Tourist Attractions | Bhutan
The frontier town, it is a thriving commercial center, situated directly at the base of Himalayan foothills. It is a fascinating place where different ethnic groups mingle prominently Indian, Bhutanese and Nepalese. Being the border town, Phuentsholing serves as the convenient entry/exit point for Bhutan and also the important link to visit the Indian state of West Bengal, Sikkim and Assam.
The beautiful valley of Paro encapsulates within itself a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries, National Museum and country’s only airport. Mount. Chomolhari (7,314m) reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley and its glacial water plunge through deep gorges to form Pa Chhu (Paro river). Paro is also one of the most fertile valley in the Kingdom producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields.
The Capital Town of Bhutan and the centre of Government, Religion and Commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Although not what one expects from a capital city, Thimphu is still a fitting and lively place. Home to civil servants, expatriates and monk body, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style.
Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until and still it is the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the chief abbot). Blessed with temperate climate and owing to its natural drainage from Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers, the Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fruits. There are splendid views of the distant Himalayas at Dochula pas (alt. 3,050m) on Thimphu–Punakha road.
Wangduephodrang is the last town on the central highway before central Bhutan. The town is not more than an Wangdi Dzong, Bhutanenlarged village with a few well-provided shops. Located in the south of Punakha, the higher reaches of the Wangdue Phodrang valley provide rich pastureland for cattle. This district is also famous for its fine bamboo products, slate and stone carvings.
The valley of Gangtey is one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. The surprise of finding such a wide, flat valley without any trees after the hard climb through dense forests is augmented by an impression of vast space, and extremely rare experience in Bhutan where most of the valley’s are tightly enclosed.
A few kilometers beyond the Gangtey Monastery, on the valley floor lies the village of Phobjikha. This place is the winter home of black necked cranes that migrate from the arid plains in the north to pass winter in milder and lower climate. Phobjikha, at an altitude of 2900 m, falls under the district of Wangduephodrang and lies on the periphery of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley boasts two beautiful meandering rivers, Nakay Chhu (Chhu Naap-black water) and Gay Chhu (Chhu Karp-white water).
Trongsa forms the central hub of the nation and is Chendbji Chorten Trongsahistorically the place from where attempts at unifying the country were launched. Both His Majesty King Ugyen Wangchuck, the Penlop of Trongsa, who was elected the country’s first hereditary monarch and his successor, King Jigme Wangchuck, ruled the country from Trongsa ancient seat. The Crown Prince of Bhutan normally holds the position of the Trongsa Penlop prior to ascending the throne. including the present King. The entire landscape around Trongsa is spectacular.
The journey from Bumthang to Mongar is en route to mongar Bhutanone of the most beautiful in the Himalayas crossing 4,000m high Thrumshing la (pass). Gushing waterfalls, steep cliffs with even steeper drops, blazing flowers and constantly changing vegetation combine to make this journey as varied as it is beautiful. Mongar marks the beginning of Eastern Bhutan. The second largest town in the sub-tropical east, Mongar like Trashigang further east, is situated on the side of a hill in the contrasts to other towns of Western Bhutan which was built on the valley floor.
Trashiyangtse is a rapidly gom Kora templegrowing town and administrative center of the district. Situated in a small river valley, it is a lovely spot from which to take walks in the surrounding countryside. The dzong overlooking the town was built in the late 1990s when the new district was created. Trashiyangtse is famous for its wooden containers and bowls, which make inexpensive, attractive and useful mementos of a visit to this remote region.
The Haa valley was opened for the first time to foreign tourists in 2002. It is culturally rich valley and some of famous sites in this region are : 7th century Lhakhang Karpo (White temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black temple) at the foothills of a venerated three brotherly mountains known as Meri Puensum. The grand annual Haa Tshechu is also performed here at Lhakhang Karpo on the 8th-10th day of the 8th Bhutanese month.
The Haa Wangchuklo Dzong built in 1915 after the Dumchog Dzong was razed to the ground by fire is worth visiting. The other place of interest which involves some walking includes the hike to the 8th century Juneydrag, Katsho Goempa, Drana Trashidingkhag, Yangto Goempa, Jamtoe Goempa, Shelkardrag, Takchu Goempa and Haa Goempa.
The valley is also unparalleled in Bhutan in terms of the diversity of the folk culture, legends and shamanistic rituals. The shamanistic traditions is vividly practiced in almost all the communities, most notable of which is the annual ceremony to honour Ap Chundu, the guardian deity of the valley. The valley is also a paradise for nature lovers and traveling there is a very rewarding experience.
The drive to Haa valley crosses 3988m Chele-la pass, from where one can have a superb views of Mount. Chomolhari & Jichu Drakey. It is also an ideal place to take short walk, enjoying panoramic vistas.