Bhutan street view

Bhutan Travel Guide | Traveldudes.org

 

Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN)
▪ 1 INR = 1 BTN (Indian currency has one on one mapping with Bhutan)
▪ All major international currencies such as U.S. Dollar, Pound Sterling, Euro, Australian Dollar etc are easily convertible.

Do you need a visa to visit Bhutan?

Citizens of India, Bangladesh and Maldives with a valid passport need a permit available at the point of entry. All other international tourists need to obtain Visa, which can be processed online.

Is it safe to travel to Bhutan?

Bhutan is one of the safest place to be. Crime, petty thefts are minimal. The country scores high in the safety index.

Getting to Bhutan

Paro International Airport

Bhutan has only one International airport – Paro International Airport. National Air carrier of Bhutan – Druk Air operates regular flights to Paro mostly via Kolkata, India. Search for flights on Skyscanner.

By Train/Road – This is how we did it

  • Pocket Friendly & full of experiences.
  • Bhutan is accessible by roads via Phuntsholing – known as the Gateway to Bhutan, it is the Bhutan side of the Indo–Bhutanese Border.
  • We took the following route to reach.

Phuntsholing

  • Kolkata – Hasimara (Train) – Hasimara is a small town in West Bengal, India. The Indo-Bhutanese border is a 45-minute auto ride from Hasimara station.
  • Hasimara station – Jaigaon – (Auto) – Jaigaon is the Indian side of the Indo-Bhutanese Border.
  • Jaigaon – Phuntsholing – Just walk by!!

Bhutan travel guide: Travel tips

Money Matters

Not all international debits/credit cards work in Bhutan. You might want to confirm with your bank before travelling to Bhutan. Thimphu is the best place to stock up some currency as smaller villages and towns might not have ATMS.

Wi-Fi/Network

  • Network connectivity is good in Bhutan except for remote valleys.
  • Most hotels in Thimphu and Paro have Wi-Fi but you wouldn’t find internet connection in the other smaller towns/villages.

When in Bhutan…

Try the local food in Bhutan

Chillies are an essential part of Bhutanese cuisine and hence needless to say food in Bhutan is spicy. We tried a lot of local cuisines during our stay and following are the few must haves.

  • Red Rice – One of the staple foods of Bhutan. This is a variety of rice which tastes nutty and is a little grainy.
  • Momo – These heavenly dumplings need no introduction.
  • Suja – The Bhutanese Butter Tea. A Frothy butter drink, salty in taste. Different but worth the try.
  • If you eat non- veg, try Pork at any local restaurant

Hop around the local markets in Bhutan

  • The best way to explore a country’s local culture is to visit its local markets. Phuntsholing, Thimphu and Paro are the prominent places to do some souvenir shopping.
  • Wooden Handicraft and Hand-woven Textiles are very good in Bhutan.

Bhutan itinerary for 8 days

Day 1: Hasimara – Jaigaon- Bhutan

Day 2: Entry permit and reach Thimpu

Day 3: Explore Thimpu

Day 4: Day trip to Punakha via dochula pass

Day 5: Thimpu to Paro via Chele la pass and Haa Valley

Day 6: Hike Tigers Nest

Day 7: Explore Paro

Day 8: Leave Bhutan

You can read the deatiled itinerary here.

Hotels in Bhutan

We stayed at the below hotels in Bhutan:

  • Phuentsholing: Hotel Centinel
  • Thimpu: Hotel Tandin
  • Paro: Hotel Sonam

5 places to visit in Bhutan

Tigers Nest, the cliffside monastery

Tiger’s Nest is Bhutan’s most sacred religious site and one of the must places to visit in Bhutan. Also known as Paro Taktsang, Tiger’s Nest is a beautiful Monastery hung 900 meters above on a cliff overlooking the spectacular Paro Valley.

As legend has it, Guru Rinpoche flew to this site on a Tigress’ back to subdue local demons after which he meditated there for months. Guru Rinpoche is said to be the second Buddha and the one to introduce Buddhism to Bhutan.

Haa Valley, Bhuan’s best kept secret

One of the most beautiful valleys of Bhutan and our favourite pick has to be the Haa Valley. Approximately 65kms from Paro, this beautiful hamlet is Bhutan’s best kept secret.

The Valley is very close to the disputed Indo China Border in Doklam and hence was closed for tourists till 2002. It was made available for the public in 2002. Not many people know of it, as a place to be included in their itinerary.

There are numerous ancient Buddhist temples around which makes the valley ideal for hiking. A few hike options are Yangthang – Hatey Hike, Bjungneydra – Kat – Sho, Gonpa Hike, Jyenkhakha – Jamtey Gonpa – Yangthang Gonpa Hike

Punakha Monastery and river rafting

Punakha is around 80kms from Thimphu and is a 2-hour ride by road. Punakha monastery is one of the most scenic one along the river bank Pho Chhu & Mo Chhu River

If out of all the genres of travel, adventure is your true love, do not miss rafting in Punakha.

Imagine yourself flowing with the current, all drenched while watching a few rare birds in their most natural habitat along with the beautiful Punakha valley at the backdrop. White water rafting is a different experience altogether. Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers in Punakha are famous for river rafting in Bhutan.

Little to no experience is required for rafting on these rivers as there are certified experts who would guide you throughout the course. Specific instructions are given before riding the boat and off you go for an amazing adventure.

The most memorable part of the course is the point where you can see the Punakha Dzong from the river. The Dzong looks beautiful at the backdrop while rafting across.

Dochula Pass

Mountain passes are always beautiful because altitude nurtures tranquillity. Located at an elevation of 3100m, Dochula pass is a tale of bravery, valour, inspiration and spirituality. This place comes on the way to Punakha from Thimpu.

This beautiful mountain pass is located on the way to Punakha from Thimphu and one of the most divine places to visit in Bhutan.

It was built in commemoration of 108 Bhutanese soldiers who passed away in military operations of 2003. There are 108 memorial Chorten or stupas built in remembrance of every lost soul.

Chele la Pass: the highest motorable road in Bhutan

Standing on the highest possible road in Bhutan, wrapped in clouds and prayer flags, Chele La is enthralling. Located at an altitude of 3810m, Chele la links the two Valleys of Paro and Haa.

• Approximately 36kms from Paro and 27kms from Haa, Chele La is situated in between the two valleys.
• Because of its altitude, natural trails through forests with a view of Himalayas , Chele la is famous for mountain biking and trekking in Bhutan.
• The drive to Chele La is through dense spruce forests. Depending on the season of visit, one may come across gushing waterfalls, blooming rhododendrons and yaks grazing.
• The mountain slopes on the way to Chele La are covered in white poppy – a type of flower only found here and nowhere else in the world.
• The temperature at the top is pretty cold and staying long becomes difficult due to the altitude. Summers are chilling but clear and winters are blood freezing cold.
• One a clear day, one can view Mt. Jumolhari – one of Bhutan’s most sacred peak, standing tall at 22,000 ft.

Pack your bags and set out to travel Bhutan if you want to disconnect for a while only to reconnect again happier than ever. The serene landscapes, beautiful valleys, majestic mountains, pristine forests, soothing rivers, traditional lifestyle and warmest people makes Bhutan an experience worth every penny.

 

Southern Sweden lake

Explore Skane, Southern Sweden | Traveldudes.org

 

Skåne is a province located at the most southern tip of Sweden, just a stone’s throw across the water from bustling Copenhagen in Denmark.

The province is well known for it’s beautiful scenery, outstanding culinary experiences and high quality of life.

Here are top tips for your trip to Skane:

A unique and charming countryside “shopping mall” opens in Kivik, Skåne

Dating back to the beginning of the 17th century, Svabesholm Kungsgård is a horse farm that has been transformed to now offer a charming countryside ‘shopping mall’, with accommodation, dining, farm shops and event space, whilst maintaining its farm work. Perfectly situated by the most southern national park in Sweden and surrounded by apple orchards, the farm is perfect for food and nature lovers to explore.  Visit the café and country kitchen, the English garden or why not peek into any of the shops on the farm.

Stand Up Paddleboard in Skåne’s capital, Malmö

Visitors to Skåne’s capital, Malmö, can choose a guided tour or hire a private SUP to explore the city’s canals with What-Sup Malmö. To encourage saving the canal, the company also offers a 10% discount to those who collect any plastic they come across along route.

Brand new watersport in Skåne, Red Bird Watercycling

Red Bird Watercycling is a brand new experience, the first of its kind in Scandinavia, offering guests the opportunity to enjoy the nature of lakes and coast from out on the water, in a way that doesn’t impact on the beauty and the wildlife, or other people.

Lake tours include Snogeholm or Sövde lakes, home to a diverse range of wildlife. Tours last two hours, after which guests are invited to enjoy a breakfast or Fika on the shore. The coastal tour offers a relazed experience to explore the coastline of the Baltic Sea at Ystad. Starting at Ystad Saltsjöbad, the tour heads east in the direction of Kåseberga and offers 360 degree views of the Baltic Sea, as guests follow the marine equivalent of the Österleden and pass the nature reserve Sandskogen.

There is a choice of two different styles of water cycle – the UP and the RECUMBENT. The UP is sitting in a position exactly the same as a regular bike, upright and with pedals, handlebar and seat in the usual way. Balancing is not an issue as the two red inflated floats offer support. For those who would feel more comfortable in a position lower on the cycle, with legs peddling in an extended motion, there is the RECUMBENT option. Price starts at £45 per person.

New Rooftop spa at Hotel Skansenin Båstad, Skåne

An amazing new spa has opened at the premium Hotel Skansen in Båstad. From the rooftop spa, with a combination of indoor and outdoor pools, a Jacuzzi, rooftop bar and relaxation areas, guests have an amazing view of the bay of Laholmsbukten. Båstad is well known as an area for wellness and outdoor activities, and the new spa will give the destination even more reason to travel to the Northwest parts of Skåne.

 

Badian Island Wellness Resort | Traveldudes.org

 

This is my review of the exlusive island resort of Badian Island.

Badian Island Resort in Cebu’s South is an upmarket exclusive resort on Badian Island (Zaragosa Island).  Around 3 and half hours drive from Cebu City. I also compare Sumilon Island Resort with Badian Island to see which is a better resort to stay in Cebu.

The resort offers ionized seawater outdoor pools that provide relaxation to your body. It has a beautiful beach area perfect for lazing in this tropical paradise.They also have an spa for different massages. See their website for more.

Rooms start from the Junior Suite up to their luxurious Thalasso Pool Villas that have amazing views over the ocean. These are the best rooms at the resort. Prices for the rooms are shown in the video, I show how to find the best rates online from sites such as Trivago, Agoda and TripAdvisor.

Badian Island Resort offers lots of activities to nearby attractions like Kawasan Falls and the whale sharks in Oslob. They also have a dive shop and if your into snorkelling, you can snorkel around their Coral Garden, where I did see a turtle.

They have some great food at their restaurant or laze by their swimming pool. Badian Island is one place to spend your holiday in Cebu.

For more travel vlogs on the Philippines by a foreigner please subscribe.

*All rates and conditions subject to change. Please check directly with Badian Island Resort.

 

Croatia restaurant

Top Places in Croatia | Traveldudes.org

 

It’s difficult to know where to start, but these are my top 3 places in Croatia – posted online in the hope that others find this useful.

They are in no particular order, but I’d strongly advise you to visit them all!

I was only in the area for a week, and these are all easily accessible from Split, which was my nominal base for the week (I moved around a fair bit but flew in and out of Split International airport).

1. Hvar

This is a beautiful little island with everything you would expect for a tine place tht has been inhabited since Roman time – cute little squares, tiny walkways through castle-like walls.  It has fantastic views (especially from up high, if you make the slog up the hill to the fort), with 360 degrees of sea.

The best bit about Hvar is the food though – with tens of hte very best restaurants in the Med clammering your your attention (and your wallet!).  It’s not a cheap place to eat, but I would definitley recommend Agava, amongst others.  It is THE standout restaurant.

2. Trogir

I loved the feel of Trogir.  There is an old town that is literally on its own island (and a UNESCO-heritage site), brilliant beaches, and a nightlife that keeps you up until way past your bedtime – especially if you’re a fan of euro-trance like I am!

3. Krka

I’ve seen lots of waterfalls in my time, but with these tehre is so much going on – it’s basically 7 different waterfalls piled on top of each other.  The approach by boat from Skradin is also nice, as is the fact that instead of piling to see them all and pushing through the crowd, you can just head up to them on your boat. 🙂

 

Costa Brava beach

Explore the Costa Brava | Traveldudes.org

 

This article will look to show you all you need to know about the Costa Brava, so that you could explore it whenever you are next in Barcelona.

All the places are a short drive away from Barcelona and are accessible by buses and trains. Of course, it goes without saying that there will be changes to public transport schedules and regulations in adherence to the current health situation.

Therefore we suggest checking in advance before making concrete plans to explore the Costa Brava, but this article should get the ball rolling!

Lloret de Mar

First up is Lloret de Mar, which is found some 50 miles away from Barcelona, and 25 miles from Girona. With plenty of cultural sites, gardens and beaches, it is easily one of the most popular locations on the Costa Brava. With history dating back to Roman times, this spot is a great destination for history lovers, who wish to be by the beach when on holiday in Catalonia. Some of the must-see sites are the Gothic Church of Sant Romà and the Medieval Caste of Sant Joan, both of which are well preserved, with the latter offering some amazing views of the Costa Brava. As for beaches, the Lloret Beach is the main one, running 1,630 metres and is made of sand, making it the most popular in this town. However, there are also the Fenals, Sa Boadella and Santa Cristina beaches that are all accredited with the blue flag seal of quality, offering slightly quieter places to relax.

Tossa de Mar

Next on the list, found some 60 miles from Barcelona, is Tossa de Mar. This is one of the most historic places on the Costa Brava, with clear links back to the Neolithic period (some 12,000 years ago!). The main economic industry found here, other than tourism, is fishing- we suggest trying any locally caught fish at one of the many restaurants found here. As for other things to do in Tossa de Mar, you should check out the Roman Villa of Ametllers, a Roman villa that you can visit the ruins of! Also, there is a ‘Walled-in Old Town’ here, which dates back to the 14th century. You can visit here and see the medieval hospital, the Municipal museum and some churches. After doing all this, you can relax on the Tossa Beach or the Mar Menuda, which offers some fantastic sports facilities for you!

Begur

A slightly smaller place for you to explore on the Costa Brava is Begur. Home to some 4,000 locals, this village has a very traditional Catalan feel to it, with low-rise buildings that lead towards the sea. There are more historical sites here, with the main one being the Castle of Begur, which was constructed in the Medieval period, some 400 years ago! As for beaches, the Sa Riera, Aiguafreda and Sa Tuna are the standouts here for you to go and relax after spending time wandering around the wonderful streets.

L’Escala

Another small fishing town found on the Costa Brava, is L’Escala. Situated between the Gulf of Roses and Cala Montgó, this spot is a more secluded choice but no less beautiful! This place is known for its anchovies and must be tried in one of the restaurants or bars of L’Escala. In keeping with its fishing heritage, there is the Alfolí de la Sal, a 17th Century warehouse that stored all the salt needed to preserve the fish caught here! In addition to this, you should check out the ruins of Empúries, which date back to 580BC.

Cadaqués

The last on the list, is one of the most well-known spots along the Costa Brava, Cadaqués. Once frequented by the likes of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, visiting here will help you understand just why this place is so popular- you’ll even be able to visit Dalís house here! One of the most interesting parts of this town’s history is that in the early 20th Century, many of its inhabitants went to Cuba in search for economic gain; something they would be able to achieve. Upon returning to Cadaqués, these people would build Cuban style houses and bars in homage to Habana life, you can still visit these spots nowadays. Discover Cadaqués, just a 2hr 30min drive from Barcelona, fall in love with the Costa Brava whilst you’re here or at any of the aforementioned spots!

 

Scandinavia's rower on lake

Stockholm: Discover Scandinavia’s Capital | Traveldudes.org

 

Known around the world as the capital of Scandinavia, the city of Stockholm is home to incredible art and cuisine and, despite being the biggest city in Sweden, Scandinavia maintains a friendly and relaxed atmosphere where historic charm meets cutting edge architecture.

The city has announced a number of exciting new experiences and attractions launching over the coming months, which will be ready for travellers to enjoy when the time is right.

Stay at Stockhom’s first beach resort – Ellery Beach House

From the creators of the hugely popular Steam Hotel and Hotel Pigalle comes Ellery Beach House – Stockholm’s latest getaway and only Beach Resort, inspired by the 60s and 70s. Ellery is located on the tip of Lidingö, an island in the inner Stockholm archipelago where urban life feels far away in the rural surroundings – although just 18 minutes away from the city centre. A welcoming beach house with its own private jetty, this is the place to go to for nature, sea, beaches, pools, cabanas, music, design and arts. The hotel’s restaurant, Palmer’s, serves Mediterranean cuisine with inspiration from the Greek islands, vibrant food markets of Tel Aviv and Lebanese meze culture. There’s also The Bally Bar, where guests can enjoy morning coffee, indulge in a long lunch, or finish the day with a cocktail around the open fireplace, as well as Coco Beach Club, with indoor and outdoor pools. Double rooms start from £140 per night.

Private city experiences

Visitors can book a private guide through Our Way Tours, with excursions including a walking tour of the Old Town, a Swedish Fashion walking tour, a bike tour to discover the green lungs of Stockholm, architecture tours and a Swedish Pop Wonders driving tour. Guide Stockholm also offers private tours ranging from Carl Linnaeus and the Linnaean Gardens in Uppsala to Gripsholm Castle. Individual museums, such as The Vasa, also offer private tours outside of opening hours. The gastronomic highlights of Stockholm can be discovered via private food tours with Food Tours Stockholm and for those who want to discover at their own pace, website Alla Promenader gives tips on walks around Stockholm and updates routes based on any starting positon.

Escape to the Stockholm archipelago

Towards the end of August, the archipelago starts to relax from the busy summer season. The colours shift slowly from lush green and intense blue to yellow, orange and red and the sun sits low on the ocean horizon. This is the right time to go for long walks, gaze at the choppy sea and breathe the fresh air. The ferries to and from Stockholm still run frequently, most shops and restaurants are still open and the water is still warm enough to take a dip in the sea.

The idyllic island of Lidö in the Stockholm Archipelago teamed up with Scandinavia energy company Neste for a project called Zero Island, where they aimed to make the whole island fossil-free within a year. 18 different solutions were found, ranging from fossil-free fuel for transport through to fitting solar panels, air water heat pumps and climate curtains to buildings. Over the year, the project reduced emissions by 78%, down from 180 tonnes of CO2 in 2018 to just 40 tonnes in 2019. Guests are encouraged to visit, staying at the Inn Lidö Värdshus, enjoying fossil free experiences and trying a zero carbon diet.