An integral part of Bhutanese culture are the festivals conveniently spaced throughout the year. These exotic and mysterious commemorations are calculated using the (highly complicated) Bhutanese lunar calendar.
With over 50 annual festivals to choose from every year, and with each having its own idiosyncratic spirituality, custom and tradition, you should always be lucky enough to catch one.
All corners of the country host different events, where participants don multi-coloured masks and bright costumes, inspired from ancient times, and take part in ritualistic dances. As with so much in this beguiling country, it's also all impossibly photogenic.
Why We Love It
Festivals in Bhutan are a great opportunity to see highly skilled archers doing their best Robin Hood impressions.
Trekking in Bhutan
Some of the best trekking on Earth is in the mountainous kingdom of Bhutan, including both day treks and longer treks such as the six day Druk Path Trek, which follows the ancient trading route between Paro and Thimpu.
There are nearly 30 designated trekking routes in the country, with the longest trek a whopping 30 days in length, and most treks require a moderate level of physical fitness, with between six and eight hours trekking per day. Come the end of the day, walk-in tents with rugs and comfy camp beds await, with fold-out armchairs and toilet tents all pre-prepared for your arrival. The trek cooks will knock up a delicious and filling meal and the local guides will explain about the surroundings and the next day's route.
Most treks in Bhutan will pass through various ecosystems from dense forests to lush river valleys, with the chance to see indigenous beasties such as Himalayan black bears, red pandas, snow leopards (if you are very lucky) and nearly 500 different species of birds. Chances are you will also pass children going to school each day, nomadic yak farmers tending to their herds and pilgrims make pujas (annual ritual pilgrimages), making a trek all the more of a special way to explore this fascinating country.
Why We Love It
One particularly memorable trek is to the wonderfully named Thousand Fairies Camp, where you stay overnight before walking down to the fabled Tiger's Nest monastery.