Bhutanese souvenirs to buy when shopping in Bhutan
Bhutanese souvenirs to buy when shopping in Bhutan

Bhutan is one of the world’s most stunning travel destinations. Apart from its telltale monuments and breathtaking sceneries, Bhutan offers plenty of souvenirs to take home with you! 

The Bhutan Shopping Experience 

Wondering what to buy in Bhutan? Shopping in Bhutan is a delightful experience with many items exclusively found in the country. From local stores to major souvenir emporiums, you might want to get your hands on some of these unique Bhutanese products to mark your trip to Bhutan.   

Here are 15 items that exhibit the unique culture and tradition of Bhutan:  

#1. Thangkas – Pictorial Religious Scrolls 

Representation of divinity through paintings 
Representation of divinity through paintings 

The thangka paintings are not only works of art but also religious symbols that people hold sacred. Thangkas are an integral part of Buddhism, and they include depictions of a god, a mandala, or a Buddhist master of spiritual significance.    

Thangkas are painted on canvas made out of cotton and silk. The paintings are usually block printed or embroidered with vibrant colors. 

Of course, if you’re looking for high-end collector art, you’ll want to verify the painting’s authenticity. Still, for home décor and gifts, there are many Buddhist paintings that will make excellent keepsakes for travelers to Bhutan. 

Where to find them: Handicraft emporium and Zorig Chusum in Thimphu, the capital city. 

#2. Ethnic Jewelry

An ethnic bangle adorned with gemstones
An ethnic bangle adorned with gemstones

If you’re shopping in Bhutan, you’ll find these items sold in major stores around Bhutan where tourists frequent. When shopping in Bhutan, the best things to buy include jewelry and accessories like arm adornments, necklaces, rings, and many more.

Jewelry is a Buddhist iconography in Bhutan and has always been a traditional adornment for the Bhutanese people. Bhutan offers the opportunity to check out dazzling items for your family and friends back home!   

Where to find them: Jewelry stores and handicrafts around major cities.  

#3. Apparels And Textiles 

Bhutanese Yathra products
Bhutanese Yathra products

Apparels and textiles are popular items to consider shopping in Bhutan. Bhutanese are well-known for their incredible artistry. There are various hand-woven textiles and apparel made from various materials, including the Bhutanese Yathra, which is a must-buy while you’re at it.   

Traditional textiles in Bhutan include Bura from the east, Kishuthara from Pema Gatshel, and Bumthap Yathra and Mathra from the central parts of Bhutan. You can also find a huge collection of shawls, Blankets, Rugs, Sweaters, warm minks, and other clothes.  

Where to find them: handicraft emporium and weaving centers around Thimphu. 

#4. Spiritual Mementos From Bhutan  

Carved wooden mask used for rituals and mask dances
Carved wooden mask used for rituals and mask dances

If you’re someone who appreciates traditional art, the carved wooden masks are one of the best Bhutanese souvenirs to buy. These masks are an important part of Bhutanese festivals, where monks wear them to perform mask dances.  

The carved wooden masks depict divine and mythical lifeforms. And with these brilliantly colored masks, you can certainly add some color to your walls at home. Don’t forget to look at these amazing products when you’re out shopping in Bhutan. 

Where to find them: Handicrafts around the major cities. 

#5. Dappa – Wooden Bowls 

An ornamented wooden bowl
An ornamented wooden bowl

Speaking of Bhutanese souvenirs made from wood, Dappa (wooden bowls) is another unique item you can consider shopping in Bhutan.

The wooden bowls come in various colors, sizes, and some are adorned with bronze and silver. These masterly crafted wooden bowls can be found practically everywhere in Bhutan because they are found in almost every house.  

Where to find them: Handicrafts around Major cities and from Trashiyangtse in the east. 

#6. Cane And Bamboo Crafts  

Bhutanese exotic items made from Bamboo
Bhutanese exotic items made from Bamboo

You can find amazing hand-crafted bamboo products from craft villages to the authentic handicraft bazaar in the capital’s core. You can find floor mats, baskets, wall-hangings, utensils, and more that are crafted from bamboo. 

The handcrafted bamboo products are praised for their beauty and intricate designs. Visitors looking for a gift from Bhutan can visit one of the many handicraft shops found in the major cities of Bhutan.  

Where to find them: The handicraft emporium in Thimphu. 

#7. Deh-sho – Bhutanese Handmade Paper 

Making of Deh-Sho paper in Jungshi factory, Thimphu
Making of Deh-Sho paper in Jungshi factory, Thimphu

When shopping in Bhutan, you can also begin by looking at the authentic Bhutanese handmade paper known as Deh-sho. Talking about age-old traditions, Deh-sho papers are a traditional method to produce paper and other items like stationeries and greeting cards. 

The paper is manufactured from the bark of the Daphne tree, which is seen at altitudes above 3000 meters. Flowers, plants, and dried red chilies are used to provide texture to the papers.

What’s better? You can tour around the factories and understand how these authentic papers are made. 

Where to find them: Jungshi Paper Factory and other stationery stores. 

#8. Herbal Products From Bhutan  

Bhutanese medicinal herbs and products
Bhutanese medicinal herbs and products

Bhutan is known for its nature, and a host of therapeutic herbs found all across the country.

Needless to say, finding Bhutanese medicinal herbs outside of the country is difficult. Various medicinal herbs, such as cordyceps, are commonly offered in tight sachets or boxes, which is super convenient.

These herbal products can be found in practically every store in the major cities, but the Institute Of Traditional Medicine or the CSI market in Thimphu offers a more unique experience.

#9. Local Food Ingredients 

Bhutanese local ingredients for foodies 
Bhutanese local ingredients for foodies 

Anyone who has visited Bhutan would tell you that the Bhutanese local ingredients are just irresistible!

Fresh local ingredients, which are widely used in Bhutanese cuisine, are one of the items you can find in abundance. Dried red chili, chili powder, tea, noodles, cheese are among the most popular foods among the ingredients.  

Let’s get in on a little secret: The ingredients that make almost every Bhutanese enjoy the hot Ema Datshi are dried red chili and cheese! Ema Datshi (spicy chili dish) is perhaps the country’s national cuisine. 

Local Bhutanese ingredients are difficult to get by, but they’re well worth picking if you’re ever shopping in Bhutan. After all, these are Bhutanese gifts that will surprise your guests during your next dinner party!  

Where to find them: Centenary Farmers Market in Thimphu

#10. Postal Stamps  

Postal stamps of Bhutan
Postal stamps of Bhutan

Bhutan offers a rich experience for those who are interested in collectibles.  Bhutan Post Office and the Bhutan Postal Museum are known for their unusual postal stamps.

The best part yet, these unique postal stamps include CD stamps that can play Bhutanese melodies and Vinyl record stamps that play various noises when placed in a gramophone.  

While shopping in Bhutan, stop into the Bhutan Postal Museum for an insightful glimpse into Bhutan’s postal history. Visitors can purchase stamps or have their photos engraved on them for personalized stamps to take home as souvenirs.

Where to find them: Bhutan Post Office and Bhutan Postal Museum 

#11. Swords And Knives 

A Bhutanese Patang at Wochu Iron Craft
A Bhutanese Patang at Wochu Iron Craft

Yes, Bhutanese swords and knives are popular souvenirs that make for excellent gifts and keepsakes. A Patang, also known as Dozum, is a single-edged blade traditionally produced in Bhutan. 

Aside from having its distinct features and set of functionalities, each Bhutanese sword has its own significance.

While shopping in Bhutan, you can look at the numerous swords and buy one for yourself. These swords are either sheathed in leather or a decorative wooden scabbard. 

Where to find them: Wochu Iron Craft in Paro and handicraft stores around Thimphu  

#12. Lungta Prayer Flags 

Prayers flags depicting mythical creatures and ancient scriptures
Prayers flags depicting mythical creatures and ancient scriptures

Lungta Prayer flags are auspicious flags with representations of gods and mantras on them. They are considered to bring happiness, wealth, good fortune, health, and the ability to overcome challenges. 

Bhutan’s mountains and hills are draped with prayer flags. These prayer flags are believed to spread good fortune.

Because of their spiritual symbolism and affordability, prayer flags have become one of the most popular souvenirs among travelers. They can be hung by a window or inside your vehicle and spread blessings when the wind flutters them.

Where to find them: Handicraft stores around major cities 

Bottom Line 

When you’re traveling in a spiritually and culturally vibrant country like Bhutan, the options for buying souvenirs are endless. Bhutan souvenirs are among the best travel gifts and with this list in hand, you’ll definitely astonish your friends and family at home.  

Do you want to learn more about Bhutan? Check out The 10 unexpected things you’ll experience in Bhutan

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