The food and drinks in Bhutan are simple, but are quite unique when it comes to taste. Food can be pretty spicy with hot peppers. The national dish of Bhutan is called ema datshi and is a stew of yak cheese and lots of spicy peppers and is eaten with rice. Rice is a staple in the diet of the Bhutanese people and the local variety has a reddish colour. Cheese is also very popular here. It’s the ideal food for live on high altitudes. In Bhutan, you must try their special butter tea drink. Butter and salt are added to produce a delicious warm drink which is perfect for during active and fresh day in the mountains. It is a drink that is very common in Bhutan and on the menu for many people on a daily basis.
The majestic Punakha Dzong palace is the showpiece of the Punakha valley. This is a picturesque location in Bhutan which you can reach after a walk through the valley. The green slopes that surround this valley are a beautiful sight, especially in the morning when they are covered with a layer of mist. Hiking here, you’ll pass rice paddies where the famous red rice is grown, rivers, and small villages. The Punakha Dzong is a complex of 108 temples and the spot where two rivers meet. It’s traditional Bhutanese architecture will catch your eye from afar. Inside the palace complex, Buddhist paintings, decorations, and artwork can be seen.
Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan and one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world. It is surrounded greenery and mountains, wedged in between the Himalayas. The inhabitants of this small city are not so concerned with all the modern developments around them that can be found in other Asian capitals. You’ll find no towering shopping malls nor huge traffic jams here. The people prefer to walk around the city instead of using cars. The religious city center is also a popular place for pedestrians. A stupa is built in the center and locals walk around it 108 times as a form of Buddhist prayer. Its wheels turn endlessly and its golden roof shimmers in the sun. During the weekends it’s also a good idea to visit the markets on the Wang Chu River. You can see all kinds of traditional produce on display, from vegetables to woven carpets. A visit to the National Folk Museum can be educational as well to learn more about the country, its people and the interesting culture they share.
The remote Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary was, until recently, closed to foreign visitors. Nowadays it has opened up and there you can get access to one of the most beautiful cultural and natural trekking routes in the world. It is a hard to reach location, but well worth the effort. This region is inhabited by the nomadic Brokpas people and they have a unique culture that is visible in their traditional villages and clothing. Most make their living as yak herders and the locally produced yak cheese might be something to try. The Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary has a diverse ecosystem where snow leopards, red pandas, bears and red foxes make their home. Walking along this region you’ll pass see spectacular scenery colorful prayer flags flying at the peaks. But beware, this area is also known as one of the regions where the mythical yeti has been spotted.
Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and is practiced by the young and old. It’s a fun skill to learn while on a holiday in Bhutan and you can learn it from the local people. The Bhutanese shoot with traditional bamboo bows and with the more common compound bows. The sport is usually practiced while wearing traditional clothing. And if the bull’s eye is hit then it is celebrated with a little traditional dance that mimics a crane, Bhutan’s national bird. In the city of Thimphu you can also visit an archery stadium and competitions are often held there.