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Bhutan, the last Himalayan Kingdom, is a country where you would find happiness prevailing across! Sharing international boundaries with India and China, this picturesque piece of heaven is shrouded by the mystical Himalayas, cuddled with pictorial plains and magical sub-alpine mountains. Amidst all these miraculous beauties, one would find a range of scenic places to visit in Bhutan.
Bhutan is rich with precious culture and diversity. There are so many celebrations that are held here from time to time. Every single village in this country has their own celebration and one of the well-known is the annual Tshechu and it’s a very religious festival of this place. In Tshechu the people dress up in colorful clothes and join at the nearest monastery or temple. This celebration is usually done to pray to the second Buddha, the Guru Rimpoche. The people gather to have their traditional dance, they share meals which includes, red rice, spicy pork, ema datshi and momos which is generally made by pork or beef. They also drink the traditional rice wine known as Ara. This is the celebration where families gather and catch up with everyone.
Bhutan is one of the least known travel destinations in the world, which actually suits its own unique brand of tourism. Dedicated to environmental tourism, the country actually limits the number of people that it has visiting it at any one time by making it very complex to get into the country, and requiring all visitors to be on a pre-arranged tour through one of the hundreds of approved and accredited travel agents.
The major attractions of Bhutan are located in the western and central regions, largely in and around Paro, Thimphu and Punakha. It’s where you will find iconic Buddhist sites, stunning Himalayan treks,s and the cultural heart of Bhutan. If you are preparing for the upcoming Bhutan tour, here is a list of the top places to visit for any tour of the last great Himalayan kingdom. Here is the top list of Best Places to Visit in Bhutan.
The capital and largest city in the kingdom, Thimphu is situated in the western part of central Bhutan, in one of the country’s most stunning valleys. Given capital status in 1961, Thimphu took over from Punakha, the former ancient capital of the kingdom that was the home of the religious leaders of Bhutan before it crowned its royal family. The city is a widely spread out place that lies on the banks of the Wang Chhu River.
While the city does not have a stunning nightlife for the younger generations of visitors, it does have many amazing and astounding sights to see, including the Tashichho Dzong, the ancient fortress-monastery at the edge of the city that was once a seat of governance for the civil leaders of Bhutan. Thimpu is one of the Best Places to Visit in Bhutan.
Set in the delightful Paro Valley, the second city of Bhutan is the first place you will see when you enter the country, since it is where the only international airport is situated. Lying alongside the Paro River, the site has been the location of a monastery of one kind or another since the 10th century, and was the northern stronghold of Bhutan against invasion from Tibet. paro is one of the Best Places to Visit in Bhutan.
The main street of the city is filled with rich and complex architecture, with traditional Bhutanese houses and shops vying for space with cafes and restaurants. Paro is also a good place for unique antiques and Buddhist souvenirs, as well as many prayer-related artifacts, although antiques cannot be taken out of the kingdom.
Located at an altitude of about 3,989 meters, Chele La pass is among the popular tourist places in Bhutan. The magnificent pass is en-route the Haa Valley in Paro. On a nice and clear day, you can experience the Jomolhari mountain from here and the adjacent peaks from the northwest side and can view the valleys of Haa and Paro as well. Many hotels, resorts, and homestays in Paro also organise regular tours to Chele Le Pass in affordable rates.
Being the second oldest and second-largest dzong in Bhutan, Punakha Dzong, or what some call it Pungthang Dewachen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness), is also the country’s most gorgeous and majestic dzong. Punakha is accessible from a 3 hours drive east of the capital Thimpu, and after crossing a pass in the mountains, the place is a breathtaking and glorious sight on the first glimpse from the road.
It is placed strategically in between two rivers, Pho Chu (male) and Mo Chu (females) that has noticeable color differences between the rivers’ water. Punakha Dzong is joined to the mainland by an arched wooden bridge and contains many precious relics from the days when successive kings reigned the kingdom over this valley.
Furthermore, it is blessed with a temperate climate, and lovely lilac-colored jacaranda trees grow around the dzong during the spring season.
The peak of the Zuri Dzong Trek is probably the perfect spot to have a bird-eye view of the entire Paro valley. The Zuri Dzong is the oldest Dzong in Bhutan, and in there lies a cave where Buddha came to meditate in, in the 8th century.
The valley of Gangtey is one of the most stunning valleys in the Himalayas, and many call it the Shangri-La of Bhutan, just as how Bhutan is well known for being “one of the world’s happiest nations,” and “the last Shangri-La on Earth.”
Haa Valley, which is situated only 13 miles away from the India-China border, connects major Bhutanese villages like Chhukha, Paro, and Samtse. It is counted among the top tourist places in Bhutan that you must visit. It stretches over an area of 1700 square kilometres.
The valley was opened to the public in 2002. However, do not expect to find any luxury hotels in Haa Valley. You can expect to find basic homestays in the valley. The locals of Haa Valley are hospitably warm which is situated only 13 miles away from the India-China border, and connects major Bhutanese villages like Chhukha, Paro, and Samtse. haa Valley is one of the Best Places to Visit in Bhutan.
It is counted among the top tourist places in Bhutan that you must visit. It stretches over an area of 1700 square kilometres. The valley was opened to the public in 2002. However, do not expect to find any luxury hotels in Haa Valley. You can expect to find basic homestays in the valley. The locals of Haa Valley are hospitably warm.
Apart from Punakha Dzong, what makes Punakha a popular tourist attraction is the Punakha suspension bridge. It is built over the Po Chhu river. It is one of the longest suspension bridges in Bhutan, spanning 160 m.
It connects Punakha town with Punakha Dzong. Draped with prayer flags, it is a delight for photographers. Walking on it will by far be one of your most adventurous experiences.
The National Museum of Bhutan tops the list of Bhutan tourist attractions. Built in the year of 1968 and set above the famous Rinpung Dzong, it was constructed to exhibit the famous Bhutanese art. From contemporary paintings to ancient statues, the museum today houses about 3000 masterpieces and exhibits more than 1,500 years of cultural heritage of Bhutan.
This place is also the photo gallery of the country and many Bhutanese hold their dance ceremonies in this place as well.
Enriched with the charm and splendour of evergreen mountains, Bumthang or the Jakar Valley if fondly called as ‘Little Switzerland’! Located in central-eastern part of the country, Bumthang can easily surpass any of the places to visit in Bhutan with its bountiful beauty and natural marvels.
Jakar’s rugged terrains and challenging trails also earned it fame among the adrenaline seekers. Whether outdoors or indoors, you would surely like every bit of this valley.
Once a massive fortress that stood tall and served as one of the greatest Buddhist monasteries, only ruins remain on the site of the famous Drukgyel Dzong. Located in the upper district of Paro, this monastery was established in 1649 by the famous Tenzin Drukdra after they were triumphant over Tibet’s invasion.
Positioned on an elevated hilltop, the town called Trongsa is known for its scenic beauty and panoramic views. Owing to its topology, this pictorial place to see in Bhutan can also be called the ‘Balcony of Bhutan’! Magnifying the enchanting charm of this town, there is its rich history, traditional white-washed buildings and colorful plants spreading all across its perimeter.
Located at the northern end of the city, Tashichho Dzong is one of the most beautiful tourist places in Bhutan. A popular fortress set on the edge of the city’s border, this monastery is a delight to watch as it is set on the western banks of River Wang Chu.
Sitting more than 800 meters above the Paro Valley, perched on a ledge halfway up the cliff face of the mountain, sits the awesome Taktsang or “Tiger’s Nest” monastery. Renowned around the world for its unique and spectacular position, the Taktsang Monastery has become something of a legend in Bhutan, and across many parts of Asia and around the world where Buddhism resides.
The Tiger’s Nest Monastery hangs on a cliff and stands above an enchanting forest of blue pines and rhododendrons. As this beautiful and very exceptional monastery is a sheer climb the hill (900 meters), a pony can be arranged for the ride up, but only until the cafeteria. Another Best Place to Visit in Bhutan is tiger’s nest monastery.
Mountain biking is an adventurous eco-friendly sport and Bhutan has outstanding trails with vivid landscapes for every biking lover. Being a culturally and naturally rich place, you can paddle through the rugged terrain, climb, and descent through many villages while taking a peek into the local lifestyle.
The Folk Heritage Museum displays a local way of life and culture in Bhutan. The most astonishing part about this museum is that it has been opened in a 150-year-old wood and mud structure. It opened to the public in 2001 and since then it has been one of the famous places in Bhutan. The whole house is decorated with colorful banners which are pleasing to the eyes. The Folk heritage museum is one of the Best Places to Visit in Bhutan.