Vacationing in Bhutan: rules of entry for tourists and places worth visiting



Vacationing in Bhutan: rules of entry for tourists and places worth visiting

Bhutan is known for its contrasts. It is here that you can see incredible landscapes and eternal snows of the Himalayas. We will tell you which places are particularly attractive and should be on the must-visit list of every tourist and the rules for entering Bhutan

An insurance policy is a guarantee of your safety and peaceful stay outside your home country
An insurance policy is a guarantee of your safety and peaceful stay outside your home country

Bhutan is an amazing kingdom in the heart of the Himalayas. The country is 72% covered by forests, which create truly picturesque landscapes. The country has preserved the traditions of Buddhist culture and many attractions: fortresses, monasteries, and dzongs. 

On September 23, 2022, after two years of the pandemic, Bhutan lifted all quarantine restrictions and reopened its borders to international travelers. The country is recognized as the best place for family vacations, honeymoons, and adventure tourism. We have collected the most interesting sights that tourists should visit while traveling to Bhutan and the current rules for entering the country. 

Rules for entering Bhutan

To travel to Bhutan, tourists need to obtain a visa, and the procedure is quite complicated. The first step is to obtain a "visa permit", which takes about 30 days to process. On the basis of the visa permit, you can buy air tickets to Bhutan. 

The visa is issued by a Bhutanese licensed tour operator through an online system. A visa to Bhutan is valid for 15 days. The visa fee is 40 USD. Also, tourists must obtain a special permit from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Culture of Bhutan to travel outside of Thimphu and Paro, but this can usually be done through your tour operator. 

Only citizens of 3 countries are eligible for visa-free entry: India, Bangladesh and Maldives.

Find more details about the rules of entry to Bhutan and the list of documents here

What places should travelers visit in Bhutan?


Punakha is a tourist city that will impress true adventurers. Here you can enjoy rafting on two local rivers - Mo and Pho. The city is also widely known for the Punakha Dzong fortress, which was built in the 17th century. This Himalayan city hosts a traditional religious holiday of Bhutan - Punakha Chechu, which is a masked dance to folk music. Most tourists visit Punakha to get acquainted with the culture and history of Bhutan, as well as to enjoy the beauty of its divine nature.


A city with a glorious history and numerous sacred sites, this area is a vivid combination of natural beauty, rich culture, semi-modern lifestyle and vibrant traditions.

The main gem of the city is the widely known Taktsang Monastery or "Tiger's Nest", which is located on the high mountain Jomolhari. The region is also famous for its famous terrace farming and red rice cultivation. 

It is here, in Paro, that Bhutan's only international airport is located, making the city the largest tourist destination throughout the year.

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Dochula Pass

Dochula Pass is a mountain pass in the Himalayas on the road between Thimphu and Punakha, 30 km from the capital of Bhutan. It is located at an altitude of 3100 meters. It is popular for its 108 memorial stupas, which were built by the eldest queen-mother of Asha Dorji, Wangmo Wangchuk. There is also a famous monastery here, created in honor of the fourth head of state of Bhutan. The annual Dochula Druk Wangyel Himalayan Festival is held near Dochula Pass. 

The Dochula Pass is often visited by tourists who want to see the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas.

Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong)

Tashichho Dzong (Thimphu Dzong) is a Buddhist monastery and fortress located on the northern outskirts of Thimphu, near the west bank of the Wang Chu River. Since 1952, the monastery has been the seat of government, and now houses the King's throne room, as well as the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Finance, and Secretariat.

The monument was built in 1216, and in 1641 the lower dzong was completed. Due to its amazing grandeur and decorations, the monastery is one of the most prominent landmarks in Bhutan. 

Thimphu Chorten (Chorten Memorial)

The Chorten Memorial is the main religious shrine of the Bhutanese population. Many locals gather here every day to perform sacred rituals. 

      It was built in 1974 and is the best example of Buddhist culture and architecture. The building is crowned with a golden spire and decorated with intricate patterns. The spire emits a golden glow with the first morning sunlight. Paintings and statues of Buddha are kept in Chorten.

Rinpung Dzong, Paro

The name of this dzong translates to "Fortress on a Pile of Jewels". Rinpung Dzong is home to 14 shrines and chapels, making it one of the most prominent religious sites in Bhutan. The Rinpung Dzong is located in Paro in Western Bhutan and is also home to the Supreme Court of Bhutan. 

The dzong is built on a steep slope, so it offers breathtaking views of the hills. The bridge called Nyamai Zam, which stretches across the Paro Chhu River, is also a major attraction and a great place for photography enthusiasts.

Chele La, Paro

Chele La Paro is the highest road pass in Bhutan, which is located at an altitude of almost 4000 meters above sea level. The scenic beauty of this place is impossible to describe. This pass separates the Paro Valley from the Haa Valley. The panoramic view of the snow-capped mountain peaks from here can captivate any tourist or photographer. Traveling to this beautiful place through dense spruce and larch forests is a truly unforgettable experience.

Chimi Lhakhang Temple

Chimi Lhakhang Temple is visited by a large number of tourists every year. It was built in 1499. There are many interesting folklore stories and legends associated with this temple, which make it a sacred place for Buddhists.

It is known as the "Temple of Fertility", so many families who cannot have a child come here to cure their illness. People from all over the world come here to seek blessings.

The temple offers a panoramic view of the Punakha Valley, beautiful rice fields, and the river that flows under the temple. 

Phobjikha Valley, Wangdue

Phobjikha is a glacial valley, also known as Ganteng Valley. If you are lucky, you can meet barking deer, wild boar, zambar, leopard, and Himalayan black bear here. 

In addition to the unusual inhabitants, the valley boasts the unsurpassed beauty of the local nature. It offers magnificent views of the vast green fields. Phobjikha is an ideal place for adventure lovers.

Punakha Suspension Bridge, Punakha

The Punakha Suspension Bridge connects the two banks of the Po Chu River. At 160 meters long, it is the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan. The bridge connects Punakha town with Punakha Dzong town. It is an ideal location, the bridge is decorated with prayer flags and offers breathtaking views of the river and lush green hills.

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