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Get to the happiest nation in the world lying next door

Posted on April 26, 2016
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Thimpu Bhutan

Indians wanting to beat the heat this unusually scorching summer have some cool (pun intended!) destinations closer home.

If you are one of those who feel that Indian hill resorts such as Kulu, Manali, Ooty, Kodaikanal, Mahabaleshwar, Gangtok and Shillong, among others, would be too crowded for your comfort at this time of the year, you are not mistaken. And for going abroad, the process of obtaining a visa can be real dampener, unless you plan well in advance. However, we suggest you an international destination closer home, where you do not need a visa to travel to! We have zeroed in on this destination as it is also a place for tourists wishing to travel on shoestring budgets.

Do you want to head to the country that ranks #1 on Gross National Happiness (GNH) index? No, we are not pulling your leg. Bhutan has been truly ranked on it.

Still nursing an old-world charm, it is a place where a king still rules. Pristine in its beauty, it has not been sullied by industrial revolution. It is hailed as the Forbidden Kingdom by some, while some refer to it as Shangri-La.

Although bordered by the new powerhouses of the world in China and India, it still is an agrarian economy. Nestling in the Himalayan ranges, it has high mountains as well as deep valleys. It is home to unbelievable flora and fauna, in addition to many national parks. Its unique architecture with definitively Buddhist influences holds a rustic appeal.

To get to Thimpu, Bhutan’s capital city, you can take a flight from either Delhi or Kolkata to Paro. To get from Paro to Thimpu takes an hour and 15 minutes by car on the mountainous terrain. There are shared taxis for those travelling in groups.

Once you reach Thimpu, there are hotels for the luxury-seekers as well as the backpackers. For eating out and imbibing the atmosphere around, there are restaurants and cafes galore, besides cinemas and pubs.

Some places to visit are the Folk Heritage Museum, National Library, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, statue of Buddha Dodenma, to name a few.

For sports lovers, there is the Royal Thimpu Golf Club, trekking operators, a sports club with a basketball court and a gym. Alternately, the more adventurous ones can take a bike tour and travel as far as their stamina allows them to.

With so much to offer, it will be no wonder if you come back from Bhutan wondering why you didn’t go there before!

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