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Bhutan Gay Travel

A truly hidden gem that welcomes gay travellers.

Known as the “Land Of The Thunder Dragon,” Bhutan offers an enchanting experience for LGBTQ+ travellers. The country’s distinctive mixture of cultural traditions and modern amenities, combined with a strong emphasis on the happiness of citizens and visitors alike, makes it one of the safest countries for foreign travellers. With its pristine landscapes, well-maintained infrastructure, and cultural reverence for nature, Bhutan stands out as an exceptionally clean and environmentally conscious nation.




Quick Facts

  • Capital City: Thimphu
  • Currency: Bhutanese ngultrum (BTN)
  • Languages: Dzongkha (also known as Bhutanese)
  • Best Time of Year to Visit: Spring (March to May) and Fall (September to November)

LGBTQ+ Rights in Bhutan

Gay Bhutan Travel

Best Places to Visit in Bhutan

More Info

Bhutan is famous for pioneering a policy of Gross National Happiness, wherein the country’s success is measured by the happiness of its people rather than by financial wealth. While you might expect that Bhutan would have made life better for LGBTQ+ people, Bhutan is a heavily religious country with most citizens identifying as Buddhist. Buddhism, however, does not condemn homosexuality, meaning the Bhutanese are much less conservative than neighboring cultures.

 

Gay Activity: Legal
Lesbian Activity: Legal
Same-Sex Marriage: Not Recognized
Right to Change Gender: Ambiguous
Same-Sex Adoption: Single only
LGBTQ+ Discrimination: No Protections

LGBTQ+ travellers are highly unlikely to experience discrimination or harassment as Bhutanese people consider homosexuality to be “non-Bhutanese” and have no concern for the foreign visitors. Public displays of affection are rare by couples of any orientation in Bhutan, so travellers should be respectful and avoid them.

5. Dochula Pass

Nestled at an elevation of 10,170 feet (3,100m), Dochula Pass offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks. Renowned for its collection of 108 memorial chortens (or stupas), the pass holds both cultural and spiritual significance.

4. Thimphu

The capital city of Bhutan is a testament to the country’s unique approach to development. You won’t find any traffic lights, but you will find plenty of tradition, a vibrant arts and crafts scene, and many Buddhist festivals. Located in a lush valley in the western end of the country, the city is completely surrounded by Himalayan peaks.

3. Buddha Dordenma Statue

This colossal 169-foot-tall (51m) gilded bronze statue is positioned majestically atop a hill overlooking Thimphu. The monument not only serves as a symbol of peace and prosperity, but also contains an elaborate network of temples and meditation halls.

2. Punakha Dzong

Known colloquially as the “Palace of Great Happiness,” this architectural masterpiece is perched at the confluence of two rivers. Characterized by its striking white-walled exterior and elaborate wooden carvings, this fortress-monastery holds immense cultural and religious significance as a central hub for Bhutanese affairs.

1. Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest)

Widely known as the “Tiger’s Nest,” Paro Taktsang is an iconic Buddhist monastery constructed precariously on the side of a cliff in 1692. Accessible through a challenging trek, this sacred site is famous not only for its captivating appearance, but also because, according to the legend, Guru Rinpoche meditated in its great cave in the 8th century before going forth to spread the word of Buddhism.

Best Time to Visit: Located in the Himalayan region south of China and north of Bangladesh, the ideal seasons to visit are spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). During these months, the weather is generally pleasant with clear skies, making it suitable for outdoor exploration, trekking, and visiting cultural sites.

Electricity: Type D, F & G Sockets

Time Zone: Bhutan Time ( UTC+6)

Covid-19 Vaccination Requirements: We’re dedicated to ensuring our tours are safe for everyone, but it is our belief that each traveler has a responsibility to protect themselves and their fellow travellers from COVID-19. As of May 1, 2023, Out Adventures no longer requires guests to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination on most of our tours. If vaccination is a requirement for entry, or on select cruises, this will be communicated at the time a trip is confirmed to depart. Before booking, we recommend that you read our COVID-19 Information Page and our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions to understand what we’re doing to minimize risk, and what will happen if you contract COVID-19 before or during an Out Adventures tour.

Vaccinations: We recommend routine and measles vaccines, but to determine if you should take further measures, talk to your doctor or a travel medical clinic.

Visas: You need a Bhutanese visa to enter and exit Bhutan. All visas are approved in the capital, Thimphu, and are only issued to tourists who have booked travel with a local licensed tour operator, either directly or through a foreign travel agent. Applications for tourist visas are submitted by the local tour operator. Click here for more info.

Last updated on Oct. 30, 2023. Disclaimer: The information provided was accurate at the time of publishing, but cannot be guaranteed.
LGBT Rights in Bhutan

Bhutan is famous for pioneering a policy of Gross National Happiness, wherein the country’s success is measured by the happiness of its people rather than by financial wealth. While you might expect that Bhutan would have made life better for LGBTQ+ people, Bhutan is a heavily religious country with most citizens identifying as Buddhist. Buddhism, however, does not condemn homosexuality, meaning the Bhutanese are much less conservative than neighboring cultures.

 

Gay Activity: Legal
Lesbian Activity: Legal
Same-Sex Marriage: Not Recognized
Right to Change Gender: Ambiguous
Same-Sex Adoption: Single only
LGBTQ+ Discrimination: No Protections

Gay Bhutan Travel

LGBTQ+ travellers are highly unlikely to experience discrimination or harassment as Bhutanese people consider homosexuality to be “non-Bhutanese” and have no concern for the foreign visitors. Public displays of affection are rare by couples of any orientation in Bhutan, so travellers should be respectful and avoid them.

Best Places to Visit in Bhutan

5. Dochula Pass

Nestled at an elevation of 10,170 feet (3,100m), Dochula Pass offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks. Renowned for its collection of 108 memorial chortens (or stupas), the pass holds both cultural and spiritual significance.

4. Thimphu

The capital city of Bhutan is a testament to the country’s unique approach to development. You won’t find any traffic lights, but you will find plenty of tradition, a vibrant arts and crafts scene, and many Buddhist festivals. Located in a lush valley in the western end of the country, the city is completely surrounded by Himalayan peaks.

3. Buddha Dordenma Statue

This colossal 169-foot-tall (51m) gilded bronze statue is positioned majestically atop a hill overlooking Thimphu. The monument not only serves as a symbol of peace and prosperity, but also contains an elaborate network of temples and meditation halls.

2. Punakha Dzong

Known colloquially as the “Palace of Great Happiness,” this architectural masterpiece is perched at the confluence of two rivers. Characterized by its striking white-walled exterior and elaborate wooden carvings, this fortress-monastery holds immense cultural and religious significance as a central hub for Bhutanese affairs.

1. Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest)

Widely known as the “Tiger’s Nest,” Paro Taktsang is an iconic Buddhist monastery constructed precariously on the side of a cliff in 1692. Accessible through a challenging trek, this sacred site is famous not only for its captivating appearance, but also because, according to the legend, Guru Rinpoche meditated in its great cave in the 8th century before going forth to spread the word of Buddhism.

More Info

Best Time to Visit: Located in the Himalayan region south of China and north of Bangladesh, the ideal seasons to visit are spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). During these months, the weather is generally pleasant with clear skies, making it suitable for outdoor exploration, trekking, and visiting cultural sites.

Electricity: Type D, F & G Sockets

Time Zone: Bhutan Time ( UTC+6)

Covid-19 Vaccination Requirements: We’re dedicated to ensuring our tours are safe for everyone, but it is our belief that each traveler has a responsibility to protect themselves and their fellow travellers from COVID-19. As of May 1, 2023, Out Adventures no longer requires guests to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination on most of our tours. If vaccination is a requirement for entry, or on select cruises, this will be communicated at the time a trip is confirmed to depart. Before booking, we recommend that you read our COVID-19 Information Page and our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions to understand what we’re doing to minimize risk, and what will happen if you contract COVID-19 before or during an Out Adventures tour.

Vaccinations: We recommend routine and measles vaccines, but to determine if you should take further measures, talk to your doctor or a travel medical clinic.

Visas: You need a Bhutanese visa to enter and exit Bhutan. All visas are approved in the capital, Thimphu, and are only issued to tourists who have booked travel with a local licensed tour operator, either directly or through a foreign travel agent. Applications for tourist visas are submitted by the local tour operator. Click here for more info.

Last updated on Oct. 30, 2023. Disclaimer: The information provided was accurate at the time of publishing, but cannot be guaranteed.
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