10 reasons why Bhutan is one place you must visit
Bhutan always appealed to me as this land full of magic and mystery ever since my childhood. In fact the history books had very little about it and geography just described its location and topography as a country nestled in the Himalayas. I am always attracted to mountains and it was just time that was needed to lead me to this country – the land of the Tiger’s Nest or better known as – in the movies as – The Last Shangri-la.
There are several reasons why you should consider going to Bhutan. Here are 10 of my reasons why you should go there:
- Visa on arrival: When you run out of options of going away for a holiday or plan something very last minute Bhutan should be in your consideration set. Not quite cheap to get there if you are going there during the peak summers, but if you travel money at your disposal – it is a pretty short flight to get there.
- Peace and Quiet: Instant. As soon as you land in Bhutan you are enveloped with an overwhelming sense of calm. The airport is quiet, the airport staff don’t seem to be a hurry, the visa counter is peaceful and everyone seems to be either in a good mood or not in a hurry. Even the drive from the airport to your destination is calm and non hurried. You can actually also hear your own thoughts through the utter silence you hear most times!
- Crisp unpolluted air: This is especially true if you are going to Bhutan from a metro city in India – heck for that matter from any part of India. There is little or no vehicular pollution in almost any part of Bhutan – even when you are in Paro city!
- Everyone is unperturbed: There were two or three times i changed my plans in Bhutan. The people are completely unfazed. No one gets worked up. Everyone is peacefully helping you out and accommodating you – moving around their schedules to make you feel comfortable. So much flexibility would make me nervous!
- Too much scenic beauty: Bhutan is such a click and shoot location. Point your camera at any place, and you get a perfect picture. The blue skies and clear air might be a big reason why you can never go wrong in Bhutan.
- Fresh organic fruit, vegetables: Most places i stayed – whether it was the Airbnb at Punakha or Paro or Thimpu – had their own kitchen garden or backyard garden. Fruits and vegetables grown with no use of pesticides. What you eat here is more often than not fresh, organic and uncontaminated!
- Rustic with touch of modernity: Yes, most of the country was rustic. Not too much modernity seeping in save from the quaint imports from China. Paro however has a vibrant nightlife – with karaoke places and breweries. I went to one such brewery in Paro that had locally brewed rice and wheat beer and a karaoke session!
- The best terrain to trek: Every walk in Bhutan is like a mini trek. And if you are adventurous please trek up the Tiger’s Nest at Paro. You will know what i mean when you get there. An arduous climb but oh! so worth it – the peace you get once you are inside the dzong.
- Monasteries, nunneries and mindfulness: If you are overly attracted to Buddhism as a faith, as much as i am, you will find yourself at home in Bhutan. Symbols of Buddhism – the prayer flags in every direction of the wind, grand dzongs (monasteries) housing thousands of monks, nunneries, stupas where people meditate and encircle to achieve a state of mindfulness and no less than the Golden Buddha at Thimpu, stupas to ward of evil in mountain crevices, prayer wheels – are present to remind you that you are in a country that practices Buddhism and mindful living in sync with nature.
- Stories, stories and more stories: Be ready and open to listen to the stories that the people in Bhutan tell you. It could be about how they came to Bhutan from Tibet – how the country gave them refuge, or how they went about achieving their dreams, how they want to grow a flower garden that is world famous or how they like to grow organic vegetables in their backyard. Some of these stories are happy, others are sad but they are so different from the ones you will hear back home – and one thing that will stand out in all of this is that they are happy no matter what circumstance they are in. That’s why you realise why Gross National Happiness is a real thing that Bhutan lives by. It could be fueled by Buddhism or it could be fueled by how the population finds happiness in the little things that truly matter for all of us.
Are you ready to now embark on your journey to the land of happiness?