Bhutan

Astonishing natural beauty and fascinating culture will take your breath away View All Bhutan Holidays


Stefanie Studley
Bhutan Travel Specialist

Boasting soaring views of snow-capped mountain ranges decorated with prayer flags and dotted with ancient monasteries, a holiday to Bhutan never fails to inspire and entice travellers from far and wide.

This country enchants those visitors who make the journey. This stunning nation – which seems to have been dealt more than its fair share of natural beauty – sits at the eastern end of the Himalayas, sandwiched between India and the Tibetan Plateau. From the iconic fold mountains that dominate the horizon to the forested hills and fast-flowing fivers of the valleys, the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ is home to a great variety of well-conserved ecosystems, and remains as biodiverse, as it is spiritual.

The country has had little interaction with the outside world, resulting in a strong historical cultural identity and a populace keen to make new friends. Holidays here enjoy the endless potential for adventure, cultural emersion and exploration. This includes hiking to Taktshang Monastery which clings to a steep Cliffside, to watching the vibrant festival celebrations at one of the country’s energetic ‘Tsechu’ festivals or heading out in search of the mystical yeti in the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary.

Did you know?

Bhutan is a unique and often quirky country populated by friendly people, dotted with stunning dzongs perched high atop steep valleys and boasting fantastic Himalayan scenery – it is a truly fascinating place to explore. Read on to learn a few lesser-known facts about this fascinating country:

  • The name Bhutan is thought to derive from either the Sanskrit word ‘Bhotant’ meaning the end of Tibet or from ‘Bhu-uttan’ meaning ‘high land’. 
  • “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product”. This concept was introduced to Bhutan in 1972 by the 4th King-Father of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuck as the best indicator of the nation’s progress in an attempt to strike a balance between spiritual values and material gain. 
  • Over 50% of Bhutanese land is protected in some way either as a registered national park or a connecting ‘biological corridor’. 
  • A prayer wheel, used to accumulate wisdom and merit, should always be turned clockwise to reflect the movement of the sun across the sky. 
  • The Bhutanese love a good chilli! The national dish is ema datse which is usually large green chillies cooked and covered in cheese sauce, not for the faint-hearted. 
  • The mystical (and some would say mythical) yeti, or migoi meaning ‘wild man’, is thought to be living in the remote eastern Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary. Apparently sighted by a few local yak herders over the years he varies in size, shape and hair colour but all believe an encounter with him to be extremely lucky as he is said to guard over the people of the region. 
  • The national dress of Bhutan is the gho for men and the kira for women and is compulsory. 
  • Thimphu is apparently the only capital city in the world with no traffic lights. A set was introduced many years ago but Thimphu residents regarded them as too impersonal so they were removed and replaced with well-dressed policemen standing in elaborate booths to direct traffic. 
  • The national bird of Bhutan is the raven and the national animal the takin, an unusual looking goat-antelope. 
  • The Bhutanese will not shout a person’s name at night as it is believed it may attract a ghost.

Regent Bhutan Specialist


Stefanie Studley

Stefanie Studley
Bhutan Travel Specialist
A country that measures itself on 'gross domestic happiness' must be doing something right. Combine this with friendly and curious locals, rugged mountain landscapes, stunning mountain-top monasteries and a deep spiritual belief system, and it is clear that Bhutan packs a big punch in terms of travel experiences. If it's your first trip to Bhutan, I suggest timing your visit to coincide with a festival, or 'tsechu', to truly experience Bhutan's history and culture at it's most colourful and vibrant. The Thimphu Tsechu, held in the capital, occurs for three days each year in September or October, during which monks and masked performers dance during the ancient spiritual celebration.

Stefanie's Tips
1
Attend the black-neck crane festival in November, as dances are held at Gangte monastery.
2
Try Ema Datshi. Chilli lovers will adore the national dish – a curry-style combination of chillis and locally-made cheese.
3
For insight into rural Bhutanese life, visit a farmhouse in the Bumthang Valleys and try the locals' butter tea.




Why Regent Holidays?

Regent Holidays has been pioneering travel experiences to a wide range of unique and off-the-beaten track destinations since 1970. Our award-winning team of experts will offer you unparalleled advice when it comes to finding your perfect holiday and take you to places that other tour operators can’t. Read more about us
British Travel Awards 2018 British Travel Awards 2018
For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office check www.gov.uk/travelaware
Request a Brochure

Request a Brochure

For more expert tips, holiday ideas and travel inspiration, download or order your free copy of our latest brochure.

Stay in Touch

Subscribe for our newsletter and to hear about exciting offers and experiences