Places to visit in Bhutan

Paro (Altitude: 2280m/ 7524ft above sea level)

Home to Bhutan’s only international airport is also one of the most beautiful places in Bhutan. Paro grows the country’s finest yield of red rice, with the valley turning gold in the fall. It has in its core held the ancient history of the nation secured in the form of various temples and monasteries and a museum.

It’s also a place pervaded with historical and religious aura; monasteries that have legacies that boast of its origination to Guru Rinpoche, the Second Buddha. And Dzongs (fortresses) that bear the symbol of Bhutanese warriors of the 15th century. It also boasts of a National Museum that houses antiques as old as 746.A.D.

Many of the famous treks in Bhutan start from Paro such as Druk Path Trek, Jumolhari Trek, Laya Gasa Trek and Snow Men Trek. It also boasts of providing services for ardent adventures such as camping, biking, motor biking and self driving. Paro is also famous for its Festival, home stays, farm houses, villages, orchids and birds.

A ride from Paro to Thimphu along its meandering roads and the cool and soothing river valley air is worth cherishing.

 

Thimphu (Altitude: 2320m/ 7656ft above sea level)

The capital city is a fast developing and fast changing scenario, witnessing which one deduces that the country is indeed into the 21st century with its culture and tradition well intact.

The city boasts of not having traffic light, bill board, high rise buildings, MacDonald and star bucks.

The city’s home to the country’s premier museum, a top visiting place for tourists. The modern and the traditional here go hand in hand, giving you traditional paper, traditional incense, in the midst of hustle and bustle of the modern. It is also home to the world’s tallest statue of Buddha Doderma.

Thimphu has some of the famous attraction to offer such as festival, home stays, conferences, adventures and trekking.

 

Punakha (Altitude: 1350m/4455ft above sea level)

It’s the winter residence of the national clergy. It’s also resident to numerous temples and monasteries. Besides visiting monasteries, rafting in the Mochu river is also available. Biking trails, low altitude trek, camping are also one of the famous attraction of Punakha.

The region also has people living at a much higher altitude (Laya and Lingshi), many of whom migrate to Punakha during the winter. Punakha is popular for Chimi Lhakhang(monastery), known for divine boon of fertility. Newlyweds from far fledged places come to Chimi Lhakhang for the blessings.

 

Gangtey (Altitude: 2800m/ 9240ft above sea level)

A glacial valley in Wangduephodrang, hosting the home valley of the black necked cranes is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Bhutan. These cranes are migratory birds which migrate to the region from Tibet during winter months. Communities of the place gather together to celebrate Black Necked Crane festival which is held every year on 11th November.

The valley is well known for its orchids, biking trails and hiking.

Here is a famous monastery, Gangtey monastery (2,800 meters above sea level), whose vantage point offers a beautiful view of the black necked cranes’ dwelling.

 

Trongsa ( Altitude: 2200m /7260ft above sea level)

Houses a precious collection of folk dances and songs. In this part of the region one witnesses a blend of Bonism and Buddhism. And the people are well versed in the craftsmanship involving the use of bamboo and cane. The district is also home to The Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park, which preserves wildlife species like musk deer, Himalayan black bear, red panda, tiger, etc.

The place is bustling with development due to recent hydro power projects going on in the region. Its famous for rafting and birding.

 

Bumthang (Altitude: 2600m/ 8580ft above sea level.)

The religious heartland of Bhutan and some say it’s second Switzerland. One gets to see Bhutan of 659 A.D manifest in Jampey Lhakhang, one of the oldest of temples in the country.  Other well known temples in Bumthang are Kurje Lhakhang and Jakar Dzong. Khooli (buckwheat pancake) and puta ( buckwheat noodles) are the region’s  unique cuisine.

The valley is well known for its wool products, mushrooms, Himalayan cordyceps, honey, red panda beer brewery, Swiss cheese, village hikes, camping and trekking.

The autumn season fills up with full of festival including a famous Naked Festival.

The valley of Bumthang is unquestioningly beautiful and enchanting. Magnificence at its highest is here in Bumthang.

 

Mongar (Altitude 1690m/5575ft above sea level)

A fast developing town and the heart of Eastern Bhutan, Monger is known for the fabric that the weavers of the region produce with intricate designs and patterns. This part of the country is also abundant in temples and monasteries, each bearing its own significance and importance, the most popular being the Drametse monastery well known for The Dance of the Drums of Drametse performed during tshechu, a religious festival held annually.

 

Trashigang (Altitude: 1144m/ 3775ft above sea level)

Trashigang lies in the far eastern part of the country. Summer here is hot with very cold winter. It’s the biggest region in the country, with numerous temples and monasteries of historical significance flooded over the region. It’s also home to the nomads, the Brokpas who depend on subsistence farming for their living, yaks being their main cattle. The region’s economy also largely depends on agriculture.

The famous Merak and Sakteng which is a community/nomadic trek start from Trashigang

 

Tsirang (Altitude: 400 – 2000 meters above sea level)

Tsirang Has its location in the south central part of the kingdom. Tsirang is well known for its climate, which favors agriculture of almost every kind. People out here are mostly dominated by Hindu cultures.

During the late fall, the valley turns orange with the tantalizing smell of orange and the colorful and mesmerizing oil lit lights during Diwali(Hindu Festival) and the aroma of marigold as Dussera(Hindu Festival) comes around. Marriage  ceremonies going in and around the villages.

What one gets to see here is a blend of Hindu-Buddhist culture. Birding, village hikes, home stays and farm houses are some of the attractions of the region.

 

Royal Manas National Park (Altitude: 150 meters/495 ft above sea level)

Located in the Southern belt, Gelephu, this wild life sanctuary is home to exotic and endangered wildlife; elephants, golden Langurs, Royal Bengal Tiger, the Asian One horned Rhinoceros, etc.