Travel off the Beaten Path on a Bhutan Honeymoon
If you're looking for a unique honeymoon destination, somewhere none of your friends have gone for their honeymoons and a place where the culture and history pervade your every experience, look no further than a Bhutan honeymoon.
This South Central Asian destination is a tiny country situated in the Eastern Himalayas between Nepal and Tibet. A Buddhist country with a small population, Bhutan takes the exclusivity of a South Asian destination and turns things up a notch, welcoming under 100,000 tourists per year. But that hardly means the country isn't well-equipped to treat you and your new spouse to a luxurious vacation as you embark on your first days of married life—intimate hotels, unique homestays and romantic experiences abound.
Here's everything you need to know about planning a Bhutan getaway.
Is Bhutan Good for a Honeymoon?
Pros of a Bhutan Honeymoon
Bhutan is incredibly unique as a honeymoon destination. If you're looking for exclusivity, this is the place to go. The country also offers a wealth of culture and history, in case that's something you value in a vacation destination. Additionally, Bhutan's location in the middle of South Asia makes it desirable if you've considered planning a multi-country honeymoon. You could easily pair a Bhutan trip with side trips to nearby countries like Vietnam, India, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
Cons of a Bhutan Honeymoon
All that exclusivity comes with a price and some potential headaches. Bhutan isn't the most budget-friendly honeymoon destination on the map. The country also puts strict limits on its tourism industry, meaning you'll need a tour operator to book a Bhutan tour package on your behalf.
You'll also need a visa, and tourists are required to pay a minimum daily travel fee while in the country, which covers the cost of basic accommodations, meals, a tour guide and internal transportation (all of which must be arranged by your tour operator). Upgrading from these basic provisions is an additional fee. If you still want to visit Bhutan in spite of these restrictions, you can learn more about Bhutan honeymoon tour protocols on the Tourism Council of Bhutan's website.
Beyond this, Bhutan isn't as easy to get to as, say, the Caribbean. There are no direct flights between the United States and Bhutan's Paro International Airport, so you'll need to fly into the country from another nearby destination like Bangkok, Mumbai, Delhi or Singapore. You'll need to be prepared for your total travel time to easily extend over a day.
The Best Times of Year to Go on a Bhutan Honeymoon for Good Weather
Every season in Bhutan comes with its perks. Springtime, March through May, is filled with mildly warm temperatures around 70 degrees with only a little rainfall and lots of blooming flora.
Summertime is less crowded (though no time of year is necessarily crowded in Bhutan) and rainy, with most of the rainfall occurring in the afternoon or at night, so it won't really impact your travel plans.
Fall and winter bring colder temperatures (though still mild at around 50 degrees) and the lack of clouds means excellent views of the Himalayas. Fall and winter are also peak times to visit if you want to experience some of Bhutan's cultural festivals, such as Thimphu Tshechu.
Things to Do During a Bhutan Honeymoon
Explore the Country's Sacred Sites
As a Buddhist kingdom, Bhutan is filled with sacred sites that are as gorgeous as they are culturally fascinating. One of the most worthy of your time is the Tiger's Nest Monastery, a temple situated on a steep cliffside in Paro. Hiking to and around the monastery is an all-day affair, but one you and your spouse will never forget.
Another top site is Buddha Dordenma in Thimpu, one of the largest gilded Buddha statues in the world; go inside, and you'll find more than 125,000 smaller Buddhas contained within. Lastly, if kiddos are in your future, you might want to join the many pilgrims who travel to Chimi Lhakhang, a monastery known as the Temple of Fertility that draws thousands of people each year who are hoping to channel its powers.
Immerse Yourself in the Himalayas
Bhutan is renowned for its natural beauty. Experience it for yourself by sightseeing at popular places like Dochula Pass, a Himalayan mountain pass that sits at nearly 10,000 feet and offers spectacular views on a clear day. For animal lovers, the Motithang Takin Preserve is a must-visit to see the national animal of Bhutan, the takin, a vulnerable species that looks like a cross between a mountain goat and a moose.
For outdoor adventurers, Bhutan delivers with whitewater rafting experiences on Mo Chhu river, and the nearly 600-foot-long Punakha Suspension Bridge, a popular tourist attraction covered in prayer flags.
Experience Bhutan's Historic Side
If you'd rather stay indoors, you can still explore thanks to Bhutan's various museums and historic sites. The National Museum sits within a watchtower from the 1600s and details the history of the country.
The National Library and Archives of Bhutan displays traditional Bhutanese architecture and literature, as well as one of the largest books in the world, weighing in at nearly 133 pounds. In Bumthang, you might be interested in visiting Yathra Weaving Center, where you can learn about the history of Bhutan's woolen textile industry.
Best Hotels and Resorts in Bhutan for a Honeymoon
For a conveniently located hotel in the capital city, look tofrom Marriott. The property blends classic Bhutanese style with the modern amenities today's jet-setting travelers desire, leading to a winning combination. The hotel is also close to many of the city's top attractions, including Buddha Dordenma, Clock Tower Square, and the Changangkha and Phajoding Monasteries.
For something a little more remote, try. This small property only offers 12 suites, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in style. Luxurious and breathtaking from every angle, it's sure to wow even the most discerning travelers. Even though the location is remote, it's nothing to look down on; the property overlooks a large valley that's a protected reserve for Bhutan's black-necked cranes.
If you plan on traveling around the country, consider staying with. The internationally renowned luxury hospitality brand boasts five separate lodges in five of Bhutan's valleys. Each is unique and reflects the high level of luxury Six Senses fans have come to expect. Enjoy plenteous on-property experiences, from guided forest treks to lamp-lighting ceremonies, as well as much-appreciated amenities, such as five-star spa treatments and daily breakfast.
What to Pack for a Bhutan Honeymoon
In addition to your honeymoon basics, make sure to pack comfortable clothing and shoes for hiking, as visiting some of the more remote areas and sacred sites around Bhutan does require a bit of trekking. When picking your clothing, you'll want to opt for layers to fit the fluctuating temperatures. Sunglasses and sunscreen are also advisable due to the high altitude.