Residents know it as Drul Yul, or Land of the Thunder Dragon. You know it as Bhutan.
This Himalayan country is just as awe-inspiring, beautiful, and mysterious as its local name suggests. It’s also welcoming and deeply spiritual.
If you’re considering a visit to Bhutan with The Travel Yogi, get ready for an unforgettable adventure – both through the physical world, and deep within yourself!
And if you’re wondering about what things we’ll do in Bhutan, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll walk through the most important elements of our well-rounded Bhutan Yoga Adventure.
We’ll discuss 10 of our favorite activities in the itinerary and places to visit (though it wasn’t easy to pick just 10!). They range from spiritual sites to wild mountain adventures, but they’re all part of the magic that makes up our Bhutan Yoga Adventure.
Our Top 3 Reasons to Visit Bhutan with us
Here at the Travel Yogi, we’re all about well-balanced trips – combining spirituality and wellness with unique cultural experiences and heart-pumping adventure.
Few places nail this combination quite like Bhutan! Here are the three reasons to visit Bhutan that we kept in mind when designing our Bhutan Yoga Adventure.
Revel in Bhutan’s Awe-Inspiring Nature
This one seems pretty obvious if you’ve seen where Bhutan is on the map, but we have to mention it!
Bhutan is high in the Himalayas, Earth’s tallest mountain range. Peaks tower over 23,000 ft and create a jaw-dropping backdrop for just about every activity in Bhutan – even driving down the highway! But of course, the best way to experience Bhutan’s sub-alpine beauty is by immersing yourself in it. Bhutan offers plenty of jaw-dropping hikes you can complete in a few hours (and be back in your snug hotel bed later). While you’re there with us, you’ll hike your way through lusciousness to reach iconic sites (more than can be counted on one hand!)
Experience Bhutan’s Unique, Protected Culture
They say Bhutan is one of the world’s happiest countries (though it’s hard to find evidence – it’s a little too far off the beaten path for the Gallup Poll).
When you visit Bhutan with us, you’ll spend time with the locals and we’ll have you draw your own conclusions. Whether you’re learning to cook, admiring the skill of textile makers, or spending time at the monasteries, you’ll find yourself surrounded by smiles.
Bhutan’s population is small (less than one million!) and centuries-old traditions are alive and well. The government protects the country’s natural and cultural heritage by only issuing a limited number of visas each year. (Pro tip: traveling with us to Bhutan makes getting a visa a LOT easier!)
Connect With Your Spiritual Center
Whether you’re praying with nuns, basking in the warm light of hundreds of butter lamps, or simply visiting Bhutan’s many beautiful monasteries and temples, you’ll find unparalleled tranquility.
And if you’re looking for a place to deepen your meditation or yoga practice? This is an excellent choice.
Things to do in Bhutan: Thimphu
Thimphu is Bhutan’s capital, a growing city where ancient tradition and modern amenities blend together.
Though you’ll land at the Paro airport, Thimphu is just a few hours’ drive away. We start our Yoga Adventure here because it’s an ideal place to get oriented in Bhutan. You’ll take your first hike, eat your first bites of deliciously spicy food, and participate in can’t-be-missed cultural experiences.
1- Visit One of the World’s Largest Buddha Statue
At 169 feet tall and made of bronze and gold, Buddha Dordenma cuts an impressive figure overlooking the south entrance of Thimphu.
Buddha is a popular pilgrimage site for locals and visitors alike. He also has a secret: over 100,000 smaller Buddhas hidden inside his chest!
To beat the tourist crowds, we visit Buddha early in the day. On our Yoga Adventure, you’ll practice sunrise yoga at his feet, followed by a breakfast picnic, yum!.
2- Hike to Dodeydra Monastery
Built in 1779, this active monastery sits on a slope on the outskirts of Thimpu, but the destination is just half the reason to visit.
The hike to Dodeydra is considered by locals to be one of the best: you’ll be treated to excellent views of the city as you get a taste of a traditional mountain commute.
Once at the monastery, you’ll take part in a traditional butter lamp ceremony and later stay the night!
3- Meditate, Pray, and Receive Blessings
Did you know that as a visitor to Bhutan, you’re required to travel with a local guide? You might balk at this as an independent-spirited traveler, but think about it…
Traveling with a Bhutanese guide can unlock authentic experiences you might not otherwise have (on the locals’ terms!)
For example, thanks to our local guide partners, we have the opportunity to…
- Pray with nuns.
- Meditate with lamas at multiple monasteries.
- Receive a blessing from the High Lama of Bhutan.
4- Join Monks for Soccer
That’s just an example (it’s actually how we spend our afternoon at the Dodeydra Monastery) but it represents a larger principle. To truly get to know Bhutanese culture, make time for some old-fashioned fun with the locals!
Another option? Dance the night away at one of Thimpu’s many electronic music clubs! And if you do wonder how to go about playing soccer against the monks, bring a sense of humor…
Things to do in Bhutan: Punakha
After a few days in Thimphu, you’ll set out for Punakha, where you’ll dive deeper into adventure and round things out with a large dose of local history. This is Bhutan’s historic capital, after all!
5- Whitewater Raft a Himalayan River
When you think of the Himalayas, you think of trekking, but what about rafting? Yep, Punakha sits at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu, two of Bhutan’s main rivers.
Be ready to paddle and get splashed as you’re guided downstream. In calmer patches of water, enjoy the unique view of the historical Punakha Dzong.
6- Explore Punakha Dzong
A dzong is a type of fortified monastery and administrative building, and Punakha Dzong is known to be Bhutan’s most beautiful. It’s also the second largest, so come ready to explore and immerse yourself in the unique architecture and history.
Before entering this dzong (and all the others you’ll visit) be sure to cover your arms and legs and zip your jacket. But leave your jeans in the hotel – those aren’t allowed here!
7- Traverse Bhutan’s Longest Suspension Bridge
Afraid of heights? Take a deep breath. You’re about to walk across Bhutan’s longest suspension footbridge!
Don’t worry, the 500-plus-footbridge is perfectly stable. Take in the views of the gorge below as colorful prayer flags flap in the breeze along the handrail.
Things to Do in Bhutan: Paro
End your well-rounded visit to Bhutan where you landed: in Paro. We saved one of Bhutan’s most beautiful sites for last.
8- Hike to Tiger’s Nest
Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest, is an iconic site: picturesque architecture perched neatly on the edge of a sheer cliff! It’s a must-do day trip in Bhutan.
Getting to Tiger’s Nest requires a five-hour hike, which makes your time there feel even more precious. With the help of your guides, you’ll learn the history and significance of this sacred place.
9- Learn Local Textile-Making Secrets
Bhutan is known for its textiles. Colorful and boasting complex patterns, they elevate fabric to an art form.
There’s only one way to learn the traditional ways of dyeing and weaving: straight from the craftspeople themselves. To do so, you have to venture into the woods…
10- Stay in a Boutique Hotel
At every stop of the Bhutan Yoga Adventure, we stay in beautiful boutique hotels, but the lodging in Paro elevates the experience to a new level – no pun intended!
The Himalayan Keys Forest Resort is a luxury treehouse experience. Each cottage overlooks a virtually untouched pine forest, with the mountains beyond.
Adventure Well in Bhutan
Alright, that’s more than enough reasons to visit Bhutan for one article. So go ahead and let your daydreams run wild. If you choose to make them a reality, you won’t be disappointed!
If you liked the sound of the activities on this list, you’re in luck! It’s basically an abridged itinerary of our Bhutan Yoga Adventure.
When you travel with us, all the mandatory visa and guide requirements for entry into Bhutan are handled for you, and our amazing team of local partners creates a truly immersive experience. Along the way, you’ll practice yoga, laugh, exchange stories, and get to know a one-of-a-kind group of like-minded travelers.