Where is Bhutan: The Peaceful Himalayan Mountain Kingdom

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Wondering where is Bhutan located? Bhutan is a mystic country situated in South Asia and is renowned as the last Himalayan kingdom. Interestingly, Bhutan gives prominence to Gross Domestic Happiness and largely focuses on the well being of its people and preserving its unspoiled surroundings. 

It is only until recently that Bhutan has opened up to visitors but, it is already a popular destination in the world. However, did you know that it is one of the most expensive countries to visit? What possible mysteries and wonders lie within this unique nation? 

Check out the Postcards from Bhutan!

This is something that you might be wondering, and we are here to start from scratch! Where is Bhutan and what does this beautiful country hold for its visitors? Here’s a detailed guide about this treasure trove in Asia

Geography and Regions of Bhutan

Where is Bhutan, you will explore regions filled with towering mountains and deep valleys that are connected to a vast network of rivers.
Where is Bhutan, you will explore regions filled with towering mountains and deep valleys that are connected to a vast network of rivers.

Bhutan is a landlocked country with a total area of 46,500 square kilometers. Where is Bhutan specifically though? It lies between the two Asian giants, India and China. To be more specific, the kingdom of Bhutan is located in the eastern Himalayas, bounded by Tibetan region of China to the North and Indian states of Assam and West Bengal to the South. 

Read more: Some Bhutan tourist places you have not heard of!

The topography of this kingdom comprises of towering mountains, a network of rivers and deep valleys. Bhutan geography features three distinct regions which are The Great Himalaya, The Inner Himalaya, and the Southern Foothills. 

So, for the travelers who love hiking and exploring nature, it is nothing short of a paradise. It also offers a range of outdoor activities for you to partake in and quench your adrenaline. Where is Bhutan, expect jaw-dropping nature sights and landmarks.

Climate and Seasons

Climate of Bhutan should be one of your main considerations when deciding to visit Bhutan.

Where is Bhutan, the climate varies depending on the region. 

Mountains dominate the Great Himalayan region, and almost 20% of the area is under continuous snow. The Inner Himalaya region consists of forested hills and valleys and is the largest region in Bhutan. This is also where you will find all the famous towns and a majority of Bhutan population. Here, the climate varies from summer to winter during the course of a year. On the other hand, the southern region has a hot and humid climate for most parts of the year.

Overall, Bhutan experiences four distinct seasons; namely Indian summer monsoon, dry spring, autumn, and winter. Summer starts from late-June and goes until September, but it is limited for the southern region. The dry spring is from early March to mid-April. The bright sunny days of autumn are from September to November and the winter sets in from November to March. 

Climate should be one of your main considerations if you want to know the best time to visit Bhutan.

Places to Visit in Bhutan

Bhutan is an amazing location to visit if you want to expand your cultural knowledge.
Bhutan is an amazing location to visit if you want to expand your cultural knowledge.

If you are wondering where is Bhutan in terms of culture and heritage, these places will answer your question. They are the proud traces of Bhutan’s centuries-old heritage and explicitly portray its colorful culture. 

In addition to these destinations, you can also look for unusual things to do in Bhutan to make your stay interesting. Also, don't forget to prepare and educate yourself about Bhutan before traveling there.

Thimphu

Visit Memorial Chorten in Thimphu if you're interested in history.

This capital city of Bhutan nestled in the Himalayan region is full of breathtaking sights you won’t ever forget. It is an ideal destination if you want to explore Bhutan’s rich culture and heritage. The combination of old and new charms give this city an alluring look. 

If you are interested in history, visit the Memorial Chorten which is a stupa filled with paintings and monumental statues. The National Library here is full of ancient texts and manuscripts that boast of the country’s centuries-old history. 

Some other places of interest are the Folk Heritage Museum, Changangkha Lhakhang monastery, and Tashichho Dzong Fortress.

Jigme Dorji National Park

Jigme Dorji is the largest national park in Bhutan and is a true natural wonder.

This national park is a top travel destination in Asia to sight wildlife and features a wide range of flora and fauna. It is the largest protected area in Bhutan and is home to a variety of endangered animals. The Snow Leopard, Royal Bengal Tiger, Red Panda, and Black Bear are some animals that reside in this region. 

On the other hand, there are important cultural sites within this park for you to explore as well. You will also come across very popular trekking routes here that will offer an unforgettable experience. 

So, don’t forget to visit this fantastic park in Bhutan and discover its natural wonders.

Tiger’s Nest, Paro

The mystic Paro Taktsang monastery is called Tiger's Nest for a good reason.

If you want to visit an extraordinary, mystic and a nature-bound place, look no further than Tiger’s Nest. This is a sacred Buddhist site built in 1692 and is located on a cliff, 10 miles north of Paro. This is where Guru Rinpoche, also known as the Second Buddha, has meditated in the past. 

Check out this Postcard from the Tiger's Nest!

The monastery consists of four significant temples that are of rich architectural value. The only way to get to this amazing place is through hiking. If you choose to hike the entire way, the journey can be a little arduous but totally worth it. Otherwise, you can rent a horse to take you half the way up, and complete the rest on foot. 

It is a great place to learn about Bhutan religion and culture.

Punakha Dzong

Punakha Dzong is located between Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu.

Punakha Dzong is often known as the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan and is translated as ‘The Palace of Great Happiness.' This majestic fortress is surrounded by lush jacaranda trees and is located between two major rivers; Pho Chhu, and Mo Chhu. 

Check out this Postcard from Punakha Dzong!

It is the second largest and the second oldest Dzong in the country and has served as a capital city in the past. The surrounding is picturesque, especially during spring and will capture your heart right away. 

The architecture is something else that will fascinate you because you will see that every part of the fortress is detailed with intricate woodwork. You have to cross the Bazam Bridge to enter the Dzong.

Natural Beauty of Bhutan

Vegetation of Bhutan is diverse and words can't describe how fascinating.
Vegetation of Bhutan is diverse and words can't describe how fascinating.

Where is Bhutan, you will find a nature paradise filled with rugged mountains, deep valleys, and lush forests. The scenic beauty of Bhutan will surely lure anyone to explore its less-traveled paths and discover the true essence. 

Read more: An Exclusive Trip through the Himalayan Mountain Kingdom!

You will surely be fascinated by its rich bio-diversity and would crave to spend more time! It is a country that mainly focuses on keeping its natural beauty preserved and untouched. So, the authorities of Bhutan expect all visitors to act responsibly and refrain from polluting it. 

Here are the top nature-bound places that you must visit when in Bhutan.

Chomolhari Trek

Chomolhari trek will take you through snow-capped mountains and valleys to the Tiger's Nest.

If you want to explore the snow-capped mountains and trek through Bhutan’s beautiful places, this is ideal. It is very popular for being a high altitude trek that can be covered in a short period. 

This trek will take you through a variety of regions, and let you witness picturesque and diverse landscapes. Your journey begins from the Paro valley and then through lush forests, valleys and sparkling glacier streams. Eventually, you will cross the Yale pass and come across the Thimphu river.
 
All in all, Chomolhari trek gives you a gist of Bhutan nature. Some other trek routes available in Bhutan are the Snowman Trek, Laya Gasa trek and Dagala Thousand Lakes trek.

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is covering an area of 650 square kilometers and is absolutely stunning during spring.

If you love wildlife and exotic flora, here is an excellent place to visit. 

Covering an area of 650 square kilometers, Sakteng is a habitat for animals of Bhutan like snow leopards, Himalayan red fox, red panda, and many other animals. You will also spot a variety of bird species here and an array of native and medicinal plants. 

The sanctuary is stunning during springtime when flowers are in full bloom, and the surrounding is picturesque. Besides, Sakteng is also home to a nomadic tribe who are yak herders by tradition. 

Another thing you will experience here is the different Himalayan ecosystems which are the alpine meadow, temperate forest, and warm broadleaf forest.

Phobjikha Valley

Gangteng or Phobjikha Valley is a serene area that is interesting for nature lovers.

If you are interested in exploring more of Bhutan nature, head to this glacial valley. It’s a serene area that is famous for spotting black-necked cranes and other rare bird species. 

A 17th-century monastery overlooks this place from the top of a hill and is inhabited by monks during summer. There’s also a large reservoir in this well-preserved valley, and the surrounding is very greenish. Also, two beautiful rivers namely Nakay Chhu and Gay Chhu flow through this valley adding to the beauty of Phobjikha. 

If you are accompanied by a tour guide or come across a local, make sure to ask about the mythical story revolving around these two rivers. 

The climate here is usually cold, and the area will be capped with snow during the winter season.

Royal Manas National Park

Royal Manas Nationnal Park is one of the oldest protected areas in Bhutan.

Even though the park was opened to public only recently, it is one of the oldest protected areas in Bhutan as it features an extensive range of exotic animal and plant species. Around 900 varieties of plants, 60 species of mammals and 431 species of birds are found here. 

It’s a perfect place to spot the endangered animals like Royal Bengal tiger, Himalayan black bear, Asian elephant, and greater one-horned rhinoceros. You can enjoy your visit here by partaking in many activities like river rafting, bird watching, elephant safari rides and even walking through the park’s Eco Trail. 

You can even camp overnight at Manas National Park to make your visit more thrilling and adventurous.

Food in Bhutan

The food of Bhutan is a delicate mix of the cuisine of its neighbors.
The food of Bhutan is a delicate mix of the cuisine of its neighbors.

If trying new food items is your thing, Bhutan will treat your taste buds right without a doubt! Where is Bhutan, the cuisine you find will be a mixture of Bhutanese, Tibetan, Nepali and Indian food. 

Read more: 25 Best Bhutanese Dishes to Try!

Most of these dishes are usually spicy which can be something you might not be comfortable with. However, traveling abroad is all about new things and trying these can give you an authentic food experience.

Ema Datshi

Ema Datshi is a combination of chilli peppers and cheese and an absolute must-try!

This dish is a combination of chilies and cheese and is a must-try if you are in Bhutan. 

Ema Datshi is usually referred to as the national dish of Bhutan. It is a regular dish among locals and is usually served with rice. Here, local Bhutanese cheese is lavishly spiced with red or green chilies and other vegetables are also added for variation in taste. 

If you order it in a restaurant, make sure to tell them how spicy you want it to be.

Jasha Maroo

Jasha Maroo is a delicious and spicy chicken stew that is usually served with red rice.

This is a spicy chicken stew sometimes replaced with beef and is very delicious. It is a mix of chilies, tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, and herbs with chopped chicken. 

It is also usually served with rice and is a very famous dish throughout the country. This soupy dish is something that you will definitely want to try again.

Shamu Datshi

Shamu Datshi is a delicious mix of cheese and mushrooms ideal for vegetarians.

Where is Bhutan, cheese is a very popular ingredient and is added to a variety of dishes. Shamu Datchi is one such food that uses cheese and mushrooms. 

Here, different types of mushrooms are used and cooked perfectly into a stew. This Bhutan food vegetarian dish is ideal if you want something healthy and vegan.

Momos 

Momos are a favorite snack food in Bhutan.

Momos is a Tibetan food often found in Nepal, India and of course Bhutan! 

This is a snack that you will definitely come across when you walk along the streets of Bhutan. Momos food is a kind of dumplings that are stuffed with minced meat, cheese, and vegetables. 

They are usually served hot and consumed with chili sauce. But of course, you can avoid the chili sauce if you don’t want it too spicy.

Red Rice

Red rice is the staple food of Bhutan and it's served with many Bhutanese dishes.

When you speak about food in Bhutan, red rice is something that you cannot forget. It is the staple food in the country and is extremely nutritious. 

Many dishes mentioned above are served with red rice, and you will love all those combinations. Red rice is grown in the Paro Valley in Bhutan and irrigated with glacial water. So, the history of red rice dates back to centuries.


So, is it worth paying 250 USD per day to stay in Bhutan? The answer is yes. There’s so much to explore and witness within this wonderful nation, and it is a paradise for a curious traveler like you. Its natural treasures are immense, and they remain untouched, well-preserved and lush as ever. If you are an animal lover, you will be fascinated by the amount of endangered and exotic species that live here. Its cultural monuments and delicious cuisine are some other things that will impress you. All in all, you will love Bhutan for what it holds and would definitely crave to spend more time there. So, now that you know where is Bhutan, and what to do there, include it in your bucket list!

Raeesha Ikram freelance content writer for aSabbatical
Travelling isn’t a mere journey to different places. Instead, it’s an eye-opener revealing how beautifully diverse the world is.