Best places to visit in Bhutan

Thimphu

The Memorial Chorten in Thimphu

Thimphu is an intriguing destinations and the capital of Bhutan. The city nestled in the higher ranges of the Himalayas offers astonishing sights of their emerald forests and beautiful view of the Raidak or Chuu River. Thimphu is culturally a must visit place graced with old world charms and modernity. You might just be amazed to witness their red light to be a traffic policeman. Interestingly, the red light lasted in the city for mere three days until the locals disliked and found the light to be rather negative, hence replaced with the human traffic controller. Today, the city is flooded with camera-wielding tourists exploring the unique treasures of Bhutanese culture, cuisine and lifestyle. Basically, the top sightseeing places that are popularly explored in Thimphu are Buddha Dordenma, Memorial Chorten, Dechencholing Palace, Clock Tower Square, Motithang Takin Preserve. Other tourism places include Dzong such as Tashichho and Simtokha; Monasteries such as Dechen Phodrang, Tango and Cheri. For an excursion breaker, Thimphu also offers charming cafes and bars as well as nightclubs and restaurants to socialise and meet like-minded people.

Paro

The Paro Dzong with a beautiful mountain backdrop

Its peaceful serene beauty and clean air, surrounded by unlevelled mountains, lush green fields and historical buildings make Paro the foremost popular destination in Bhutan. It is here in the city, where the only international airport can be found. Thus, Paro receives maximum number of tourists year round. There are frequent visits to the attractive dzongs such as Paro and Zuri; monasteries and palaces like Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest Monastery), Pelri Goemba, Ugyen Pelri Palace. Other best tourism places include temples, monuments and museums such as Bondey Lhakhang, Khangkhu Lhakhang, Tago Lhakhang, Druk Choeding and National Museum. Paro is a historic town with peaceful atmosphere and it is best explored on foot. It is worth a stroll witnessing the everyday life of the locals which ultimately makes it a must visit place in Bhutan.

Punakha

The Punakha Dzong sits on the convergence of two rivers

Another breathtaking destination in Bhutan is Punakha and this place is widely visited by adventure seekers. ‘The best place to be’ for those who enjoy the adrenaline rush of river rafting in the two rivers/chhus – Mo and Pho. However, Punakha is widely famous for the 17th-century fortress Punakha Dzong which sits majestically besides the Pho and Mo Chhu. This Himalayan town hosts masked dances and traditional music during Punakha Tshechu– a religious festival of Bhutan. The feeling the place offers is surreal, and thus many people visit here mostly to understand the Bhutanese culture and history as well as to relish its divine natural beauty. Surrounding the town in the Punakha Valley, it has some must visit attractions like Chimi Lhakhang and Namgyal Chorten. From these points, one can get a grand view of rivers and mountains. Punakha Dzong and Limbhukha are also best places to see while in Punakha.

Trongsa

The Trongsa Dzong is a mighty fortress

Trongsa sits in the central Bhutan and its lush flora creates a beautiful place to surround your senses and simply meditate. This must see place in Bhutan is conveniently placed in the centre with a strategic junction connecting roads to Bumthang, Gelephu and Punakha. A noteworthy attraction in Trongsa is the Trongsa Dzong. This is one of the best Buddhist monasteries beautifully topped with red roofs and white wash walls set down above a valley. Trongsa is a sleepy little town and apart from sightseeing the only thing one can do to pass the time is to take a stroll along the shops that are beautifully decorated with pot plants and crowded by gleeful locals.

Jakar

Nearing the foothills of Choekhor Valley lays Jakar, locally known as Chamkhar. This region is mainly known for its trading centre and the famous attraction in this place is the Jakar Dzong. Peacefully sited above the town in the Chamkhar Valley of Bumthang, this popular dzong is most probably the largest all over Bhutan. Jakar most likely may take several days for a complete tour of the surrounding valleys. Here, apart from the Jakar Dzong, other interesting and widely visited attractions are Wangdicholing Palace which was built in 1857, Bumthang Brewery, Lhodrak Kharchu Goemba founded in the year 1970s by Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche; Cheese Factory which is the only commercial cheese factory in Bhutan and the 14th-century Jakar Lhakhang. The domestic airport in Jakar is Bathpalathang Airport which is located on the east bank of the Chamkhar Chhu.

Phobjikha

Phobjikha is an enormous U-shaped glacial valley bordering the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. This ever enchanting land is where the beautiful black-necked cranes are found during winters. Not just that, as picturesque and quiet this place may be Phobjikha witnesses thrilling festivals as well. Held every year in the confines of the Phobjikha Valley, Tsechu Festival and the Crane Festival that welcomes the black-neck cranes are vigorously celebrated in the Gangteng Monastery courtyard. However, this abode on the western slopes of the Black Mountains offers spellbinding views of beautiful valleys, marshy land and grassy pastures. In addition to the cranes, since Phobjikha is close to Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, you can sight muntjacs (barking deer), wild boars, sambars, serows, Himalayan black bears, leopards and red foxes in the surrounding hills. Apart from the wildlife in Bhutan, other attractions in Phobjikha are Gangte Goemba, Nyelung Dechenling, Khewang Lhakhang, Kumbu Lhakhang, Damchen Lhakhang, White Chorten and Wangmo Hand-Woven Carpet Factory.

Wangdue Phodrang

Yet another place to visit in Bhutan is Wangdue Phodrang, it is a beautiful and calm town. This place is located in Central Bhutan located and is a border town near Punakha. Wangdue Phodrang is widely famous for its bamboo products, slate and stone carvings. Another noteworthy attraction here is the Wangdue Phodrang dzong which is opened for visitors only during Wangdue Phodrang Tshechu celebration held during autumn. With the confluence of Punakha Chhu and Tang Chhu, Wangdue Phodrang provides rich pastureland for cattle and offers attractive scenery. While here, the tourist interest places that are widely visited are Radak Neykhang, Archery Ground, Vegetable Market, Army Training Centre, Dzong Gate and Eight Chortens.

Jigme Dorji National Park

Jigme Dorji is a National Park located in Bhutan and is one of the top travel destinations in Asia for wildlife. This park is the second largest national park covering the districts such as Gasa District, Thimphu District, Paro District, Punakha, and Wangdue Phodrang Districts. Why Jigme Dorji National Park is famous because, it has the best of both worlds, including wildlife, there are cultural sites within the park as well. In fact, the park consists of about 6,500 people living within the park taking care of the agriculture and animal husbandry; it has been listed as a tentative site by the UNESCO. However, aforementioned national park is home to various flora and fauna. Here, there are about 37 known species of mammals as well as endangered species such as clouded leopard, snow leopard, takin, Bengal tiger, Himalayan blue sheep, Himalayan black bear, black musk deer, red panda and Ussuri dhole. Nonetheless, this national park is also home to the sambar, serow, barking deer, marmot, goral, pika and more than 300 species of birds. Jigme Dorji National Park is the only park that has national animal – Takin, National Flower – Blue Poppy, National Bird – Raven and National Tree – Cypress existing together in the same premises. These features make the park one of the best places to visit in Bhutan.