Top 21 places to visit in Bhutan

Bhutan, ”the land of the thunder dragon ”, is a landlocked country sandwiched between its’ larger neighbours India and China. Bhutan is declared as ”the happiest place on earth” because they live with nature. Some call it The Switzerland of Asia because of its shape, size, and location in the mountains. We bring you reasons why you should visit Bhutan at least once in a lifetime to explore the treasure box of traditional Himalayan life.

 

Places to visit in Bhutan

 

  1. Thimphu

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    Thimphu is the only capital in the world without traffic lights. The architecture of the city is embellished with wooden houses and concrete buildings constructed in the traditional Bhutanese style. There are several attractions in Thimphu such as The National post office, the clock tower square, the MotithangTakin Preserve, Tango and Chari Monasteries Buddha Points, National Memorial Chorten, weekend markets to name a few.

  2. Paro

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    Paro is situated in the west of Thimphu. It is a historic town with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered throughout the area. It is also home to Paro Airport, Bhutan’s’ sole international airport. This place is also known for the many sacred sites. There are over 155 temples and monasteries in the area, some dating as far back as the 14th century. The region contains one of Bhutan’s most iconic landmarks, Taksang Monastery, the Tiger’s Nest. The National Museum preserves the rich cultural traditions of the country.  Another site worth visiting is Drugyel Dzong or the Fortress of the Victorious Bhutanese. Chele La Pass is among the popular tourist places in Paro.

  3. Buddha Dordenma Statue

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    The Buddha Dordenma statue is a 169 feet tall statue of Buddha, built at the foot of the hills in Thimphu. This iconic gold and bronze statue is visible from almost everywhere in Thimphu and is among the best tourist places in Bhutan. This is also known as KunzangPhodrang. Inside this figure, there are 125,000 small figurines of the same. To enhance the beauty of the place, it is surrounded by KuenselPhodrang nature park.  

     

  4. Dochula Pass

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    Dochula Pass is situated on the way to Punakha and Thimphu. This is a famous pass consisting of 108 Chortens or Stupas, built in the memory of Bhutanese soldiers who died in a war against India. From the pass, you can have a panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountain range which is very beautiful. 

     

     

  5. Tiger’s Nest

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    Tiger’s Nest or Taksang Monastery is known for the beautiful and the sacred monastery of Guru Rinpoche.  This place is considered sacred for the local people. According to the legends, Guru Rinpoche, also known as the Second Buddha, rode to this place on a tigress’s back to suppress a local demon and thus he meditated here for 3 months. Many small temples inside the premises of the monastery is a must-visit. you have to register your entrance and photography is prohibited inside the temple.

     

     

  6. Chomolhari


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    The most popular trek in Bhutan is the Chomolhari trek in Bhutan. This is an 8 days trek and is moderately challenging. Mount Chomolhari, straddles the border between Bhutan and Tibet, which is sometimes known as the ”Bride of Kanchenjunga”. It is also called ”The Goddess of Mountains”.This trek crosses over both Bhonte La Pass and Takhung La Pass and attracts visitors for its views. If you are going you might want to time your trek with the Chomolhari Mountain Festival, an annual event whose time varies from year to year according to the culture of the local people of small villages near the base of Chomolhari.

     

  7. Punakha Dzong

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    Punakha is the winter capital of the country. Punakha Dzong is known for its brilliant structure and is the second largest Dzong in Bhutan. The Dzong depicts the beautiful stories and traditions of the Buddhist culture. To finish the building of this Dzong took a year and the most interesting fact is that this building has no usage of nails. Almost every national treasure is kept here, and the king of Bhutan Jigme Khesar got married to the queen Jetsun Pema in 2011.

  8. Jigme SingyeWangchuck National Park

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    The Jigme SingyeWangchuck National Park is bordered by Bhutan’s main east-west and north-south highways, making it highly accessible from most parts of the country. This park was initially known as Black Mountain National Park. Plenty of animal species can be seen here. It is the only park to grow Chir pine trees.

     

     

     

  9. Norzin Lam Street

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    This place is the artery of Thimphu and is a very famous place. The main street of Norzin Lam is filledwith shops selling various items- souvenirs, woollen clothes, crafts, etc. A football stadium is visible from this place and if you are lucky, you can enjoy the match on the ground too. Several restaurants serve you relishing food.

    1. Motithang Takin Preserve

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    The Takin is a rare type of animal falling under the goat species and they reside in the eastern Himalayas. These animals live in the higher altitude of the country. They are odd-looking animals. According to the local people, legends were assembled by a 15th-century saint who agreed to create a miracle. This saint joined the head of a goat at the top of a cow’s body and brought this new type of animal to life. This animal is believed to have a protracted nose, large head, and strong torso provides it a different look. Bhutan Government is taking good care of them by preserving the species and they do not keep them in a zoo.

    1. National Museum of Bhutan

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    The National Museum was built in the year of 1968 and was constructed to exhibit the famous Bhutanese art. This museum exhibits contemporary paintings and ancient statues. This museum houses about 3000 masterpieces and exhibits more than 1,500 years of the cultural heritage of Bhutan. This place is also the photo gallery of the country and many dance ceremonies are held here as well. In the evening the museum lights up for the visitors which enhances its beauty even more. Apart from masks and wildlife, flora and fauna also provide an amazing view.

    1. Punakha suspension bridge

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    This is located 10 mins from the Punakha Dzong. One has to walk for around 25 mins from Punakha Dzong to reach this bridge. Locals use this bridge daily to cross the river. It is an iron suspension bridge, might look scary when you are in the midway because it starts swinging. It is an amazing bridge with a lot of prayer flags tagged on both sides by the neighboring villages. The river flows under the bridge. There are a temple and a general store at the end of the bridge where you can satiate your hunger. It’s a good place to take some clicks. The fresh breeze and mountain views make it a relaxing experience. Overall, it’s half an hour’s visit.    

    1. Zuri Dzong Hike

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    The peak of the Zuri Dzong Trek is probably the perfect spot to have a bird-eye view of the entire Paro Valley. The Zuri Dzong is the oldest Dzong in Bhutan, and in there lies a cave where Buddha came to meditate in, in the 8th century. The extraordinary views of this place are mesmerizing as one can stare at for hours in wonder and awe. This peaceful place allows both Bhutanese and tourists to soak in the beauty and relax.

     

     

     

     

     

    1. Haa Valley

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    Haa Valley is a must-see destination of Bhutan. It is very near to Paro city around 65 Kms. It is considered to be the hidden crown jewel of Bhutan. It is one of the most picturesque valleys in the world. The valley is deeply rooted in traditions, folk culture, and old rituals. The valley opened for tourists for the first time in 2002, and it is a paradise for nature lovers. The valley houses the last cantonment of the Indian Army. This valley was previously out of bounds for tourists due to very high military presence and the disputed areas of India and China over the mountains surrounding the valley. But now made accessible by the Bhutan Government.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    1. GasaTshachus Hot springs

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    In Bhutan, there are many such places where one can rejuvenate his tired body. Out of which GasaTshachus hot spring is one, situated close to the banks of the Mo Chhu river. This is one of the most popular springs in the country and is frequently visited not only by the tourists but with local people as well. It is known for its healing powers and attracts about 3,000 visitors every year. There are three bathhouses at the GasaTshachu. One of the bathhouses contains a large bathing pool and the remaining two each have two smaller pools. The water temperature varies in each of the pools so visitors can choose the one they like the best. These Hot Springs are clean and hygienic. With better road conditions, we can get to the hot spring in no time.

     

     

    1. Chele La Pass

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    It is located at a height of 3810 meters above sea level. Chele La Pass is the highest mountain pass in Bhutan and it connects the Haa and Paro valleys.  It is a mountain pass located in the western region of Paro Valley. It is an hour’s drive from the city of Paro. It is known for trekking and hiking trips. In winter you can encounter frozen rivers, waterfalls, alpine flowers and a beautiful view of snow-clad mountains.       

  10. Jakar

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    Jakar is a town in the central-eastern region of Bhutan. It is the main town in a collection of 4 valleys known collectively as Bumthang. The name ‘Jakar’ means ‘white bird’ and is named after the foundation legend of the district Dzong. It offers several historical and sacred sites to visit and is considered to be the point of origin of Buddhism in Bhutan. It is a great base for easy day trekking to nearby monasteries where you can enjoy the stunning scenery. Famous for the production of honey, cheese, apples, and apricots, Jakar is an interesting place to spend a few days.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    1. Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary

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    It is located in the Trashigang District, and hence, is known for housing the easternmost ecosystems and landscapes of Bhutan. Apart from the scenic beauty, it is well known for many unique creatures such as Yeti, the abominable snowman. Although there is no such scientific evidence of this mythical animal, locals will always give you an anecdote or excerpt about their encounter with it.  ‘Black-rumped magpie, known as one of the smartest birds also thrives in this ecosystem. Bhutan’s national flower, the blue poppy, also blooms here and looks fascinating in the spring season. It is always fun to go inside with the hope of might seeing one.  

     

     

     

     

    1. Royal Manas National Park

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    Bhutan’s Crown Jewel, the Manas National Park represents the largest example of tropical and sub-tropical ecosystems in Bhutan. It lies in south-central Bhutan. This park has recently been opened for the visitors and offers thousands of animal and plant species to watch. It is rich in wildlife species, including the highly endangered Royal Bengal Tiger, Asian Elephant, greater one-horned rhinoceros, clouded leopard, Himalayan black bear, Gangetic dolphin, and pangolin. A rare golden langur with it’s long, silky blond fur is its specialty. Innumerable birds reside here. This park is one of the most visited places in Bhutan.

    1. WangduePhodrang

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    This place is located in Central Bhutan, offers an array of natural and cultural delights. Legends say that Zhabdrung Rinpoche once encountered a beautiful little boy playing by the riverside and was so touched by his innocence that he decided to name the Dzong Wangdi’s palace and therefore the whole district is called WangduePhodrang. The most notable attraction of the town is its bamboo weaving and slate carving culture. It is advisable to visit this town on Saturdays and Sundays.

     

    1. Chhukha

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    Chhukha is one of the most important districts of Bhutan. Chhukha is the commercial and financial capital of Bhutan. The major town is Phuentsholing which is the gateway city along the sole road which connects India to western Bhutan. With Bhutan’s oldest hydropower plant, Chhukha hydel and Tala Hydroelectricity Project, the country’s largest power plant. Some of the oldest industrial companies are located in this district like the Bhutan Carbide Chemical Limited (BCCL) and the Bhutan Boards Products Limited (BBPL).    

     

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