Top 10 must-visit attractions of Bhutan

Updated at Dec 22, 2021 by Mission Himalaya

Sharing the border with India and Tibet, Bhutan is a meticulous Buddhist mountainous country. Comprised of valleys harboring monasteries, meandering rivers, and vast flora and faunas, Bhutan completely is a perfect travel destination for all kinds of travel enthusiasts. Amidst the solitary and serene ambiance of Bhutan, there are much more things to see and experience. However, relishing the beauty of each of those attractions seems quite impossible during your vacation. Thus, for your ease, below we have listed the top 10 must-visit attractions of Bhutan.

Phobjikha Valley/ Gangtey Valley

Popular as the Gangtey Valley, Phobjikha Valley in Bhutan has got everything to mesmerize travelers from all parts of the world. Whether you are a religious believer or nature lover, this valley never leaves you empty-handed during your return. Thus, in case you make your visit to the Land of Thunder Dragon, do make sure to make your step into this fascinating glacial valley of Phobjikha.

Reflecting much like a shape of bowl, the Phobjikha Valley is the home to one of the most attractive Buddhist monasteries in Bhutan namely Gangtey Monastery. Furthermore, the valley has got more popularity for being the winter residence of endangered Black Necked Cranes. Most of the time, these Black Necked Cranes live in Tibet, but during the winter season, they make Phobjikha Valley/ Gangtey Valley their temporary residence. If you visit this valley during the winter season, you get to see the gracefully celebrated Crane Festival. The festival is held in the courtyard of the Gangtey Monastery especially to welcome the Black-Necked Cranes.

Besides, Black Necked Cranes, the valley houses several other globally threatened species. Full of natural bounties, the valley also offers many hiking and short treks if you are into walking barefoot.

Away from urbanization, the valley of Phobjikha will be a perfect retreat for your body, mind, and soul.

Paro

As Paro has the only international airport in the country, it is the place from where the start of each traveler's journey occurs. Teemed with lots of historical and religious monuments, the city of Paro is worth visiting. Rice Fields in Paro are the other major attractions of this historical city. By traversing Paro on foot, you can best experience the local lifestyle of Bhutanese people.

Some of the best places you can explore during your stay in Paro are:

Ringpung Dzong

Ringpung Dzong is one of the most celebrated monasteries in Bhutan. Constructed in the 16th century, the Dzong today is used for monastic as well as administrative purposes. The architecture of this dzong is incredibly beautiful. Further, located on the steep hill of Paro, it is the perfect location to admire the surrounding views of the Valley and mountains. Thus to gain some historical knowledge of Bhutan and to enjoy Bhutan's spectacular scenery a visit to Ringpung Dzong is way more pleasing.

National Museum:

Museums are always the best place to go for the collection of historical information about a particular place or country. Likewise, to know the historical and cultural aspects of Bhutan, what can be more interesting than the visit to the National Museum of Bhutan.

The National Museum is inside the building of eminent Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower. Inside the museum, you can see the graceful displayed ancient Bhutanese arms, paintings and other handicraft items. All of such collections make this place a must-visit tourist destination in Bhutan.

In addition, bringing up the beatific smile in your face the location of this museum offers you some enchanting views of valleys and rivers.

Kyichu Lhakhang:

Deemed as the sacred Jewel of Bhutan, this ancient temple namely, Kyichu Lhakhang is located in the north of Paro town. The temple was built in the seventh century by the Buddhist King Songstsen Gampo of Tibet. Carrying the stories from the past, the temple reflects the historical arts and cultures of ancient Bhutan. Thus make a visit to this impressive historical temple and gather some interesting information which is originated behind the construction of this temple.

Thimpu-Capital of Bhutan:

Thimphu is the pride of Bhutan. Located in the western part of central Bhutan it was declared the capital city of the country in 1961. From the declaration date, it is the capital of the country. With no traffic light system in the city, the city is peaceful on its own. Wandering around the streets of Thimphu, you will get attracted by the delicious delicacies available here. Further, offering the captivating views of lush forest and Chhu River, the capital of Bhutan deserves your visit whenever you are in Bhutan.

For your exploration, this capital city Thimphu also houses several historical, religious and administrative structures:

Tashichho Dzong:

Tashicho Dzong is situated in the northern part of Thimphu on the western bank of the Wang Chu River. Well-known a Thimphu Dzong. it currently houses the office of the throne room and the seat of the King. Further, it is also the summer residence of the monks.

The intricately designed structure of the Tashichho Dzong gives you a sense of satisfaction upon your visit.

Further, if you visit this Dzong at the festive time of the Thimphu Tsechu Festival or the Thimphu Dromuchu Festival, just be ready to take your excitement level to the sheer level.

National Memorial Chorten:

National Memorial Chorten is the popular Landmark of Thimphu. It was constructed in the honor of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third king of Bhutan. The Chorten is a large whitewashed structure with several golden spires on the top. The interior of the Chorten is adorned with the intricately designed images of Ngawang Namgyal, Gautam Buddha and Padmasambhava. Though the complex consists of four entrances, only one entry gate remains open for the visitors.

Many Bhutanese people circumambulate the Chorten on a regular basis. To experience the real beauty of this memorial Chorten, make your presence at this place.

Buddha Dordenma Statue

The tallest Buddha Dordenma statue is located at the foothill of Thimphu inside Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park. Standing at the height of 169 feet, it is the biggest statue of Lord Budhha in the world.

Punakha- Old Capital of Bhutan

If not Punakha, what do you think should be in the top 10 attractions in Bhutan. Well without the inclusion of Punakha in the list, the list of must-visit places in Bhutan remains incomplete.

Popular as the old capital city of Bhutan, Punakha holds the tag of the best holiday destination in Bhutan. The presence of delicately constructed Lhakhangs, Chortens and Dzongs makes this valley astonishingly beautiful. In addition, the emerald forest and ever-flowing river are other prime highlights of this place.

List of a few places you must ramble around during your visit to Punakha.

Punakha Dzong

Located at the confluence of two rivers Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, Punakha Dzong holds the history back from the 17th century.

Used as the administrative seat of government until 1995, the Dzong is the second-largest and oldest Buddhist Dzong in the Country. Along with several other relics, the Dzong today houses the sacred remains of the Zhabdrung Rinpoche.

Kamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

Kamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten was built in 2004 by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck. Perched on the hill above Paro Valley, the purpose behind the construction of this monastery was to bring peace and harmony for all living beings by driving away all the evil energy.

Constructed in the form of a Pagoda like a stupa, its interior consists of several fascinating mandalas and images of deities. The location of this marvellous structure gives you an enthralling view of the Mo Chhu(Female River) river.

Chimmi Lhakhang

Famed as Fertility Temple, Chimmi Lhakhang Temple was built by Ngawang Chogyel. Ngawang Chogyel was known to be the 14th Drukpa Hierarch. Seeking the blessing of the saint, several couples visit this temple with their newly born child. Further, those who are not blessed with the child visit this place wishing for the child.

Taktsang Monastery(Tiger's Nest Monastery)

Around 900meters above the Paro Valley, the astonishingly built Taktsang Monastery deserves your visit whenever you are in Bhutan. The location of the monastery makes the travellers reminisce about the trip to Taktsang for a lifetime.

A visit to this monastery is best-fitted for all kinds of tourists. Whether you are a religious traveller or natural sightseeing lover, the visit to this monastery is fruitful for all travellers. Furthermore, for the trekking enthusiasts, the route from Paro to Taktsang serves the best. The panoramic view of Paro Valley and the rivers from this hilltop is another treat for your eyes. Amidst the pristine nature, the place holds great importance for meditation lovers.

It is believed that the place where the monastery exists today is the same place where the Guru Rinpoche mediated. By sitting on the back of the tigresses, he flew to this sacred place from Tibet. Due to this reason, this is considered the most religious site in Bhutan.

Bumthang

Seeking a spiritual retreat? Take a visit to Bhumtang, the heart of Bhutan which is comprised mostly of the ancient and exquisite Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Situated at an elevation of 2600m, the valley is the home to several religious temples and monasteries.

Further, visiting Jakar, the main city of Bhumtang, you can pay your homage to several temples and monasteries, including Jakar Dzong and many others. Also during your ramble around the Jakar city prepare yourself to see the people indulging themself in making the traditional handicrafts. Besides, the city also houses a terrain full of apple trees. The view of this terrain comes as mesmerising scenery to your eyes.

Dochu La Pass

Dochu La Pass comes on the list of the most admired travelling destination in Bhutan. It happens at least twice that travellers cross this pass during a journey from Thimphu to Punakha. During this travel, many opt to stop at this pass for a wonderful exploration of this pass. Situated at an elevation of 3100m, Dochu La Pass is the place where you can see the 108 Chortens built-in memory of great warriors who sacrificed their lives there during the revolt in Bhutan.

Collectively called the Druk Wangyal Chortens, these mini-stupas adds value to this Pass. Further within a little walk on the hilltop, the structure of Druk Wangyal Temple is another highlight of this stop. This temple was built there for the peace and welfare of the country. Observing the temple, you can collect much information about Buddhist art, culture and tradition.

On top of all these highlights, what makes your visit to Dochu La Pass more satisfying is the awe-inspiring views of mountain peaks in Bhutan including the still unclimbed Mt. Gangkar Puensum.

Chele La Pass

Situated at an elevation of 3988m, Chelela Pass is one of the most pleasing viewpoints in Bhutan. On the western part of the Paro Valley, Chelela Pass is the highest pass that can be passed through vehicles. Boosting the magnificent views of Mt Chomolhari, the viewpoint of Chele La Pass lets you spend a blissful time in the ethereal nature. Apart from mountains, the Pass cheers up your mood with the captivating views of waterfalls, forests, and incredible valleys.

After around 2 hours of drive from Paro, tangled on the poles, the colorful prayer flags on the roadsides give you the indication of your arrival at the Chele La Pass. The locals here believe that the presence of vibrant prayer flags here keeps all the demons and evil spirits away.

As the extension of the road from Chele La Pass leads you to the Haa Valley, the trip to Chele La Pass also grants you the wonderful opportunity to take a stroll around the alluring Haa Valley.

Jigme Dorji National Park

Spreading over an area of around 4316m, Jigme Dorji National Park is the second-largest National park in Bhutan. The park is named after the late Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck was the third King of Bhutan.

The park houses abundant Flora and Fauna species. Considered the Jewel of Bhutan, this park lets you enjoy a glimpse of national animals, flowers, birds, and trees of Bhutan.

If you are lucky enough, you can also spot various endangered species, including Snow Leopard, Red Panda, Bengal Tiger, and many others.

Around 5 hours drive away from the beautiful Paro City, a trip to this national park blesses you with all the natural treasures. Besides, the presence of several cultural sides at the border of this park lets visitors revel in spiritual peace.

Trongsa

The name of this town of Bhutan might be new for you. But when you make your visit to this town, you will find this town more deserving to know about the history of Bhutan. With the inclusion of Trongsa in the list of top 10 must-visit attractions of Bhutan, you will get to know more of this place.

Located on the steep ridge of central Bhutan, Trongsa is the best destination for historical exploration. Further, the cool breeze and the soothing environment of this town makes it a perfect site for meditation.

Worth-Visiting places in Trongsa are:

Trongsa Dzong

Located on the hill boosting Mangde Chhu River view, Trongsa Dzong is the largest and fascinating Dzong in Bhutan. Devoted to various gods and goddesses, the complex of Trongsa Dzongs consists of more than 25 temples in its premise. Housing the big clay statue of Buddha, the most important structure located here is Maitreya Temple. Dedicated to the Wangchuk dynasty, the Dzong today serves partly as the religious center for Buddhist teaching and partly is used for administrative purposes.

Trongsa Watch Tower- House of Trongsa Museum

Built by the first governor of Trongsa namely Chogyal Minjur Tempa, in 1652, this watchtower was then constructed to protect Trongsa Dzong from internal revolt. As this watchtower today houses a museum inside it, it has become the perfect place to get insight into the history of Trongsa and its importance in Bhutan's evolution.

 

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