Places To Visit In Bhutan -15 Must-See Places 2019
July 18, 2019
In this article, you will find all the beautiful places to visit in Bhutan. Bhutan is located in the eastern end of the Himalayas in Southeastern Asia. Most of us would imagine artsy designed monasteries, stunning dzongs, and picturesque treks when thinking about Bhutan. With so many things to share with its visitors, the country is growing as a destination hub with an extensive range of tourism options available. Bhutan is a must-visit at least once in your lifetime.
Places to visit in Bhutan travelers shouldn’t miss:
- 1 Places to visit in Bhutan travelers shouldn’t miss:
- 2 When to Visit Bhutan
- 2.1 Best time to visit Bhutan
- 2.2 Bhutan Travel Tips for the Intrepid Traveler
- 2.2.1 Travel during the festival celebration
- 2.2.2 Try to learn a few words in Dzongkha
- 2.2.3 Choose a homestay
- 2.2.4 Buy handicrafts but not antiques
- 2.2.5 Be prepared for the weather
- 2.2.6 Don’t buy tobacco
- 2.2.7 Bhutan imposed a minimum daily spend package
- 2.2.8 Indian Rupees and US Dollars
- 2.2.9 Respect the royal family
- 2.2.10 Try your hands on Dha (archery)
More known as Tiger Nest Monastery, Paro Taktsang is definitely one the most awe-inspiring, surreal treks you will ever take in your life. Why? This Himalayan Buddhist sacred site that sits 3120 meters above the sea level is hanging on a cliff! The monastery offers a spectacular view of Paro Valley and this is amongst the places to visit in Bhutan that are not to be missed. Even though it takes a whole day, this hike up to the monastery is totally worth it.
Tiger’s Nest monastery, a recognized spot is becoming a state symbol and the many adventure sports happening here attracts both adventure seekers and tourists.
Situated at the confluence of Po Chu and Mo Chu rivers and 3 hours drive away from Thimpu, Punakha Dzong serves as the administrative center of Punakha district. The alluring site of the Dzong makes it one relaxing Instagrammable photo. Like Paro Dzong, this fortress along the banks of the Pho Chhu (river) is one of not to be missed places to visit in Bhutan.
Built in 1637, Punakha Dzong is very much famous among travelers for its striking architecture. It carries a great historical significance as it is the site where all of the kings in Bhutan have been crowned. The building presents the classic architecture of Tibet and Bhutan and is a wonderful treat to a visitor’s eyes.
Travel Tip: To see the dzong at its glorious time, visit in spring when the beautiful blooms of jacaranda trees and the vibrant green hills make a stunning backdrop. Aside from the famous Punakha Dzong, what makes Panukha town an interesting destination is Punakha Suspension Bridge over Po Chhu River. Amongst the longest suspension bridges in the country, the 160m long bridge is connecting Punakha Town with Punakha Dzong.
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Chele La, Paro
If you get excited about high elevation mountain routes, Chele La will surely flatter your outgoing spirit. Also, if you are attracted to witness a fine view of nature’s bounty, this tourist spot will definitely be a please in the eyes. Passing through dense spruce and larch forests, it is Bhutan’s highest road pass with a height of nearly 4000m above the sea level.
The picturesque setting is beyond beautiful. This pass separates Paro Valley from Haa Valley. Any photographer will surely be enthralled gazing at the panoramic views of the snow-capped mountain peaks. A drive to this amazing site is an experience that’s not to be missed during your Bhutan Trip. This scenic site, which can give you an epic road trip adventure is a 36km drive away from Paro Town.
Perched on top of a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park, Buddha Dordenma holds a giant statue of Shakyamuni Buddha which can be spotted from different spots in Bhutan’s capital. The site offers a spectacular panoramic view of Thimpu.
If you love taking photos and looking for unique artworks and perfect frames in Bhutan, Buddha Dordenma is your must-see destination. The massive golden Shakyamuni Buddha statue was built to commemorate the anniversary of Bhutan’s 4th king Jigme Singye Wangchuk in 2015 amounting to nearly $100 million.
Standing at 169 feet tall and holds an overall 125,000 smaller Buddha statues inside it. Recognized as Buddhists’ holy site, it is believed that the particular statue was cited as the “second Buddha” by Guru Padmasambhava in the eighth century.
National Memorial Chorten
Coming at #5 in the list of places to visit in Bhutan. It is amongst the most visible religious structures in Bhutan. The memorial is in the heart of Thimpu and is constructed in Tibetian design. It would definitely serve as a great site to take some photos and to witness the culture.
If you want to go shopping for authentic Bhutanese craftwork, head off to Authentic Bhutanese Crafts Bazaar. Imported products are not available in this market. The area is a series of traditional bamboo huts, right opposite the Nehru Wangchuk Cultural Centre and this should be your shopping haven to bring home excellent Bhutanese crafts.
This school located near the city center in Thimpu is most recognized as ‘the painting school’, promotes Bhutanese arts and crafts. If shopping for an exquisite painting is on your to-do list, this is the place to be. It also produces woodcarvings and embroidered clothing, amongst other things.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
Constructed in 2004 by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck, Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is located on a ridge high above the Punakha Valley. Trekking takes about an hour, passing through rice fields and has a 4-storeyed temple. It is a splendid example of Bhutanese architecture.
Soi Yaktsa Trek
Bhutan is almost synonymous with trekking. Being a paradise that caters the world’s best adventure activities, the country holds a lot of trekking trails and tours. Amongst the amazing paths to great adventures is the Soi Yaksa Trek, which has spots with elevations as high as 4700m, it could be hard and demanding. But it is actually rewarding and worth doing as this trek will take you to most surreal landscapes of Bhutan.
A glacial valley, Phobjikha Valley is also known as Gangteng Valley named after the impressive Gangteng Monastery of the Nyingma sect in central Bhutan. It has become more popular due to the presence of migratory birds called “Black Necked Cranes.” These cranes can be spotted from late November to January and actually come from Tibet. In observance of the arrival of these endangered migratory birds, the residents have organized a festival called The Black-Necked Crane festival that is held in Gangtey Gonpa’s courtyard in Phobjikha Valley.
Tashichho Dzong’s impressive structural design is at present the address of the administration’s seat of government commonly known as the Thimphu Dzong. Called the ‘fortress of the glorious religion’, the architecture is designed with whitewashed walls, golden, red and black wood and lush gardens, enhanced by blue sky and flourishing green valleys as nature’s backdrop. Its splendor is more prominent during the evenings where it radiates its sheer brilliance.
The Dzong was constructed in 1641 by Zhabdrung in Dho Ngon Dzong which was previously built by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa. It caught fire a few times in the past both in 1968 and happened again in 1869, which many think is a mystery.
Bumthang Hidden Valleys
The region of Bumthang is Bhutan’s cultural hub and one of the must-see places to visit in Bhutan. In Buddhism, the faithful believe that there are a lot of secret valleys in the Himalayas that are hidden from the outside world in order for devotees to seek refuge in times of need.
Surely, the valleys of Bumthang that make up this site is very much like a paradise to everyone who visits, and thus the reason travelers should check out this place and explore the valleys surrounding it.
The beautiful country of Bhutan is a favorite amongst international trekkers due to some of the most unspoiled and challenging paths for trekking. However, for those who would like to choose an easier but longer trek, then the Samtengang trek is the perfect trail for you. It will take visitors through 4 days of a wonderful walk across beautiful valleys, stunning forests, important religious sites filled with history and native towns of Bhutan that starts to Punakha.
The location of this trek is in Punakha and Wangdi valley, hands down these best places to visit in Bhutan. Here, you get amazing views of a few of the most beautiful peaks of Jumolhari, Kang Bum Peak, and the Tiger Mountain. Winter months are the most recommended season for this trek.
When to Visit Bhutan
The country’s weather significantly changes depending on the elevation. It usually rainy throughout the year, but from June to August, during monsoon season is really wet and is best avoided due to heavy rains.
Best time to visit Bhutan
The months of March to May are spring season and can still be wet, but the more birds can be sighted and the flowers are in bloom including rhododendrons. Temperatures are pleasant and the valleys are bursting with nature which makes for a fantastic hiking and a picture-perfect time for photographers and nature lovers. Even though May brings higher humidity, this puts off fewer visitors, so costs, as well as numbers of the tourist crowd, are lower.
If you find yourself in last-minute holiday arrangements, keep in mind that September, October, and November are peak months and expect to be the busiest and flights may be full. But it’s also great weather with clearer skies and less chance of rain. So to see Bhutan’s glorious autumn colors, it is really best to book early.
Winter in Bhutan which happens from December to February is every photographer’s fantasy as the country is cuddled with thick blankets of snow. December is a cold month in Bhutan, but the skies are clear and wonderful and the valleys are sunny with far-reaching views across the Himalayas. But be cautious as road closures are frequent and chilly temperatures can drop to negative degrees in the evening but still well worth for those who can brave the chill.
Bhutan’s calendar of tshechus may just be the push you need to consider visiting the country and brave the weather. The Tsechu is a religious festival held a yearly in form of social gathering where the people gather to rejoice, dressed in finery where the locals believe that by attending it, one gains merits.
Bhutan Travel Tips for the Intrepid Traveler
Bhutan, tagged by many as “The Land of Happiness”, may seem like a simple tourist spot at first, most especially for anyone coming from India. Knowing that Indians do not even need a passport to travel to Bhutan, travelers may take things easy and tend to forget important information that a tourist must-have.
This list of essential Bhutan travel tips will not only help you have an impeccable holiday but most importantly to give you vital tourist information to keep you informed before your scheduled visit. Takedown notes and understands the country’s local laws as well as taboos to make the most of your adventure to this lovely nation.
Travel during the festival celebration
Because Bhutan is recognized the world over for its beautiful culture, there is no better time to travel to this country than when it’s celebrating festivals. Some of the most colorful festivals in Bhutan are Jambay Lhakhang Drup Festival, Thimphu Tshechu Festival, and Paro Tshechu Festival.
Try to learn a few words in Dzongkha
The official language of Bhutan is Dzongkha. Although it’s easy to find English-speaking drivers and guides, trying to utter few phrases in Dzongkha will aid you to communicate to locals and market sellers.
Choose a homestay
One key reason why folks travel to Bhutan is to discover its heritage and living in a homestay will give you a firsthand experience to the traditions of the country while connecting with the local community during your stay. Your guide will brief you on the basic etiquette and customs to familiarize and make the most out of this unique adventure.
Buy handicrafts but not antiques
For those who like souvenir shopping, Bhutan markets a variety of products. You may buy hand-woven textile, native baskets of cane and bamboo, carved masks of various animals, wood bowls called Dapas, handmade paper products or keenly crafted gods of silver. Be informed that the country prohibits the export of any antique. This is among the most vital travel tips as there are tourists that need to be aware of this rule.
Be prepared for the weather
Bhutan’s weather can be unpredictable and bringing sweaters in your luggage will save you from the sudden drop in temperature. Or else you might need to suddenly buy some for yourself. In addition, since the people of Bhutan practice dressing conservatively, it is just proper to carry clothes that adapt to the country’s culture.
Don’t buy tobacco
Bhutan hates tobacco, clearly! So if you buy, sell or smoke tobacco products here, you will surely get into a serious problem. But, you can import up to 200 cigarettes, if you have the money to burn as they demand after-tax payment and import duty of 200%.
Bhutan imposed a minimum daily spend package
Ordered by Bhutan’s government to closely monitor tourists, a minimum spends that tourists are required to follow when visiting the Kingdom. The travel cost ranges from 200 and 250 dollars depending on the month you are traveling. This covers a guide, lodging, meals, transportation, etc. The price must be paid in USD before your arrival.
Indian Rupees and US Dollars
In case you run out of the local currency, travelers can choose to pay in USD or INR. Bhutan’s currency is called Ngultrum and its value is connected to the Indian Rupee. With the exception of 500 and 2,000 rupees notes, the Indian Rupee can be used as legal tender. ATM service is unavailable in Bhutan, and unfortunately, credit cards are not widely accepted.
Respect the royal family
The people of Bhutan regard their monarchs as Guardian and father figure. Thus be very cautious with what you say about the Kings as most Bhutanese will not tolerate any jokes or insults on them. So, make sure that you do not mock them in any way.
Try your hands on Dha (archery)
As the country’s national sport and a favorite pastime, Dha or archery is certainly an interesting activity to try when you’re in Bhutan. If you don’t feel like trying it on your own, you can be an observer as almost all villages in the kingdom boast an archery range.