The last of the Himalayan kingdoms, there’s nowhere on earth quite like Bhutan. Here’s how to get underneath its skin.Bhutan – the last true Illusion of Shangri-La is known for its beautiful landscape and Buddhist monasteries. Bhutan is certainly a place where the spectacular mountains help you breathe a fresh air of life within you. In fact, Bhutan is considered the best getaway for families, friends, romantic travellers, adventure lovers and nature lovers.
The Land of Thundering Dragon has been a mountaineer’s paradise for many years. Besides, you will be thrilled by the Bhutanese hospitality and their delicious cuisines. Furthermore, the famous places such as Thimphu, Paro, Phuentsholing, Bumthang, Mongar, Lhuntse, Phobjikha, Gangtey, Haa, and Punakha are known for gorgeous natural beauty, monasteries, nunneries and great mountain valleys.
Here are presented the 10 must see places in Bhutan.
- Dochula Pass
Located on the way to Punakha from Thimphu. The pass is a popular location for tourists as it offers a stunning 360-degree panoramic view of Himalayan mountain range. The view is especially scenic on clear, winter days with snowcapped mountains forming a majestic backdrop to the tranquillity of the 108 chortens gracing the mountain pass.
- Takstang Monastery
Taktsang Monastery also recognised as Tiger’s Nest in Paro is one of the holiest places in Bhutan. The monastery is mounted on a high granite cliff and was established for meditation. The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800m and overlooks the Paro valley and the river. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava known as the second Buddha in Bhutan, meditated at the spot where the monastery is situated having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress.
The grand and visually appealing dzongs of Bhutan are scattered all over the country. Each dzong happens to be a monastery, administrative centre and fortress rolled into one. You could head to the regal Tashichho Dzongor make your way to the more peaceful and secluded Punakha Dzong.
Thimphu, one of the culturally must see places in Bhutan, is charming capital city nestled in the Himalayas with the beautiful sights of the Chuu River flowing through it. Interestingly, it is the only capital city in the world with no traffic lights. Thimphu has retained its culture and old world charm as modern development is closely monitored and new buildings can be built only in Bhutanese style and up to a certain height.
Paro, the foremost must see the place in Bhutan, is a gorgeous beautiful valley, surrounded by lush green rice fields. Paro is a historic town with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered through the area. Along with Jakar and Punakha, Paro forms the ‘golden triangle’ of popular tourist destinations in Bhutan. Likewise, craggy mountain hills and undisturbed serene beauty, the clean air and peaceful atmosphere make it a must visit place in Bhutan.
Phuentsholing, another must visit place in Bhutan, is a small town with a clean environment. The chief tourist attractions of Phuentsholing are Amo Chuu, the Crocodile Breeding Center, Chukha Hydrothermal Project, the gate at the border (called Bhutan Gate) and Karbandi Monastery. The natural beauty of Phuentsholing forcefully captivates you. It is a perfect place to visit for those people who love nature and want to remain in solitude.
- Bumthang Valley
Bumthang Valley, the spiritual heartland of Bhutan, is full of most ancient and precious Buddhist sites. Located at an altitude of 2,600 meters, the religious hub of Bhutan houses some of the oldest Buddhist temples. Besides, Jakar is the main town in Bumthang Valley and its undulating terrain, which is filled with apple trees and numerous temples, is a tourist’s delight.
Punakha, the breathtaking destination in Bhutan, has been inextricably linked to some of the most momentous events in the Bhutanese history and deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful and significant regions at the heart of Bhutanese culture. This district, levelling from 1300m at the valley floor rises to almost 3000m around Dochhula pass, served as the capital of Bhutan from 1637 till 1907. People visit this place mostly to understand the Bhutanese history and to enjoy its natural beauty.
- Thimphu’s Memorial Chorten
Thimphu’s Memorial Chorten is both a chorten and a temple in one. It occupies a prominent place in the centre of the main road near the south entrance of the city proper; traffic splits to go around it. It was built in 1974 to honour the 3rd King, who wanted to construct a chorten to represent the mind of the Buddha but passed away before starting that project.
“If the world is a book then Bhutan is the page where you fell in love.”