5+1 Unique Experiences That You Can Only Have in Bhutan
#1. EAT RED RICE
As my guide and I drove from Paro to Thimphu I noticed myriad crop fields, many of which, I was told, grew rice.
Not the white or brown or even black rice I was so used to, but high-altitude red rice grown at 8,000 feet (2,438 meters).
According to Fooducate, “From a nutrition perspective, red rice has 3 grams of fiber per serving (brown rice has 2 grams).
And it has 10 times the antioxidants of brown rice!
Red rice is also very rich in essential nutrients manganese (80% of your daily value) and molybdenum (35%).”
#2. TRY YAK BUTTER TEA
Made from brewed tea, yak butter, water and salt, this thick, oily beverage is a staple across Bhutan.
High in calories and served warm, it is polite to sip it slowly. If you’re lucky enough to try some with a local family, take note that the host will refill the cup after every sip until it is time for you to leave.
If you don’t want anymore, leave your cup full then drink it all just before you get up to go.
#3. BE BLESSED WITH A … PENIS
In Bhutan you can visit Lobesa, a village in the District of Punakha that’s home to Chimi Lhakhang, also known as the Temple of the Divine Madman.
The Divine Madman was known for his unconventional ways of teaching the Buddhist lessons, one of which was having copious amounts of sex (including with nuns and with his own mother!) to spread positive energy.
He also had the ability to enlarge his phallus to fight and defeat demons.
This is why you’ll see homes all over the country with big colorful penises painted on the facades, as well as wooden phalluses on the roofs and above the doors to keep demons at bay.
Inside the temple itself, it’s possible to be blessed with a phallus made from an elephant tusk, an object that once belonged to the Divine Madman himself in the late 15th/early 16th centuries.
#4. SEE A TAKIN
Bhutan’s national animal is the takin – a weird looking, almost caricaturist animal that looks exactly like the body of a yak and the head of a goat.
Legend has it that the Divine Madman created it from the bones of both animals and it certainly looks like that.
The takin is endemic to Bhutan and can only be found there. What makes it even rarer? It feeds on bamboo.
But hey, kissing a takin will bring you good luck. That’s what the legend says…
#5. VISIT THE THIMPHU WEEKEND MARKET
You can browse the freshest organic seasonal fruit and veg you’ve probably ever seen, smell all the different types of incense, try some yak cheese, then head to the nearby handicrafts market to pick up souvenirs.
#6. MEET A KING
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck – the king of Bhutan – and his wife Jetsun Pema are adored across the country.
The king is known as a humble leader, with an open-door policy that allows any citizen to request a private meeting.
Hello Your Majesty, my name is… You can take it from here…
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