Places to visit in Bhutan
Below are the list of top places to visit in Bhutan. Being a mountainous and landlocked country, most of the destination are located in the small fertile valleys surrounded by the snow capped mountains and hills adorned with beautiful stupas called chortens. The colorful prayer flags fluttering the hills and mountain tops are a common sight which is believed to spread the mantras of peace and tranquility to the sentient beings. The occasional sounds of the gongs and cymbals interrupt the quietness of these valleys.
As you travel from the Western part of the country to the East, you will discover that each of these valleys has its own beauty and uniqueness and keep you charmed during your entire travel. Most travelers choose to travel covering Paro, Haa Valley, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangduephodrang (Gangtey/Phobjikha valley), Trongsa and Bumthang. Some tourists visiting Bhutan still choose to travel to the Eastern part of Bhutan which has its own charm.
Bhutan Attractions for Tourists
1. Paro Valley:
One of the most important places to visit in Bhutan is Paro. One of the biggest and most fertile valleys, Paro is the location of Bhutan’s only international airport. One can fly here from Kathmandu, Delhi, Calcutta and Bangkok. Shortly new destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong, Yangyon and Bangalore in India will also be linked. People here are mainly farmers, working terraced fields against the backdrop of the imposing Rinpung Dzong. It also boasts the National Museum wherein is preserved much of the rich history of the nation. Overlooking the valley from the north is the Taksang Monastery, or the Tigers Nest, built on a sheer rock face. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) flew here on the back of a tigress. At the far end of the valley stand the ruins of the Drugyel Dzong, the fortress from which many Tibetan invasions were repulsed. Tiger’s Nest (Taktshang) monastery is a World Heritage site and is one of the most sought after Bhutan attractions for tourists.
2. Haa Valley:
This beautiful hidden valley is located at an altitude of 2638 meters above the sea level and was closed for the Tourists until 2001. So Haa valley is a must see one of the places to visit in Bhutan during your trip to Bhutan. The valley boasts of two ancients temples namely Chorten Nagpo and Chorten Karpo built in 7th century by the Tibetan Kind Srongtsen Gampo as a part of his mission to built 108 monasteries in a single day.
Chelila pass is the highest motorable road in Bhutan at an altitude of 3810 meters above the sea level and the pass separates Haa valley from Paro. You can see the beautiful view of the Haa valley below and the surrounding Himalayan ranges including Mt. Jumolhari.
Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan since 1960, lies at an elevation of over 7600 ft. The Tashichhodzong is the center of administration and also the summer residence of the monastic order. The annual Thimphu Tshechu is held in its courtyard. The other significant structure is the SAARC Secretariat, which houses Assembly. Thimphu town, although small, is nonetheless a vibrant place. The Handicrafts Emporium Emoporium, displaying the best of Bhutanese textiles and souvenirs, and the Memorial Chorten, dedicated to the late king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, are worthy of a visit. All these reasons make Thimphu, one of the best places to visit in Bhutan.
Punakha valley lies below the 10,500 ft Dochula Pass where one can get the most spectacular view of the Black Mountain range. Punakha Dzong, astride two rivers, is the winter to the monk body. Despite ravages by several fires through the years, the Dzong houses many artifacts and the embalmed body of Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal. Some distance from the Dzong, on a promontory stands the Chime Lhakhang, or the temple of fertility. The longest suspension bridge across Pho Chu river with a spectacular view is one f the best Bhutan attractions for tourists.
5. Wangdue Phodrang:
Wangdue Phodrang is the last town on the highway before entering Central Bhutan. The town is little more than an enlarged village with a few well-provided shops and hotels. Wangdue Phodrang Dzong is the town’s most visible feature. In the 17th century, Wangdue played a critical role in unifying the western, central and southern Bhutanese districts.
In this district lies the famed Phobjikha valley, the winter roosting ground for the endangered Black Necked Crane. Here one can also visit the 17th century Gangtey Gonpa.
6. Gangtey / Phobjikha valley:
The Upper part of this valley is called Gangtey and lower part of the valley is called Phobjikha valley at an elevation of 3000 meters above the sea level. The Black mountain range divides the valley from central Bhutan. This is a vast glacial valley and the most beautiful of all the valleys in the Himalayas. The valley is a roosting ground for the Rare Black necked cranes which fly to the valley during winter from the Tibetan plateau. Thus this valley is certainly one of the Bhutan attractions for tourists and one of the best places to visit in Bhutan. Gangtey Gompa monastery was built in 1613 by Gyalsé Rinpoche or Gangtey Tulku, Rigdzin Pema Tinley (1564–1642), the grandson of the great Bhutanese “treasure revealer” Terton Pema Lingpa (1450–1521) and overlooks the Phobjikha valley.
In the center of Bhutan and four hours by the road from Wangdue Phodrang, Trongsa offers a welcome rest to travelers. Trongsa is an ancestral home of the present royal family.
Trongsa Dzong is an impregnable fortress; the Dzong itself is a labyrinth of temples, corridors and offices holding court over the local community. It is built on many levels into the side of a hill and can be seen from every approach to Trongsa.
The Yotongla pass and the series of hair-raising bends at 11500 ft separate the valleys of Trongsa and Bumthang. This is one of the most beautiful valleys in the kingdom. It is also the religious heartland where many saints and masters meditated leaving their imprints as sacred places of worship and pilgrimage. Bumthang valley is also referred as the Switzerland of Asia and being the cultural hub of Bhutan is the best attraction destination in Bhutan.
Apart from the Dzong at Jakar, smaller monasteries are situated all over the valley. Tales of Padmasambhava dominate these holy shrines. The valley is home to the Jambay and Kurjey Lhakhags where body imprints of Guru Rimpoche remains preserved upon a rock.
Places to visit in eastern Bhutan, making up the eastern part of the nation, these four districts boasts the most diverse elevations and climatic zones. From lush sub-tropical forests to extreme alpines and mountains that form the natural formidable border, the east is a must visit. Here, rivers teem with Mahseer, tigers roam the rich forests and the Black Necked Crane roosts in highest climes. Trashigang and Lhuntsi have spectacular Dzongs replete with ancient history. The people of the east are also distinct in their way of life and culture. These places in Bhutan are not frequented by the tourist owing to long distance travel and remoteness, hence these destinations have some best Bhutan attractions for tourists.
Phuentsholing is the gateway into Bhutan from the sweltering plains of Indian West Bengal. The small town is spread at the foothills of the mountains that lead into the interiors. Given its border status and linkage to India, Phuentsholing also forms the hub of most industry and business in Bhutan.