Bhutan is a kingdom located in South Asia. With its close proximation to the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is bordered by both Tibet and India. Known for its cool climate and splendid natural sights, Bhutan is the perfect place to travel to. Whether you’re a lone wolf looking for adventure or are a family going on a relaxing holiday, Bhutan is perfect for you.
Before delving into the process of how to get a visa to Bhutan, it would be best to explore the country’s rich culture and history first. Bhutan was founded in the early half of the 17th century. And for the most part has remained a peaceful and economically stable country. Aside from an invasion in the late 19th century, this Buddhist haven has stayed put. In fact, much of this preservation and peace is due to their act of isolation. Where Bhutan did not allow nationals of other countries to enter it. In fact, well into the late 20th century, Bhutan refused any outside entry- even for tourists. Having cited several reasons such as preservation of culture and architecture as well as freedom from global politics.
However, this was lifted in the late 20th century. But it should be noted that Bhutan still only allows a limited number of visitors to enter its borders each year. So, it is well advised to plan your trip to Bhutan with plenty of time to spare. Even though the policy of no-entry may have caused inconveniences, it can be said that it fulfilled its purpose.
Now Bhutan is hailed as one of the most beautiful countries to visit as much of the country was left in its natural state, without being influenced or ravaged by external forces.
Coming back to the point, Bhutan has been known to have some of the best areas for tourists to sightsee, for example:
- Rinpung Dzong
This Buddhist monastery or fortress, built in 1644 stands as a lasting reminder of the beauty of the old architecture. Standing majestically over a stretch in the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school in Paro District, Rinpung Dzong is a sight you absolutely must see when in Bhutan.
- Chele La Pass
Considered the highest point in Bhutan that you can access via a motor vehicle, Chele La Pass is located 3988 metres above sea level. Thus, making it no easy feat for those who are afraid of heights! This pass was created in the 1990s as a means of transport.
- Buddha Dordenma Statue
Located in Kuenselphodrang, Thimphu, this statue stands at a staggering 54 meters tall. (In reference the average human is 1.7 meters). This statue was only completed in late 2015 and is truly a feast for the eyes as the entirety of the statue is gilded in gold.
- Dochula Pass
A mountain pass in the snowy peaks of the Himalayas, this pass stands at a staggering height of 3100 meters above sea level.
- Tiger’s Nest
A sacred site in Bhutan, Tiger’s Nest is a cave that contains a complex of ancient temples. In fact, the architecture is said to date back to as early as the 8th century!
Bhutan is not only known for its sights; it is also home to a unique cuisine! As such, below are the must try dishes in Bhutan.
- Ema datshi
Widely agreed upon being the national dish of Bhutan, Ema datshi is a dish made out of chilies and cheese and is often an accompaniment at meals. Be warned though, this dish is not for the faint of stomach as it is very spicy!
- Kewa datshi
A slightly milder dish, Kewa datshi is made out of potatoes, cheese and chilies. This is often a main meal and the heat can be adjusted depending on how much chili one adds.
- Shakam paa
Essentially a meat dish. Shakam paa is made of dried beef and chilies and is often eaten during the winter montsh for both protein and heat.
- Yaksha shakam
Similar to Shakam Paa above, Yaksha shakam is dried ox meat served with chilies and is sometimes accompanied with cheese.
- Jasha maru
Essentially a spicy chicken stew, Jasha maru is usually a foreigner’s first foray into Bhutanese cuisine. Having a strong ginger flavor, this stew is enjoyed all year around.
Possibly Bhutan’s most globally famous dish, momos are little pockets of dough that are generally filled with meat. Also available in vegetarian versions momos can be found anywhere in Bhutan.
- Goen hogay
A refreshing salad made from cucmbers, Goen hogay is your answer as a mild appetizer. This dish is usually eaten before the main meals and is usually vegetarian.
Process towards obtaining a visa to Bhutan as an Indian National
If you’re an Indian national looking to visit Bhutan, you will be delighted to know that you have no need to obtain a visa first. Thus, making your travel plans easier than ever to achieve. However, instead, you are required to take note of the following steps.
- Step 1- Collecting documents
When entering Bhutan, ensure that you have the following documents with you-
An Indian passport with a validity of at least 6 months
A bank statement declaring you have sufficient funds for the duration of your stay in Bhutan.
- Step 2- Presenting documents
The next step is to present the documents to officials once you land in Bhutan
See here some small business ideas in Bhutan for foreign and local