One of the last Himalayan kingdoms, the country of Bhutan measures its success according to the happiness of its people or its Gross National Happiness Index.
If that, combined with the news of the opening of the Trans Bhutan Trail, has you itching to visit the country, check out Misty Terrace’s idea for the perfect day in Bhutan.
My name is Tandin Wangchuk but I go by the name Misty Terrace. I am a singer, musician, poet and travel facilitator from Thimphu, the capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. When I am not performing at concerts with my band, I spend most of my free days biking and hiking around the mountains.
Why you should visit Bhutan
Monks playing long horns at a mountain temple © Misty Terrace
Bhutan has something for everyone. This Shangri-la–like country is a unique Buddhist kingdom that seems almost out of a fairy tale, a place where time has stopped. Our age-old Buddhist culture and traditions; our people and their lifestyle; our emphasis and motivation on attaining a truly happy life, instead of a merely materialistic one…all this has made our country a top destination for visitors.
Check out Misty’s perfect day in Bhutan
Three questions with Misty
We asked Misty three questions to help you plan your trip to Bhutan.
What’s the one place someone should visit to get a better understanding of Bhutan?
The capital fortress (or dzong). Each district in Bhutan has a dzong that serves as the seat of the government and religious authorities. The capital fort in Thimphu houses the office of the king, ministers and the chief abbot, the national head of the state religion. This is the heart of Bhutan, where one can see magnificent architecture, Buddhist paintings and temple chambers, as well as Bhutanese civil servants in the signature national dress (the gho for men, kira for women) and monks in maroon robes. This complex is a symbol of modern Bhutan: at the edge of time, where the past gently meets the present.
What’s a signature dish someone should try if they visit?
Bhutanese ema datshi (red-chili cheese) is the most popular dish here. We Bhutanese eat a lot of rice and chili in our diet – though it may be quite spicy for foreigners! I would also recommend kewa datshi (potato-cheese curry) and shakam datshi (dried-beef-and-cheese curry). You can get these at most restaurants in Thimphu.
If someone wants to buy a souvenir, what would you recommend?
A traditional thangka painting. These are easy to carry home, and have a lot of significance. You’ll find a cluster of souvenir stores selling them right in the center of town.