There are many awesome places to visit in Bhutan. You have to plan very well if you wish to cover all the below places in a short time. Bhutan is the land of thunder dragons, beautiful fortresses, monasteries, great landscapes. While exploring Bhutan, you will come across many mountains, valleys, forest, and rivers every day. Many athletes prefer trekking and cycling to increase stamina and fitness level for preparation of competitions like Olympic. Here I am listing down all the best locations to visit in Bhutan to make your Bhutan trip awesome.
Places to visit in Bhutan
Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan, situated at the confluence of two major rivers of Bhutan, the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu, which converge in this valley. Punakha Dzong is one of the second oldest and second largest Dzongs of the country. Most of the portion of fortress is open for tourist and some area is used for administration office purpose. A part of the Punakha Dzong also hosts Kings Summer palace where the tourists are not allowed. Guide is available at the entrance, which will take you through history of Punakha Dzong.
Chele La Pass
Bhutan is a country of mountains and valleys linked with a series of beautiful passes. Such is the Chele La Pass located at 3810m (13,000ft) connecting Paro and Haa is the highest road pass in the Country. This beautiful pass is a major attraction among bike riders and tourist. Drive to Chele La Pass is through dense forest and twisty roads which makes it more worth visiting. Waterfalls, rivers, rhododendron forest, and yaks grazing can be seen easily on the way to Chele La Pass. One can view Mt. Jumolhari (sacred peak of Bhutan at 22,000 ft), along with the many other adjoining peaks. The atmosphere at the point is more refreshing and windy. One can spot hundreds of prayers flags at the Chele La Pass.
Buddha Dordenma Statue
One of the largest statues of Buddha in the world, Buddha Dordenma statue is located on a hillock near Thimphu. Do you know that this big statue hides 1,25,000 smaller Buddha statues inside it? The population of Thimphu is 1,00,000 and more than that there are smaller Buddha statues in 169 ft. Thus Buddha Dordenma Statue is one of the best tourist place in Bhutan. Like the main huge Statue, all miniature statues are also gilded and made of Bronze. This Statue cost almost $100 million to build and constructed in the year 2015 to honor the 60th birthday of the fourth king of Bhutan – Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Buddha Dordenma Statue is said to spread peace and happiness in the world.
Dochula Pass, Bhutan
The perfect example of great history resulting in inspiring architecture at Dochula Pass in honor of 108 Bhutanese soldiers who died in 2003 military operation. Thus making it one of the historical places of Bhutan. 1-hour drive from Thimphu on beautiful roads will take you the Dochula Pass.
During summer, one can actually be on top of the world by witnessing clouds in the valley. Many snow-capped mountains are visible from the vantage point. The 108 chortens and Druk Wangyal Lhakhang Temple are the structures to be explored at Dochula Pass.
Tiger’s Nest Monastery or Paro Takstang
If you are planning a trip to Bhutan, don’t forget to add this amazing trek to Tiger’s Nest Monastery, also known as Paro Takstang. It is one of the famous places in Bhutan. A beautiful monastery built on cliff fascinates all the tourist from all over the world. It is also a sacred place in Bhutan. Tiger’s Nest Trail goes through hill forest just before the last ascend one can spot a huge waterfall.
There are guides available at the base. Also, If you are not in a condition to walk or trek to Takstang, you can opt for a horse ride to a point.
Another beautiful valley to be explored in Bhutan is said to be backpackers paradise. Phobjikha is a small village in the flat land of the valley without any trees. It is located at 2900 m, under Wangduephodrang district of Bhutan. Valley is the winter home of black-necked cranes. Gangtey Goempa is the monastery one can explore. Great place for backpackers.
Punakha Suspension Bridge
While exploring Punakha Dzong – the former capital of Bhutan, one can easily spot two big rivers of Punakha. Out of two, It is built on the above river Po Chhu. It is the second longest suspension bridge of Bhutan with the length of 160-180 meters. Walking across the bridge is really a thrilling experience. This hanging bridge is draped with the colorful prayer flags. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best locations for photography and thus the best place to visit in Bhutan.
The Memorial Chorten is a white national monument with golden spire built in Thimphu city of Bhutan. It is dedicated to world peace and was built in the memory of Third Druk Gyalpo. You will find Bhutanese people taking walk around Chorten throughout the day.
Thimphu Lakhang Dzong
It is situated on the outskirts of Thimphu city, on the banks of River. This is also a very old monastery. One has to climb 3 floors to explore where in pictures are not allowed as continuous prayers are going on. The surrounding scenery is mesmerizing.
It is said to be the first Dzong built of Bhutan built in 1629. There were Dzong even in 1153, but this is the first dzong built by the Shabdrung and also the oldest that has survived as a full structure. It is been now used as a study center for languages and culture; the students are monks and lay people as well. If you are in Thimphu, then it is one of the must-visit places in Bhutan.
Thimphu Street Market
Thimphu street market is a great place to know the local culture and by some souvenirs. Most of the time, the market remains close in the afternoon but evening time seems to be crowded.
Daily flag ceremony at Tashichho Dzong, Thimphu
One can reach Tashichho Dzong to watch amazing daily flag ceremony at 5 PM. There is a lot of open parking space available. The group of soldiers performs the ceremony step by step. Beautifully packing of the flag is the sight to behold.
Night View Point
A walk in talk point, to be explored leisurely after dinner. Located on a hill, it is a small halting space to watch beautiful lit up Dzongs of Thimphu city. Tashichho Dzong takes different fluorescent colors for the night.
Do you know that Bhutan is the country where capital doesn’t have an airport? The nearest airport is Paro Airport, where landing and takeoff are challenges for pilots due to close mountains. The airport is visible from most of the city area located on surrounding hills.
All the above are the best places to visit in Bhutan according to many tourists from all over the world. If you have more time or you have booked more stays in Bhutan then following is the extended version of top sightseeing in Bhutan.
Royal Takin Preserve
Takin is the national animal of Bhutan. Unlike other countries, Bhutan maintains most of the land as forest area for which they get funding from the UN. Though they have created safe zones for the Royal Takin. Do visit but don’t expect much like any zoo as limited animals are seen.
Awesome Road Views
If you are planning for Bhutan Trip. Any Bhutan travel guide will suggest entering Bhutan territory by road. Bhutan Bike ride & trips are most famous amongst Indian bike riders. Bhutan Roads offer you amazing Himalayan landscapes views. Check out my Goa Bike Ride Experience here.
India Bhutan Gate
India Bhutan gate is open in the day time from 9 AM to 10 PM. Indians can easily cross the border if you have a valid passport then can obtain permits from Bhutanese officials. Phuentsholing village is on the Bhutan side of the gate whereas Jaigaon village on India side.
Phuentsholing Crocodile Zoo
A beautiful small zoo in Phuenstholing accommodates different types of a crocodile. It is operated by Bhutan Govt. You need to buy tickets to visit the zoo which takes max half an hour to explore.
Zangtopelri – Buddhist Temple
Beautiful temple amidst Phuentsholing market attracts tourist in numbers. Evening time is a pleasant time to visit and capture clicks. This is the easily accessible place from all the best places to visit in India and that too without a permit.
Haa Valley – Best places to visit in Bhutan
One can visit a very calm valley of Bhutan i.e. Haa valley to be in nature.
Just to conclude, the road journey is more beautiful than airway. Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, and Haa Valley are the top cities of Bhutan. Minimum 6 days to 8 days are enough to plan Bhutan Trip. Do visit the land of thunder dragons with my given places to visit in Bhutan. Please let me know if there are updates or changes required so that everyone refers to this as Bhutan Travel Guide. In case of any clarification, one can check details on Bhutan Tourism site.