a Trip to Bhutan

25 Incredible Photos That Will Inspire a Trip to Bhutan

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I took a trip to Bhutan in October 2019 after I had seen amazing photos from a fellow travel blogger about her trip to the Land of the Thunder Dragon – and I was instantly inspired! I booked a 7-day trip with the leading travel agency Drukasia and left a piece of my heart in Bhutan. If you are looking for a fascinating, slightly off-the-beaten path destination, I highly recommend a trip to Bhutan!

If you decide to take a trip to Bhutan, be sure to check out my other articles:

Here are 25 incredible photos that will inspire a trip to Bhutan.

THESE PHOTOS OF BHUTAN WILL MAKE YOU FALL IN LOVE

Memorial Chorten, Thimphu

The National Memorial Chorten is a beautiful white structure crowned with a golden spire. It was built in memory of Third Druk Gyalpo and is dedicated to World Peace. People come here to make their rounds around the stupa for prayers, especially in the morning hours. On auspicious days, you can even visit the inside of the stupa and see a beautiful golden Buddha statue.

Bhutan Travel Memorial Chorten in Thimphu
Pigeons at Memorial Chorten in Bhutan

Punakha Dzong

This fortification is one of Bhutan’s most stunning structures and was built strategically between the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers in 1637. Punakha Dzong is one of only five in Bhutan. Dzongs serve as administrative centers for government offices and monasteries and their massive architecture is unique to Bhutan, Tibet and parts of India.

Dzong Bhutan

Lakhor Prayer Wheels

Prayer wheels are everywhere in Bhutan people actually distinguish between different types. Mani Prayer Wheels are hand held prayer wheels that are usually used when people walk around Buddhist relics or temples. The prayer wheels shown below are called Lakhor prayer wheels and are placed in buildings like monasteries and temples. Usually there are up to 108 prayer wheels in each of these temples as it is considered to be an auspicious and lucky number in Buddhism. People usually walk clockwise as they seek blessings through turning each of these wheels.

Bhutanese Prayer Wheels

Bhutan’s Temple Art

When taking a trip to Bhutan, you will be visiting a lot of temples. While you aren’t allowed to take any photos or videos inside the temple rooms, you are allowed to take pictures in the courtyards. Bhutan is filled with spectacular 16th- to 19th-century wall paintings in over 2,000 temples and monasteries across the country. The Bhutanese government has actually been working with international restoration specialists on different preservation techniques for their local art treasures, according to an article published in The Guardian.

Bhutanese Temple Door
Buddhist Art in Bhutan

Buddha Dordenma Statue

The Buddha Dordenma statue sits atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park overlooking the Southern entrance to Thimphu Valley. The statue fulfills an ancient prophecy from the 8th century A.D that is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world. At 51.5 meters high, the statue is among the largest statues of Buddha in the world.

Bhutanese red rice

Bhutanese red rice is a medium-grain rice grown in the Kingdom of Bhutan in the eastern Himalayas. It is the staple rice of the Bhutanese people. Bhutanese red rice is a red japonica rice. It is semi-milled—some of the reddish bran is left on the rice.

Bhutanese Red Rice

Bhutan’s Environmental Sustainability

Bhutan has built sustainability into its national identity and has become the only carbon-negative country in the world. So much so that their King Jigme Singye Wangchuck developed his signature Gross National Happiness index based on four principles: sustainable development, environmental protection, cultural preservation, and good governance.

Punakha Valley

Phallus Paintings in Bhutan

Phallus paintings are esoteric symbols in Bhutan and have their origin in the Chimi Lhakhang monastery near Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. The village and its monastery were built in honor of Lama Drukpa Kunley who lived in the 15-16th century and who was popularly known as the “Mad Saint” or “Divine Madman” for his unorthodox ways of teaching, which amounted to being bizarre and shocking.

Phallus paintings in Bhutan

Vajrayana Buddhism

The official religion in Bhutan is Vajrayana Buddhism, which is practiced by 75% of the population. Bhutan is a Buddhist country by constitution and Buddhism plays a vital role in the country. Buddhism is the cultural heritage of Bhutan and its people’s identity as well.
Buddhist Monk in Bhutan

Bhutanese Dzong Architecture

Every trip to Bhutan pays a visit to at least one of their five traditional fortresses, called dzong. Today, these buildings house temples, administrative offices, and monks’ accommodation. When visiting a dzong, you will immediately notice that the architecture is massive in style with towering exterior walls.

Dzong architecture
Dzong architecture
Dzong in Bhutan
Dzong in Bhutan

No Traffic Lights in Bhutan

Bhutan is the only country in the world without traffic lights. Instead, policemen in the Bhutanese capital Thimphu stand at major intersections and direct traffic. With not more than 75,000 cars for the total population of 750,000, the roads are usually pretty empty in Bhutan. A traffic light had previously been installed at the busiest intersection in Thimphu – but only lasted 24 hours. Then, it was replaced by a charming policeman who directs the traffic with flamboyant hand movements that remind of dance moves.

traffic light in Bhutan

The People of Bhutan

Bhutanese people live according to Bhuddist beliefs simple yet very happy lives. They still wear their traditional clothes on a daily basis and most of the population works in agriculture. The average income per person per day in Bhutan is Ngultrum (Nu) 40, which is less than a dollar a day. The average income in rural areas is even lower at Nu 33 per day (77 cents). The poverty line is about Nu 748.10 per person per month, which translates to $17.40 USD per month and $208.75 USD per year.

family in Bhutan

Centenary Farmers Market

Located below the main town, near the Wang Chhu River, Thimphu’s weekend market is by far the largest domestic market for the farmers in Bhutan. You can not only find fresh domestic and imported fruits and veggies at Centenary Farmers Market but also pick up other products like incense or textiles.

Bhutan market

Yak in Bhutan

A yak is a long-haired domesticated bovid found throughout the Himalayan region. In Bhutan, yak are a main source of livelihood for the high altitude resident. Yaks are multipurpose animals, providing food (milk, milk products and meat), as well as textiles for garments and tents made from yak fibre, and they are a main mode of transportation in the high altitudes of Bhutan.

Yak in Bhutan

State of the Nation’s Youth

According to a UNICEF report titled “A Situation Analysis of Children, Youth and Women in Bhutan (2012)”, more than half of the population of Bhutan is below the age of 25.

girl in Bhutan

Dochula Pass

Dochula Pass is a popular tourist spot on the way to central Bhutan. Besides stunning 360-degree views of the Himalayas, it is also home to 108 stupas that were built to memorialize Bhutanese soldiers killed in a 2003 battle with Indian insurgents from the Assam region.

Pho Chhu Suspension Bridge

Located next to Punakha Dzong, the 160-meter-long Pho Chhu Suspension Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan. It offers spectacular views of Punakha Dzong and the Pho Chhu Valley.

Endangered Langur Monkeys

Bhutan is home to a great variety of wild animals – even monkeys! One of the rarest monkeys in Bhutan is the Golden Langur and their gray-colored counterparts pictured below. They live in the thick forests of the higher altitudes in Bhutan and I had the chance to take a glimpse up close of these beautiful creatures during my 7-day trip to Bhutan.

monkeys in Bhutan

Tiger Nest Monastery

A trip to Bhutan wouldn’t be complete without climbing to Tiger Nest Monastery. This dramatically set Buddhist relic hanging from a cliff is going to be the highlight for any traveller to Bhutan. The 2.5-hour hike up the mountains fills you with spiritual bliss when you ascend over two thousand feet over the valley floor.

Tiger Nest Monastery in Bhutan

Are you ready for a trip to Bhutan?

Bhutan is truly amazing place. After my 1-week trip to Bhutan I left completely in awe wanting to see more. I’m ready to head back and see more of this beautiful Himalayan kingdom.

Don’t forget to follow Linda Goes East on Instagram for more Korea and Asia adventures!

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Linda

Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.

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