Your full Wanderlust guide to


The Tiger’s Nest monastery, Bhutan (Shutterstock)

Nestled between India to the south and China to the north, Bhutan is more than just a typical Eastern Himalayas country. Its men stroll the streets in traditional dress, the countryside is dotted with wooden houses and dramatic Buddhist monasteries, and the whole population takes part in colourful festivals.

The capital Thimphu gives the Buddha Dordenma statue, one of the largest Buddha statues in the world. In Paro, Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched precariously on a cliffside, and Punakha Dzong, a majestic fortress known for its intricate architecture. The less-known Haa Valley in the west offers stunning views of the Himalayas. Historic towns like Trongsa are the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family and a gateway to explore the Bumthang region.

Bhutan’s natural environment is equally cherished: vast swathes of the country are protected in national parks and plastic bags are outlawed. If Shangri-La exists today, Bhutan is the most likely candidate.

But Bhutan has more surprises to offer – It is also the first carbon-negative country in the world, one of the world’s most biodiverse countries and a society which measures development through Gross National Happiness. It is a country that values spirituality with its traditional hot stone baths and so wai rigpa, the traditional medicine, which gives it its former title, the Land of Medicinal Herbs.

The culinary flavours of Bhutan draw significant inspiration from Tibetan cuisine and incorporate elements from neighbouring India and China, all while retaining their distinct original taste. Cheese ranges from ema datsi, chili cheese to shakam datsi, beef cheese. Try suja – churned tea made from butter and salt or the sweet milk tea ngaja.

Follow the normal Buddhist rules of etiquette: don’t point your fingers or feet at people and remove your shoes before entering important rooms or temples. Dress modestly and avoid public displays of affection. 

You can’t miss

Bhutan is a unique, unspoilt pocket of Himalayan majesty, where myth and reality blur and time often stands still. And it’s home to the most magical pilgrimage post of all
Read article

Latest Bhutan articles

Dzongkha (official language); English is widely used
Int. dial code
Visa is required by UK citizens to enter and exit Bhutan; Permits are needed to travel to certain states in Bhutan – consult your tour guide
Time zone
Plug type
Type C, D and G
Bhutanese Ngultrum BTN

When to go to Bhutan

Bhutan can be visited year-round, each season offering its own unique experiences. The best time to visit Bhutan is during the spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November) seasons. These months offer pleasant weather with clear skies, making it ideal for outdoor activities.

Summer sees the celebration of Haa Festival at Haa Valley, while autumn is the season for the Royal Highland Festival held at an altitude of 4000m.

International airports

Paro International Airport (PBH) is 6km southwest of the city.

Getting around in Bhutan

The mountainous country has a well-maintained network of roads. To keep visitor numbers down, the Bhutanese government imposes a high daily tourist tariff. You’ll have to book an arranged trip and be accompanied by a local guide.

Health & safety

There is no major health risk in Bhutan. Go to for more.