The author of Radio Shangri-La: What I learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth shares inspiring info and insider tips in our new online guide to Bhutan. Former public radio journalist Lisa Napoli’s travel memoir chronicles her time in and around the nation, where she helped to start a radio station in advance of the nation’s transition to democratic rule. See more on Radio Shangri-La here; learn more about her at lisanapoli.com.
Here are some highlights from our new Bhutan guide:
Want to experience the customs and traditions of an ancient culture, soak up clean air and unspoiled natural beauty, and revel in the spirituality of the last Buddhist kingdom, where "gross national happiness" takes precedence over material wealth? Then get to the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan—but get there quick. Read more.
Trekking and Top Sights
Mountain climbing is not allowed in Bhutan; the last King deemed it off-limits for environmental reasons. But trekking is a favorite activity, and it’s available in all varieties, from the moderate afternoon stroll to the intense 25-day Snowman Trek for the buffest, altitude-proof among us. Prefer culture? There are tours built around Bhutan’s colorful tsechus or festivals, which take place in different districts at all times of the year. Read more.
What to Eat in Bhutan
Bhutanese food is super-hot; chiles are a staple of the diet, and they’re stewed in cheese and served as a vegetable. Most food for tourists is toned down, unless you request full-strength spiciness. Read more.
Bhutan Crafts & Souvenirs
Bhutan’s colorful, intricate hand-loomed textiles and a smattering of handicrafts like bamboo baskets and wood-turned bowls are among the top souvenirs. Read more.
PLAN YOUR TRIP with our Bhutan Travel Guide
Photo Credits: Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang) Monastery by iStockPhoto / jayanata; wildflowers courtesy Ian Bell; prayer flags in Thimpu courtesy Lisa Napoli; ceremonial dance at the opening of the Forestry Institue in Bumthang courtesy Lisa Napoli; monk Namgay doing sand art at the Smithosonian Folklife Festival courtesy Lisa Napoli.