Top 10 Things Bhutan Is Famous For

bhutan is famous for
| 4 min read

Home of the happiest people on earth, the Kingdom of Bhutan takes pride in its rich culture, beautiful landscapes, and satisfying way of living. Bhutan is the sole country in the world that uses and treats Gross National Happiness (GNH) a national goal. In 2016, the country gained attention for being the least corrupt in South Asia. With today’s fast-paced and stress-filled days, idyllic places like Bhutan become a magnet for tourists. People are curious to experience Bhutan firsthand. Located in Eastern Himalayas, this landlocked country is slightly smaller than Switzerland but rich in many interesting facts and beautiful stories that you want to hear over and over again. Satisfy your wanderlust and discover the top 10 things Bhutan is famous for.

1. Trekking/Hiking (from USD 1045.0)

bhutan is famous for | trekking/hiking

You cannot leave Bhutan without experiencing the great Himalayan outdoors. Among the available trails, the Druk Path Trek is the easiest, hence the most famous, too. The six-day tour takes you through scenic landscapes, interesting pine forests, and gorgeous high-altitude lakes. You can indulge in unique experiences, like fishing, camping, and even witness the sight of the world’s tallest unscaled peak - Mount Gangkar Puensum. Get those leg muscles ready and join trekking-slash-hiking tours in Bhutan.

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Druk Path Trek - Klook

Duration: 4 Day(s) - 6 Day(s) Duration

2. Buddha Dordenma

Buddha Dordenma statue, Thimphu 04
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bernard Gagnon used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Bhutan’s official religion is Vajrayana Buddhism. It is, therefore, not surprising to see a gigantic Buddha statue that Bhutan is famous for. Perched on a mountain, the golden statue that is 54 meters (177 feet) in height is hard to miss. Buddha Dordenma is truly an interesting sight to see with its size, texture, and 125,000 mini Buddha statues housed inside. It is believed that the construction of the great statue, nine years long to be exact, is a fulfillment of a prophesy.

Buddha Dordenma

Address: Kuenselphodrang, Thimphu, Bhutan

Website: Buddha Dordenma

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: Free

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3. Ban of Tobacco

Smoking a cigarette (26088896076)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Lindsay Fox used under CC BY 2.0

On June 2010, Tobacco Control Act of Bhutan came into force, prohibiting the cultivation, manufacture, and sale of tobacco. The same act (that Bhutan is known for) also bans smoking in public places, as the government wants to protect the people from the harmful effects of tobacco. While you can import tobacco for personal consumption, you are only allowed to puff it in private spaces. While the rest of the world can’t stop smoking, Bhutan is making a difference with its Tobacco Control Act. This should make you want to discover more of this beautiful country.

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4. Gross National Happiness (GNH)

Smiling Bhutanese school children
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Flickr user LAI R... used under CC BY 2.0

Bhutan is famous for its happiness quotient. It is the only country to create Gross National Happiness (GNH), a measure of collective happiness and well-being, and use it as a national goal. How interesting is that? GNH has four pillars - good governance, cultural preservation, environmental protection, and equity. Many come to Bhutan, curious to see what a ‘happy’ country looks and feels like. If you’re one of the curious cats, then book a tour right away.

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5. Punakha Dzong

Punakha dzong
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Carmen Haeßner used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A spectacular fortress, Punakha Dzong is one of the attractions Bhutan is famous for. Wooden textures, intricate details, unique architecture - Punakha is gorgeous. The six-storey castle is the administrative center of the Punakha district and holds several natural treasures, which add to the fascination of the visitors. Sandwiched between two rivers, you’ll find this place beautiful and calming, especially during spring when colorful flowers paint the landscape.

Punakha Dzong

Address: Punakha, Bhutan

Website: Punakha Dzong

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm; Sat: 11am - 4pm (closed on Sun)

Price: 4.06 USD

Tip from Content Creator

Punakha Dzong

Photo of Punakha Dzong shared by content creator from the Philippines, Bojo Macaraig.

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Punakha Dzong boasts a spectacular location between the Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers in the Punakha Valley. The source of the Mo Chu River is in the northern hills of Lighsi and Laya in Bhutan, and in Tibet. The Po Chu River, on the other hand, is fed by glaciers in the Lunana region of the Punakha Valley. The river formed out of the confluence of these two rivers is known as Puna Tsang Chu or Sankosh River and flows down through Wangdue Phodrang. It crosses the Bhutan–India border at Kalikhola and eventually meets the Brahmaputra River.
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6. Chillies

Bhutanese chili
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user thisibossi used under CC BY 2.0

The people’s love for chillies is a mind-boggling fact - one of the things the mysterious country Bhutan is famous for. In Bhutan, chillies are not just spices - they are main dishes and desserts even. Ema Datsi, the national dish, is a delectable spicy stew primarily prepared with chillies, veggies, and cheese (several kinds of cheese, if you wish). Many who have tried the dish had a change of heart towards chillies. Maybe you, too, when you visit Bhutan.

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7. Stamps

Bhutan stamp disk replica
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Marcomogollon used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Non-conventional stamp designs are one the unique things that Bhutan is famous for. In 1972, mini vinyl record stamps were made in seven different colors and two different sizes. You can fashionably stick them to a letter, or play them for some good music. Only Bhutan managed to turn uniform-looking stamps into cool collectibles. It is truly fascinating to know that the postage stamp industry in Bhutan is a major economic contributor. If you want to see and buy limited edition stamps for personal collection or design inspiration, you know where to go.

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8. Prayer Wheel

Big prayer wheels, Thimphu
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Christopher J. Fynn used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Only select countries, Bhutan including, have prayer wheels that can help individuals gain merits, ask for atonement, and seek wisdom. Prayer wheels are wheels shaped like cylinders that stand on a spindle. Central to the Buddhism religion, you will find prayer wheels in temples in Bhutan. The ‘life tree’ is found at the core of the prayer wheel, which is often made of metal or wood. When in Bhutan, ask your tour guide if you can try reading the mantra that wraps around every prayer wheel. When possible, do not miss this experience that Bhutan is famous for.

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9. Textiles

Hand woven Bhutanese fabrics, Bumthang
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Stephen Shephard used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Bhutan is famous for their artsy textiles. Such textiles are not only easy on the eyes, but also rich in cultural significance. They make great gifts and souvenirs for friends and family. Bhutanese handwoven textiles with colorful and sophisticated prints can be turned into clothes, furniture covers, accessories, among other pretty things. Advocating for these gorgeous textiles raises support for local communities and women empowerment. Yes, it is the very hands of the Bhutanese women that crafted these beautiful fabrics.

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10. Paro Taktsang - "Tiger's Nest"

The iconic Tiger’s Nest, locally known as Paro Taktsang, is a Buddhist monastery built on a cliffside in Paro. The people believe that the great Guru Rimpoche, who introduced Buddhism to Tibet, flew to this place on the back of a tiger and meditated for four months. This 17th-century monastery is a cultural icon and a center for tourism in the country. See the temple complex for yourself. Since the government only approves tours under accredited agencies, it is best to join organized group tours. An all-inclusive three-day tour (including visa, accommodation, and food) lets you learn everything about Paro Taktsang in the most convenient way possible.

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Bhutan Tiger Nest Monastery tour

Duration: 3 days

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Experience South Asia's mysterious country

Bhutan’s heavily regulated tourism only adds to the mystery that wraps around the elusive South Asian country. A trip to Bhutan is altogether a fun and reflective experience. Everyone is curious to witness how happy the Bhutanese people or how spicy the Bhutanese dishes are. So include this profoundly beautiful country in your South Asian tour. Discover for yourself the many interesting things Bhutan is famous for.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Jahz is a Philippine-based writer who enjoys solo travels as much as group adventures. She believes that life is too short to be spent living in one place, so she makes it a point to experience a...Read more

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