With India to the south, Nepal to the west, and Myanmar to the southeast, the Kingdom of Bhutan is sandwiched between a number of fascinating countries. There’s no denying its remoteness. The country has developed a kind of mystique over the years for this very reason, with many travellers often favouring its more well-known neighbours for holidays. But give Bhutan just a few days on your South Asian journey and you will surely see what the country has to offer.
The ever-changing landscapes
While Bhutan is mainly known for its Himalayan mountains and palaces, the country is also home to glaciers, which blanket 1.64% of the land in Bhutan. In the summer, these large bodies of ice melt to bring millions of litres of drinking water to the population. The country is also home to more than 2,000 glacial lakes and just under 60 mountain lakes, many of which are at a high altitude and in areas that are completely uninhabited by humans.
Bhutan is also home to lush subtropical plains to the south Which transition into the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands, one of the nation’s rice-producing regions. The country is also home to a number of interesting cities including Thimphu, Bhutan’s largest city, which is home to the white and gold National Memorial Chorten, a shrine dedicated to World Peace, and the Tashichho Dzong, which contains the offices of the Bhutanese king and government.
An abundance of biodiversity and wildlife
One of the best reasons to visit this beautiful Southern Asian nation is its incredible biodiversity. As Bhutan has been an isolated nation for many, many years and has retained a small population, the country is home to what is considered to be one of the world’s most “whole” ecosystems. It often tops the ranks of countries with the highest species richness. Bhutan is therefore home to a number of unique creatures, including black bears, red pandas, wild horses and yak.
A unique mountain cuisine
Foodies are going to love a holiday in Bhutan. Like many other Asian countries, Bhutan serves up their take on the humble dumpling. Dumplings are a mainstay in Bhutanese cuisine, packing in a variety of chillies, meats (usually yak), cheese, and vegetables in a buckwheat casing.
Be sure to sample the nation’s staple food, red rice, which is very nutritious rice with a unique earthy flavour. It goes perfectly well with a number of meat dishes and vegetarian dishes (yes, there is a high percentage of vegetarians in Bhutan!).
During your trip, you can also try Ara, the country’s traditional alcoholic drink made from fermented rice, wheat, maize, or buckwheat to produce a white, creamy texture.