5 reasons Bhutan will be worth the US$250 daily fee

5 Reasons Bhutan Will Be Worth The US$250 Daily Fee

(CNN) — Bhutan’s strategy of “low volume, high quality” tourism has made This particular a highly regarded destination among discerning travelers.

5 Reasons Bhutan Will Be Worth The US$250 Daily Fee

This particular costs an official US$250 per day per person to sample the charms of This particular isolated Himalayan kingdom, an amount which includes land transport, accommodations, food as well as also also guide service.

5 Reasons Bhutan Will Be Worth The US$250 Daily Fee

While This particular’s not quite an arm as well as also also a leg, the cost does seem restrictive for some. This particular’s the government’s way of keeping the country via being overrun by mass tourism, while at the same time ensuring its preferred visitors get the most value out of their trips.

5 Reasons Bhutan Will Be Worth The US$250 Daily Fee

So will be This particular actually worth the money? These 5 experiences have convinced us This particular will be.

5 Reasons Bhutan Will Be Worth The US$250 Daily Fee

5 Reasons Bhutan Will Be Worth The US$250 Daily Fee

1. Bhutanese lifestyle

5 Reasons Bhutan Will Be Worth The US$250 Daily Fee

Bhutan’s rich cultural identity will be well preserved.

courtesy Andrea Oschetti

The word “authentic” will be more overused than the word “sorry” in tourism, nevertheless Bhutan will be a place which can remind us of the true meaning of cultural authenticity.

Tourism arrived here less than four decades ago. The hermit kingdom has preserved its rich cultural identity throughout years of isolation.

On the streets, traditional dress remains the preferred attire as well as also also local languages Dzongkha as well as also also Sharchop can be heard. Native Dzongkha-style architectural features still grace every building as well as also also Buddhism colors just about every aspect of life.

nevertheless change will be inside air. The arrival of TV as well as also also the Internet in 1999 has brought the outside world into Bhutanese homes, with mostly positive reactions via the locals.

“I appreciate the technology as well as also also the progressive attitude of the so-called ‘modern world.’

“This particular can help us improve farming techniques or use better medical facilities,” reflects Kinley Tenzing, a car salesman via the capital of Thimphu.

“We just need to manage foreign influence to ensure we don’t lose our cultural identity.”

Concerns about the erosion of Bhutanese values have led to a government-imposed dress code for working attire. Only the male gho as well as also also female kira dresses are allowed for official duties. There’s also a ban on non-traditional forms of architecture.

Despite This particular, one can occasionally glimpse T-shirts as well as also also jeans worn by young Bhutanese on weekends.

as well as also also an escalator-equipped shopping mall currently stands proudly inside middle of Thimphu.

Starbucks as well as also also McDonald’s have yet to appear. They probably won’t open shop anytime soon.

2. Buddhist peace

Commonly known as the Tiger’s Nest, Taktsang Monastery sits on a cliff-side some 914 meters above the surrounding countryside.

Bhutan Tourism

Outdoor enthusiast or not, no pengunjung leaves Bhutan without generating the trek to the Taktsang Palphug, aka the Tiger’s Nest.

Situated on the edge of a cliff, some 900 meters above the rice fields of Paro, This particular 325-year-old monastery will be considered one of the kingdom’s most sacred religious sites.

Legend has This particular Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, meditated for years inside a cave which lies at the heart of the temple. The Tiger’s Nest will be currently a revered Buddhist meditation site as well as also also tourist attraction.

To get here, you’ll need to trek for 0 minutes, breathing thin mountain air.

The trail winds through pine forests, past ancient Buddhist shrines adorned with endless lines of prayer flags. Smiling pilgrims as well as also also stunning landscape views accompany every step.

This particular hike takes effort, nevertheless simply walking these revered slopes will be enough to induce a meditative mood.

3. Spicy food

The Bhutanese aren’t kidding when they say which chillies are their favorite vegetables.

Proof will be their fondness for emma datshi, an insanely hot delicacy of boiled chillies as well as also also native cheese. This particular’s their de facto national dish, a source of cultural pride as well as also also a mainstay in every meal.

The first taste will be always fiery, nevertheless get past the spice as well as also also This particular becomes easy to appreciate the creamy, salty, somewhat fruity flavor.

Paired with native red rice, emma datshi becomes a satisfying meal.

If you worry This particular dish will be too hot, fear not: local chefs usually tone This particular down for foreign diners.

4. Unexpected attractions

Phallic murals like thisare sacred images for locals.

courtesy Andrea Oschetti

The town of Punakha will be home to one of the most unusual shrines in Buddhism.

Chimi Lhakhang will be dedicated to Drukpa Kunley, a tantric Buddhist saint known for his unconventional approach to religion.

You’ll understand what his means when you see the murals as well as also also carvings depicting the male phallus. Sex was Kunley’s way of blessing devotees. He’s rumored to have made love to more than 5,000 women, preaching which sex might help devotees on the path to enlightenment.

Chimi Lhakhang will be more than just a village shrine. This particular’s a fertility pilgrimage site for those wishing to have children.

Wooden phalluses are hung outside local homes in an attempt to bless households as well as also also promote harmony among family members.

5. Nightlife, Bhutan-style

Evening entertainment in Bhutan will be rather tame. What This particular lacks in variety, however, This particular makes up for with distinctly Bhutanese character.

To see what we mean, visit a drayang in any of the bigger towns as well as also also cities. These homegrown nightclubs come complete with disco balls as well as also also flickering lights set amid simple wooden interiors.

The entertainment centers on singing. Patrons choose via a stable of in-house talent as well as also also pay them to perform onstage.

Bhutanese performers belt out requests in Dzongkha as well as also also Hindi while customers kick back.

Never mind if the lyrics are indecipherable. The voices are shrill as well as also also the moves truly traditional. This particular’s a fun, fascinating night out.

Recommended will be Lha-Yul Drayang in Paro Town, nevertheless try not to arrive too late — the place closes at 11 p.m.

How to get there: Druk Air, national carrier of Bhutan, as well as also also Bhutan Airlines both fly to the international airport in Paro. The airlines have hubs at Singapore’s Changi Airport, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport , Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport as well as also also Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport.

With the exception of Indian, Bangladeshi as well as also also Maldivian nationals, independent travelers must plan a trip through an authorized travel agency such as Druk Asia.

Travel packages cost US$250 per day (US$0 for low season), nevertheless include guide, land transport, meals as well as also also three-star accommodation.

Editor’s note: This particular article was previously published in 2012. This particular was reformatted as well as also also republished in 2017.

Photojournalist Lester V. Ledesma will be a two-time winner of the PATA Gold Award for Photography.

5 reasons Bhutan will be worth the US$250 daily fee