Friday, 9 December 2011 12:07 PM
Bhutan is less-visited than nearby nations such as Nepal and India – and the idea of getting off the beaten tourist trail is one of the reasons why it is popular with travellers. Trekking in the Himalayas in Bhutan is sure to be a memorable experience.
Aside from the sense of adventure you will have by taking Bhutan tours, there are many other things to look forward to when you decide to explore the country.
In addition to the stunning natural landscapes, there is plenty of history and culture to uncover too, with beautiful temples and monasteries dotted around.
When you embark on a journey around the country, you will have lots of time to discover various aspects of Bhutanese culture and truly embrace the spirituality of the destination.
One of the most popular activities on a Bhutan tour is, understandably, trekking. Situated in the eastern part of the Himalaya mountain range, it is easy to see what draws adventurous travellers to the nation.
There are some stunning routes to follow, with gentle tracks on offer, as well as trails that will really test your physical fitness and see you ascend to great heights for wonderful views across the valleys below.
Tourist numbers in Bhutan are restricted, so you need not worry that you will bump into lots of other holidaymakers – in fact, this is the kind of place you should visit if you really want to escape from everyday stresses and strains.
As the country only opened its borders relatively recently – in 1974 – the landscapes here are unspoilt and still retain much of their untouched beauty. You really can feel as though you are discovering somewhere new when you go walking here.
If you are hoping to get under the skin of the nation's spiritual side, you will certainly have plenty of opportunities to do so.
The majority of the locals practice the Vajrayana stream of Mahayana Buddhism and visiting some of the temples you pass along the way is bound to give you an insight into this culture and belief system.
Heading to the Bumthang district in the centre of the country may be a good plan if this aspect of its culture particularly interests you. Here you will find some of the oldest religious buildings in the nation, like the Thangbi Goemba monastery that was founded in 1470.
Meanwhile, if you are especially interested in nature, you may want to book on to a break that is dedicated to introducing you to some of the fascinating animals that call Bhutan home.
Birds are abundant here and there are many beautiful creatures that can be spotted while hiking through the mountains and their foothills. There are thought to be over 670
species of bird in the country, with approximately 415 of these resident to the nation all year round.
You may also be lucky enough to spot endangered varieties of the winged animals, with the Pallas fish eagle, white-bellied heron and Blyth's kingfisher just a few of the rare birds that live in the region.
Many people choose to combine a visit to Bhutan with tours to Nepal, providing the chance to see more of the Himalayas, including some of its most famous peaks, such as Everest.
The Annapurna circuit is another popular hiking trail in Nepal that weaves through the extensive mountain range, passing farmland and small villages along the way.