Best Places to Visit in Bhutan | Pyala Travel

Find out what our travelexperts say are the 10 best places to visit while traveling in Bhutan

Top 10 best Places to visit in Bhutan

What, where and especially why ?

A trip to Bhutan means finding an amazing Himalayan landscape with magical fortress-like dzongs and monasteries, the real Buddhist culture and a lovely flora and fauna. What are the places you absolutely can’t miss before leaving Bhutan, known as the last ‘’Shrangi-La’’ country? That’s a tough question.. However, our team of Bhutan experts joined their forces and made a list of must sees in Bhutan. Hereby we hope to make it a bit easier for you to choose and to make sure you don’t miss some of the beautiful treasures the country has to offer. Of course you will find some highlights, but we will take you off the beaten track as well.

No. 1 Tsechu festival

Colours, colours and more colours..... Dances performed by trained monks, people with amazing masks and costumes surrounded by the brightest colours, that’s what a Tsechu festival is all about. The reason for these amazing festivals, is to honour Guru Rimpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. Visiting one of these events is probably one of the best ways to get to know the ancient living culture of Bhutan and for that reason they have a great audience each year. Have a chat with the locals, dress up in your brightest clothes and celebrate with them!

No. 2 Taktsang Monastery

The cultural icon of Bhutan, the Taktsang Monastery, is a Buddhist temple which can be found at a breathtaking location in the mountainious Paro valley. Don’t be afraid of heights, because this monastery clings to a cliff, 3120 meters above sea level! Looking up from the Paro Valley to the Monastery makes you think it’s almost impossible to reach the temples. It’s a beautiful but strenuous hike to reach the monastery, as trail is almost entirely uphill. In about one hour after your start, you reach the first lookout point at the teahouse. Here you can have a drink while enjoying the view of the convent across the street.  From the teahouse you can continue the hike to visit the monastery itself. The path eventually leads to a set of stairs carved into the mountain surrounded by fluttering prayer flags. When entering the monastery, you must give up your purse and camera because photography is not allowed inside. You should also be respectfully dressed, which means no bare arms or legs, and preferably nothing tight-fitting. Make sure you keep some change ready, so you can make a small donation in the temples, just like the locals. You can visit various rooms in the monastery, including the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated for three months. During a fire in 1998 large parts of the monastery were destroyed, but the cave remained miraculously undamaged. The monastery has been completely rebuilt since then.

No. 3 mesmerizing Bumthang Valley

Bumthang is a collective name for the four valleys in central Bhutan: Chökhor, Tang, Ura and Chumey. The main attractions are found in Chökhor, so often when people say Bumthang they are talking about Chökhor. You have the opportunity to go hiking through the valley and visit some monasteries. Of course, private transportation to the monasteries is also available for those who prefer not to walk. Visit the Kurjey Lhakhang, an impressive monastery consisting of three temples. In one of the temples is a sacred cave where the patron saint of Tibet, Guru Rinpoche, meditated after he defeated the demons and brought Tibetan Buddhism to Bhutan. Other monasteries worth visiting are the Tamshing Goemba and Konchogsum Lhakhang. You can also walk around the town and visit the local dzong in Jakar where you have a beautiful view over the valley.

No. 4 Weekend market of Thimphu

The weekend market in Thimphu is an absolute must see in Bhutan. It’s a social event for the local people, where they speak to each other about the latest gossips, oh... and of course they would like to sell something as well now and then. Mostly they sell vegetables, grown and harvested of their own fields, but you will also find red peppers, spices, masks and much more. It’s a real party to just walk around and to take part in this spectacular weekly event!

No. 5 Trongsa Dzong

You can easily see it from anywhere in the town, the impressive Trongsa Dzong. This Dzong is the largest in the country and is beautifully situated high up on the mountain. It doesn’t matter where you are in the Dzong, you will always have an amazing view of the surroundings. The dzong is an active administrative and religious center and is therefore not always open to the public, but it is impressive to see from the outside and you are able to visit the watchtower, which is located beside the dzong. It’s located at a highly strategic position, on the only connecting route between east and west. For this reason, it was very easy for the Trongsa Penlop to control the central and eastern regions ot the country from this point. Don’t miss this beautiful place!

No. 6 Discover the unknown east

Are you ready to get to one of the unknown areas? Discover and journey to the little-visited, but absolutely stunning, east of Bhutan. The further east you go, the more rugged the landscape: jagged mountains with narrow roads along steep cliffs. The villages in this area where you could stay are compactly built on mountain ridges rather than scattered across valleys as in the west. In autumn there are many fascinating small festivals in eastern Bhutan. Go off the beaten tracks and explore these treasures of Bhutan.

No. 7 Peace and serenity in the Punahka Dzong

Once you arrive in Punakha, the dzong is immediately visible. It is one of the most picturesque and important Dzongs in the country, beautifully situated at the confluence of two rivers. Punakha is at a much lower elevation than Thimpu, which is why it is usually much warmer. For centuries it also served as a winter residence for the royal family, and the Punakha Dzong continues to be the where the religious centre of Thimpu moves in the winter. With a little luck you can go inside to admire the prayer hall. Not all areas are always open to the public, but there is always plenty to see. The peace and serenity of the place are really touching and it will leave you with a lifelong memory for sure. 

No. 8 National Museum in Paro

You can find the National Museum of Paro just above the Dzong, housed in the old watchtower (ta dzong). It is an interesting museum that gives a nice overview of the history and daily life in Bhutan. The museum boasts a rich variety of artifacts from all over the country representing different eras, a journey through the galleries shows the country’s transition from the Stone Age to a modern Mahayanist Buddhist and multicultural kingdom with its cultural heritage intact. Don’t miss this educational, rich and colourful experience during your trip!

No. 9 Crane birds in the pobjikha valley

For many birdwatchers around the world, the Pobjikha Valley is famed as the winter home of an amazing bird called the ‘black-necked crane’, that live here in the winter (mid-October to April). These incredibly elegant cranes are amongst the largest flying birds in the world. The black-necked crane was the last of the cranes to be discovered, because of the fact that they live in some of the remotest regions of the world. From the Pele La Pass you have the option of taking a detour to the Phobjika Valley. You can visit the crane center and get a close-up view with their high-powered telescopes. The cranes are incredible to watch, even for non-birdwatchers. 

No. 10 Tashichho dzong Thimphu

The Tashichho Dzong or Thimphu Dzong is known as ‘’the fortress of auspicious religion’’ and is absolutely breathtaking, as well as from the inside as from the outside. The Buddha in the temple is enormous, but the structure is very beautiful. This specific Dzong houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan, as well as his offices and the secretariat. This beautiful white-washed building should definitely be on your list of places you must visit.