Explore the mystical charm of Bhutan with our guide to the top 10 places to visit. From the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery perched on cliffs to the cultural richness of Thimphu and Paro, each destination offers a unique blend of natural beauty and spiritual serenity. Immerse yourself in the vibrant traditions, ancient monasteries, and breathtaking landscapes of this Himalayan kingdom for an unforgettable journey into the heart of Bhutan.
1. Taktsang Palphug Monastery, Paro
Sacred Vajrayana Himalayan Buddhist shrine Paro Taktsang is perched on a cliff in Bhutan’s upper Paro valley. Among the thirteen Tiger’s Nest caves in ancient Tibet, this one is where Padmasambhava practiced and imparted Vajrayana teachings.
2. Buddha Dordenma, Thimphu
The Great Buddha Dordenma is a massive statue of Shakyamuni Buddha located in the Bhutanese Himalayas, honoring Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth king, on his 60th birthday. More than 100,000 tiny Buddha statues are kept within the statue; like the Great Buddha Dordenma, they are all fashioned of bronze and have gold leaf applied to them. Situated above the southern approach to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, the Great Buddha Dordenma is situated amid the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of Sherab Wangchuk, the thirteenth Druk Desi.
3. Thimphu Dzong, Thimphu
Nestled on the northern fringe of Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, Tashichho Dzong stands as a testament to the country’s rich cultural and political heritage. This Buddhist monastery and fortress, perched majestically on the banks of the Wang Chu river, serve as the historic seat of the Druk Desi, the head of Bhutan’s civil government. Steeped in tradition, Tashichho Dzong also acts as the summer residence of Bhutan’s monarch. With its intricate architecture and serene surroundings, the dzong offers visitors a captivating glimpse into Bhutan’s spiritual and administrative realms. In British records, this revered site is referred to as Tassisudon. Discover the beauty and significance of Tashichho Dzong as you explore the enchanting landscapes and cultural treasures of Bhutan.
4. Punakha Dzong
Punakha Dzong, often referred to as Pungthang Dewa chhenbi Phodrang, serves as the district’s administrative hub in Punakha, Bhutan. One of Bhutan’s most magnificent buildings, it is the second-oldest and second-largest dzong, having been built between 1637 and 1638 by Ngawang Namgyal, the first Zhabdrung Rinpoche. The Rangjung Kasarpani, the holy remains of Ngawang Namgyal, the tertoen Pema Lingpa, and other relics of the southern Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism are kept at the dzong.
The capital of the Trongsa District in central Bhutan is Trongsa, formerly known as Tongsa. In Dzongkha, the word means “new village”. The Drukpa lama Ngagi Wangchuck, the great-grandfather of Ngawang Namgyal, Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the man who united Bhutan, constructed the first temple in 1543. It served as the capital of authority for Bhutan’s east and center and as the forefront of the warrior class. Prior to taking the Raven Crown throne, all Bhutanese kings invest as Trongsa Penlop.
The ”castle of the white bird,” Jakar Dzong, stands watch over the town and the Chamkhar valley. Built in 1549 by the Tibetan monk Ngagi Wangchuk, who traveled to Bhutan to propagate the Drukpa Kagyu school of thought, the dzong served as the eastern dzongkhags’ stronghold and a key strategic location. It’s an excellent starting point for short day hikes to neighboring monasteries where you can take in the breathtaking views. renowned for producing apricots, apples, cheese, and honey.
7. Jigme Dorji National Park
The far northwest of Bhutan is home to Jigme Dorji National Park. With 1,666 square miles (4,316 square kilometers) of land, the park is the second largest national park in the nation. The national park is built upon the remarkable mountainous terrain. Dispersed within the park boundaries are glacial lakes due to the steep topography. Throughout the park, there are numerous rivers and waterfalls.Many species of plants and animals that are vulnerable or globally endangered find refuge in Jigme Dorji National Park. It is the only park in Bhutan with healthy populations of Asiatic wild dogs, musk deer, snow leopards, and tigers.
8. Phobjikha Valley
Spelled Pho-sbis-kha, the Phobjikha Valley is a large U-shaped valley in central Bhutan. Gangteng Monastery of the Nyingma sect, located in central Bhutan, is one of the striking examples of an old Buddhist monastery in Bhutan. Located in central Bhutan, the tranquil Phobjikha valley is home to an extensive network of hiking routes. In addition, this area is widely renowned for housing a variety of wildlife, including red foxes, black-necked cranes, wild boars, and leopards.
9. National Museum of Bhutan (Ta Dzong)
Located in the western Bhutanese town of Paro, the National institution of Bhutan is a cultural institution. Established in 1968 under the direction of His Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third hereditary Monarch of Bhutan, in the restored old Ta-dzong edifice above Rinpung Dzong.The National Museum of Bhutan charges the following admission fees: Ten Nu for residents, fifty Nu for SAARC tourists, five Nu for students, and two hundred Nu for foreign nationals.
10. Dochula Pass
The eldest Queen Mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, erected 108 memorial chortens or stupas known as “Druk Wangyal Chortens” atop the Dochu La mountain pass in Bhutan’s snow-covered Himalayas on the route from Thimphu to Punakha. The Druk Wangyal Lhakhang and the 108 memorial chortens, along with the pass’s stunning views, have made the Dochula Pass a well-liked tourist destination in Bhutan. It is a sign of Bhutan’s dedication to peace and stability as well as a reminder of the sacrifices made by its warriors.