Situated between Tibet and India, Bhutan is a somewhat small country that has managed to retain its unique cultural traditions. Cyclists will enjoy beautiful, memorable mountains, forests, valleys, wildlife reserves, national parks, dzongs (fortresses), and monasteries including the famous Taktsang ‘Tiger Nest’ Monastery.
You will visit fantastic museums, as well as the National Institute for Zorig Chusum in Thimphu. Zorig chusum refers to thirteen traditional arts and crafts that have been practiced by the Bhutanese for generations. These are painting, calligraphy, masonry, sculpture, carving, carpentry, wood turning, bamboo work, gold, silver and blacksmithing, pottery, embroidery, weaving and making incense sticks.
At the top of Dochula pass, you will pause to admire the 108 Tibetan Buddhist shrines (Chortens), and the breath taking views of the eastern Himalayas snow-capped mountains.
Further along, you will visit Punakha Dzong – one of the most stunning fortresses in Bhutan. As well as Chhimi Lhakhang, locally referred to as the temple of the “Devine Madman”.
You will also enjoy exploring a glacial valley on foot, taking in villages, temples, Dzongs and monasteries, including the Gante Goemba and Taktsang ‘Tiger Nest’ Goemba.
While in Bhutan, it is good to keep in mind some important “Dos and Don’ts”. Some of these are simply a matter of convenience for you, while others are legal, cultural and religious observances.
– Carry Bhutanese currency as Bhutan doesn’t have ATM machines, and credit cards are not accepted everywhere.
– Be sure to register all video cameras, cameras, computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices with customs authorities upon arrival.
– Remember Bhutan does not permit smoking in most areas and tobacco products are prohibited for sale.
– Hats should be removed while in front of dzongs (fortress), temples and national flags.
– Show respect and courtesy by requesting permission before you take photos of people, places or objects.
– Switch off all electronic devices, or put them on silent/vibrate, before entering a temple, dzong, or monastery.
– Speak in a soft voice in religious areas.
– Remember that you must always walk in a clockwise direction to cross temples, monasteries, dzongs, religious artefacts, prayer flags, etc.
– It is strictly prohibited to take photos inside the dzongs (fortress), monasteries and temples.
– Don’t give items to the local children. This includes money, sweets, pens, pencils, toys, etc.
– Refrain from all forms of public displays of affection.
– Don’t attempt to purchase any religious artefact or antique.
– Don’t show disrespect to Buddhist artefacts or antiques by climbing on, sitting on, or handling them without permission.
– Don’t use a single finger to point at anything, especially toward anything considered scared. Rather use your full hand in an upturned, flat manner.
– Don’t walk over any hearth, books, clothes, or other materials in religious sites.
If you are unsure if something is permitted or not, your guide or local people will gladly provide information and guidance.
Here is some more sneak peak of Bhutan..
The Bhutanese people
The Bhutanese monks
The dances are performed during an annual religious festival known as Tshechu, which is held in each district.
The Bhutanese musicians
More related articles: