But if you’ve got the cash and 10 days to spare, Bhutan shouldn’t be missed.
Note: every traveler is required by Bhutanese government to pay a tourist tariff of USD $250 a day. It includes both lodging and meals.
Bhutan is one of the few countries in the world that forces travelers to shell out this much cash a day, but they have their reasons. For one, it’s a way for them to preserve their land that has yet to be influenced by outside cultures. This controls the number of tourists entering Bhutan. Who would want to pay up when trips to its neighbors like India or China are much cheaper.
Centuries of isolation have preserved Bhutan’s indigenous culture. The Bhutan Tourism Council noted that only 64,000 visitors visited in 2011. But if you’ve got the cash and 10 days to spare, Bhutan shouldn’t be missed. It should be on everyone’s bucket list! Here are 10 reasons why Bhutan is worth 250 bucks a day:
1. You’ll be special!
No one’s been there! Literally, it is one of those countries, next to Antarctica, that travelers rarely check out. You’ll be so special and ultra cool among your group of travel buddies.
2. Roar! Tiger’s Nest is all the rage.
And it is. Nothing beats the sight of a monastery hanging on a precipitous cliff at 10,240 feet. A hike up there is worth the entire trip to Bhutan.
3. Delish spicy food.
If you’re a fan of peppers and paprikas, Bhutan is your foodie haven. The country imports most vegetables, but it sure grows a ton of peppers on its own! A common sight is seeing red peppers sprinkled on top of rooftops!
4. Ommm… A moment of silence, please.
Stay Zen in Bhutan, where being a Buddhist is a part of who everyone is. It’s like meeting Catholics in the Vatican; in Bhutan, meditations and prayer sermons are vastly prevalent. Take in those moments and enjoy the Zen.
5. A night out, Bhutan style!
Thimphu, nation’s capital, has it going on! Expect lots of Bollywood tunes, but popular hip-hop tracks, electronic dance beats and you’ve got the perfect night out with locals!
6. Meet the lamas.
Besides in Tibet, where else could this happen? Seeing lamas on every street corner in Bhutan is quite normal. Be respectful while you interact with them, but realize that they are sweet, friendly and extremely helpful to travelers.
7. Jaw-dropping architectures.
Since the 17th century, Dzongs have been big deals in Bhutan. They refer to governmental administrative offices that also act as Buddhist shrines for the people. The intricate designs throughout the country are specifically Bhutanese: multi-colored wood frontages, small arched windows, and a sloping roof.
8. Get to know a different royal couple.
You (and everyone else) have been obsessed over Will and Kate for a very long time, bet you didn’t know the royal couple in Bhutan are just as beautiful and obsessed-worthy! King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck married Queen Jetsun Pema back in 2011 and you can see them all over Bhutan, literally, all.over.town.
9. Pray for a baby!
Women finding themselves dealing with infertility often come to Chimi Lhakhang temple in the city of Punakha. Blessings from the spirits of Buddhas here have been said to be magical. If nothing else is working, might as well give this a try and make a trip out of it!
10. Get back to basics!
There’s a reason why Bhutan has been kept untouched by tourists, there’s something charming and simple about life without technology or even electricity in some smaller towns. A week in Bhutan and you’ll realize that maybe everything you thought was important in life suddenly isn’t. And everything you’ve forgotten suddenly seems so much sweeter. Bhutan’s simplicity makes you see the real deal!