Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness ethos extends to cultural travellers wishing to expand horizons en route to precariously positioned dzongs (forts) and enclosed monastic courtyards. Spring and autumn are tsechu (festival) time, culminating in a kaleidoscope of costumes, masks and dramatic dancing. Local guides extol the virtues of simple pleasures but encourage awareness of etiquette related to monks, deities and home stays which will invariably unearth encounters around prayer wheels or charred cooking pots.
Experiencing Asia is one thing; experiencing Bhutan is quite something else. Light years ahead but still enveloped in the past - are you ready to get happy on the path to enlightenment?
Cultural treasures are everywhere you turn with the cities of Paro and Thimphu offering illumination in the midst of memorials and museums dedicated to folklore heritage, the Dragon King and the teachings of Padmasambhava and Tibetan Buddhism. Preserving cultural heritage is just as important to Bhutan as protecting the natural environment and although responsible tourists are more than welcome, the daily price tag and the lack of obvious overland access may well keep things under wraps for many more years to come.
Find out more in our Bhutan cultural holidays travel guide.