Bhutan is a country that is known for many things. It is known for being one of the happiest places on earth. Nestled in the Himalayas, it is known for its breathtaking scenic beauty. It is known for its peace-loving and spiritual people. It is a sparsely populated country that is known for its green cover, alpine forests, valleys, hills, rivers, monasteries, and spirituality. Therefore, it is no surprise that wherever you go to Bhutan, you are bound to relax.
Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Located 1200 meters above the Paro Valley, Tiger’s Nest Monastery is a must visit for those who come to Bhutan. Also known as Taktsang Palphug Monastery, it is built on a cliff that overlooks enthralling rhododendrons and blue pine forest. It will take you at least 1.5 to 2 hours to reach the monastery. Tourism Bhutan offers many packages that include Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
It is a strenuous hike, but the sight of the prayer wheels and fluttering flags and the holy atmosphere along the trek is an experience like no other. Once you reach the monastery, the enchanting view of the Paro Valley is out of this world. It is not just a very spiritual experience, but a very relaxing one also because the whole atmosphere is very serene and holy. The best time to visit the monastery is from March to May and September to November.
There is something about experiencing nature that is very relaxing. Phobjikha Valley, also known as Gangtey Valley, is a U-shaped glacial valley that is known as the Shangri-La of Bhutan (happiest place in Bhutan). A trek through the valley will take you through Khotokha and Gogona villages. The green fields and meadows of these villages are serene and peaceful. The valley is untouched by the outside world and the rural way of life here is very relaxing.
The trek will take you through a magnificent forest of magnolia, juniper, and rhododendrons. The forest is in full bloom in April and that is an experience that your senses has never experienced before. The Gangtey Monastery is located here and if you come here in the winter you will get a chance to see the Black-necked Cranes. The valley is full of wildlife like, barking deer, red foxes, Himalayan black bear, sambar deer, and leopards. This is a perfect place for birdwatching.
Motithang Takin Preserve
Motithang Takin Preserve should be on a must visit list for nature lovers. It is home to takin, the national animal of Bhutan. This goat-cow looking strange animal is very gentle and roam this 8.4 acres of preserve. The preserve is also home to barking deer and Sambar deer. A trek through the preserve is rejuvenating, to say the least.
Zuri Dzong Hike
Zuri Dzong hike is only a 30 minutes hike from the National Museum Watchtower. The hike will take you through a sparsely populated forest of cypress and pine. The view of the valley during sunrise and sunset will take your breath away.
Zuri Dzong, one of the oldest dzongs in Bhutan, sits on a hilltop. Once you reach there, the view of the Paro valley is bewitching. The view of the moving clouds and the enchanting landscape will make you want to sit there forever. You must also visit the cave located behind the Dzong. It is said that Lord Buddha meditated in that cave. The whole place is very relaxing and full of sensory experiences.
Kila Nunnery, located 3,500m above the sea level, is home to 30-70 nuns who are studying Buddhism. It is said to be the oldest nunnery in Bhutan and is built on a cliff like the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. The Nunnery consists of seven small temples and retreat huts for the nuns. If you begin your hike from Cheli La, it will take you an hour to reach the place. The hike will take you through a forest, prayer flags, and Chortens. Once you reach the nunnery, you can enjoy the beautiful view. The nunnery is a very peaceful place and you can meditate here to relax and unwind. Just watching the nuns go about their daily duties is in itself relaxing.
Punakha Dzong is one of the most majestic and beautiful dzongs in the country. Located at the juncture between Mo Chu River (female) and Pho Chu River (male), it is a sight to behold. Beautiful while walls and impressive woodwork of this dzong leave visitors in awe. Like other dzongs, this one also has a very tranquil and serene environment. Once you are done exploring the dzong, you can go whitewater rafting on the Mo Chu River.
There are places where the water flow is very slow and in some places, you will encounter bigger rapids; however, overall it is a slow and relaxing journey. The view of the Punakha valley as you float on the river is jaw-dropping. Then as you glide past the Punakha Dzong, you will marvel at the beauty of the structure, the tranquility of the area, the freshness of the air, and feel a need to come back again and again.
Torsa Strict Nature Reserve
There is no experience like unwinding amongst the green and tranquil atmosphere of a nature reserve. Torsa Strict Nature Reserve offers such an experience. Spread over 644 sq km, Torsa Strict Nature Reserve is a protected area with zero human population. It is home to a number of bird species, including wood snipe, Chestnut-breasted partridge, and the endangered Rufous-necked hornbill. It is an excellent place for bird watchers. It touches the borders of Sikkim and Tibet and has an altitude range from 1400 to 4800 m. Here you can find green alpine forests, warm broadleaved forests and temperate forests. The beautiful Sinchulungpan Lake is also located in this reserve. A trek through this reserve is once in a lifetime experience.
As you can see Bhutan is a country with mesmerizing beauty and full of places to help people unwind. Just strolling through their villages is relaxing, because they are so serene and calm. Bhutan is best explored during the months of March, April, May, September, October, and November.