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7 Best Places To Visit In Thimphu, Bhutan

While there are a lot of things to do and places to visit in Thimphu, here’s a list of the 7 best ones that can make your holiday in Bhutan more magical and memorable!

1. Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory

Called Deh-sho, Bhutanese paper is made from the local trees of daphne and dhekap trees. The Jungshi factory is reputably the best place that manufactures this type of paper, made using an age-old method instead of the modern way. Visitors to the paper factory are given a demonstration of the papermaking process, and they are also invited to try their hand at some of the unique instruments. One of the most popular places to visit in Thimphu.

Timings: 8.30 AM to 5 PM Mon-Sat
Entry Fees: No charge

2. National Library

The National Library of Bhutan, known as NLB, was established back in 1967 and is one of the largest collection of literature on Tibetan Buddhism anywhere in the world. It has as many as 6100 books and manuscripts in Tibetan and Bhutanese and holds over 9000 printing blocks used to create religious texts. The pretty two-storey building is a must-visit on the trip to Thimphu.

Location: PO Box 185, Pedzoe Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Timings: 9.30 AM to 5 PM (Mon-Fri)
Entry Fees: INR 100 per person (Price may change)

3. Motithang Preserve

On any list of top places to visit in Thimphu, getting to see a Takin, the national animal of Bhutan, is mandatory. Said to be created by the mad saint of Bhutan using the head of a goat and the body of a cow, the animal occupies a place in the Bhutanese culture. The perfect place if you are a nature and wildlife fan, you can click the takin here at close quarters. Also housed here are the sambar and the barking deer.

Location: Motithang, Bhutan
Timings: Sundays closed
Entry Fees: INR 100 (Price may change)

4. Bumthang Owl Trek

The Bumthang Owl Trek is considered to be amongst the wildest and most intriguing activities in Thimphu. On this trek, you are bound to run into hundreds of these majestic birds. Listening to them hooting at night is a very different experience.  You will get a chance to meet the nomadic Khep and Brokpa tribesmen, cross the Drangela Pass (11,000 ft.), get amazing views of Mt. Gangkarpunsum (24,000 ft.), and see the beautiful Zampalam Chuedek, and Tharpaling Gompas.

Timing: March-May and September- Mid November

5. Jomolhari Mountain

There is no dearth of trails for trekking in Bhutan. Walk-in any direction and you will stumble upon great wonders of nature. One of the great wonders in Jomolhari Mountain. One of the most popular treks in Bhutan, the trail passes from Jigme Singye National Park and Lingshi. Feast on the magnificent views of Jomolhari Mountain from the base camp that will simply leave you ecstatic. It is one of the top things to do in Thimphu for adventure lovers.

Starting point: Paro
Best time: April-May, September-October

6. Dochula

Dochula maybe a 40-minute drive from Thimphu but it is definitely worth the visit. On the site, you will find 108 chortens that were built in the memory of martyrs who fought against the 2003 insurgent. The site along with the magnificent views of the mountains will give you goosebumps. It is a very popular site where locals and tourists come to enjoy a picnic.

Location: between Thimphu and Punakha
Entry Fee: 6 AM – 5 PM

7. Folk Heritage Museum

Established in 2001, Folk Heritage Museum has become popular among tourists who want to know deeply about Bhutanese culture and lifestyle. It is the best place to get insights into the local culture and heritage of Bhutan. You can also sample the delicious local cuisine of Bhutan. It ain’t your typical museum. This place is filled with wonders and surprises.

Location: Thimphu, Bhutan
Timings: 9 AM – 5 PM
Entry Fee: INR 150 (Price may change)

Thimphu, Bhutan

7 Best Things To Do In Punakha, Bhutan

There are innumerable experiences to have in Bhutan but if you’re really visiting Punakha, then here are 7 things to do that you must add to your itinerary!

 

1. Visit Punakha Dzong

The Punakha Dzong was built in 1637 and holds high value in the life of the royal family of Bhutan. Located right at the confluence of the Mo and Pho Chhu, the palace of great happiness, as it is called, is the most picturesque of all of the dzongs in Bhutan, built in a unique style of Bhutanese architecture. 
Timings of visit: 9 AM to 4 PM
Entry fee: No charge

2. Hike to the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

The temple of the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten was commissioned by the Queen Mother of Bhutan Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. The temple was designed based on Buddhist scriptures and was built to bring peace and prosperity to the Kingdom as well as the world. However, it is the trek to the temple that invites a lot of people to the place. The trek takes about an hour and is one of the best Punakha things to do. Be sure to go to the top of the temple for the best views of the entire valley.
Timings of visit: 6 AM to 6 PM

3. Cross the Punakha Suspension Bridge

Suspension bridges are actually a common sight over the hilly terrain and quick rivers of the valleys in Bhutan. There is no record for how old the Punakha suspension bridge is, but it certainly is high. Built high above the swift Pho Chhu, you will encounter the Punakha Suspension Bridge if you elect not to hike to the Chimi Lakhang Temple. It is one of the longest suspension bridges in all of Bhutan, about 160-180 meters long, and crossing it is one of the best things to do in Punakha.

4. Bird Watching in Jigme Dorji National Park

The Jigme Dorji National Park is the site of tremendous biodiversity, primarily because it encompasses areas with elevations ranging from 1400 to 7000 meters. Consequently, the reserve houses some of the world’s rarest species. Birdwatchers are especially excited by the kind of birds that one can spot inside the reserve and this is one of the best things to do in Punakha, Bhutan.

Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM from Monday to Friday

5. Shopping in Local Market of Punakha

On your Bhutan trip, shopping is really fun and the gorgeous stoles and woolens made in the local style out of material that is sourced from local sheep are available in little shops and markets everywhere. Dry fruits are also available in ample supply here, and local artisan work including statues, jewelry, and other quirky home decor items are commonly available in Punakha shops.

6. Eat at the Dochula Resort Restaurant

While making your way to Punakha from Thimpu, you will pass through the Dochula pass that separates the two valleys. The pass has exquisite views of the Bhutan Himalayas, especially the Gangkar Puensum which is Bhutan’s highest peak. The Dochula Resort restaurant is a great place to enjoy this. The restaurant, besides the world’s most surreal setting, offers great local cuisine and beverages for your culinary pleasures. One of the top things to do in Punakha.

7. White Water Rafting

If you are an adventure lover then white water rafting on the Mo and Pho Chhu river in Punakha is for you! A popular attraction for thrill-seekers. 

Timings: 8 AM – 5 PM
Cost: INR 2000-2500(peak seasons), INR 1000-1500(off-season) [Prices may change]

Punakha, Bhutan

Punakha Suspension Bridge

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. Make sure to stop by here.

How to reach: Take a bus or taxi from Paro or Thimphu to get to Punakha. The bridge is at a walking distance from the bus stand or you can rent a bike to get there.

Punakha, Bhutan

National Museum Of Bhutan

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.

Timings: Monday to Sunday – 9 AM to 5 PM

How to reach: Take a taxi from anywhere in Paro to get here.

Paro, Bhutan

Motithang Takin Preserve

Located in the district of Motithang in Thimphu, Motithang Takin Preserve serves as the home of the famous species of takin. Many travelers consider visiting this zoo-converted-reserve as one of the best tips while traveling to Bhutan. The Takin is a rare type of animal and falls under the goat species and their actual habitat is the eastern Himalayas. These animals live in the high altitudes of the country, also found in Northwest Myanmar, northwest India as well. These odd-looking animals according to the local legends were assembled by a 15th-century saint who agreed to create a miracle.

The Takins live around 8.4 acres from the rainforest and the Bhutan government is taking good care of them by preserving the species and they do not keep the animals in a zoo because they believe in the non-confinement of animals in a Buddhist country.

Location: Motithang, Bhutan

Timings: Tuesday to Sunday – 9 AM to 4 PM; Closed on Mondays

Motithang, Bhutan

Chomolhari

Chomolhari is among the popular Bhutan tourist spots, most popular for its treks. Chomolhari trek, starting at Paro, is one of the most challenging treks of Bhutan. With the altitude going about 5,000 meters, it is enchanting and rewards the trekkers with blissful views after a difficult trek. The trek is truly for the adventure enthusiasts and spans between 7 – 15 days on average.

If you love small treks then this is one of the ideal ones for you. Chomolhari or Jomolhari is one of the well-known tourist spots here, and if you are here for the trip then you must be acclimatized in the Haa Valley first then begin the trek. This entire valley will offer you eye-searing beauty of the monasteries and the small villages. Get to see the beautiful alpine forests and experience the most untouched parts of the country. 

Location: Near Punakha, Bhutan

Punakha, Bhutan

Phobjikha Valley

Phobjikha is a small town in the central part of Bhutan(The Land of Thunderbolt). Like many other beautiful places to see in Bhutan, Phobjikha is bestowed with valleys and is surrounded by mountains and lush greenery making it one of the top Bhutan attractions. The place is known for its beautiful landscapes and passes and a day’s hike will take you through the town and the woods.

Phobjikha valley is about 3000-meter elevation and the place is in the shape of a bowl, and it’s on the western slopes of the mountains.One cannot afford to miss a visit to the best tourist place in Bhutan, that is, Phobjikha Valley.

Get to experience the big flock of black-necked cranes at the winter time and as it is at the side of the crucial wildlife sanctuary in the country, you might also see some barking deer nearby as well or hear their voice.

How to reach: Take a taxi to Wangdue from Thimphu or Phuentsholing. Then take a bus or shared cab from Wangdue to Phobjikha Valley.

Thimphu, Bhutan

Tiger’s Nest Monastery

Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang Monastery is one of the must visit places in Bhutan. It is known for the beautiful and the sacred monastery of Guru Rinpoche. It is considered as a place of pilgrimage and is an easy half trek, which gives you the panoramic views of the Paro valleys.

According to the legends, Guru Rinpoche also considered as the second Buddha rode to this place on a tigress’s back to suppress a local demon and thus he meditated here for 3 months. This place is Bhutan’s most religious site and it hangs on the cliff as it stands above the lush forest of thousands of species of rhododendrons and blue pine. Due to this, it is counted in the list of places to visit in Bhutan.

Note: Tourists can come to this monastery by standard permits which your guide will arrange for you. Also, you have to register your at the entrance deposit your cameras and bags because photography is prohibited inside of the temple.

How to reach: Take a shared cab to the starting point of the path leading to the monastery. Trek to the top.

Paro, Bhutan

Dochula Pass

Dochula Pass is a beautiful pass consisting of 108 Chortens or Stupas, built in the memory of the Bhutanese soldiers who died in a war against the insurgents from India. The beautifully built temple and stupas, with the picturesque Gangkar Puensum peak in the background, makes the Dochula Pass one of the most beautiful tourist places in Bhutan. 

This very pass is a popular location for every tourist who visits the country. From the pass, you can have a panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range, and you must know the view is very beautiful from the top. You will get to see the snow covered mountains and the amazing backdrop of the place. You can have your lunch and tea in a flask and come here to enjoy the food and hot tea.

How to reach: Take a taxi from Thimphu or Punakha to get to this point.

Thimphu, Bhutan

Buddha Dordenma Statue

The Buddha Dordenma Statue is a 169 feet tall statue of Buddha, built at the foot of the hills in Thimphu. This iconic gold and bronze statue is visible from almost anywhere in Thimphu and is among the best tourist places in Bhutan.

This is a statue of Buddha and it’s a giant one at the top of the mountains in Thimpu and it’s also known as the Kunzang Phodrang. The presence of this giant statue of Buddha symbolizes the dominant religion of Bhutan. This very religion plays a solid part in this country and in the everyday life of the country’s people which is what makes it one of the best places in Bhutan for sightseeing. You will see the string of flags at the roadsides and the several praying wheels around the clock tower, which is in the midst of the town.a

Thimphu, Bhutan