Backpacking in Bhutan is on everyone’s bucket list around the world. If you are a budget traveller, backpacking in Nepal and Bhutan on a low budget is quite possible. This is quite an experience, especially in Bhutan. This country is geographically so close to India, yet very different. You will get a chance to mingle with the natives and get to know the culture, food and religious practices of the country closely. After all, isn’t it the best way to travel?
Read on to know more about the different aspects of this beautiful country first Backpacking in Bhutan.
how to reach bhutan
By air: Bhutan has only one international airport with flights from New Delhi, Singapore, Bangkok and Kathmandu. These flights usually stop in cities like Dhaka, Bagdogra or Kolkata, which means the country is connected by air to some extent. Two different airlines operate in the country: Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines. However, when it comes to seasonal backpackers it is definitely not the preferred way to visit Bhutan.
by road: The main entry point into the country is through the city of Phuentsholing, which is located on the India-Bhutan border. The Indian state of Assam also has two separate points of entry, but they are not used frequently.
by train: The nearest railway stations are at New Jalpaiguri and Hasimara. You will find connecting trains from every major Indian city, making Bhutan backpacking from India a desirable option for almost every traveller.
You can take a taxi from Hasimara to Phuentsholing and go to different Bhutanese cities like Paro and Thimphu. Buses are quite common in the Indian part, however, in Bhutan, it is best to take a shared taxi.
Best time to visit Bhutan
Every season and month sees the country in a different color. If you want to avoid the cold weather then you should visit Bhutan in summer in the months of June and July. October to December is perfect for hikers and photographers who want clear skies and good photos. Rhododendron blooms in this area in the month of March, which is very popular among tourists. It is advisable to travel off season to reduce costs. You can also plan your trip around the royal festivals held in Punakha and Thimphu, where masked dancers make for amazing photos.
image When you are entering Bhutan, you must present your official ID as well as the permit at the immigration office. It is worth noting here that Indian natives can also obtain visa on arrival. The government tries to regulate tourism in the country to preserve the culture as well as nature, which makes Bhutan an expensive place to visit for most foreign citizens.
Cities to Visit While Backpacking in Bhutan
image The first Bhutanese town to welcome you on this side of the border is Phuentsholing. There are limited places to visit in the city. Kharbandi Gompa is quite famous which was built by the Queen Mother of Bhutan in the 1960s. There are many beautiful and serene paintings of Buddha in the temple. You will also find statues of Guru Rinpoche in the temple. The murals here and in the monastic school create beautiful pictures.
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Famous for the Tiger’s Nest or Paro Takhtsang, the valley town of Paro is a dream come true for backpackers and hikers. Paro features prominently in all Bhutan backpacking itineraries. You can also visit the National Museum as well as the beautiful Rinpung Dzong, Drukgyel Dzong and the ruins of Dungtse Lhakhang. Chele La Pass, which you’ll cross on the way to Paro, is another beautiful place to look at the surrounding mountains. Traditional clothing, jewelry and other pieces of Bhutanese culture make this city a must-see.
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image This Bhutanese capital needs no introduction. On the way from Phuentsholing, it is preferred to cover Paro and then proceed towards Thimphu. The city houses the government seat as well as various Buddhist sites. You can visit Tashicho Dzong, Memorial Chorten and Buddha Dordenma Statue to click beautiful pictures. There are many museums in Thimphu like the Folk Heritage Museum that will give you a deep insight into the Bhutanese culture. The Royal Textile Academy is another favorite place to explore the tradition of textiles and manuscripts in the country.
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This valley city, known for the Punakha Dzong, located on the Pho and Mo Chhu rivers, attracts a large number of tourists throughout the year. This beautiful palace is one of the most incredible buildings in the country, built in the sixteenth century. During festivals, a trip to Punakha is even better to capture the real Bhutanese essence.
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what to eat and where
Visit the Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant in Thimphu, which is a great place to try Bhutanese cuisine. You can also taste food at Champaka Café in Paro, among other places. Taktsang Café on the way to Tiger Nest is a great place to have lunch while backpacking in Bhutan.
Bhutanese cuisine is quite simple with limited use of spices and oil. You will also easily get Nepali and Indian food in the country. Eat traditional datshi, which is a great option for vegetarians, and local cheeses and curries like beef and pork to ensure the quality of the food. You will also find good thukpa and momos in different parts of the country.
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where to shop
If you want, government approved shops like Emporium in Thimphu are the best places to buy authentic Bhutanese arts and crafts items at affordable prices. You can also visit the local markets in Paro and Thimphu to buy local goods. Don’t forget to negotiate, this will only help you get better deals. Oh, and always carry cash with you instead of cards when shopping. Most Bhutanese places also accept Indian currency, making traveling in the country very easy.
Backpacking Cost in Bhutan
There are many cheap bed and breakfasts as well as guest houses in different cities of Bhutan, which means you can easily find accommodation on a budget. It is better to travel in groups, which will help you reduce the cost of accommodation as well as transportation. If you’re backpacking alone in Bhutan, try traveling in shared taxis. Considering all the expenses, you can cover the country keeping your daily expenses to Rs 1500 (accommodation, food and getting around), which is quite economical.
read ahead: Top 10 Honeymoon Places in Bhutan Where You Will Fall in Love All Over Again!
A backpacking trip in Bhutan is all you need to put your life in perspective. Plan your trip today with Daily Hind News to get the best deals ever! Be sure to gather your friends and spend some time in the sun among the warmest and friendliest locals.
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