Bhutan Country Guide

The Kingdom of Bhutan offers breathtaking natural beauty, that comes with its location in the eastern Himalayas, is its biggest attraction. The scenery is definitely out of this world. The fabulous mountain vistas - the high Himalayan mountain passes at Dochu La and Chele La offer amazing views - of deep gorges, valleys, flowing streams and distant snow packed peaks, make you catch your breath in stupefaction. If you think the landscape is thrilling, wait till you experience the unique culture and colorful ancient traditions. They will fascinate you no end.

Bhutan offers unbelievable trekking, climbing, mountain biking and a diverse range of other outdoor activities. Visitors usually have a fun filled tour; most wishing they had a few more days to experience more of this awesome country on top of the world.

This Destination Guide gives some handy information about some of the exciting Bhutan highlights you can expect to see while visiting Bhutan. As you are required to arrange your tour and sightseeing ventures before traveling to Bhutan we recommend you take a look at our Bhutan tours options. For a useful general information check out our Bhutan Country Guide.

Things to See & Do in Bhutan

The spectacular architecture of the ancient temples, dzongs (fortified monastery) and other Buddhist structures add to the charm of Bhutan. Heritage museums and textile emporiums give visitors a peek into Bhutan's past and how age-old traditions and skills have passed on through generations. Weekend markets offer wonderful shopping opportunities and display the best of Bhutanese handicrafts, textiles, and other produce. Religious festivals in Bhutan are visual treats not to be missed. Monks and villagers bedecked in striking costumes and masks recount myths, legends and history through folk dances and dance dramas.

With 72% of the land area under forest cover, a third of which demarcated as protected parks and nature reserves, Bhutan is home to diverse wildlife and vegetation. Bird-watching is a popular activity with many visitors.

Follow the links to the right or scroll further down the page for details on some of the many interesting tourist attractions and valleys in Bhutan:

Bumthang Top

The lovely Bumthang valley is the cultural and religious center of Bhutan and has some of the oldest Buddhist sites, temples, and monasteries. Cultural tours through the area are very popular. Must visit attractions include Jambey Lhakhang, Tamshing Lhakhang, Jakar Dzong and Kurje Lhakhang.

Bumthang is approximately two and half hours’ drive from Trongsa and eight hours drive from Thimphu. One can also take a domestic flight from Paro to access the district. Located at an altitude of 8530 - 13125 feet, Bumthang is the general name given to a complex of four valleys- Chumey, Choekhor, Tang, and Ura. Choekhor and Chumey are agricultural valleys while Tang and Ura depend mostly on the animal husbandry. Bhutanese from all over the country visit here on pilgrimage to pay their respect and to be blessed in some of the oldest temples in Bhutan. The valley is very fertile and  the best buckwheat and rice originate from here. Dairy farms, apple farms, and beekeeping are also common to this valley. The valley is host to some of the post popular festival including Kurjey festival, Nimalung festival, Ura festival and Jambay Lhakhang festival featuring the famous naked dance. Detailed listing at the events page. A wide range of hotels in available from budget hotels to luxury hotel. Scroll our hotel in Bumthang page to access a wide range of selection. If you are beer fan, don’t forget to try the Red Panda beer, locally produced in this valley.


Places to see in Bumthang.

Jambay Lhakhang: The temple is one of the 108 temples built miraculously by a Tibetan King Songtsen Gompo in the 7th century in order to consecrate the Himalayan region. This is also the venue for popular Jambay Lhakhang Festival during October or November.

Kurjey Lhakhang: Kurjey is a complex of three temples, on the right beneath a giant cypress tree, lies the main temple, built in 1652 by Minjur Tenpa, the Penlop of Trongsa. This temple houses the cave where Guru Rimpoche had meditated and left his body imprint. The middle temple was built by the first king of Bhutan during his tenure as Trongsa Penlop in 1900. The third temple was recently constructed under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Mother Ashi Kesang Wangchuk. This beautiful edifice is surrounded by 108 stupas and host to the famous the kurjey festival.


Thangbi Temple: Founded by Shamar Rinpoche in 1470, this temple is located amidst buckwheat field. It is said after a dispute the temple was taken over by Pema Lingpa from Shamar Rimpoche. It is approximately 17 Kilometers drive north of Kurjey Temple on an unpaved road to Toktu Zampa. You start your walk from here by crossing a small suspension bridge and walk 20 minutes past fields of buckwheat to the Thangbi Temple. The temple is also the venue of Thangbi Festival.


Tamshing Temple: Located opposite Kurjey Lhakhang this temple was founded by Bhutan's own religious treasure discoverer, Terton Pema Lingpa in 1501. Believed to be the reincarnation of Guru Rinpoche, he discovered many religious treasures around the country. The mural paintings inside the temple are known to be un-restored ancient painting.

Konchogsum Temple: Ten minutes’ walk south will bring you to Konchogsum temple. The temple was restored in 1995 and looks new, but it actually dates back to 7th century. This temple has many interesting stories to tell.


Membertsho (Burning Lake): It is believed that Pema Lingpa in the early 16th century discovered many religious items from a pond here. It is approximately 20 minutes’ drive Bumthang town.


Ura Village: It is approximately 50 kilometers from Chokhor valley and takes about one and half hour to reach Ura. Located in a broad valley, the village is a cluster of traditional houses fenced by cobblestone streets that give the village a medieval atmosphere. The women in Ura village cover their head with white cloth piece to protect from the harsh cold wind and carries sheepskin (behind their back) used as a cushion and as well as to protect their cloth from the loads they carry. This is the venue for Ura Yakchu Festival.


Tang Village: Tang is the remotest village in Bumthang’s . As it is higher than Choskhor and the soil is not as rich. There’s not much agriculture here, although the valley, thought which runs the Tang Chhu, turns bright pink with buck white flower in October. People in this valley raise sheep and at higher elevations, yaks. There is a small chorten here, but no longer a village. The road climbs high above the river. After a short descent to the river, it’s 3km to school at Mesithang and to Tang Rinpoche Lhakhang.


Jakar Dzong : Jakar Dzong is a picturesque fortress, overlooking the Choskhor valley. The current structure was built in 1667 and is said to be the largest dzong in Bhutan, with a circumference of more than 1500 meters. Its official name is Yuelay Namgay Dzong in honor of the victory, over the troops of Tibetan ruler Phuntsho Namgay. The fortress is currently the office of Governor of Bumthang.


Chankhar Temple: Located behind Jambay Lhakhang, this temple is a site of a palace of Indian King Sindhu Raja. It looks like a conventional village house. However ,prior the structure was built of iron, only in the 14th century, the temple was rebuilt in its current form by Dorji Lingpa.


Lhodrak Kharchhu Temple: located approximately three kilometers from chamkhar town , the temple was built by Namkhai Rimpoche in 1984. It would be interesting to visit temple to witness the simple lives of monks.


Ugenchholing Palace: Located in Tang Village, the palace in its current form is a museum, which depicts the life of Trongsa penlop Tshokey Dorji.


Kunzangdrak Temple: The temple is dedicated to Saint Pema Lingpa, the treasure discoverer of Bhutan. It takes two hours to reach the temple from Chel Tang Village and makes for a pleasant walk. The temple houses some of the important artifacts related to the saint, importantly the stone bearing his footprint.


Pelseling Monastery. The temple is a four-hour trek from Jakar and considered very sacred because of its religious significance.

Gasa  Top

Located at an altitude of 1500 - 4,500 meters, Gasa is one of the most far-flung places in Bhutan. The valley is gifted with pristine natural beauty and very popular for nature trips .The nomadic layap tribe is indigenous to the valley and their lifestyle features Yak herding, Yak cheese & butter production, Yak textile and harvesting of rare fungi cordyceps. Comprising the northern part of Bhutan, the valley borders Punakha and Wangdi district in south and Tibet on the north. Home to 3000 odd inhabitants, Gasa is en-route to many popular treks such as Snowman Treks and Laya-Lunana Trek. It has some of the highest peaks in the country which forms a natural wall to Tibet. The entire valley falls under Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park and house hundreds of Himalayan glacier lakes. The national park is home to rare flora and fauna such as Snow leopard, Takin, Red Panda, the Mountain Goats, Blue Sheep and the Blue Poppy. The valley experiences long cold winters and short beautiful summers. The Annual Gasa festival is much sought after event amongst the highlanders.Please refer to our festival calendar for event details. The valley is particularly popular for its natural hot springs amongst local Bhutanese. Quality hotels option is not available in the valley, except for one B&B establishment, Tshering Guest House ( Laya), nonetheless the place is perfect for avid outdoor adventurers and camping.

 

Places to see in Gasa.

Gasa Dzong: Built in 17th Century, the Gasa Dzong acted as defending barrack against Tibetan invaders.  The fortress is distinctive with its strategically placed three watch towers and circular shape. The exquisiteness of the dzong is further augmented by Mount Gangboom as its backdrop.

Laya Village: The Laya village is a three-night trek from Gasa and is home to Nomadic tribes, layaps. Located at an altitude of 3000 meters, the valley is enthralling and gripping. Laya falls en route to one of the most challenging treks, the snowman trek. It is interesting to note, how a small indigenous group has survived for so long and untouched by the modern way of life. To get the best out of the nomadic experience, one may time the visit during Owlay festival, which takes place once in three years.  

Lunana Village:  Lunana is the furthest village of Gasa and is renowned for its glacier lakes. The village offers a surreal experience of nomadic lifestyle of upper Himalayan, were Nomadic Tribes and the Himalayas co-exist in perfect harmony.

Hot springs: The hot springs at the banks of the Mochu river are natural and known to have healing properties. The place is a popular hotspot for locals in winters. While road connectivity is available, one may also choose to drive half way to Damji village and trek for six hours to Gasa traversing through beautiful natural forests, villages and mountain passes.It is a popular trekking trail up the valley and offers sightings of exotic wildlife blue such as sheep, deer, and different bird species. Apart from soaking in the mineral tubs, you can also observe, at close quarters, the people and their nomadic lifestyle tending to their yaks.

Places of Pilgrimage: Zabsel and Phulukha Monastery, Throe Lhakhang, Dung Goemba, Drophel Choling, Yonzho Lhakhang, Jangchub Choling, Bumpa Lhakhang are some of the places of worship in the area

 

 

Haa Top

Located at an altitude of 2638 meters, Haa used to be off limits to tourist till 2002. Since opening it has gained instant popularity with nature lovers and campers. The valley is characterized with important landmarks such as the majestic Meri Phuensum Mountains or three brothers.  Mystically the three mountain is believed to represent scared protecting deities of the valley, Manjushri, Vajrapani, and Avalokiteshvara. The Dzongs are magnificent, the Dumchung Dzong is said to have been built on the right side of Chenrezi mountain and the Wangchucklo Dzong on the left side of the same mountain. It is believed that the two dzongs are instrumental in maintaining peace and harmony in the region.

The valley is an easy one and half hour drive from Paro via scenic Chela la pass (3700 meters). The route is highly popular for picnics, cycling tours and motorcycle tours. Furthermore, it can also be accessed through alternate route from Chuzom causeway. The valley features popular nature treks and is ideal for overnight camping admits pristine natural forest and bountiful impressive biodiversity. The white rhododendron is common to the valley. Modest accommodation options catering to the tourist is available and one may also choose to stay in local farmhouses for a more authentic experience. The popular Haa summer festival offers rare insights into lives of nomad herders and is an excellent opportunity to interact with local villagers and taste the yak meat, yak cheese, Yak butter and local brew Ara. Please refer to our festival calendar for more details. Bhutan Tours program is not complete without a day tour or an overnight stay in this beautiful valley.

Places to see in Haa Bhutan.

Lhakhang Karpo (Black Temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (White Temple) - Believed to have been built in the 7th century the temples are considered highly auspicious and a popular place of pilgrimage for Bhutanese.

Haa monastery: It is said that the Haa Goenpa is an outcome of a celestial event and is built in an area were a pigeon, actually lord Buddha in the different avatar, was found by a local farmer, who was drawn to the area by enigmatic fires and unexplained sounds of monastic music for several days.

Gyechu Lhakhang: Is dedicated to Ap Chhundu, the dominant guardian deity of the valley and is a popular pilgrim place for Bhutanese.

Haa Dzong:  The Indian military uses the Dzong as its administrative section.

Dumchung Dzong and Wangchucklo Dzong

Paro Top

Located at an altitude of 2280 meters, Paro is perhaps one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan and predominantly agrarian in nature, the valley is known for its red rice production. Home to Bhutan’s only international airport, the Paro international airport is one of the smallest airports in the world. Paro, in fact, is tourist’s first point of contact with Bhutan. The valley includes some of the most popular points of interest in Bhutan, such as the majestic Rimpung Dzong, National Museum, Kyichu Lhakhang, Drugyel Dzong Ruins, Jomolhari Mountain (7300 Meters) at the north end of valley and world famed Taksang Monastery. Besides visiting the important Tourist places of Paro, the valley also offers an opportunity for a wide range of authentic tours such as cycling, astrology, hot stone bath, Bhutanese cooking classes, easy walks and a plethora of nature hikes.

The villages are characterized by traditional Bhutanese houses and at leisure, one can easily discover these villages at one’s pace. The roads leading from the end of Paro town to Drugyel Dzong is very apt for bicycle enthusiastic. Furthermore, some of the famous trekking and hike routes also start from Paro such as the Druk path trek, Jomolhari Trek, Hike to Bumdra or hike to Jele Dzong. The National capital Thimphu is a smooth one and half hour drive and one can easily incorporate a day tour to Thimphu with Paro as a base. The Haa Valley can also be accessed at one and half hour drive from Paro via the Cheila Pass meandering amidst a pristine pine forest and abundant biodiversity. En route one incorporate a picnic at Cheila Pass or a hike to Kila Gompa Nunnery or one may simply drive to Cheila and bike freewheel back to Paro, the choices are plenty.

There are numerous tourist hotels in Paro, however, the best in terms of ultimate luxury are Uma Paro, Zhiwaling Hotel, Amankora, Naksel Boutique Hotel, Le Méridien Paro and Haven Bhutan. The valley also offers a wide range of mid-range hotels as well as budget hotels. Please see our Hotels in Paro page for options. Besides one may also choose to stay in a local farmhouse for experiencing authentic Bhutanese way of life.  Paro is also incredibly famous for its annual festival, the Paro Festival held is annual in March or April (Spring Season). Check our Bhutan Festival Calendar for accurate dates. It is recommended hotels are booked in advance during Paro Festival to avoid non-availability of quality hotels.

Places to See in Paro.

Rimpung Dzong: Rimpung Dzong means "fortress of the heap of jewels". Built in the mid-17th century, it now serves as the administrative and judicial seat of Paro district and residence for the 200 monks of Paro. It is also the venue for Paro festival, held in the spring. The Fortress is a prominent landmark in the town and houses many important old paintings and status.

Drukgyel Dzong; Overlooks the beautiful village with Mount Jomolhari in the background. This ruin Dzong (Fortress) was built in 1646 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders led by Mongolian warlord, Gushri Khan. Historically and strategically it withstood all its glory and had captured western eyes in 1914 vide National Geography magazine. The Dzong was destroyed by fire in 1951 and was preserved as a heritage site. However, it was re-commissioned to build in 2016 commemorate the birth of Crown Prince of Bhutan.

National Museum: This monument dates back to 1951. It was built as a watch tower for the Rimpung Dzong. In 1967 it was converted to National Museum. It holds a fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangka, and many other interesting objects.

Kyichu Monastery: A Tibetan king known as Songtsen Gompo in the 7th century miraculously built 108 temples. Kyichu is considered to be one of them and is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. It is a popular place of pilgrimage for many Bhutanese.

Tigers Nest Monastery: The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop at the cafeteria for a rest and refreshments and continue our hike for short while until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, the remains of Taktsang monastery. Dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. The history states that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantrum mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, had taken the wrathful form of Guru Dorje Droloe to subdue the evil and demon that were obstructing the spread of Buddhism in the Himalayas.

Bhutanese Farm Houses: Bhutanese farmhouses are colorful, decorative and traditionally built without any nails. The majority of the houses are with three stories, the first floor is utilized for sheltering cattle, second floor for the family to live in and the top for storing and drying of foods and fodder for the animal. Almost all the farmhouses follow the same architectural pattern. A visit to the farmhouse is interesting and provides you with an experience to the daily life of average Bhutanese.

Paro Bazaar: Rows of shops line the main road built in traditional architecture. This stretch of about 250 meters, houses many different types of shops from handicrafts to a restaurant. The Sonam Trophel Restaurant is the oldest in town and offers authentic local recipes. Of late some coffee houses and Thai restaurant has also sprung up, refer to our Restaurant in Bhutan page for details. Paro Bazaar is a good place to meet locals and chit- chat over a cup of tea. On weekends the vibrant vegetable markets come alive. It is interesting to walk around and check out the fresh organic veggies and meet local villagers. The valley does not offer lots of nightlife, however, there are few options available.

Druk Choeding Monastery: Built in 1525, this town temple was built by Ngawang Chhogyel, one of the prince-abbots of Ralung in Tibet and an ancestor of the Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

Phobjikha Top

Phobjika Bhutan is a glacial valley located on the western slopes of the Black Mountain at an altitude of 9840 feet above the sea level. Although it is part of the Wangdiphodrang district, it is located in a separate valley. Known for its beautiful  scenery, it is approximately two hours’ drive from Wangdi Phodrang.  The valley is the largest alpine wetland in Bhutan and a designated eco-tourism hotspot in the country. The beautiful wide valley offers the tourist a sense of vast tranquil expanse and is the winter home to the rare endangered black-necked crane that migrates from high plateaus of Tibet in late fall. These birds have very interesting mating dances and they hold a special place in Bhutanese folklore, songs, and paintings. Besides, the cranes Muntjak (barking deer), Wild boar, Sambar, Himalayan black bear, Leopard and Red fox are also locals to the valley.  Phobjika is a designated conservation area and borders Black Mountain National Park. Home to close to five thousand subsistence farmers, the locals are very protective about the valley and crane habitat, and actively engages in sustainable development. The valley is a hallmark of community-based tourism in Bhutan.

The two beautiful rivers Nakay river (Black water) and Gay river (White water) meandering through the valley, amplifies the aesthetic beauty of the valley. One can engage on a wide range of outdoor activity in the valley; nature walks and hiking is very popular, outdoor camping, horse riding, cycling, bird watching and hot air balloon experience is a must. One may also choose to visit the valley in conjunction with local events like Gangtey Festival and Black Neck Crane festival. Please refer to our events calendar for dates.

While there is certainly, a dearth of hotel options in Phobjika, stays in the local farmhouse is a popular alternative option and experience. Amankora Gangtey and Gangtey Goenpa lodge offer luxury hotels option to tourist. Please refer to our Hotels in Phobjika page for details.  They valley is perfect for honeymooners, who wish to relax and enjoy the pristine natural beauty without any disturbances. The Amankora Gangtey offers some very discerning experiences such as bespoke outdoor dining experiences and hot stone bath.

Places to see in Phobjika Bhutan.

Gangtey Gompa Monastery.

Gantey Gompa monastery sits on a hilltop that overlooks the Phobjikha valley. It is headed by the ninth Gangtey Trulku and is the largest Nyingma monastery in western Bhutan. Gyalse Pema Thinlay built a small temple in 1613, which was later built into larger Goemba by the 2nd reincarnation Tenzin Legpai Dhendup.

Black Neck Crane Information center.

Located on the edge of the forest and marshland along the main road of the valley, the information center offers observation room with high powered telescope for best safe viewing of the cranes. In addition, the center also has a small handicraft shop and offers information on the natural and cultural history of the Phobjika and Gangtey.

Day Hikes.

Shasila Trail, Khotokha Trail, and Gangtey nature trail are some of the popular day hikes in the valley.  These trails offer access to the pristine biodiversity of the valley and remote villages. The Shasila Trail is highly recommended for Brid watchers and takes approximately six hours from Phobjika to reach kheylaykha. The trail is used by villagers of Sha Ngawang and Chitokha to travel between their summer and winter homes. The Khotokha trail offers more challenge in terms of gradient and takes approximately four hours to reach Khotokha. Whilst in village one may visit the monasteries and farmhouses. The Gangtey nature trails take approximately six hours. And takes one through the stunning blue fine forest and local villages. 

Punakha Top

Located at an altitude of 1200 meters Punakha is Bhutan’s old capital. Throughout history it has played a very important role in shaping Bhutan destiny and even today it is home to Bhutan’s chief abbot in winter.  In 2011, Punakha Dzong hosted the wedding of the King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and the Queen of Bhutan, Her Majesty Jetsun Pema. Therefore, Punakha is of utmost importance to Bhutanese for religious as well as political significance and projects a strong sense of Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage.

The valley is basically agrarian in nature with fertile low lands, fed by Pochu and Mochu rivers.  In summer the area comes alive with lush green rice paddy fields and in autumn the golden hue of ripening rice. The Mochu and Pochu rivers converges in the valley and provides a perfect venue for cycling, rafting and camping. Nearby areas such as Talo village offers popular spots for picnicking and nature hikes. Chorten Nigpo walks in very popular and takes one through several beautiful villages.

The valley offers wide range of accommodation from high- end hotels to budget hotels. Refer to our hotels in Punakha link for details. While, accommodation option are plenty, it is suggested that rooms are booked prior during events such as Bhutan International Marathon, Punakha Festival and Talo Festival, more details can be obtained in our events calendar. The valley is approximately two and half hour drive from Thimphu, passing through beautiful Dochu La pass. One can choose to do a day tour from Thimphu or alternatively organize an overnight stay. Indian national would require special permits to visit Punakha and it can be obtained from Department of Immigration in Thimphu.

Places to see in Punakha.

Punakha Dzong: Built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the Dzong sits in the confluence between Mo Chhu and Po Chhu River. One of the most beautiful dzong in Bhutan, it has witnessed coronation of five generation of Bhutan’s kings. The saga began with the coronation of first king of Bhutan in 1907. The interiors of the dzong are one of the best in the country with intricate woodwork at its best.

Khamsum Yuley Temple: Built by Queen Mother of the 5th king of Bhutan to bring universal peace to the world. The temple enjoys one of the best views of Punakha valley. The interiors are intricately hand painted and some of the best Bhutanese art are displayed.

Chhimi Lhakhang: Widely known as the “Divine Madman’s Temple” the temple was built by lam Drukpa Kinley. It is said that, aspiring mothers, wanting to conceive a baby, who visits the temple and prays, will be blessed with one. The phallic symbol, one comes across, in many areas of Bhutan is also associates with Lam Drukpa Kinley and tales of his deeds abounds the walls of Chhimi Lhakhang.

Nalanda Buddhist College: This private college is located in Talo Village. It is a school for aspiring Buddhist monk and provides a glimpse into monk’s way of life.

Ritsha Village: Is particularly very popular for its rice terrace fields, which produces some of the best quality Red rice. 

Wangdue Phodrang  Top

Located at an altitude of 1364 meters, Wangdue Phodrang is a gateway to the eastern part of Bhutan.  It usually takes thirty minutes from Punakha and two and half hours drive from Thimphu to reach Wangdue. The district is the biggest district in Bhutan, comprising of 4300 sqm area and spread across altitude ranging from 800- 5800 meters. The area is characterized by numerous small villages and Bhutan’s rural culture at its best, can be experienced here. The villages of Gaselo and Nahee are a good spot for picnics, the area is primarily agrarian and beautiful rice terrace field has can be seen here. West of Wangdue lies a village called Shaa, of particular interest, the locals practice animism here. The animists are nature worshippers, a festival occurs every three years called the “Bonko’ (an animist festival) which is a delight for the locals and a rare treat for the visitors.  Other festivals hosted in the district are Wangduephodrang Festival and Black neck crane festival. Please refer to festival calendar for details.  Ample hotel option is available in the valley to suit all pockets.  The phobjika valley particularly has some nice Luxury hotels such as the ultra-luxe Amankora and Gangtey Goenba Lodge. Should you stay here don’t forget to try their Hot-air balloon service.  For more details on hotel refer to our hotels in Wangdue page.

Places to see in Wangdue Phodrang

Wangdue Phodrang Dzong: Located atop a hill, the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong is one of the most iconic structures in Bhutan. The Dzong commands a majestic view of the Punatsangchhu and Dhangchhu rivers. The fetters are currently been rebuilt after the tragic fire which razed it to grounds.

Dargay Goempa: This temple is dedicated to Lam Drukpa Kuenley, Bhutan's iconic saint, known for his unusual religious practices.   The temple is built in the area where the lam met Ashi Genzo, who was famed for her beauty.

Gangtey Goemba: Built in the 17th century by Je Kuenga Gyaltshen, the Gangtey Goemba is located in Phobjikha valley (East of Wangdi). The monastery sits on a hilltop at an altitude of 2800 meters and commands a mesmerizing view of phobjika valley.

Phobjika Village:  Home to the rare blacked necked cranes, phobjika valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan. The village is popular for its conservation efforts directed at maintaining the valley as the natural habitat of the migratory endangered cranes. The famous black-necked crane festival takes places in the village annually.  The village is also very popular for overnight camping, nature walks, and hikes.

Thimphu Top

Located at an altitude of 2320m, Thimphu is one hour drive from Paro international airport. Home to approximately hundred thousand people, Thimphu is likely the smallest capital in the world and surprisingly, without any traffic lights. The small town is caught between tradition and modernization. While the town still inherits its age-old indigenous local Bhutanese elements, one can also notice the gradual infrastructure developments. The city offers a plethora of activities, places to see, hiking trails, trekking, shopping, eating out options and nightlife. While most of the restaurant offers Bhutanese and Indian cuisines, of late many specialty restaurants such as Thai, Gourmet burgers, Coffee houses and Korean has also sprung up. The nightlife is usually vibrant during weekends, joints like Mojo Park, Viva City and Space 34 are widely popular amongst locals. Refer to our eating out & shopping option for more detail.


Seat of all the government offices, religious bodies and the Royal family of Bhutan, the picturesque valley of Thimphu offers some interesting places to see in Bhutan such as, Buddha Point, Memorial Chorten, Semtokha Dzong , The Institute of Zorig Chusum , Folk Heritage Museum, National Library , Institute of Traditional Medicine, Centenary Farmers’ Market and Tashichodzong . The majestic Tashichodzong is Thimphu’s most iconic landmark and houses His Majesty’s office. In addition, the fortress also holds the annual Thimphu Festival. Please refer to our events calendar for dates and information on other events in the city. The outskirts of the city offer most amazing hiking trails, especially towards Tango Chari monastery, Kuenselphodrang, and BBS tower. The Druk path trek also can be alternatively undertaken from Thimphu as against normal route of Paro to Thimphu.
There are abundant choices of hotels in Thimphu, be it luxury five-star hotels to mid-range or budget hotels. Some prominent luxury hotels in Thimphu are Taj Tashi, Le Méridien, and Amankora Thimphu. For detailed information please refer to out hotels in Thimphu link. It is recommended that hotels in Thimphu are pre-booked especially during peak period such as Thimphu Festival. PS: don't forget to take a personal picture and get it printed on a legal Bhutanese stamp. One can get this done at Bhutan post office and may use to post letters or cards from Bhutan. 

Places to see in Thimphu.

Memorial Chorten: Built in 1974 in the memory of Third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, popularly regarded as the father of modern Bhutan. It also serves as a place for Thimphu residents to pay their daily respect and circumambulate the stupa.
Tashichodzong: The fortress serves as the office of the King and also as the headquarters of the monastic body of Bhutan. Bhutan's spiritual head resides here during summer. The fortress is a hallmark of Bhutanese architecture.

Simtokha Dzong: Located approximately four miles from Thimphu, this small Dzong, situated on a lofty ridge, is the first fortress among the chain of fortresses built around the country by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal in the 17th century.In 1961 the Third King of Bhutan converted the fortress into an Institute for traditional studies for the students to be trained as Bhutanese Language teacher.

National Library: The history of Bhutan lies imprinted in archaic texts that are preserved at the National Library. Besides thousands of manuscripts and ancient texts, the library also has modern academic books and printing blocks for prayer flags.

Painting School: This institute teaches the techniques of traditional paintings, sculptures and other forms of traditional arts and one can view the students at work.
Indigenous Hospital: Commonly known Institute of traditional medicine. The rich medicines abundant in Kingdom are prepared here. The institute also imparts the art of herbal medicines to would-be practitioners.

Folk Heritage Museum: Housed in a 19th-century farmhouse, the museum displays the living style of the 19th-century Bhutanese family. The premises also houses an authentic Bhutanese restaurant.

Textile Museum: This museum displays the colorful and intricately hand woven old and new textiles of Bhutan.

Weekend Market: If you are in Thimphu during weekends, then you should not miss a visit to the weekend market. Vendors from throughout the region arrive on Friday afternoon and sell their goods until Sunday night. It's an interesting place to visit, where village people bring their products to sell such as vegetables, foodstuffs, and handicrafts at the northern end of the market is a collection of stalls called the indigenous goods and handicrafts section. Here you will find locally produced goods, including religious objects, baskets, fabrics and different hats from various minority groups.

Zoo: Takin is believed to be crafted by a Divine Madman – Drukpa Kinley. This animal’s appearance resembles a cow from behind and goat from the front. It is worthwhile taking the time to see these strange animals. It’s a five-minute walk from the road to a viewing area where you can take advantage of few holes in the fence to take photographs.

Tango Temple: With approximately 12 kilometers drive from Thimphu one will arrive at the starting point of Tango hike. It takes about an hour to arrive at the temple and requires about-about 900 feet of climbing. Built in 12th century by Gyalwa Lhanampa, at present, it serves as the monastic school for Buddhist philosophy, metaphysics, mathematics, poetry and many other Buddhist studies.

Chari Monastery: A short distance beyond the turn-off to Tango Temple the road ends at Dodina (elevation 26003). A walk of about 1 ½ hrs leads to Cheri Goemba (Cheri Dorji Dhen). The trail starts by crossing a lovely covered bridge that spans the wang chuu. A silver chorten inside the goemba holds the ashes of the shabdrung’s father.

Buddha Point: This iconic landmark is located approximately five kilometers from the city at Kuenselphodrang. Buddha point houses the statue of the tallest sitting Buddha in Asia. The landmark is a popular place for locals to unwind or go for a walk. From the point, one can have a 360-degree view of Thimphu city.

Trashigang Top

Located at an altitude of 600 m – 4000 m, Trashigang is the heart of eastern Bhutan. The valley shares its borders with Mongar Trashi yangtse, Samdrup Jongkhar in Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh in India.  Therefore is an important trade hub in eastern Bhutan and acts as a good base for tours to other areas. The northern most part of Trashigang is home to Bhutan’s semi-nomadic tribe Brokpa of Merak and Sakteng.  Having recently opened to the visitors, the Merak Sakten is a popular area for trekkers, culture lovers and a hot spot for community-based tourism. Trashigang is also endowed with rich biodiversity.  Bhutan’s largest river, the Dangmechu flows through the district and is home to wide variety of bird species. The people of this district are famous for their skills in textile production.  The raw silk textile called Bura originates from this area. The Yonphula airport in Trashigang district is serviced by Royal Bhutan Airlines and offers the tourist, easy access to district and Assam India ( Samdrup Jongkhar Border).  The eastern part of Bhutan is relatively undeveloped in terms of tourism infrastructure and offers rustic yet beautiful experiences. There is a shortage of quality hotels in the area. For options, please refer to our Hotels in Trashigang page.  One may also wish to time their visit in conjunction with Trashigang festival. Please refer to our festival calendar for details.

Places to see in Trashigang.

Trashigang Dzong :  Built in 1659 to defend  Tibetan invaders, the fortress is the largest structure in the eastern region  and currently is the office of the district administrator.

Bratsam Chador Lhakhang: Famous for fascinating tales revolving the thumb-size replica of Chador Vajrapani. The temple is approximately one and half hour drive from Trashigang.

Bremung Lhakhang: Built in the 15th century, it is the most revered temple in Trashigang. Located in Bindung Village, it is 10 minutes’ drive from Bartsham. The temple was built by Kuenga Wangpo, son of highly revered treasurer revealer Terton Pema Lingpa.

Kupijigtsam Lhakhang: Built in the 15th century, the temple houses scared relics of the east. The temple is located on the other side of the valley in Yangneer Village.

Kanglung Zangdopelri: The Lhakhang houses some of the most intricately designed statues in Bhutan.

Sherubtse College: Bhutan first college fondly called “ peak of learning”

Yonphu Lhakhang: The oldest temple in Trashigang.

Radhi village: known as the Rice Bowl of the East, the village features largest rice terrace fields in Bhutan. Radhi women are also known to be expert weavers and area is famous for traditional handlooms as well.

Namdru Choling Lhakhang: Built in the late 1890’s this Lhakhang caters to the spiritual requirements of Rangjung town.

Gom Kora Temple: Located at a distance of 13 kilometers from Trashigang town, the beautiful temple is an important place of pilgrimage for Bhutanese. History has it that Bhutan Patron saint Guru Rinpoche medicated in the temple and left his body impression. The temple is also the venue for popular Gom Kora festival.

Merak Sakten National Park: Home to the nomadic tribes of Merak and Sakten. The national park makes for an interesting offbeat trek and community-based tourism. The Brokpas, are indigenous to the region, and migratory in nature. Tey travel through the seasons with their yaks: moving between the high valleys in summer and the lower valleys in winter. The Brokpas still take part in the Barter system, exchanging cheese, butter and yak meat for grains and different merchandise, that are not promptly accessible to them. 

Merak and Sakteng are part of the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary and encompasses Bhutan Biological Conservation Complex. The Sanctuary preserves and protects the fragile temperate forest ecosystem and is the natural habitat for animal species such as eastern blue pine, dark-rumped jaybird, and numerous others discovered just in the eastern Bhutan.  While it may be a myth or a hoax, the mysterious Migoi or Yeti is also said to be spotted in this area.  Other untamed wildlife endemic to the region are snow panther, red panda, Himalayan mountain bear, yapping deer and Himalayan red fox. The hoary Himalayan squirrel, Assamese macaque, blood pheasant, grey-backed shrike, grey-headed woodpecker, common hoopoe, rufous-vented tit and dark breasted rosefinch are also  locals to the sanctuary. The nature reserve is a classic, Himalayan terrestrial biological systems, combining high-altitude pasture, pleasant woodlands, and warm wide leaf forest. As per the review by the World Wildlife Fund about 203 types of plants, 119 types of birds and 18 types of vertebrates is confirmed to have been spotted in the reserve  . The snow Leopard and red panda have been categorized as endangered species.

Trashi Yangtse  Top

Located at an altitude of 1000m to 5000 m, Trashi Yangtse valley is surrounded by alpine forests, borders North-Eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and is famous for wood carvings. The people of the region have developed incredible skill at woodworking and papermaking. The items they produce such as traditional wooden bowls are prized throughout the country. Hence, Institute for 13 Arts and Crafts (Zorig Chusum) has been established in the region leading to the development of many skilled artisans.

Many Bhutanese travel to the valley to witness the annual circumambulation at Chorten Kora and Gomphu Kora monasteries, because of which over the years the area has become an important area of prayers and penance for many devotees.

Chorten Kora is approximately two-hour drive, from the main valley. The stupa was built after Boudhanath stupa in Nepal and therefore looks  similar in idea and design. Local people and Dakpa individuals from Arunachal Pradesh (India) gather in February/March for a festival to circumambulate the chorten. Post this festival, after 10 days, a similar festival takes place at Gom Kora.

Bumdeling is home to the national butterfly, the Ludlow’s and the black-necked cranes. The Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary has one of the richest temperate Fir forests in the eastern Himalayas and provides an ideal protected habitat for big cats like Tigers and Leopards.  

Places to see in Trashi Yangtse.

Dongdi Dzong: Oldest dzong in the vicinity built in 8th century by Gongkar Gyalpo, son of Lhasey Tsangma, a Tibetan Prince.

Chorten Kora: Built in 1740 by Lama Ngawang Loday in the same style as famous Boudnath Stupa in Nepal.

Institute of Zorig Chusum: Traditional wood carving institute

Bomdeling wildlife Sanctuary: Natural habitat for the endangered black-necked crane

Lhuentse Top

Lhuentse is the ancestral home of the royal family of Bhutan, therefore historically very rich and significant. The valley is home to some of the country’s most sacred pilgrimage sites. Located at an altitude of 800m - 5700m, it is approximately 3 hours’ drive from Mongar. Undoubtedly one of the most remote areas in Bhutan, it is popular for trekking, rich biodiversity, and textile. The landscape is impressive with towering cliffs, deep river gorges, and dense coniferous forest.   Some of the best handmade textiles come from the valley of Kurtoe, the Kurtoep women are known to be a connoisseur of traditional textile weaving; the famous Kushuthara textile originates from here.

Tourist accommodation option is very limited in the valley, with only one B&B Phayul Resort, however, one may choose to camp or alternatively organize a farmhouse stay.  The Lhuentse festival takes place in November and provides a good opportunity to see sacred historical relics from the valley, besides the mask dance and other entertainments.  Please refer to festival calendar for exact dates.

Places to see in Lhuentse

Lhuentse Dzong: Built in 1654 by the Trongsa Penlop Chogyal Minjur Tempa. Today it serves as the office for district administrative and religious body and houses many sacred relics installed by Desi Tenzin Rabgay. The fortress sits atop a hill overlooking the majestic kurichu river and is the venue for Lhuentse festival.

Kilung Monastery: Myth has it, that the monastery houses a holy chain mall, which was used to recapture a statue that miraculously flew away from the Lhuentse Dzong. The monastery is located in kilung village overlooking the Kurichu River, which is approximately 20 minutes from the Dzong towards Kurtoe Village.

Jangchubling Monastery: Built in 18th century by Pekar Gyatso, The daughter of 1st King of Bhutan , Ashi Wangmo lived in the monastery as a nun.

Dungkar Nagtshang: The house belongs to Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal, ancestor of the Wangchuck dynasty, the present Royal family of Bhutan. The house sits on the backdrop of towering mountain, overlooking Dungkhar village below. There is a 40 km rudimentary farm road leading to Dungkhar monastery.  Program around Dungkar Nagtshanga and monastery makes for an enchanting journey to the past and royal family of Bhutan.

Gangzur village: The village is renowned for its traditional pottery, which is undertaken by women of the village. It is located approximately 2 kilometers away from the Dzong.

Khoma village: The village is famous for its textile weaving, the famous Kushuthara textile originates from this village. Weaving is a community activity here, were women sits together in rows weaving intricate patterns and chit-chatting. The village is a scenic two hours walk from Dzong and the walk makes- up for a pleasant experience amidst easy slopes and blue pine forest.

Singye Dzong: One of the most important sites of pilgrimage for Bhutanese, It is believed that Guru Rinpoche (Bhutan’s patron saint) once meditated here.

Tsokar Tsona Lakes: Situated above Singye Dzong, It is a popular pilgrimage site for Bhutanese. The area constitutes a group of lakes in the backdrop of rhododendron tree.

Guru Nangsey Zilneon Statue: The edifice is one of the largest statue in the world measuring 157 feet, sitting on a 38 feet lotus.  It is located in Takila, which is approximately 13 km from Tangmachu village in Lhuentse. The place is an important place of pilgrimage for Bhutanese. The statue is a culmination of a prophecy of treasure revealer Lerab Lingpa (1856 -1926) and famous yogi of Bhutan Sonam Zangpo, who foretold the need for the physical edifice of Guru Padamsambhave to ensure peace and prosperity in Bhutan.

 

Mongar  Top

Mongar is regarded as the heart of eastern Bhutan. Located at an altitude of 400m - 4,000m, the district is well-known for wood carving and textiles artisans, who are considered one of the best in the country. Bordering the districts of Bumthang, Lhuentse, Pema Gatshel and Trashigang the area offers rich diversity of flora and fauna and a glimpse into Bhutan rich rustic culture. Tshanglas and  Kurtoeps are indigenous to the valley and speak a different dialect.

The drive to Monger is stunning, crossing Thrumsing-la pass at 4000m amidst vertical cliffs, spouting waterfalls, rich tapestry of different vegetation and varieties of rhododendrons species. Also on a clear day, one can see Gangkhar Puensum (7415 m), world highest unclimbed mountain in the backdrop. The trek to Gangkhar Puensum is one of the most rewarding treks in Bhutan, however not many undertake it. Visitors with keen interest in flowers may also take the opportunity to visit the rhododendrons garden.

Alternatively, one may also choose to fly to the nearest airport at Yongphula, to capitalize on time, which is approximately 3 hours from Mongar. The district offers modest accommodation option, however is limited, please refer to our Hotels in Mongar page for details. One may also to plan the program around Mongar festival, the three day festival offers glimpse into rich cultural tapestry of eastern Bhutan. Please refer to festival calendar for exact dates.

Places to see in Mongar:

Mongar Town.

The charming quaint town stills on a hilltop. The town is abuzz with small shops as it one of the main trading centers in the eastern Bhutan and falls on the east-west highway. The Clock tower in the heart of the town, would be a good place to visit to interact with locals or perhaps the local restaurants, which offers decent Bhutanese and Indian food.

Mongar Dzong: Originally built in 1930s, the current Mongar Dzong was recommissioned by the third king of Bhutan Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in 1953. Today it house the district administrative and religious body and is the venue for annual Mongar festival. The fortress is an architectural feat as no drawings or nails are known to be used in its construction.

Zhongar Dzong Ruins: Built in the 17th century, the ruins alludes a sense of medieval Bhutanese bureaucracy. It sits on a hilltop overlooking the Themnangbi village.

Dramitse Lhakhang: The monastery was built in 16th century by Ani Cheten Zangmo, the daughter of the renowned treasure revealer, Terton Pema Lingpa. The monastery makes for an important religious site and is also listed in UNESCO world heritage list. The famous religious dance called the ‘Dramiste Cham’ is said to have originated in this monastery.

Aja Ney: Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated here and therefore is considered to be one of the most revered pilgrimage site in Bhutan. It sits at an altitude of 3500m, the journey to Aja Ney is about two days trek from Serzhong village.

Yagang Lhakhang: The monastery was built in the 16th century by Sangdag, the youngest son of, treasure revealer Terton Pema Lingpa. It is a popular place of worship for locals and located just outside the town in small village.

Jarung Khashor Chorten: The monastery is designed in line with, Jarung Khashor Chorten in Nepal and is a popular place of worship for locals. It is situated in Lingmethang village overlooking Kurichu river.

Trongsa Top

Located at an altitude of 7220 feet above sea level, Trongsa is the central hub of Bhutan and is historically important, because the unification of nation, is said to have taken place here.  Approximately, 8 hours’ scenic drive from Thimphu, the valley can also be accessed via a short flight to Bathpalathang Airport in Bumthang (2 hours’ drive from Bumthang). The landscape around Trongsa is spectacular and for miles on end, the Dzong is visible and seems to tease one, wondering if one will ever reach there. The town is situated on a stiff ridge and offers 360-degree views of valleys surrounding it.

The valley offers modest accommodating and eating options, the main town offers a selection of restaurants offering Bhutanese, Indian, and Chinese cuisines. For detailed accommodation option please refer to our hotels in Trongsa. One may also choose to plan a program around Trongsa festival. Please refer to our events calendar for exact dates.

Places of see in Trongsa.

Trongsa Dzong

Built in 1648, it is the ancestral home of the Royal family. Both the first and second King ruled the country from the ancient seat. All four Kings held the post of Trongsa Penlop (Honorary Governor) prior to being crowned as the King. The Dzong is a massive structure with many levels, which slope down the contours of a hill on which it perches. Because of its highly strategic position as the only connecting route between east and west, the Trongsa Penlop was able to control the whole eastern region effectively. It is in this Dzong the annual Trongsa festival is performed during December or January.

 Ta Dzong (Watch Tower)

Built in 1652, the tower  offers four observation deck resembling a Tiger, Lion, Guruda and a Dragon. This watchtower, which once guarded Trongsa Dzong against internal rebellion, stands impressively over a hillock and provides visitors a rare insight into Bhutan's history. Today it has been converted into a museum and houses important artifacts related to Wangchuk dynasty.

Kungarabten Palace

About 15 miles from Trongsa is the winter palace of second King Jigme Wangchuk. It is a splendid building with superb woodwork and decorations. The 1st floor used to be  storage for food, 2nd floor was the  residence of royal attendance and the army and the 3rd floor was the royal residence and king's chapel. Part of this floor is presently used as Library. The top floor is an alter room with statues of Sakyamuni, the Shubdrung, and Guru Rinpoche. Right above the palace is the nunnery, it is about 40 minutes’ walk uphill. There are about 70 nuns enrolled.

Thruepang Palace:

The palace is the birthplace of Late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The two storied placed is simple and very modest in design and located just above the highway in town.

Chendebji Chorten:

The monastery is located 41kms prior to reaching Trongsa.  It is said to be a replica or resembles the Swayambhunath Stupa in Kathmandu. Built in 18th century by Lam Zhida, the monastery is an important place of pilgrimage for Bhutanese.

Zhemgang Top

Zhemgang is located in the central part of Bhutan, south of Trongsa. Spread over an area of 2125 square kilometers, Zhemgang is an offbeat tourist destination popular for its rich biodiversity. The valley is home to more than 22 endangered animal species and forms a part of important biological corridors and protected areas dotting Bhutan such as the Manas national park, Thrumshingla National park, and Jigme Singye Wangchuk national park. The Manas national park is the oldest protected area in the country and features many interesting animal species such as Golden Langurs, Gangetic Dolphins, Rufous-necked Hornbill and the Asian One-horned Rhinoceros. Others include tigers, clouded leopards, elephants, wild gaurs and much more. Excursions on the great Royal Manas Park and Kayaking on the Manas River offers visitors a remote safari experience.

Zhemgang is also the last region in Bhutan were ancient BON (Animist) religion is still practiced today. Agriculture and cattle breeding is the main livelihood for locals, besides bamboo woodcrafts. Some villages still live traditionally in bamboo huts roofed in traditional bamboo leaves and it is interesting to notice that water is still being carried in small bamboo containers.

The remoteness of Zhemgang region is itself a trekker’s delight. The region is a perfect place for bird watchers and nature trekkers. There are several hiking trails within the Manas National Park and most are connected to the eight natural salt licks found in the area. Visitors can also enjoy a 4-day eco-trek from Gomphu to Norbugang. Gomphu can be reached via Zhemgang (3 hours) or from Gelephu (5 hours).The famous Dunmang natural hot spring in Zhemgang district is another interesting highlight. While the valley has limited tourist accommodation, however, the area makes for a perfect place to camp, especially the Manas national park. The park also offers log cabins as accommodation options. Each eco-camp has two eco-lodges with twin beds in each lodge and camping area with kitchen, dining, toilet/bathroom, fencing and drinking water facilities. Zhemgang can be accessed through Trongsa or alternatively from Gelephu in southern Bhutan. One may also choose to combine the visit during the annual Zhemgang festival to get a glimpse of rural Bhutanese culture. Refer to our festival calendar for details.

Places to Visit

Zhemgang Dzong: Build in 1655 the fortress features six monasteries, the most important being  Geonkhang monastery, which is said to be built by Lam Zhang, a highly revered Tibetan lam associated with the Dzong.  

Buli Lhakang: Located in Buli village, the monastery was built by one of Bhutan's most revered lam’s Terton Pema Lingpa.

Tharpa Choeling Lhakhang: The Monastery was built by Terton Pema Lingpa and is an important place of worship for locals.

 
 

Samdrup Jongkhar Top

Located at an altitude of 200m to 3,500m Samdrup Jongkhar is a bustling border town located in south-eastern part of Bhutan. Arunachal Pradesh and Assam (Indian States) is an important tourist hub in east India; with Samdrup Jongkhar strategically bordering Assam, It act as an important transit point for tourist, wishing to continue tours to popular areas in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh (India) as well as for tourist coming to Bhutan through tours of this region or alternatively, tourist wishing to access mostly Eastern Bhutan after Assam tour.

While accommodation option is available, the infrastructure is not as good as that of other valleys in Bhutan such as Paro or Thimphu. In is imperative to organize your accommodation and border transit permits prior, as well as monitoring the political situation in Assam, the region is often turbulent.

Places of see in Samdrup Jongkhar.

Samdrup Jongkhar Dzong: Administrative center of the district and houses the office of governor.

The Dratshang: House the monk body of the district

Zangtopelri: A place of worship for the locals, Zangtopelri is a three storied temple located in the heart of town.

Dewathang: The final battle between British and Bhutanese took place here in 1884, therefore the area is historically important and located at a distance of 18 km from Samdrup jongkhar.

Bison Breeding Farm: The Orong village near Dewathang is popular for Mithun breeding, considered the finest bison in Bhutan.

Town: Samdrup Jongkhar being a gateway to eastern Bhutan, the area is an important trading route, with numerous shops and cross-border trade with Assam. 

Phuentsholing Top

Phuentsholing is located at an altitude of 350 meters and is a thriving commercial center on the northern edge of the Indian plains and southern part of Bhutan. The gateway hub is 5-6 hours’ drive from Paro and Thimphu. And 4-5 hours’ drive from Bagdogra International airport in India. Bedside, being the strategic trading zone for Bhutanese with other neighboring countries of South Asia, it also facilitates tourism with other popular tourist destination such as Sikkim, Darjeeling, and Kalimpong.

Phuentsholing shares border with the Indian city Jaigoan, therefore a wide range of accommodation and eating option are available, inside Phuentsholing as well as in Jaigoan.  For detailed accommodation option please visit our hotels in Phuentsholing page.  It is also imperative to note that tourist entering Bhutan through phuentsholing should bring along the approved Bhutan visa along with them. Indian Tourist, on the other hand, may apply for permits, at the immigration. Please note immigration offices are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.

Places to see in Phuentsholing.

ZangdoPelri Temple

ZangdoPelri Temple is located in the center of Phuntsholing town. Zangdoperli means the abode of Guru Rinpoche. The temple has 3 floors. On the ground level, there are statues of Guru and his eight manifestations. And the wall is covered with paintings of Buddha's life story. On the second floor, it contains eight Bodhisattvas and statues of Avalokiteshvara and Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal, while the top floor displays a statue of Buddha Amitabha.

Kharbandi or Richending Monastery

Kharbandi Gompa or Richending monastery is a short distance away from Phuntsholing along the road to Thimphu on the ridge. It was built in 1967 by the Royal Grandmother and the monastery contains paintings on the life of Buddha and statues of Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal and Guru Rinpoche. The view from the monastery garden towards the Phuntsholing and surrounding Indian plains are superb.

Crocodile Farm

Established in 1974, the farm is located at a short distance of 10 minutes’ drive from Phuentsholing town. The farm is home to Muggar,  Gharial, and Marsh Crocodiles. The animals are fed every two days. A tour of the farm who definitely provided rare insights into this fascinating animals. 

Things to Do Top

Most visitors find the many religious festivals with their accompanying pageantry, enormously entertaining. For many, visiting the numerous game reserves and national parks, home to exotic wildlife which includes tigers, langur monkeys, snow leopards, deer, bears, boars and 600 odd bird species is the most enjoyable activity. Joining in the raucous fun and general boisterousness of an archery competition - archery is Bhutan's national sport and many competitions are held - is another fun experience.

Trekking

Trekking is one of the most popular activities in Bhutan. Some of the trekking trails are very tough and are meant only for the very fit, while others are much easier. Very few of the trekking trails have places to stay so camping equipment and food have to be carried along on most treks. Autumn and spring, when the countryside looks at its vibrant picturesque best, are the best seasons for trekking and hiking in Bhutan.

Snowman Trek, the 25-day trek along high altitudes and tough weather conditions to the remote district of Lunana, is the most challenging. The Jhomolhari Trek, which takes you to distant villages and offers spectacular views, is one of the most popular.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is gaining popularity in Bhutan and the government is all for it as it is one of the most eco-friendly ways to travel. Bicycles can be hired at many places in Thimphu. The Paro valley offers excellent biking trails along scenic surroundings.

Whilst  traveling to Bhutan, don't miss out on some of the experiences recommended below.

Top Individual Activities

1. Hike to Tigers Nest or Taktsang Monastery

2. Mountain Biking in Chelila

3. Traditional Hot stone Bath

4. An appointment with a spiritual master monk

5. Ta – Dzong – House the only museum in Bhutan

6. Visit Rimpung Dzong in Paro, Punakha Dzong, Wangdi Dzong, Trongsa Dzong and Jakar Dzong

7. Prayer ceremony and lighting of butter lamps in the monastery

8. Jumolhari Trek

9. Gasa Hot Spring and see the one of its kind, the Himalayan blue sheep

10. Snowman Trek

11. A day of river camping and rafting in the valley of Punakha

12. See the rare black-necked crane in the valley of Phobjika

13. Get blessed by a phallus at Chimi Lakhang

14. Witness the Paro Tshechu & Thimphu Tshechu festivals

15. Kurjey Lhakhang and Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang.

16. Membertsho (Burning Lake) in Bumthang

17. Gom Kora and Chorten Kora in Trashi Yangtse

18. Weekend traditional market in Paro and Thimphu

19. The Black and white Mountain in Haa valley

20. Khoma Valley in Lhuentse for traditional textile weaving

21. Local food Ema Datsi and Local brew Ara

22. A lesson on Gross National Happiness

23. Wearing Traditional costume Gho for Men and Kira for Women

24. Visit the Semi-nomadic tribes, the Layaps or the Brokpas

25. Experience stays in Traditional Bhutanese Farmhouse

To make things easier for you, make the most out of your holidays in Bhutan by booking a Bhutan Trip  with us.