HIGHLIGHTS OF BHUTAN
Journey to the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery, wrapped in mystique and surrounded by strings of prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. Perched precariously on a cliff-face, the spiritual – albeit lung-busting – 900m climb is well worth the effort, affording magnificent views of snow-capped peaks and blue pine forests every step of the way.
In a land crammed with ancient fortresses and sacred temples, Bhutan’s splendid architecture is everywhere you look. Marvel at the carvings of the Punakha Dzong, flecked in red, gold and black, or the Trongsa Dzong in the Central region, its regal layered structure reminiscent of a flying dragon.
Haggle over local produce and handicrafts at Thimphu’s Centenary Farmer’s Weekend Market; everything from the nation’s red rice and popular tsampa (roasted barley) to yak tails and prayer wheels are on offer.
Catch the natural phenomenon of black-necked cranes circling the Gangtey Monastery as they arrive from Tibet to roost for the winter. This auspicious event in late October/early November is celebrated with a special festival of masked dances.
Soak in a hot-stone bath, the kingdom’s traditional rejuvenating spa treatment, whilst absorbing the purifying minerals of the stones and serenity of the countryside.
Be sure to try the salted butter tea (a locally-churned Himalayan speciality), a cup of ara (Bhutanese rice wine) and the fiery Ema Datshi (an intense blend of chilli and cheese).