also home to the Folk Heritage Museum, which is more devoted to the lifestyle and traditions of Bhutan's rural population. Explore Thimphu and its many museums with Insight Guides' Splendour in Bhutan trip.


National Museum with himalayan mountain background. Photo: s_jakkarin/ShutterstockBhutan's National Museum, with the snow-capped Himalayas in the background. Photo: s_jakkarin/ Shutterstock


7. The environment is sacred

Don't expect to come across lots of plastic bags in Bhutan — they were banned in 1999 in an effort to stave off unnecessary waste (although rumour has it that the rule isn't always enforced). As far as air pollutants go, it's also illegal to sell tobacco or smoke in public.


Explore Bhutan for yourself with Insight Guides on our Splendour in Bhutan trip or Family adventure in Bhutan holiday

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