Much has been written about Bhutan’s spirituality, tranquil terrain, and the fact that it’s a great destination for solo female travellers. However, this Himalayan country has one more trick up its sleeve—it oozes romance! If you and your partner love mountains, the solitude of hill stations, colourful culture and are outdoorsy, then look no further than Bhutan as a destination for your next vacation. Here are 10 fun things to do in this tiny nation with your partner that will make you fall even more in love—not just with each other but with Bhutan too! Now, here’s a love triangle you do not want to miss!
Bhutan is blessed with wonderful terrain that is perfect for the trekker in you. Several people come specially to the country to scale its topmost points. The thrill of climbing up, hand-in-hand, with your partner as you reach the summits of its many hiking trails is unparalleled if you are both lovers of the outdoors. Needless to say, endless pictures at the top are a given! Some routes you can embark on are the Tiger’s Nest hike (Paro Taktsang), the hike up to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten (Punakha), and the rhododendron-lined My Gakidh Village Hike which also takes you through beautiful villages to learn about local life.
After all that trekking, you’ve got to let loose right? What better than a soothing hot stone bath? This is a traditional Bhutanese spa in which heated stones are used to make water reach a high temperature. A dip in one of these ensures your muscles are relaxed. Several Bhutanese people like to soak in these for hours on end. Get into one alongside your partner and let the romance brew. You can try the various therapies at Bhutan’s five-star hotels or its quaint homestays.
The country is peppered with cute homestays where the locals throw open their doors, offering some of the warmest hospitality you will experience on the planet. Bhutanese people are kind and compassionate, ensuring your every need is taken care of. Staying at one of these homestays in places like Paro, Punakha, and Bumthang will give you and your partner a peek into the local way of life and the privacy you require.
Foodie couples are in for a real treat in Bhutan! Every corner of the country, whether you are in the bustling capital or in a village, serves up a smorgasbord of deliciousness. ‘Ema datshi’—considered the national and most-loved dish of the country—comprises cheese cooked with hot chilli peppers and is usually served with red rice. Similar versions, replacing the chilli peppers, are also served in which potatoes, broccoli, and other vegetables are stewed with the local cheese. Apart from this, there are some cafes and restaurants that must not be missed—these are Paro’s Mountain Café and Ambient Café and Roastery and Coffee Culture in Thimphu.
For couples visiting Bhutan, a visit to the Chimi Lhakhang Monastery is unmissable. Plainly put, it is considered to be a temple dedicated to fertility. Several childless couples from around the world have visited it and been blessed with offspring. Inside the monastery, one can see phallus symbols and even the photo albums of all the couples who had kids after visiting the chorten! A special blessing awaits those who visit it.
A far cry from the peaceful vibe of the rest of Bhutan, Thimphu, its capital city, is filled with art galleries, cafes, restaurants, night clubs, and karaoke bars. A walk down Norzim Lam, its main street, and its surrounding by-lanes reveal cute shops, souvenir stops, and a general buzzing vibe filled with young people. You can swing by its clock tower area where some activity or the other is always happening or drive up to its Buddha Point for sweeping views of the city. The people of Thimphu are hip and fashionable, and you will find the city to be the perfect break from the rest of Bhutan. Don’t miss its traffic police: the city is famously devoid of traffic lights!
Three of Bhutan’s main cities—Paro, Punakha, and Thimphu, are nestled on big rivers. Additionally, the surrounding areas are green and gorgeous. From March until mid-April is the dry spring season which is a lovely time to head out on a picnic. Even February is dry and pleasant, increasing your chances to sprawl out on a mattress and enjoy a romantic picnic date! Our pick for the best picnicking spot has to be on the banks of the Po Chhu or Mo Chhu (“chhu” means “river” in the Dzongkha language) in Punakha.
For a rush of adrenaline with your partner, indulge in some of the amazing adventure activities on offer in Bhutan. Water babies will enjoy the ample kayaking and river rafting activities that are offered during the months of March, April, November, and December on the rivers Wang Chhu, Sunkosh, Puna Tsang Chhu, Mangde Chhu, Kuri Chhu, and Dangme Chhu. Walking and trekking activities are also organized along these river beds. Cycling is another activity that tour agents organize—these vary from mid-level to difficult.
The country’s many monasteries and dzongs play host to festivals (or, “Tshechu”) throughout the year. These are annual celebrations filled with religious fervour, masked dances, bursts of colourful costumes, and lots of food and entertainment. It is believed that everyone must visit a Tshechu at least once in their lives to wash away their sins. The Thimphu Tshechu (October) and Paro Tsheschu (March) are the two most popular festivals in the country.
Let Bhutan’s developmental policy of Gross National Happiness get the better of you. Take some time to slow down and enjoy the pace of life like the local people. Stop by for a cup of tea and a little conversation, stroll through its streets, pray at its monasteries or simply be enthralled by its beauty. Let the happiness bug touch you both as you enjoy each other’s company in utter bliss!
Wild card entry: Stamp of love—what better way to immortalize your romantic vacation in Bhutan by giving it a “stamp” of approval? Yes! This mountain kingdom allows you to put yourself on its postage stamps. Click a romantic picture, head to the Bhutan Post Office Headquarters in Thimphu and get your own unique stamps created. You can now send postcards with these to loved ones back home!
So, the next time you plan to visit Bhutan with your soulmate, make sure you check off this list! Also, if you’ve been to these places before, do tell us about your experience in the comments below.
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