Places to Visit in Bhutan
There are many best places to visit in Bhutan. The best places to visit in Bhutan during your trips are Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Bumthang, Haa and Phobjikha. Phobjikha is the best place to Hike if you plan to visit in October. The mentioned district is the most popular touristic places crowded by visitors throughout the year.
8 Best Places to Visit in Thimphu
Thimphu is one best places to visit in Bhutan. Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan with just over 50000 people living in the area. The only capital city where there is no traffic light and white-gloved traffic police controls the heavy movement of the vehicle. Must see places in Thimphu are listed below.
- Textile Museum:
- Buddha Point
- New Takin Trail
- Dochula Pass
- Simply Bhutan
- Folk Heritage Museum
- 13th Art and Craft School
Trashichhodzong the office of the King
This Dzong is one of the most beautiful Dzongs in Bhutan. The Dzong serves as the office of the present King. The Dzong is located on the northern edge of Thimphu city on the western bank of the Thimphu river. The Dzong was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel the unifier of modern Bhutan. The original establishment was built in 1216 by lama Gyalwa Lhanapa.
The textile museam is located just near to National Library of Bhutan. The museum was inaugurated in 2001 to fulfill the objective to promote Bhutan’s achievements in the field of textile arts and to sustain and promote the interest of the weavers to continue the traditional textile patterns. The museum has generated national and international attention and has garnered a substantial collection of antique textile artifacts, exclusive to Bhutan.
Largest Standing Buddha in Kuenselphodrang:
The Kuenselphodrang or Bhudha point is 20 minutes drive from the main Thimphu cities. The main highlight of this place is the largest standing Buddha Statue overlooking Thimphu valley. The statue is 165 feet tall. The statue holds one hundred thousand small statues of Buddha inside. The construction cost was US 47 million funded by Aerosun Corporation Nanjing.
The famous Hike in Thimphu, Takin Trail:
The newly cleared takin trail in motithang is about 15 minutes drive from the city. The trail takes about an hour starting from the Takin preservation centre to Motithang Children park. This is the best easy trail you can do in Thimphu.
The beautiful pass in Thimphu, Dochula Pass:
Do Chula pass is 1-hour drive towards Punakha valley. This pass is very popular among locals as well as a tourist visiting Bhutan. The pass stands at 3100m(10200ft) above sea level. 108 small Chorten is built around the mountains to honour the fourth Druk Gyalpo.360 degree view of the Himalayas can be viewed during clear weather from the past. The annual festival of Druk Wangyel is celebrated.
Simply Bhutan Museum in Thimphu:
Simply Bhutan is a living interactive museum that portrays the traditional life of Bhutanese people. Visitors are greeted with a shot of local arra (rice spirit), before being guided through mocked-up village scenes. Along the way, you can dress up in traditional clothes, try out archery and hear songs sung by Bhutanese women as they build houses out of rammed earth. It’s touristy, but a good family experience.
Folk Heritage Museum:
This is a 19th-century traditional Bhutanese style building. The timber inside the house is 150 years old. It also includes paddy, wheat, millet field and watermills. The ground floor resembles the barn.
13th Arts and Craft School:
The school is just beside the folk heritage museum.“Zorig Chusum” means the Thirteen Arts and Crafts. To preserve the country’s invaluable heritage and promote arts in Bhutan, the government initiated this institute in 1971. Students are taught painting, calligraphy, embroidery, wood carving, and sculpture. They also learn the traditional meaning and spiritual values enshrined in Buddhist art. The school receives lots of tourist during the class hour and it’s ok to take pictures.
The best time to visit Thimphu is in March, April, May June, September October and November
5 touristic Places to Visit in Punakha
Punakha is a small district just 2 hours drive from Thimphu. This district is one of the best places to visit in Bhutan. Punakha is also the old capital of Bhutan
- Longest Suspension Bridge
- Khamsumyulley Namgyel Hike
- Punakha Dzong
- Punakha River Rafting
- Madman Monk Temple
Longest Suspension Bridge in Punakha:
This is the most beautiful longest suspension bridge connecting two villages of Shegana, Wangkha and samdinkha with Punakha Dzong. The bridge is 160m and the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan.
Khamsumyulley Namgyel Hike:
This is a beautiful monastery in Punakha. About a 7km drive from Punakha Dzong and a 1-hour hike through the paddy field are this beautiful Khamsum Yulley Monastery. The monastery is on top of hills overlooking the beautiful valley of Punakha. You can also see the famous Como Hotels from this mountain top monastery.
The mighty Punakha Dzong:
Another majestic fortress in Punakha located between two rivers Pho Chu and Mo chu. The Dzong was built by 1st Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1637. It is the second-largest and second oldest Dzong in Bhutan after Simtokha Dzong. Punakha was the old capital of Bhutan and it is the winter residence of Je Khenpo the head of the religious body of Bhutan.
River Rafting in Punakha:
The best adventure to take in Punakha is River rafting in mochu sides of the river. This side of the river is not so swift and rafting is smooth. Even a family with a child can take this trip. If you love the rough ride and demanding wild adventure than Pho Chu river serves your need. Don’t miss this adventure in Bhutan.
Devine Madman Temple:
As you cruise down from Dochula pass an hour drive will take you to Madman Temple also called Fertility Temple. The temple also called Chimi Lhakhang by local is the favourite visiting place for those couple without a child. The temple is blessed by Monk Drukpa Kuenley(Mad Monk). The temple lies in the round hillock and is built in 1499 by 14th Hiarach Ngawang Choegyel after it was blessed by Devine Madman.
The best time to visit Punakha is from March, April, May and September October and November. Summer will be very Hot.
Must visit Places at Phobjikha
Phobjikha is the best place to visit in Bhutan. It is a small glacial lake village famously known as a black-necked crane breeding centre. This is one of the best places to visit in Bhutan.
- Gangtey Nature Trail Hike
- Gangtey Monastery
- Black Necked Crane Centre
- Village walk
Gangtey Nature Trail Hike:
It is 2 hours hike starting from the Gangyey Monastery which leads downhill from the mani (prayer) stone wall just north of Gangte Goemba to the Khewang Lhakhang.
The trail descends to Semchubara village and drops down right at the Chorten into the edge of the forest, before descending to a valley viewpoint, a crane-watching hide and finally the Lhakhang and to the hotel for overnight stay.
The monastery is an important monastery for the Nyingmapa School of Buddhism in the Country. This is a 17th-century monastery. The famed Gangtey Monastery also known as Gangtey Sanga Choeling Goenpa is located on a hill at approximatley 2800m above the sea level. The location offers the stunningh view of Phobjikha valley. The monastery was founded by Je Kuenga Gyeltshen in 1613. The current emanation of Terton Pema Lingpa, the Gangtey Trulku, is the chief Abbot of the monastery.
Phobjikha also the breeding centre of Black Necked Crane, visit central Bhutan to roost, circling the monastery three times on arrival and repeating this circling when returning to Tibet.
Black Necked Crane Centre:
This centre has detail information about Crane food habits and a migratory documentary of Black Necked Crane. This information centre is established by Government funding.
Gangtey Village Village walk:
Walking and Hiking around the village of Gangtey is very refreshing. This ancient glacial vallage has many nature trail hike that you cannot miss. You can include one of these in your tour of Bhutan.
Best time to visit Phobjikha is June, July and August to see the greeneries of this valley.
What to see in Trongsa Bhutan?
Trongsa is a small eastern District in Bhutan. The district holds the largest Dzong in Bhutan called Trongsa Dzong. The place also the place of the Royals of Bhutan.
- Trongsa Dzong
- Royal Heritage Museum
This is one of the largest Dzong fortresses in Central Bhutan. The Dzong was first located in 1543 by Drukpa Lama and later his great-grandson Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel built the Dzong in 1647. The Dzong is listed in Bhutan tentative list for UNESCO.
Royal Heritage Museum:
This is must-visit places while in Trongsa. The highlight of the museum is the secret scroll written in gold. There are 11 galleries to visit the museum. The museum is located on top of the Trongsa Dzong. It’s only open on a certain day. Pls, reconfirm with us before visiting the place.
Must see places in Bumthang
- Jakar Dzong
- Burning lake
- Excursion to Tang Valley
Jakar Dzong or Jakar Yugyel Dzong is the fortress of the Bumthang District in central Bhutan. The name Jakar Dzong is derived from the word Jakarp(White bird) built in 1554 by Ralung Hierarch when he came to Bhutan. Jakar Dzong is one of the largest fortresses in Bhutan with a circumference of more than 1500 metre.
One of the most visited sights of Bumthang is Burning lake or Mebar Tsho. Pema Lingpa the treasure hunter of the 15th century had a dream urging him to go to that particular spot in the Tang Chuu river. After standing on the rocks looking into the depths, he discerned there was a temple at the bottom with many doors, one of which was open. He dove in and swam into a large cave where a woman with one eye handed him a treasure chest. As he took it from her he found himself back on dry land.
The name was given as a burning lake when saint the Treasure hunter went inside the lake to look for treasure hidden by the great lama Guru Rinpoche. He went inside the river with a burning lamp and came out the same and that is why the name of the lake came to be known as a Burning lake. The treasure was discovered in the 15th century by the great saint Pema Lingpa.
Excursion to Tang Valley:
It’s an 11km journey from Jakar to Tang valley. The road crosses the famous burning lake and Nunnery towards the Tang valley. The road becomes gravel after Mesithang and passes a picnic spot before the bridge at Kizum (Ki Zam), 22km from the road junction. Across the bridge, a steep gravel road winds up to the mansion and village of Ogyen Chholing.
Places to see in Mongar
It is the eastern hub of Bhutan when it comes to development. Mongar is one of the fastest-growing city in eastern Bhutan. As of 2005 has a population of 3502. It is also one of the oldest educational hubs of eastern Bhutan.
Mongar Dzong was built in 1913 just like any other Dzong. According to oral legend, a king named Karpo Dung invited an architect from Paro, Zochhen Bala to build a fortress in the region. The architect while surveying the land came across a white stone shaped like a bowl on a mound just above Kurichhu. He called the place Zhongkar (white bowl), now known as Mongar, and on this spot stands the present dzong. Zhongar Dzong was demolished by a fire and a subsequent earthquake that lasted seven days. It was abandoned thereafter and its functions shifted to present-day Mongar.
The Monastery is located on the outskirts of Mongar Town. It is a 16th-century monastery built by the youngest son of Saint Pema Lingpa the Treasure Hunter. These is good places to Visit in Mongar while touring Bhutan. This temple is famous for the collection of religious treasure, Mask Musical Instrument ancient weapons, and xylograph blocks used for printing prayer flags and texts.
Places to see in Trashigang:
Trashigang also called the jewel of the East lies in an eastern valley just above Dangmi chu River. It is the largest district in Bhutan and lies at 1100m above sea level.
Merak and Sakteng Village:
The twin village of east Merak and Sakteng are one of the remote and High altitude villages with unique dress and culture in eastern Bhutan. They wear unique clothes made of raw leather and pointed hat. They are the nomads of eastern Bhutan and their main income is from the rearing of Sheep and YAK. We also organize Merak and Sakteng Trek during spring and Autumn.
Gomkora or Gomphu Kora lies in the heart of Eastern Bhutan under Trashigang District. Gomphu means “Meditation Cave” and Kora means “Circumambulation”. The name is derived from a cave formed out of a rock-face next to a temple that has been built as a tribute to this sacred site. The biggest attraction of Gomphu Kora is circumambulation. The yearly Gomphu Kora Festival Tour in Bhutan is being organized here.
Chogyel MInjur Tenpa builds the mighty fortress in 1659. The dzong is located atop of ridge with a cliff on 3 sides overlooking the two major rivers of Trashingang Drangme Chu and Gamri Chu. According to legend, the sight of the Dzong scared the Tibetan army which retreated while remarking that the Dzong was a “Sky Dzong and was not on the ground”.
The village is located some 30 km east of Trashigang Dzongkhag on a north-facing slope. It is partly a dry Chirpine belt in its lower part and the upper part is covered with a cool broadleaf forest. It is also one of the villages that has the finest raw silk woven into Gho and Kira by the finest weaver in the country. The place has 8 monasteries with 105 nuns, 2 khenpos and 4 teachers.
What to see in Lhuntse?
Lhuentse is one of the remotest districts of Bhutan with a population of about 15400 scattered across eight blocks. It is 77Km from Mongar district. the district enjoys the two connotations in the Bhutanese mindset. First, it is considered the spiritual home of Bhutan beloved King and second it boasts some of the secret sites pilgrimages in the country.
In 1551, Ngagi Wangchuck the youngest son of Ngawang Chogyel visit Bhutan accompanied by his family from Druk Ralung in Tibet. His visit to a number of holy sites in different regions of the country eventually took home to kurtoe. At the present site of Lhuntse Dzong, he meditated and built a small temple that came to be known as Kurtoe Lhuntse Phodrang. For many years Lama resided here and later went to Timula where he established his summer seat. Ther Dzong was later enlarged in 1656 and renamed Lhundup Rinchen Tse Dzong.
Singye Dzong: It is considered the most secret site for pilgrimage to the Bhutanese people.
Khoma Village: The village is well known for exquisite Kira weaving. Some of the best textile weaver in the Kingdom comes from the kurtoe region and the exquisite Kishuthara famed and treasured as women Kira all over Bhutan comes from the Khoma village.
Places to see in Phuntsholing:
If you plan to visit Bhutan overland from southern Bhutan, Phuntsholing is the main district where you can enter Bhutan. Phuntsholing town adjoins with Jaigoan in India and cross-border trade has resulted in a thriving local economy. All Visa for Bhutan should be stamped in Phuntsholing Immigration office.
Crocodile Breeding Centre:
The crocodile-breeding centre is just 15 minutes walk from the main city. Built in 1976 the breeding centre has two breeds of Gharial Mugger. If you are a wildlife lover this centre is must visit place in Phuntsholing Bhutan.
Kharbandhi View Point:
Offers you a panoramic view of Bengal Plain and Phuntsholing city. The Sunrise and Sunset from this point are absolutely amazing.
This gate is the major exit and entry point to Bhutan. All major goods and services pass from this gate.
Places to see in Samdrupjongkhar:
Samdrupjongkhar is a small city in the east bordered by the Northeastern part of India. It is also the gateway to Bhutan from the East. Samdrup Jongkhar contains protected areas like Khaling Wildlife Sanctuary which is connected via a biological corridor to Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary to the north and Royal Manas National Park to the West.
Most Touristic Places to Visit in Bhutan at Paro
Paro is the only international airport in Bhutan. Paro is also a model village that is must-visit places in Bhutan. Below are the best places to visit in Paro.
- Tiger Nest Temple
- Hike to Chelela Pass
- Visit Farm House
- Paro Rinpong Dzong
- Taa Dzong Museum
- Zuri Dzong Hike
Flying Tigress Monastery Cave:
The most popular monastery in Paro, perhaps the popular picture you see flooded on the internet when you search for Bhutan. This is a 17th-century monastery clung 900m above Paro valley overlooking the village. The great saint Guru Rinpoche flew from Tibet on the back of Tigress and believed to have meditated in the cave where the monastery is built now. The hike is approximately 8.6km from the base and takes about 2 to 3 hours.
Hike to Chelela Pass:
One of the most refreshing hikes is the hike to Chelela Pass. The drive takes about 2 hours uphill road drive from Paro valley through pinewood forest,36km from Paro main city. The pass is the highest road point in Bhutan sitting at 3988m above sea level. You can also explore the sky burial used by the local people of Paro and Haa.
Visit Tshering Farm House at Paro:
We have been using Tshering farmhouse in Paro for all clients travelling Bhutan through our company. The house has a significant history dating back to hundreds of years. This old rustic traditional house was once owned by the Paro Penlop (Paro leader) at the beginning of the 19th century.
The house offers a traditional home-cooked meal, local wine followed by a Hot stone bath. Hot stone bath is a traditional bath used by locals to relieve bodily ache and skin disease.
Paro Dzong Rinpung Dzong:
Most probably this is the first building you see while landing at Paro International airport. The fortress located in Paro district near Paro river. This is 17th century Dzong built by Zshabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. History reveals that this dzong was handed over by the lords of Hungrel to the Drukpa Hierarch. The Dzong was completely rebuilt after the handover to the Drukpa in 1646.
Taa Dzong Museum:
Also called Watchtower was built in 1649 to defend the undefeated Paro Penlop and to watch the enemy approach. Now it houses the museum for tourist to visit. The building is in the shape of a couch which depicts the religious with 2.5m thick walls. Similar Taa Dzong is found in Trongsa Dzong also kept as a museum.
Zuri Dzong Hike:
The hike is about 2 hours to and fro starting from Taa Dzong to Zuri Dzong and ends at Luxury Hotel Uma by Como. The view of Paro International Airport is Amazing from the Dzong. Zuri Dzong was built in 1352 and 5 storeyed building is still protected by walls. While entering the Dzong there is a deep gorge connected by a small bridge. The Dzong is located on the hills overlooking Paro valley.
Must-Do at Haa
Haa is recently open to tourism and still developing the tours packages. Haa has some of the finest trekking routes. Haa is another place to visit in Bhutan.
- Kili Goenpa Hike
- Don’t miss the brown trout delicacy
- Haa Dzong
- Black and white Monastery
Kili Goenpa Nunnery Hike:
The hike starts from Chelela pass (3796m) the highest road point in Bhutan. It’s a downhill trail and paths are well maintained. The trail goes through thick Himalayan alpine forest and Mountain wildflowers. The nunnery accommodates around 100 Nuns. The temple is built on a cliff. It looks like a mini Tiger Nest.
Located in the Haa valley, the Haa Dzong was built in 1895 because a pressing need was felt to protect the adjoining border from Tibetan invasions and after the appointment of the first Haa Drungpa, it became necessary to build an administrative centre.
The dzong caught fire in 1913 but the destruction was so severe that a new dzong had to be erected. In 1963, the dzong was turned over to the Indian army to be used as a camp.
In 1968 a new dzong was again constructed and it continues to function as the district administrative headquarters.
Black and white Monastery:
Lhakhang Karpo (The White Temple)
The white pigeon perched at the foothills of the three magnificent mountains to the south of the Haa Dzong, commonly known as RigsumGonpo. This is the location of the Lhakhang Karpo or the White Temple. The temple’s architecture is the true depiction of Bhutanese art and culture, both on the outside and the inside. An intricately carved colossal door welcomes tourists with much grandeur to the temple.
The interior of the Lhakhang Karpo (white temple) walls are decorated with paintings and murals of great Buddhist saints, deities, and masters. At the white temple, locals and tourists get to embody the true Buddhist values of kindness and Dharma. Here, life is believed to represent a gentle passage to the liberating realm of death. Once a year, a one-week puja known as MoenlamChenmo is practised at the Lhakhang Karpo. The Lhakhang Karpo was renovated to give it a revamped look.
Lhakhang Nagpo (The Black Temple)
A short drive — or a ten-minute walk — north of the Lhakhang Karpo is the Lhakhang Nagpo (the black temple). This is the spot that the black pigeon chose. Built on top of a lake, the Lhakhang Nagpo owes its name to its colour (black) in the middle of a tranquil green lush forest. The temple is nicely painted in black and exhibits deep horizontal slits of red and white. The dark and mysterious Lhakhang Nagpo is a representation of the tantric procedures prevalent in the valley. It’s where the guardian deity Da Do Chen sits.
Both the white and the black temple were built around the same time. Unlike the white temple, there are no monk quarters in the black temple. The only residence you will find in the Lhakhang Nagpo is a small hut for the caretaker where he lives with a fierce dog. The black temple has an opening on the floor that leads to the lake underneath where the mermaid spirit (tshomen) resides. There’s a holy oak tree next to the Lhakhang Nagpo; don’t skip it in your visit to the Haa Valley.
Most Scenic Trekking Tour in Bhutan
Among the varieties of trekking packages in Bhutan, I have selected this best trekking in Bhutan to choose from. This trekking is short and moderate with the best scenic views.
- Druk path Trek
- Dagala Thousand Lake Trek
- Jumolhari Base Camp Trek
Drukpath Trek in Bhutan
Druk path trek is the best place to visit in Bhutan. This trek is the most scenic trek in Bhutan starting from Paro and ending at Thimphu. The highlight of this Druk Path Trek is the Jele Dzong which use to provide food and shelter for travellers from Thimphu and Paro
Dagala Thousand trek
This trek is one of the beautiful treks in Bhutan. The trek route gives the opportunity to see many Glacial lakes along routes. The trek is 6 days moderate trekking and the maximum altitude is 4720m. Dagala Thousand Lake Trek starts from south of Capital Thimphu and ends at Chamgang north of Thimphu.
Jumolhari Base Camp Trek
The trek starts along the Paro river literally to its source and to high mountains along with the yak herders camp. Jumolhari Mountains is the second-highest unclimbed mountain in the world. our endpoint is at Jumolhari Base Camp and from there we return the same route back to Paro.
Popular Festival Tour in Bhutan
- Spring Paro Festival Tour
- Autumn Thimphu Festival Tour
- Bumthang Naked Dance Festival
Spring Paro Festival
Paro spring festival is one of the iconic festivals in the whole of Bhutan. The festival takes place in the spring season and there is a huge flow of tourists visiting the Paro festival at this time of the year.
Autumn Thimphu Festival
Thimphu Festival is a popular festival in Autumn that takes place in the courtyard of Trashichhodzong the office of the Kings. People from all walks of life attend this 3 days festival. You can include this festival in any one of the cultural tours mentioned below if you are planning to travel to Bhutan in the fall. Please reconfirm the festival dates with us before finalising the Tour.
Bumthang Naked Dance Festival
The most secret festival of Bhutan takes place in Bumthang Central Bhutan. The festival is scheduled for the last quarter of the year and the exact date is not finalised yet.
5 Best Cultural Tour in Bhutan
- 4 Days Bhutan at Glance
- 5 days majestic Bhutan getaway
- 6 Days Bhutan Tour
- 7 Days classic Bhutan Journey
- 11 Days Bhutan tour
4 Days Bhutan Tour
Quick 4 days tour of Bhutan is the shortest tour that covers the most iconic places in Paro and Thimphu. Paro is the only International airport in Bhutan where the major airline operates.
5 Days Majestic Bhutan Getaway
Majestic 5 days Bhutan Getaway is the most exciting tour in Bhutan. The itinerary extends till Punakha the old capital of Bhutan and the winter residence of Bhutanese Royals.
6 Days Bhutan Tour
The highlight of 6 days Bhutan Tour is the hike to Cheri Monastery the first site chosen by Zhandrung Rinpoche to spread Buddhism in Bhutan. The tour also offers the best of Paro and Thimphu city tour.
7 Days classic Bhutan Journey
Classic Bhutan tour takes you to many places like the famous Black Necked Breeding center in Phobjikha valley, the majestic Punakha Dzong, and many other interesting places in the city. The tour also takes you to Phobjikha where the valley offers the majestic view of Black Mountain and endangered Black-necked crane during winter.
11 Days Central Bhutan Tour
This itinerary covers the Best of Historic Central and western Bhutan. The tour includes a visit to Bumthang valley, a Local domestic flight experience from Bumthang to Paro Airport and Popular Tiger Nest Hike.
Recommended Accommodation in Bhutan:
Without proper and comfortable accommodation, Bhutan vacation will be questionable. We have carefully selected the best hotels recommended by our past clients and have good reviews on Trip Advisor. Some hotels mentioned may be over your budget but will make sure that we give the best pocket-friendly deal.
Luxury hotels that we have included are optional and do not include in the Daily Bhutan Tariff. Clients wishing to upgrade their stay can do so upon paying the extra cost.
Hotels in Thimphu
Hotels in Punakha
Hotels in Wangdi
Hotels in Trongsa
Hotels in Bumthang
Hotels in Mongar
Hotels in Trashigang
Hotels in Paro Hotels in Haa
How to get Bhutan Visa to Travel Bhutan?
Getting Bhutan Visa is a little tricky. Bhutan has a fixed daily tariff and tourists travelling Bhutan need to pay the full amount of Tour payment in advance to apply for a Bhutan Visa. This visa is only processed by a licensed tour operator like ourselves. Upon the receipt of the payment, your Visa is processed. Visa take 3 working days for approval and the same will be emailed to you.